SPAWN Market Update – December 2004

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SPAWN Market Update – December, 2004

By Patricia L. Fry

Contents:

Going, Going, Gone – We’ve lost three more old friends

Here’s What’s New – 7 NEW Magazines

Opportunities for Authors – Meet 2 extremely prolific publishers; Give Web interviews

Opportunities for Writers – Contests, Contests, Contests

Opportunity for TV Writers – 33 Ways to Break Into Hollywood

Opportunity for Illustrators/Artists – Iguana Magazine needs illustrators

Inspiration for Writers – From LoveMyFiction.com

Notes of Interest – Which mags are HOT, which are not?; Find funding for your book project

Grammar Site – Grammar Slammer

Resources for Writers – Promote your Jewish book; Find writing jobs; A call to action against POD Pubs

Tips for Authors – Considering POD? Think before you sign; 10 ideas for promoting your book for Xmas

Special Interview – Backspace, a new and growing site for writers

Publisher Interview – Denis Kitchen explains Graphic Novels

Bonus Item – 5 Publishing Myths Crushed
Going, Going, Gone

ASPCA Animal Watch

Women’s Review of Books

Nest

Here’s What’s New

Red Hat Society Lifestyle

Paper and Ink Quarterly

Plains Faith Magazine

Hombre

iCaramba U Magazine

Iguana

Maryland Life

Opportunities for Authors

Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc

Leisure Books

First Voice

Opportunities for Writers

Writing on the Run

A Cup of Comfort for Spirituality

Tampa Review Prize for Poetry

Writer’s Digest

Write it Right Quarterly Essay Contest

El Dorado Writers’ Guild

Opportunity for TV Writers

Hal Croasman has created a “map” to help writers break into television writing. It’s a program called “33 Ways to Break Into Hollywood.” And it’s FREE. Find out more at http://www.writesafe.com or http://www.scriptforsale.com.

Opportunity for Illustrators/Artists

Iguana Magazine

Inspiration for Writers

I read this in the November, 2004 issue of Musings from LoveMyFiction and just had to share it with you. Editor Mary-Jo Holmes writes from her heart:

“Believing in what we cannot see takes tremendous faith . . . and I’m not talking religion now. I’m talking about talent—your talent as a writer. Possessing the self-confidence to write every day, fleshing out stories, essays, articles, poems, requires a certain attitude—a positive attitude. Trusting in your ability without the six-digit publishing contract can be difficult, to say the least. Daily skepticism surfaces, diverting your attention and conviction that you’re doing something meaningful. Don’t get bogged down in misgivings. Believe in yourself and have faith in your writing. Hang on to the intangible gift you possess and don’t let fear of rejection or the condescending remark of some jealous person or the harsh review of any critic shake your confidence. You are fabulous . . . you are a writer!”

 

Mary-Jo Holmes, Musings at http://www.mary-jo-holmes.com/. Click on Musings button.

Notes of Interest

Hot Topics

According to The National Directory of Magazines, lifestyle magazines are on the rise. Other growing categories include, crafts, golf and politics. Standing their ground with the highest numbers of publications are student/alumni, religion/spiritual and medicine. And those declining categories include management and history. This ought to help you decide which article ideas to table for a while and which ones to pitch this season.

Find funding for your Project

Have you ever considered getting a business or organization interested in financing your book project? A publisher recently made this suggestion to me in her rejection letter. She said that they would be very interested in my manuscript, “The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell a Book” if I could find them a business or organization that would support the project financially. Interesting concept, isn’t it? I believe this may be a direction that we authors will have to seriously consider in the future. What concerns me is how muddied the royalty system will get with so many fingers in the pot.

Have any of you had any experience soliciting financial backing for a book project? I would like to know and I’m sure that members would find this information interesting, as well. Contact me at patricia@spawn.org.

Grammar Site

Grammar Slammer

Resources for Writers

JewishBookMarketingGroup.com.

Olswanger also has a Web site linked to several publishers of Jewish books. Check it out at http://www.olswanger.com.

JustMarkets.com

Call to Action

Tips for Authors

Another frightening experience for a POD published author

“Experience the thrill of life as a published author.” This is the advertising line that AuthorHouse is using to entice hopeful authors. And it is a thrill to hold your book (your baby) in your hands and contemplate sharing it with thousands of readers who will adore your “baby” as much as you do. I caution authors, however, to be extremely well informed before signing with a POD publisher.

