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SPAWNews is packed with writing, editing, illustrating, and publishing information. Each month you receive market opportunities, events, and articles you can use now!
Not sure? Check out back issues of SPAWNews on our blog, or in the older SPAWNews archives)

SPAWNews, March, 2002

Archives Available


Editor’s Notes

How to Find Work that Satisfies Your Passion

Member News

Book Reviews: Books on Illustration and Graphic Design

Where Does Adobe Acrobat Fit in Publishing?

Member Area Information – Market Update

Publisher Interview – Bob Jones University Press

Conferences, Workshops, and Seminars

Book Festivals

Contests & Awards

Questions & Answers


SPAWN’s Mission Statement

* * * * *


This is our fifth online newsletter and we’re finally getting down to standardizing the format. I’d love to be able to use italics for book titles, bold and unusual fonts for subject titles, and underline for accenting words. But I can’t. This newsletter is e-mailed to our subscribers and we can’t do all that in an e-mail because that kind of formatting disappears or turns into strange symbols. We can’t even use an em-dash. So don’t complain that the layout is boring. I know that. It just can’t be helped.

It seems like we expand SPAWNews more with each new issue, and having a specific order of presentation has become essential. It’s been really hard for me to decide what should go where. I try to present subjects in the order of their interest or importance but then everything seems interesting and important to me, so that doesn’t work. Finally, to put an end to my wishy-washiness, I had a meeting with Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN’s Web master and technical guru, and Patricia Fry, SPAWN’s President and major contributor of articles, market updates, and more, and I asked them for guidance. The format of this month’s issue (and those that come after) is the result of that meeting.

We’d like to hear from you, the subscriber, about what you would like to see in SPAWNews. What are you most interested in? What has helped you the most? Do you read the whole newsletter or only certain items, such as announcements of contests, workshops, or book festivals? Do you enjoy the articles the most and, if so, which ones have been particularly helpful to you? Send me an e-mail and let me know. We always like to hear from our readers.

Mary Embree, Editor, SPAWNews


* * * * *

How to Find Work That Satisfies Your Passion

By Patricia Fry

Read the full article.

* * * * *


Fran Halpern hosts the lively, often funny Beyond Words, a show for literary toilers, word lovers and political junkies which airs Saturday at 3 p.m. PST on KCLU, an NPR affiliate: 88.3 in Ventura County & 102.3 in Santa Barbara County, (California) on the Web: Calls are welcome during the show 805/493-9200.

Richard F.X. O’Connor, best-selling author and former acquisitions editor at Renaissance Media, presents a free seminar for writers at Santa Barbara City College (California) on Saturday, March 16. The all-day seminar (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), held at the college’s Schott Center is on “How to Write a Winning Book Proposal.” It is designed for the novice or published author of fiction or nonfiction. A successful book proposal/case history will be analyzed and there will be a question and answer period. For directions, e-mail O’Connor at:

Hot off the presses is “The Gorgeous and Brilliant Guide to Freelance Writing,” by Wendy Dager. This little book (46 pages) is chock-full of good information presented in a witty, conversational style. The title comes from a comment Wendy’s adoring husband made one day when she figured out a glitch in a computer program: “You’re so gorgeous and brilliant!” Sprinkled throughout her humorous book is sage advice that any writer who wants to turn professional (get paid for her/his work) would be wise to follow. She covers many kinds of writing including professional correspondence (query letters, proposals), opinion articles, feature articles, greeting cards, PR material, and corporate newsletters. For more information or to purchase this book contact the author at:

* * * * *


SPAWN isn’t only about writing. A major element in the success of selling a book or any other product is the look of the cover, the box, the package, and any illustrations that are inside. The cover is the first thing you notice and illustrations always enhance the message. So, this month we are reviewing two books on careers in illustration and graphic design.

“Careers by Design: a Business Guide for Graphic Designers,” by Roz Goldfarb, Allworth Press, Paperback, 219 pages, $19.95

“Starting Your Career as a Freelance Illustrator or Graphic Designer,” by Michael Fleishman, Allworth Press, Paperback, 261 pages, $19.95

“Careers by Design” was written by a headhunter who runs a specialized, full-service agency in New York City. She explains the special world of graphic design including print, environmental, and industrial design, advertising and marketing, and interactive media. She tells how to get started and where the jobs are. As an expert whose job is putting together the creative designer and the company, Roz Goldfarb has her finger on the pulse of the industry. She would be among the first to see changes and new opportunities for graphic designers. Anyone who is considering a career in this field will find this book a highly informative guide.

