SPAWN Market Update – August, 2008
By Patricia L. Fry
Going, Going, Gone – A dozen bookstores close and 4 magazines fail.
Here’s What’s New – 3 new mags, a publishing merger, B&N gets a new leader; the 2009 Writer’s Market is out and MORE!
Opportunities for Authors – HarperCollins to form new publishing model; Beatitude Press seeks submissions; Cover design tips; Promote your children’s book through over 50 mags.
Opportunities for Writers – St. Louis Writers Guild needs a leader; 15 places to sell your personal stories; Tips for writing for trade magazines.
Book Promotion Opportunities – NPR doing more book reviews; Over a dozen book festivals throughout the U.S.
Opportunities for Poets – Thousands of potential poetry publishing opps.
Opportunities for Scriptwriters – Dozens of them, including the Zoetrope; Screenplay Contest.
Opportunities for Artists – A contest for illustrators with professional rewards.
Resources – Webook for Writers and an Acronym-Finder site.
News Bites – No more NY Times reviews for Encounter Books authors; PCIP cost going up; There’s more competition than ever for your book.
Editorial Comment – Why you should write that book BEFORE you retire; The mulching of perfectly good books; Why it’s important to stay tuned into changes; Are publishers and agents becoming more remote?
Too darn many independent bookstores are closing. These have been added to the list of failed and closing bookstores this year:
Local Hero, the only independent new book bookstore left in the small town of Ojai, California has closed. Table of Contents closed a few years ago. (Bart’s Books, a used and rare book bookstore, is still with us.)
Adventures for Kids in Ventura, California closed last month.
Under the Sycamore Tree Bookstore in Grayslake, Illinois closed this month.
All For Kids Books and Music has closed in Seattle.
Olsson’s Books and Records Penn Quarter store in Washington, DC closed in June of this year. And there’s more bad news—some of the large publishers are forcing Olsson Enterprises into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, so more of their stores in other cities are in danger of closing.
Amazon, a feminist bookstore in Minneapolis closed in June after 21 years.
Paperbacks Plus, a 38-year-old bookstore in the Bronx closed in June.
Dutton’s Brentwood Books in Los Angeles closed in April. [Dutton’s was the ideal bookstore where the staff always knew which books had been reviewed recently even if we didn’t remember the titles. They were always open to author signings, especially for Southern California authors. Note added by Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN Executive Director.]
Strand Bookstore in New York closed in June.
Cody’s Books, in Berkeley, California has closed.
Molly’s Books in Philadelphia closed in July.
Add to this the numerous bookstores that have closed in your community over the last 5 or 6 years and it is a sad commentary on the business of books and publishing.
This just in: Bunch of Grapes Bookstore on Martha’s Vineyard was severely damaged by fire on July 4th.
Dark Wisdom Magazine is being discontinued in the print version and may be coming out online only.
Tu Ciudad, a lifestyle magazine for Latinos in California, is closing.
Arthur is faltering again. It closed last fall and then came back to life. If someone doesn’t come forward with an infusion of cash, it will close again.
Snowboarding Magazine will soon cease publication.
The 2009 edition of the Writer’s Market is out. According to the editor, Robert Lee Brewer, they have completely updated the “How Much Should I Charge” section. If you’re a freelance writer, editor, graphic artist, comedy writer, photographer, webpage designer, proofreader, etc., you probably refer to this section often. You’ll want to study these pages if you’re an author seeking editorial assistance, a ghostwriter, webpage designer, typist and so forth. If you’re not familiar with the Writer’s Market, you’re probably not interested in publishing. This 1100+ page volume includes tips and articles on writing and publishing topics as well as opportunities for anyone interested in publishing. Brewer says, “The main selling point of Writer’s Market has always been and will always be the thousands of great publishing opportunities afforded in its listings of everything from book publishers and consumer magazines to playwriting markets and greeting card companies.” It is a must in every serious writer’s or author’s writing room. I’ll be purchasing my 36th consecutive edition this year. I wonder if this is some sort of a record!
