SPAWN Market Update – May, 2002
By Patricia L. Fry
The following publications are reported to have gone out of business:
Fit (The editor said the magazine has temporarily ceased publication.)
Working Woman is on hiatus until further notice, according to Meryl Weinsaft, Director of Public Relations at Working Mother Media. She says, however, “Working Mother and Executive Female are still being published.” Contact them at www.workingmother.com or 135 W. 50th St., 16th Fl, New York, NY 10020-1201.
Bally Total Fitness debuts this month. According to spokesperson, Erin Eagan, “The magazine is about 90% freelance.” They pay 50 cents per word and up for articles in the area of Fitness & Exercise, Nutrition, Emotional Health, Physical Health, Style & Beauty, Leisure & Travel and Work. Eagan says their mission is to, “enhance our readers’ lifestyle choices by providing information that will motivate and educate them on living out a fulfilling and productive way of life.” Request Editorial Guidelines and/or submit a query letter via email to email@example.com.
There are some major changes taking place at Walker and Company. Publisher, George Gibson says that, after forty years, they will no longer be publishing mystery and crime fiction. Gibson says, “Walker is a very complicated company for our size, and we’ve decided to concentrate on our children’s and nonfiction lists. We’re very interested in children’s titles. On the nonfiction side, we focus on history, science, and health.” According to Gibson, they do not accept unsolicited manuscripts or proposals. Anyone wishing to run an idea by Gibson, should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
But first, says Gibson, “Know something about us—about our interests, which are evident through the books we publish. Call and ask us to send our catalog. Talk to bookstores who know our books.” And he suggests you visit their website at www.walkerbooks.com, (where you might find their phone number.) Only a fax number is listed in Writer’s Market. Or write them at Walker and Company, 435 Hudson St., 8th Fl, New York, NY 10014.
Alligator Press is also in the midst of changes. Publisher, Kenneth Kimball has announced that they will now publish only books in Spanish. He says, “We have become a producing agent for Spanish authors. We are only publishing what we consider to be literature, not commercial fiction.” For more information, contact Mr. Kimball at email@example.com
Yankee Magazine is also under construction. Carol Connare, Editor at Large, announces a new direction for Yankee. She says, “Yankee Magazine is changing, just as New England continues to change. We are bringing Yankee Magazine up-to-date. All magazines change with the times. This is another step in Yankee’s 65-year evolution as a successful magazine.”
Yankee will be offering more home and garden articles, more food and entertaining stories and more travel features. Connare says, “Yankee will still include important and compelling stories about people and provide readers with a sense of place for New England. We will also be introducing a new, more contemporary, engaging and reader-friendly design. We think both current and new readers will like the magazine better.”
Ask An Expert. Do you need an expert to interview for a story? Do you want to find out something about science, technology, animals, business, health, education, entertainment, the arts or practically anything else? Go to www.askanexpert.com. They have hundreds of experts ready to respond to your inquiry for FREE.
Writing Workshops. If you want to find out about a conference or workshop near you or in some exotic place, visit www.freelancewriting.com/conferences. Their extensive database will help you to make just the right connection.
www.grammarnow.com. Here’s a site you can turn to when you have a specific question about grammar. Ask and you shall receive a response within two to three days. You can also search for grammar principles and usage on the site. And while you’re there, be sure to sign up for the tip of the week.
Fiction Writer’s Connection at www.fictionwriters.com, isn’t exactly free, but it’s an option for those of you who seek some personal critique and help finding an agent, for example. Blythe Camenson, the co-author of Your Novel Proposal: From Creation to Contract: The Complete Guide to Writing Query Letters, Synopses and Proposals for Agents and Editors (Writer’s Digest Books), will be your teacher and guide.
Alice Wisler is the mother of 4 and a writer living in North Carolina. She is the author of Slices of Sunlight: A Cookbook of Memories, Remembrances of the Children We Held.
Q: Please talk about what inspired you to become a writer? A: Ever since I could put words together, my desire has been to write. My grade school teachers, as well as friends, often encouraged me to write and that boosted my confidence. The first devotional and short story I ever submitted for payment were accepted, but after that, I had my share of rejections. When my children came along, my writing for publication was put on hold although I did work on a novel. It wasn’t until my four-year-old son, Daniel, died that I began to write for print again.
Q: Please talk about your book,
Slices of Sunlight—your inspiration for writing it, the process and what you’re doing with it.
A: Daniel, my brave, sweet and humorous child, died in 1997 after treatments for a tumor—Neuroblastoma. My world crumbled. I began to write in a new way—grief and bereavement, memories and tributes were my themes.
I thought of all the parents I was in contact with through support groups and online and decided to ask them to send favorite recipes and memories of their children. In 1999 I compiled the cookbook, Slices of Sunlight. After adding some food-related quotes, a few poems and a preface, the book was set to go to the printer. I never considered sending it to a publisher because I wanted it out as soon as possible. So after spending weeks reading up on how to self-publish (I recommend Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual), I did just that. I have given the largest part of the proceeds to an organization dear to me. It is the Foundation for the Childrens’ Oncology Group, formerly, The National Childhood Cancer Foundation.
