SPAWN Market Update – October, 2004
By Patricia L. Fry
Going, Going Gone—Nearly 30 mags, pubs, contests & agents are gone
What’s New—17 NEW magazines, publishers and agents
Opportunities for Authors—Sell Latino Books/Get Books Reviewed
Opportunities for Freelance Writers—5 jobs for writers/editors
Opportunities for Artists—Artists Helping Artists Newsletter; Call to the Arts Summit; Round Table Salons
Opportunities for Screenwriters—Win a ticket to Screenwriting Expo 3; Newsletter for Screenwriters; Be featured in a documentary; Hollywood Film Conference
Notes of Interest—Amazon’s “Search Inside the Book” criticized; What is Your Writing Work Worth?
Grammar Site—Wise Words on Writing
Tip for Authors—Watch out for bad advice
Publisher Interview—Carol Woods, Senior Editor at Timberwolf Press
Bonus Item—Surefire Ways to Get Your Book Proposal Rejected
Hot Java Productions, Inc
Wild Outdoor World
New Muse Award
Just Weird Enough
Locust Hill Press
Two literary agencies have gone out of business: The Norma-Lewis Literary Agency and the Diane Durrett Literary Agency.
Also out of business are:
Public Safety Product News
Player’s Guide to Sports Books
Physicians Financial News
Birmingham Family Times
Diana Finch Literary Agency
Barbara Rifkind Literary Agency
Atriad Press, LLC
Philadelphia Magazine’s Home and Garden
will debut this fall. This publication is for active grandparents ages 45 and up. It looks as though the only submission opportunities for freelancers are 250-word essays, articles or stories submitted online through their Web site. And it doesn’t appear as though they pay for submissions. Learn more by emailing editor, Robert Strozier at firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.grandmagazineonline.com Cooking Smart Magazine
Military Spouse Magazine
St. Louis Woman
Florida Travel and Life
T: The New York Times Style Magazine
Promote your Latino book. This nation’s largest Latino Book and Expo will be held at various venues throughout the United States in 2005. Sites will most likely include San Diego, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and the Inland Empire (CA) during the months of May, August, September, October, November and December. These are usually weekend events designed to promote literacy, culture and education for the whole family. The event was first held in Los Angeles in 1997. Actor Edward James Olmos coproduces this effort. If you have a book designed for the Latino market, you might consider participating. There may still be time this year as the Expo is scheduled to hit Houston this month (October) on the weekend of the 16th and 17th, Chicago, November 27-28 and December 11-12. Go to http://www.lbff.us for more information.
The Online Review
A small Massachusetts/Vermont company that produces cosmetics, bedding and bath wear is seeks a freelance writer to write publicity press releases. Talk to Robert Averill at 800-722-1419. Or go to http://www.miriamgayle.com or http://www.newsilk.com.
Random House in New York
If you live in Westport, Connecticut or would like to move there, check out the acquisitions editorial job at Greenwood Publishing Group (203-226-3571).
Artists Helping Artists
SPAWN had a presence at two book festivals recently. While “womaning” the SPAWN booth, I had several inquiries about resources for screen writers. Here’s a newsletter designed for those interested in writing for Hollywood—Scriptmag Screenwriting Newsletter. http://www.scriptmag.com. Subscribe at the Web site or contact: email@example.com. In the September issue, you’ll find a list of e-articles you can access at their Web site on topics from breaking in to markets for screen and radio writers to scams to watch out for in this field. This newsletter also notes conferences and seminars for hopeful screenwriters. There’s a Hollywood Film Conference during the weekend of October 15 -17 which promises to put attendees in contact with agents and studio execs. It’s $195. Register at http://www.hollywoodfestival.com. Good luck!
Win free tickets to the Screenwriting Expo 3 which will be held November 5-7. You earn a chance to win a free ticket ($59.95 value) by naming one of the guest speakers this year and they’re making it easy. Visit http://www.screenwritingexpo.com for a hint.
