SPAWN Market Update – March 2011


Here’s What’s New

One of the largest Canadian distributors, H.B. Fenn, has gone bankrupt. And they left many publishers in the lurch—some of them to the tune of millions of dollars.

Here’s some good news for authors/publishers of children’s books. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has extended the deadline for complying with the Consumer Product Safety Act of 2008—related to lead in children’s products (including books). The new deadline is December 31, 2011. For more detailed information, go to

Writer’s Digest is launching its own “self-publishing” company with the assistance of Author Solutions. It’s called Abbott Press. Learn more at

There’s a new magazine for housewives and husbands who are writers or want to be. It’s called Housewife’s and Husband Writers Network. Subscribe for $35 year. The first issue debuts March 1, 2011.

Scott Flora has announced his resignation as Executive Director of SPAN (Small Publishers Association of North America) March 15, 2011. Brad Poulson, current Communications Director for SPAN, will take Flora’s place.

Emerge is the new name for First Monday. This is a regional business publication covering Tampa Bay and Orlando, Florida.

Tame Pet Magazine is expanding its reach in MO. This regional magazine for pet owners doesn’t appear as though they are encouraging submissions. It doesn’t hurt to offer them something wonderful, though.

Mary Travers is planning to launch a new book review site and bookstore for “lightly published” quality literary fiction from small presses, pay-to-publish companies and for ebooks. She said that she plans to make this a co-op for writers and that she has chosen only a few categories/genres to start with, but may add more with time. It doesn’t appear that Mary has a website, yet. But you can contact her if you have questions or want to get involved in any way.

Scarletta Press is launching a children’s line of books. Learn more at

Sleeping bear Press is expanding into chapter books for young readers and Young Adult novels.

Life And Dog is a new lifestyle magazine catering to dog owners in Texas. They are open to submissions, but it doesn’t appear that they are willing to pay, yet. Doesn’t hurt to ask, though. You’ll also get quite a bit of insight into this publication here: http://lifeanddog/about.

Opportunities for Freelance Writers

Both Sky and Hemispheres—inflight magazines for Delta and United—have increased in circulation in recent months. This may trigger greater opportunities (and pay) for freelance writers who want to write for inflight publications.

Housewife’s and Husband Writers Network Magazine editor is seeking articles for this new magazine. Editor, Marcie would like to see your story for the “My first sale,” section. She wants pieces of 500 words. Feature articles must be 1,000 to 2,500 words. Payment is the opportunity to post your bio, a free year’s subscription to the magazine and five copies of the issue in which your article appears. Contact Marcie at

Meg Weaver, editor of Wooden Horse Magazine is seeking help finding news for the magazine. She’ll pay $10/hour, up to approximately ten hours per week for someone to help her staff collect and write news about magazines for her newsletter, blog, Twitter, etc. Learn more in the February 13, 2011 edition of the Wooden Horse Magazine News or email Meg at and ask what she needs from you.

Journal of the Early Americas is a new publication and they welcome contributors at 5 cents/word. Check out their detailed submission guidelines here:

Bella Online is seeing editors: Learn more at:

TILT (Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology Magazine) editors are seeking submissions of from 1,000 to 6,000 words focusing on the use of technology in the helping professions. It doesn’t appear that there is any payment for articles. Guidelines here: Contact the editor:

Complex Child eMagazine uses articles. It seems that they do not pay, either. Find their submission guidelines here:

How about some paying markets:

Open Spaces features articles written by experts in their fields. They buy 35 ms year on topics related to public affairs, medicine, business, family, the environment and so forth. They also publish poetry. Unfortunately, they do not publish their rate of pay anywhere, but it is indicated to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.00/word.

