SPAWN Market Update – July, 2008
By Patricia L. Fry
Going, Going, Gone – 13 magazines and publishers close down.
Here’s What’s New – 4 new and changing magazines.
Opportunities for Freelance Writers – Job opportunities and a writers’ conference.
Opportunities for Fiction Writers – Articles for writers of fiction.
Book Promotion Opportunities – Brian Jud provides sales reps for your book.
Opportunities for Scriptwriters – 2 scripts wanted.
Resources for Writers and Authors – Directory of authors’ blogs and a magazine handbook.
Book News – HarperCollins Co-op for authors, B&N to do away with returns, more competition for authors and more.
Bonus Item – How to Recession-proof Your Writing Business.
Los Angeles Times Magazine will be temporarily discontinued. Watch for a relaunch.
Portsmouth Magazine is for sale and may close.
Positive Thinking will quit after the July/August issue.
Solutions at Home has gone out of business.
Canadian Poker Player has folded.
Four Wheeler went out of business.
Luxury SpaFinder is no longer publishing.
Ropin’& Rodeo News has roped its last story.
Mass Appeal has ceased publication.
Business Week Chicago has closed.
Red Herring has been forced out of their office space. CEO, Alex Vieux says that they have a new space, however, and won’t be quitting. (We could not verify a new address.)
Herbs for Health will fold into Herb Companion with the June/July issue.
The Live Search Books Team at Microsoft contacted us to let us know that they will be ending their Live Search Books site.
Watch for changes in The Atlantic Monthly. If you have written for them or if you’ve ever wanted to, be sure to spend some time studying the new magazine format. As most of you freelance writers know, The Atlantic Monthly pays well. And they publish fiction, nonfiction and poetry. They accept queries, poems and manuscripts via postal mail only. Do not send them anything by email or fax. The best method of determining the needs and desires of The Atlantic Monthly is by reading several issues of the magazine. However, publisher Jay Lauf says that upcoming issues will focus on politics and people who are shaping our future. If you have a piece of somewhere between 1,000 and 6,000 words which is reportage in style and geared toward the intelligent, thinking person, you might consider submitting it to The Atlantic Monthly. Maybe you have some excellent literary and contemporary fiction or some meaningful poetry. If so, send poems to The Atlantic Monthly, 205 Portland Street, Boston, MA 02114 and other manuscripts and queries to Editorial Office, The Atlantic Monthly, The Watergate, 600 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20037.
Miller-McCune is a new magazine coming out of the Miller-McCune Center in Santa Barbara, CA. This bimonthly magazine focuses on significant research and researchers related to dealing with pressing social problems in the U.S. and around the world. Are you promoting a scholarly book or one related to addiction, aging, cancer, climate change, obesity, technology, traffic, prisons or any number of other such topics? If so, you might consider writing articles for Miller-McCune in order to promote your book. You’ll find their detailed writer’s guidelines at http://www.miller-mccune.com/about/write_for_us. Contact Editor, John Mecklin at email@example.com.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (book publisher) has moved to 18 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011. http://www.fsgbooks.com. If you have something you think FSG Books would be interested in, don’t email it—they only respond to submissions sent to their street address and that includes an SASE. What do they publish? Children’s literature and literary fiction for adults.
Entrepreneur Magazine has been sold and there are lots of changes taking place in staffing. I used to write for Entrepreneur and worked with Karen Axelton and Reiva Lesonsky. Both of them have left the magazine. Amy Cosper is taking Lesonsky’s place. I checked their website and notice that they haven’t made staff changes, yet. http://www.entrepreneur.com. For Writer’s Guidelines go to http://www.entrepreneur.com/contactus/writersguidelines/index.html. Here’s what they’re looking for: articles directed toward small business owners who are seeking innovative ways to grow their businesses, people who are dreaming of starting their own businesses or franchises and home-based business owners.
The Christian Writers Guild is presenting the Writing for the Soul Conference in Colorado next year (2009). They recommend early sign-up for the early bird special. For more information, visit http://www.christianwritersguild.com. Or email the director at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d rather, you can call, 866-495-5177.
Are you a member of Dana Cassel’s Writers-Editors? As a member, you are invited to flaunt your writing skills and talents with the possibility of picking up freelance writing/editing work. Dana reports that 118 requests for writers and editors were recently posted at http://www.writers-editors.com. Among the job requests are a copyediting job for a science fiction novel, a New York company is seeking a reporter and an internet company is looking for someone who can do part-time editorial and writing work from home. Learn more about membership in Writers-Editors.com at http://www.writers-editors.com.
I met Victory Crane when I spoke at the Orange County Writer’s Club luncheon last year. And we’ve stayed in touch occasionally since. Several weeks ago, she sent me a list of some of the articles she has posted at her website and I thought that you might be interested in reading some of them. Victory, by the way, is an expert in fiction writing. Here are the titles and site addresses for some of her articles:
“How to Critique Fiction,” www.crayne.com/howcrit.html;
Carrol Wolverton is writing a book on “Living Cheap” and is soliciting your help. Do you have any ideas related to a book you’re promoting, perhaps? Send Carrol your tips and get publicity for your own book in this new book. For more information go to http://www.northfloridawriters.org/CarrolW.htm. Or email Carrol at email@example.com.
Perhaps your book relates to spirituality/religion. Are there stories in your book that would work for a book of God-incident stories? In other words—stories of God-incidence, not coincidence. If so, contact Kathie@vadirectory.net. Visit Kathie’s website at http://www.god-incidence.com.
