SPAWN Market Update – August, 2004
By Patricia L. Fry
Going, Going, Gone — World and I, Fempreneur and Diogenes all gone
Here’s What’s New – 6 new items to report
Notes of Interest – Is Clinton’s book any good?
Opportunities for Screen Writers – InkTip and HollywoodLitSales
Opportunities for Authors – A contest and book review opportunities
Opportunities for Writers – Can you write about sex?
Opportunities for Artists and Photographers — 8 of them
Research/Reference Sites – Cliché Site and Bureau of Labor Stats
Grammar Site – Tongue Untied
Featured Site – Writers Crossing
Tip for Authors and Writers — Don’t Write That Book!
Interview – Book Publicist, Jennifer Heinly
Coming Next Week — An interview with a successful greeting card writer
The World and I Magazine
House and Garden
Hot Rod Magazine
Emperor’s New Clothes Press
Meg Weaver, Wooden Horse Publishing http://www.woodenhorsepub.com and originator of a searchable magazine database, announced in a recent press release that 60% of all new magazines fail within their first year. She says this is because of the “lemming-like thinking” of the publishers. She says that the three most popular topics of magazines on the newsstands today are regional, sports and nesting. She says, “Most new magazines are aimed at the younger readers with hardly any intended for the rapidly growing population of Americans over fifty.”
R. R. Bowker reports that the most popular book titles are for the juvenile set. Also rising in popularity are biographies, history and religion.
Is Clinton’s book any good? The reviews are coming in from everywhere and at every level and degree of judgment. Some complain that the book doesn’t include the sensationalism expected. Others say the size of the book is intimidating—one reviewer said it weighed about as much as a Jeep Cherokee. Some reviewers like it and some do not. Megan Lane of BBS News Online says that Clinton’s book is sloppy, self-indulgent and eye-crossingly dull. Another reviewer defines it as “undisciplined rambling.” Have you read it, yet? I’d be interested in hearing your opinion. Anyone care to submit a review for the September issue of SPAWNews? Or the Market Update? Submit your review to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zondervan’s Nonfiction Writing Contest
Freelance Writer’s Report
Can you write about sex or astrology? Chad Schelgel, editor for Time Out Chicago is looking for two columnists—one for a sex column and another one who can do horoscopes. Their parent magazine, Time Out New York, also has a few jobs open. Learn more at http://www.timeoutny.com/hiring.
Can you write a book review? Whether you want to review books or have your book reviewed, the Review and Author site should meet your needs. It’s an email list where authors and reviewers can connect. Network with other authors and reviewers and learn where the opportunities are. You must register, but it’s free. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/reviewerandauthor
Cold Blooded Games
There is a request on the Internet for an illustrator/animator. Find out more at email@example.com.
Kitty Ma at firstname.lastname@example.org is seeking a graphic designer to start in Petaluma, CA January 1, 2005.
Photographers wanted. Are you a photographer? Do you like to travel? Check out the opportunities for photographers at http://www.travel-images.com.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Tongue Untied
Tips for Authors and Writers—Don’t Write That Book
Yes, you read me right, don’t write that book—at least, until you have done some preliminary research. Of course, if you are writing it just to please and appease yourself, go ahead. But if you have any intentions of marketing the book—of making a name for yourself in the industry or retiring on the royalties—STOP writing and start studying.
The first step in writing a nonfiction book is not to put pen to paper, but to study the market. Find out:
Honest answers to these questions can save you a lot of money and heartache, but only if you are willing to act on your findings. Before you write the book, you need to be able to:
If you are adamant about writing the book of your dreams, at least wait until you have found a publisher or an agent who is interested in the concept. Most publishers and agents want to see a query letter first. If they like your book idea, they will request an outline and sample chapters, a book proposal or the complete manuscript. They might look at your proposal and suggest a very different direction for your book. If you have already written the book, it will be more difficult to make that shift.
Your preliminary research might indicate that there are scads of books on your topic—dog grooming, for example. But you might notice that there are very few books on grooming specific breeds of dog. You may decide to write a series of booklets featuring grooming techniques and styles for specific breeds of dog.
Before writing a book, you should have a clear idea about who your audience is and how the book can be promoted. This is just one of the questions that you are required to answer in a book proposal. Before you write the book, have a clear idea of your audience, how the book can be marketed and what part you will play in the promotional phase of the project. Your chapter outline will tell you whether or not you even have a book.
In order to enter the competitive world of book marketing and promotion, you must answer these questions. This is why I always tell my clients and anyone else who asks, to write a book proposal before writing a nonfiction or fiction book.