Smithsonian Magazine pays $1,500 for a 500-650 word article. And they buy over one hundred articles each year. Study their guidelines carefully: Learn more about the magazine here:

Chicago Parent pays from $50 to $100 for material on raising a child in Chicago. Contact editor, Tamara at,

Emmy Magazine uses submissions. While most departments are written by regular contributors, newcomers can break into Labors of Love—500-word, front-of-the book profiles of TV people and their passions. While editors will pay up to $1,200 for features, the fee paid for the “Labors of Love” column probably runs around $500.

Glimmer Train publishes fiction. From what I understand, they pay around $500 for pieces of 1,200 or so.

Opportunities for Authors

There are a couple of new publishers in town. The editors at Astraea Press, at, are seeking, first and foremost, Amish romance stories. They also publish traditional romance, young adult novels and other fiction genres. You’ll find their submission guidelines at: This publishing house was established just last year.

Novel Voices Press is another new publisher and they are seeking fiction that raises public consciousness about human rights and important social issues. The editors say that if your novel is designed strictly to entertain, this is not the right publisher. And they give a list of examples at their website of the type of writing they will publish. Here are their submission guidelines: Basically, they want to see a query letter for a completed manuscript that will fit their requirements. They have some pretty specific requirements, so be sure to read the guidelines all the way through. And this is one publisher who will not reject your idea through a form letter. They will actually give you reasons for passing on your manuscript. Novel Voices Press is a Canadian-based publishing house. The proprietor is Gerald Neufeld.

Mulholland Books is a new suspense imprint of Little, Brown and Company. You do need an agent to approach them.

Sheed and Ward Book Publishing is a Catholic publishing house. Sarah Stanton is their acquisitions editor. According to their submission guidelines, they publish books on the following subjects: religion, spirituality, family life, ethics and others. You’ll find their submission guidelines at:

DAW Books, Inc. publishes science fiction, fantasy and paranormal fiction that comes to them either with or without agent representation.

(Note: I keep offering you lists of prospective publishers, not knowing what type of book you are pitching. Let me know what type of book you are working on—genre, topic and I’ll see if I can more appropriately target publishers for you. I’d also like to hear if any of you have scored with the publishers we’ve listed here.)

Book Promotion Opportunities

I believe I listed Bookfoolery and Babble as a possible book reviewer for historical fiction and history books recently. Well, the reviewer contacted me to say that she will review pretty much all books. So contact her at

Here are a few additional online book review sites you might want to check out:

For fiction:

For children’s and YA books:

Science Fiction/Fantasy:

Professional/Business Book Reviews:

Opportunities for Screenplay Writers

The consultants at Scriptapalooza will review the first 20 pages of your script for $55. Learn more at

Going, Going, Gone

Healthstyle has closed

A whole bundle of Zachary Publications magazine titles are closing.

Continental, the inflight magazine, has closed.

Flower News is no longer publishing independently. It’s now part of Flora

Black Beat has ceased publishing

Black Romance is no longer publishing

Right On! Has quit. has closed down

Ride Magazine has ceased publication.

Mothering Magazine is closing.

Resources for Authors

The first annual Ojai WordFest will take place in Ojai, California March 19-27 and will include master writing classes, presentations by publishing professionals, a book fair, readings and a variety of other literary events and activities designed to educate and entertain the community. Whether you are a reader or a writer, Ojai is the place to be this month. Learn more here:

Are you interested in America’s book-buying trends? You should be. It affects your book-selling business! Here is the most recent report from the American Booksellers Association (ABA)

Websites, Wisdom and Whimsy for Authors, Self-Publishers and Small Presses is a newsletter produced by Sue Collier of Self-Publishing Resources ( This twice-monthly newsletter is designed to offer “snippets of insight, invaluable Internet resources and a dose of humor.” It’s free.

Alltop provides up-to-date news related to the publishing industry. If you want to know what’s going on in publishing and what’s being said among key players in the publishing industry, you might want to visit Alltop for your news fix.

