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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, May, 2003

Wendy Dager, Editor

This is your May 2003 issue of SPAWNews.

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

If you are a member, be sure to check out May's SPAWN Member Area News and 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. Go to and click on the JOIN SPAWN NOW button. 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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- OPINION ARTICLE: Caveat Amazon




- Q&A






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Just a quickie from me this time, as I have gladly given up this space for Patricia Fry's timely opinion piece, which follows.

First, I would like to tell you how much I appreciate your input. As editor, I believe in giving our readers information which best serves them, so if you have any ideas about what you would like to see in future editions of SPAWNews, please e-mail Article submissions (sorry, we cannot pay for submissions at this time) and news from SPAWN members are always welcome. SPAWN is a networking organization-we love to hear about your successes, as well as your book signings, seminars, and gallery showings.

Next, I want to remind readers of SPAWNews that there are two versions of this newsletter-one that is e-mailed to members and one to newsletter subscribers. Paid members receive special perks, including a password to access the Member Area at If you are a member, please make sure you check the login I.D. given at the beginning of each member edition of SPAWNews, as the login changes periodically. If you aren't a member, I encourage you to join now and reap the benefits of SPAWN!  

-Wendy Dager is Editor of SPAWNews.

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by Patricia Fry

Are all of you publishers aware of's latest attempt to cut into our profits? They already get a 55% discount on our books. We pay shipping each time they order. And now they want those of us involved in their Advantage program to pay an annual fee.  

The fee was originally going to be $49.95. They have since reduced it to $29.95. I secretly wonder if they announced the higher fee just so we would be more accepting of the fee when they lowered it.  

Here's the program: Each May, starting this month, they will debit our accounts in the amount of $29.95. Of course, we don't have to remain in the Advantage program. It's up to each of us to decide whether it is still advantageous to stay or if it's time to get out.  

I decided to base my decision on prior sales while taking into consideration the exposure my book gets through Additionally, I sell books through my Web site and rely on to distribute books to those folks who want to make their purchase with a credit card. But does sell a large enough quantity of my books to offset the additional $29.95 I'll be losing each May?  

In my case, the answer is yes. So for now, despite my annoyance with this new fee and in spite of the fact that I'll be losing even more of my profit, I've made the decision to stay with the advantage program for now. How about you?

SPAWNews welcomes responses to this article. Please email with comments.

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The SPAWN Market Update just keeps growing and growing. The May 2003 issue encompasses 20 pages. The theme this month is Independent Publishing, and this issue is overflowing with information, resources and tips for our many SPAWN members who have published their own books.

The May issue has news of changes relating to nearly 40 magazines and publishing companies, over 30 opportunities, resources and tips for writers, publishers, artists and entertainers. And we've conducted interviews with 6 professionals - two independent publishers, two cover designers and two publicists.

Following is an excerpt from the May 2003 SPAWN Market Update which is available in its entirety for Members Only at Join SPAWN now and you'll have access to all 19 issues of SPAWN Market Update.


Independent publishers are constantly in marketing mode. We're always on the lookout for promotional opportunities and resources. Here are 25 ideas, tips and resources guaranteed to sell books. (12 are listed here. See the additional 13 resources in the May 2003 SPAWN Market Update at

How can membership in SPAWN help you to promote your book?

Send announcements to SPAWNews when your book debuts, when you're planning a book signing, after you've been interviewed, when you win an award, after a magazine publishes an article related to your book and so forth. Contact:

Accept your free SPAWN Web page and advertise your book there. Put your URL on your letterhead, business cards, as a signature on all of your emails and in your bio each time you're interviewed, your book is reviewed or you write an article.

Join in on the SPAWN forum in the member's only area of the SPAWN Web site. Here, members exchange ideas, resources and techniques.

Read every issue of SPAWNews and the Market Update. We constantly strive to report marketing and writing opportunities, industry trends, resources and information you can use.

If you have a marketing question, ask us here at SPAWN. If we can't answer it, we'll find someone who can.

Learn how to use the SPAWN Web site. Discover all that it has to offer by using the extensive index. Or ask the Webmaster for assistance.

Read articles on book marketing at the SPAWN Web site. Read back issues of SPAWNews at

Post your book signings and other events related to your book at the SPAWN online calendar.

