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SPAWNews, April, 2004

Wendy Dager, Editor

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please e-mail the editor of SPAWNews:

Those of you who are SPAWN members, be sure to visit the Members Only Area to read this month's Market Update. Go to the first page of the site, and click on the "Visit Member Area" button. You will be asked to log in.

If you are not a member, join now online:

If you are a member and would like to renew online, the site now has an online renewal application for your convenience: Now

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Table of Contents

- Editor’s Note

- SPAWN Kids’ Writing Project

- Letters to SPAWN

- L.A. Times Festival of Books April 24-25

- Market Update

- Chapter Reports

- Q&A

- Feature Article: A Quick Overview of E-Books

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests and Awards

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

I’m going to share something I hadn’t thought about in years, until recently, when a technical article I’d written was returned to me with a few annoying redlines.

That red ink triggered an embarrassing memory: My report card, upon which my high school drama teacher had written, "Wendy does not know how to take criticism." I’m ashamed to say this was true. As a kid, I hated criticism, constructive or not. And, even more shameful is the fact that, sometimes, I’m still in the 10th grade.

I admit I’ve gotten a little better about accepting criticism, considering it’s part of my job as a writer. Even if I hadn’t chosen this profession, it would be despicable if I hadn’t matured at some point between the ages of 14 and 41. But, it’s still sometimes difficult to swallow my pride—and my tongue—when someone critiques me, whether it’s my husband commenting on my driving, or one of my kids complaining about the lunch I packed, or an editor altering one of my articles.

As an opinion pages columnist (, I often subject my words to the outrage of newspaper subscribers who don’t like my opinion. I accept that. I also don’t mind when an editor proofreads my writing and finds a punctuation or grammatical error or, with tech articles, tells me I haven’t fully or properly explained an issue. And yet, every once in awhile, I have to clamp my big mouth shut when a criticism seems unjust. Instead, I try to calmly analyze the comment, defend where defense is required, and change whatever needs changing. It may sound juvenile, but maybe it’s the 14-year-old in me, trying to show my high school drama teacher that I’ve finally grown up.

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. Visit her Web site,

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SPAWN Kids’ Writing Project

The young writers from the SPAWN kids’ writing project have been submitting poems, stories and nonfiction pieces for their book all month. A few weeks ago, their teacher, Patricia Fry, had them split into committees and went to work on producing the book. Two students volunteered for the editorial committee and the rest worked with Dennis Mullican on designing the book. Both groups came up with some very definite and creative ideas for their project.

The following week's class was exciting for everyone. We brought each student a copy of the first draft of the book and asked them to proof their own entries. Then, the editorial committee proofed and edited the entire book while the cover design committee decided on a cover. Everyone agreed on a title. It will be called "Tuesday Afternoons, Creative Writing by Ojai Valley Homeschoolers."We have 136 pages of works by our 12 students. By the time you receive this newsletter, the book will be at the printer.

This week, we look forward to a visit and a lesson by Virginia Lawrence.

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Letters to SPAWN

Note: The following letters are from students who participated in the SPAWN Kids’ Writing Project.

Dear Mrs. Thornhill,

Thank you so much for the books you sent to the Tuesday Creative Writing Class. I have already read The Secret Life of Truly Jones and am waiting for its sequel. I thought that it was an amazing display of penmanship and, as I have already said, cannot wait for more. I like how most of the last five chapters were full of suspense, but not too full. I think that my favorite part was in the very end when, after all of the drama of last night, Truly remembers that Merlin was wearing a fake diamond earring. I can just picture him standing at the top of this treacherous tower, surrounded by an almighty gale, wearing… a fake diamond earring. I have yet to read The Magic Eyes of Tizzy Dean but cannot wait to.

Thank you again,

Laura E. Benard

Dear W. Royce Adams:

Thank you so much for donating the Rairubria series. They are the best! And very interesting. Every time I open Rairubria, I get sucked into it. Right now I have finished Rairubria and am now reading Return to Rairubria. Thank you again for your kindness.

