SPAWN Market Update – February 2011

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Here’s What’s New

Publishers Weekly reports that Bowker/PubTrack and the Association of Booksellers for Children have determined that children’s books are a secure category in the marketplace. Books for all ages—0 through 17—are selling well. This is good news for those of you who are contemplating a young adult novel or a picture book, right?

Holiday book sales were down by 8 percent in the US. Hard to imagine—I thought I was doing my part to give books as gifts this year. Full story here: http://tinyurl.com/5tqgaxa

There were 193 new magazines established in 2010 and 176 magazines closed. But it isn’t as bad as it sounds. As you may recall, 596 magazines failed in 2009. So what kinds of magazines were launched? The foods category had the most launches. I would have thought it was regionals. But they came in second with 15 new ones. The health category was also well represented in this survey.

Interesting data: According to eMarketer, the time we spent with print magazines dropped 9 percent in 2010. We now spend about 20 minutes per day with magazines, 30 minutes with newspapers, 50 minutes with mobile devices, an hour and 36 minutes listening to radio and two hours and 35 minutes with the Internet. Still the TV wins out by taking four hours and 24 minutes of our time. http://www.emarketer.com

You’ve probably heard that refudiate is the 2010 word of the year. Evidently Sarah Palin made it up in an attempt to combine the words, “refuse” and “repudiate” while making a point. Evidently, she is pleased to have contributed to the living language. Other words on the list of new words for the year were crowdsourcing, gleek, retweet and Tea Party. (Editorial Note: Our Bonus Item features a company that is using the crowdsourcing concept and term.)

Several publishers have temporarily closed submissions. But if one of them is your publisher of choice, do check back occasionally to see if their status has changed. Zumaya Publications is not accepting query letters at this time. Koenisha Publishing is no longer accepting nonfiction from new writers. Red Hen Press is currently not accepting manuscripts, nor is Journey Stone Creations, McBooks Press or Morgana Press.

As predicted, more bookstores are closing. Barnes and Noble in Santa Barbara, California is closing. Word is that the Borders in that city will soon follow. The Mystery Bookstore in Los Angeles announced they are closing this year. Out and About Newspaper in Tennessee is gone. The Abraxus Bookstore in Seattle is closing. Also closing are Germ Books in Philadelphia; Borders on Michigan Avenue in Chicago; Borders in Tempe, Arizona; Borders in Syracuse; Borders in Bloomington, Indiana, OutLoud Bookstore in Nashville; Biermaier Books in Minneapolis; Hamish and Henry Booksellers in New York; Word Has It in Grover Beach, California and Treasure House Christian Bookstore in Longview, Washington. There are probably more—this list represents just those I have learned of.

Now for the good news: A series of used bookstores are scheduled to OPEN in West Michigan this year. Also popping up in Michigan is, Binding Bookstore in Albion. A new Barnes and Noble is planning to open later this year in Indiana. There will be a new campus bookstore for the University of West Georgia. The Innisfree Poetry Bookstore recently opened in Boulder, Colorado and this is only the third all poetry bookstore in the U.S. A new café and bookstore has opened at South Central College in Minnesota and there’s a new bookstore in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Opportunities for Freelance Writers

Here’s a site that will help you come up with hot ideas for article and stories this year. It’s a trend-watcher site at http://trendwatching.com/briefing. Here, you will discover some of the trendiest topics to write about. So far, they include “Random Acts of Kindness,” “Urbanomics,” “Online Status Symbols” and “Health Products.”

Here is another promising site for journalists who are looking for story ideas: http://digg.com. But don’t discount your own research skills. Subscribe to Google Alerts at http://www.google.com/alerts using key words related to the subjects you want to cover in your stories/articles. And visit blogs on your subject to see what the experts/professionals are blogging about.

Coffee Break for Writers is back and they are buying articles. Sign up for the newsletter and submission request notices at submissions@coffeebreakforwriters.com. Address Misti Sandefur, editor.

Seattleite is a new regional magazine for, you guessed it, residents of Seattle. And it looks like they welcome story ideas. Contact them at info@seattleite.com with your great ideas. Learn more about this soon-to-launch magazine at http://seattleite.com.

Article Ideas for High Paying Mags

We sometimes provide short lists of magazines in certain categories—categories that you might not consider writing for. Don’t get stuck in a comfort mode. That’s a dangerous place for freelance writers with work more difficult to come by, more competition and so many magazines teetering dangerously close to failure. In order to survive in this field, you must grow and stretch. Following are some high to moderate paying magazines and some ideas about how to break in:

Print Magazine pays up to $1,250 for 1,000 to 2,500 word articles featuring the social, political, historical context of graphic design. This is, in essence, a general interest magazine for professional graphic designers. They want essays, interview and opinion pieces and they purchase as many as 40 manuscripts per year. http://www.printmag.com. Consider locating a graphic designer of note and conduct an interview. Of course, you’ll want to study this magazine’s website to learn what subjects and individuals have been covered. Once you’re interview piece has been accepted, consider spinoff articles related to topics that came out in the interview. Maybe the interviewee mentioned a related event that you could cover for the magazine, for example.

