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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 Archives

SPAWNews, May, 2008

Sandra Murphy, Editor

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please email the editor of SPAWNews: editor@spawn.org.

Those of you who are SPAWN members, be sure to go to the first page of the site, http://www.spawn.org and click on the "Visit Member Area" button. You will be asked to log in.

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Table of Contents

- Editor's Note

- Celebrate with SPAWN!

- Amazon: Who Owns “Pacific Avenue” All the Way to “Boardwalk?”

- Update: Amazon Comes Around

- Why Do We Write

- Report on Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

- Market Update

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor's Note

By Sandra Murphy

This month we're reminded to BACK UP ALL FILES! When I started as editor last month, I got a new computer, one with more than 11MB (yes, megabytes) of memory. It was beautiful! It was also stolen 36 days after I received it. With a $500 deductible on my homeowner's policy, I was devastated.

However, a friend said, "If you paid by credit card, check with the company. Sometimes things like this are covered." I did and it was—I was stunned. I will be reimbursed for all but the sales tax. I just have to provide a police report number, show I didn't submit a claim with the homeowner's insurance, show a receipt or billing statement. I had used a Visa debit card to pay for the computer. Visa said they repair, replace or reimburse, up to 90 days from the date of purchase.

In the midst of that relief, we are reminded to back up all files and have backups for the backups. Computers lock up, explode or implode. There are fires, spills, drops and breaks. Living with five cats and Avery the Disciplinarian Dog, I know breakage can happen lightening fast and, now I know, so can theft.

If you back up on an external hard drive or disk - keep that separate from your computer. Luckily, my external hard drive was not near the computer. Disks were downstairs (an advantage of being "less organized") so they were spared too. In our writer's group, members sometimes trade backup copies of books—just in case. It is better to be compulsive than sorry.

My stories were on a flash drive. The old computer is still hanging around so most files can be transferred again. I lost 36 days worth of email, which is not a bad outcome overall.

And since all my writing was saved, I am also declaring May as Submission Month. It is time for some of these articles and stories to get out of the house and earn their keep. I'd love to hear feedback on how many articles/stories/queries you submitted. Email me at editor@spawn.org.

Sandy Murphy

Editor

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Celebrate with SPAWN!!

SPAWN turns 12 this month. In human years, that’s the dreaded pre-teen, rebellious, finding-my-own-way stage. In dog years, it’s eighty-four and the “I’m old, I can do whatever I want” stage.

In writing years, it’s an enormous amount of information available to writers, authors and artists at such a reasonable cost. To celebrate SPAWN’s birthday and help your own writing and publishing goals, why not take a few minutes and check out the SPAWNews archives? You can find inspiration, sources of material and suggestions for submitting your final work and promoting your books.

How about challenging yourself to step outside your usual writing venue and try something new? Don’t be “the one who only writes about” but become the one “who can write about anything”! Email me at editor@spawn.org and tell me how you celebrated SPAWN’s birthday. Any excuse for cake is my policy.

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Amazon: Who Owns “PACIFIC AVENUE” all the way to “BOARDWALK?”

By Sandra Jones Cropsey

More years ago than I care to consider, I wrote to Celestine Sibley, a long-time columnist for The Atlanta Journal & Constitution, “There must be an easier way to persecute one’s self in life than by writing.” I even went so far as to suggest the need for the formation of “Writer’s Anonymous” for those of us afflicted with this often most frustrating of addictions. Ms. Sibley posted my comments in her column, which only further inflamed my addiction I might add.

Writers are definitely a special breed. Writers, like artists, can take a person to another place at very little cost and won’t lose your luggage in the process. And writers, like artists, struggle. Many of them struggle with whatever ghosts or demons drive them to write. Some fall so in love with words that they never recover. Each day as they sit down at their computer, typewriter, or paper and pencil, writers struggle with words—searching for just that right one. And again, like artists, writers struggle financially. Oh, but do they struggle financially! Through the years, I have come to know a lot of writers, and only a couple in that group can claim to support themselves solely by freelance writing. Most have a day job that takes more of their life and energy than they desire, but they somehow still manage to get a collection of choice words on paper and eventually publish—more often, these days, with a small or print-on-demand (POD) publisher.

Now it would appear that Amazon wants to add to that struggle by forcing small independent and POD publishers to use the printing services of their affiliate, BookSurge. The additional financial burden would no doubt increase the cost of printing to such a degree that many writers like me will not be able to afford the cost of publishing.

Much has been written about this issue; much will continue to be written. None of it is pretty. It has been reported that when approached by representatives of Amazon/BookSurge, many of the owners of independent presses were told to sign with BookSurge or see the “Buy” button on their listings with Amazon disappear. We pray this is wrong, as nobody likes to be bullied, and nobody really likes a bully either, but we do business with bullies everyday. A large majority of corporate America enjoys success because of being a bully. But we don’t always have to do business with bullies.