Baker & Taylor, Inc. has a new head. Thomas Morgan has taken over as chairman and CEO of this mega wholesaling company.
Singular Magazine is new. It celebrates the interests and lifestyles of single adults in Los Angeles age 30 and up. I don’t see anything at their website about submissions just yet. If you’d like to contribute to this magazine, I suggest that you contact them and ask about their submissions policy. http://www.singularcity.com. The only way to contact the editor seems to be through a form at the site.
Natural Dog covers natural products and services for dogs. Contact the parent company for additional information at http://www.bowtieinc.com. The new magazine doesn’t seem to be listed at their website yet.
YouThink Magazine was just purchased by Canada Wide Media. This is a magazine written by teens for teens. http://www.canadawide.com
Kids Can Publish University has launched. This is an arm of Five Star Publications, Inc. If you have a child who is interested in writing and experiencing the joy of publishing, check out Kids Can Publish University at http://www.kidscanpublish.com.
Speaking of kids, some of the most well-known children’s magazines have cut way down on the types of submissions they’re accepting. Children’s Better Health Institute owns 5 children’s magazines: Turtle, Humpty Dumpty, Children’s Playmate, Jack and Jill and Children’s Digest. Currently, however, only 3 of these publications are accepting submissions and what they want are minimal offerings. Turtle, for preschoolers, is accepting brief poems and rebuses (word picture puzzles) as well as simple recipes and science experiments. No fiction stories or nonfiction articles at this time. Humpty Dumpty will only accept poems of 4-12 lines, right now (http://www.humptydumptymag.org) and Children’s Playmate wants short poems (http://www.childrensplaymatemag.org), rebuses and recipes. Jack and Jill and Children’s Digest are not accepting submissions at this time.
Kumarian Press was recently purchased by Stylus Publishing. With this transaction, 13-year-old Kumarian Press is now an imprint of Stylus. Together, they will continue to produce books related to globalization, peace and conflict resolution, the environment, gender issues, microfinance, human rights and international health. They require a book proposal from authors, as so many publishers do, these days. To learn more about this press and their Submission Guidelines, go to http://www.kpbooks.com. Contact editor, Jim Lance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dark Wisdom Magazine (listed under failed magazines above) is planning to release an annual anthology next year. However, submissions are closed for now. If you write dark fiction, check back periodically to see if they are accepting submissions. http://www.darkwisdom.com
Science of Mind Magazine has moved. The new editor is Donna Mosher. You can contact them through their new address at 573 Park Point Drive, Golden, CO 80401. The last time I checked, the new address and editor were not noted at their website: http://www.scienceofmind.com.
Do you want to know more about designing your book cover? Our own Mindy Reed interviews our own Tami Dever on the topic. Check it out at: http://theauthorsassistant.blogspot.com/2008/07/book-covers.html
Have you heard? HarperCollins Publishers is forming a new publishing group that will be similar to the model set by independent book publishers. They have in mind dropping the author’s advance and participating in a profit-sharing program with authors. They will also see what they can do about disallowing the bookseller returns policy. I don’t see anything about this appearing at their website, yet: http://www.harpercollins.com.
Beatitude Press, a Northern California publishing house that published local works only, is branching out and soliciting manuscripts from writers everywhere. They are seeking fiction (including science fiction), nonfiction, children’s books, memoirs and academic works as well as poetry. Submit your work by mail or electronically. http://www.beatitudepress.com. Or Beatitude Press, 1731 10th St., Ste. A, Berkeley, CA 94710. Warning: Before signing anything with this or any other publisher, make sure that you understand the contract. I can’t find anything at Beatitude’s site to indicate whether they are a traditional royalty publisher or a subsidy publisher.
