SPAWN Market Update – February 2007


SPAWN Market Update – February, 2007

By Patricia L. Fry

Going, Going, Gone – Reporting just two this month

Here’s What’s New – 5 new magazines on the way

Industry News – Major book distributor fails; 5 changes to report

Opportunities for Freelance Writers – 3 writers’ job boards; 12 magazines seeking freelancers

Opportunities for Authors – 3 publishers listed

Book Promotion Opportunities – Over 25 book promotion and platform-building ideas

Worth Repeating – A book is not a book, it’s an experience

Just For Fun – Washington Post Journalistic Blog

Going, Going, Gone

Shock Magazine

Communication and Networking

Here’s What’s New

Home Business Solutions for Women

At Home With Jennifer

Pioneer Publishing announces its premier issue of Central Iowa Boomer which will debut this month. Publisher Rick Thomas plans to cover employment, education, health, travel, consumer issues and more—all geared toward readers in the 41-60 age bracket. There’s no Web site in sight, so stay tuned.

Baby Couture

Equine Wellness Magazine

Industry News

Breaking News:

I can’t tell you how many book distributors I’ve worked with who have ultimately folded. It was at least 5. So what happens when the distributor, who has cartons of your books, closes down? In my experience, a few of the distributors eventually returned some of my books, but they were in poor condition. Mostly I suffered losses. The books were gone and so was my revenue.

In this case, many publishers are left without their middle man to ship books to bookstores and other customers. This is, indeed, bad news and it’s not affecting just the little guy this time—some of the larger publishers have also been left without this necessary link in the distribution chain.

 Worldwide Freelance Writer’s

Ann Shoket is the new editor of Seventeen Magazine. Make a note in your 2007 Writer’s Market.

BizAz Magazine

Vintage Romance Publishing

Tampa Review

Opportunities for Freelance Writers

I have mentioned 7PublishersAvenue a couple of times, lately. And I’ve been watching their Web site take shape. Frankly, I believe that they’ve changed their original concept. Now they’re focusing on job boards. For $7.50 per month, you can search listings related to jobs in the writing/publishing field. Search for jobs in any state and in many categories such as, editor, typesetter, proofreader and fact checker.

Speaking of jobs, Fiction Fanatic at, lists jobs for creative types. Find a job as a fiction writer, storyteller or poet. I took a quick peek at their current jobs and located two in New York—one for a photo researcher and another for a sale manager at Houghton Mifflin. How about this one, they need an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin. Look at this list at

Are you familiar with I received their recent newsletter which includes 15 jobs for us writer types in many cities: San Francisco, London, New York, Chicago, Washington DC and others. Jobs include copywriter, food writer, business writer, book editor, editorial director for companies such as USA Today, Dining Out Magazine and Travelocity. Check it out at: Be sure to subscribe to their newsletter.

She Knows

Georgia Family

Quarterly West

Mississippi Magazine

Times of the Islands

People Places and Plants

Animal Fair Magazine

Mike Reddin is seeking articles from writers with experience teaching middle and high school children science and creative writing. Contact Mike for more information:

Arlene Uslander is soliciting true stories with a Christian or Jewish theme for a new edition of, The Simple Touch of Fate. The stories should tell about how being at the right place at the right time affected or changed one’s life. Keep your submission to 2,000 words. Send to For more information,

Patrick Richardson at is seeking good (positive) news stories and articles for his site, If you have a lead or a new twist on topics related to society, science/technology, health, business, education, the environment, law, religion or others, write it up and send it to Be sure to type “News Article Submission” in the subject line. Patrick does not want attachments, so paste your story in the body of the email.

Opportunities for Authors

Susan Greger, President of Oceanview Publishing says that they’re currently accepting submissions of adult fiction and nonfiction books from both new and established authors. If, after studying their submission guidelines, you believe that you have something they would like, email your name, contact information, title of the manuscript and word count. Attach a 750 word synopsis and the first 30 pages of the ms. They’ll let you know if they want to see more. Susan indicates that they’re pretty strict about conforming to their guidelines. So read them carefully at and then comply. Submit materials to

New Seeds Books

If you write in the fantasy, mystery or science fiction realm, you might find a home for your book at FatCat Press. Ellen Bauerle is the acquisitions editor. Contact her at, for more information.

Book Promotion Opportunities

We use our Web sites and blogs to showcase our books. We promote and get exposure wherever opportunities are available. But we don’t always know how we’re doing in that department. Here’s a site that will give you the number of other sites linking to your site. This report can help you compare your site or blog popularity against anyone else’s.

