SPAWN Market Update – August, 2002
By Patricia L. Fry
The following publications appear to be out of business. You might want to adjust your Writer’s Market listings accordingly. (Note: The 2003 issue of Writer’s Market is scheduled to debut in September).
Business Asset, Business Sense, Smart Business and Your Business, all publications of the Baumer Financial Publishing Company in Chicago, seem to have gone out of business. I sent two letters to their Jackson Blvd. address and both of them came back marked “No forwarding order on file.” I’ve also been unable to reach them by phone or email.
Allisone Press, a Mt. Shasta, California-based publisher of New Age and spiritual books, has also been non-responsive. My letter to them was returned unopened. There is no longer access by telephone or email. And their Web site is gone.
Has Metropolitan Living gone out of business, too? I’m unable to generate a response via email or telephone. And their Web site is down. Last week, I sent the editor a letter. I’ll report on the status of that letter next month.
Ms Magazine has a new address. If you want to write for Ms, they suggest sending your query along with a resume, published clips and an SASE (Self-Addressed-Stamped envelope). They also accept reprints. The editors promise to respond to your query within 12 weeks.
8105 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Are you getting tired of trying to break into the same old women’s magazines? I hear there’s a new magazine for women on the horizon. Real Life. Real Women is scheduled to debut early next year. I’ll keep you posted.
Do you remember New Age Magazine? It’s now called, Body and Soul. Check it out at their Web site: http://www.bodyandsoulmag.com
You may have noticed the Boise Family listing in Writer’s Market (on page 419 of the 2002 issue). According to the listing, Boise Family pays $50 to $1000 per each 900-1300-word piece. Not so, says editor, Liz Buckingham.
Buckingham expressed an interest in one of my grandparenting articles and asked me how much I wanted for the piece. After checking the listing, I said, “How about $750?” (I didn’t want to sound too greedy, but I sure wanted to get what I was worth to them). She emailed me back saying, “Thank you anyway, but we can’t pay those fees.” I asked what they do pay and she said, “$100 maximum.” She said the Writer’s Market listing is incorrect.
Boise Family is still a good place to send your article ideas relating to family and parenting issues, but don’t expect to get the big bucks for your work.
American Medical Association. When you need updated information about a popular ailment or medical news you can use in planning an article, visit the American Medical Association Web site at
My Writer Buddy is a unique site for those relatively new to writing. Of course, you’ll find the typical array of writers’ resources and tips. The most unusual aspect of this site, however, is the “buddy system.” Come here to hook up with other writers for support. If you’re struggling through the angst of writing your first novel, for example, it might be good for your soul and your project to have a buddy who is going through the same process. http://www.writerbuddy.com
Here’s a site for those looking for an agent. There is a charge for the services offered on this site, but it might be worth it to find the right agent for your project. http://www.agentresearch.com.
Visit Grammar Grappler. You won’t find a lot of information, but you can ask grammar-related questions and expect a response. http://www.garbl.com
Pure Fiction at http://www.purefiction.com , is a good resource for writers and readers of fiction. Here, you’ll find articles and links for fiction writers and you can showcase your work. Caution: Their new site is currently under construction, but if you can’t wait, you do have the option of going to their old site in the interim.
Scottish born Linda Davies writes financial thrillers. Maybe you’re familiar with her work. She’s the author of Nest of Vipers, Wilderness of Mirrors and Into the Fire.
I asked Linda:
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Was it a childhood dream?
A: Children dream of many things and as a young girl I was obsessed with horses! However I certainly also loved writing from as young an age as I can remember and that remained a constant interest throughout my time at school and at university. While studying politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford I also worked as the features and news editor of Cherwell, the student newspaper, and won the Philip Geddes Memorial Prize for the most promising student journalist.
Q: Tell us about your decision to actually become a writer.