Vineyard and Winery Management uses 30 manuscripts/year and pays $30 to $1,000. Try breaking into this magazine by writing something timely and pertinent to professional grape growers, winemakers and those who own wineries. Locate a couple of mom and pop wineries and offer to interview the owners for a glance at how to start a winery or how married couples can get along in business—how are the chores divided, etc. http://www.practicalwinery.com

Bedtimes uses more than just mattress industry material, they buy up to 25 articles per year on e-commerce, the shifting workplace environment, consumer needs/desires, family-owned businesses, safety in bedding at home and more. And they will pay as much as $2,000 for a cover story. Use your imagination. Again, study back issues (sometimes you can do this online). Subscribe to industry newsletters to get an even keener look into the mattress and bedding industry. http://www.sleepproducts.org.

Have you ever checked out Expo—the only magazine covering the exposition industry? They buy just 10 manuscripts per year, but they pay as much as $1,200 for 2,400 words. This looks like it would be an interesting publication to work with as they prefer articles with sidebars, bullets, graphs, etc. They especially want how-to and interview pieces related to planning, promoting and operating trade and consumer shows. http://www.expoweb.com.

Managed Care publishes book excerpts, general interest pieces, articles on trends in healthcare, employee concerns and much more. And they pay 75 cents/word—that’s $2,250 for a 3,000-word article. Check this magazine out and use your imagination to come up with ideas outside the box. The magazine is geared toward health plan executives. You’ll get an idea of what they want by studying their website. http://www.managedcaremag.com.

Opportunities for Authors

Untreed Reads is encouraging authors to submit rather quirky stories that don’t fit solidly into any genre to their new Short Story Lab. If you have a quirky, abstract story in short form, consider submitting it to Untreed Reads. http://www.untreedreads.com

O-Books is seeking submissions and this is not Oprah’s publishing company. Books accepted here relate to spirituality, religion, philosophy, women’s studies, the environment and they publish both fiction and nonfiction. Check them out at: http://www.o-books.com/obooks/submissions

Bauhan Publishing has been relaunched and they’re ready to accept your manuscripts. They seem to take an eclectic approach to choosing books. And they do not post their submission guidelines. So visit their site to see what they produce http://www.bauhanpublishing.com and then contact Sarah Bauhan at sbauhan@bauhanpublishing.com and request a copy of their submission guidelines.

Strategic Media Books has a new series focusing on true and gritty stories from the streets—books related to the world of crime. They’re calling the new series, Gangsta Chronicles. If you think you have something that would work for them, send them your first chapter at strategicmediabooks@gmail.com. Learn more at http://strategicmediabooks.com.

Locate publishers worldwide at http://www.publishersglobal.com. Here, you have the opportunity to find publishers in any area of the world. There are nearly 3,000 publishers listed for the US, 1,985 for Germany and 1,193 in the United Kingdom. India has 384, Belgium has 127 and there are 454 in Australia. Find publishers in Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan and Canada. There are publishers listed in Bulgaria, Romania and Mexico. And the publishers are also listed by category, language and media. Interesting site.

Treble Heart Books is not accepting poetry, young children’s books, Erotica, Autobiographies and Porn. They are in the market for young adult books. But they accept submissions during the first two weeks only of each month. http://www.trebleheartbooks.com

The editors at Sable Publishing offer critique services for your submission. Evidently, they receive so many submissions that they had to come up with a way to tame the lion while also having the opportunity to review your great manuscripts. Thus, they established a Chapter Contest. You can send one chapter of your poetry book, fiction or nonfiction book or a sample of your short story. They will read it and even critique it for a fee of $10 each. Learn more at http://www.sablepublishing.com.

Avon Romance is seeking historical romance and contemporary romance including romantic suspense, paranormal romance, women’s fiction, African-American romance, inspirational romance and erotica. And they invite you to query by email avonromance@harpercollins.com. To learn more about this invitation to submit, go to http://www.avonromance.com/avon-romance-submission-guideline.

Diversion Press is currently accepting book proposals for young adult, children’s, slice of life nonfiction manuscripts as well as history, academic books and poetry. http://www.diversionpress.com.

New children’s publisher, Amicus Publishing is ready to accept manuscripts at all levels for children. http://www.amicuspublishing.us. Email for submission guidelines, info@amicuspublishing.us.

Lee and Low Books is now accepting mysteries for middle-graders and young adults. Learn more at http://www.leeandlow.com/p/tu.mhtml

Book Promotion Opportunities

Do you have an ebook to promote? Do you need help getting it in front of a larger audience? Here are a few sites where you can list your ebook for free. http://www.wisdomebooks.com, http://www.smashwords.com. This is courtesy of Penny Sansevieri at A Marketing Expert.

