SPAWN Market Update – August, 2003
By Patricia L. Fry
Here’s What’s New
Ingram is getting tougher on small publishers. Perhaps following Amazon.com’s lead, this large trade wholesaler is weeding out the little guy by raising their prices. First, Ingram is dropping publishers that have done less than $15,000 in business during the previous two years. According to member Dan Poynter’s newsletter (http://www.parapublishing.com), whose source was Publisher’s Weekly, Ingram wants 60% off, free freight and 90 day terms and they are asking for a setup fee of $250 for each title and an advertising fee of $400. It’s a bit steep for the small publisher.
Here’s a switch. Mars Publishing/Parent’s Guide Press is looking for authors. Can you write a 200 – 300-page parent’s guide to New York City? How about a parent’s guide to controlled substances or children’s health or divorce? Contact Mars Publishing at email@example.com with your credentials and you may find yourself involved in writing a book this winter.
If you’re looking for holistic resources for an article or a book, visit Holisticopia at http://www.holisticopia.com. They claim to have resources for everything from Acupressure to Zen and a library containing over 50,000 book titles. They also send out a newsletter to keep folks abreast of changes and additions to the site.
Free magazines. If you write for magazines or you need magazines for research purposes or for entertainment, visit FreeSiteX. There you’ll find many different types of things for free, including magazines. And these aren’t just those cheapo throw-away magazines, either. You can get the likes of US News, People, Time and Rolling Stones for FREE. http://www.freesitex.com/magazine.html
We’ve given you a total of 18 different grammar sites since we’ve been producing the SPAWN Market Update. And there are plenty more. This month, I’ve decided to repeat one of them. One of my favorites was The Vocabula Review. While there’s plenty to see and do for free, for the minimal fee of $8.95 you will be granted access to the private places and an enormous amount of information on The Vocabula Review site. Are you interested in clues to concise writing, dimwitticisms or elegant English? Would you like to voice your opinion and strut your grammatical expertise? The place to go is: http://www.vocabula.com
The Fiction Writer’s Page. I don’t write fiction and even I got excited about this site. Crawford Kilian offers help and resources for fiction writers. Here, you will find techniques for writing fiction including how to deal with dialogue, developing characters, building a plot as well as tips for reading a contract, writing a query and so forth. There’s also a list of publishers and agents for fiction writers. It’s worth the visit at http://www.capcollege.bc.ca/dept.cmns/fwp.html
Judy Cullins is an author and a book coach. Here’s my interview with her.
Q: How did you get started in the writing business? Was it a childhood dream?
A: I got started in the writing business from creating 20 personal growth seminars delivered to continuing educations centers. I was first a teacher and a speaker and did not like to write. People wanted the handouts. I saw a need and created short books from them that sold about $2000-$2500 a month and helped me get the word out to help people get 100% healthy and spiritually connected.
Q: Please describe your work and your business.
A: I love my work. I work with small business people (authors are business people) who want to make a difference in people’s lives, and make consistent desired income by writing and selling a book. I know how authors can take their ideas and passion and make money through the art of self-publishing. You only hire a little help and have all the control and make all the money, plus it’s a very small investment up front.
Q: There are a lot of writers out there manifesting their writing interest (or passion) in a variety of ways. What made you choose to work with other writers instead of writing the world’s best novel or something?
A: I am a natural coach. I love to help others even though I have written 9 new books on writing, publishing, online promotion, publicity and Web design and copywriting just this past 2 years. I love to write too. I don’t need the ego strokes for a best seller. I’d rather do what I love and still create a wonderful income that allows me 3 vacations a year including the recent 3-week trip to St. Lucia.
Q: What did it take to create your writing business? Do you have advice for others who want to do what you do?
A: I love a challenge. My small business makes me happy. I started with 0 money. I’d say do one step at a time. Don’t overspend to look good.
Do what you do best and hire the rest. The more I spend on computer/virtual and Web help the more money I make. You don’t need too many books. Just write one short one and maybe one longer one. Offer them in eBook and print book form according to your needs. My “Write Your eBook or Other Short Book–Fast!” is still my top seller for only $24.95, and is fully packed with easy steps, resources and the coach’s 25 years of wisdom in traditional publishing as well as self publishing.
