SPAWN Market Update – January, 2008
By Patricia L. Fry
Going, Going, Gone – 8 Magazines fold.
Here’s What’s New – The return of Success, F&W has a new Pres, and Moira Allen steps down.
Opportunities for Freelance Writers –5 paying magazines want material, 2 site owners seek book reviewers and more.
Opportunities for Authors – A publisher and an agent hungry for your work.
Book Promotion Opportunities – 5 ways to promote your book.
Opportunities for Artists – 2 interesting graphic design opportunities.
Resources for Writers, Authors and Screen Writers – 6 GOOD resources.
Editorial Comment – Slow publisher response and “What’s in Your Subject line?”
Bonus Item – Article: “The Post-Publication Book Proposal”
Physician’s Money Digest is going out of business.
Family Practice Recertification will close.
Internal Medicine World Report is gone.
Are you familiar with the Robb Report? This high paying magazine for affluent readers has been around since 1976. Recently, they began publishing Robb Report Luxury Home. This magazine didn’t do so well, however, and has gone out of business.
Travel and Leisure Family is also quitting. As far as I know Travel and Leisure is still going strong, however.
Absolute is on the verge of quitting.
House and Garden, the 106-year-old-magazine, published its last issue in December.
InQuest Gamer has quit.
Success is back. It will continue to target professionals who want to read about business, relationships, making a difference, financial issues and more. This 116 year-old magazine evidently took a break and has now been revamped for a March debut. I visited the website and could not find submission guidelines or even contact information. However, they are offering a free subscription to an e-zine called Seeds of Success. I figure that if you sign up for this, you will, in turn, receive contact information. Use this information to request a copy of their Submission Guidelines. http://www.successmagazine.com
Moira Allen is stepping down as newsletter editor for Writing World after 7 years at the helm. Dawn Copeman has been handling the job for several months and Moira decided to hand the reins over to Dawn so she will have more time for the writing she wants to do. In the meantime, Moira will maintain the Writing World website. If you haven’t been to Writing World in a while, stop over and see what they offer writers. http://www.writing-world.com
F & W Publications produces Writer’s Digest, Horticulture, HOW, Memory Makers, Antiques and Collectibles and nearly four dozen others magazines, has a new president. David Blansfield formerly of Penton Publishing has accepted that position.
Would you like to review books? Here are two opportunities for book reviewers. Bookpleasures.com is open to reviews posted at their site. As Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com says, “We are always open to new reviewers joining our international group.” Learn more at http://www.bookpleasures.com.
Jerry D. Simmons at WritersReaders.com is seeking book reviewers for his brand new independent book review program. I don’t see information about this at his website, yet. But watch for it: http://www.writersreaders.com. In the meantime, I suggest contacting Jerry via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The folks at Literary Cottage (http://www.literarycottage.com) are producing what they call their “Hero Series.” One book is completed. The “My Mom Is My Hero” deadline was December 15, 2007. But there’s still time to contribute to the “My Dad Is My Hero” book. (Deadline February 28, 2008.) This anthology celebrates the powerful bond between fathers and children and will feature inspiring true stories that reveal the extraordinary impact fathers (or father figures) have on their children. They want stories that portray fathers as heroes in their children’s eyes, as companions. Write about a man who is a helper, messenger, healer, teacher or an inspirational force in people’s lives. Tell the story of the incredible, and the simple, yet vital, things that fathers (or father figures) do out of love for their children. Your story should illustrate that no one is more loyal, caring, inventive, loving, and heroic than your father (or father figure). http://www.literarycottage.com/heroseries.html (for guidelines)
NYC Plus needs essays, historical stories, inspirational stories and more for the 50 plus reader. They publish a whopping 110 manuscripts each year and pay $100 to $300 per. The length requirements range from 900 to 4,000. Contact the editor, Jennie, at email@example.com. Website: http://www.nycplus.com.
If you’re looking for an article on a topic that you’re researching, be sure to visit Articles Express. Although it’s billed as the world’s largest articles website, I wasn’t too impressed. But maybe, with time, the site and its article base will grow. They have articles on a variety of topics. Check to see if yours is there. http://www.articlesexpress.com
Great news for those of you who are trying to break into Parents or Parenting Magazines. They are more interested now in articles from other moms than they are content from experts. I suggest checking out their submission guidelines at http://www.parenting.com and http://www.parents.com. If you have any questions, send an email to the contact at the website or fill out the form at the site. For those of you who don’t know, these are good paying markets.