Q: What is your writing background or education?
A: I graduated from college with a B.S. in social work which has no connection to writing whatsoever.
Q: Since you wrote Slices of Sunlight, you’ve written a lot of articles. How much time do you spend writing each week/day?
A: I have written a number of articles and am the editor of a quarterly print newsletter, LARGO, and an online monthly magazine, Tributes. I spend about ten to twelve hours each week writing.
Q: You still have small children at home. How do you manage to write with little ones around? Any tips or techniques for making the time or for keeping them entertained while you write?
A: My children—Rachel, Benjamin and Elizabeth are now 11, 6 and 4. On the three mornings a week when they are all in school, I devote my time to writing. In the summer we go to our neighborhood pool and while they swim, I take whatever I am working on at the time—an article or a book proposal—and edit my pieces. Also I keep plenty of crayons and videos on hand. My husband David is great about baby-sitting so that I can make trips to the library to write or do research for my books and submissions.
Q: Tell us about your latest projects
A: I currently have a book with my agent about the effectiveness of writing through the heartache of parental bereavement. My agent has sent it to various publishers over the course of the past five months. I also am working on a new book about the value of story telling after a loved one has died. This is a compilation of many writers. I have a novel and short story I work on throughout the weeks because I enjoy the diversity of fiction writing. I find it fun to fall in love with some of my characters!
Q: So on top of writing articles, you are also marketing your books. What types of marketing do you do?
A: I like to speak and lead workshops on writing. I’m involved with the national bereavement organization, Compassionate Friends, and facilitate workshops at their annual conferences. My books are then sold at the conference bookstores. I will lead a writing workshop at a local seminar for women writers this spring. My two web sites, Daniel’s House Publications and Writing the Heartache, help to market my cookbook and any writing projects I need help with. My monthly ezine, Tributes, which currently has 400 subscribers and my print newsletter, LARGO, sent to over 200, are also avenues through which I can share about my book. I’m willing to speak whenever asked; I have made many contacts this way. Being on radio shows and TV programs have also been a good book-sales-booster.
Q: How do you split your time between writing and marketing? Do you have a routine that you follow?
A: I am tempted to write more than marketing. I spend some hours each month sending letters to various organizations to tell them about my book. Writing articles for publication gives me a chance to add my byline which includes information about ordering my book. When my book first came out in 1999, I devoted about half of my writing time to marketing. I have slacked off quite a bit over the past months.
Q: What would you advise others who want to begin or refresh a writing career?
A: Read, read and read some more. Study the markets. Learn all you can about writing—everything from style to voice to grammar. There are rules to follow in this business and learning them will only help you. Think why you want to write. Which genre do you like to use? Create a mission statement. Will you write to entertain? To help? Enlighten? Bring humor? I find writing to be a wonderful way to share so much. I particularly like this quote by John McPhee, “You write because you can’t see yourself doing anything else. If I saw an alternative I’d take it. I just have never had any other desire.”
Of course writing it hard work and that is why next to that quote at my computer I also have a plaque David gave me which reads: “Determination: The race is not always to the swift…but to those who keep on running.”
Q: What can someone expect to earn if they spend the time you do writing and marketing their works? Are you still donating a lot of your money? Do you have a figure that might inspire other writers to expand their writing businesses?
A: I continue to donate proceeds from Slices of Sunlight to help with childhood cancer research. I don’t make great sums writing, however, in the past four years that I have been seriously pursuing this field, I find each year my checks are increasing.
Q: What do you do, Alice, to balance out your life of writing?
A: I enjoy scrapbooking because I like the creative aspect to it as well as the fact I am leaving a legacy for my children. Recently we have done a lot of family camping in the North Carolina mountains. I also volunteer at my children’s charter school. And cooking, I delight in an afternoon alone to make something decadent.
Q: What would you like to add?
A: Being in the “grief field” of writing, I find it very important for my readers to trust me. Perhaps this is where my social worker’s heart connects with my writing. Most have never met me but I want them to know who I am and that I care about their grief journey. I want them to know I want to reach out and help them, meeting them on this path we travel together. Right now my focus is to write pieces that reach those who are in pain. This is not a high-paying market. But since my current goal is to reach the hurting, this year, this is where I have spent much of my time. I also see much potential among fellow-bereaved parents and encourage them in submitting their works to editors for possible publication. When they ask me to write a book review, critique their work or have marketing questions, I’m honored to be a help. I know being published on this grief path has been healing for me. It can bring healing to others as well—both to the writer and to the reader. Alice J. Wisler Tributes and LARGO Daniel’s House Publications
Are you looking for a publisher? Visit http://acqweb.library.vanderbilt.edu. Here, you can research the database either alphabetically, by region or by subject. This list also includes e-book publishers.