A: After leaving Oxford I started a career as an investment banker and worked first in New York and later in London. That provided many opportunities to meet all sorts of interesting characters, and an insight into a world in which staggering amounts of money were at stake. Recently there have been a spate of major financial scandals but that is not surprising really. The temptations to cut corners are enormous and it can be very difficult for the authorities to prove wrong-doing. One afternoon, in July 1991 when the market was quiet, I wondered what would be the biggest, most spectacular crime that could be committed. I tried to think like a criminal. How would I make a fortune? An idea took form that was to be the basis of the plot of my first novel, Nest of Vipers. My decision to give up banking was equally sudden and instinctive. There was a strong culture of sexism in London banks and both sexual harassment and discrimination in various forms were commonplace. In an attempt to prove I was “committed” I worked longer hours and harder than the men but when Christmas 1991 came I realized with exhilarating clarity that I could not face another year in that environment and therefore I quit – there and then, and became a full-time writer.
Q: Please tell us about your books.
A: Naturally my previous occupation is a big influence and all my novels so far have plots involving banking and finance, but the financial element is placed in a wider context that, I hope, will make the books appealing to readers who are not necessarily interested in banking. For example, the intelligence services feature strongly in my first three books, Nest of Vipers, Wilderness of Mirrors, and Into the Fire. Exploration for diamonds in Vietnam also plays a role in my second book. A large part of Into the Fire is set in Peru, a very beautiful, exotic country where I lived for three years. My latest book, Something Wild, is about Rock Music meeting Finance. A rock star wishes to raise money on the bond markets using his back catalog as security. In real life, David Bowie has done this, and in so doing started a trend. He raised fifty five million dollars for his personal coffers. My fictional rock star approaches Goldsteins International, the world’s leading investment bank, to do the deal for him. Sarah Jensen, a brilliant trader and the heroine of my first book, Nest of Vipers, is brought in to structure the deal, and, on an undercover basis, investigate John Redford, the rock star for any skeletons in his closet that might impair the repayment of the bond issue. The problem is, she is a skeleton in his closet, the two of them have unfinished business of their own … and, she has her own secrets, which she MUST protect.
Q: What was your toughest writing project and why? How did you work through it?
A: Each one seems to present its own challenges. I gave up a very well-paid job to write Nest of Vipers without any guarantee that any publisher or literary agent would give it any serious consideration. After a successful first novel a writer is under pressure to prove it is no fluke. Just after I completed Wilderness of Mirrors two big upheavals in my life took place – getting married and moving to Peru. Consequently Into the Fire was written in very different circumstances from my first two novels. Later, when I had one baby to look after and was expecting a second, I wrote Something Wild. You have to take each challenge as it comes.
Q: What was your proudest moment as a writer?
A: Being told that a publisher had accepted my first book.
Q: Many writers struggle with self-discipline. Do you stick to a schedule? What are your working hours? Do you have any tricks to make yourself stay on schedule?
A: In so far as I can, being the mother of a boy of one and a half, and another big boy of four, I try to work every weekday, and write a minimum of three pages. If no inspiration is forthcoming, I do administrative work. I take regular walks in the park while thinking about my plot and characters.
Q: Tell us about your experiences working with publishers?
A: My relationship with my publisher and editor is great.
Q: Are you involved in marketing your books? Can you talk about some of your favorite and most successful promotional efforts?
A: As a mother of young children and the wife of a husband whose work often takes him abroad, the amount of time I can spend on promotion is limited. However, from time to time I do interviews for radio, television or the press. In April this year, because of the locations of some of my novels, I took part in a travel program on BBC Radio 4. More commonly, requests from the media come when some major financial scandal is in the news, e.g. when a rogue trader working for Allied Irish Banks’ US subsidiary managed to lose $750 million I was interviewed on TV3, an Irish television network. Recently in Britain there have been a number of high-profile legal cases of sexual discrimination against women working as bankers, and that led to me writing an article for a London evening newspaper about my own experiences.
Q: Is there money to be made as an author?