Just last week, another new POD published author contacted me with his tale of woe. “Here I am a published author and I don’t have a clue as to what to do now. How do you get your book into bookstores?”

I researched several of the POD publishers’ Web sites recently and found that some of them actually do provide information about book promotion. Far too many authors, however, take one look and say, “Yeah, yeah, now let’s go ahead and print this book.” Once your bank account is empty and you’ve hocked your computer to purchase a box of your own books, you stare at them sitting in the corner of your living room wondering what to do next.

What did you expect? Did you think that people would come knocking at your door in search of a book like yours? Did you think that one visit to a local bookstore would start a frenzy over your books? Probably, you were pretty sure that the POD publisher would have sold several hundred copies by now. Not likely.

In fact, did you know that some of the most well-known POD publishers claim that their authors sell an average of 100 books per title? That doesn’t even generate enough change for you to go out to dinner and a movie. How in the heck are you going to buy that spacious home on the Riviera?

If you have a book idea or a manuscript ready to publish and you hope to sell thousands of copies, STOP. Don’t proceed until you are sure you have a marketable product, you have established your target audience and you know how to reach them. You need to have a promotional plan in place before even thinking about publishing that book. And this is true whether you are seeking a traditional publisher, considering self-publishing or are hell bent on going with a POD publisher.

Your first step before ever putting pen to paper should be to write a book proposal. SPAWN is offering a new 32-page ebook called How to Write a Successful Book Proposal in 8-Days or Less. If you want to produce a successful book and successfully promote it, you must read this booklet. Order the book for $12 at http://www.spawn.org/ebooks/pfry2/index.html or go to http://www.spawn.org and click on “ebooks.”

A profitable book promotion lesson learned

A SPAWN member learned a good lesson a few weeks ago. She sent me a notice announcing the second edition of her book and she included a pitch to buy it. I sent her a check in the next day’s mail. Later, she emailed me to say that she had almost skipped my name in her recent email grouping since I already knew about her book and had seen it a couple of times. What she didn’t know was that when I first saw the book, it sparked an interest. Each time I heard about it, I thought, “Someday, I’m going to buy a copy of that book.” And when she contacted me recently, that was the day. The lesson we both learned that day was to never second guess a potential customer. You may feel as though you’re bugging people with your promo material, when, actually you may be just reminding them of something they intend doing anyway.

And what about people who have already bought a copy your book? They could still be potential customers. My customers sometimes buy additional copies of my books as gifts. I’ve had customers purchase another copy after losing theirs in a move or after loaning it to someone. I’ve found that the only thing that stops the sale of a book is when the author stops promoting it.

Book promotion ideas for December

Here we are in the busiest month of the year. But it’s also a great time of year for selling gift books. Would your book make a good gift? Are there people out there who would love to share your book with friends and family? This month, use all of your creative juices to design new ways to present your book(s) as gifts. Here are 10 ideas to get you started:

  1. Remind your family and friends about your book and suggest how they might use it as a gift—include a book on gardening in a gift basket with gardening tools, bulbs and packages of seeds, for example. Give a local history book to a new neighbor. A book of delightful stories or poems is always a good gift idea for several people on anyone’s Christmas list. This goes for a novel, too.
  2. Mention your books at work—bring them in to pass around and take orders.
  3. Wrap several copies of your book so attractively that people can’t resist purchasing them as gifts.
  4. Send your Christmas cards out early with a discount coupon for any copies of your book(s) they buy during the month of December.
  5. Sell something with your book—accompany your book with something useful or fun. Include a mug, a package of hot cocoa mix and a cinnamon stick with your novel, for example. Of course, you’ll have to charge a little more to cover costs.
  6. If you belong to a club or organization, take your artfully wrapped books and offer them for sale to fellow club members as gifts.
  7. Ask appropriate specialty store proprietors if they would display and sell your book for the holidays. Provide your own point-of-purchase display. My luau book does well in kitchen stores, for example. A book related to animals might be a hot seller at local pet stores, feed stores and veterinarians’ offices. If your book does well, the proprietor may want to carry it year round.
  8. Take your children’s book to school. Offer to read from your book or create a play from your book with the children taking on the character roles. Send order forms home with each child.
  9. Invite neighbors in for a poetry or novel reading. Create an atmosphere related to the theme of your book and find a way to have plenty of audience participation.
  10. Arrange to speak before various civic organization meetings this month. Rather than pitch your book, share the story around your publishing experience or talk about why you wrote the book or teach from the book. Of course, plan to sell books in the back of the room after the meeting.

