SPAWN Market Update – Late December, 2001
By Patricia L. Fry
GOING, GOING, GONE
HERE’S WHAT’S NEW
WORD OF WARNING
RESEARCH/REFERENCE SITE OF THE MONTH
BONUS ITEM FOR THOSE ADDICTED TO FICTION
YOU CAN HELP
Going, Going, Gone
The following publications are reported to have gone out of business with the last year:
Health for Women (formerly American Health for Women)
Health Facilities Management
Working at Home
Body, Mind and Spirit
Roads to Adventure
The Western Horse
Saturday Night (A Canadian magazine closing after 114 years)
Mademoiselle (Closing after 66 years)
These publishing companies have folded:
Lowell House (They were producing 120 titles per year on health and parenting)
Firebrand Books (They published 6 – 8 titles per year on feminism and lesbianism)
Gulf Publishing (This company produced 60-65 titles each year on a variety of topics including cooking and finance).
New Rivers Press (This is bad news for those looking for publishers for poetry and fiction)
Rockbridge Publishing Company (They published tour guides and civil war stories)
Here’s What’s New
The First Line is now a paying market for short stories. This is a unique quarterly magazine where you can explore and show-off your creativity. Before submitting, check out their Writers Guidelines at www.thefirstline.com.
Here’s how it works: editor, David LaBounty provides a new “first line” each month and you write a story around it. The first line for the spring 2002 issue is: “The first thing I saw when I woke was Chris’ face.” The deadline for a 300 – 1500 word story beginning with this line is February 1, 2002. The line for the summer issue (deadline May 1) is “The incident on the island is the stuff of legend, but let me tell you the real story.”
Doesn’t this sound like fun? Contact LaBounty at the website above or at:
The First Line
(Note: I have another surprise for fiction writers in the Featured Interview section this month. See below.)
Modern Physician (new address)
360 N. Michigan
Chicago, IL 60601-3806
Seattle Homes and Lifestyle
While they list their email address in Writer’s Market, editor, Fred Albert says they DO NOT appreciate email queries.
The new content managing editor is Carroll Lachnit
Steve Gleydura is the new editorial director
Business2.O (This magazine is starting anew—new staff, new address, new policies)
One California St, 29th Fl
firstname.lastname@example.org (for queries only)
www.business2.com (for Guidelines for Writers)
YM (new address)
15 East 26th St., 4th Fl
New York, NY 10010
(This is a magazine for young women ages 13-24)
TIP: For those of you who use Writer’s Market even occasionally, I recommend making note of changes to the listings as you become aware of them.
Word of Warning
Have some of your letters to editors and publishers been returned unopened, lately? Just last month, I had two letters returned.
The anthrax scare has infiltrated the publishing industry and some publishers are reacting. While this is not epidemic, there are some publishing houses that are changing their policies with regard to their slush piles.
What can we do? We’re being advised to do what we should be doing anyway—send mail that looks professional. Send a query letter instead of a complete manuscript as an initial introduction. Use stationary printed with your name and address. Once you have the okay to send a manuscript or proposal, package it with your return address on a printed label, write “Requested by So and So” on the front of the package and take it to the post office to receive a metered postage strip. Red flags in today’s mailrooms are hand-printed addresses, no return address and lots of stamps affixed to the package.
It’s rumored that some large publishing houses are opening only packages that come UPS or FedEx.
You might also use email for your initial contact. And that brings us to the issue of proper email protocol.
Do not send unsolicited attachments. Put your query or request in the body of the email. Because some word processing programs aren’t compatible with some Internet servers, you might have better luck getting a clean email to an editor/publisher by writing your message online rather than copying it over from your word processing program.
Nothing in America is quite the same as it was before September 11. The mail is moving more slowly and even those editors who aren’t reacting to the anthrax scare are responding more slowly to queries and proposals. The main reason for that is financial. Companies aren’t advertising and magazines operate on the advertising dollar. So patience is one virtue we all need to practice at the moment. And keep in mind something my great grandmother used to say, “This, too, will pass.”
Research/Reference Site of the Month
This month I’m featuring Metasearch, SPAWN’s brand new search feature. This is not a site, but a tool for searching for the sites you need. Metasearch is a combination of six search sites. You enter your keyword, click one button and a vast search is conducted by Google, AltaVista, Yahoo, Excite, MSN and AllTheWeb. SPAWN Metasearch
Among my jobs with SPAWN, I respond to the writing-related questions that come to the website. Here is one such question sent by a young teen last month. I’m printing it because I thought it might be of interest to other budding writers.