A: It can be remunerative. Samuel Johnson said “no man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money” but Johnson was a great cynic and I doubt that financial rewards alone can provide the necessary inspiration. A successful author has to have a real desire to write.
Q: What would you advise aspiring authors? What should they know before launching out in this career?
A: My advice is this:
If you have the talent, it will show through, even if the end product isn’t as polished as it might be after an editor or other experienced party has looked at it and made suggestions. Ultimately, it has to be your baby, and your passion, commitment, and inspiration is what makes it so, as well as the long hours gestating it! Success is in your own hands. Just go for it. Work yourselves on it, until you feel that any more tinkering will detract not add, then pursue agents and publishers. Make your pitch simple for them. You should be able to describe your book in two sentences, comprising one big idea.
Linda’s books are available from Amazon’s British branch, which will supply customers anywhere in the world. http://www.amazon.co.uk.
Learn more about Linda Davies at her Web site: http://www.ex.ac.uk/~RDavies/arian/linda.html
Joanne Ferrante and Lisa Dwyer are just starting out in the writing/publishing business, but they have some big plans for their company, Window Seat Publishing. These New York-based women write and illustrate children’s books. I thought you would enjoy hearing their story. These are Lisa’s responses.
A: Please tell us how the two of you found one another and entered into a publishing company together?
Q: Joanne and I grew up next door to each other in Valley Stream on Long Island, NY. Joanne is the same age as my sister and they were best friends when they were little. In the mid ’70’s both our families moved out of Valley Stream to other neighborhoods on Long Island and all lost contact. In December 2001 while searching the Internet I found an e-mail address for one of Joanne’s sisters. I sent her a note updating her on my family’s whereabouts. When she replied and I read the part of her e-mail concerning Joanne, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I knew I had to contact her directly. It turned out that Joanne lived one town away from me and wrote children’s books. I had been looking for someone to illustrate one of the books I wrote. After we met and exchanged our ideas, portfolios and frustrations with established publishing companies, we decided to publish ourselves. On May 10, 2002, we formed our partnership. The timing was just right for each of us to start this new venture, and even though we are at the very beginning, we both feel confident that we will succeed.
Q: How do you manage your working time together?
A: We now live only about five minutes from each other and do our work from Joanne’s studio, in her house. Joanne has three children at home Phil, age14; Sophie, age 11 and Rose age 9. Scheduling time to work is a bit challenging because of my two year-old twins. My older children Justine, age 15 and Matthew age 12, along with my husband, mother and stepfather all help out with the babysitting. We usually schedule meetings to coincide with the babies’ afternoon nap and sometimes we work in the evenings after the little ones are in bed.
Q: Describe your goals for Window Seat Publishing. Do you plan to accept children’s books from other authors or just publish your own?
A: We have many ideas for all different kinds of books and hope to be able to share them with children of all ages. We would be very interested in publishing other authors, when we can afford to. It has been very rewarding to build our own company up from nothing.
Q: Tell us about the book you will bring out this year.
A: Where Do The Christmas Trees Go is a story about two brothers who are determined to find out what happens to Christmas trees after they are put out at the curb. This story is comforting to all children who hate to see Christmas come to an end. This is a wonderful circle of life story. We feel that this book would be a real comfort to any child that lives in these uncertain times.
Q: Please elaborate on the type of books you plan to publish – for what age children?
A: We feel that a children’s book should entertain and teach children. Joanne’s illustrations speak for themselves and the creative stories she writes are pure magic. I have a slightly different style. I put, into my own perspective, everyday events that I have shared with my children and those of friends. Most of the books Joanne writes are for older children (4-12), where Lisa’s are written for toddlers and young grammar school aged (2-8). We think that a quality book is one that teaches children, has beautiful illustrations, and either a, great story that you’ll never forget, or easy reading verse.
Q: Do either of you have backgrounds in education or writing? What is/was your primary work?
