SPAWN Market Update – May, 2005
By Patricia L. Fry
Going, Going, Gone – YEAH! None to report this month
Here’s What’s New – 9 brand new magazines
Opportunities for Writers – 6 High Paying Markets
Book Promotion Opportunities – Three GOOD ones
Opportunities for Fiction Writers – Glimmer Train
Opportunities for Illustrators and Photogs – 3 of them
Opportunities for Children’s Writers – 3 publishers
Opportunities for Screen Writers – 2 contests and a gig
Editor’s Note – Unreasonable expectations or lofty goals?
Grammar Site – SPAWNDiscuss
Bonus Item – Interview with Gini Graham Scott of PublishersAndAgents.Net
Let me know if you are aware of any magazines or publishing companies that have gone out of business in 2005.
American Idol Magazine
Oxford American Magazine
Capital Region Business Journal
Field and Feast
Assisted Living Today
Over the years, I’ve told you about a lot of different freelance opportunities—places where you can sell your articles to promote your books as well as those stories that you are eager to see in print. But few of those magazines, newsletters and Web sites pay enough to actually earn a living as a freelance writer. This month, we’re featuring medium to high paying markets.
Actually, there are high paying magazines in many categories. I have a list of over 150 parenting, business, computer, lifestyle, sports, regional, travel and other magazines that pay at least $1.00 per word. I will report a few in each edition of SPAWN Market Update. Let me know what category you are most interested in and I’ll make that my priority in months to come. Patricia@spawn.org
Better Homes and Gardens
I believe I introduced GeezerJock in the last edition of SPAWN Market Update. But I don’t think I knew much about them at that time. I’ve since learned that they focus their articles toward sports-minded people over 40 and they pay $100 to $500 per article. This isn’t bad considering they are a start-up. Perhaps your book focuses on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle in your retirement years. Sean at GeezerJock might welcome a piece featuring one or two of your contributing elders who are still actively playing tennis or competing as a runner, for example. Contact Sean at email@example.com.
Are you a DISGRUNTLED WRITER? This isn’t a high paying gig, but the opportunity to vent might make this a worthwhile one. WritingStuff.com is seeking submission for a book about some of the scams and pitfalls of writing. They will pay $50 to $200 for a 500-2,000 word piece. Learn more at: http://www.writingstuff.com/submissions.html.
Locate Additional Magazines
There’s a place on the Web where you can order samples of magazines for $2.95 per copy. While I think this is an interesting service, I’m not sure that it is necessary. If you are going to pitch a story to a particular magazine or you’ve landed an assignment, often the magazine publisher will send you a free copy upon request. I’d suggest trying this first. But if you’re having trouble locating a particular magazine and would like to check this site out, it’s at http://www.magsampler.com.
Alecia Paulsen Pancheri contacted me last week to talk about radio media publicity for my clients and readers. She is the director of Captive Additions, a company that provides radio media interviews for authors and other people with services and other products to promote. She says that she has worked as a booking agent for a national PR company and brings with her years of customer and business relations experience. She now enjoys (and earns her living by) placing authors on talk radio shows as guests. She attends book festivals and writer’s conferences in order to meet authors to represent. She will interview you to see if you have what it takes to carry on an interesting conversation with a radio show host. And then she attempts to place you where she feels you will get the most publicity for your particular project. Not only that, she offers “media training.” So if you need help relating to an audience, she will coach you for a fee of $75. If you are interested in having Alecia step in as an agent for you and help you to get some media exposure, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about Alecia and her program at http://www.freewebs.com/captiveadditions.
Gain more credibility while promoting your book. Someone, who didn’t identify him/herself, contacted SPAWN last week seeking quotes for a new book. This author is under contract with St. Martin’s Press and the book will feature some of the worst towns in the U.S. The author is currently collecting humorous quotes of from one sentence to one page for the book. I frequently take advantage of offers like this when it affords me an opportunity to promote my books and services. For example, I’m quoted in Francine Silverman’s new book, Book Marketing From A to Z, in Debbie Allan’s book, Shameless Self-Promotion and I was surprised to see one of my articles published in Agents, Editors and You (a Writer’s Digest Books Publication). I was using this book to do a little research last night, when I happened across my name and my article, Speak Up for Your Writing. This is great exposure. So, if you have a funny story about a crappy town, contact this author at email@example.com
Here’s another opportunity to get some publicity for your project. I’m writing a book for Archimedes Press and I’m seeking quotes. Here are my questions. Please email your thoughtful responses to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
1: How much time do you spend promoting your book(s) every day/week/month?
