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SPAWNews, October, 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 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

- Book Festival Report

- Article: Write a Successful Book Proposal

- Chapter Reports

- Article: The Clear Guide to Online Business  Sixth Step in Developing a Web Site

- Member News

- Article: Changing of the Guard

- Opportunities

- Contests and Awards

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

An Early Thanksgiving

By Wendy Dager

There’s a really annoying television commercial in which a woman mistakenly believes another woman is pregnant, then tries to cover up her faux pas by saying "thank you." This makes no sense, but the other woman is so thrilled that someone has thanked her that she forgets she’s been insulted. While it’s not completely surprising that "thank you" has become, at best, a non sequitur and, at worst, a joke, it’s still disappointing when people forget to say it. And it’s reflected almost constantly in our daily experiences, including our working lives.

Recently, I received two e-mails within days of each other. The writers, strangers to me, were seeking writing advice. One wanted to know about feature articles and the other had questions about greeting card markets. I quickly sent them my thoughts, Web links, and other information. I don’t know if my advice was inadequate; if they didn’t receive my return e-mails; or if there was some other problem, but I didn’t get a "thank you" from either of them.

I couldn’t help but feel slighted by the lack of response. The first thing we teach our children is that they should always say "please" and "thank you." Does this lesson go out the window upon reaching adulthood?

I suppose this was why I was particularly struck by the words of columnist Richard F.X. O’Connor in last month’s edition of SPAWNews: "Don’t forget to send a handwritten thank you note to anyone you deal with in the publishing process." O’Connor, formerly the marketing director at Doubleday, was so impressed that an author would take the time to thank him, that the act, though it occurred decades ago, was never forgotten.

Saying "thank you" is not a matter of buttering up someone, like the non-pregnant woman in the TV commercial. "Thank you" is a simple courtesy that, to the recipient, might be even more meaningful than you think.

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. She is thankful for comments from SPAWNews subscribers. E-mail her at

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SPAWN Market Update

By Patricia Fry

The October 2004 edition of SPAWN Market Update (the 47th edition to date) is amazingly meaty. We offer updates on over 50 magazines, publishers and agents. We report on over a dozen opportunities for authors, freelance writers, artists and screenwriters. And we publish the news that’s important for you to know. For example:

  • How do you avoid bad advice about publishing?
  • What is your writing work worth?
  • What are some surefire ways to get your book proposal rejected?

In an excerpt from our interview with Carol Woods, senior editor at Timberwolf Press, she shares her comments about working with agents.

"Many authors look for an agent, and there are a lot of great agents out there, so this is not a slam on them. But there are a lot of questionable agents out there, too. So when you're considering approaching one, at least Google all of the names you can find that are connected with the agency. These manuscripts are dear to you; in a way they're your babies, and you wouldn't turn your baby over to just anyone you happened to find on the Internet, now would you? And yes, some of these "agents" do send out your work, and some of them have really professional presentations, but they typically aren't selective, so your manuscripts are shot down before they have a chance."

She continues: "What raises a red flag for me? If, all of a sudden, I receive a number of inappropriate queries or manuscripts from an agent or agency I've never heard of (especially if there's more than one submission per envelope). All of this wastes my time and your opportunity—and probably your money. Remember, those great agents—the ones that are legitimate—they're not going to charge you anything*. Believe it or not, we're on your side. Without authors, where would publishers be? And without this whole process, where would readers be?"

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

*Editor’s note: The current trend is that even legitimate agents charge "reasonable expenses," including photocopying and postage. –WD

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Book Festival Report

By Patricia Fry

SPAWN participated in two book festivals recently. We had one booth at the Central Coast Book and Author Festival in San Luis Obispo in mid September. I was there along with two SPAWN members and together we sold around 30 books. We also talked to many hopeful authors and handed out over a hundred brochures and catalogs of members’ books to writers and readers.

The following weekend, we were 4 booths strong at the Santa Barbara Book Festival. Virginia Lawrence and I were joined by a dozen members joined for a fun-filled and, for some, a profitable day. We estimate that we sold a total of 40 books throughout the day and we handed out close to 200 brochures and catalogs of members’ books.

Take a look at the SPAWN booths!

While we were caught up in the excitement of the day, Virginia and I began making plans for the huge Los Angeles Book Festival in April. We want to get our reservations in as early as possible in hopes of securing a good location. And we want to open up the opportunity to as many members as possible. Let us know if you are interested in selling your books from the SPAWN booth in L.A., then watch SPAWNews for more detailed information.