Choose an idea or two from this list or put on your thinking cap and you’ll surely come up with ideas that will fit within your comfort zone and time constraints.

Special Interview

This month I take pleasure in introducing Chris Graham and Karen Dionne who have recently launched a writers’ resource Web site called, Backspace. Here’s their story:

Q: Tell me about Backspace. When did you form this organization and why?

A: Backspace was conceived in April 2004 as a semi-private writer’s discussion forum after the open, public forum where Karen and I had participated for several years was hit by a particularly vicious troll. This jealous writer went beyond the usual Internet rantings that often plague such sites, becoming obsessed with Karen and another author and trying by various means to ruin their publishing careers. After one memorable weekend during which he threatened anyone who had achieved even a modicum of publishing success, Karen presented the idea to me of setting up a private discussion forum where those who wished could talk about writing in a more serious, professional atmosphere. As it happened, I had been thinking along the same lines, not so much because of this troll, but because while discussion forums are potentially very beneficial, public, lightly moderated forums are subject to a whole host of problems: silly nuisance posts from people just passing through who aren’t serious about wanting answers, non-writing related posts, arguments, and other useless topics that only clutter up the boards. I had often felt that a more closely regulated forum would be a substantial improvement, so Karen and I selected our software, got the discussion forums ready, emailed invitations to all of the writers in our address books, and opened our doors.

In the first 24 hours, 52 members joined, and one week later Backspace’s membership had climbed to 98. It was then that Karen and I realized the enormity of what we had done: not only had we assembled a very large group of talented, accomplished writers in the space of little more than a week (about a third were already agented or published), but because Backspace belonged to us, we could do with it essentially as we wished. We began to imagine all the good things we could arrange for the group, and our guest speaker program was born. Since our very first guest, C. Michael Curtis of The Atlantic Monthly, Backspace’s guest speaker program has been a terrific success and an invaluable addition to the site—a unique opportunity for members to interact not only with each other, but with bestselling authors, literary agents, acquisitions editors, and other publishing professionals in a relaxed, helpful, well-moderated atmosphere.

The guest speaker program attracted still more members, and our ever-growing membership in turn enabled us to schedule even more celebrated guests. By the end of two months, Backspace had grown to well over two hundred members and Lee Child, Ed Sanchez, Elizabeth George, and other publishing professionals were regularly conducting question and answer sessions with the group. Karen and I joked that Backspace was the best-kept secret on the web, but in truth we knew it was too good a thing to keep all to ourselves, so we began working on a public home page area in order to share Backspace’s supportive “writers helping writers” spirit with the rest of the Internet writing community.

During our earlier search for quality writing-related websites we had found that some sites offered excellent content, but had very little participation in their discussion forums. Other sites had busy forums, but their home page content was outdated and in many cases not even relevant. Because our discussion forums were already terrific, we knew that if we could assemble meaningful, up-to-date, and ever-changing home page content similar to what Publisher’s Marketplace provides for industry professionals, Backspace had the potential to become THE premier writer’s resource on the web. The participation and support that Backspace continues to garner from top authors, agents, and editors along with its near-exponential growth confirms what our instincts had already told us: that in creating the kind of site that we as writers wanted, we’d discovered a need.

Q: What do you feel is your most important contribution to writers?

A: Probably the most important contribution that Backspace has made to date is providing a sense of community to our members who represent every stage of the publishing process, from wet-behind-the-ears-newbies to a New York Times bestselling author. Backspace gives writers a place where they can network with other writers no matter where they live, in addition to offering them the opportunity to ask specific questions of visiting editors, publicity experts, and literary agents. By creating the public home page area and filling it with information and articles from a variety of publishing professionals, we hope that part of the site will become just as valuable to non-members and the general public as the discussion forums are to our members. We’d like everyone who visits the home pages, whether they write fiction or non-fiction, whether they are published or not, to be able to take something useful away.

