SPAWN Market Update – January, 2009
By Patricia L. Fry
Going Going Gone – 9 magazines, a publisher’s website and many bookstores are closing.
Here’s What’s New – New distribution co., Borders gets reprieve, magazine re-launch & more.
Opportunities for Freelance Writers – 8 paying markets, another job site and much more.
Opportunities for Authors – 5 traditional publishers, two directories of publishers and a special offer for those who can’t find a publisher.
Opportunities for Poets – 9 magazines seeking poetry—most of them are paying markets.
Book Promotion Opportunities – 5 Directories representing 10s of thousands of book promotion opportunities and resources.
Opportunities for Scriptwriters – Competitions for screenplays, documentaries and feature-length films.
Opportunities for Artists and Photographers – 2 viable opportunities, a site for artists/photographers who want work and articles of interest to artists.
Resources for Writers and Authors – Directory of links for writers and more “Alerts” programs.
Editorial Comments – Tips for taking control of your self-published book.
Going Going Gone
http://www.publisherscentral.com domain is for sale.
The print version of PC Magazine is closing. It’s going digital, only.
MAXIM is teetering on the brink of failure.
Silatino may go on hiatus until the economy gets better.
Today’s Christian Magazine published its last issue in December.
Play has closed.
Cottage Living has gone out of business.
Gardening Life will no longer be publishing
Wish is closing—or is it? Does anyone know for sure?
Jewish Living has quit.
A Sad Bye Bye to More Independent Bookstores
A few months ago, we listed a dozen bookstores that were closing in California, Seattle, Washington DC, Illinois, New York and Philadelphia. We can add to that list, Novel Idea and Transition Bookstore and Café, both in the Chicago area.
Friends of Davis has a webpage dedicated to those bookstores that have gone out of business. They’ve collected quite a list. See it here: http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/vme/no-borders/survey.html.
Evidently, Robin’s Bookstore, a long-time fixture in Philadelphia is restructuring. Owner Larry Robin says sales have dropped by 15 percent in recent years. He isn’t quitting altogether, however. He’ll use a smaller space and focus on used books.
Here’s What’s New
Borders Books is no longer for sale. While they’re still struggling, they have found ways to tighten their belt and plan to, at least for now, keep on keeping on.
No Depression, a magazine devoted to music and musicians, went out of business in May, but has since re-launched. http://nodepression.com.
Book Hub is a new book distribution company with offices in Santa Cruz, California and a warehouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We, here at SPAWN have not worked with Book Hub, nor do we know anyone who has. We are only reporting the information that came across our desk this month. It is up to you to check out their contract before committing. It doesn’t look as though they have a website, but you can call them or email them with your questions. My first question would be, “Can you please send me information about your company?” My second question would be, “Can you provide me with references?” firstname.lastname@example.org. 831-466-0145.
Note: It has come to my attention that some of our colleagues have been trying to get information for their clients and others with regard to this new company these last few weeks with little forthcoming. I will pass along anything that I learn.
Drugstore Canada is the new title for the monthly magazine formerly known as Pharmacy Times.
Did you know that some publishers are asking authors to make submissions by filling out an online book proposal form? It’s true. You may go to a lot of work to create your book proposal, only to discover that the publisher of your dreams requires a specially formatted proposal. It’s just more proof that, as authors, we must stay on our toes and remain flexible. While we recommend that all hopeful authors write a book proposal, this could be a real advantage for some hopeful authors to have parameters and guidelines for creating one.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt reported to the Wall Street Journal early in December that they have put a temporary freeze on the acquisition of new titles. Yes, things are bad all over.
Opportunities for Freelance Writers
Writer’s Digest is running two articles that should be of interest to you. Both are written by experts who are well embedded in the magazine industry. Bob Sacks writes It’s a Digital World Now. See his article at http://www.writersdigest.com/article/its-a-digital-world-now. And Samir Husni (Mr. Magazine) rebuts with his Death of Print Magazines and Other Fairy Tales. http://www.writersdigest.com/article/the-death-of-print-magazines-and-other-fairy-tales
Do you wonder where the digital age is taking us and whether or not there is a future for print publications? Read these articles and come to your own conclusions.