2: What are your main promotional activities?
3: Do you spend more or less time now than you did when the book first came out? (What is your publication date?)
4: Have you gained momentum and energy toward promotion or have you lost interest?
5: What keeps you going with promotion (or has made you stop promoting)?
I’d also like to know if you wrote a book proposal first and if you feel it helped you or if you didn’t write a book proposal and wish you had. Did you target the right or wrong audience with your book? Thanks, Patricia@spawn.org
If you wish to be identified in this book, please send a one sentence bio.
Glimmer Train Press
Caryl Nishioka at firstname.lastname@example.org is seeking illustrators and photographers for a series of publications about Hawaii.
Lone Star Publications is looking for artists. Submit 8 – 10 samples of your work and a letter describing your experience to, Art Department, Lone Star Publications, POB 811872, Dallas, TX 75381. Include an SASE. First, you might visit their Web site and check out their catalog of books to get an idea of their style. http://www.lonestarpublications.com Or find their books online at http://www.Amazon.com.
Oxford American Magazine
Lone Star Publications is seeking manuscripts throughout fall of 2005-spring of 2006. Mark your calendar and start polishing your children’s picture books for ages 5 -8 and chapter books for ages 8 – 11. Lone Star doesn’t offer an advance. Royalties are 7 to 10% royalties. Locate their submission guidelines at http://www.lonestarpublications.com/submission.php and please comply with them. For example, their picture books should have at least 1000 words and no more than 3000 words. Chapter books can run 20,000 words and must incorporate a grade appropriate lesson. They prefer receiving a book proposal and they list the parts of the book proposal that they require in their submission guidelines. Submit your material either via USPS or email.
Random House is soliciting more children’s books. They’ve invited Anne Schwartz back as Vice President and editorial director of the new as yet unnamed imprint. Watch for more information on this great potential opportunity.
Enter contests. Find out about dozens of them at http://www.withoutabox.com.
Santa Barbara Script Competition. The deadline for this contest is June 30. They will extend the deadline to July 31 for those who can’t make the earlier deadline—but there will be a penalty. Contact email@example.com.
Can you write a script with a sports theme from the point of view of a 13-16-year old that is suitable for the Disney Channel? If so, you might contact firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for more information.
I had an interesting email conversation with a relatively new author a few weeks ago. He said that he has sold “only” 50,000 of his book. I told him that was a very good number. He said that maybe so, but not according to his expectations. We’ve talked about expectations before. I’ve warned you against having unreasonable expectations. But this author reminded me that there is a fine line between unreasonable expectations and lofty goals.
Lofty goals become unreasonable expectations when one is ill-informed and ill-prepared. In order to meet goals, one must recognize and be willing to work around the obstacles. He must become aware of the opportunities and take advantage of them. The only way that anyone can fail is to quit. So how did this young man sell 50,000 books? He sold an article to Playboy Magazine (3,200,000 circulation). This led to an interview on a prestigious TV show. He said that now sales are strictly word of mouth and that he spends most of his time working on his next book. Sigh, doesn’t this sound delicious?
Those of us who are participating in SPAWNDiscuss are sure enjoying (and learning bunches from) member, Elizabeth Burton’s Grammar Lessons. We had a lively discussion on commas recently and we’re swiftly moving into the area of hyphens and em dashes. If you are not hooked up to SPAWNDiscuss, be sure to arrange that with Virginia@spawn.org.
This month, I interviewed Gini Graham Scott, Creative Director at PublishersAndAgents.Net. Anyone with a book or a screenplay to pitch would probably be interested in this.
Question: I stumbled across your Web site one day this week and thought our members might be interested in knowing about your service. Please describe your service and the process of using it.
Answer: PublishersAndAgents.Net is a service that connects writers with publishers and agents through either an e-query, which almost all clients use, or a postal query, which some do, usually in addition to the e-query. In addition, there are some spin-off services, including ScreenplayWritersConnection.Com, which connects screenplay writers with film producers, production companies, and film agents and managers. The way the service works is this. We have developed an extensive database with about 1300 editors at major and medium sized publishing houses, about 900 agents, among them the top agents, members of the Association of Authors Representatives, and agents who are regularly signing deals in the industry. We similarly have an extensive database of about 4000 film industry contacts.