Q: I find it interesting that you two, Karen and Chris, are partners in the Web site, yet you’ve never met. Would you share some of the challenges of working together from a distance?

A: Backspace has certainly been a learning experience. When we began this project we never dreamed that in a few months’ time we’d be business partners in an endeavor of this magnitude—or that we’d be spending hours each day looking after the diverse needs of hundreds of members, working with bestselling authors and agents from some of the country’s biggest agencies assembling content for the site, scheduling speakers for the discussion forums, and now this—talking to SPAWN members in our first industry interview. From the inception of the idea to this very morning as we answer these questions, the pace of this venture has been non-stop, so to be honest, we haven’t had a whole lot of time even to reflect on what problems may have developed due to the fact that we haven’t met in person or talked on the phone.

Interestingly enough, trust or the lack thereof has never been an issue between us, even though when we began Backspace, we were virtual strangers. We both have no problem expressing ourselves or speaking our minds, and by being tolerant of one another’s opinion and realizing that one person cannot possibly accomplish what we have done together, it has actually been a pleasure working as partners. We have the same goals for the site and think so similarly that we sometimes wonder if we were identical twins in a former life, yet we work in separate capacities with individual responsibilities that have very little overlap. We never really sat down and decided on a specific division of labor; we both just pitch in as we see a need, doing whatever it is we happen to be good at. It turns out Karen’s a whiz at networking, whereas I have a talent for sales. I take care of all the technical behind the scenes work, while Karen runs the guest speaker program, solicits content, and looks after new members, and we both work equally hard at promotion. I really don’t see how this website would be possible without both of us giving it everything we have to give.

Q: What is your background in writing/publishing? (I’d like to hear from each of you on this one.)

Chris: I was a Communications Major in college and went on to become a journalist for a daily newspaper. I worked in that capacity for a couple of years before realizing that covering the news was not as lucrative as I’d hoped. From there I went into sales to cover my finances and writing fiction to satisfy my creative needs. I’ve had numerous articles published in daily and weekly newspapers, a few magazine articles, and have done a great deal of promotional ad copy throughout my career. My next goal is to break into the world of Big Publishing.

Karen: I started writing fiction about six years ago. I’ve published a handful of short stories in small literary journals, one of which won a contest. I’m also a senior editor at NFG magazine, a print literary journal out of Toronto, Canada, I operate a query and synopsis critiquing business (http://www.kldionne.com), and have an agent representing my techno-thrillers. I too, plan to break into the world of Big Publishing soon.

Q: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing writers today? How does your organization help writers meet these challenges?

A: There are several challenges facing writers today. The markets are shrinking and the rare slots available to specific genres for first-time authors are extremely limited. Most publishers will continue to put their money behind proven sellers, which makes it very difficult for a new author to break in. Consolidation in the publishing industry is also limiting the number of channels available for a first-time author to find a publisher who believes in their work and will spend the necessary time and money to see it through to fruition.

We help by giving writers a forum where they can interact with others who are presented with the same challenges, as well as those who have managed to overcome these challenges and find out how/why this was possible. On the home pages we not only offer writers a chance to learn from the agents and editors who are in effect the gate-keepers in the process, we also use the traffic the site generates to garner our published members much-needed publicity by exposing their work to a wider audience.

Q: I see that you like to feature guests to respond to members’ questions. Tell us about some of your scheduled guests.

A: Our guest speaker archives boast many award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors such as Lee Child (author of the popular Jack Reacher series) and Elizabeth George, as well as other publishing professionals: literary agents Jenny Bent (Trident Media Group) and Dan Lazar (Writers House), acquisitions editors Stacy Boyd (Harlequin/Silhouette), Kristen Weber (Mysterious Press/Warner Books), and Natasha Graf (McGraw-Hill Trade), New York Post books reviewer Sara Nelson, Renni Browne, author of a popular how-to book for writers, blogger Maud Newton, independent film-maker Ed Sanchez (“The Blair Witch Project”), and many more.

Upcoming guest speakers include literary agents Jeff Kleinman (Graybill & English) and Nick Ellison (Sanford J. Greenburger & Assoc.), and authors Stephen Elliott, Chris Bohjalian, Jeffrey Deaver, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Weis, Barry Eisler, Rick Riordan, and Robert Crais.

Q: Do you have any anecdotes depicting how members have been helped by some of the guests or your Web site?