It takes me approximately 15 – 25 volunteer hours each month to research and write the Market Update. And this is in addition to my full-time writing work. I try to include information for every writer while making the Update interesting and entertaining. I wonder, am I reaching anyone out there? I have yet to hear one comment about the six Market Updates we’ve produced. Is anyone even reading them? We welcome comments and suggestions. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
This month we’ve interviewed Melvin Powers, publisher at the 55-year-old Wilshire Publishing Company in Hollywood, California and John Daniel, publisher at Daniel and Daniel and Fithian Press in Santa Barbara, California.
First, we talk to Melvin Powers:
Q: Mr. Powers, please describe your publishing company and its purpose.
A: We publish trade paperback originals and reprints. We specialize in psychological self-help books.
Q: What types of book manuscripts are you currently looking for?
A: In the fiction category: Adult fables that teach principles of psychological growth. If interested, read, The Knight in Rusty Armor by Robert Fisher and The Princess Who Believed in Fairy Tales by Marcia Grad. In the nonfiction category, we’re looking for: how to, self-help, motivational/inspirational, recovery, personal success, entrepreneurship, Internet marketing, mail-order, humor, jokes, horsemanship.
Q: How many books do you publish each year?
A: About ten, but the number fluxuates.
Q: What are some of your best selling titles?
A: Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, M.D., Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis, Ph.D and Robert Harper, Ph. D., Magic of Thinking Success by David Schwartz, Ph.D., Think Like a Winner! By Walter Staples, Ph.D., Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, The Knight in Rusty Armor by Robert Fisher, The Princess Who Believed in Fairy Tales by Marcia Grad, The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse by Albert Ellis, Ph.D., and Marcia Grad Powers and Three Magic Words by U.S. Anderson.
Q: How do you suggest an author approach you?
A: Authors are welcome to call Melvin Powers at 818-765-8579 to discuss their manuscript. Queries, proposals and entire manuscripts are accepted. Queries only accepted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. No proposals or manuscripts accepted by email.
Q: What do you look for most in a manuscript?
A: One that the author has edited. Fresh content with strong appeal.
Q: Some publisher want to work with authors who are eager to help with marketing. How do you feel about that?
A: We are delighted to have the author help with the marketing.
Q: Please add anything you’d like to say to the author.
A: We are vitally interested in all new material we receive. Just as you hopefully submit your manuscript for publication, we hopefully read every one submitted, searching for those that we believe will be successful in the marketplace. Writing and publishing must be a team effort. We need you to write what we can sell. We suggest that you read the successful books that are similar to the manuscript you want to write. Analyze them to discover what elements make them winners. Duplicate those elements in your own style, using a creative new approach and fresh material and you will have written a book we can catapult onto the bestseller list.
Introducing John Daniel at Daniel and Daniel Publishers, Inc.
Q: Mr. Daniel, please describe your publishing company and it’s purpose.
A: We have two imprints. John Daniel and Company publishes belles letters in very small editions. We do only a couple of titles a year, and we regard the acquisitions process as primarily by invitation. Fithian Press publishes books on all subjects and we do one or two-dozen books a year. Under the Fithian imprint, we do co-publishing, which is our euphemism for subsidy publishing. Authors pay the cost of publication in exchange for unlimited free books and a high royalty.
Q: What types of book manuscripts are you currently looking for?
A: Fithian Press publishes books on all subjects, but we seem to specialize in memoir, poetry and fiction. We also do quite a bit of Californiana and some Judaica.
Q: How many books do you publish each year? How many are planned for 2002?
A: 20-30 per year. At this point, we have about 25 books in production scheduled to come out this year.
Q: What are some of your recent titles?
A: A few recent titles: Stagecoaching on the California Coast by Maury Hoa; Steinbeck Remembered by Audry Lynch; Never Fade Away, a novel by William Hart; Skins, poems by Joyce Thomas. Visit our website to see more: www.danielpublishing.com/fithian.
Q: How do you suggest an author approach you?
A: A query letter is best.
Q: What do you look for most in a manuscript?
A: Good writing and an interesting tale or interesting information.
Q: What do you look for in an author?
A: Good writing, humility, cooperation, a nice smile.
Q: Some publishers want to work with authors who are eager to help with marketing. How do you feel about that?
A: Yes, indeed. At the small press level, an author’s participation in marketing is very helpful.
Q: Would you like to report any future plans for the company?
A: We’re growing smaller (is that an oxymoron?). Over the next ten yeas, we plan to shift gradually from co-publishing to editorial services.
Q: Do you see any trends occurring in the publishing industry that you’d like to comment on?
A: E-publishing appears to be a disappointment. Print-on-demand publishing looks promising, but I’m not tempted by it, yet. The growth of superstores and the concomitant decline of independent booksellers worries me; I think it will hurt independent publishing, which will be a loss for most writers.
Q: Please add anything you’d like to say.
A: Enjoy the writing part of writing. That’s as good as it gets. The publishing part is good, but it’s secondary.
Daniel and Daniel, Publishers, Inc. John Daniel and Company/Fithain Press www.danielpublishing.com
I’ll tell you how to get your book reviewed online for free and share information about some interesting writers.
Let me know if there are any specific publishers or editors you’d like to see featured in future Market Updates.
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