What can we do with this information? Look at your competition. Study their site. How do they promote? Pick up some ideas and use them to get more recognition for your site.

List your books at the Para Publishing Web site at no charge.

Dana Cassell, editor for the print newsletter, Freelance Writer’s News, is now producing an ezine called, Writers-Editors eZine. Issue number one showed up in my email box this week. It appears that if you subscribe to the print magazine, you will automatically receive this one, too. Isn’t it nice to get something MORE for a change? Learn more at

Give More, Gain More

As an author who is promoting one or more books, maybe you should consider giving more with your books. In this time of extremely high competition, it is a good idea to compete by giving something more rather than just providing what is expected—the same-o same-o. Here are some extra special things that you can do:

  • Create a booklet to compliment your book. It might contain resources, tips or hints, original stories, recipes, additional instructions or articles, for example.
  • Provide something related to your book: a journal, pen, lei-making kit, flower seeds, CD, toy, puzzle or bookmark.
  • Offer an open door policy. I always promise to respond to any questions for customers who purchase my writing/publishing-related books.
  • Give a free subscription to your newsletter with each book purchase.
  • Offer a discount for other books or online courses.

Karen, a member of the audience at the San Luis Obispo NightWriters meeting where I spoke in January, sent me this item. Each week, C-Span Book TV features 48 hours of information and interviews related to nonfiction books. Executive Producer Connie Doebele invites you to email her about your fabulous nonfiction book at To learn more, visit

Let’s Examine Your Platform

In my recent article, Hurry Up and Fail (currently posted at, I urge self-publishing authors to make sure their book is ready for publication before they send it to the printer or to the fee-based POD publishing service. Unfortunately, it’s all too obvious that many authors neglect this important step. There’s another consideration that too many authors don’t take into account when they are in a hurry to produce a book: Platform. 

We are so eager to get our wonderful, useful, delightful, entertaining, educational, informational, life-changing book out there that we sometimes rush the process when we really should be putting on the brakes. Why should you stop the forward motion of a book that’s ready to go? To make sure the author is also ready.

So your book has a dynamite cover, the text is perfect, the design is magnificent, but what about you? Are you ready to promote it? What will entice people to buy this book? Why will they buy a book that you wrote?

Sure you can figure out ways to get the word out. If you’ve been hanging around SPAWN for any length of time and if you’ve been reading SPAWNews, the SPAWN Market Update and books on book promotion, you know some of the publishing ropes. You know about press releases, making news, getting out and speaking, showing up at bookstores to hand deliver books, writing articles for appropriate magazines and sites, getting book reviews. But again I ask, why will the consumer buy YOUR book?

With competition so extreme, it is even more vital that you have a platform before you produce a book for publication to a large segment of the population. Think about it, when you are shopping for a nonfiction book, you want to know that the author is credible. You wouldn’t buy a book on how to fly a plane by an author who had never flown. You might purchase the book if you’d heard this author speak at an amateur aviators convention, for example, or if you’d read about him heading up a flight academy for kids.

Novel readers typically purchase books by their favorite authors. They might even buy your novel, but you’re going to have to provide compelling reasons why they should. People who have enjoyed reading your stories in magazines, would surely be interested in your book. Maybe you happen to be the mayor of the town where your mystery is set or you have been teaching character development workshops at writers’ conferences for years or you have a high profile Web site where visitors can win prizes by solving mysteries.

Your platform is your following. It’s your way of attracting readers. My platform for my writing/publishing related books includes the fact that I have 8 books on these topics and I travel about half dozen or more times each year to various cities and present workshops and give keynote speeches at writers/marketing conferences. I have been writing for publication for 34 years and my publishing company is 24 years old. If I’m pitching a book related to article-writing, my background as a freelance article writer would be useful and impressive. Readers would want to know that I earned my living writing for magazines for many years—having contributed hundreds of articles to about 260 different magazines including Writer’s Digest, The World and I magazine, Pages, Woman’s Own, Cat Fancy, Entrepreneur and many others.

If the book I was marketing had to do with authorship, my history as an author would become my platform; including the fact that I have 25 published books, that I am president of SPAWN, write the monthly SPAWN Market Update and frequently speak and give workshops on publishing and authorship topics.

Of course, these facts would have no or little interest to someone who is contemplating purchasing my book on youth mentoring. I present a totally different set of qualifications and credibility factors when I am promoting Youth Mentoring, Sharing Your Gifts With the Future.