A: Lee Child offered blurbs to two of our newly published authors as a result of his visit; another member was invited to submit her novel to a visiting acquisitions editor; a recent visit from a professional books publicist helped another newly published author decide if she wanted to go that route when it came time to promote her novel; a member who had just received the copyedits for his first novel but who didn’t quite know what to do with them got answers from several of our published members—how many examples did you want?

Q: What’s the most popular part of your site?

A: The discussion forums are by far the most popular part of the website. Our members are a highly dynamic group of individuals who have a great deal of talent and experience along with a willingness to share and to help their fellow writers. The forums are moderated to keep the discussions on track, and since we’ve opened the group to the public we’ve instituted a $30/yr subscription fee that acts as filter and helps to keep the not-so-serious writers from clogging the discussion with topics that have nothing to do with writing. We do, however, offer a free 5-day trial so people can read and participate to determine if Backspace is something they think will be beneficial to their goals as a writer.

The Featured Agent profiles on the home pages are also very popular since they include up-to-date information on agents’ recent and forthcoming sales as well as their favorite tips for writers. Our conference review pages get a lot of hits because they offer writers who are thinking about attending a particular conference a preview of what they might expect. Both members and non-members are welcome to submit conference reviews and book reviews, by the way, and we’d love to add more of these to the site. Material can be sent to submit@bksp.org.

Q: What is your most common advice to writers who want to be published?

A: Learn everything you can about the industry, the process, and the people who make the decisions. Network, network, network. But, above all, your writing has to be polished, tight, and the story has to be interesting, since there are fewer and fewer opportunities available every day in the world of publishing.

Q: What are your future plans for Backspace?

A: Eventually, we’d like to turn Backspace into a non-profit entity and operate contests and dispense loans and grants and scholarships, but that’s quite a ways down the line. For now, we’re pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish so far, and have many more good things in the works: Simon Lipskar (Writers House) is writing an article for us on the challenges of the second novel, editors Natasha Graf and Stacy Boyd are putting together articles revealing what happens to an author’s manuscript after it goes out on submission, Merrilee Heifetz (also with Writers House) is writing on growing an author’s career, and many others have offered additional content. Another well-known agent is considering writing a regular column geared toward answering the questions and addressing the challenges of authors who are already published, and we have another column lined up by a psychologist who will write about the emotional concerns of serious writers who are trying to become published—coping with the stressful waiting periods when material has been submitted, learning to take and use helpful criticism from fellow writers, agents, and editors, learning to accept rejection as an inevitable part of the submission process and so on. And as the site continues to grow and flourish, we hope eventually to be able to attract writers like Michael Chabon and Stephen King as guests.

It’s no exaggeration when we say we intend to make Backspace the premier writer’s resource on the web. Given all we’ve accomplished during our first six months, we don’t think that’s an unreasonable goal. Yes, we’re ambitious and we want to see good things happen for the site, but don’t let that fool you—in creating and operating Backspace, we’re also having a ton of fun.

Backspace, http://www.bksp.org. Writers helping writers. $30 year, 5 day free trial.

Denis Kitchen’s Writer’s Market listing caught my eye. He is soliciting graphic novels and I wanted to know more about what that is. Here, in his interview, he explains graphic novels and more:  

Publisher Interview

 

A: I find it interesting that you are soliciting authors who are artists and artists who are authors to write/illustrate a graphic novels. What is a graphic novel?

Q: A graphic novel in the simplest terms is a fat comic book. Writer and artists collaborate or a writer/artist auteur tell stories using a combination of words and pictures. Mainstream comic books conjure up images of superheroes and juvenile fare, but graphic novels are generally associated with serious and literary themes. Will Eisner (http://willeisner.tripod.com/about/index.html) invented the modern graphic novel with the semi-autobiographical A Contract With God in 1978, and he has followed with a more than a dozen others. The genre is fast gaining respect: Art Spiegleman’s graphic novel Maus won the Pulitzer Prize. Eisner’s next graphic novel, The Plot, is coming from the high end literary house W. W. Norton next spring, as is R. Crumb’s next graphic novel, The Book of Genesis According to Robert Crumb. (http://www.newsarama.com/pages/Crumb.htm)

Q: Do you work with authors who collaborate with artists to complete a manuscript for you?