A writing student,

Peter Kally

Dear Linda Davis Kyle,

The recipes in "Fun Foods for Kids" look delicious. Thank you so much for donating them. Our whole class was amazed at finding addressed bookmarks and books. I didn't think it was possible to label twelve books by hand. I just bought kiwis and am planning to make Kiwi Flying Saucers—that is, if my dad and brother don’t eat them first. Thank you very, very much for thinking of this class.

A writing class student,

Peter Kally

Note: The following letters are from SPAWN members.


We wish you all the best at the LA Times Book Festival. This will be the fifth straight year that we have had our own booth, and each year we've enjoyed truly remarkable sales. The folks who attend this event don't just come to look, they come to buy. Please let the SPAWNies know, we'd be delighted to have them stop by our booth—#810 in the Children's section—just to say hello.


Len and Erica Lamensdorf

Editor’s Note: SPAWN’s booth is #155.


Thanks for all the great info that you put out every month. I truly enjoy it and find it all both informative and motivating.

Best regards,

Patrick Moug

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The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is April 24-25, 2004

Time is running out to sign up for the festival, where we’ll be promoting SPAWN and selling members’ books. This is a great opportunity for authors to get the word out about your potential best seller. Members, just send us 15 copies of each book, along with a check for $35 for each title. Also include 100 promo pieces (no larger than 5 x 7, please—the smaller, the better). Send your books with marketing materials and check now to:

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023

Deadline is April 3, 2004. We will give your book(s) a front row seat, offer a sales pitch when appropriate and collect money from your customers. Remember, this is a benefit for MEMBERS ONLY. For additional information, contact Patricia Fry,

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SPAWN Market Update

The Market Update is an additional benefit provided for SPAWN members. Each month we publish 8-15 pages of information and resources for writers and publishers.

This month, the SPAWN Market Update has something for everyone. In the April issue, we report on 7 contests for writers, an online critique group, a job board for writers, a site that helps you select the right printer for your project, oodles of writing opportunities for all ages and we feature a candid interview with a literary agent for children's books.

Join SPAWN for access to this generous issue of SPAWN Market Update. All back issues of the Market Update are also available in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site,

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SPAWN Chapter Reports

More and more of you are expressing interest in belonging to a SPAWN Chapter. If you want to meet face-to-face with others who are interested in the publishing process, join a SPAWN Chapter. If there is no Chapter near you, join with other members or nonmembers and start one. It's as easy as planning a get-together with friends, only more informative and inspiring. Recently, people have asked about Chapters in the following areas: Santa Barbara, CA; Sacramento, CA; North Carolina; New Orleans and Orlando, FL. If you live in any of these areas and would like to meet with other SPAWN members, contact us about the possibility of starting a Chapter.


The March meeting once again brought a great group of people. We discussed the upcoming BookExpo America trade show and concurrent events. Four of our members have either attended or exhibited there and shared their experiences. An informative discussion took place about the benefits of attending the educational sessions as well as the trade show. Networking and gaining knowledge about our industry were the most important reasons stated to be there. Our April meeting takes place on the 7th and our speaker is Brad Fregger of 1st World Library, an author-services book publishing company. Brad will talk about the changes in the publishing industry as a result of digital printing technology and what this means for the author. He will also talk about POD, which he believes is getting a bum rap for unfair reasons. Finally, he will tell us how an author-services publisher differs from a vanity publisher. Best wishes to all!

–Tamara Dever is the Austin Chapter Leader and a SPAWN board member. Contact her at


If you are interested in attending SPAWN chapter meetings in the Baltimore, MD area, or wish to be a guest speaker at a meeting, please contact Ramona Davis, Baltimore Chapter Leader,

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I just quit my job in order to stay home with my children and I'm doing a little writing. How can I find writing work that pays?


Dear Sylvia:

You've come to the right place. Most writing organizations focus on the craft of writing. SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) is more about the business of writing. And there are countless ways that we can help you find writing work. Of course, you gain the greatest benefit by being a member of SPAWN. But even as a nonmember, you can subscribe to our free newsletter and view our newsletter archives online. You also have access to dozens of useful articles posted on our site, links to other sites, recommended books for writers and much, much more. In fact our site index includes nearly 70 listings.