Join a SPAWN Chapter in your area or start one and network with other independent publishers. Find out how to start a Chapter at http://www.spawn/chapters.htm.

Talk SPAWN up-get other professionals to join for even greater networking opportunities. Invite them to subscribe to the free newsletter by sending a blank email to: or go to and click on "free newsletter."

Participate in SPAWNews and the SPAWN Market Update. Bring us your ideas to explore for your benefit and that of others. Contact (SPAWNews) (SPAWN Market Update)

Support SPAWN members who offer Web design, cover design, editing services and so forth and they'll support you.


All back issues of the Market Update are available in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site,  

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Ramona, CA

If you live in the area of Ramona, California, and are interested in attending Chapter meetings, contact Greg Lawson at The first chapter meeting is scheduled for May 22 at 7:00 PM at 705 B Street in Ramona, CA. Guest speaker is Henry DeVries, author, San Diego Daily Transcript columnist and president of Henry DeVries Communications (a public relations firm) in San Diego. His subject will be "The Art of Client Seduction" as it relates to image promotion. For more information contact Greg at

Austin, TX

Meetings are scheduled in Austin at Borders in the Westgate shopping center near 290 at S. Lamar every first Thursday of the month. At each meeting, Tami plans to have a guest speaker on topics of interest to those who are involved in the publishing process. This includes writers, publishers, artists, editors, agents, printers, etc. For more information contact Tami at

If you're interested in starting a SPAWN Chapter in your area, find out more at and then contact Patricia Fry at

Note: Please remember that you must be a paid SPAWN member prior to becoming a SPAWN chapter leader.

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The Austin chapter of SPAWN held its most recent meeting April 3 and had 11 attendees (up from 9 at the first). Many more people showed interest via e-mail in future events. This was the first night we'd arranged to have a guest speaker and the meeting was a hit! Meg La Borde, Executive VP at Greenleaf Book Group spoke about getting your self-published book into the book stores. She gave us so much useful and sometimes surprising information and stuck around for a great question-and-answer session. We attempted to record her presentation, but user and mechanical errors with a new piece of equipment prevented that from happening. (I'll do better next time!)

We have a wonderful guest speaker for our next meeting on May 1. Mindy Reed of The Authors' Assistant will be talking about the importance of a freelance editor. Her presentation is entitled "What Your Spellchecker Won't Catch and What Your Wife Won't Tell You." You won't want to miss this one! Join us at Borders, S. Lamar and Hwy 290 in the Westgate Marketplace, 7-8:30pm.

Other news: Beginning in May, member Michele Chancellor will be developing a short e-newsletter each month with meeting information, member news, and tips from publishing industry professionals. -Tami Dever, Chapter Leader, SPAWN-Austin,

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Question to SPAWN:

I'd like to get some professional advice from the assembled.

Everywhere I look on the Internet, there are reams and reams of

advice written for the authors of non-fiction books and e-books on

media avenues through which they can plug their books.

The assumption I find in most of the things I'm reading is that Mr.

Business Owner writes a book for the purposes of establishing

himself as an "expert" (as opposed to writing a book because he

actually has something to say that hasn't already been said a

zillion times) and then creates demand for the book through

publicity, thus making his business a household name and getting

himself scads of new clients.

But I find very little information targeted for novel writers who

aren't looking to necessarily nail gigs on the speakers' circuit, or

get new clients, or anything else except to share the visions of

their imagination with people who just like to read a good book.

Where, online, are the must-get reviews and radio shows and

interviews for the fiction author? Any clues to be had?


Dawn Rivers Baker


Wahmpreneur Books

Answer from SPAWN:

Dear Dawn:

Thank you for your interest in SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network). Questions like yours are one reason we established SPAWN. This is where writers, publishers, editors, graphic designers, illustrators, etc., gather to share information with one another. Yours would be a good question to ask at the member forum ( Since most of our members are independent publishers and since many of them are promoting novels, I'm sure you would be inundated with fresh ideas.

How does one go about promoting a novel? Let me count the ways -- oh, how trite. In fact, one of my books has oodles of ideas. I wrote, "Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book" (free right now to folks who join SPAWN). Among the ideas for novelists is to write articles to generate interest in your book. That's one of my favorites. Write something unrelated to your book. An article, essay or short story typically carries your byline -- (Dawn Rivers Baker is the author of ........, People who enjoyed your story/article, will be interested in reading your book.