A: I personally prefer working with a terrific artist who can also write very well. I sometimes act as a “matchmaker” between a writer and an artist. A successful example of that is the award-winning Kings in Disguise (Kitchen Sink Press). But, for pragmatic reasons, largely selfish, I much prefer the auteur or already established collaborators.

Q: Is there anything in particular that you’re currently seeking—a subject?

A: We absolutely, positively seek nothing even remotely resembling super hero comics. We prefer to see social satire, history, historical fiction, compelling autobiography and biography and would even consider practical “how-to” graphic novels (which, of course, are not technically novels). A good adventure story is OK if it doesn’t involve characters in capes and masks. I strongly discourage submissions by any of your readers who are first-timers and/or amateur artists. We’re simply unable to nurture “promising” talent. We are also seeking manuscripts on aspects of comic strip/book history, postcard books and off-center graphic books.

Q: I see that you like to discover new talent. Tell us about some you’ve discovered recently.

A: Nobody very recently, alas. While operating Kitchen Sink Press (1969-99) I first published a number of cartoonists/writers who went on to successful careers.

Q: What is the best way for an author/artists to dazzle you?

A: Brilliant art. Brilliant concept. A well thought-out proposal.

Q: Please share your guidelines with our readers. And don’t forget to include your contact information.

A: We have no formal guidelines because, frankly, we don’t encourage unsolicited manuscripts. And I would hope we don’t have to remind people about S.A.S.E.’s and such. But I’m always receptive to good ideas and portfolios.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?

A: Writers and artists who are unfamiliar with the genre should think twice about spending any time pitching this field. It’s rough terrain for dilettantes. On the other hand it’s the fastest growing literary genre and very tempting to explore. I strongly, strongly recommend that interested creators who are not already fans of the genre study the best stuff: Will Eisner, Art Spiegelman, R. Crumb, Charles Burns, Howard Cruse, Mark Schultz, the Hernandez Brothers and others, avoiding the Batman-type stuff unless that’s their market focus. It’s not as easy to write graphic novels as many observers might think. It’s akin to writing, producing, casting and directing a film. And it certainly isn’t easy to draw effective graphic novels. It’s a demanding discipline at all levels. Enter at your risk.

Denis Kitchen Publishing Co., LLC
P.O. Box 2250
Amherst, MA 01004-2250

FAX: 413-259-1812
EMAIL: publishing@deniskitchen.com

WEBSITE: http://www.deniskitchen.com
http://www.deniskitchenpublishing.com
http://www.deniskitchenartagency.com
http://www.kitchenandhansen.com

Bonus Item:

Crushing Publishing Myths

This is the month of myths and mysteries around the concept of Santa Claus and the birth of baby Jesus. I’d like to quell some myths that writers and hopeful authors hear practically every day. When someone tells you that there is no hope for a hopeful author, don’t shut all doors to your dream of publishing. My intent is not to offer encouragement where there is no hope, but to inspire you to think and to do the research necessary. Follow your dream with your eyes wide open and your expectations reasonable.

Myth #1. It is impossible to land a royalty publisher in today’s publishing climate.

You’ll see this statement on a writers’ forum and then you’ll read in a newsletter that there were 175,000 books published in 2003 and 10,877 new publishers on the scene. Believe it or not (actually, I prefer that you believe it), many of those 175,000 books were published by royalty publishers. Do your homework and come out with a viable product and you will land a royalty publisher. One of my book proposal class students (a first-time author) just signed a contract with Houghton-Mifflin. Yes, Dorothy, there is a royalty publisher for your excellent book—that is, if it is timely enough, unique enough and has enough of an audience.

Myth #2: Most publishers accept manuscripts only through agents.

Just read through the listings in Writer’s Market, the other market listings and individual publishers’ Guidelines for Writers. There are still numbers of publishers who will deal directly with the author and some who prefer to work without the complications of having an agent involved. This is true only if you make a professional presentation.

My student who is working with Houghton-Mifflin, is doing so without an agent.

Myth #3: Bookstores won’t carry self-published or POD published books.

Have you contacted any of your local independent bookstores about your self-published or POD published book? Have you sent promo material to specialty bookstores (related to the topic of your book) and then followed up with a phone call? Do you stop by independent bookstores to introduce yourself and your book when you’re traveling? Stop focusing on the mega-bookstores and see if you can make a 60/40 deal with small bookstores. In fact, I recommend that you do business with independent bookstores the next time you want to purchase a book. They are your friends. Support them.

