SPAWN Market Update – May, 2008
By Patricia L. Fry
Going, Going, Gone – 12 mags, pubs and sites have closed or will regroup. is closing.
Here’s What’s New – 7 new mags, services, resources and concepts for authors.
Opportunities for Authors – 8 potential publishers and hope for memoirists.
Opportunities for Freelance Writers – 120 jobs including one with Wooden Horse.
Book Promotion Opportunities – Directory for authors with workshops
Opportunities for Script Writers – 6 opportunities through InkTip.
Commentary – The Amazon/BookSurge Situation
Bonus Item: Regional Organizations for Authors – 24 of them profiled.
Altitude Press of Canada has closed.
JRPG Publishing has folded.
The Friday Project is in trouble and probably folding.
The Rake has ceased publication.
Rodeo & Ropin’ News has bit the dust after 15 years.
Shine lasted only long enough to produce one issue.
Luxury Spa Finder’s print magazine will quit after the May/June edition.
Bluegrass Now will go online only, after the April print issue.
Author-Network.com has folded.
Ziff Davis Media, Inc., publisher of technology and video game magazines (PC Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly) has filed for bankruptcy. It sounds as though this company will reorganize and return, however.
Pursuits is folding into the Wall Street Journal. It will no longer be a stand-alone publication.
Here’s What’s New brings us good news and bad news. The good news is that they have a plan in place to display more books face out on the shelves. Yeah! Your book might be placed in full-face view of the public. This is a good thing. But if your’s is one of the books they bump for lack of room, this is not such good news. That’s right, they will have room for fewer books now. They claim it will be 5% fewer books. I did some calculating recently in an attempt to find out what percentage of books the mega bookstores carry. I came up with about 12% of all books in print. Now, they’re going to remove another 5% of books from their stores? This does not bode well for the majority of authors, does it?
Guideposts is changing once again. Not only will the magazine target a younger audience, it is transitioning from a perceived religious publication to an inspirational magazine. Keep an eye on the transformation at http://www.guideposts.org.
520 Living will launch soon as a regional magazine for towns in the 520 area code—residents of Southern Arizona. http://www.520livingmagazine.com. Contact the editor for editorial guidelines: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writing For Dollars has done a revamp at their site. They’ve just completed two useful databases. They have a marvelous and FREE Guidelines Database which includes writers’ guidelines for a wide variety of magazines and other publications as well as book publishers. Check it out at:http://www.writingfordollars.com/GuidelinesDB.cfm.
Writing for Dollars has also finished an Articles Database for writers and authors. You’ll find articles by Peter Bowerman of Well Fed Writer fame, Hope C. Clark (Funds for Writers), Peggy Fielding (True Confessions author), Kelly James-Enger (Six-Figure Freelancing), Linda Perret, comedy write and Patricia Fry (hey, that’s me). They have a dozen or so of my articles posted so far—and counting. Check this free database at: http://www.writingfordollars.com/articlesdb.cfm.
WritersDigest.com has experienced a revamp. Brian Klems, online managing editor, promises better searching capabilities, more realistic genre-by-genre breakdowns, easier emailing function and more content. http://www.writersdigest.com
Cowgirl Living debuted last month. This is a lifestyle magazine for busy, involved women who own horses. According to the editors, Cowgirl Living is the first magazine designed specifically for horsewomen. It focuses on the unique day-to-day challenges associated with juggling family, career and horse activities. The purpose of the magazine is to provide horsewomen with informative and entertaining articles that help better their lives outside the arena. Feature articles on western fashion, cowgirl celebrities and helpful tips for barn and home make Cowgirl Living a new kind of women’s magazine for today’s western woman. Contact Angie@cowgirl-living.com for submission guidelines. There doesn’t seem to be a website up, yet.
A client sent me an article appearing in USA Today stating that, despite rumors to the contrary, memoirs are alive and well. Michael Cader of Publishers Lunch says that 295 memoirs were produced by credible publishers last year compared to 214 the year before. In fact, according to Cader’s figures, memoirs account for 12.5% of all nonfiction deals—up from 9% in 2005. The writer did some research and discovered that most memoirs sell between 10,000 and 30,000 copies. This should encourage those of you with memoirs in the works. In fact, I’d like to give you a leg up by providing a list of publishers seeking excellent memoirs. What makes for a good memoir? According to statistics, readers like reading about someone else’s pain, but we also enjoy happy endings.
I recommend studying popular memoirs to determine their appeal. Add some of that flavor to your story, where appropriate, of course. It might be a historical aspect—weave local or world history through your story for added interest. Some recovery books are hot. Rather than just telling your story of abuse or addiction, for example, include details and the pain of recovery.