Are you a screenwriter who would like to be featured in a documentary? Aric Leung is casting screenwriters who are attending the Screenwriting Expo in November for a documentary. Sounds like fun. Send a brief video clip of yourself or just a head shot and description of yourself and your work to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Screenwriting Documentary, 609 A N. Claremont Street, San Mateo, CA 94401.
Search Inside This Book is Criticized
How do you feel about Amazon.com’s practice of offering the “Search Inside This Book Feature?” The National Writers Union has some concerns. If you do, too, contact Jim Shackelford at email@example.com. In a recent discussion group post, author Jennifer Lawler wrote, “We’re launching the preliminary investigative state of a potential campaign to fight this practice.” The objections are based on some members’ concerns that this practice is hurting rather than helping sales.
What is Your Writing Work Really Worth?
If magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Day were to pay their freelancers comparable to what their advertisers pay them, we would be getting more like $75/word than $1/word. Their advertisers pay as much as $200,000 for a full-page ad.
Can it be true? Some magazines are dropping their rate of pay. Woman’s Life has reportedly dropped their pay rate from 18 – 45 cents per word to 15 – 40 cents/word. While Cosmopolitan’s rate of pay has risen 40 cents/word since the 1960s, the increase hasn’t kept up with our living costs. Good Housekeeping has maintained their pay at $1/word for years. There has been no cost of living increase.
And then there are the many new magazines that launch every year. Many of them pay freelancers a bare minimum and some try to get away without paying anything for the articles that they publish. Honestly, fellow freelancers, these magazines should be boycotted. Are we in this business to have our talent and hard work exploited or to earn a living?
Who Pays the Big Bucks?
It’s interesting to see which industry pays what. For example, at the low end of the pay scale are literary, Christian, regional, sports, New Age and pet publications. Business and inflight magazines generally pay well. And then you have wide ranges in some categories. You’ll find some of the lowest paying magazines among women’s, parenting, hobby and home and garden magazines as well as some of the highest. Lost Treasures, Miniature Quilts and Popular Communications pay less than 10 cents/word, for example, while Popular Mechanics pays $1/word. In the parenting category, Atlanta Parent pays a mere $5-$50 for 800-1500 words while American Baby Magazine, Baby Talk, Child and Family Fun each pay $1/word OR MORE.
Get Paid More
Did you know that you can negotiate pay? When an editor calls me to assign an article, he/she frequently asks, “What do you want for this piece?” I quickly grab my Writer’s Market or the magazine’s Writer’s Guidelines and note their highest published rate of pay. I add 30 to 50 percent to that and that’s what I request. If they send me a contract or a letter of assignment offering a certain amount, I will check their published rate of pay. If their offer is anywhere under their highest published rate of pay, I will often negotiate the highest rate they publish or more. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you believe you’re worth.
A few months ago, I received a letter from a company in Arkansas asking permission to reprint an article they saw published in a health magazine. They wanted to print and distribute 2000 copies of the article and asked what I would charge them to do that. I thought about it. I had no idea what they generally pay for this sort of thing. Finally, I suggested $1000. To my surprise, they did not balk. I received the check in the mail last week.
As a freelance writer, you work hard. You fulfill a need. You deserve fair treatment and fair pay.
Wise Words on Writing
It’s a jungle out there for hopeful authors and authors who are hopeful promoters. Recently, I sat on a panel with four other authors who had varying degrees of expertise. Each had his/her own limited experience and/or agenda and each had extremely biased information to share with the audience of about 40. I was quite frustrated by the time the hour was up because of the questionable advice being handed to this audience.
While working one of four SPAWN booths at the Santa Barbara Book Festival last weekend, hopeful authors came to discuss their projects and ask for guidance. More than a couple of times, after I had a straight-forward discussion with a fledgling author, someone standing on the fringes of our conversation would interject his/her advise. I heard one woman tell a man who has an idea for a nonfiction book to “forget about writing a book proposal—just sit down and start writing.” She said, “That’s how you become a writer—you just write.”