Myth #4: No one will review self-published and POD published books.

Here again, authors tend to focus on pre-publication reviews obtained through prestigious library journals. And these are difficult to get. I understand that some of them are opening avenues for self-published and POD published books, however. In the meantime, there are thousands of legitimate magazines, newspapers, newsletters and Web sites hungry for good books to review. You’re probably already aware of magazines that relate to your book topic. Contact these publications and offer to send them a review copy. Visit online directories to locate other possibilities. This is another case of thinking outside the box. I’ve had my writing-related books reviewed by probably close to 100 different magazines, newsletters and Web sites. And don’t you know that each review generates book sales?

Myth #5: Writing the book is the hardest part of the process.

How many of you thought this to be true while you were involved in researching and writing your book? Those of you who have finished your book are learning different, aren’t you? To avoid author shock, always, I mean ALWAYS write a book proposal as a first step. Once you’ve properly and thoughtfully completed a book proposal, you will be, at least somewhat, prepared for the work and the stress that lies ahead. As Dan Poynter, The Self-publishing Guru, wrote in his testimonial of my book, Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book, “Writing the book is the tip of the iceberg; promoting is the larger part under the water. And whether you sell out to a publisher or publish yourself, the author must do the promotion.”

. Jenna Glatzer, editor of Absolute Write Newsletter has established a discussion board for people who are upset with PublishAmerica. To join in or just to see what’s going on, go to the following http://p197.ezboard.com/fabsolutewritefrm11.showmessage?topicID=554.topic. Note: While I copied this down exactly as it was printed in Jenna’s newsletter, I have had trouble accessing this site. If you do, too, I suggest you contact Jenna Glatzer at editor@absolutewrite.com. is a daily newsletter for writers seeking writing jobs. Stephanie Olsen offers this site under the motto, “You do the writing, let me do the searching.” Check this new service out at http://www.justmarkets.com. For a fee of $9.95 month, Olsen sends you a list of markets daily—six days a week. Her offer even comes with a guarantee. Anna Olswanger has developed a new online discussion group for those interested in the promotion of Jewish books. The discussion group involves marketing and publicity professionals, editors, publishers, authors and others who want to network about promoting Jewish books. To subscribe, send a message to: jewishbookmarketing-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. According to Olswanger, you won’t have to worry about being bombarded with messages. You’ll receive email just once a day. Find out more at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jewishbookmarketing. is one of the better grammar sites I’ve visited. While doing my usual research, I learned a few things at this site. The next time you have a grammar or punctuation question visit http://englishplus.com/grammar. needs illustrations, cartoons, comics, drawings and other art work. Request Guidelines at revista_infantil@yahoo.com. offers their eighth annual writing contest. The entry fee is $10 each for fiction/nonfiction or for up to 3 poems. Maximum length for fiction or nonfiction is 4000 words. Maximum length for poems is 40 lines. Deadline, December 31, 2004. For contest rules, go to http://www.edwg.org/Contest03.htm. If you have questions, use this email: acorn@edwg.com.. Here’s an interesting challenge. Finish the sentence below in 300 words and you could win $50. Here’s the sentence: You wake up in a hospital bed with a nurse staring at you. She says, “Oh my gosh, WOW! You have been in a coma for eight years.” You stare back at her and… The deadline is December 31, 2004. Learn more at http://www.writeitrightusa.com/pages/4/index.htm. offers several contests for writers of all ages each year. If you’re reading this Market Update early enough in December, you still have time to enter some of their contests. Check them out at http://www.writersdigest.com/contests. is seeking unpublished book-length manuscripts featuring your collection of poems by December 31, 2004. If your manuscript is chosen, you can win $1000 AND publication. Go to http://tampareview.ut.edu for more information. is soliciting soulful stories featuring enriching spiritual journeys and experiences. There is no entry fee and they’re offering a grand prize of $500. They want your sweetest, most touching true story in 1000-2000 words by December 31, 2004. For Guidelines, go to http://www.cupofcomfort.com. Click on share Your Story. Or email cupofcomfort@adamsmedia.com. is an organization in Minneapolis dedicated to sharing easy, practical, inspiring ideas and tips for making time and space to