Bonus Item

Are you planning to attend a writer’s conference this year? I recommend writer’s conferences for those of you who would like to improve your writing skill, who want to establish a writing career, who hope to write a book, who are seeking an agent or publisher for a book and who need help promoting a book. I would guess that is most of you reading this newsletter!

Not every writer’s conference is designed for the same group of writers/authors. While some cater to writers, others lean more heavily in the direction of the published author. Still others focus on authors who have yet to be published. Be sure to check the program agenda, presenters, etc. before signing up to make sure that your needs will be met by what they offer.

Here are over a dozen conferences occurring in 2011.

The Spring Book Show in Atlanta, GA, March 25-26, 2011 will feature 16 speakers on topics including, finding your voice for the biography, is self-publishing for you? self-promotion, writing and selling your first novel and more.

The Write Stuff Writer’s Conference in Allen Town, Pennsylvania occurs March 25-26, 2011. There will be agents and editors there and the opportunity to interview with them.

Carolina Writer’s Conference, April 2, 2011 in Wadesboro, North Carolina. (Patricia Fry will be a speaker at this event this year.) From what I understand, this event is FREE to attendees.

The Unicorn Writers Conference in Portland, Connecticut is scheduled for April 9, 2011. This conference covers and includes all genres for writers/authors at varying levels and degrees of writing and publishing. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet with editors and agents.

Christian Writers Fellowship puts on the Orange County Christian Writer’s Conference in Irvine, CA, April 29-30, 2011 This conference features 27 breakout sessions (workshops) with accomplished professionals.

Can Write 2011 Conference, May 2-8, 2011 in Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada. Here, the organizers will be focusing more on writing, but they’ve scheduled some sessions for authors, as well.

PennWriters Conference will be held in Pittsburgh May 13-15, 2011. This conference features editor/agent appointments as well as 35 one-hour workshops for all writers and authors

Indiana University Writer’s Conference will cater to writers of poetry and fiction. June 5-10, 2011. There’s also a segment on screenwriting.

The Colgate Writer’s Conference focuses on poetry, short fiction, novels and memoirs. There is also a retreat aspect for those who want to just be with their writing. The event will be held in Hamilton, New York June 19-25, 2011.

Taos Summer Writer’s Conference. July 10-15, 2011. This conference, held in Taos, NM features speakers and workshops on many genres. Http://

Mendocino Coast Writer’s Conference July 28-30, 2011 in Fort Bragg, California. They focus heavily on fiction and poetry.

Pacific Northwest Summer Writers Conference is held in Seattle August 4-7, 2011. This event includes all writers/authors and features agent/editor appointments.

Wet Mountain Valley Writers Workshop, August 7-13, 2011 is held in Westcliffe, CO. This conference offers a writing intensive for 24 writers only.

What are you going to pay for a writer’s conference? Not counting travel expenses or lodging, generally around $75 to $100-day. The fee might include one meal and a continental breakfast. Expect to pay between one and two thousand dollars for a week to attend an all-inclusive writers retreat.

Here are links to some conference directories:

You can also do an Internet search for conferences near you. Type at the Google prompt, for example, “writers conference” + “San Diego” or “writer’s conference” + “Tulsa” or “writer’s conference” + “Florida.” Here are a few I located during a search this morning: There is a writer’s conference in La Jolla, California to be held in November of 2011. I found out that there actually is a writer’s conference being held in Tulsa March 26 of this year. And the Florida Writer’s Association is planning a conference for fall.

How to Prepare for a More Successful Writers’ Conference

By Patricia L. Fry

You hear more and more about writers’ conferences these days. They’re advertised at the websites you visit and in the newsletters you read. Members of your writers’ group talk about those they’ve attended. But you’ve never quite convinced yourself to sign up for one. Or maybe you have attended a conference and came away less than satisfied.

What’s the point of a writers’ conference, anyway? How can you benefit from enrolling in a weekend event? The fact is, it depends. It depends on the type of conference you choose to attend, your needs and expectations and your level of participation.

There are basically two types of writers’ conferences.

  1. There’s the author-friendly conference with seminars and workshops designed to teach hopeful and newbie authors how to find and work with a publisher or agent and how to market their books. This conference might also have sessions for freelance writers. And many of these conferences feature face-to-face meetings with publishers and/or agents.
  2. There are writers’ conferences and retreats focusing mainly on the craft of writing. Some of them last for a week or more and provide writers quiet time in which to write. These programs often feature workshops and other presentations by well-known authors, as well.

Some conferences specialize by offering workshops only within the fiction realm: children’s, spiritual/inspirational, science fiction, mystery or romance, for example.

Conferences and retreats cost anywhere from $50 (for a local evening event) on up to a few thousand dollars for a week-long retreat at a resort. Most typically, a two to seven-day conference (not including travel or hotel expenses), will cost between $150 and $850.

We provided a list of links you can search for appropriate conferences and tips for doing an Internet search. Here are a few additional tips for locating writer’s conferences:

  • Check with your local arts council or writers groups for conferences held in your area.
  • Ask your librarian if he/she knows of an upcoming writers’ conference.
  • Keep an eye on the arts section of your local newspaper.
  • Subscribe to writing/publishing-related magazines and newsletter.

How to Meet With a Publisher or Agent Face-to-Face

There are numerous writer’s conferences, book festivals and trade shows held all over the world throughout the year. Many writers attend these events as a way to meet publishers or agents. Attendees at a writer’s conference can generally engage in a casual conversation with a publisher or an agent after his or her presentation. Some conference organizers will arrange a meeting for you with a publisher or agent for an additional fee. This is as much to the publisher’s/agent’s benefit as the author’s. These professionals are as eager to find good material as you are to locate a publisher for your project.

Your first introduction to a publisher or an agent is usually through a letter or an email. And every writing professional will advise you to make a good first impression. This is even more crucial when you have that rare opportunity to meet a publisher face-to-face. I’m not trying to make you so nervous that you faint at the mere sight of the publisher. Heaven forbid! But I strongly encourage you to give this opportunity your best shot. How?

Before the event:

  • Find out which publishers/agents will be there.
  • Do a little research to learn what type of books they publish or represent and what titles they have placed or published, lately.
  • Prepare and practice reciting a brief description of your project. I call this your thirty-second commercial.
  • Create a promo package including a brief synopsis or overview of your proposed book and information about yourself. (What is your writing background and why are you the person to write this book?) Include your complete contact information: full name, address, phone number as well as website and email address. These days, publishers also want to know that their authors are tuned into their book’s target audience and that they have a good platform and/or excellent connections that will assist in promoting their projects.

Make a Good First Impression

When you meet a publisher or agent, be gracious and professional not timid and desperate. Come across as a potential business partner with an excellent product not an emotional writer who believes he has just completed the book of the century.

The more well prepared you are, the better your chances of talking to the publisher. And this might not occur as a planned event. Your opportunity may come about while standing in the buffet line or on the way to the airport. So be at the ready.

Why not invite the publisher or agent to lunch or for coffee and pie after the last workshop? When I travel to other cities to speak at conferences, I rarely know another soul. I enjoy meeting new people and I always appreciate a lunch or dinner invitation.

When you finally manage that chance meeting with a publisher or an agent, use your time wisely. Introduce yourself and your project with clarity. Make it interesting. Describe your proposed book through your intriguing thirty-second commercial.

Before ending the conversation, hand the publisher or agent your promo package. Keep it small enough to fit easily into his coat pocket or her purse. I advise my clients to create a 6 x 4 or larger post card with the proposed book cover on one side and a description of the book and your contact info on the back.

Have the handout ready to hand out. Don’t ruin a perfectly professional moment by rummaging through your purse or briefcase in search of the material.

You’ll probably be more nervous during a formal meeting than the informal, chance meeting. But if you prepare well, you will do just fine. Remember that publishers are always looking for good manuscripts.