A: Joanne taught grammar school for 17 years; all grades, all subjects. Science and Social Studies were her favorites, with the exception of art, which she taught for two years. Lisa is a stay at home mom, who had successfully started and ran her own day-care center for four years, the birth of her twins ended her career. She no longer felt she could provide care for her 14 day-care children while raising the twins.
Q: So the publishing company is now your primary work?
Q: Tell us a little about the process of establishing a publishing company. What was the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
A: We don’t know how helpful we can be with this one, as we are still in the middle of it ourselves. We feel that, like with any other undertaking you feel passionate about, you need to just get out there and try your best to succeed. We have been taking one step at a time, when something new comes up, we learn all about it and accomplish it. One of our biggest challenges has been marketing, it’s a lot of work! A close second is getting business people to take us seriously, a lot of people think it is “adorable” that were doing this. . . . . yuck!
Q: I’m also interested in how the two of you work together. How long have you been partners? Do you have any tips for others who are thinking about going into business with someone?
A: We are in the honeymoon stage, as we have been partners for only 2 months. Basically we share the same ideals and values, which is crucial, but beyond that, our personalities are as different as night and day. Joanne is wonderfully creative, her imagination stuns me, I am one of her biggest fans. I, on the other hand, am very detail oriented when it comes to projects. We absolutely compliment and balance each other out nicely. We both feel that for any relationship to work there has to be mutual respect, which we have. Visit Joanne and Lisa at
http://www.windowseatpublishing.com or contact them at:
Today’s publisher interview is with Mr. Lane Stiles, director of Fairview Press in Minneapolis. Q: Please give us an overview of your publishing company. Who is your audience and what types of books do you publish. I see from your note in the 2002
Writer’s Market that you have recently shifted from recovery books to those more along the health lines. Would you talk about this? A: Fairview Press is a division of Fairview Health Services, a not-for-profit community-based healthcare system affiliated with the University of Minnesota. Fairview Press publishes books that educate individuals and families about their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Founded as Deaconess Press in 1989, the press originally published only chemical dependency and recovery materials. Very quickly, however, the list expanded to include psychology, self-help, humor, reference, inspiration, sociology, parenting, child care, general health, and children’s books. In recent years, the press has focused its acquisitions on two main categories: (1) health/medicine and (2) aging/end of life/death and dying/grief. We sell our books to the trade through National Book Network and directly to special markets such as other healthcare institutions, schools, and businesses. We publish books for both lay and professional audiences.
Q: What types of manuscripts are you currently looking for?
A: As noted above, we are primarily interested in books on health, medicine, aging, end of life, death and dying, and grief. We will consider other manuscripts that fit our mission broadly, but we prefer that authors query first. See our website at http://www.fairviewpress.org for a complete list of our titles as well as submission guidelines. Q: How many books do you plan to publish this year? A: We will publish about a dozen books for trade release, and few additional books for internal or special markets. Q: What are some of your recent titles?
Karma and Happiness by Miriam Cameron.
Q: How do you prefer an author approach your company—with a query letter or proposal package? By email or regular mail? What information do you most need from the author?
A: A prospective author must convince us why we should risk our very limited resources of time and capital on his or her particular project. We prefer to receive proposals that include a detailed outline, writing sample, and marketing research. Visit our website at http://www.fairviewpress.org for complete submission guidelines.
Q: Are there certain qualities you look for in an author? What makes for a good working relationship?
A: Authors must be open-minded and flexible during the editing process. Every manuscript, however accomplished its author is, must be rigorously edited. The only purpose of this process is to produce the best book possible. Good writers tend to work productively with their editors and accept constructive criticism well.
Q: Do you require that the author participate in promoting his/her book? How important is the “promotion and marketing” portion of the book proposal?
A: Authors are expected to be closely involved in the promotion and marketing of their books. Certainly, an important part of any proposal is its marketing plan. A word of warning, however. We have seen many, many thousands of proposals and done countless hours of market research. Be careful about claiming that there is no book like the one you are proposing. Usually, this is not the case, and, even if it is, there might be a very good reason why no one has ever published such a book before.