Across the pond, Edward Smith, manager of www.YouWriteOn.com, “the UK's most popular Arts Council funded site for budding writers” is calling for a boycott of Amazon. “YouWriteOn.com in response is inviting all POD authors everywhere to list their books on our site with a free 'book-buy' link to any bookseller other than Amazon. Effectively we are calling for a proactive boycott of Amazon and are encouraging all writers and readers and other writers' sites to join in this by doing the same in their writers communities, which drive the POD industry, and to also email their discontent to Amazon.”

The Author’s Guild is reported to be checking into the legality of this situation as it suggests “monopoly” and a violation of anti-trust laws. “We suspect this maneuver by Amazon is far more about profit margin than it is about customer service or fossil fuels. The potential big losers (other than Ingram) if Amazon does impose greater discounts on the industry, are authors—since many are paid for on-demand sales based on the publisher's gross revenues—and publishers. . . We're reviewing the antitrust and other legal implications of Amazon's bold move. If you have any information on this matter that you think could be helpful to us, please call us at (212) 563-5904 and ask for the legal services department, or send an email to staff@authorsguild.org.”

WritersWeekly.com has a special page on their web site to address this situation http://www.writersweekly.com/amazon.php, and Angela and Richard Hoy are doing a great job of keeping us all informed. Two petitions have been established to collect signatures: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/protectPOD/?e and http://www.amazontroopsurge.com/2008/04/write-government-about-amazons-illegal.html.

Russell Wild, President of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, stated in a press release, "We applauded when Jeff Bezos and Amazon gave small publishers and even writers who self-published a way to get their books before the public. . . With these grabby, strong-arm tactics, Amazon negates all that—and the years of goodwill it has built up with writers, who ultimately will bear the brunt of any price increases in the printing of independently published books."

Being a bully is wrong, whether on the playground or in the marketplace. If you cannot win fairly, you do not deserve to win. Thus would just the right words be “Writers Anonymous” or “Anonymous Writers?”

- Sandra Jones Cropsey is the author of Tinker’s Christmas and Who’s There?

www.tinkerschristmas.com

www.outskirtspress.com/whosthere

******

Update: Amazon Comes Around

We appreciate Sande Cropsey's outstanding summary of the Amazon/Book Surge situation. As Sande says in the previous article concerning Amazon's new requirement that POD publishers use Book Surge for printing all books sold through Amazon, "Being a bully is wrong..."

Apparently Amazon took the uproar to heart. Recently, Amazon published a statement on the Amazon corporate site:

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-printondemand.

That page states that Amazon is allowing POD publishers to choose between

  1. having Amazon/Book Surge print all books
  2. having Amazon/Book Surge print only the books sold by Amazon
  3. printing elsewhere and sending Amazon an Amazon-specified small number of copies of each title on consignment

Now POD publishers have a choice. Choice #3 is just the Amazon Advantage program, which has been used by small publishers for several years. The Advantage program requires each small publisher to send Amazon a small number of books to keep on hand for immediate order fulfillment.

Why is Amazon implementing these changes?

In the manufacturing sector, good managers implement "Just in Time" inventory strategies. These processes reduce inventory, reduce storage costs, and reduce time to product shipment. Amazon's new requirements for POD publishers are very sensible implementations of "Just in Time" process management. It's a wise business decision for Amazon to streamline operations and go a little bit green by cutting back on the number of books being shipped in. And this might mean savings for the POD publishing company if Amazon is printing the books in-house. Although it's not yet clear how much Amazon will charge for the book printing, the publisher will no longer be responsible for paying shipping charges. POD publishers using Book Surge may actually save money.

As long as Amazon has control over the printing of books it sells OR has a small inventory of those books, then Amazon can definitely fill orders immediately. Your book buyers will receive their books more quickly. This is a positive situation for Amazon, for publishers, and for book buyers.

Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Executive Director, SPAWN

******

Why Do We Write?

By Patricia Fry

While attending a Pen Women’s Writers’ Conference in Honolulu a few years ago as a workshop leader, I had the pleasure of meeting women and a few men from all walks of writing life. I listened to women describe their passion for writing. I read some of the words that came from their hearts. And I discovered something about myself: I’ve forgotten the joy of writing just for me. I’ve been a hardcore career writer for so many years that I can scarcely recall the process of writing from the heart and the feelings that this activity evokes.

To read more about steps you can take to recapture the joy in your own writing, go to http://www.spawn.org/editing/whydowewrite.htm.

- Patricia Fry is a full-time freelance writer, speaker, workshop leader, consultant and the author of 28 books, including The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book and Quest For Truth, a Journey of a Soul. http://www.matilijapress.com.

This article appeared in SPAWNews two years ago, in May of 2006. I think it is a topic we need to visit often. How did I do these last two years regarding my promise to allow the joy back into my writing? Extremely well—at least sometimes. I find that my work involves many things outside of writing—editing, preparing workshops, research, designing courses, consulting with clients, SPAWN tasks, answering questions, traveling to conferences, etc. There’s still not much time left for those glorious moments involved in completely frivolous, fun writing. But I’m retraining myself to recognize the joy more often. What about you?