Why write a book proposal for a novel? To clarify the plot and the purpose and focus of your story. Before writing a novel you should have:
You must understand what makes a good story and strong characters and know how to write for your audience.
While most of us write from the heart, we must also engage the head. A book is more than something we birthed from a passionate place. If we want to share our message—inspire, educate and/or entertain others through our writing—our book then becomes a product. You wouldn’t spend months and months developing a calendar with the dates printed out of sequence. There’s no way anyone could use it. What would be the point? Nor would you invent a film developing process where each photograph comes out black. The answer to the question, “Who would buy this item?” is pretty clear.
And who would buy your book on how to maintain a cement patio? Probably no one. However, if you expanded your book idea to include designing, building, maintaining and planting for patios and decks—you might have something that will sell.
I know you are passionate about your writing. But, when you get a book idea—step out of passion mode at least long enough to evaluate your project from an intellectual perspective. And then move forward with your heart and your head in perfect harmony.
This month, I interviewed book publicist, Jennifer Heinly.
Q: Please tell us about your work as a book publicist. How did you get started? Describe your business.
A: Book publicity is one of my specialties. I started doing book publicity shortly after I founded my business almost 15 years ago. A freelance writer referred me to a couple who wrote consumer guides for the wedding industry—Alan and Denise Fields with Windsor Peak Press in Boulder. Since that time, I spearheaded publicity campaigns for nearly a dozen books in the areas of fiction, business, construction, autobiographies, consumer guides and psychology.
Q: What do you feel are the most difficult books to promote in this market? Why?
A: Right now, I am promoting a fiction book for a new author and I have garnered a lot of local publicity for his book but it is difficult to compete with more well-known authors represented by larger publishing firms. The other difficulty is we lack a distributor. So, this is my current task to formulate a relationship with a good independent book distributor. If any of your members have some suggestions, feel free to contact me directly. Thanks.
Q: Can you describe the book that has been the most challenging to promote during your career?
A: A business book on the topic of “Six Sigma.” The topic was difficult to understand and hard to develop a good PR angle.
Q: What sort of books are easiest to work with?
A: When I can tie your book into a news trend or position you as an expert in your field to help launch speaking engagements, new business, etc.
Q: What is the most overlooked opportunity authors have for marketing their books?
A: You need to develop a marketing plan for the book which outlines you key competitors, target markets (not everyone is interested in buying your book), distribution channels, publicity, brochures, etc. And, you need to get started early—at least six months before the book is published.
Q: Do you have a favorite type of book to market? Tell us about this.
A: I have really enjoyed working with the Field’s on their consumer guides. They update their books annually so there is always new information which makes it “newsworthy” to the media. In addition, they have positioned themselves as experts in their fields—homebuilding, baby products, and weddings, and are called upon by the media to comment on new trends, products, etc.
Q: What would you tell a potential author about the business of promoting and selling his/her book? How should one prepare for this?
A: As #5 indicated, a plan is key. The other is you need to distant yourself from the product—your book. In other words, be realistic about its strengths and weaknesses. All good marketing plans include a SWOT Analysis—Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Q: Tell us about your proudest moment as a book publicist.
A: I garnered coverage in USA Today, on CNN and several major dailies for my client’s book which translated to an increase in book sales approximately one to two months later for my client.
Q: Here’s your chance to share whatever you want us to know—add anything you wish.
A: I believe strongly in starting with a plan for my clients so we can narrow your target market for the book and be more cost-effective with your PR budget. I don’t believe in the “shotgun method” which many publicists take by sending out news releases to everyone and anyone hoping something “sticks.” Research is really key in developing a good “news angle” for the media.
Q: Please give us your contact information.
I will cover the greeting card market next month and will interview Sandra Miller-Louden who has been writing for greeting cards for 17 years.