“Starting Your Career as a Freelance Illustrator or Graphic Designer,” is by a freelance illustrator, graphic artist and teacher of the commercial arts. As an artist, he approaches the field from a different perspective. He offers guidance in creating your portfolio, making contacts, and pricing your work, as well as setting up your office, getting supplies and equipment, and the many details of nurturing your freelance business of commercial art. Michael Fleishman is a graphic designer who’s been there and has learned how to do it successfully. He knows from experience what works when it comes to finding the clients, promoting yourself and your work, and presenting your visual identity. He has also included business forms and examples of proposals, estimates, invoices, and agreements which he calls “confirmation of assignment.” This is an invaluable guide for commercial artists who wish to own and operate their own studios.


* * * * *

Where Does Adobe Acrobat Fit in Publishing?

by Vorginia Lawrence

Read the entire article.

* * * * *


The monthly Market Update is a popular feature of the SPAWN site. All 5 Market Updates are currently available in the SPAWN Member’s Only area. Here’s what you’ll find in the March issue:

  • Changes and trends involving two-dozen specific publications.
  • Reports highlighting the booming craft market.
  • A word of warning about how the Copyright Office is handling mail.
  • Two new sites to help with your research.
  • Featured sites: My Book’s Out and InstantPublish.
  • Grammar site of the month.
  • Fiction site of the month.
  • Interviews with working writers—this month it’s proofreaders.
  • An interview with Annie Mayne, best-selling author of craft books.
  • For children’s book authors, an exclusive interview with Nancy Lohr, editor at Bob Jones University Press. (This interview has also been included in SPAWNews this month. See the following.)

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This month, we’ve interviewed Nancy Lohr, the juvenile fiction editor for Bob Jones University Press. Those of you interested in writing children’s books, will most likely find this piece helpful.

Q: Can you give me an overview of the publishing company? Who is your audience and what types of books do you publish?

A: Bob Jones University Press is a leading provider of Christ-centered educational materials for pre-college traditional and home schools. The youth imprint of BJU Press, JourneyForth Books, produces trade books for the same segment of readers.

We produce everything from picture books for pre-schoolers to novels and biographies for teenagers. Our books are based on a biblical world view. Some books have clear references to the Bible and Christian characters, other books present the theme in the manner of classic moral literature. In either case, the books are written to appeal to the varying reading abilities and interests of our readers.

Q: What types of manuscripts are you currently looking for?

A: I am always looking for biographies of Christian heroes of the faith; men and women who advanced the cause of Christ like Gladys Aylward and Hudson Taylor.

Many of the young readers in our audience are reading well in early elementary school For these youngsters, I need good first chapter books; these can be classic adventure stories, mysteries and animal adventure like the Marguerite Henry’s “Misty” books or Walt Morey’s “Gentle Ben.”

I’m not accepting picture books at this point.

Q: How many books do you plan to publish this year?

A: I anticipate releasing ten books in 2002.

Q: What are some of your recent titles?

A: “The Red House Mystery” by A.A. Milne, A Fingerprint Classics Edition for young adults. “Over the Divide” by Catherine Fames for young adults. “Daniel Colton Under Fire” by Elaine Schulte for ages 9 – 12 “Adoniram Judson: God’s Man in Burma” by Sharon Hambrick for ages 7 – 9.

Q: Do you have a suggested word requirement?

A: Our writers’ guidelines give all of the specifics. The web address for the guidelines is

Ages 6 –8: 3,000 to 9,000 words

Ages 9-12: 10,000 to 40,000 words

Ages 12 and up: 40,000 to 60,000 words

Q: How do you want submissions handled?

A: For fiction, I would like to receive a brief synopsis and the first five chapters. I will request the rest of the book if I see potential for our publishing house. For biographies, I would like a query that includes a brief description of the biographee and his/her accomplishments.

Q: What do you look for in an author?

A: The first thing I want to see is an author who demonstrates a working knowledge of the art and craft of writing for children. I see too many manuscripts that are poorly written, but are sent to me with the sense that the book is “just for kids” and therefore good enough.

It takes great skill to convey large ideas to young people; a good children’s writer will understand this concept. The manuscript should manifest carefully developed, well-rounded characters who draw our interest as a believable plot develops and a worthy theme unfolds. The best authors, from my perspective, are those who are continually improving their skill with the written word to better serve young readers. Anything less is likely to be rejected out of hand.

Beyond this compelling concern, I want authors who will be willing to help with self-promotion, but it goes without saying that until a fine book is crafted, the willingness to help market is a moot point.

Q: What are some of your future plans?