In Circle Pets is an online community for urban animal loves who want information quickly. Their first edition focuses on pets and pet owners in and around San Francisco, but there are plans for editions related to other areas. They use freelance submissions and actually pay 50 cent/word for original content of 250 to 500 words. Here are the types of articles they want: legislation regarding pets and animal welfare, nonprofit organizations devoted to pets, working animals, pets in the arts, trends in pet ownership, funny pet stories, ordinary people with extraordinary bond with their animals, famous human/pet relationships. If you love writing about animals, here’s a great outlet for your work. http://www.incirclepets.com. Submission Guidelines at http://www.incirclepets.com/icp_freelance_sub.pdf. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aging Well is new and they are looking for profiles of exceptional seniors and articles related to a senior audience. You’ll find their editorial calendar and submission guidelines at the site. http://www.agingwellmag.com Or contact Arn Bernstein (editor) email@example.com.
Samhain Publishing is open to red hot romance manuscript submissions of 60,000 words or longer. But hurry. Submissions close January 10, 2008. Check out their site: http://www.samhainpublishing.com. Contact publisher, Christina M. Brashear at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wait there’s more. Samhain Publishing is also working on an anthology related to psychic powers, magic, telepathy, mind control and so forth. The deadline for this manuscript is January 13, 2008. Learn more at http://www.samhainpublishing.com/submissions. Contact Christina Brashear at email@example.com.
ES Agency, a literary agency presumably operated by Ed Silver, is in the market for good books on health, better living and related material. They also want fiction—mainly light fantasy for the young adult market. They sound eager for some good projects. So send your best pitch (one page please) to BB for ES Agency, 2132 Cargill Way, Roseville, CA 95747. Learn more at http://www.edsilveragency.com.
Leon Ogroske at Writer’s Journal sent this resource to me. He said that Dust Jacket Review is a new book website where writers can promote themselves and their work. I’m not sure that this site has anything different than the many showcase sites available to authors, but it might be worth checking out to see if it will benefit you and your book. http://www.dustjacketreview.com. Contact Cheyne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jerry D. Simmons of WritersReaders.com and NothingBinding.com has launched a new book review program. Contact Jerry for more information about how to get your book reviewed at email@example.com.
Are you interested in putting your book in a club? NewBookClubs.com is offering book club benefits to authors and publishers. Their services include listing your book at their site, distributing your book to book clubs, announcing your book to the media and, they say, “much more.” There is a fee, of course. These range from $35 to $250, depending on the services you require. Learn more at http://www.newbookclubs.com or contact Wanda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Would you like to learn how to get your book into mail order catalogs? Phil Edge has written a book on the subject. You can order his book, “The Secrets of Selling to Catalog Houses,” for $19.95 at http://www.homeenterprises.com/cataloghouses.htm. I have contacted Mr. Edge about reviewing this book for SPAWNews, in case you want to wait to read my impressions.
Jerry Simmons is offering to promote authors in his newsletter, Tips for Writers. I thought I announced this in the December edition of the SPAWN Market Update and he has mentioned it in his newsletter. He says, however, that he is not getting any responses from authors. Do you have advice you can share with other writers? What inspires you to stay at your keyboard? Can you share your experience about holding a successful signing? What’s the most recent thing you learned that has helped you as a writer? If you have something to say on one or more of these topics, contact Jerry at email@example.com.
Mike Geffner is relaunching his newsletter this month and he’s looking for someone to design it for him. He isn’t in a position to pay, but he will allow you to promote your website and services through the newsletter, which he says go out to over 10,000 people. Sounds like a good opportunity to me. Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Maisonneuve Magazine is accepting applications for the position of junior designer. Please apply with a cover letter, resume, portfolio samples and/or links to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Junior Designer” in the Subject Line.
Passionate Pen is a site all about romance writing. Here, you’ll find information about writing, resources and even agent and publisher lists. I visited the site and noted nearly 70 agents of romance and dozens of potential traditional publishers. http://www.passionatepen.com
Screenwriter veterans and newbies, unite, share and learn. http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/screenwriting
Free School Library Journal e-Newsletter subscribe at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com.
Do you want support while writing your next great novel? Visit Novel Writer Magazine at http://www.novelwritermagazine.blogspot.com and join in.
Here’s another new site I found recently. You can interact with other authors through forums, take workshops, refresh your grammatical skills and more. It’s the Inspired Author at http://www.inspiredauthor.com.