Brian Jud has created a new program to help you sell books. For a fee and a cut of the profits, Jud will include your book in a catalog that goes out to 1,800 sales reps nationwide. These sales people promote your book to corporations, associations, schools, etc. For additional information and to sign up, go to http://www.premiumbookcompany.com. July 1, 2008 is the deadline to be included in the first catalog. For more information send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have a comedy script written for a female lead in her early 20s? If it is along the lines of the ABC Family’s “Holiday in Handcuffs,” there might be a place for it on television. The producers want a romantic element in the script, but romance should not be the focus. This script should have a great title, a strong hook and an easy-to-follow plot. They don’t want anything that’s overly complex. For more information, go to http://www.inktip.com/pnews.php.
InkTip also has someone looking for completed feature-length drama scripts about adolescent characters dealing with issues. They particularly want scripts with stories involving team sports—something along the lines of “Green Street Hooligans, “Friday Night Lights” or “Kids.” http://www.inktip.com/pnews.php.
Do you enjoy visiting authors’ blog sites? These are often good places to learn about writing and publishing. I maintain an informational blog for anyone interested in writing and/or publishing. Visit mine at http://www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog. Here’s a directory with additional author’s blogs: http://www.authorsblogs.com. While some of these blogs are useful and informational, most are blogs about the author and their books. Perhaps you’ll want to see about having your blog listed here.
Are you interested in the magazine business? The Magazine Publishers of America has released their 2008-2009 edition of their Magazine Handbook and it’s now available in PDF form at http://www.magazine.org/handbook. If you want a print copy, contact email@example.com.
Book Production is Wayyy Up
The tally is in—R.R. Bowker has released book production figures for 2007. Evidently, there was a 39 percent increase in book output—raising the number of books produced in 2007 to 411,422. According to Bowker spokespersons, the production of on-demand, short run and unclassified titles soared from just over 20,000 to nearly 135,000 in 2007. The biggest gain occurred in literature. Fiction titles, the single largest category, increased by 17 percent. The largest decline was in business titles, which were down 12 percent. Religious titles (which have been on the rise for several years in a row), and juvenile fell in 2007.
Barnes and Noble on the NO Returns Bandwagon
Believe it or not, Barnes and Noble CEO Steve Riggio is willing to help find alternative methods of dealing with unsold books. According to Jim Milliot’s article in Publishers Weekly (May 22, 2008), Riggio calls the current returns practice “insane” and “expensive.” And we thought the returns policy was annoying only to publishers.
Is Your Copyright Missing in Action?
Have you been waiting and waiting to receive your registration from the Copyright Office? Well, evidently, they have a good reason for the poor service. They’re modernizing their operations by shifting from paper to online registration and this is causing a bit of a delay for those applications already in the pipeline. If you want a faster turn-around, use their e-Service. Locate additional information here: http://www.copyright.gov/docs/delay.html.
Is Harper and Collins Becoming a Co-Op?
HarperCollins is bringing change to an already ever-changing industry. They’re forming a new publishing group designed to offer authors a 50/50 profit-sharing package instead of the coveted advance. This new model is in the experimental stages and will only focus on short nonfiction books. I’ll keep my finger on the pulse of this industry decision and report on my findings.
Don’t be so hungry for sales that you fall into the grasps of scammers. Have you received email messages from polite individuals from other countries asking about your overseas shipping policy for quantities of books? Ooooh, it’s exciting to think that dozens of your books would find their way to some exotic city, isn’t it? But it’s not so exciting when you don’t get paid for the books—and this is a high probability. I’ve received such emails for years from Australia, India and other far off places asking for quantity shipping quotes AND requesting a speedy delivery. At first, I was thrilled at the prospect of selling dozens of copies of my book. But, after engaging in email conversations with the potential customers, I realized that they were not on the up and up. In fact, when I started asking the hard questions, the scammers disappeared into the ether.
How can you protect yourself from overseas scammers?
If you’re not sure whether you’re being scammed or not or if you have been scammed, you’ll find a list of fraud watchdog groups at http://www.elsop.com/wrc/complain.htm.
Nearly every writer is affected by the economy. It seems unfair that, at a time when writers have so much to say, publishers are producing fewer books and magazine editors are printing fewer stories.
Business drives magazines. When business revenues wane, workers are laid off and advertising slows. Without advertisers, editors can’t afford to pay writers. Within the past two years, five of the magazines I write for have gone under and several others have cut back on the amount of freelance work they’re using. A few years ago, an editor, who liked my work, generously assigned me six articles—one each for the next six issues. When I completed the job, the editor wrote an apologetic letter saying that their advertisers were pulling out and they had to cut back on the number of articles they can use in each issue. They ended up publishing just two of those articles. Earlier this year, a magazine folded before paying me for the 3,500-word article I wrote at their request.
In times like these, more editors request articles on spec rather than issuing a contract. They don’t know what direction their publication will go in the uncertain economy and they don’t want to make any promises they can’t keep. Consequently, the writer is often left writing for naught.
What’s a writer to do in times of economic struggle? The strategy I use is to rethink and reorganize my business. Adopt the attitude that, if things aren’t going your way, find another way. Here are some ideas to help keep your writing business afloat even during the hard times:
–Patricia Fry is a full-time freelance writer and the author of 28 books. She has contributed hundreds of articles to about 300 different magazines over the last 30 years. Her articles have appeared in Writer’s Digest, Freelance Writer’s Report, Authorship, The World and I, Woman’s Own, Country Journal, Cat Fancy, Entrepreneur, Los Angeles Times, Kiwanis Magazine and many, many others. View some of her articles and books at www.matilijapress.com. Visit her blog often: www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog.