SPAWN regularly publishes articles on a variety of topics of interest to our members and the publishing community. To find articles on specific topics, please use the drop down menus. We accept submissions from the community for publication. If you have an article, (limit 2,500 words), please send to

Complying with Anti-Spam Legislation

by Barbara Florio Graham

Canada’s anti-spam legislation came into effect on July 1, 2014. The law generally prohibits individuals and businesses from sending commercial email to Canadians without their consent.

Three federal agencies that work at arm’s length from the Government share responsibility for enforcing the legislation: the Competition Bureau, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Continue reading

My Experience with Facebook Parties

by Marilyn Levinson

These days we authors are expected to promote our books. In fact, many of us have discovered that promotion and marketing demand more of our time than it takes to write a novel. We’re bombarded by ads from companies that promise all sorts of financial bonanzas. We’re swamped with advice via how-to books, classes, promotions, and webinars. Every few months a new venue of social media arises. Added to the mix, authors blog about their success stories, touting one method of promotion over another. It’s enough to make your head spin. I zoomed in on one piece of advice that resonated with me: don’t try to promote every which way. Use the method you find comfortable and that suits how you communicate with your readers. Continue reading

Proof Marks, Sexist Language, and Getting Published

by Bobbie Christmas

Q: I just received my edited manuscript, but in a few places I see a # (hash) mark. I don’t know what to do. Adding a number wouldn’t make sense, so I’m stuck.

A: Ah, your manuscript was edited in its printed form. More editors today edit the electronic file, instead. If the editor had edited the electronic file, he or she would have fixed the issue for you, and you would not have to try to decipher proof marks. You would only have to accept or reject the editor’s changes. Continue reading

Special Alert

Literary agent Toni Lopopolo informs SPAWN that America Star Books, formerly known as Publish America, is in legal fights between partners. If you had your book published by them, contact your editor about payments. Alternative names the company has used are:

  • Publish America
  • Publish America, LLP
  • America Star Books, Inc.
  • ASB Promotions

Several clients claim their books sold but they never received any royalties. Here are some links about the company from Consumer Affairs.

Bobbie’s Bill of Writes #5 in a series: Writing Equipment

by Bobbie Christmas

I devoted an entire chapter to my Bill of Writes for writers in my seven-award-winning book on creative writing titled Write In Style: How to Use Your Computer to Improve Your Writing. Special to SPAWN, I have agreed to list and explain each item in my Bill of Writes through a series of articles. Below is number four in my Bill of Writes. Watch for the remaining items in future newsletters.

Continue reading

Creating Cozy Worlds: Karen MacInerney and Gray Whale Press

Hi! I’m Karen MacInerney, and I’m the author of several mystery series, including the Agatha-nominated Gray Whale Inn mysteries and the Dewberry Farm mysteries. I’ve been writing for many years. I love creating a cozy, warm world for my readers to escape to when everyday life just seems too glum for words.

My first series, the Gray Whale Inn mysteries, starts with Murder on the Rocks, which also happens to be the first book I ever wrote. It’s set in Cranberry Island, Maine, and is in many ways an homage to Pool’s Island, Newfoundland, where I visited my grandparents every summer (many of the names in the book are surnames from that part of the world). I have fond childhood memories of climbing the island’s granite boulders, picking wild blueberries, making steamed puddings in my grandmother’s kitchen, and going out to fish on the cold, cold water at six in the morning with my grandfather. I was hoping to capture some of that wonderful feeling and experience on the page, but I didn’t know how to do it at first. Newfoundland is hard to get to, and I didn’t feel I had a grasp of the dialect. They have lots of words like “yaffle,” which is an armload of dried fish, in case you were wondering. I knew I wanted to write something capturing those experiences, and after a while, I started thinking mystery would be the way to do it. Continue reading

Chicago Style and Writing Tight

by Bobbie Christmas

Q: I noticed your newsletter used to hyphenate email (as e-mail) and capitalize internet, but the latest edition doesn’t do those things. What gives?

A: What gives is that The Chicago Manual of Style recently released its newest edition, with changes such as those you mention. Because Chicago style is the editorial style preferred by book publishers and I edit books more than anything else, my newsletter follows Chicago style as a way of imparting its style guidelines to readers. In addition to removing the hyphen from email and no longer capitalizing internet, the seventeenth edition of the book also made other changes, and I’m still learning them all. Although writers who use manuscript editors don’t necessarily need to know all the nuances of Chicago style, book editors must keep up with every update, to ensure the manuscripts they edit comply with the latest edition of CMOS. Continue reading