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About Errors and Reformatting a Manuscript

by Bobbie Christmas

Q: A publisher recently requested my manuscript, and within forty-eight hours I received an email that said, “Only Word files are excepted.” Shouldn’t the word be “accepted?”

A: Possibly, but the answer depends on the intent of the sentence. If the publisher was saying it rejects all manuscripts with the exception of those received in Microsoft Word, then the sentence is okay. I haven’t seen the entire e-mail, so I cannot be sure, but I suspect you are correct, though, and the publisher was attempting to say it accepted only Microsoft Word files. Continue reading

Editor’s Note August 2017

Which is the best way for an editor to see your work? In an electronic file or on printed pages? Bobbie Christmas says it depends; check the Book Doctor column for details. Also included is part two of her “Bill of Writes” for writers.

Barbara Florio Graham offers more tips on organizing the paper on your desk and the messages on your computer. It’s an article I certainly need to study!

Ivor Davis reports on a trip to his first children’s book conference, SCBWI. He learned writers have no say about the illustrations in their books, that it’s impossible to attend all the workshops you want to, and what it looks like when 500 adults do the Hokey-Pokey. For a fun and informative read, be sure to check out his article.

Leann Garms explains the mysteries of PR and press releases, where to learn more, and how to use what you’ve learned.

Jerry Jenkins says there are twenty steps to writing a book, from assembling your pen and paper to the chair you sit in while writing. You’ll see more of his tips in coming months.

I’ll add more resources, so if you have one that’s been of help, pass the information along, please. Member News will now be called Success Stories, which is a much more accurate title.

We have some great articles lined up for the rest of this year and are always looking for more. What would you like to learn? See more of or less? Feedback is essential, so send a note to and let us know.

Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews


Writer’s Block Prize

One first-place winner will receive $500, an opportunity to read at the 2017 Writer’s Block Festival in Louisville, Kentucky on October 21, and publication in The Louisville Review, the literary magazine of Spalding University’s nationally distinguished low-residency MFA in writing program. Please submit an original piece of creative nonfiction, such as personal or lyric essay, personal narrative, memoir, or any other form that involves a creative treatment of a nonfiction subject. Entries must be 4,000 words or less.

$12 ENTRY FEE. Deadline August 15, 2017.

The BookLife Prize

$5,000 Grand Prize. Each entry receives a brief assessment by a Publishers Weekly Reviewer.

The BookLife Prize is an annual writing contest sponsored by BookLife and Publishers Weekly. The prize seeks to support independent authors and discover great books in seven categories: Romance/Erotica; Mystery/Thriller; Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror; General Fiction; Memoir/Autobiography; YA Fiction; and Middle-Grade Fiction. The prize is judged by PW reviewers, editors, acclaimed authors, and publishing veterans, and awards are given to finalists in each category, with a grand prize going to the most outstanding finalist.

The grand prize winner of the BookLife Prize in Fiction will receive $5,000 as well as an author profile in Publishers Weekly.

All finalists will receive a blurb from a best-selling/award-winning author or professional editor serving as a guest judge for the contest, as well as mention in Publishers Weekly.

All entrants will receive a critic’s report, which includes a score as well as a brief written critical assessment of their novel by a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

There is a $99 non-refundable entry fee.

For all the details, go here:

Three Calls for Fantasy Writers

The Fantasist
This is a magazine of fantasy novellas. They like stories in well-researched historical settings, with an interaction between magic and science, Napoleonic Era, faeries, dragons, and stories not set in Europe. They are particularly looking for urban fantasy. They welcome diversity in the stories’ viewpoints, and in their authors.
Deadline: August 25, 2017
Word count: 15,000-40,000
Pay: $100 and royalties

Fantasia Divinity Magazine and Publishing: Autumn’s Harvest
They want fantasy and dark fantasy settings focusing on an autumn theme for this autumn fantasy anthology. They want the focus to be on the nature of autumn and magic/fantasy elements inspired by it; they will also consider modern/futuristic stories.
Deadline: August 25, 2017
Word count: 500-10,500
Pay: $5-$15; maximum $10 for reprints
Details (scroll down to the middle of the page)

Indie Shelves Publishing: Fantasy and Horror Anthologies
Submissions are open for two anthologies: fantasy and horror. Adult themes are allowed, but submissions relying too heavily on these will not be accepted.
Deadlines: August 31 for Fantasy, September 30 for Horror
Word count: 7,500-10,000 for each anthology
Pay: Royalties

New From Rootstock Publishing

Rootstock Publishing is pleased to announce the release of Whole Worlds Could Pass Away: Collected Stories by Vermont author and journalist, Rickey Gard Diamond. Her stories are at once familiar and startling, grounded in remarkable everyday experiences as well as in the raw and dreadful.

Published in a range of journals and magazines like The Sewanee Review, Plainswoman, Other Voices, The Louisville Review, and Trivia, Diamond’s characters and settings resonate with a language and voice uniquely her own. These eleven stories from Bears to Worms reveal a common thread in our collective and inner lives.

Her forthcoming book, Screwnomics: How Our Economy Works Against Women and What We Can Do to Make Real and Lasting Change (She Writes Press, April 2018), illustrated by cartoonist Peaco Todd, reframes the unspoken economic theory that women should always work for less—or better, for free.