Are you interested in writing children’s books? Do you hope to land a publisher and sell thousands of copies of your book? Then you might want to start establishing your platform NOW to develop your following. How? Write stories for children’s publications and websites so you will become known as a children’s writer/storyteller. Develop a reputation among young readers, parents, educators, librarians and school administrators. Here are a few listings to help you get started:
For a directory of children’s magazines, visit http://www.childrensmag.com. Go to http://www.childrensmag.com/magindexed.html and you’ll find links to 65 children’s magazines. Next, visit the websites and study each magazine’s submission guidelines. Here, you will discover what type of submissions they are seeking, for what age group, whether they wish to receive the complete manuscript or a query letter (introducing the article or story idea) and how much they pay, for example. Listed below are some specific children’s magazines that solicit fiction submissions.
Calliope explores the world of history for 8 to 14 year olds. Check the monthly themes before contacting them so you’re on track with your submission. And, of course, study the Writer’s Guidelines. Editor Rosalie Baker wants to see a query letter first, a writing sample and a bibliography relating to the research you’ve conducted for your historical piece. They will consider plays, biographies, essays, nostalgia, how to, travel and more. They also publish fiction. They buy a total of about 50 manuscripts each year of 300 to 800 words and will pay 20 to 25 cents/word. Contact Baker through the website at http://www.cobblestonepub.com.
Highlights for Children uses a variety of fiction. They want to see the complete manuscript. The word count depends on the type of story and the age of the reader. Study their Guidelines for Writers. http://www.highlights.com. To locate their extensive Guidelines for Writers, go to the site, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “About Us.” You’ll see “Contributor Guidelines” listed in a box to the right toward the top of the page. Click here to get to that page.
Characters uses about 40 fiction stories of 1,500 words per year. They don’t pay much, but this could be a great addition to your platform. Contact Cindy Davis at email@example.com. http://mm.csdmail.com/~khull/Characters.html
Stories for Children Magazine is an ezine for children ages 3 to 12 and includes short stories, articles, poems, puzzles, arts and crafts, book reviews and interviews with children’s book authors and illustrators. See submission guidelines at http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org/guidelines.aspx.
If you live in the St. Louis, MO area, you might want to join the St. Louis Writers Guild. In fact, they’re currently seeking a leader. With the resignation of President Robin Theiss, this 88-year-old organization is soliciting applications. They also need a program chairperson. Learn more at http://www.stlwritersguild.org.
Do you like writing personal essays and stories from life? Chryselle D’Silva Dias has put together a list of 15 magazines that publish personal stories. Check it out at http://www.writing-world.com/creative/fifteen.shtml. FYI, they include Underwired, Creative Nonfiction, Newsweek, Chronogram, The Sun, Orion and the Cup of Comfort series. How much do they pay? Anywhere from $25 to $1,000 per piece.
Have you ever considered writing for trade magazines? Maybe you aren’t an expert on architecture, plumbing, energy, the wholesale trade or automobiles. But, if you can write on office relationships, how to give a really good presentation, intuition in the office place, tips for the most cost effective shipping, feng shui for the office or how to train a new office manager in 3 days, you could make a sale. With some research, you could probably write a humor piece for School Transportation News and earn $300; you might sell an interview/profile article to Operations and Fulfillment and walk away $1,800 richer; or come up with an article featuring an aspect of physicians in career transition (how to handle the goodbyes, tips for fitting into the new hospital environment, etc.) for Unique Opportunities and earn $2,000. Take what you know, whether it is sales, management, organization, public speaking, bookkeeping, vacation-planning or pet sitting and gear it toward almost any type of trade magazine.
Opportunities for Book Promotion has expanded book coverage on its website. They’ve hired six new book reviewers and will add weekly book reviews. They will also add more author podcasts, critic’s lists and other book-oriented content. Learn more at http://www.npr.org.
National Public Radio
Take Your Nonfiction Book to a Conference
If you’ve written a nonfiction book, chances are you are somewhat of an expert in your field—or, now that you are an author, you are thought to be one. You go out and speak on the topic of your book. Why not travel around to conferences related to the topic of your book? Start by studying the conferences listed at All Conferences (http://www.allconferences.com) or at the Shaw Guide (http://www.shawguides.com). You’ll discover conferences for professionals in business, health, social sciences, recreation, arts and humanities, science and technology fields as well as pets, farming, medicine and more. Maybe you have a book featuring help for America’s troubled youth—well, guess what? There’s a conference scheduled in Portland, Oregon October 9-12 on “Breakthrough strategies for working with troubled youth.” Attend the “Renewing Mind, Spirit and Body” conference in Kauai, Hawaii, October 12.