Get interviewed. Generate interest through press releases to writers, newspapers (contact the lifestyles, literary or arts section) and magazines. You might start locally (local newspapers, regional magazines). This process could keep your name in front of audiences throughout the U.S. for years.

You said you aren't interested in going on the speaking circuit, yet there are TV and radio hosts just itching to interview authors of interesting works. You can do radio gigs wearing your jammies, right from your home phone. Either do the legwork yourself and find listings for radio/TV talk/interview shows in Literary Market Place, Gale's Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media or The Business Phone Book, USA or contact Radio-TV Interview Report or Guest Finder at This costs, but might be worth it.

Hire a publicist. I have a friend who did and she was busier than she could ever imagine. Of course, much of what she needed to do in order to promote her book was personal appearances. But what a great way to share the visions of your imagination with people who just like to read a good book.

Search the Web and find sites related to novel-writing/reading and specifically the type of novel you have written (romance, historical, mystery, etc). Most sites have a section related to PR.

And then there are book reviews. There are 70 reviewers of fiction at Click on "publishing," then "book reviewers" and then "fiction." Send requests for book reviews to appropriate magazines and newspapers, as well.

See about getting excerpts from your book published in magazines.

Hey, there are a million ways to promote your book-go door-to-door with a wagon load to sell, have home parties where everyone takes a part of the story and acts it out, attend book fairs. And by the way, do you have a Web site? Here at SPAWN each member gets a free one.

I hope this has helped. Good luck,

Patricia Fry, President


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Electronic Scrip Incorporated (ESI) is a California-based corporation dedicated to establishing relationships between commerce and community. Since 1999, over $40 million has been distributed to schools and groups. eScrip is a fantastic resource for fundraising where participating business partners contribute a percentage of your grocery loyalty cards, credit card, and debit/ ATM card purchases to up to three schools, groups or organizations of your choice. You register any one or all of your existing grocery loyalty, debit and credit card for use in the program. Participating merchants will make contributions to your chosen group, based on purchases made by you, just by using the cards you have registered. You can go to, click on the orange Sign Up button, type in SPAWN, then register your grocery cards and/or credit cards. SPAWN, a 501(c)3 organization, gets a little over 2% in donations from all purchases from participating merchants. If you already have an eScrip account, please remember that you can list up to three groups. Thank you for supporting SPAWN.

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Arlene Graham will be reading from her novel "To Walk Among the Stones" and speaking about the characters and the creative writing process at Borders, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, California on Friday, May 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. She will also be at The Bookhouse, 17048 Devonshire St., Northridge, California, 818-832-0976, on Saturday, June 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. Please come out and support your fellow SPAWN member.

SPAWNews editor and professional freelance writer Wendy Dager has found herself on yet another squiggly turn on the writing path. She is currently penning "flash" animation scripts for online entertainment company eUniverse, which is parent to a number of Web sites, including and

Sanyika Calloway Boyce is the Financial Fitness Coach for College Students.

866-423-2366 or

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


SPAWN members: Send your book to the Central Coast Book and Author Festival. SPAWN will have a booth at the CCBookfest in San Luis Obispo June 7. Members are invited to send one copy of each title along with order forms (6" x 9" and smaller). The fee to display one title is $15. For each additional title, add $10. Contact Patricia Fry for details at

Interested in promoting your book? SPAWN member Arlene Graham reports that Simi Valley (California) Cultural Arts Center board member Roseanne Savo is founder of four literary groups that are seeking guest speakers. To contact Savo, call 805-491-3387.

Book and Quill Collectibles needs your autographed books to sell on consignment in their new bookshop in Texas. They do not charge fees, including consignment book sales, sponsored book signings and sponsored book festival attendance. The shop is located in a popular tourist area just off the Square in Waxahachie, Texas (about 30 miles south of Dallas). More information about this shop is at If you are an author and are interested in selling your books through them, please read the Submission Guidelines and Consignment Contract,

AuthorsDen is pleased to announce they now have a growing number of Free

Reader Tools. You can now easily find, track, interact with and discover brand new books, articles, stories and poems at AuthorsDen. New AuthorsDen Tools include: Author Tracker - get notified when your favorite Authors post new books, articles, stories, poems, etc. Review Tracker - keep track of and edit all the reviews you've posted. Library Manager - manage all the works you've saved in your library.

Message Board - view and reply to messages sent to you from other members and visitors. Forums - interact with authors and readers. For more information:

The SPAN BookPublish 2003 College will be held in Torrance, California on October 24-26. Save the date and watch for more information soon.

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Join SPAWN now at and here are a few of the benefits you receive:

  • Discounts and/or free books books when you print your next book, whether POD or non-POD.
  • Discounts on membership in other writing, illustrating, publishing organizations.
  • Wonderfully inexpensive toll-free number for your business with no signup fee.
  • Your own free Web site.
  • Money-making information in the latest Market Update.
  • Member Forum where you can discuss your ideas and concerns.

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$2,000 Awaits Winners of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, created to recognize and encourage the efforts of writers who have not yet achieved major-market success. Writers will compete for a $1,000 first prize, $500 second prize, and $500 third prize in this internationally acclaimed competition. Several honorable mentions are also awarded each year. Stories in all genres of fiction are welcome. Maximum length is 3,000

words, and writers retain all rights to their work. The final deadline is May

15, 2003; winners will be announced at the end of July. For complete guidelines, please visit, e-mail, or send an SASE to the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, P.O. Box 993, Key West, FL  33041.

The Arts Council of the Conejo Valley presents Midsummer Mists and Solstice Spirits juried art show and sale in June 2003. They will be accepting paintings, photography and mixed media. Call 805-381-2747 for more information.

The Indite Circle says: "Due to a small kickback from one of our sponsors, we have decided to run a small short story competition. There will be no entry fee. All writers interested in participating can sign up and receive more information, regarding the dates, guidelines, and prizes." For more information:

The Second City Council Art Gallery is proud to announce its exhibition on "America" which runs June 14 - July 25, 2003.  Open to all CALIFORNIA artists. All media except video and motion film.  Slide receipt deadline Friday, May 16, 2003.  100 % of entry fees go directly back to supporting the arts. Gala July 4th night time reception complete with live music, Queen Mary's Fireworks Spectacular and a fantastic view of the downtown skyline. Send SASE to: The Second City Council, P.O. Box 90503, Long Beach, CA 90809-0503, or go to

The 2003 Slamdance Screenplay Competition says that it's here to "promote & support

talented new writers." 1st Place Prize - $2000 + a 2004 Slamdance Festival Pass.

Late Deadline ($70 submission fee) is June 20; winners to be announced September 8.

To enter:

The Arts Council of the Conejo Valley presents Midsummer Mists and Solstice Spirits juried art show and sale in June 2003. They will be accepting paintings, photography and mixed media. Call 805-381-2747 for more information.

Tennessee novelist Cathie Pelletier (The Funeral Makers), aka K.C. McKinnon, is moving with her husband to Canada. Instead of selling their home in Lawrenceburg, 70 miles south of Nashville, they are holding an essay contest, with the rural property as a grand prize. It costs $125 to submit a 250-word essay describing why the entrant would like to own the house and land. Deadline is June 30. For more information, go to

The 16th Anniversary Penumbra Poetry & Haiku Contest, sponsored by the Tallahassee Writers' Association, announces its deadline as June 30, 2003. Cash prizes: Poetry, $200, $60, $40; 3-line haiku, $100, $40, $20, plus publication in anthology of winners and finalists. Juried competition, no entries accepted online or without required entry fees of  $5/poem; $3/haiku. Send entries and fees to: TWA Penumbra, PO BOX 15995, Tallahassee, FL, 32317-5995. Guidelines by mail or at sponsor Web site: Prize notification by August 30, 2003. Winners' list sent only if SASE included with entries. Penumbra 2002 issue available for $7.50 (includes S&H).

Icarus International is an organization founded to celebrate the history and the beauty and the mysteries of flight through the arts. They're in their 10th year of presenting a poetry contest. The theme this year is The View From 100 (powered flight celebrates its 100th anniversary in Dec. 2003). The winning poet wins $1000 and publication in a journal. Each entrant will receive a copy of the journal. Entry deadline is July 2. For more information:

The 2003 DIY Book Festival has issued a call for entries for its annual program celebrating independent authors and publishers. Award winners will be honored at a ceremony held this October in Los Angeles. The DIY Book Festival will consider self-published or independent publisher nonfiction, fiction, children's books, how-to, photography/art, comics, fan fiction, zines and e-books released after Jan. 1, 2001. All entries must be in English and have been self-published or issued by an independent house that has published less than 50 works since the entry cut-off point.  