write. Now they are launching a contest. They’ll reward you for your best “writing on the run” ideas. Just send your tip in 100 words or less to writingontherun@aol.com and you could win $250 or one of five 2nd place prizes of $25 each. And hurry! The deadline is December 15, 2004. http://www.writingontherun.com/contest.html is an author interview show on the Web. If you’d like to do a phone interview to promote your nonfiction book, contact Terry Porter at firstvoice2004@yahoo.com. For more information: http://www.7to7.net.publishes 240 titles per year. This mass paperback publisher solicits romance, western, horror and thrillers—with horror and westerns increasing most in popularity. Visit: http://www.dorchesterpub.com for more information.. seems to be among the leaders in publishing romance novels, having produced a whopping 208 of them last year, in trade paperback and ebook format. They also publish horror. They prefer manuscripts of around 40,000-words. Read their Writer’s Guidelines and you will find that they are always open to new submissions of erotic romances. http://www.ellorascave.com/writing.asp will debut with their Jan/Feb 2005 issue. I just finished writing an article for Writers Digest’s Breaking In column featuring the ins and outs of writing for the regionals. In the article, I comment that regional magazines are growing in numbers and popularity. Don’t I report on one or more new regional magazine nearly every month? Maryland Life is targeted toward anyone who loves Maryland. They’re looking for input from every part of the state. Learn more by visiting their Web site at http://www.maryland-life.com. Contact Dan Patrell at info@maryland-life.com.is for Spanish-speaking children ages 7-12. While they’ve published a couple of test mags, their bi-monthly production doesn’t begin until spring of 2005. They are seeking nonfiction, stories, interviews, recipes, poems, puzzles and more, all with a Spanish flavor. While they welcome submissions from children, they do not pay people under the age of 15 years for their contributions. Their pay scale for 800-word pieces is 5 cents/word. Your poetry can earn you $15.00. You’ll find Writer’s Guidelines at www.nicagal.com/iguana/eng/ig_submission.html. Contact the editor at: revista_infantil@yahoo.com. is another new Latin publication. This quarterly magazine is for Latino students who are getting their higher education. They welcome writers who will fill out the form at http://www.icaramba.com/magazine/writers.html. They will contact you with an assignment if they are interested. I understand that they are a paying market, but I couldn’t locate information about their pay scale. is a new bimonthly magazine for Latin men of passion—whether they are passionate about women or fashion. Contact Robert@hombremagazine.com for a copy of their Guidelines for Writers. Visit their site for more information, but expect it to take a long time loading. http://www.hombremagazine.com is new this month. They pay 5 cents/word for articles of 1000-2000 words. First study the Web site and the magazine. If you
have an idea for this regional religious magazine, contact Debra Lunday-Wells at plainsfaith@amaonline.com. Submission Guidelines at http://www.plainsfaith.com/requirements_ad_info.htm. will launch in January 2005. Editor and Publisher Magazine is bringing this new industry publication out. Greg Mitchell is the editor. Contact him for more information at gmitchell@editorandpublisher.com. is the new magazine for the Red Hat Society. If you’re not familiar with the Red Hat Society, you’re probably not a woman who has reached middle age. The motto of this nation-wide organization is that silliness is the comedy relief of life. Learn more about the Red Hat Society at http://www.redhatsociety.com. Get a copy of their Guidelines for Writers by emailing iaretheeditor@redhatsociety.com. (See what I mean about silliness—”I are the editor…”) Funnneeee!! has ceased publishing, According to Joseph Holzman, they published their last issue this fall. While there are a growing number of shelter magazine launches lately, some are just unable to survive. Holzman says that they will continue upgrading their Web site, however. http://www.webhustlers.com/nest. is “struggling with rising costs and falling subscription and advertising revenues,” says Editor-in-Chief, Amy Hoffman. Although, they are publishing their final issue this month, they are still hoping for a financial miracle. For more information and updates visit their Web site at http://www.wellesley.edu/womensreview.. I knew this magazine was gasping for air. Earlier this year, the editors canceled two articles that I was preparing for them. Editor Marion Lane told me that they were having financial difficulties and needed to cut back on the size of the magazine. But now it is rumored that the magazine is going under. And it’s a shame. Not only do they entertain and delight readers, they offer a tremendous service for the welfare of animals.

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