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Report on Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books--2008 is now only a memory. Over the weekend of April 26 and 27, SPAWN’s Executive Director, Virginia Lawrence, myself and 8 SPAWN members promoted SPAWN and sold books from a large booth at the LA Festival of Books on the UCLA campus. We experienced record-breaking sales: We sold more books this year than ever before—115 of them. While some members experienced disappointing sales figures, others excelled in numbers of sales.

One member sold out of his new novel—a whopping 42 copies. A how-to/reference book related to successful publishing was second in sales. The third highest selling book was a young adult novel.

We displayed around 20 members’ books in the booth and some of those books got a lot of attention. All of these books are listed in the SPAWN Catalog of Members’ Books and Services, making the catalog a great promotional piece for participating authors. Thus, we were generous with catalog distribution. In fact, we handed out about 240 catalogs.

Some of those members who didn’t sell a lot of books are smiling, anyway. Why? Because of the great exposure. Plus, a few members told me that they made some great contacts at the book festival—opportunities for interviews, talk radio appearances and so forth.

All in all, I think this event can be rated among our most successful. And we thank all of our participating members.

Patricia Fry

President, SPAWN

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

The May edition of the SPAWN Market Update features information and contacts for 24 regional authors/publishers' organizations. Do you want to attend face-to-face meetings and discuss the pertinent publishing issues with your colleagues? Here's your chance--that is, if you live in St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, Tempe, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, Houston, Santa Fe, Sacramento, Canada or the states of Connecticut, Michigan, Minnesota or others.

We provide a directory of book promotion opportunities and point you in the direction of 120+ freelance jobs for writers. Oh yes, and we've offered some hope for memoirists along with 8 potential publishers of memoirs.

Miss reading this edition of the SPAWN Market Update and you could miss out on just the opportunity you are hoping for.

In this month's MAY 2008 Market Update:

  • Where to go for a FREE Writer's Guidelines Database for all types of publications.
  • Who's got a web site that lists over 100 jobs for freelance writers on a given day.
  • A helpful conference database web site to find events in your area for book promotion.
  • Memoirs are alive and well - See a great list of memoir publishers.
  • A terrific updated regional organizations list and how you can get face-to-face in YOUR area.

Note: If you are a free newsletter subscriber only, you will be unable to log onto SPAWN’s "Members Only" page. If you are not yet a member of SPAWN and would like to access Market Update and enjoy other benefits of membership, please join now online at http://www.spawn.org.

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Member News

The Author’s Repair Kit is a NEW ebook designed to help you breathe new life into your faltering or failing book. Use Patricia Fry’s post-publication book proposal system and heal your publishing mistakes. The Author's Repair Kit, only 27 pages: $5.95. http://www.matilijapress.com/author_repairkit.html.

The workshop, "How to Promote Your Book or Your Business," presented by Barbara Florio Graham at the National Library in Ottawa (Canada) was a sold-out success. The workshop notes, along with many bonus materials (30 pages in all) are now available to anyone who purchases a copy of Barbara's award-winning book, Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity. The package, which sells for just $40, is described on Bobbi's website, www.SimonTeakettle.com.

Note: To have your announcements included in this section, you must be a paid member of SPAWN. Please email your news to editor@spawn.org.

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Opportunities

The Authors Show is broadcast on www.ArizonaWebTV.com, and is accessible through our various out of state stations. Selected webisodes will be made available for broadcast through RSS video feed. Authors interested in participating must register at www.WnbNetworkWest.com, and email a request for guest appearance. This request must include complete contact information, book title and a short paragraph introducing the book topic.

Jenkins Group and Combined Book Exhibit have teamed up to bring authors 21 incredible book display opportunities from around the world. Click the link to learn about all 21 shows including London Book Fair, Book Expo America, Book Expo Canada and fifteen library specific shows: http://www.independentpublisher.com/includes/jgicbe_21shows_1_7_08.pdf.

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Contests

Read about the latest contests at http://www.spawn.org/contests.htm.

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Events and More

Read about the coming events at http://www.spawn.org/events.htm.

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

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SPAWN is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

Donations are tax deductible.

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Join SPAWN now and receive one FREE book! 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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SPAWNews

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

Website: http://www.spawn.org

Telephone: 805-646-3045

Fax: 805-640-8213

Wendy Dager

SPAWNews Editor, Membership and Database Coordinator

email: editor@spawn.org

Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Webmaster

email: virginia@spawn.org

Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Executive Director

email: execdir@spawn.org

Patricia Fry

SPAWN President

email: patty@spawn.org

MISSION STATEMENT

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

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023

or email Editor@spawn.org.

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

execdir@spawn.org

 

 

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