SPAWN Market Update – February 2012


This issue features contests galore for writers, for authors with manuscripts and for authors with published books. We also include Susan Daffron’s article, Are Writing Conferences Worth It? Wonder no more as Susan gives you the information, perspective and resources you need in order to make that determination and to choose the right conference for you.

Here’s What’s New – A new children’s book imprint and some magazine news updates.

Opportunities for Freelance Writers – 10 opportunities, including directories of writing contests.

Opportunities for Authors – contests for authors and a few publishing opps.

Book Promotion Opportunities – Book Daily and directories of book awards.

Going, Going, Gone – 8 more magazines have closed.

Resources for Authors – 5 fascinating and useful resources

Bonus Item: Guest Article by Susan Daffron on the value of writers’ conferences.

Here’s What’s New

InkPad Press is a new children’s book imprint. They’ll focus on picture books, fiction and nonfiction for kids up to eight years old.

Here are some statistics for those of you who like such things. These related to the magazine industry. reports that there were 239 magazines launched in 2011 (up from 193 in 2010. Sixty-two of them were business publications. There were 25 new consumer food magazines and twenty regional publications launched. And the magazine industry is pleased to announce that 152 magazines ceased publishing last year as compared to 176 in 2010. For the complete article, go to

The health of magazines targeting Latinos seems to be better than that of any other magazine category. And new magazines for this demographic are cropping up. Watch for Cosmopolitan Latina to launch in May.

Opportunities for Freelance Writers

Catnip4Writers has a great directory of links for writers. Check it out at Here, you’ll find sites for young writers, writing scams, agent links, publishing information, markets, copyright laws and more.

Do you like to enter writing in contests? You often hear writers introduced as an “award-winning writer.” How do they earn these titles? No one comes to them and blesses them with an award. No! They enter their work in contests. Here are a few sites that offer contests for written works: (We just provide the resource, it is up to you to check the credibility of the contest before entering. Be sure to read Dana Cassell’s article about how to evaluate contests and keep from entering those that are bogus—link below.)

Http:// (operates 50 new contests each month) (this site is seeking scripts and the deadline is March 1—so hurry) (lists dozens of contests in every category) (Here’s a large directory of contests.) (Be sure to click on Dana Cassell’s article on “Writing Contest Cautions.”)

Note: Once you’ve entered and won a writing contest, be sure to announce it in SPAWNews. Contact editor

Opportunities for Authors

Carolina Wren Press editors no longer accept manuscripts, but they continue to run their contest, which can lead to publication, in the winter months. Submit the first 50-60 pages of your unpublished fiction manuscript or memoir prior to March of 2013. Learn more at

Linda Leith Publishing is accepting nonfiction queries for books of 15,000 to 18,000 words. Send to And do not put your query letter in an attachment. She will not open attachments. Visit her website to learn what type of books she is likely to accept:

Berlinica Publishing is the first Berlin-themed publisher in America. They’re seeking fiction and nonfiction all related to Berlin, Germany. or Contact the publisher at

Have you heard of Sparklesoup, Inc? This is a publishing house that “combines the spirit of indie publishing with the marketing of traditional publishing to bring forth books in a variety of genres for all ages.” Their imprints are, SparkLife, The Vault and Ignite Press. The publishes young adult fiction. They prize themselves for melding genres and twisting what is known as traditional. They are currently seeking shorter books of from 7,500 to 40,000 words in the areas of romance and inspirational. They publish 50 books/year. In their submission guidelines they say, “Currently, the rate of acceptance is 10 percent of all submissions received. We are looking for well-written fully-edited manuscripts written by people who are willing to help us promote your books.” Check out Sparklesoup at

Have you ever entered your book in a contest? Would you like to be known as an “Award-winning author?” Here are a few links to book award contests. Manuscript awards can be valuable in pitching your book to publishers. Book awards can be important in promoting your book. (As with any of the resources or links we provide for your consideration, we leave it up to you to look before leaping. Not all contests are legitimate, however, many of them are credible.) (National Book Awards from the National Book Foundation in New York) (Information for the 2012 awards should appear soon.) (Scroll down for submission guidelines) (Here’s a large directory of contests.)

Book Promotion Opportunities

Book Daily will post your book for free at their website: They also offer a promotional package for a fee.

Be sure to study the book and manuscript awards sites listed above under Opportunities for Authors.

Going, Going, Gone

Get Married Magazine has closed

Plum Hamptons has ceased publication

Faith and Family has lost faith and quit publishing

Fresh Home has gone out of business.