WOW–Women on Writing (http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com) has put in their monthly call for submissions. This month, they are seeking articles on children’s writing, romance writing and genre writing as well as articles related to writing about finances. Study their submission guidelines here: http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/contact.php. And, folks, this is a paying market. You can earn as much as $150 for a feature piece.
Workamper News is publishing more articles per issue. Their audience consists of people who combine RV camping and part-time or full-time work. Do you know someone who is a host for a recreational campground; who travels around in an RV earning spending money by sharpening knives, scissors and saws in every town or who writes while traveling from city to city in an RV? You might be able to earn a little money writing about these folks for Workamper News. Learn more about this magazine and how to submit to them at http://www.workamper.com.
Labyrinth’s Door is a new children’s fantasy magazine and it is a paying market. If you can write short fiction for children, ages 8 to 14, editor Jacquitta McManus might be interested. She wants stories of 3,500 to 5,000 words and will pay .20 cents/word. (That’s $700 to $1,000, folks!!) They publish poems of up to 50 lines and pay $1.50/line. Learn more about their submission guidelines at http://www.labyrinthsdoor.com. Contact Submissions@worldstodiscover.com.
Su Casa, a magazine focusing on southwest home building will pay the right freelancer as much as $1,000 for the right piece. Check out the submission requirements at http://www.sucasamagazine.com. Contact Charles Poling, at email@example.com.
Creative Nonfiction pays $10/page (sometimes more) for up to 5,000 words. They purchase as many as 30 articles per year. While fiction and poetry are out, they will consider essays, first-person narratives and interview/profile pieces. If you enjoy writing creative nonfiction, consider submitting your complete manuscript to Creative Nonfiction Magazine. Learn more at http://www.creativenonfiction.org. Contact Lee Gutkind at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thrive NYC publishes over 100 manuscripts/year. This is a great opportunity for someone who can write articles for the Baby Boomer generation. They want essays, historical, nostalgia, humor, interview/profile, personal experience, general interest and inspirational pieces of 900 to 4,000 words. And they pay $100 to $400. http://www.nycplus.com.
Image publishes both fiction and nonfiction and pays $200 max for pieces of 4,000 to 6,000 words. They also publish poetry. http://www.imagejournal.org.
American Short Fiction uses as many as 25 manuscripts per year. They particularly like experimental, literary and speculative fiction. Send complete manuscript. They want 2,000 to 15,000 words and they pay $250 to $500. http://www.americanshortfiction.org. Contact Stacey Swann or Jill Myers at email@example.com.
I don’t think this information will get you a job or earn you some money, but it’s interesting to note some of the statistics related to magazines. And it might help you to direct your freelance energies where the profits are. According to a news bite in Freelance Writer’s Report, November 2008 edition, from MastheadOnline.com, the fastest growing magazine categories over the last five years are home magazines, snow and ice sports magazines, and nursing magazines. The fastest to decline are news publications and management magazines.
The top ten categories in terms of the number of titles published are regional (1,126)–you know I’ve been nagging you to pay more attention to regionals. They are amazingly plentiful. On down the line we have large numbers of medicine, ethnic, religion, travel, business, college alumni, automotive, health and fitness and college student press titles.
If you want to keep up with what’s going on in the world of magazines, here are a few sites to follow: http://www.mastheadonline.com, http://www.woodenhorsepub.com (subscribe to the newsletter), and http://www.mrmagazine.com. And, of course, maintain your membership in SPAWN and continue utilizing your access to the SPAWN Market Update each month for some of the most comprehensive news on magazines and book publishing and promotion.
Ever wonder how many of us there are out there trying to make a living through writing? According to the 2000 census, 185,000 Americans claimed, that year, that writing was their primary source of income. I think the figure must be a lot higher by now–at least the numbers of rejections we all get every year indicate so.
MisterSoft.org is another job website and they include jobs for freelancers in every area–art, literary, business writing, web design and more. Check them out at http://www.mistersoft.org/freelancing.