“To Whom This May Concern:
I am a thirteen-year-old writer who is struggling to get my works out to the major ‘important people’ as you might say. Just recently I have decided that writing is an excellent occupation for me to pursue. I have always enjoyed writing poems and coming up with different ideas for stories and movies, but just recently I have thought up some cartoon ideas. I would love to be able to get my ideas for these cartoons out in the open, but lately it seems that I have been hitting a lot of dead ends. You see, I found contact with your website through the search engine ‘Ask Jeeves.’ I saw that your organization helps young writers and authors find many ways to get started in literary writing. Please forgive me if I have misspelled anything in this email or there is any incorrect English, for I am slightly inexperienced in letter writing. I would appreciate it greatly if you were to help me in finding an answer to my question of ‘How do I get myself started in the writing industry?’ You do not know how much writing means to me and getting my works to the public would be a great accomplishment of mine. I need your aid in helping my dream come true. That dream being to become a writer. I do not care if I win many awards or if I get nothing but my books read and the readers’ love and appreciation for my work. I do not want to bother you for too much, but any writing tips you may be able to give me would be beyond greatly appreciated. Please send the information I asked for above to my email. Thank you very much.
Thank you for your letter. While we do offer an occasional workshop in California, we do not have lessons for writers. We are a networking organization, which means that as a group of writers and publisher, we help one another through our experiences and expertise. Our website is changing within weeks to become interactive—where members can communicate with other members to exchange information and to learn from one another. I will make sure you are notified when this happens in case you want to participate with numbers of other writer and publishers.
In the meantime, I would suggest that you read a lot of the types of material you want to write. Once you decide what direction you want to go—cartoons, poetry, short stories—go to your library and look at the Writer’s Digest books in the reference section. That would be Writer’s Market, Poet’s Market, etc. I’m not sure if they have a cartoon writers’ guide. Better yet, if you can afford it, buy the most current copy (2002 is out now) and study it through and through.
I started my writing career 28 years ago. First, I spent several years studying writers magazines and the Writer’s Market. I was also busy raising kids then. When my daughters became teenagers, I set up an office in the corner of my bedroom and began writing articles for magazines. My first articles were on topics that I knew well. I constantly studied the magazines for which I wanted to write and continually came up with new ideas for articles I thought would be appropriate. Some sold and some did not.
The main thing you can do to help in your writing career is to write, write write, Just keep writing. From what I see, you are a good writer and your spelling is fine.
I know this is not a very definitive response, but your questions was not very specific. To enter any career takes a lot of work in a lot of areas. There is no one answer for everyone. If you have more specific questions as time goes on, I will be happy to respond to them. In the meantime, do keep writing. Do keep dreaming of that writing career. And once you have studied and understand what it takes to submit your work, just start doing it.
A few days later, this email came.
“Dear Ms. Fry,
I just wanted to thank you for your much needed help. I will use all of your suggestions that you gave me. I must admit, I wasn’t exactly sure if writing was actually something I would be drawn into as I have never pursued anything in my not-yet-over life as I have pursued this dream to be a writer. I will always keep writing. I even have my own audience at my school. I just recently started bringing my stories to school for my friends to read during lunch. I have managed to draw them into my stories and have them begging for more. I am positive that if I do what you recommended me to do in your response, I will have more confidence in my writing. Then, I will be on my way to reaching my dream of becoming a writer. And I owe it all to you. Thank you again, Sincerely, Jessica”
To which I responded,
Thank you for your letter. I think that you have a good chance of becoming the successful writer that you want to because it sounds like you are willing to work for it. What many people don’t understand about writing is that talent is just part of the equation. Another large part of becoming a successful writer is persistence, perseverance, patience and hard work.
By the way, I found some information last night in the latest issue of Writer’s Journal featuring the art of comic book writing. It includes a list of possible markets for comics. If you send me your mailing address or a fax number, I will send this to you.
Are you aware that some youth magazines accept young people’s manuscripts? Seventeen and Stone Soup are two. Both are listed in the 2002 issue of Writer’s Market.
Also, have you considered entering contests. That’s another good way to have your work noticed and maybe land a publishing contract for a book of your short stories. Reference Writer’s Market and request guidelines for those contests that sound appropriate.
I’ll hope to announce Jessica’s first publishing success in an upcoming issue of SPAWN Market Update.
This month’s interview is with Will Black, president of New World Publishers, Inc.
Q: What types of book manuscripts are you currently look for?
A: We’re looking for “feel good,” “magic of life,” fiction stories that deal with magic or coincidences of life, that tell a love story or reflect a path someone is on. We want books that readers of today can plan themselves in and be one of the characters. We are all looking for meaning and purpose and we want to believe that what we go through each day will prove to be some form of good path for learning, love and dreams.
Note: New World Publishers accepts previously self-published books as well as manuscripts. Black says, “The story is far more important than the form.”
Q: What is your word requirement?
A: None. It’s the story and the depth of the idea/storyline that is important and no “formula” should be used that would hurt the story.
Q: How many books do you publish each year?
A: This year we will be publishing 5 books. We have currently on the table 18 additional books to come out next year. Our goal is not quantity, but quality. We want to have one or two best sellers a year.
Q: What are your manuscript submission guidelines?
A: We would first like to see an email outlining the work, the concept of the story, the market they intend to serve (or their goal) and something about the writer.
After seeing this, we would like to see a cover letter sent (answering the same questions as above) with a few chapters.
Next, if interested, we would like to see the entire manuscript.
Q: What do you look for most in an author?
A: Depth—i.e. being able to know who the “real person” is, which helps us market his/her book. We also appreciate a willingness to support the project.