If you want to locate a conference near you or in a city you plan to visit, do an internet search using keywords such as, “Los Angeles health conference,” “Spokane pet conference,” “telecommunications conference, New York,” for example.
So, what do you do once you locate a conference on your topic? Contact the conference program director and ask to be put on the schedule. Come up with some good presentation ideas to offer and be prepared with a program description and a bio.
Do you get paid for these gigs? Sometimes you are paid expenses, other times you may be offered a stipend and you pay travel expenses. It all depends on the conference and their budget.
Book Festivals by the Dozen
Another great way to sell books and to get exposure for your fiction or nonfiction book is by attending book festivals. Rent a booth or share a booth with someone with a compatible book or product. Locate book festivals through an internet search (“Las Vegas Book Festival,” “Book Festival Atlanta,” “New York Book Fair,” for example) or go to http://www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/bookfair.html.
Here are over a dozen book festivals and book fairs held from California to Vermont and many cities in between during the fall, 2008 season.
Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge, October 4, 2008
Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX, November 1 and 2, 2008
Santa Barbara Book Festival in Santa Barbara, CA, September 28-29, 2008
Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, Georgia, August 29-31, 2008
Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison, Wisconsin October 15-19, 2008
Burlington Book Festival in Burlington, Vermont September 12-14
Fall for the Book Festival in Fairfax, Virginia, September 23-26
Collingswood Book Festival, Collingswood, New Jersey October 4, 2008
Twin Cities Book Festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 11, 2008
Sonoma County Book Festival in Santa Rosa, California, September 20, 2008
Orange County Children’s Book Festival in Costa Mesa, California, October 5, 2008
Red Dirt Book Festival in Shawnee, Oklahoma, November 2-3
SC Book Festival in Columbia, South Carolina, February 27-March 1, 2009
Are you familiar with the Poetry Market E-zine? It’s a free publication designed for poets who want to sell their poetry or enter their favorite poems in contests. This publication also publishes reviews of poetry books and chapbooks. Check it out at: http://www.thepoetrymarket.com.
The Poet’s Market, compiled and published by Writer’s Digest Books, boasts over 400 pages of markets, contests and other opportunities for poets. Order yours now at http://www.poetsmarket.com.
I wanted to include dozens more resources for our poetic members and I began the search. So many promising sites offering such a variety of opportunities came up during my search that I decided to leave the choices to you. Here’s what I suggest, type “sell your poetry” in the Google prompt and enjoy the smorgasbord. You’ll see a site pointing out poetry scams. This is valuable information that every poet who wants to publish should understand. You’ll find sites and books showing how to write, market and sell your poetry. You’ll find places where you can sell your poetry. You’ll have the opportunity to learn what makes poems sell. You’ll also discover how to market your chapbook. And this encompasses just the listings on the first page of about 366,000 pages during a Google search!!!
Who can bring me the most useful or significant websites related to marketing your poetry? Share them with me and I’ll share them with other SPAWN members through the September, 2008 edition of the SPAWN Market Update. I’ll even go further than that. I’ll publish your poem and/or add a link to your site. (Of course, we prefer poems related to writing and/or publishing.)
Jerrol LeBaron at InkTip.com said he has raised his prices for placing scripts at his site. As of July 11, 2008, the new fee is $60.
Here are a few leads from Jerrol LeBaron’s InkTip Newsletter:
Izzicupo Entertainment is seeking contemporary true crime MOW (Movie of the Week) scripts with female leads. Do you have a feature-length, family-friendly film script that features a movie? Perhaps you have written a mystery or thriller set in British locations or one set in Germany.