Q: What would you most like to say to prospective authors?
A: Check out our list to see if your book fits with any of our publishing programs before submitting a proposal. And be sure to follow our submission guidelines.
Q: What are some of the future plans at Fairview Press?
A: We may be moving almost exclusively into patient education in future years.
According to the Book Industry Study Group (a research organization that studies the publishing industry), Americans bought 2.41 billion books in 2001. They project a slight decline in sales for 2002.
The National Endowment of the Arts says that there are 24 million people in the U.S. who write for pleasure. Only 2.3 million of us have published our work. Competition could be worse.
Having trouble finding publishers for your articles? Meg Weaver at Wooden Horse (http://www.woodenhorsepub.com, says in her April 9, 2002 newsletter that there are over 20,000 magazines being published in the United States and Canada.
Here’s good news for magazine writers. The Publishers Information Bureau, an agency that keeps stats related to the magazine industry says that ad revenues for magazines rose for the first time in over a year. I also read an article stating that magazines making the best comeback are computer and computer game magazines. I spoke with Ron Kobler, editor-in-chief at Computing Publications (including Smart Computing), however. This is what he had to say.
“The magazine market in general has been awful the last two years. The computer publishing segment has been hit the hardest. Lots of pubs have simply disappeared. The shakeout isn’t over yet; ZD shut down Yahoo! Internet Life just last week and financially they still aren’t out of the woods. We have probably weathered the storm better than anyone else, but that’s because of our business model. We don’t play a numbers game with advertisers. We don’t give away subscriptions just to keep reader numbers up. Our readers pay full price for our pubs because they see the value in what we do. Yes, maybe the tide is finally turning in the tech segment as far as ads go, but that’s only because things were so bad there was nowhere to go but up.” Ron Kobler, Smart Computing.
I asked Kobler for an interview. Here is the result:
Q: Tell me a little about Smart Computing. What is your Focus? Who is your audience?
A: Smart Computing is a publication that focuses on computer education. We educate readers about new digital technologies and products. We help readers improve their productivity with their computers. Our audience is anyone who is interested in learning more about PCs and related technologies.
Q: What changes have you made since your listing in Writer’s Market, 2001? (I notice you aren’t listed in the 2002 issue)
A. We are continually tweaking content to keep in step with the needs of our audience. We have a Windows XP tip section now; a section called PC Projects that walks people through various computing tasks; a section called Impulse Items that highlights inexpensive computing products; and a section called Tech Diaries that relates true experiences with technology. (I’m not sure why we weren’t listed in the Writer’s Market 2002 edition.)
Q: What type of articles are you seeking from freelance writer? Is there anything in particular that you need at this time?
A: Our publications work by assignment. It is extremely rare that we ever accept speculative pieces for publication.
Q: Do you have any special instructions for writers—new submission guidelines for example?
A: If writers are interested in writing for us, they should submit a sample of their work and a brief cover letter that discusses their areas of interest and expertise. We try to match up available assignments with the most appropriate writers.
Q: Any future plans for Smart Computing?
A: We just want to keep on supplying readers with the most accurate, most useful information they can find on personal computing technologies.
Q: Is there anything you would like to say to my audience?
A: Smart Computing has two sister publications called Smart Computing Learning Series and Smart Computing Reference Series that also use freelancers (queries can go to firstname.lastname@example.org). We also recently launched a new magazine aimed at technology enthusiasts called CPU: Computer Power User. Writers who are recognized as being experts in their fields and who want to write for a magazine that caters to a technically sophisticated audience should contact editor Samit Choudhuri (email@example.com).
Ron Kobler Editor-in-Chief Computing Publications 800/544-1264 firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll tell you where and how to get your memoirs published. To get you started, I’ve interviewed the editors of Reminisce and Good Old Days.