. From India, Mridu Khullar operates this Web site for authors and freelance writers. She offers book reviews, articles, jobs, opportunities for writers and more. Sign up for her free newsletter and receive two complimentary e-books worth over $20. http://www.writerscrossing.com is a free online guide to grammar, punctuation and style for journalists. Kellee Weinhold has developed this site through the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Check it out at http://grammar.uoregon.edu. has posted an interesting bulletin at their site. Bulletin 2540 documents statistics related to salaried writers. It describes various types of writers—salaried writers and authors, salaried editors and salaried technical writers. The report talks about working conditions. Did you know that the typical workweek for a writer is 35 – 40 hours? They report that in 2002, writers and editors held about 319,000 jobs. I’m sure that doesn’t include those of us who freelance. And the median annual earnings for salaried writers and authors was $42,790, with 10 percent of writers earning less than $21,320 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $85,140. Of the three categories, salaried technical writers fared the best with an average salary of $50,580. For more information about careers in technical writing, contact the Society for Technical Communications at http://www.stc.org. You’ll find Bulletin 2540 at: http://www.bls.gov/oco/print/ocos089.htm.. We’re cautioned against using clichés in our writing. But in case you ever need one for a story or an article, you can find them on every subject at http://www.clichesite.com. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Check out this site. It’s a kick. is advertising for a pro bono graphic designer. If you’re interested in volunteering, perhaps, in order to build a portfolio, visit http://www.volunteermatch.org for more information. needs an illustrator for a book. http://www.coldbloodedgames.com.. Here, you will find job listings for artists and writers. Listed today are jobs for fine art painters in Phoenix and an artist for employment at an elementary school in Oakland, CA. http://www.artistresource.org. lists opportunities for artists. Subscribe at http://www.artdeadline.com. The cost is $24-year. also publishes photographs, drawings, paintings and art all for its own sake. Visit their Web site for guidelines. http://www.newletters.org. . Does your book appeal to authors/writers? Get it reviewed in Freelance Writer’s Report. http://www.writers-editors.com. Contact Dana Cassell at email@example.com.. If you have a literary title or poetry book, you might land a review at New Letters. Find submission guidelines at: http://www.newletters.org/submissions.asp. Basically, they want to receive a hard copy (no email submissions) between the months of November and April. You might note this on your calendar. New Letters also welcomes poems and creative nonfiction pieces for publication at their site. And they will accept written reviews for literary titles. So rather than asking them to review your book and, perhaps, waiting until they have time, you can have someone else review your book and submit the review to their site. http://www.newletters.org. offers book reviews, but your book must fit the theme of the month. Go to http://www.smartwriters.com, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the “editorial calendar.” The theme for August is sex. October’s theme is horror and fantasy. In November, it’s crafts and gift books. . Do you have a manuscript that Zondervan Publishers might be interested in? If you have a manuscript that would appeal to a Christian audience, you might want to enter it in Zondervan’s faith-based nonfiction writing contest. The grand prize is $1,000 and a trip to Zondervan to discuss your publishing contract. Deadline, August 31, 2004. They want to see a manuscript of 50,000-75,000 words. Find out more at http://www.whatsinyourhead.com or request guidelines at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!. Here’s a site for those of you with screenplays to pitch. Here you’ll find information, products and news of screenplays that have sold, for example. I found this site to be a treasure trove of information. http://www.hollywoodlitsales.com (formerly Writers’ Script Network) is offering exposure for screen writers on their site. You may recognize the name Jerrol LeBaron. He is the president of this organization. http://www.inktip.com is an internet-based publishing company founded in 2003. They publish fiction. But don’t get too excited, yet. They don’t want any submissions until mid 2005. Mark your calendar and then contact publisher Olga Gardner Galvin. Watch for submission guidelines at http://www.encpress.com. has moved. If you rely on Writer’s Market, make this change in the listing. 2080 Cabot Blvd., West, Ste. 201, Langhorne, PA 19047-1813 has been redesigned. If you have a knack for writing about hot rods, you’ve got to check out the changes at http://www.hotrod.com. is a new magazine for baby boomers and seniors. This California publication features articles and resources related to health, home, family, career, finance and travel. They pay 10 cents/word. Contact Joan Yankowitz at email@example.com or Uptown Marketing Publication, 7309 E. Saddlehorn Way, Orange, CA 92869. , Inc. publishes 6 – 8 titles per year and offers a $500 to $1000 advance. They are interested in quite a strange variety of topics—theology, politics, current events, heroic/rescue dog stories, self-help, poker (Texas hold ‘em) and gardening. Contact Lori Adams or John Gollehon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their Web site at http://www.gollehonbooks.com. is up and running. They publish how-to, illustrated and reference books for kids ages 13-18. But the publisher claims that their books must also appeal to a broader audience of young adults who are seeking the basics. They publish books on art, architecture, contemporary culture, creative nonfiction and hobbies. They are also interested in fantasy and comic books. Contact Pamela Wissman at email@example.com. This is an imprint of FW Publications at 4700 E. Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45236. may be closing, as well. is quitting. may have ceased publishing. My query letter was returned marked “addressee unknown” and my attempt to locate them on the Internet has failed. If anyone knows the fate of Intuition, please let us know. firstname.lastname@example.org may have gone out of business. I haven’t been able to confirm this. Does anyone out there have information about this publishing house? is temporarily shut down. There are rumors flying about the editorial staff. They maintain that everything is kosher an