Promotion is the all-important thing to learn, if you don’t like to travel or speak. Check out how to write articles to promote your book. I did and I’m now #2 on Google and 35 other search engines. I’m also on 900 other Web sites with a hyperlink to my site: http://www.bookcoaching.com. I started at $75 sales a month and for the past year now make around $2500 a month consistently. I spend 8 hours a week on promotion.
Q: What does your book coaching service consist of?
A: No matter your income you can choose ways to get help from me. On the phone call, the client brings questions and we also brainstorm answers. I read the chapter or other submission before the call to give feedback, because this is the fastest way to succeed. For a book session, here’s a sample of what to expect:
You will get more clarity on what your message is and its value.
You will learn some easy marketing tools before you finish your book, so you will be ready to launch a powerful campaign the day you finish writing.
You will cut your learning curve by half, and make your book project doable.
Q: Tell us about your typical work day/week. How much of it is spent on your own work, tending your incredibly informative Web site, working with clients?
A: I work about 4 days a week 3-4 hours a day. I delegate to an assistant my web and online marketing although I did it myself at first. I use a Webmaster–we attempt to keep maintenance up, but don’t all the time. I make mistakes and I recommend them.
Q: What is your favorite part of your work?
A: I love every part of my work. I have fun with it all.
Q: What have been your greatest challenges in establishing your business?
A: I think of challenges as opportunities. I am outgoing, so I feel relaxed at talking with “famous” people. I ask for help from mentors, and give back to them too.
Q: You’ve worked with a lot of clients. When they come to you, what is their most immediate need? Is there a universal or common problem or weakness that you see among writers?
A: I see 3 biggest needs.
Q: What are your future plans either personally (any new bestsellers in the pipeline?) or professionally?
A: Since I’ve wrtten so many books, I am sending out email promotion once a month to different egroups on each one. It’s a mini sales letter approach. I wrote
I want to encourage writers out there to just keep writing because you get so much better with practice. Stretch and submit your pieces. Get a lot of feedback.
Deb — SynergEbooks
I should point out that many of the illustrators for my children’s books have been younger (ex. Itchy Witchy Halloween and an upcoming poetry title).
Q: You are a digital publisher evidently with a following. Who carries your titles?
A: Some of the online bookstores that carry my young adult titles include eBookAd.com, Bookbooters, CyberRead, Eloka.com and Content Reserve. It’s harder to upload the childrens’ titles, since their files are usually much larger due to the illustrations, but eBookAd and Content Reserve carry most of them.
Q: How do young people generally go about promoting their books?
A: My younger authors do not seem to do much about promoting their books beyond telling friends and family. I’m hoping this will change soon.
Q: There are young authors out there who don’t know how to get their books published or who to approach about it. What would you suggest to them?
A: Though it’s been said many times before, never stop trying. Get your work out there. Start by sending articles to your local newspapers; that’s how I got started. Enter contests. And if all else fails, use a penname so people won’t know how old you are… until you’re famous, of course.
Q: What steps should a youngster take to make sure his manuscript is ready to present to you?
A: No matter what your age, you can always check your spelling and your basic punctuation. Go to your local library and take out Elements of Grammar and Elements of Style – better yet, buy yourself copies and use them religiously. Have someone you trust who knows good writing read your manuscript. Develop a relationship with an editor you can trust, even if it’s your mother, father or favorite aunt/uncle or older sibling. Take classes, whether in school or not. Join a Writer’s Group – or start one yourself. And READ. Read whatever you can get your hands on. The more you read, the better your writing gets.
Then learn how to write Query Letters (there are many books on how to do that in your local library as well). No one has to be perfect, and I like to believe that I can spot a diamond in the rough, but the basics have to be there – an original story told well, and a query that will hook me right at the start.
Q: It looks like you cater mainly to adult authors. What percentage of your authors are kids (what ages)?
