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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, July, 2006

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 go to the first page of the site, 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

- Market Update

- Avoiding Online Credit Card Fraud

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor's Note

By Wendy Dager

About twenty years ago, I took a class called "Developing Your Psychic Ability." Pretty much the only thing I remember from the class is the instructor saying we are more receptive to psychic impressions when we are tired.

This may sound ridiculous to nonbelievers, but my theory is that the instructor's thoughts on fatigue can relate not only to folks who think they have psychic ability, but to creative types such as artists, writers and publishers.

As I write this editor's note, I am incredibly sleep-deprived. My 14-year-old just had foot surgery and is in a cast up to her knee. Her dad and I-the anxious parents-hadn't slept too well in the month or so leading up to the surgery, and now I am our daughter's temporary roommate, which isn't exactly conducive to a sound snooze.

I could use my tiredness as an excuse for any typographical or grammatical errors you might find here, but sleep deprivation has had one positive effect-it's helped open my mind to creative thought.

I'd been considering entering a fiction contest, but I couldn't come up with a plot that had what I felt was a unique twist. Another sleepless night helped. Lying in bed, wide awake, I cleared my brain of the day-to-day stuff—bills that needed to be paid, a fish tank that should be cleaned, laundry I'd left in the dryer—and began focusing on my unwritten short story.

The plot thickened!

While I don't recommend this technique if you can possibly help it, at least you know there's something you can do while your mind is wandering at 2:00 a.m. And 3:00 a.m. And 4:00 a.m.

Now all I need is for my psychic side to accurately predict the outcome of that short story contest.

-Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. Visit her Web site at See Member News below to find out how she placed in USA Network's 2006 "Show Us Your Character" contest.

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

We're more than halfway through another year. What have you done this year to promote your book or to establish your platform for your upcoming book? Is this the year that you will land a publisher or beat your sales quota? If so, what steps are you taking toward meeting your goals?

Are you taking advantage of what SPAWN has to offer? Are you discussing your publishing/promotional concerns with other members through the Forum or SPAWNDiscuss? Are you reading every issue of SPAWNews and the SPAWN Market Update? Do you study the articles and use the resources on the SPAWN Web site? Are you using the information, tips and leads that we constantly provide? Do you send your burning questions to the directors of SPAWN? We can provide plenty of answers, and if you come up with questions we can't answer, we can give you appropriate resources.

Why don't you make it a personal goal this summer to get your money's worth from your SPAWN membership? If you are a new member, read back issues of SPAWNews and the SPAWN Market Update. Use SPAWNDiscuss and the SPAWN Forum to connect with other authors. Read some of the articles at the SPAWN Web site. And you really must check out our list of resources.

  • This month I surveyed publishers on the concept of "platform." What is it, what are some examples of an impressive platform and how important is an author's platform? Platform is the current buzzword for audience, following or position. It's the audience's reach. The concept of platform ties in with the promotions' section of your book proposal and it is highly important for an author to have a platform BEFORE he/she approaches a publisher with his project.

This month's topic is a must-read for every author at any stage of his or her project. Read about platform and the other important news:

  • How to make your "signature" work for you!
  • How to take advantage of newsletter publicity
  • For a limited time only - A FREE book promotion site
  • Helpful steps that every hopeful author should take
  • How writing book reviews can make you money

To read the Market Update, you first join SPAWN. Go to and click on the "Join SPAWN Now" button in the upper left corner of the page.

After you join, you'll receive the password for the private member area!

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Avoiding Online Credit Card Fraud

By Virginia Lawrence

Credit card fraud is a problem for all online stores. The extent of the problem depends on the type of products being sold. That is, an online store selling special items to mommies will have few people trying to defraud. In contrast, a site selling iPods is more likely to have many people using bad or stolen credit cards.

Any merchant with an online store can do a few things to greatly reduce the risk of getting hit with fraudulent credit card transactions. There are steps to take when building the store and steps to take when reviewing orders.

Read more about how to avoid credit card fraud at

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Ask the Book Doctor: About Contractions, Conferences and Formatting Manuscripts

By Bobbie Christmas

To read more about these and other interesting topics, go to

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Member News

Note: To have your announcements included in this section, you must be a paid member of SPAWN. Please e-mail your news to

If you're a writer who likes to write about what you know best--writing--you'll be interested in member Erika Dreifus's latest e-book, "Writers' Markets: Where To Sell What You Write When You Write About Writing." Since 2003 Erika has published more than 130 writing-related articles, essays, and book reviews in print and online publications including The Writer, Writer's Digest, and Poets & Writers. Download a free preview with sample market listings (Erika lists only paying markets): or Erika has recently made available an article on "writing about writing." You can find it at

Wendy Dager received a first-place prize of a Sony camcorder in USA Network's 2006 Show Us Your Character Contest,, a search for America's most unique characters. An article about her experience was featured in The Ventura County Star,,1375,VCS_230_4792397,00.html.

Barbara Florio Graham was the only Canadian winner in the 2006 CNW/FFWR writing contest. Entries in this contest come from all over the world, and judging is rigorous. There were only four categories in this 24th annual contest, so the Poetry Division was open to both traditional poems and free verse of any length. Bobbi's poem, just seven lines long, received the First Honorable Mention. Judge Mary H. Sayder called it "exquisite in its simplicity. Everything works beautifully..." and her additional comments on the Web site say: "Brevity and amazing simplicity elevate these highly visual lines into a highly memorable poem." The list of winners and comments are at

Barbara Florio Graham's Canadian Libraries List is now available in plain Word files for just $25. More than 80 main and regional libraries with purchasing power are listed in block form, ready to print on labels. Sorted in alphabetical order by province, the list is easy to sort if you want to mail to just one part of Canada. In comparison, a diskette listing all 6000 Canadian libraries costs $550 from a commercial mailing list service, and since most of these libraries have no budget, you will spend thousands of dollars on wasted postage. Send $25 (U.S. or Canadian) to: B.F. Graham, 535 Charles-Desnoyer, Gatineau, QC J8P 3X4, or contact Bobbi at: As soon as she receives payment, she'll e-mail you the files, which contain full instructions and suggestions.

Patricia Fry will be conducting a 90-minute workshop on article-writing in Seattle at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) conference July 15th. For more information about this 4-day conference, visit:

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

Vendors are wanted by the Bakersfield Californians Second Annual Festival of Books. The event, organized by the Kern Adult Literacy Council, will be held Saturday, November 4, 2006 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the California State University Bakersfield Gymnasium. For more information, e-mail Ashley Hurst, or call (661) 324-3213.

St. Louis Writers Guild has launched a writing project to involve the public in writing a tongue-in-cheek book about the Mississippi River--what it's REALLY like! It's an anthology of brief recollections, observations, laments, celebrations, humor, and soapbox tirades--all aimed at revealing aspects of life on the Big Muddy. The working title is "MIGHTY OR MUDDY? Reflections on the Mississippi River by Those Who Know it Well." Publication is planned for October 2006, after which the original submissions binder (with autographed submissions) will be raffled or auctioned off. This is a St. Louis literary, historical event. For more information: Deadline is August 31, 2006. The address to send submissions is St. Louis Writers Guild, Collaborative Book Project, POB 771765, St. Louis, MO 63177, or fax: 314-821-3823.

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

Read about the latest contests at:

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Events and More

Read about the coming events at:

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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 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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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


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

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023

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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