Here are some publishers of memoirs:
Chicago Review Press, http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com. They offer a $3,000 to $10,000 advance and 7-12% royalties. They prefer that you send a query first with an outline, table of contents and one or two sample chapters. They also want to receive a list of your credentials, who you perceive as your target audience, the market for this book and your competition. (Sounds like a book proposal to me.) Contact Cynthia Sherry at email@example.com.
Orange Frazer Press accepts works by Ohio authors or stories with a strong Ohio theme. They offer an advance and pay 10-12% royalties. Contact Marcy Hawley, editor at POB 214, Wilmington, OH 45177 or locate her email address at their website: http://www.orangefrazer.com. Be sure to include an Ohio historical aspect to your book for this publisher.
Clover Park Press, established in 1991, publishes memoirs for women and young adult women who are curious about the world. Martha Grant is the acquisitions editor. She wants to receive a query letter with an SASE (Self-Addressed-Stamped Envelope) or a complete proposal package including an outline of your project, your bio and the first 30-50 pages of your manuscript. Contact Martha at firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.cloverparkpress.com.
Paragon House Publishers focuses on religion, philosophy, economics and society. If your life story fits into this realm, you might consider this publisher. Contact Rosemary Yokoi at email@example.com. Submit a proposal package including an outline, two sample chapters and a “market breakdown.” http://www.paragonhouse.com.
Mystic Ridge Books produces memoirs. They pay 10% royalties on the wholesale price. Query with an SASE to Richard Brown at POB 66930, Albuquerque, NM 87193 or communicate through their website at http://www.mysticridgebooks.com.
Rivers Bend Press has been in the business of producing both nonfiction and fiction books since 2001. William Schmaltz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is seeking memoirs on almost any topic except religious, self-help, abuse or recovery stories. Learn more at http://www.riversbendpress.com.
Skinner House Books produces inspirational and religious titles. If your story includes liberal Unitarian Universalist values, this may be your publisher. Contact Mary Benard through their website, http://www.uua.org/skinner.
Westwinds Press seeks book proposals demonstrating originality in your project. They pay 10-14% royalties on net receipts or they will make an outright purchase. Contact Tim Frew through their website http://www.gacpc.com.
Contest for Authors
220 Communications is looking to assist a new author in realizing his or her dream by publishing their debut title. The Publishing Your Dream Contest will award a one-book contract to the winner along with a one-year marketing contract with 220 Communications. Send them your biography, the first 3 chapters of your book and a one-page synopsis of the story. For more information and the deadline, contact email@example.com. And, by the way, you must have your book completed in order to compete.
Meg Weaver over at Wooden Horse Publishing has a part-time freelance writing job open. The job entails updating the new magazines posted at the WoodenHorsePub site. They offer $10 hour for 5-7 hours per week and they will train. Send resume to Meg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you been to SunOasis, lately? I just checked to see what’s new for writers who want to work—who hope to earn a living or supplement their income through their writing. Oh my!! I found a list of over 120 jobs for freelance writers logged in for April 13, 2008. Visit this site and check back often: http://www.sunoasis.com/freelance.html.
Here’s an idea of what type of jobs are available: freelance writer/blogger, copywriter for tattoo website (they need a writer—they had “tattoo” misspelled in their ad) and a freelance proofreader living in Boca Raton. A dog care magazine seeks freelance writers and a book publisher is looking for a freelance indexer. Writers are wanted to write business, technical and web copy, bios for sports figures, press releases, fashion, health, personal writing projects and more.
If you want to earn some extra money writing and you’re reliable and credible, you have no excuse for not following your dream. http://www.sunoasis.com/freelance.html.
Book Promotion Opportunities is a site listing conference databases for all types of conferences, trade shows, conventions, exhibitions, workshops, events, etc. If you have a book related to the arts, crafts, aeronautics, astronomy, higher education, literacy, cognitive science, travel, folklore, paranormal, photojournalism, nutrition or any number of other topics, you might be able to find events listed in this database where you could go and present a workshop. http://www.allconferences.com
Here are a few of the scripts and screenplays being requested through InkTip. http://www.InkTip.com.
Joe’s Production Grille, Inc. is seeking sci-fi screen plays in the vein of “Brazil,” “City of Lost Children” and “Twelve Monkeys.”
There’s a call for screenplays that take place in Iceland or Scandinavia.
Someone wants biopics based on the life of George Washington Carver or someone in the Underground Railroad.
If you are an Irish or English writer, there might be a job for you.
Do you like to write about animals? Here’s your opportunity to make it big with a feature-length screenplay about a dog.
There are other opportunities available for writers of dark comedy and zombie humor.
I’d like to hear from those of you who write screenplays. Do you subscribe to InkTip? Have you submitted anything through their leads? Have you scored? All of us would like to know. Learn more about InkTip here: http://www.InkTip.com. Contact me here: Patricia@spawn.org.