A: We are developing a line of biographies of Christian heroes. We have also begun outing some classic children’s titles back into print alongside our new titles which form the backbone of our backlist. We want to publish books that are both timely and timeless.

Nancy Lohr

Bob Jones University Press

1700 Wade Hampton Blvd

Greenville, SC 29614

* * * * *


Writers’ Forum – Pasadena City College (California)

Saturday, March 16. 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Workshops include writing memoirs, film scripts, mysteries, non-fiction book proposals and more. Fees: advanced registration by March 14 (includes lunch) $95; registration at door (no lunch) $105. FMI and to register by phone, call 626/585-7608. To register by mail: Pasadena City College Extended Learning Center, Room D108, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106-2003.

IWWG Early Spring in California Conference – Santa Cruz, California

March 15-17. Workshops and readings. FMI The International Women’s Writing Guild, P.O. Box 810 Gracie Sta., New York, NY 10028; 212/737-7536; Web site:

TMWI Conference – Oak Ridge, Tennessee

April 10-13. Featured participants include Elfrieda Abbe, editor of “The Writer” magazine. FMI contact Patricia Hope, Tennessee Mountain Writers, Inc., P.O. Box 4895, Oak Ridge, TN 37831. Web site:

2002 PMA/BEA Publishing University – New York City

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, April 30 – May 2. Grand Hyatt New York. Includes basic, intermediate, and advanced seminars in Internet, Marketing, Design, Sales, Law, Finance, Publicity and Editorial. Early bird registration fees, before March 15, range from $60 for one 90-minute seminar to $350 for 8 seminars and 2 lunches for members of PMA; more for non-members. FMI and registration:

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Border Book Festival – Las Cruces, New Mexico

March 17-24. Workshops, readings, storytelling and trade show. FMI write to Border Book Festival, 422 N. Alameda, Las Cruces, NM 88005; call 505/524-1499; or e-mail Web site:

Virginia Festival of the Book – Charlottesville, Virginia

March 20-24. Readings, panels and discussions with authors. FMI write toVirginia Foundation for the Humanities, 145 Ednam Drive, Charlottsville, VA; call 434/924-6890; or e-mail Web site:

* * * * *


Illustration Cubed: international illustration Call for Entries

Deadline April 1. The contest will be juried by top names in the business. Selected entries will be exhibited in a month-long exhibition at the Blue Cube Arts Gallery in Columbus, OH, beginning June 1, 2002, and on the web at All of the selected entries will be reproduced in a full color annual that will be distributed to over 10,000 hiring creative directors and potential clients nationwide. FMI and entry form, visit For questions e-mail Ben La Placa at

2002 Editors’ Awards, The Florida Review

Deadline April 2. Prizes: $1,000 and publication in each category. Submit unpublished fiction and memoirs, up to 10,000 words, and groups of 3-5 unpublished poems, up to 40 lines/poem. Entry fee: $12. English Department, University of Central Florida, P.O. Box 161346, Orlando, FL 32816. FMI e-mail: Web site:

Writer’s Digest 2002 Writing Competition

Deadline May 15. Grand Prize: $1,500 cash and your choice of a trip to New York City to meet with editors and agents or a trip to the 2003 Maui Writers Conference. Also other prizes totaling more than $25,000 altogether. Ten categories, including inspirational writing, children’s fiction, articles, short stories, poetry, and scriptwriting. Entry fee: $10 per manuscript. For rules, information, and entry form, see current issue of Writer’s Digest magazine or go online to:

Film in Arizona Screenwriting Competition

Deadline May 15. Grand Prize winner receives a round-trip ticket to Los Angeles, hotel accommodations, a rental car, and $1,000, plus meetings with industry professionals. The screenplay must utilize the diverse geography of Arizona. Entry fee: early submissions $30; submissions after April 15 are $40. For rules and an application form visit their Web site at and go to Film in Arizona Screenwriting competition page, or you may contact Wendy Carroll, competition coordinator at 602/280-1380.

* * * * *


Q: I am wanting to publish a book of poetry, maybe 50 pages, with a publisher in Kentucky or Tennessee, and I don’t know who to go to for it, or how to go about it. Please email me back and tell me a name of a publishers.


A: Congratulations on your accomplishments. While I’m not familiar with specific publishers in Kentucky or Tennessee who publish poetry, I can tell you how to go about finding one.

You might start by searching through The Business Phone Book U.S.A., in the reference section in many libraries. I believe this volume lists businesses according to location. Also useful in locating a publisher are the American Book Trade Directory, Literary Market Place and Writer’s Market (all in the reference section at your library). If you plan other projects, I recommend purchasing Writer’s Market (available at most bookstores for under $30).