Opportunities for Authors
Northern Illinois University Press has a new imprint. Switchgrass Books will launch in the fall of 2009 and they plan to put out two literary fiction titles per year. If you have an appropriate manuscript, you might consider this new publishing imprint. Learn more at http://www.switchgrass.niu.edu/switchgrass/. You’ll see the submission guidelines there. Briefly, they want to see query letters only from residents of the Midwest, authors with a Midwest tie and/or with books related to the Midwest. No agent representation, please. They also want to receive materials via postal mail. Send to: Northern Illinois University Press, Switchgrass Books, 2280 Bethany Rd., DeKalb, IL 60115.
New Seeds Books is an imprint of Shambhala Publications in Boston. They publish about 10 autobiographical, biographical, general nonfiction and gift books per year on the subject of religion and spirituality. Since the twist they prefer is fairly specialized, I recommend studying some of the books in their catalog at http://www.newseedsbooks.com. And then, if you think your project is right for them, request a copy of their submission guidelines via email. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oaklea Press (http://www.oakleapress.com) is currently seeking how-to books focusing on how to help businesses increase the productivity of workers and staff.
Hawk Publishing Group at http://www.hawkpub.com, is open to many types of manuscripts, however, they seem to have a lot of roadblocks to submissions. For example, you must be from Oklahoma or the surrounding area in order to submit to them at all. They don’t want to receive attachments. They strongly discourage phone calls or waves of emails asking for a status report with regard to your manuscript. In fact, they typically respond only if they are interested. While they claim they produce a wide variety of types of books, they have a fairly long list of topics they do not want to see. And, in order to learn what they do accept, they recommend that you study their list of published books–their catalog. It may be worth following up with this publisher. I’ll let you be the judge. Good luck.
Diversion Press contacted us to let us know that they need poetry and short stories for their featured anthologies. http://www.diversionpress.com.
Directory of Publishers
Writers-Publish.com has a list of traditional royalty publishers currently seeking good manuscripts in many areas, including business, finance, parenting, romance, mystery, adventure, sports, history and more. Visit this site at: http://www.writers-publish.com/book-publishers.html.
And, of course, don’t forget to check out Writer’s Market (the print book that sells for around $30 in most bookstores) and http://www.writersmarket.com, (database of publishers and their submission guidelines).
Special Offer For Hopeful Authors
Do you have a book manuscript you are trying to place? Are you having trouble finding the right publisher? Maybe we can help. Send me a brief description of your book project and a list of publishers you have contacted and I’ll see if I can help you to locate a few appropriate publishers for your project. Contact me at: Patricia@spawn.org.
Opportunities for Poets
Fifth Wednesday Journal, (http://www.fifthwednesdayjournal.com) publishes poetry, fiction and essays. They don’t pay for submissions, but they do offer periodic prizes for fiction, poetry and photography.
Labyrinth’s Door also publishes poetry and they pay for those pieces that they publish. (See the listing in more detail under “Opportunities for Freelance Writers.”) http://www.labyrinthsdoor.com.
Some general or even specialized publications pay for poetry. Here are a few to check out: The Saturday Evening Post uses light verse (http://www.satevepost.org), The Polishing Stone does, too (http://www.polishingstone.com), Susquehanna Life publishes poetry with a Central PA flavor (http://www.susquehannalife.com), Parent:Wise Austin uses a variety of types of poetry (http://www.parentwiseaustin.com), The New Writer uses poetry (http://www.thenewwriter.com), North Carolina Literary Review publishes poetry by North Carolina poets only. They pay $50-$100 honorarium (http://www.ecu.edu/nclr).
As I understand it, even the Journal of the American Medical Association publishes poetry in every issue. Learn more about what and how to submit at http://jama.ama-assn.org.
Book Promotion Opportunities
Are you still complaining that you can’t get enough exposure for your book? What would you say if I told you there’s a Bookstore Directory with over 200 online and neighborhood bookstores–many of them seeking books to display and even feature? Spend some time this year locating outlets for your book and get that exposure you need. http://www.ads-links.com/bookworm.