Publishers are notoriously lax in responding to queries and proposals. And I hear that it is getting worse. In November of 2007, John Wiley and Sons Publishing responded to one of my queries—one that I forgot I’d sent. Upon checking, I discovered I had sent it out in early February. It took them 9 months to get back to me on that one. Well, that’s still better than not hearing from them at all, which is a growing trend among publishers. You’ve seen it in their Submission Guidelines: “Unless we’re interested, we will not respond.” “Do not send us anything that you want returned, because we may not respond.”
Your Subject Line
Sometimes we don’t receive a response for another reason—our subject line. My piece on “What’s in Your Subject Line” appeared the December edition of Ron Pramschufer’s Publishing Basics newsletter. You can access that article at http://blog.selfpublishing.com/?p=225.
The message in this article is to pay attention to your subject line. When you send an email, the subject line and your name are the first things the recipient sees. If they do not know you by name, they will decide whether to open or delete your email based on what’s in the subject line. How many emails every week do you get with the subject line, “inquiry” or “question” or “Your web site” or “hello.” If you are not receiving responses to your important email messages, consider what you are putting in the subject line. I will more readily open an email that reads, “Need help with book proposal” or “Having a problem joining SPAWN” or “Have publishing question,” than I would “Help,” “Please Read Now,” or “Publishing?” And what about those people who leave the subject line blank? Now that really irritates me.
Bonus Item—An article by Patricia Fry.
Are you an author struggling with the huge task of book promotion? Did you neglect to write a book proposal before producing your book and now sales are lagging? There’s still hope for your book. I’ve invented the post-publication book proposal—a process through which stale, go nowhere books can be rejuvenated and your bank account replenished. Here it is—the Post-Publication Book Proposal.
The Post-Publication Book Proposal
Did you go ahead and produce your book without writing a book proposal? Maybe you simply didn’t know what a book proposal was or you didn’t understand its value. And now you regret your decision. I have good news. It may not be too late to benefit from writing a book proposal for your fiction or nonfiction book.
I’m suggesting the post-publication book proposal—a document designed to help you:
The post-publication book proposal is especially useful for authors of ebooks or those who have used POD technology, because they can easily make necessary changes. But, even if you have boxes and boxes of unsold books stored in your garage, you will benefit from writing an after-publication proposal.
Re-evaluate Your Book
Start by writing a one or two sentence description of your book. Is this the same portrayal you envisioned when you first wrote the book? Or has your original purpose or intent changed?
Tip: Use customer feedback to help you define your book.
Once you have succinctly determined the purpose, scope and focus of your book, you can more easily identify the appropriate target audience.
Who is Your True Target Audience?
You may have written your healthy-eating book for the fast-food restaurant crowd, but have since discovered that healthy eaters are purchasing it.
It could be that book reviewers and sales statistics show that your female fantasy adventure appeals more to the juvenile and young adult market than adult chick lit fans.
There’s no law against changing your proposed target audience. In fact, it is important that you re-evaluate your audience from time to time. Determine who is purchasing your book. Reexamine the story or text with a critical eye to more accurately pinpoint your ideal audience—those people who will gain something from or enjoy reading your book.
If you have written a book that is not well-received by the very audience you hoped to reach, either shift your promotional efforts to another audience or consider a revision. A major mistake many authors make is to write a book for an audience who really doesn’t care.
Where Are Your Readers?
Identifying your audience is just part of the path to successful authorship. Now you must locate them so you can reach them through your promotional efforts. Maybe you’ve discovered that the largest audience for your guidebook to vacation retreats isn’t the singles crowd, but businessmen and women. Where will you find these readers? Presumably, at business conferences, self-help workshops, civic organization meetings and travel sites. What sites do they visit, which magazines do they read? Promote accordingly.
Be careful about saying that your book is for every reader. A couple of years ago in St. Louis, I had a private consultation with an author who had attended my book promotion workshop. He said that his book wasn’t selling and he wanted some promotional ideas. He told me that his book was for a general audience and it featured proof that there is no God. This—a mainstream book? I don’t think so. I hope that I convinced this author that his audience probably consisted of people like him—scientists with the same theory, agnostics, atheists and some philosophers. I suggested that he would find his potential readers at the same web sites he frequents, reading the same magazines and attending the same lectures. Can you see how a shift in his perceived target audience could make a positive difference in this author’s bottom line?