This year the grand prize for the 2003 DIYBF Author of the Year is $1000 cash and a flight to Los Angeles. Other genre category winners will receive software, books and assorted prizes, including a review of their work in the

Deadline: Submissions in each category must be postmarked by Sept. 24,

2003. Entry forms are available online at  

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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.

Robert McKee's Story Seminar takes place in Boston, May 2-4 and London, May 16-18. Named "Hollywood's Most Wanted Screenwriting Teacher" by

Movieline magazine, Robert McKee is the most widely known and respected screenwriting teacher in the world. His sold-out Story Seminars teach the essential principles of screenwriting & story design that studios demand from their writers.

For more information: 1-888-676-2533. In Europe, call Seminar Associates at +44 (0)870 080 8133 or register online:

The goal of the Publishers Association of Los Angeles (PALA) is to meet the needs of L.A. publishers for networking, sharing resources, and ongoing education for business and professional growth. The first meeting is on May 27 at 6:00 PM

(after the PMA-U Reception). This meeting will give you more details about

upcoming PALA events and an opportunity to meet other L.A. publishers.

For details about PALA and this event, visit the PALA Web site where there is a printable PDF flier with all the details.  Click the link to go

to the PALA home page:

The TV Writer.Com Summer Intensive Seminar/AKA Brodystock III will be

held July 11-13 at the Victorian Village Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Full price is only $350, with Senior, Student, and Inner Circle Member

discounts.  For details go to

According to its press release: "The Creativity Workshop's goal is to help individuals believe in and  develop their creative process and break through the fears and blocks

that inhibit creativity through using memoir, creative writing, visual arts exercises, and storytelling. It was established in 1993 by writer Shelley Berc and multimedia artist Alejandro Fogel to provide an alternative to traditional forms of education and thinking. The organization is dedicated to teaching individuals and groups about their creative processes. The Workshop's end product is expanded perception, innovative problem

solving, and ways of looking at one's life and work as exciting and transformative."

Workshops take place in New York City during the year and in Europe in the

summer. All workshops are taught by Master Teachers Shelley Berc and Alejandro Fogel. Workshops are either 2, 4, 7 or 9 days. For more information: or Tel: (212) 922-1555 or

BookExpo America is where you will find over 2000 exhibitors, an educational forum, special events and more. Here you can listen to agents, publicists, publishers, and authors to gather the information you need. (SPAWN is sending three representatives.) BEA runs May 28-June 1 in Los Angeles, CA. For more information:

The National Genealogical Society Conference takes place May 28-June 1 in Pittsburgh. The conference attracts about 2,200 researchers and librarians from across the country. This conference would be an appropriate place to promote local history, biography and regional materials. The attendees come from all across the country. This year, the Godfrey Memorial Library is sponsoring 4 days of book signings at its booth during the NGS Conference. This is a free service. Copies of the book(s) and ordering information must be received by May 19. For further information: Tom Kemp, Godfrey Memorial Library, 134 Newfield Street, Middletown, CT 06457-2534. Phone: 860-346-4375, Cell Phone: 860-670-0175, Fax: 860-347-9874, Email:, Web site:

Write-to-Publish Conference, June 4-7, Chicago area. Focused on the Christian market, the conference will offer classes for beginners through professionals, meetings with editors, manuscript evaluations and a tour of a publishing house. Speakers include Michelle McKinney Hammond, an award-winning writer, speaker and co-host of the Emmy-nominated TV talk show, Aspiring Women; Clint Kelly, author of 10 books and more than 600 magazine articles; and Jane Rubietta, an award-winning author and international speaker. For more 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.
  • Metasearch where you can run a single search and get results from six of the top search engines.
  • A simple Poll where you can tell SPAWN what you think about the Member Area.


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November, 2002 SPAWN is a nonprofit 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

SPAWN Webmaster


Virginia Lawrence

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

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder of SPAWN

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer of SPAWN

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, 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 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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