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SPAWNews, December, 2005

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

- Thanks, F.X.

- Market Update

- Book Reviews

- Why it’s Hard to Rank Well in Google

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

Hurry Up and Wait

By Wendy Dager

It’s not writer’s block. It’s not interruptions or deadlines or cranky editors. So, what’s the bane of a writer’s existence?

Waiting. And waiting some more.

I suppose it makes sense. Society has gotten used to long waits: queuing up to buy groceries; waiting for a table at your favorite restaurant even though you have a reservation; reading 3-year-old magazines in the doctor’s office while feeling as if you’ve really been there three years.

Still, it’s hard to get used to waiting for a reply from a publisher or editor. For instance, I sent an opinion piece to a national magazine last May. No answer as yet. I also sent an article proposal to a writing magazine in February and didn’t receive a response until August. My nonfiction book query was received November 4, 2005—according to the post office delivery confirmation—and I still don’t know if the editor liked my idea. And don’t even ask me how long my mystery novel has been languishing on the desks of a variety of publishers.

What is a writer or artist to do? While I generally recommend that we, as professionals, follow guidelines, I’ve decided to eschew the "no simultaneous submissions" rule.

Recently, I sent query packets to six newspaper syndicates. Rebellious perhaps, but I could be old and gray—well, grayer—before I heard from one, then the next, and the next. I have no idea who will look at my submission in a timely fashion. I don’t know which editor has the bigger slush pile. Nor can I be certain that one of my packets won’t get lost in a mailroom or accidentally shredded or used as a blotter for that spilled cup of coffee.

As a writer who is constantly considering my next project, I can’t abide by the cliché "Good things come to he who waits." I prefer to think that I’ll have better circulation if I keep moving.

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. E-mail her at

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Special thanks to Richard F.X. O’Connor, SPAWN Board Member, for his many contributions to SPAWNews over the years. We’ve enjoyed learning from his experiences and, in particular, his dealings with some of the authors, editors and publishers who were industry giants—and, often, quirkier than the characters in their books. We regret that F.X. will no longer be sending us a regular column. We hope that he will send occasional columns, and we wish him much continued success.

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

Happy Holidays everyone. This month I'm treating readers to a Treasure Hunt. Embedded within the 12 pages of the meaty December SPAWN Market Update, are over 30 specific ideas for promoting your book.

  • Learn how to sell articles to magazines as a way to promote your book.
  • Get access to several high paying consumer and trade periodicals.
  • Find out how to get your book into bookstores. (This information is well worth the cost of a SPAWN membership.)
  • Learn how to go about promoting your book on the radio.
  • You'll find a site for publishing agreement forms.
  • Learn how to get exposure for your writing books and services.
  • Discover a new newspaper directory and a new library directory.
  • Do you want to know what publishers really want? Read my new column, "Words From Publishers."
  • A revealing message from a publisher to potential authors
  • Easy-to-follow guide for getting your articles published
  • The surprising (and encouraging) percentage of book sales outside of bookstores
  • Results of the study on the publishing and bookselling industries
  • A list of magazines that pay enough to support you AND your family

And I've included another gift for cat lovers like myself. A site dedicated to 532 library cats throughout the United States!

Not a member yet? Want to see what you’re missing? Contact to get a sneak peek.

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Special SPAWN Offer: Free Book With SPAWN Membership!

If you apply for SPAWN membership now, you'll receive a FREE book.

As of January 1, 2005, you have a choice between two books:

- one of Patricia Fry's best books

"The Successful Writer's Handbook" (paperback or e-book)


- Stephen Dolainski's outstanding

"Grammar Traps: A Handbook of the 20 Most Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them" (paperback)

For details:

To join SPAWN now, go and click on the Join SPAWN Now button in the upper left corner.

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Book Review

By Patricia Fry

The Complete Writer: A Guide to Tapping Your Full Potential

By Beverly Walton-Porter, Mindy Phillips Lawrence, Pat McGrath Avery and Joyce Faulkner

(Red Engine Press, 2005)

174-pages ISBN-10: 0-975652-6-1, $17.95

What a concept! Here’s a book from the viewpoint of not one, not two, but four writers/authors from four different states—each one coming into this project with different skills.

To read the full review of "The Complete Writer: A Guide to Tapping Your Full Potential," go to

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Book Review

By Patricia Fry

Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer: How to Win Top Writing Assignments

By Jenna Glatzer


Nomad Press (2004)

To read the full review of "Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer: How to Win Top Writing Assignments," go to

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Why It’s Hard to Rank Well in Google

By Virginia Lawrence

We all want our Web sites to come up on the first page of Google when someone searches on our favorite keywords. In particular, we want our site to be ranked in the top three for a search. But we have all noticed that some sites will appear on the first page of a search for a while, only to disappear later. What’s going on?

Read about Google's new ranking algorithms and what it means to your web site at

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Ask the Book Doctor: What Do You Call a Writer Who Can’t Finish a Project?

By Bobbie Christmas

Read about this and other topics at

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Member News

"Offerings in the Snow: A Christmas Story," by Joan Shaddox Isom (Foxmoor Press, ISBN 0-938604-07-4, hardcover, $13.95) is available at Foxmoor; e-mail, (orders shipped promptly); or order online at Barnes and Noble. The story is set in the Ozark Mountains in the mid-1930s. Reviewer Mary Anne Maier states: "Every family that feels the pressure of materialism at Christmas might read this book together and take heart." It's a good stocking stuffer and handsome gift book.

Leon Cooper received an Honorable Mention from Writer’s Digest for his screenplay, "90 Day Wonder." Leon says, "SPAWN members who have ‘movie aspirations’ may want to know that Yahoo has a list of ‘movie magazines.’"

Wendy Dager’s story of love, marriage and reality, "The Concrete is Always Greener," won first place in the Ventura County Writers Club ( annual short story contest. Prize was $500 and publication in the Ventura County Star newspaper on November 27. A book of the top 9 winners will be published at a later date.

Patricia Fry has been accepted as an instructor for a 3-week course at Focus on the Masters in Ventura, California. Course dates are, February 25, March 5 and March 18. Her course is in conjunction with her upcoming book, "The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book." The cost is just $80 per person for the entire course. Learn more about the course and the organization at Learn more about Patricia and her new book at

Here's your chance to order a copy of Patricia Fry's forthcoming book, "The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book," at a discounted price. During the month of December, while the book is at the printers, Patricia is offering a prepublication discount. To receive the discount, orders and payment must be received by December 31. Ordering information at

SPAWN founder Mary Embree is coordinating The Ventura Book Festival, "Celebrating Diversity," on Saturday, March 11, 2006. Read Events below for full details.

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

Wanted: Artwork done in Adobe Illustrator and created in an EPS file. Call Theresa, 562-215-4843 with the following information: Company name, phone, fax, references, resume and experience.

Dallas Woodburn writes a newsletter called "Write On." Her family lives in Ventura and she goes to school at USC. She heads up an annual book drive for children. She has collected over 6,000 books during the last 5 years. Authors can ship their books to Dallas Woodburn at 400 Roosevelt Court, Ventura, CA 93003. Or they may be sent in her name to USC Trojan Hall Room 282, 615 W. 36th St., Los Angeles, California 90007-4046. (If sent to the school they need to be there by December 15.) Books can be ordered through or and shipped to Dallas. Those living in Ventura can drop books off at Adventures for Kids on Main Street..

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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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

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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