Identify Your Book’s Hooks
A hook is a concept or a theme that helps to attract your target audience—something that captures their attention. Perhaps you were only slightly successful in a quest to attract readers for your romance novel. After writing a post-publication proposal, you may realize that you have some hooks in there that you hadn’t considered. For example, the fact that your story is set in New Hampshire during the Civil War adds two additional hooks. Perhaps you can promote this book to U.S. history and Civil War buffs. You’ll probably discover eager readers all over the state of New Hampshire. If the story isn’t too racy, it might be welcomed into public school curriculum. And you thought that women were your only audience.
Additional hooks for a nonfiction book featuring garden designs might be office garden designs, container gardening for apartment dwellers, regional gardening, etc. Do you see how you could promote to each of these demographics?
Continue to Build on Your Platform
It’s never too late to build a platform. Ideally, you have your platform well-established before you publish your book. For your book on the new women-on-motorcycles trend, presumably, you are a lady biker. You’ve taken all of the instructional and safety courses—maybe you even teach them. And you have contributed several articles to Women Riders Now Magazine, Biker Ally Magazine and Women on Wheels. But there’s more that you can do.
Establish weekend rides for women, start an organization, build a web site, circulate a newsletter and sign books at bike shops, for example. Continue to build a reputation in your field through exposure.
Establish New Promotional Tactics
Your after-publication book proposal might reveal that you’ve been just skimming the surface of your promotional potential with your book. Maybe you’ve been promoting online, you’re on amazon.com, you have had a few reviews in the obvious places and you’ve done a couple of talks locally. Consider what more you can do. Write for appropriate magazines, solicit more reviews in publications related to the theme or genre of your book, approach the library market with your book, start blogging and do talk radio shows, for example.
If yours is a novel, get your name out there by submitting stories to magazines. Find print and digital publications that use fiction in Writer’s Market (Writer’s Digest Books), The Best of the Magazine Markets for Writers (Writer’s Institute Publications), by doing a Google search using keywords, “fiction markets,” “literary magazines,” etc. And don’t forget to consider those magazines that you like to read.
Snoop on Your Competition
What else is out there like your book? How are the other books selling? For those books listed in Ingram’s database, you can check sales by calling, 615-213-6803 (have the ISBN handy). Also find out how other authors in your genre/topic are promoting their books. Glean this information by visiting author web sites. Check out their blogs, personal appearance pages and contests or other activities they’ve launched on behalf of their books. Subscribe to their newsletter. You might even contact these authors to discuss promotional tactics such as piggyback marketing.
Make Changes in All the Right Places
For those of you who are struggling with book sales and who face a decision regarding a revision, and for authors with POD and ebooks, here are some ideas for building promotion into your next printing:
Competition for authors is at an all time high. According to Bowker, over 291,000 books were produced in 2006. And the instance of failure has also reached new levels. In 2004, there were approximately 1.2 million titles in print, and a whopping seventy-six percent of them sold fewer than 100 copies that year. (BISG) The Jenkins Group says that over seventy percent of all titles fail to make a profit.
Authors who treat the process of publishing like a business and consider their book a product, have an advantage. While professionals preach and cajole hopeful authors to write a book proposal as a first step on their publishing journey, many of you don’t. The good news is that it may not be too late. If your book sales could use a boost, consider writing a post-publication book proposal. This could just mean the difference between a failed book and a successful one.
For more information on writing a book proposal, read The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book or How to Write a Successful Book Proposal in 8 Days or Less by Patricia Fry.
Patricia Fry is a full-time freelance writer, speaker, literary consultant and the author of 27 books. She is also the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network). Patricia’s hallmark book is, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book (revised second edition) www.matilijapress.com/rightway.html. Follow Patricia’s informative blog: www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog. And be sure to order your Author’s Workbook to accompany The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. www.matilijapress.com/workbook.html
If you liked this article, you may enjoy reading others at my website: http://www.matilijapress.com/articles.htm.
My articles have appeared recently in the following publications:
Writing World published my piece on “The Missing Link to Successful Authorship.” www.writing-world.com
Writer’s Weekly has published some of my articles in recent months. Scour their archives. www.writersweekly.com Most recently, “The Easy Way to Publishing Success” and “Your book Promotion Plan: One Size Doesn’t fit All.” Writers Weekly will also be running my new piece on “Do You Have a Purpose and Platform in Place?”