Have you taken the 18 Question challenge, yet? Gregory Kompes, over at Fabulist Flash Publishing in Las Vegas, has devised these 18 questions for writers such as, “Did you choose the writing process or did it choose you?” “When did you know you were a writer?” “What business challenges have you faced as a writer?” When you respond to these questions and return them to Gregory, he will post your bio along with your responses at his website for all to see. What a great way to get additional exposure for your book. I mean, every little bit of exposure helps, right? And this is a practically painless way to get a little notoriety. I know it is painless because Gregory states at his site that no writers were harmed in the creation of the questions. Hop on over to the 18Q site and check out the questions at: http://www.eighteenquestions.com/index_files/18QSurvey.htm. Or type in http://www.eighteenquestions.com and click your way to the Survey. If you click on “The Writers,” you’ll get to see who else has answered these questions and get some ideas about what to write in your Survey.
If you’ve read much of what I write on book promotion, you’ll notice that I frequently suggest getting your book reviewed in appropriate newsletters or I recommend writing articles for newsletters. By appropriate, I mean, newsletters related to the genre and/or the theme/subject of your book. There are thousands of them out there on every topic imaginable. Well, here are a few resources for locating newsletters related to your book.
Newsletter Access at: http://www.newsletteraccess.com. I found over 300 newsletters under the heading, “Communications,” and some of them were for writers and authors. With around 9,500 newsletters listed total, you’re bound to find one, two or a thousand related to your book’s theme.
Ezine Hub at http://www.ezinehub.com, has 64 categories of newsletters including, family, genealogy, hobbies, finance, technology, beauty, gambling, inspirational… Sixty-four categories–this could mean thousands upon thousands of actual newsletters.
Ezine Locater at http://www.ezinelocater.com has over 80 categories and about 75 brand new listings including newsletters on writing, baby names, recipes, financial issues, fibromyalgia, gospel music and historic motorsports. See, I told you that practically every subject is represented through newsletters.
Directory of Columnists
Another great way to get exposure for your book is through newspaper columns. If your book features a topic commonly (or even uncommonly) represented by newspaper columns, consider contacting columnists and asking them to review your book or interview you. And just in time to jumpstart your 2009 promotional activities, I have just the site for you!!! BluEagle, http://www.blueagle.com. Note, that is not BlueEagle, but BluEagle. Here, you will find over 700 columnists of newspapers, magazines, newsletters, radio and TV who write and talk on a variety of topics.
Are you offering anything for FREE? Some publishers are attempting to give a little in order to get a few orders by offering freebies to those who purchase their books. View House Publishing is giving free jigsaw puzzles to those who purchase books within a certain specified time period. (Unfortunately, this offer ended 12/17/08. But I wanted to mention it as an example of how publishers are increasing sales at their websites.) Others are giving away free ebooks with the purchase of a print book. Dataware is giving a free bonus game when you purchase a game pack, (http://www.datawaregames.com). One publisher is giving away free shipping with the purchase of two or more books. Another is offering a free poster with the purchase of a book. I sometimes offer free reports (or articles) on topics related to my books.
If you have a book related to music or the music industry, the editors over at No Depression Magazine might want to review it. Contact them with a description of your book and request permission to send them a review copy, at email@example.com.
Opportunities for Scriptwriters
January 5th is the deadline for the 11th annual International Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition. And this is a big deal. The grand prize is $10,000 and sometimes a win can lead to a contract. Learn more at: http://www.scriptapalooza.com. Do you have questions? Email: Info@scriptapalooza.com or call: 323-654-5809.
Scriptapalooza’s Short Films and Music Video Competition deadline is February 6, 2009. And the deadline for the Feature-length Narrative and Documentary Films is March 2, 2009. This competition is connected to the Los Angeles Film Festival. For submission details for this competition, go to http://www.lafilmfest.com or http://www.withoutabox.com.
Opportunities for Artists and Photographers
Fifth Wednesday Journal is in the market for photography submissions. Check out guidelines at http://www.fifthwednesdayjournal.com.
NJCreatives.org at http://www.njcreatives.org, provides a directory of writers and artists (graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, etc.) for those who need these services. Check them out to see if you want to list with them and, perhaps, get some lucrative jobs.