A: I cater mainly to adults because those are the ones who send their manuscripts to me. I do not object to publishing books by young writers – as long as they’re good. I’d say only 1% of my books are actually written by an author who is 18 or younger, but that percentage was higher a few years ago (those authors have since gotten older, of course). I definitely need some quality books in my young adults genre.
Q: Is there an area or topic that you are particularly wanting more of right now?
A: No more poetry, please. It’s just not selling. It is too easy to get poetry for free all over the internet. But books about how kids live today are always interesting. So I would say self-help and nonfiction titles are a plus, but one of my own favorite genres is young adults/fantasy. Of course, I adore the Harry Potter books, but I’m also into Clive Barker (who has a new fantasy series out), and one of my all-time favorite titles is The Secret Garden. And mysteries are always good too. But basically, if it’s well written, I’m open to any genre.
Q: What is a young author apt to learn from a book published by your company?
A: That becoming a published author is hard work, probably more work once the book is completed then it took to write it. Now that the research and polishing are done, it’s time to market. And if you’re confident of your work, it will sell. And don’t forget to continue writing. Most authors don’t make a name for themselves, no matter what the age, until their 4th or 5th books. SynergEbooks will help each author learn how to best market their work, no matter what the genre.
Q: Please share anything else you feel is important for our authors to know.
A: All writers should read and write every day if they are serious about their craft. But write what you know whenever possible. Find your strengths, be it dialogue, description or otherwise, and use that to its full advantage. Get yourself a Journal and write down every new word and/or description you find in other peoples’ work. Keep all of your unfinished stories and go back to them frequently to see if they spark. And listen to your characters when you’re writing – they will speak to you. And often they will take you to places you never dreamed possible in your writing.
Next month watch for my interview with Meg Weaver, the founder and organizer for Wooden Horse Publishing, which includes an enormous database and ongoing information for those interested in writing articles for magazines. This is a resource that I use regularly in my article work. You won’t want to miss this interview.
is a new magazine from Werner Publishing. 12121 Wilshire Blvd., 12th Fl, Los Angeles, CA 90025-1176. Read their guidelines for writers and photographers at: http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/content/submissions.html is a new magazine designed with the affluent young man in mind. According to their Web site, there’s a large segment of young men who are spending more these days in gambling casinos than on tickets to plays, sporting events and concerts combined. If you can write for the 7.6 million young men between the ages of 25-44 who have a household income of at least $100,000, JAQK may have an opportunity for you. Check them out at http://www.jaqk.com. Contact Mike Pesca at firstname.lastname@example.org came into being late last year to promote their online collectibles business. Editor, Clifford Aliperti says they need articles about pre-1950s stars and sports figures as well as collectibles and they’re willing to pay 5 cents/word for 500 – 1500-word articles. Contact Aliperti at email@example.com. Find out more at http://www.things-and-other-stuff.com is a new children’s magazine featuring stories and facts about other countries. Send articles or art to Hullabaloo Magazine, 954 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024. firstname.lastname@example.org. Payment for fiction and nonfiction is 15-20 cents/word. Cover artists receive $300 and up. They also pay for interior photos. Photographers can earn anywhere from $5 per photo to $75 for inside photos. http://www.hullabaloomagazine.com made its debut in March of this year and the editors seem eager to work with writers who can capture the challenges, the fun and the inspiration of adventure racing and various other outdoor adventure sports. Can you write fascinating accounts of adventure travel, endurance mountain biking, multi-sport training, nutrition for athletes, sports personalities and racing lifestyles, for example? Maybe you can put together a piece on gear for night racing or a review of racing equipment. There are numerous opportunities here for the sports writer as well as the excellent researcher/interviewer. Contact Senior Editor, Lisa Jhung at email@example.com. Or send your query letter to: Adventure Sports, POB 1742, Boulder, CO 80306. Writers/photographers Guidelines: http://www.adventuresportsmagazine.com/contributors/index.html has a new address: POB 29, Westport, CT 06881-0024. has a new articles editor. From now on, address your queries to Denene Milner.