Your Thirty-Second Commercial

Some publishing coaches recommend that authors develop a one or two-sentence description of their book—something that they can recite should someone ask. This is a good idea for those brief opportunities with a potential publisher, agent or customer. But a prepared thirty-second commercial gives you even more marketing ammunition.

Why should you develop a canned speech? While you may love talking about your book, it’s not always appropriate to carry on and on about it in public. You may only have limited time to make a pitch and you definitely want to make a positive impression.

That’s why it is important to think through your book project until you have a firm grasp on the focus and scope of your book, a clear understanding of the needs of your target audience and how your book will meet them. If you can also bring a well-established platform to the table, all the better. (Sign up for Patricia Fry’s NEW online course on how to establish and build on your author’s platform. Writing a book proposal can greatly assist you in preparing for your meeting with a publisher or agent.

How to Get the Most for Your Conference Buck

Another major aspect of most writers’ conferences is the opportunity to sit in on numerous workshops presented by experts and other professionals within the industry. I frequently travel to writers’ conferences and speak or teach on topics such as how to write a more successful book proposal, self-publishing, how to become a freelance article-writer, how to prepare yourself to become a published author, book promotion and so forth. Some conferences provide courses on fleshing out your characters, writing effectively in first-person, how to organize the how-to book and memoir-writing.

What makes for a successful writers’ conference? YOU!! Here are my tips for conference success:

  • Choose the right conference for your particular needs.
  • Select the workshops you will likely benefit from most.
  • Participate fully with an open mind.
  • Show up to all workshops and other presentations alert and on time.
  • Open your mind even to concepts that might seem a little uncomfortable at first.
  • Take notes.
  • Follow up with questions during networking sessions and/or contact presenters via email, if they invite you to do so. (I always issue this invitation. I want to make sure that my students have all of their questions satisfied.)

Whether you’re about to enroll in your first writers’ conference or your 101st, use this guide and your conference experience will be more successful.

Patricia Fry is a regular workshop leader at writers/authors workshops nationwide, having presented workshops at conferences in Arlington, TX; Baltimore; Seattle; Santa Rosa, CA; Jacksonville, FL; Honolulu; Madison, WI; Atlanta; Nashville; St. Louis; White Plains, NY; Phoenix and many venues throughout Southern California. or

The Future of Bookstores—an Editorial

As you may recall, the February SPAWN Market Update included a piece on bookstores closing. I’ve been predicting that once the mega bookstores as well as some of our favorite independent bookstores close, there will be an uprising. Not the rebellious sort of uprising, but a rising up of new independent bookstores with, perhaps, a different agenda. It will require a regrouping, if you will. You know—like occurs whenever there’s a tearing down of a community or an aspect of our communities because of a disaster, the economy, etc. While we’re enjoying a level of comfort, we cannot imagine doing anything differently or doing without what is making us feel so comforted. But when the unimaginable happens—fire, flood, earthquake, economic downturn—people recover, reorganize and create something that fills needs and even provides a new level of comfort.

Maybe you saw the story in the email version of Publisher’s Weekly, recently. Two independent booksellers—one in New York and one in Massachusetts are launching a management business whereby they will secure vacancies left by the failed chain bookstores and work with the right people to open independent bookstores in these spaces. Their first one opened in Wakefield, MA last month. According to one of the founders of the management company, Bookstore Solutions Management, David Didriksen, “Smaller, community-based bookstores that are run in a business-minded fashion will survive.” Let’s hope so. As authors, we need bookstores. As reader, we need them, too.

In St. Louis, the Independent Bookstore Alliance has been formed in order to raise awareness among both publishers and consumers of the independent bookstores and their unique contributions to their local communities. They will host literary events and advocate at the local and state levels on issues affecting all independent bookstores.

I’d like to challenge booksellers in other communities to follow these leads.