Many authors enter into the world of publishing with a platform. You write the book because you have the qualifications to do so. When you have qualifications, you generally also have a following. But what if you don’t? I meet a lot of authors and hopeful authors who write a book because—well, because technically, they can. They have a theory, a measure of expertise or a story to tell. What they don’t consider is that their story might not be of interest to the general public. And, as indicated above, if they aren’t widely known as an expert, they have no following, thus they will struggle to sell this book.

What’s the answer? If you don’t have a solid platform, establish one. I often recommend to my clients and other hopeful authors to hold off producing their books until they have established a platform.

One of my clients came to me with a book proposal for a unique and really marvelous book idea. I was convinced that she could land a major publisher. She had produced an excellent book proposal. I particularly liked the marketing section where she described the seminars she would set up in large cities throughout the world. She named specific celebrities who would be working the seminars with her and said that they would draw around 3,000 people each and sell probably 1,000 books. Wow, was I impressed! And I suggested to my client that she provide information in her book proposal about the success of seminars she has conducted in the past.

This is when she told me that she had not conducted any seminars—not yet.

I was disappointed, but I said, “Well, let’s get some quotes from some of the women you have coached related to the process in your book.” She said, “I haven’t taught this to anyone.” I asked if she had ever spoken before an audience or taught classes of any kind—she had not. As a last ditch effort, I begged her to tell me that she had a connection to some of the celebrities she mentions in her book proposal. Unfortunately, her response was, “No.”

After heaving a big sigh, I said to my client, “I suggest that you stop forward motion on your book and spend the next several months establishing your platform. I want you to set up a seminar in the largest city near you.” I told her that a successful seminar would go a long way toward establishing a following and building credibility in her field. I did my best to convince my client that she wasn’t quite ready to start pitching her book to publishers or, for that matter, to promote it to the public.

She fired me.

I strongly urge anyone reading this today to seriously consider his or her platform before ever writing a book and definitely before sending the book to the printer or submitting it to a publisher.

Let’s say that you have a historical fiction. How can you establish a platform for this book? If you’ve been doing research and writing the book, you’ve probably already become somewhat of an expert on the period, the events occurring in this time-frame and the place where the story takes place. To add to your perceived expertise:

  • Join the historical society in that place.
  • Make contacts with people there who can help you get speaking gigs.
  • Join Toastmasters and get out and do some public speaking.
  • Produce a few booklets in house on the topic, place, costumes and people from that period. Circulate them.
  • Submit stories to magazines and Web sites to help create credibility as a writer of fiction and to establish a following.

Some people have an impressive platform in place, but don’t realize it. Let’s say that you wrote a book on dog care, yet you’re not a veterinarian, breeder or groomer. You’re simply a dog lover. What is your platform? Here are some ideas;

  • Point up the fact that you have fostered dogs for a local humane organization all of your adult life.
  • Explain that you volunteer at the humane society.
  • Tell the publisher/public that you teach dog care to the children at the local recreation department, Boys and Girls Club, 4-H, for example.
  • And reveal that you arrange for classes at a large pet store chain in your county.
  • Point out that you also travel to other cities and present seminars at pet shops and humane societies.
  • Show some of the informational and educational leaflets or booklets on dog care that you distribute free through your Web site.
  • Play up your strong connection with breeders, groomers and veterinarians related to specific dog rescue or protection projects.

How can you establish a platform for a children’s book? This is a little tougher. Why? One reason is because of the competition. Every former teacher, retired policeman, mother and Sunday school teacher is writing a children’s book. And many of them do not have a background in writing and/or children’s literature. If you are a children’s book author without a platform, here are some ideas that might help you build one:

  • Connect with public and private preschools and grammar schools and offer to read your books and other books to children.
  • Start a library reading program for kids.
  • Take a prestigious course for children’s writers.
  • Submit stories to children’s magazines—a lot of them!
  • Establish a Web site for children who like to read and their parents.
  • Enter your stories in contests. Prizes help to establish credibility and notoriety.
  • Launch a newsletter or magazine related to children’s reading material and circulate it far and wide.
  • Set up a mother/daughter and/or father/son book club in your area and offer a template for others to do the same.

As you can see, all is not lost if you happen to read this article after you’ve produced your book. Hopefully, it will help you to recognize elements of the platform you already have and it will give you some ideas for establishing a solid platform that will carry you through to riches.

Once you have that all important platform, don’t just keep things status quo. Use it, flaunt it, build on it and incorporate it into your promotional plan.