We plan for each author to be a part of our family. We want to know him/her, what makes that author tick. We take the book and give our heart and soul to bring it to the public. Every writer has something magic to say and our job is to create a way in which the public will be aware of the writing and want to buy the book.
Q: What are some of your recent titles?
A: We are a new, independent publisher and we began with John Norman. The titles are “Tarnsman of Gor, Outlaw of Gor, Assassin of Gor, Raiders of Gor and Witness of Gor.
Q: Who is your audience?
A: Currently our audience is the 20 – 50 year old sci-fi and men’s action reader 60% of which, historically in John Norman world, is the female reader. Next year, we’ll be printing a spiritual series of books—that is not mainstream Christian, but more on the new age/spiritual genre. That audience will be 30-plus and predominantly women. We are working at publishing types of books for more effective distribution. This reader will also be interested in Lake Desire, as it deals with our passages of life.
Lake Desire is a fiction book but it deals with dreams, meanings of life and our own greatness. That audience will be both male and female over 30. Shadow Boxing is a fiction book that is the 16-year-old-girl/horse type of book that appeals to all horse people, but first and foremost the young female horse love.
And then we’ll be doing a male action series from an author that has sold about 60 million books.
We also create toys and commercial products that might support the writings, such as collectibles and artwork.
New World Publishers, Inc.
3131 Fernbrook Lane, Ste. 224
Plymouth, MN 55447
Bonus Item for those addicted to fiction.
I lucked out and came across this great site for fiction lovers. I couldn’t wait for a slot to place this information, so I’m including it in this issue of Market Update. I decided to tell you about this site in the owners’ own words. So we’re doing this interview Q and A style, too. Apryl Duncan is the originator of Fiction Addition and she’s the online Fiction Writing Host. www.FictionAddiction.net
Q: When did you launch this site?
A: The site’s official launch date was October 15, 2001. I created the site out of my love for fiction—from both the writer’s perspective as well as the reader’s. I’ve always been passionate about the fictional world and wanted to share that passion with others.
But this is definitely not a site that talks about me or my favorite books. The content is fresh, professional and also offers great articles from contributing writers, not to mention there are some very talented authors who display their work on the site as well.
Q: What was your original vision for this site and do you feel like you’re meeting it?
A: My goal was to create a website where writers and readers can come together and find everything they’re looking for in one place. Writers can search for publishers, read how-to articles, display their work and readers can write to their favorite authors, read book reviews, get the latest book and author news, etc.
My ultimate goal was to produce a site free of restrictions for the budding and even the more experienced writer. The Authors Showcase fits my dream perfectly and quickly became the driving force behind the site.
The Authors Showcase allows authors to post their work instantly to the site without worrying about rights to their work being taken away or having their work smacked in the middle of an advertisement.
Q: Is this a member site? Is there a charge?
A: FictionAddiction.NET is mainly supported by donations to the site. There are only two aspects of the site that require donations: the group workshops and reading group sections. And even then, only $1 is asked to obtain access to these private areas.
Advertising space is available, but it’s very limited. The last thing I want to do is pummel visitors with pop-ups, unders and banner ads. The ad rates are inexpensive and reach a large, targeted audience.
Without relying on advertising dollars to keep the site in operation, I can concentrate more on the content needs. And I give visitors the chance to add their names to the Generous Donors’ section so they can see just how much they’re a part of Fiction Addiction. NET
Q: What is the most popular aspect of your site so far?
A: The Author’s Showcase is very popular and growing fast. The message boards are extremely active as well with some really great conversations. I’ve also received a lot of comments on the publisher index, the literary agent index and also the author contact information section.
Q: What are your plans for the future of fiction addiction?
A: I have several contests going on now and I’m adding more in the coming months. I’m adding more how-to articles and I’ll be adding an option in the authors showcase that allows members to receive constructive feedback on their work. More writing workshops and reading group selections at a time will be added. The reading group members will be able to choose from several different books they’d like to read. Workshop participants can work through a dialogue workshop and also a creativity workshop at the same time.
The newest feature to FictionAddicion.NET is the awards gallery. The site has won four honors in one week.
Q: What is your writing/publishing background?
A: I confessed my fiction addiction before I could even hold a pencil in my hand. I’ve written plays, short stories, scripts and books throughout my life in just about every genre. I’ve spent the last six years as a freelance writer, covering the publishing industry, but never strayed from my love for fiction. In the past year, I’ve solely maintained a fiction writing site for a major online company. FictionAddiction.Net easily became my top priority, after I realized, in my research, there’s just no one place for a huge network of writers and readers to come together and enjoy every fiction-related resource imaginable.
Stop in and say Hi to Apryl at www.FictionAddiction.NET
Next month we’ll interview the editor of a beautiful, new family magazine with a fairly good pay scale and that is not listed in Writer’s Market.
You Can Help:
Since we can’t be everywhere, we’d like to recruit our members to notify us about any information, news, tips or opportunities that might be of interest to the working writer. Or let me know if there’s a particular editor or publisher you’d like me to interview for this column