As a member of SPAWN, you have access to the monthly Market Update posted in the member area of the SPAWN Web site. There you will find countless resources for the working writer. For example, we've recently posted the following listings for working writers: and (if you want to write for magazines),, and (for writing jobs). In every Market Update, we also post opportunities for writers at all stages of their career as well as artists, photographers and so forth. Another benefit of membership is that you can network with other writers through the SPAWN Web site. I can't even begin to tell you how much writing work I've landed as a result of networking with other writers.

In my book, "The Successful Writers Handbook," I also suggest that working writers go after the work they want. Send dozens of query letters to magazine editors each week. If you see a Web site or a brochure that you could improve upon, send that company a proposal with a few suggestions and your fee requirements.

The work is out there for writers. It's just a matter of going after it.

Good luck,


- Patricia Fry is the president of SPAWN and the author of 16 books. One of her most popular books is "The Successful Writer's Handbook."

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Feature Article

A Quick Overview of E-books

People often ask about e-books and whether e-books have a future. Well, a number of sites are selling a lot of e-books, so we should consider the e-book as one way of publishing.

E-book Formats

E-books come in quite a few different formats. The most common formats are used by:

  • Microsoft Reader on a PC or Mac or Windows hand-held
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader on a PC or Mac
  • Any browser displaying HTML on a PC or Mac
  • Palm Pilot Reader on a Palm Pilot

It’s reasonably easy to create an e-book in these formats. To build the e-book files, you need the appropriate software. The cost ranges from the free Microsoft Reader e-book creation software, through the Palm e-book Generator for $97.00 and the most expensive, Adobe Acrobat 6.0 for $449.00.

Which Types of Books Sell Well as E-books?

Out-of-copyright fiction titles are selling well for extremely low prices, and you can build yourself a library of old titles for very little money. However, as a seller, you are most likely to attract cash buyers with a timely nonfiction book. If you have a nonfiction book with the latest information on a topic important to business, you can charge high prices. Such books are selling briskly for $99.00 and more when the marketing campaign is well done.

New fiction titles are also being purchased, but only when the prices are low. People are not willing to buy e-books at the hard cover prices the big publishing companies were demanding. When Barnes and Noble finally realized that truism, they stopped selling e-books.

How Are E-books Sold?

E-books are generally sold in an online store where you purchase the book. After purchase, you’re sent to a download page where you click on a link to get the book. For example, you can see Patricia Fry’s "The Successful Writer’s Handbook" in the SPAWN e-book store at

A few of the other stores selling e-books are:


We can build e-books easily, and at far lower cost than publishing in print.

We know that certain e-books can sell well if the e-book publisher finds the right topic and determines the appropriate price for a book on that topic. The publisher must also carry out an excellent marketing plan to inform the target market and entice interested visitors to the e-book store.

–© 2004 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. SPAWN's Webmaster and Technology Editor, is a professional Web Designer and Online Marketing Consultant who publishes both in print and online. Contact her at or visit her Web site at

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SPAWN Member News

Note: Please send your Member News to It must be received by the 15th of the month for inclusion in the following month’s SPAWNews.

SPAWN member and author Polly Bee of Ojai announces publication of her first novel: "The Silent Voice of Bosie Bosell—The Lesbian Who Played It Straight." A work of fiction based on real life experiences, it’s about a woman, married many years, who realizes she is a lesbian and seeks identity and fulfillment in a same sex relationship that ends with the premature death of her partner. While dealing with that loss, she bonds with her only grandchild, a critically ill toddler, as he undergoes a bone marrow transplant. It is within that medical setting the story unfolds. The book, a quality soft-cover edition, is available from BosieBooks, P.O. Box 181, Ojai, CA 93024, or by e-mail, $13.95 plus tax and mailing.

Keith Hemmerling, president of The Hemmerling Foundation, has filmed a documentary of his book "Manic Impression." The film is represented, along with two of Keith’s other

films, by Alliance International Pictures. The 2004 World Tour includes all major markets in the world, Cannes (France), Midcom (France), Mifed (Italy), AFM (Los Angeles), and NATPE (Las Vegas). Another film of Keith’s, "Any Witch Way," is an official screening selection in the New York Short Film Festival, an Academy Awards qualifying festival.

Chuck Hillig is doing a book signing for his latest book, "Seeds for the Soul," at Local Hero in Ojai on Saturday, April 17th at 4:00 P.M.

Diana Thompson’s book "My New Town: An Underwater Naptime Adventure" has won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award (children's interests, 2003, by North American Book Dealers Exchange). Like all books in the series, "My New Town" takes young readers on a fantastical journey as seen in the naptime dream of a child, offering new ways to see the world and hinting that the wonderful adventures we experience in our dreams may be more real than we think. For more information:

Tonya Marie Evans was the featured writer in the 3/16/04 issue of National Association of Women Writers newsletter.

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Note: SPAWNews advises "caveat emptor" when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you.

Seeking an artist to work on a graphic novel: Looking for a traditional superhero style but giving the artist room for his take on the story and the world surrounding the characters. Contact Patrick Moug,

The Women’s Review of Books extends special discounts to small presses and self-marketing authors taking display advertising space in the July 2004 fiction and poetry issue when payment in full is made with delivery of advertising materials. For more information:

ABA is re-launching the "Booksellers' Resource Directory." For the re-launch, ABA is asking all non-book vendors of products and services that would be of interest to independent booksellers to submit data for a free listing in the new Booksellers' Resource Directory. You may submit data through an online form at, which outlines the more than 70 categories of products and services to be included. You may also print out the form and fax it to 914-591-2717, Attn.: Dave Grogan, or mail it to ABA, Booksellers' Resource Directory, Attn: David Grogan, 828 South Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591.

It is expected that the Booksellers' Resource Directory will be online at this spring.

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Contests and Awards

The 2004 Independent Publisher Book Awards, conducted annually to honor the year's best independently published titles, are now accepting entries. All independent, university, small press, and self-publishers who produce books intended for the North American market are eligible to enter books copyrighted or released in 2003.

Winnow Press Open Book Award in Poetry offers a prize of $1,000, publication by Winnow Press, and 25 author copies. The prize is open to all poets, regardless of their publishing history. Entries must be original and written in English. Submit two copies of a manuscript of 50 to 80 pages with a $20 entry fee by April 26. Send an SASE, e-mail, or visit the Web site for complete guidelines. Winnow Press, Open Book Award in Poetry, 3505 El Dorado Trail, Suite D, Austin, TX 78739-5704. (512) 280-4483. Corinne Lee, Contact.,

The Power of Purpose Awards: A Worldwide Essay Competition, is sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, which will award a total of $500,000 to the nineteen essay winners. The grand prize winner will receive $100,000. The submission deadline is May 31, 2004. For more information:

To celebrate dog stories and the human-dog bond, is holding its First Annual Dog Story Contest. The contest is for nonfiction stories of dog heroes, favorite dogs, and interesting or funny dog stories. The winner will receive $100 and a Canine Courage T-Shirt, second place will receive $50 and a Canine Courage T-Shirt, and third place will receive $25 and a flying disk. Fourth and fifth places will receive a flying disk. Winning stories will be posted on and all stories will also be considered for publication in an anthology of dog stories.Entry deadline is June 1, 2004. Visit for contest details.

The 17th Anniversary Penumbra Poetry & Haiku Contest, sponsored by the Tallahassee Writers' Association. Deadline: June 30, 2004. Cash prizes. Guidelines by mail or at Web site: TWA Penumbra, PO BOX 15995, Tallahassee, FL, 32317-5995 or Prize notification by August 30, 2004.

The Austin Film Festival takes place 14-21. Screenplay competition deadline is May 7. For rules, entry forms, and success stories, or call 1-800-310-FEST(3378).

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Events and More

Please note: Although SPAWNews does its best to filter announcements and press releases for various events, seminars, and classes, we cannot guarantee a successful experience for all who attend.

The two-day workshop, "Writing the Breakout Novel," features Donald Maass's "agent's-eye" view on vital elements of successful novels like character, plot and theme.

Chicago, IL, Saturday, April 3 - Sunday, April 4, 2004

Philadelphia, PA, Saturday, June 26 - Sunday, June 27, 2004

Albuquerque, NM, Saturday, November 6 - Sunday, November 7, 2004

Wilsonville, OR, Weeklong Intensive,Monday July 19th through Sunday July 25

For more information, or call 1-866-I-WRITE-2 (1-866-497-4832).

The American Society of Journalists and Authors are teaming with Barnes and Noble Booksellers April 24 and 25 for a conference. It's called "Kicking it Up a Notch: Strategies for Successful Freelancers." Held in New York City. For more information:

Take a beautiful writing vacation and make your publishing dream come true at the Mountain High Writer's Conference in Denver, Colorado, May 6-8, 2004. For more information, Digi-Tall News & Media,,

BookExpo America (BEA) has announced speakers for its special events at the next book convention, held at McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, June 3 - June 6. BEA's celebrated Book & Author Breakfast program begins on Saturday, June 5 with talks by David Sedaris, Alexandra Fuller and Alexander McCall Smith. Terry Gross will be host for that morning's festivities. On Sunday, June 6, Graydon Carter will host Jon Stewart, Gish Jen and Tom Wolfe in the breakfast venue. As previously announced, George Carlin will perform at BEA's annual benefit for the Book Industry Foundation at the Navy Pier on Saturday evening, June 5 at 9 pm. In addition to the traditional early morning breakfast program, BEA will again offer the Saturday Book & Author Luncheon. For election year 2004, the luncheon panelists will include: Donna Brazile, Janeane Garofalo, P.J. O'Rourke, and Linda Chavez. Brian Lamb will moderate the proceedings. Rounding out the special events will be the Saturday Audiobook Tea featuring Augusten Burroughs, Kinky Friedman, Amy Tan and Scott Turow. For more information, call 800/840-5614 or 203/840-5614 (International) or visit the BEA web site at

The BEA convention floor will have its first-ever African American Publishers Pavilion. Hosting the leading black book and book oriented publishers in the US. For more information, e-mail

The Heartland Writers Conference and writing competition is sponsored by the Heartland Writers Guild at and will be held at the Coach House Inn in Sikeston, MO June 3, 4 and 5, 2004. 314-631-1329.

The Santa Barbara Writers Conference, now in its 32nd year, takes place at Westmont College in Montecito, California on June 25 to July 2, 2004. Special guest speakers include Ray Bradbury, Christopher Buckley and Neil Simon. For more details and registration information:

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Join SPAWN now and receive one FREE book by Patricia Fry. See the selection from which you can choose your book at the Member Benefits page. As a member, you can enjoy the benefits of the Members Only Area. There you will find:

  • Member Forum. In the SPAWN Forum, you can discuss publishing with knowledgeable published writers and publishers.
  • Market Update. This valuable Market Update will appear every month, letting us know exactly what is going on with magazine and book publishers.
  • Event Calendar where you can submit your events. After approval, your events will be available for all members to see.
  • Member Webpages where you can upload your HTML pages to build your own Web site. Your Web pages will be viewable by everyone on the Internet.
  • Member Catalog where you can list your books and services
  • Member Discussion list where you can discuss your triumphs and questions with your publishing peers.
Join SPAWN now by clicking on the "Join SPAWN Now" button at the top of this page.

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April, 2004 SPAWN is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023


Telephone: 805-646-3045

Fax: 805-640-8213

Wendy Dager

SPAWNews Editor, Membership and Database Coordinator


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Webmaster


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Executive Director


Patricia Fry

SPAWN President


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 (as of December 1, 2003)

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Executive Director of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer of SPAWN

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant

Tamara Dever

Book Designer

SPAWN Founder

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant of SPAWN


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, Editor, SPAWNews, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653 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. Or click on Member Application to fill out the secure online form and pay your dues by credit card.

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

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

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023



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