When a writer uses the services, we have guidelines that the writer can follow to write his or her own query letter, and then I do a review and make suggestions for a final polish. Then, the writer sends their final query to go out. Or if a writer wants me to write the letter, they send me a 1-2 page overview of the book and some bio and PR material. They then get a draft to review and make any changes and additions. After that, I do a final polish and send it out. About half of the clients have me write their letter. Even though the clients are writers, this is a special kind of marketing letter. So reviewing the letter or writing it is an important part of the process.
If it’s an e-query, we then send it out to a targeted group of editors or agents interested in that type of project, using keywords that indicate their major areas of interest. Then, the client gets a report listing the company names and specific editors and/or agents contacted. Typically, queries go out to about 250-400 editors and 300-500 agents, depending on the type of project. They go out under the person’s own e-mail, so the editor or agent who is interested can respond to that person directly and then they take it from there.
If it’s a postal query, we use the same basic query letter and format it so the individual can print it out on his or her own letterhead. Then, the individual gets a set of letters and envelopes (or labels) that are all ready to print on his or her letterhead. While the postal query includes many of the same editors and agents, the postal query makes it convenient to follow up, since the person has all of the names and addresses ready to print out with their follow-up letter. In addition, there are some editors and agents (about 10% of the list) who don’t want e-mail queries.
We recently added a couple of services, mainly for clients who get a large response and want some help in deciding which agent or publisher to go with. One is an agent assessment and locator service; the other is a publisher assessment and locator service. They both include a report with detailed information, including interests, deals, etc. – basically everything we have in the database about that particular editor and agent.
Question: What prompted you to come up with the idea for this service?
Answer: I came up with the idea for this service as a result of trying to pitch my own books, since I have had a lot of trouble finding an agent to effectively represent the wide variety of books I do, and I was just better at finding and making deals with publishers myself. About 90% of my 40+ books have resulted from my initial contacts, and in some cases, I have brought in an agent to handle the follow up. Initially, about 20 years ago, I started with lists that developed out of going to the American Booksellers Association (now Book Expo) and contacting editors there, and then I added to this with names from Literary Marketplace and other guides. Because of the extensive amount of time it took to put this list together, I began selling the list, and then, with the development of the Internet, this became the basis of the database. However, because of the ease of copying and circulating data in this Internet age and new technologies that permit multiple queries using special software, I began to send out queries, rather than selling the list or database.
Question: Please share your background in the writing/publishing field.
Answer: I have published over 40 books in a wide range of fields. I published my first book in 1980, which was a revision of my Ph.D. dissertation in sociology, and then shifted over into writing general interest books. My first books were about different types of groups with different lifestyles, and then I wrote a series of books about success and personal development. Other books have been on social trends, business, law, humor, and a couple of memoirs and fiction books. My most recent books are Do You Look Like Your Dog? (Random House, 2004), A Survival Guide to Working with Humans (AMACOM, 2004), A Survival Guide to Working with Bad Bosses (AMACOM 2005), From the Pens of Kids (Sasquatch Books 2006), Homicide by the Rich and Famous (Greenwood 2005), and A Complete Idiot’s Guide to Party Plan Selling (Alpha Books 2005).
Question: What are the advantages to using a service like yours compared to approaching publishers and agents personally?
Answer: If you already have personal connections with publishers and agents, you may not need this service. The advantage of this service is it quickly connects writers with many publishers and agents where they don’t have the connections. Also, it gives them a broader range of choices. It also provides an opportunity to refer interested publishers to agents to follow through, which can help writers get an agent.
Question: Do you screen projects (query letters/book proposals/manuscripts) before agreeing to send them out?
Answer: We don’t screen the book proposals or manuscripts, unless writers request a review with feedback (and occasionally clients do ask for a rewrite). But generally we start with the writer sending in a query letter or writing the letter for them from an overview, bio, and PR material about them. The reason for this is we just work on connecting writers with publishers and agents and helping them write a very good query letter to make that connection. But then it’s between the writer and publisher and/or agent. In our experience, almost all clients do have potentially marketable books.
Question: Do you also offer consultation services–do you critique/edit query letters, etc?
Answer: Yes, I do offer consultation services. Some clients want advice on what to do after they get positive responses from agents and editors, and some want help in deciding among a large number of responses. Also, some clients don’t have proposals, so they need help in putting these together. A brief critique is included when people send in a query letter, and generally most people find this advice helpful in polishing up their letter.