Here are two articles to help you in your endeavors as a working artist rather than a starving artist. Read, “Do Artists Need Good Work Habits?” by Jerry Lebo at http://sixtyminuteartist.blogspot.com/2007/08/do-artists-need-good-work-habits.html. And take a look at my article, “Promotion: Your Success as an Artist Depends on It.” http://www.matilijapress.com/articles/artist-promotion.htm
Resources for Authors and Writers
Freelance Writing Organization–Int’l at http://www.fwointl.com is striving to be the largest, free, online writing resource database out there. They started in 1999 and have 12,000 registered members. What do they offer? Databases representing over 4,400 free writing links and resources, thousands of writing jobs, free software downloads, a huge reference library, 60,000 writing products, funds and grants for writers, recommended reading and much more. Stop in, sign up and start perusing the offerings.
You also have access to hundreds of resources right here at the SPAWN website. Have you spent time checking out our Publishing Resources; Articles for Authors, Freelance Writers and Artists and links to services and other resources? Start with our Index at http://www.spawn.org/toc.htm. And have your pen and paper ready because you’ll end up with an incredible number of resources you’ll want to check out.
You may recall our recommendation to sign up for Google Alerts in order to stay abreast of what is happening within your area of interest–presumably the topic/genre of your book. Through Google Alerts, you will learn about articles on your topic/genre, blogs on your topic/genre and, if you use keywords related to your book title and yourself, you will even be aware when someone is writing about you or your book. http://www.google.com/alerts. Why do you want to know about information related to your book’s topic or genre? So that you can come up with new article/book ideas (based on new research, for example) and locate editors, columnists and/or bloggers interested in your topic for possible involvement at their blog posts, magazine, etc. Through Google Alerts, you can find book review opportunities and other book promotion opportunities.
And now you can get even more involved in your genre or topic research. Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL all have alerts services of their own. Check out http://www.alerts.com and http://www.yotify.com. Alerts.com even has price-watch alerts. If you have money to spend after Christmas and you have something specific in mind, use http://www.alerts.com price watch to find the best price.
One complaint we hear over and over again from authors who sign with various fee-based POD publishing, NOT “self-publishing” companies, is the excessive price the company puts on their books. Some of these companies even change the pricing from time to time. It may come down for a time, but then go up even higher than ever. How confusing is that? And how difficult is it for authors to sell their books when the price is way above what other books in their category are selling for?
It seems as though we are always posting warnings to our members who are considering signing with an all-inclusive book production company–you know the ones I’m talking about. And I am getting testier and testier about referring to them as “self-publishing” companies. The problem is, as we Americans tend to do, we shorten the terms. Now, books produced through Authorhouse, Infinity, iUniverse and so forth, are known as “self-published books.” The authors are considered, “self-published authors.” And this is misleading. These authors did not establish their own publishing companies and produce their books themselves. This is what self-publishing means. How did the publishing waters get so muddy?
So what are the differences? In many cases, your profits. Sure, you put up all of the money when you establish your own publishing company and produce a book. But you also reap all of the profits. You have the responsibility, but you also have the power. If your book isn’t selling well at $21.95, you can lower the price to $19.95, if you think this is a good business move.
Do I recommend self-publishing to all authors? No. But I would advise any hopeful author with the money, energy and at least a smidgeon of time to consider self-publishing over going with an all-inclusive book production company. As the author, you should have the freedom to set your book’s price, to promote it how you want, to get copies of your book when you need them, to work with wholesalers, distributors, booksellers and library acquisitions directors. You should be in charge of quality control.
Is self-publishing for you? You do the research. Talk to others who have self-published and those who have used book production (commonly known as POD) companies. Spend time at forums where they are talking about self-publishing versus POD publishing. Read newsletters like this one so you’re aware of the pros and cons. Definitely read Mark Levine’s book, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. It’s FREE with new memberships and renewals for a limited time. And also study what self-publishing is all about. The thing is, if you don’t have the time and money to do true self-publishing, you’d better not get involved in a fee-based POD NOT “self-publishing” company (or all-inclusive book production company). Why? In many cases, you’ll spend more by outsourcing the publication of your book. If not in up-front fees (and some of them are exorbitant), then in the loss of profit and promotional opportunities. And please don’t count on the company to adequately promote your book. In most cases, their promotional programs are ineffective, at best.
No matter what publishing option you choose, you will be responsible for promoting your book, anyway. Why do so under a handicap, which is the case when you are relying on a book production company. And why settle for a small percentage of the profits when you could be raking in all of the profit?