Skywest Magazine, the inflight magazine for Delta has closed.

Sandbox Magazine (out of Canada) is out of business.

Dogs in Canada has ceased publishing.

Just Out has closed out.

Resources for SPAWN Members

There’s a series of magazines featuring your favorite social media choices. Founder and publisher, Larry Genkin produces FB (FaceBook) and Business Magazine, Tweeting and Business, LI (LinkedIn) and Business and The Big G (Google) and Business. It appears that you can get a free digital subscription. Check it out at

Scrivener is a software program that will read your text back to you in a computer voice. Some authors are using it to help them catch errors and problems with flow in their writing. Learn more at

Are you researching a particular topic for an article or book? Use this directory. You’ll find everything from Alzheimer’s to acne, to action figures and Mandarin language, maritime, Web humor, Korean food and feng shui.

Are you still behind the times when it comes to Internet lingo? Would you like to know what in the heck your teenagers are saying? More importantly, are you writing for the young adult crowd? Then you need to know the language. Here’s a site that will help: Have fun!

Here’s a quick and easy online dictionary/translator. Check it out at:

Bonus Item

Guest contributor, SPAWN President, Susan Daffron

Are Writing Conferences Worth It?

by Susan Daffron, SPAWN President

Many writers are strapped for cash and it’s easy to feel like you can’t justify the expense of attending writing or publishing conferences. But conferences can be a great source of inspiration and information. Meeting other people who love books and the craft of writing can be a great investment in your creativity and help you on your path to publication.

Of course, before you whip out your credit card, you should consider your goals. Writing and publishing conferences vary and the right one for you depends. What do you want to get out of the conference experience? Do you want:

  • To learn from writers and other publishing experts?
  • To find out about the latest industry information and trends?
  • New networking opportunities?
  • To find new vendors or suppliers?
  • To meet possible writing group or critique partners?
  • Opportunities to pitch your book to editors or agents?

Because conferences vary in their offerings, your answers determine whether or not a given writing conference is worth attending. What you get out of a writing conference depends entirely on your goals going in.

Fortunately, you have a wide range of choices. And you don’t have to live in a big city like New York or Los Angeles. Almost every region has dozens of writing conferences. Some are general and some are specific to a writing genre. Here are just a few examples of regional and niche events:

  • American Society of Journalists and Authors Writers Conference in New York –
  • Antioch Writers’ Workshop in Yellow Springs, Ohio –
  • Book Passage Conferences (Children’s writers, mystery writers, and travel writers) in the San Francisco Bay area, CA –
  • Cat Writers Association Conference in NY –
  • PubWest (held in various locations in the West) –
  • Red Clay Writers Conference in Kennesaw, GA –
  • Romance Writers of America conference in Anaheim, CA
  • San Miguel Writers’ Conference in Mexico,
  • South Carolina Writers Workshop Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC –
  • The Tallahassee Book Festival and Writers Conference in FL –
  • Tin House Summer Writers Workshop in Portland, OR –
  • Western Writers of America in Bismarck, ND –
  • Woodstock Writers Festival in Woodstock, NY –

We’ve mentioned it before here in Market Update, but for a huge list of conferences, visit the Shaw Guides online at Of course, our very own SPAWN blog also lists events for writers too. Check it out here:

Also don’t forget about the IBPA Publishing University (, which you can attend free through an IBPA scholarship. This year the event is March 9-10, 2012 in San Francisco, CA. As an IBPA affiliate, SPAWN can offer one of the IBPA scholarships to our members. If you’re interested, let us know and we’ll give you the application forms. We have to submit scholarship applications to IBPA before February 7, 2012.

Finally, if the idea of travel just makes you tired, you can also attend conferences virtually from the comfort of your home or office chair. SPAWN has been a sponsor of the virtual Self-Publishers Online Conference ( for the last couple years and we offer members a discount.

The great thing about a virtual conference like the Self-Publishers Online Conference (SPOC) is that you can attend in your slippers and pajamas if you like. No one will care. All you need is your computer. 2012 will mark our fourth year of doing the event, which will be held May 8-10, 2012. In the past, we’ve had great speakers, including Dan Poynter, Mark Coker, Joshua Tallent, Penny Sansevieri, Rick Frishman, Mark Victor Hansen, Sue Collier, and many more names you’d recognize. Visit the site for more information and to get on the early-bird notification list.

No matter what your goals or budget, with a little introspection and research you can find the perfect conference for you. The opportunities for learning and networking are out there. It’s up to you to seize them!