Question: What percentage of your clients land publishers or agents through your service?
Answer: You can see about 100 comments from clients who have used the service on our Web site. Some clients have landed major deals with big publishers including Random House, Simon & Schuster, Hyperion, and agents at major houses, including William Morris. And almost everyone has gotten some positive responses from agents or editors who want to see more – ranging from about 10-20 requests for more material to 60-70 positive responses from both agents and editors in the case of really strong material. The total number of responses is much more. Overall, about 80-90% get requests to see more information, and after that we don’t always know what happens, though many clients have reported back when they get a deal with an agent or publisher.
Question: If someone expressed an interest in your service but remained on the fence about it, what would you say on behalf of your service? Give us your best sales pitch.
Answer: Actually, the service sells itself, and many people come from referrals or simply place an order after reading what’s on the Web site. I generally answer questions people have and refer them to the testimonials and information on the Web site for further information. I don’t try to persuade people who remain on the fence, since I don’t believe in the hard sell. I find most people will see the value of the service by looking at the Web site and seeing all of the positive experiences that others have had.
Question: Please share anything else you would like.
Answer: One of the major sources of support for the service came from an article by Jeffrey Trachtenberg in the Wall Street Journal last June. After that interest in the service literally exploded with dozens of people calling and using the service over the next few weeks, so it was actually hard to keep up. Since then, the service has mainly grown through people hearing about us from others or from articles like this. And then a growing number of people have been finding us on the Internet by just doing a search for editors, publishers, or agents, though we haven’t yet done any ads for the search. However, now we have plans to expand and are working on a business plan to bring in a management team to expand the service through more advertising and promotion and additional writers. We are also planning to connect people in other fields using queries – such as writers and anyone who wants to contact radio and TV talk show hosts, entrepreneurs seeking venture capital, etc. These additional services should be available in a few months.
Our Web site is at http://www.publishersandagents.net, or if you are interested in screenplay writing, our site is at http://www.screenplaywritersconnection.com. We have an additional spin-off service for songwriters looking for music publishers, record labels, and music agents and managers at http://www.songwritingconnection.com. Our e-mail is email@example.com. And you can write to us at PublishersAndAgents.Net, 6114 La Salle, #358, Oakland, CA 94611. We would prefer to have people go to our Web site first, and then they can call us if they have any questions.
Gini Graham Scott, Creative Director, PublishersAndAgents.Net.
Editor’s note: This seems as though it would be a useful service, however, I still urge hopeful authors to be involved in as much of the process as possible. I think it is important that we take the time and make the effort to understand the publishing industry and that we take on much of the responsibility for our future success. While we sometimes need assistance along the publishing path, let’s avoid giving over too much of our power because we tend to lose too much that way. While I offer consultation services and I will do editing, work with clients on locating a publisher, writing a book proposal and so forth, I think it is vital that the author do most of the actual work toward preparing his/her manuscript; locating, becoming familiar with and approaching agents and publishers and promoting his/her book. There are experts who have been there/done that and are willing to help. But don’t lean on us too much. Listen, learn, glean and then act appropriately. Keep your power—you’ll have a much better chance at the success you desire.