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Article: How to Write a Successful Book Proposal in 8 Days or Less

By Patricia Fry

I proved it again, folks. I wrote a book proposal for my newest book idea (yes, it has to do with writing) and I did it in the equivalent of 5 ½ full 8-hour days.

Read about how this ebook can help with the process of your book proposal at:

To get your copy of the e-book "How to Write a Successful Book Proposal in 8 Days or Less" (32 pages, $12) by Patricia Fry, author of 19 books, go to

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SPAWN Chapter Reports

If there is no chapter near you, join with other members or nonmembers and start one. If you would like to meet with other SPAWN members, contact Patricia Fry at


Our big news is that Tom and I had a beautiful baby boy on September 12! His name is Brett Thomas and we're all doing well—despite a significant lack of sleep and time. The Austin SPAWN Chapter is on temporary hiatus. We'll resume either when we find a volunteer or two to run meetings, or when I'm available again. I sure would love to find a few people willing to lead meetings and find speakers. It takes just a minimal amount of time and is so rewarding! –Tamara Dever. For meeting information, or to volunteer to temporarily lead meetings, 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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Article: The Clear Guide to Online Business - Sixth Step in Developing a Web Site

By Virginia Lawrence

After deciding on your goal and your target market, you have written the text to attract that group of site visitors. Now it’s time to actually start designing the site.

Read about how to start designing your Web site at

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Member News

Patricia Fry has been invited to speak at the Meet Me In St. Louis Book Festival and Arts and Crafts Fair in St. Louis, MO October 29-31, 2004. She'll talk about book promotion while introducing folks to SPAWN. This event is sponsored by the St. Louis Publishers Association. For more information about SLPA, visit their Web site, For information about the Book Festival,

Wendy Dager will be speaking at the October 11 meeting of the Simi Valley, California branch of the National League of American Penwomen. The topic will be writing and selling greeting card copy.

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Article: Changing of the Guard

By Richard F.X. O’Connor

In the year 1960 all publishers did advertising, publicity and sales promotion for a book, but they did not market it, because "marketing" was not in their lexicon until the mid-60s.

To be sure, Lucky Strikes were marketed in the ‘60s, as were DeSotos. But the staid, if not quaint, world of publishing had yet to grasp the concept. After all, book publishing was a self-proclaimed cottage industry and there were no such things as bookstore chains or publishing conglomerates.

If memory serves me—which it does less and less—in 1964 the House of Doubleday sent this writer to take an American Management Association course on marketing. What an eye-opener. My counterparts at this gathering came from companies across the business spectrum including the ad mangers from Duracell Batteries and the New York utility Con-Edison. I was exposed to the brave new world of product development, marketing plans, and market share.

Swelled with all this marketing knowledge, I returned to my company certain that I alone held the key to its future; I was going to bring Doubleday, if not publishing, into 20th century business.

Read about what happened when Richard presented his new-found marketing knowledge to Doubleday at

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

Looking for a graphics type who can do some schematic illustrations. For information, contact Jack Pearce,

Receive the MovieMaker Beginner's Guide to Making Movies (2005 edition) with your paid 12-issue subscription to MovieMaker:

The Periodical Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) offers a free Copyright Kit on their Web site.

Other resources for writers can be found at Barbara Florio Graham’s Web site,

Are you—or a friend—thinking about a graduate degree in creative writing? Perhaps considering one of the "low-residency" options that combines short, intensive sessions on campus with independent work back home? If so, you'll find expert advice and assessment strategies—plus current contact information for twenty programs in the United States and Canada—in a new ebook. Learn more about "The Practicing Writer's Primer on Low-Residency MFA Programs," by Erika Dreifus, editor of "The Practicing Writer," a free monthly newsletter supporting the craft and business of excellent writing, at While you're there, check out the latest posts on Erika's writing resources blog, too. Erika is a SPAWN member.

For information on the graduate program in English at National University,

Live author interviews are available Mondays and Thursdays noon to 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and Live on Thursday night, from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Artist First records the program so that you can have your own version of the interview for credentials. Suggested donation of $25 to be sent to Artist First World Radio Network, 1062 Parkside Dr., Alliance, OH 44601, Attention: Scott. For more information, or call 734-332-4940.'s themed market guides offer 1700 markets in 14 categories at just $2.50 per guide, or $25 for the entire set. Women's, health, pets, crafts, travel, trade, literary and more. Details at

Author's Life is a new online eMagazine looking for published authors to profile and interview. They will also be doing book reviews. This is a free service to all authors. Interested authors should email their bio and a brief summary of their book to Cindy Butler at

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Contests and Awards

Read about the latest contests at:

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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.

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, 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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