For additional information on these and other scripts being requested, subscribe to the free InkTip newsletter. http://www.inktip.com. You can also sign up for their preferred newsletter for a fee. Learn more at: http://www.inktip.com/newsletterpref.php. If it is leads you are seeking, you may want to subscribe to the preferred edition.
To find classifieds related to film leads, visit http://www.newenglandfilm.com, http://www.donedealpro.com or http://www.hollywoodlitsales.com. Some of these sites charge for listings, but I didn’t notice any fees that were out of line.
Scriptapalooza Inc. announces their 2008 American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest. The early deadline is August 1 (fee $35). The regular deadline is September 2 ($50). What do they want? They respond to every question imaginable at http://www.zoetrope.com/contests. Click on “Frequently Asked Questions.” The winner will receive $5,000 prize money. The winner and ten finalists will be considered for representation by any one of a list of 10 agencies and their scripts will be considered for film option and development by the likes of Samuel Goldwyn Films, Sony Pictures Classics, Paramount Classics, Lionsgate, Robert Evans Company and others. If you have a screenplay ready or almost ready to go, this just might be the break you’ve been hoping for.
Georgia A. Greeley of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) and the Minnesota Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (MNSCBW) has opened submissions for their Illustrator Competition July 1, 2008. Artists are invited to create illustrations to accompany poems that won their children’s poetry contest. Winning illustrations will be featured in Reflections, a juried exhibit at MCBA running March 20 through May 2, 2009. Learn more about this opportunity at http://www.mnbookarts.org.
Stories for Children Magazine is seeking illustrators for their online magazine. Marie Letourneau is the editor of this section. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the illustrators guidelines at http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org/guidelines.aspx.
Have you heard of WEbook? It is being touted as a virtual theme park for writers who want to take a stab at the book they’ve been thinking about in the shower for years. It’s for anyone who is interested in writing the perfect (or even an imperfect) sentence. Evidently, at WEbook, you can share your writing with others and even participate in community writing projects. And it’s all FREE. If you’re having trouble getting a start on that novel or writing a short story that wants to come out, visit WEbook at http://www.webook.com.
Do you sometimes stumble across acronyms that you can’t decipher? It happened to me while working on this edition of the Market Update. I didn’t know what a MOW script was. In the process of my research, I came across Acronym Finder. Check it out at http://www.acronymfinder.com.
There’s a new author’s forum in town. Carol Denbow is hosting the Book Inside Forum at http://abookinsideforum.ning.com. I found it a straight forward forum with interesting topics pertinent to new authors.
New Words in Dictionary
Every year new words are added to the dictionary. And the strange thing is that these are not words that vocabulary experts are recommending we use. These are words that have become common through our regular everyday usage. If you wonder why some of the words listed below are familiar, it’s because you’ve been using them for a while.
Texas Hold ’em, for example. Some of you may be surprised to learn that it hasn’t been in the dictionary all along. For those of you who don’t know, this is a variety of poker. How long have you been kiteboarding? Hmmm, my spellcheck put the red squiggly line under the word. Spellcheck will have to be updated because kiteboarding (the sport of riding on a small surfboard cross the water, propelled by a large kite) is now in the dictionary. Webinar is now officially a word. It was coined in 1998 to describe a live, online educational presentation. Netroots was coined in 2003 to indicate a grassroots political activist who communicates via the internet. It made it into the dictionary this year. Pescatarian, did too. A pescatarian is a vegetarian whose diet includes fish. And foreign words continue to make it into English dictionaries: Prosecco, for example, a dry Italian sparkling wine and Sofu, a Korean vodka that is distilled from rice.
Publisher Disses NY Times Review Opportunity
I wonder how many publishers are giving up on the idea of having their authors’ books reviewed by the major reviewers. In June, Roger Kimball, publisher at Encounter Books, announced that he would no longer send review copies to the New York Times. He said that the Times ignored most of his titles and, when the Times’ reviewer, Sam Tanenhaus, does review a book, Kimball doesn’t believe that they get an objective reading.