Worth Repeating

I receive Penny Sansevieri’s Book Marketing Expert Newsletter and I want to share something she included in her January 11, 2007 edition. In her article on how to be irresistible, she writes, “First, you’ll want to look at your book as more than a book, look at it as a solution to someone’s problem, an experience, an adventure, but stop looking at your book and thinking of it as ‘just a book.’ You’re not selling a book, you’re selling an experience.” This is definitely something to think about. For more of Sansevieri’s wisdom,

Just For Fun

The Washington Post has a blog that might be of interest to most writers. They host various guest bloggers who write about the world of newspaper writing, journalism, words and their uses/meanings and much more. Visit this blog at I found Washington Post Comic Editor, Amy Lago’s blog entry about the real meaning of the term, “bite me” especially interesting.


publishes general fiction, gift books and biographies mainly related to religion and spirituality. Contact David O’Neal for more information at pays 50 cents/word for articles featuring celebrities and their pets and other articles related to animals—grooming, health, nutrition and so forth. They bill this as a lifestyle magazine for animal lovers. for submission guidelines. pays up to $500 each for articles focusing on horticulture in New York and the New England area. Learn more about this publication at To identify the specific editor for your region, go to is a magazine that focuses on all things specific to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Editor Kathy Borsuk loves receiving photos with stories. And they pay 15 cents/word. The pay for articles and stories generally range from $150 to $600 each. Contact Kathy at for submission guidelines. will pay $25 to $350 for feature articles and department pieces. Write about interesting people in this state, places, homes, gardens, food, history, culture or special events, as long as they are linked to Mississippi. For more information, contact the editor at is accepting submissions through May 1. They want your best poetry, fiction story or essay. Just one story or essay per submission and 3 to 5 poems at a time. For work that is accepted, you will receive a small honorarium and two copies of the magazine. For submission guidelines go to: is a regional magazine that circulates to about 20,000 parents. They use quite a number of freelance articles on topics including health, travel and other subjects that are important to families. While they prefer localized articles, they will consider general articles. And they pay $20 to $90. You can submit your article on speculation by email, but I urge you to read the complete submission guidelines, first. Click here to go to their submission guidelines page. also encourages submissions. They pay $50 to $200 for articles on anything of concern to dads: household finances, children’s issues, product reviews, sports and celebrity dad profiles, for example. They don’t want to see any first person experiences. Keep in mind that this is a magazine for dads in the 24 to 40 age bracket. For submission guidelines, visit: is seeking 750 word essays, opinion pieces and real life experiences of Westerners. And they’ll pay $100 for reprints and up to $200 for originals. Contact Betsy Marston at She’ll accept submission via email. No attachments. Put the article in body of the email. And type “WOTR submission” in the subject line. is a Web-based magazine that depends on submissions on entertainment, recipes, dating, politics, pregnancy, world news and more. And they pay $50 to $100. Contact Nancy Price at Learn more about this magazine at: is also closed to submissions at this time. They read only during September through December. If you have poetry or a good fiction or nonfiction piece that you’d like to submit to this literary publication, mark your calendar. And remember, they accept submissions by mail only. For complete submission guidelines: is temporarily closed to submissions. Stay tuned. I will let you know when the moratorium is lifted. has a new editor. Contact Rose Tring at free markets database for subscribers has just moved to a new location. As indicated, I believe you have to subscribe to the newsletter in order to access the database. Inquire at Book distributor, Advanced Marketing Services and owner of Publishers Group West files bankruptcy. And PMA is hoping to offer help to its members. They’re hoping to establish a network of printers willing to work with the affected publishers, contact financial institutions to provide short-term business loans, look for other distributors to step in and help with distribution and cash flow and educate members pointing out the limitations as well as the benefits of a distributor contract and how to protect themselves in the event of a distributor bankruptcy. is a spin off of the Animal Wellness Magazine we reported on some months ago. Even if you write in the area of stress-reduction, children, families, illness or relationships, you just might be able to fashion an article for this magazine if you slant it correctly. Take a look and see what you can come up with: Check out their Submission Guidelines at is new. And they welcome your article submissions and photography. Check out their site at Contact the editor at: is a new family and home magazine serving western Pennsylvania. Former newscaster, Jennifer Antkowiak is the publisher. Check it out at If you have an article idea, contact editor, Katie Mavrich at is coming, but information is scarce. Watch for more in the March Market Update. quit publishing. (the print version) has closed after just 6 months.