The Amazon/BookSurge Fiasco
In America, we are accustomed to having choices. We can choose our mates, our lifestyles, where we shop, what we buy, where we work and which airline we fly, for example. As independent publishers, we can choose our book content, book printers, where to sell our books, which distributors/wholesalers to use, etc. Lately, however, thousands of travelers are finding themselves stranded in airports because of aborted flights. Those whose connecting flights are canceled feel like prisoners of the airports. What can they do except wait for the next available flight? They have no idea where their luggage is. They are usually strangers to the city. And no one can tell them when the next available flight to their destination might leave.
I had a small taste of this in Atlanta on my way home (to California) from Nashville last week. I was among the lucky travelers. Even though my flight was cancelled and I found myself on standby (for the first time in my life), I arrived home only two hours off schedule. But my luggage didn’t catch up with me until a day and a half later. No harm done—but I’m concerned about some of the future flights I have planned. The traveling picture, these days, is not a pretty one.
Now Amazon is causing many people to feel much like the traveler who has few options. It seems similar to a hostage situation. “Play our way or don’t play with us at all.” As I understand it, rather than ordering your POD book from you or your POD company, Amazon wants your digital files so they can do the printing with their partner, BookSurge. While some industry professionals are shrieking, “MONOPOLY,” others are saying, “I’m going to allow Amazon to print the books they sell and I’ll continue using my regular printer for the rest of my copies.”
Some people are feeling helpless against the Amazon conglomerate and others are fairly relaxed about the announcement and the possible ramifications. Many authors plan to use BarnesandNoble.com to a greater extent and will convince their customers to bring their business to this and other online bookstores.
The jury is still out as far as SPAWN is concerned. We are collecting comments from industry experts and reading what Amazon has to say before we produce our statement.
If you subscribe to any writing/publishing newsletters, take time to read them this month. They’re bound to include information and perspectives related to this topic.
Unfortunately, I’m told that 50% of you do not read those enewsletters you subscribe to. Not good. How will you become more informed if you ignore the flow of information coming in?
I suggest that you read the pros and cons until you understand how this will potentially affect you and your projects, clients and/or members and then speak out. Let fairness to all prevail. Let’s rally for freedom of choice. Let’s hope that Amazon’s intention is not to create a monopoly, but to simply streamline the process of ordering your amazing books.
In the meantime, I want you to become informed about what is happening (or might happen). Read the articles, comments, etc. that Angela and Richard Hoy have collected at their site under the title, “Amazon BookSurge Clearing House of Information.” Follow the links they provide to Publishers Weekly and Wall Street Journal articles, for example, to determine how this might affect you. As far as I know, Amazon has not released a statement, but everyone else in the industry has. The original letter that Amazon sent to POD publishers has been posted, however. Read it here: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-printondemand.
Here’s the Hoys’ “Clearing House of Information” regarding recent developments in the Amazon/BookSurge situation. http://www.writersweekly.com/amazon.php
Regional Organizations for Authors
I just returned from the PMA Affiliate Retreat in Nashville. Note that the new name for Publishers Marketing Association is the Independent Book Publishers Association—IBPA. It will become official soon, so get used to it.
Last year, after the Retreat, which was in Chicago, I dedicated an edition of the SPAWN Market Update to regional organizations for authors. I want to encourage you to seek out these face-to-face organizations in your area and get involved, so I’m offering an update of those regional organizations that I’m aware of. If you know of others, please let me know so I can pass the information along to members. Patricia@spawn.org.
Note that these are not writers’ organizations, but associations for authors, hopeful authors, independent publishers and others interested in or involved in the publishing field. When you belong to one or more of these 24 organizations, you won’t get your writing critiqued. Instead, you will learn about authorship, the publishing industry and you’ll have the opportunity to network with your peers.
Arizona Book Publishing Association
Authors and Publishers Association
Bay Area Independent Publishers Association
Book Publishers Northwest
Colorado Independent Publishers Association
Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association
Consortium of Northern Publishers
Great Lakes Independent Publishers Association
Hawaii Book Publishers Association
Independent Publishers Association Canada
Independent Publishers of New England
Michigan Black Independent Publishers Association
Mid-Atlantic Book Publishers Association
Midwest Independent Publishers Association
New Mexico Book Association
Northern California Publishers and Authors
Northwest Association of Book Publishers
Organization of Book Publishers of Ontario
Publishers and Writers of San Diego
Publishers Association of Los Angeles
Publishers Association of the South
St. Louis Publishers Association
The Greater New York Independent Publishers Association
Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association
If your region isn’t represented here, let me know and I’ll attempt to locate a publishing organization near you. Patricia@spawn.org