in Hawaii is seeking textbook manuscripts for K-12 classroom teachers in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. They also want textbooks for college and university students. Bess Press also publishes fiction and nonfiction books for children. Learn more from Ms. Reve Shapard at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reve is requesting either a query, proposal or complete manuscript. I advise authors to start with the query or the proposal. needs photos and illustrations. Find out about their submission policies at www.oxfordamericanmag.com/submissions.htm.pays a flat $500 for a fiction story of 1,000 to 2,000-words. And they pay on acceptance. For those of you who aren’t accustomed to the periodicals market, this is a gift. Many magazines pay on publication. If something happens that they never publish your piece, you never get paid. Sisters Susan and Linda started Glimmer Train Press in 1990 in order to publish great short fiction that, as they say, “We would personally look forward to reading.” They especially appreciate work that is emotionally engaging as well as well-written. They request that you submit your story via email to email@example.com. But I would recommend that you study their submission guidelines, first. http://www.glimmertrain.com is a monthly periodical for women who are interested in a healthy lifestyle, fitness and nutrition. This magazine will pay up to $1.50/word on acceptance. They are looking for articles of 1,000 to 2,500 words. Always query first. Go to http://www.shapemag.com to learn more about the magazine. Go to http://www.shapemag.com/shapeyourlife/7863 for submission guidelines. You will contact Leslie Ryan if you have a piece related to fitness and Kim Acosta for articles on health issues. This might be a good venue for promoting your book on diabetes. How about a piece on exercise and fitness for the diabetic woman? If yours is a cookbook for parents of obese children, consider submitting an article featuring how to brown bag it and still eat healthy. Mail your query letter to the appropriate editor at Shape Magazine, 21100 Erwin St., Woodland Hills, CA 91367. Include your email address in case they want to contact you that way. is a fairly new magazine for women. I understand that they pay over $1.00 per word, but I couldn’t find anything on their Web site to verify this. You can learn more about writing for Jane by visiting http://www.janemag.com. Click on “Editorial” and then “Meet the Editorial Staff.” Go to “Be In Jane” and check out the opportunities. I don’t see any opportunities there that look as though it would bring in the big bucks, but perhaps this is the way to start. is also a high paying market. If you have some insight or information related to contact centers (web enabled call centers) you may be able to work for this trade magazine. They want articles directed at the professional in contact centers throughout the U.S. Call 800-899-2676 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of their guidelines for writers. is for families who are interested in home, cooking, gardening, remodeling, decorating, travel, health, crafts, home entertainment and so forth. And they pay well for excellent articles on these topics. I recommend visiting their Web site at http://www.bhg.com and click on their “About Us” link. There, you’ll discover the names of the various editors and the departments of their expertise. If you have a book related to home, garden, neighborhood and/or family issues, you might be able to promote it through an article featuring great ideas for decorative wreaths, how to help your child through the grieving process or how to create curb appeal. Submit your query letter to the appropriate editor through the Web site or write (with an SASE) to 1716 Locust St., Des Moines, IA 50309-3023. is an entertainment lifestyle magazine that pays more than $1.00 per word. I could not find their submission guidelines, but I’m sure that if you email Sean at email@example.com, he will get a copy to you. has been launched to serve AAA members in the Midwest. My research didn’t produce much about how to contribute to this magazine. But if you are interested, I suggest emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for their Submission Guidelines. is now Assisted Living Executive. This is a publication produced by the Assisted Living Federation of America. is a new bi-monthly magazine coming from the United States Postal Service, believe it or not, in hopes of bridging the direct mail world with advertising. It is also designed as a PR tool for the USPS. This magazine will feature various corporations and their mailing habits. Contact them for a sample copy and, perhaps, Submission Guidelines, at email@example.com. is jumping on the bandwagon with other publishers. They will be testing some Spanish language editions of their magazine. SI Latino is their working title. Spin offs aren’t something new to SI. There are also SI kids and SI on Campus. If you have ideas for an article or know a Latin athlete you could profile, contact Sports Illustrated at firstname.lastname@example.org. is rumored to be returning this month with a new look and a new focus. According to an article in the New York Times, the publishers hope to appeal to a larger more diverse audience. I’ll try to locate additional information within the next few months. will debut this month. Laurie Carlson, Ph.D., is the publisher of this natural foods quarterly. She says that while they can’t pay for submissions, yet, things may change as they build status in the field. Sometimes you can open doors to wonderful opportunities by starting on the ground floor of a new magazine. Contact Laurie for more information and, perhaps their Editorial Calendar at: email@example.com or http://www.fieldandfeast.com. is a new monthly business magazine modeled after Crain’s Weekly Business Journals. Their focus is regional—relating to issues within the realm of business and politics happening in the state of Wisconsin. Here’s their contact information. I suggest emailing this editor and requesting a copy of their guidelines for writers. firstname.lastname@example.org. is back with new offices at the UCA Campus. They’re now located at 201 Donaghey Avenue, Main 107, Conway, AR 72035. The editors of this magazine won’t announce their pay scale, so either they don’t pay much or they are willing to negotiate. Find out more about what type of articles and stories they’re looking for at http://www.oxfordamericanmag.com/submissions.htm.. Are you addicted to the American Idol TV show? I have at least one friend who is. But you don’t have to be a fan in order to write for this celebrity magazine. While I can find plenty of hype about the new magazine, it doesn’t appear to have its own Web site, yet, so I couldn’t do the usual research. Stay posted for more information.