Donohue Group Raises Price of PCIP
Pat McCurdy-Crescimanno of the Donohue Group contacted me in July to let me know that they have raised their prices for the PCIP (Publishers Cataloging-in-Publication). For regular delivery (within 2 weeks) $75. Rush (3 biz days), $100. Order at their website, http://www.dgiinc.com/pcipform.htm
How Many Books Are Published in a Day?
According to a recent Publisher’s Weekly article, 3,000 books are published every day. Well, R.R. Bowker has tallied the number of books published in 2007 and came up with a figure of over 400,000. This is about 100,000 more than in 2006. This only computes to just over 1,000 books being published every day. It’s still a huge sum and it means a tremendous amount of competition for authors today. How does one overcome the obvious challenges? You’ve taken a good step forward by joining SPAWN and by reading this edition of the SPAWN Market Update. I suggest that you also do the following:
At least check out and consider the advice and suggestions from these experts
Experience Greater Success: Write a Book BEFORE You Retire
It hit home with me this month that many hopeful authors are missing the boat of publishing success. How? They wait to write the book of their dreams until after they retire. Those of you who are holding off starting your career as an author until you’re no longer encumbered by a job, I suggest that you rethink your decision. Sure, you will have the time to write once you retire, but it occurs to me that you have an even better chance at publishing success while you are still working. Why? For starters, if you write a book or series of booklets related to your field or expertise, you have the support and resources of your company and colleagues to help you succeed in your venture. You have business connections to help you meet sales goals. And you have a platform and the credentials to impress the appropriate publisher. Besides, a well-thought-out nonfiction book by an expert is easier to publish and sell than fiction, memoirs or children’s books, for example. And this is an excellent way to test the publishing waters and to learn your way around the publishing block. Read my blog entry on this topic at http://www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog/?p=282 and consider starting your publishing career while you have the best possible chance for success.
The Mulching of Books
You’ve heard about “Returns,” but do you know what happens to many of the unsold books that booksellers return to publishers? They are ground up, destroyed—some say “recycled.” But the common term used amidst the industry is “mulch.” When publishers don’t feel they can continue to sell copies of your book—when its lifespan on earth is deemed over—they typically have all copies ground up. You might find Jonathan Karp’s June 29, 2008 column on this topic in the Washington Post interesting and enlightening. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/27/AR2008062702868_pf.html
It’s Important to Stay Tuned into Changes
In her Wooden Horse Newsletter, Meg Weaver notes 36 editorial changes—a reminder that we really must stay tuned into the magazine industry. Why?
Those of you who have been writing for magazines for a while may recall the name Rieva Lesonsky. She was the editor over at Entrepreneur for many years. Well no longer. She is now editor at large at AllBusiness.com.
Country Living promoted Robin Long Mayer to decorating director. So watch to see the new name for her former position, senior editor decorating and lifestyle.
Do you submit to photos and art? Note that Lisa Berman is new photo director for Entertainment Weekly.
Michael LaFavore has left his post as editorial director for several Meredith Publishing magazines (Better Home and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal and others.)
Anne Valdespino is the new senior editor at Orange Coast Magazine.
When you contact Southern Living, the new associate features editor is now Erin Street.
Are Publishers and Agents Becoming More Remote?
Last month I was traveling with my mom. I was also busy doing editorial work with two clients, I started teaching my online article-writing course, I was planning for two upcoming presentations and I had a workshop to develop. I wasn’t sure that I would have time to do the August SPAWN Market Update justice. As you can imagine, it takes many hours of research and study in order to write this monthly newsletter. So, I decided to offer SPAWN members a treat while making the project easier for me to produce. I would conduct online interviews with a few agents and publishers—asking them to respond to the burning questions many of you have about your projects and publishing in general.
I sent out a dozen requests for interviews. I do this periodically—generally, however, only sending one or two interview requests. And I always get a response. Would you believe that none—not even one—of the agents or publishers responded to my request for a brief email interview. It’s a good thing I found the time to pull this issue together and, if I do say so myself, I think it is one of my best efforts. I hope you get the intended value from this edition of the SPAWN Market Update.