I also like to recommend that folks go to bookstores and look at books similar to those they wish to publish and see who is publishing them. If the publisher contact information is not listed, you can generally find it online or in the reference books I suggested above.

Use a search engine to research publisher in your area online.

Another useful activity for finding a publisher is networking. You are participating in networking by contact us. But you can do even more effective networking by interacting with other writers/publishers. Here at SPAWN we are offering an online forum where members meet and share ideas and help one another. One of our members, for example, might know of a publisher you can contact. You would find that out by asking your question on our forum board for all members to see.

God luck with your project,


Patricia Fry

* * *

Q: Ok, I have a stupid question. I’m sure you get these a lot. But…I was wondering if you could give me any pointers on how to get into the seemingly hard art field. I wanted to illustrate my own comic book…or…children’s books…but…hehe…living in the back woods of Wisconsin, you don’t get much opportunity to get out and do anything besides cow-tipping.



A: Teresa,

Thank you for your question. Here are a few ideas for getting work as an artist.

First, you might consider becoming involved in an organization such as SPAWN, where you can meet other artists and writers and publishers who are looking for artists. I know of several authors who found artists through SPAWN by networking with members. In two instances, the author was working on a children’s book and needed an illustrator and at least two authors I know hired SPAWN members to design covers for their books. And you don’t have to leave your Wisconsin home to network with other SPAWN members. We now have a forum where members can come together and exchange ideas and information.

Also, find out who is publishing comic books and children’s books and uses art similar to the type you do. Contact them with samples of your work. You can do this through the mail and via the Internet. You can also find publishers listed in Writer’s Market (available in bookstores, via the Internet and in the reference section in most libraries).

You might visit websites of individual authors/publishers who are producing children’s or comic books. Connect with them to see if they have any new projects coming up and would like to see your illustrations. At the SPAWN “Member’s Only” area, you’ll find MetaSearch to help you do this research. Through MetaSearch, you are using 5 of the top search engines at once.

I hope this helps in your quest to become a published artist.


Patricia Fry

* * * * *



Last November, after a year of research, study and composition of a new theory on the life and suicide of Sylvia Plath, I decided to publish the work myself. I have been marketing like a demon ever since and I have secured the following:-

1. A positive, brief review in the Times Literary Supplement in London.

2. A front page article in an evening paper in Ted Hughes home town.

3. A small article in my home town paper who published an address for me and this has generated sales.

4. A forthcoming review in "Dandelion" a well established British poetry magazine.

5. A full publication of the entire contents of my book in "Quantum Leap" magazine.

6. A listing, photo and biography on a website listing which includes Germaine Greer.

7. Last year I had eleven of my poems individually published in various mags and anthologies.

8. An article will also appear this week in another local paper to Hughes home town.

9. Search engines have now linked my poetry page on my website to various Plath and Hughes listings.

I thought this may be inspiration to those who are contemplating self-publishing. I found the publishing a doddle and very cheap - the hardest part is marketing, but, I have always loved the marketing, as it is so exciting if you know how to attract attention by Press Release.

Hope this may interest some subscribers. My best advice comes in the words of GOETHE:- "Whatever you dream you can do, begin it: boldness has genius power and magic in it!"

All good wishes and thank you for the newsletter, I have just joined you.

Sandra Lester

SPAWN is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002-2653


Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045

Mary Embree

Executive Director

Wendy Dager

Senior Editor, SPAWNews


Hal Ranzenhofer

Managing Editor, SPAWNews

Telephone: 805/984-3216


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


Patricia Fry

Acting President


Ruth Hibbard



Advisory Council

Carol Doering

Dallas Glenn

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Jim Lane


Marcia Grad-Powers


Melvin Powers


Dan Poynter

Author, Publisher

Jean Wade


Board of Directors

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder and President of SPAWN

Patricia Fry

Vice President

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard


Frances Halpern

Author, Columnist, Talk-show Host

Marsha Karpeles

Executive Director, Manuscript Libraries

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant


To promote the literary arts and provide education, information, resources and a supportive networking environment for artists, writers, and other creative people interested in the publishing process.

Submission Guidelines

Members and Nonmembers: Please send your press releases, seminar information, and books for review to Wendy Dager, Senior Editor, SPAWNews, 3039 Country Lane, Simi Valley, CA 93063 or email

SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year; spouses, half-price. Make your check payable to SPAWN and mail to P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653.

SPAWNews, Member Directory and Web site listings, and discounts for SPAWN events are included in membership.

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P. O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002-2653



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