Does your book have a mission? Are you donating or would you like to donate a percentage of proceeds from your book to a worthy cause? Books with a Mission can help you do that. Check out the opportunities at http://bookswithamission.com. Contact Lisa Hepner at lisa@peacefulearth.com.

Promote your book this year through a book festival. I frequently provide links to festival and conference directories. Here’s a new one: http://www.author-network.com/festivals.html

Promote your children’s book or your unpublished manuscript by offering free stories to FreeChildrenStories. Learn more at http://www.freechildrenstories.com

Wow! Do you wonder if your title is a winner? Lulu has found a way to test your novel’s title against the success of historical bestsellers. Have fun with this: http://www.lulu.com/titlescorer/index.php

Opportunities for Artists

Here are a three job sites for artists: http://www.artistjobs.net, http://artsopportunities.org, http://www.suite101.com/content/jobs-for-artists-a21795 (This site lists several job boards.)

Going, Going, Gone

LocumLife Magazine is gone.

Café Magazine has gone online only

Pregnancy Magazine is folding

Tricycle Press to close

EQ Magazine is going out of business

Resources for Writers and Authors

Do you know where your articles are? I checked a couple of article sites and found numbers of my articles posted on them. Check to see where your articles and interviews are showing up: http://ezinearticles.com

If you want to submit your articles to sites for added exposure, go to http://www.amazines.com, http://www.free-article-info.com, http://www.articlesbase.com, http://www.articlesfactory.com.

Bonus Item

Attention: Freelance Writers and Artists!

Interview with Mike Samson, co-founder of crowdSPRING, a marketplace for creative services.

Q: Tell me a little about the company—its purpose and focus.

A: crowdSPRING is the world’s largest community of graphic designers, web designers, illustrators, writers and industrial designers. Currently 80,000 Creatives from more than 175 countries work on the site. We are a marketplace for creative services, which uses a crowdsourcing model and is focused on providing small and mid-size businesses access to great creatives at a price they can afford.

Q: What was your motivation for starting this business?

A: We realized that there was a gap in the market: hundreds of thousands of small businesses needed high-quality design and writing services and couldn’t afford the rates charged by agencies, creative shops, and traditional freelancers. These folks didn’t know where to turn, so we created crowdSPRING to meet their needs.

Q: What makes your company unique?

A: Our model is uniquely different from the traditional RFP model typically used in the creative industries. On crowdSPRING a buyer writes a creative brief, names their own price, and sets their own schedule. When the project goes live, designers or writers respond with actual work created to the buyers specifications as opposed to bids or proposals as they would with an RFP. The typical project receives well over 100 entries and at the end of the process, the buyer simply chooses the submission that they like best. We take care of payment, escrow, contracts and all the details.

Q: I can see that involvement in your company could benefit many of our members—can you explain how your program would benefit the following: graphic designers, authors, publishers, writers?

A: In addition to the chance to win awards in the projects they choose to participate in, Creatives on the site benefit in several ways: they can host their portfolios with us, create profiles, message other users, participate in our active forums, and learn from the content we generate. In addition, Creatives on the site meet potential clients and many have developed robust boosts of business from follow-on work they generate. Many young creatives work on the site while they are honing their skills and developing relationships. It’s a great place to start!

Q: How does an author or publisher choose a graphic designer for a book cover from your large bank of designers? Does he have access to a catalog?

A: An author or publisher can view the portfolios of tens of thousands of designers on the site, but most don’t even bother. A good project will receive participation by dozens of creatives and the buyer will have tons of designs to choose from at the end of the project.

Q: What is the procedure for connecting with a graphic designer, for example? Does the author/publisher work through you or directly with the designer?

A: Here’s how it works: you describe what you want, name your price and set your deadline. Then, we send it out to thousands of designers or writers and, if they’re interested, they’ll submit work for you to choose from. You give feedback, tell them what you like and don’t like and they’ll keep revising, submitting and working up until the deadline you set. In the end, you just pick the one you like the best. That person gets the award and you get the final deliverable files! We cover the whole thing with a free legal contract to make sure you own the work you choose (and can do whatever you want with it in the future) and we handle the payment to your winning Creative.

Q: How is payment made–through you? How do the “creatives” get paid?

A: We require that the buyer deposits the full award with us when they post the project. After the buyer selects a winning entry and approves the final files during project wrapup, we process payment to the winning creative via PayPal or by a direct bankwire transfer.

Q: Can you give us an idea of the fees? Do you charge a fee above and beyond that charged by the “creative?” Do you charge the “creative” to be a part of your program?

A:We charge fee of 15 percent of the total awards offered along with a non-refundable listing fee which ranges from $39 to $199. For example, if the project award is $400, then the total cost to you would be $400 plus a $60 commission plus the listing fee. There is never a charge of any kind to the Creatives on the site!

Learn more about Crowdspring at http://www.crowdspring.com. To make contact, use their online form at: http://www.crowdspring.com/contact

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