This may be valid advice for someone who has writer’s block, who can’t think of anything to write about, who dreams of becoming a writer someday, who wants to become a more skilled writer. But this is bad advice for someone who is ready to write a nonfiction book with high expectations of it being widely sold and read. In this case, writing a book proposal is the logical first step.
Folks, there are too many people out there professing to be experts who are more than willing to share their advice with you. Sure, hear them out. But also be a proactive researcher. Study the publishing industry. Read and listen to the true experts—those with a proven track record. The list of people I recommend as experts include Dan Poynter, John Kremer, Marilyn and Tom Ross, Mary Embree and those of us here at SPAWN.
Here’s a publisher who specializes in fiction. I think you’ll find my interview with Carol Woods, senior editor at a relatively new publishing house, Timberwolf Press, interesting and useful.
Q: Tell me about Timberwolf Press. What was the motivation for starting this publishing company? And what is its mission?
A: Timberwolf opened its doors full time on January 1, 2000. With their grasp of information technology, the founders felt there was room in publishing for a lot of innovation in that area. Plus, they are writers, too, so had a number of ideas for making the publisher/writer relationship work.
Q: I see that you publish only fiction and that you expand on the print book concept to include dramatizations. Would you explain this aspect of your business?
A: The “only fiction” is changing; check out our website: http://www.timberwolfpress.com from time to time to see what we’re interested in.
When we look at a manuscript, we want not only a story that will provide a good read, but one that we can “hear.” It’s got to really come alive for us.
Q: Is this a trend, do you think? Or are you one of a kind in the publishing field?
A: There are other publishing houses that do the dramatizations, usually concentrating on the classics. I don’t know that I’d call this a trend, but the advent of satellite radio opens up even more possibilities in this area, so possibly it’ll become a trend.
We’d like to think we’re one of a kind in the publishing field, but to be fair, each publishing house has its own personality, its own goals, and its own values that it holds dear. What sets us apart is our emphasis on digital communication, our ability and willingness to explore new opportunities, and our expectations for each manuscript.
For instance, our first book, A Small Percentage, was the first audio book to be streamed on the Internet. And this was back in the ‘90s. It still has quite a following in Australia.
Q: Please tell us about the types of manuscripts you publish.
A: We publish science fiction, technothrillers, mysteries, military historical, and fantasy. We’re just starting a children’s line with The Creature of Lost Bayou, a marvelous adventure that takes place in depression-era Louisiana.
Q: Is there anything in particular that you’re looking for at this time?
A: We’re always looking for hard science fiction. We’re also looking for pulp detective fiction. Key elements include not only an outstanding story, but a marketable one.
Q: What is it about a promising query letter that attracts your attention?
A: First, professionalism. We accept e-queries only, but just because an author doesn’t need to trot out the fine letterhead doesn’t mean that the letter can be tossed off. A sloppy, poorly organized query with careless spelling and grammar indicates a questionable manuscript. Especially if it’s addressed to some other publishing house. Oh, yes, one other pet peeve–don’t tell me that it’s been professionally edited; although I haven’t done it, my usual experience has been that the author should demand his or her money back.
But you asked what attracts my attention. Again, professionalism. Show me that you know enough about the publishing business to present the information a publisher is interested in, i.e., the title of your story and that two or three sentence synopsis of your story, the paragraph saying why you think it would be a good fit with Timberwolf, and the short paragraph giving your qualifications as an author.
Let’s talk a minute about that brief synopsis: Whose story is it? Where does it take place (physical location, time)? What’s the problem?
And that’s all you need. But it does need to be more compelling than “boy meets girl on elevator and she doesn’t like him.”
Q: What qualities do you look for in an author?
A: The first quality that will bring an author to our attention is the ability to write a real story, a real book. In other words, not only a facility with words (and that doesn’t necessarily mean a huge vocabulary, but the ability to choose the right word and not one that’s close), but an understanding of how a story unfolds.
We look for someone we can work with, and someone who wants to stay involved throughout the process. No manuscript comes in complete and ready to go; all need editing, some a lot, some a little.
We also prize an author who believes enough in his or her work to hustle it, to find ways to market it that are open to the author but that might not be open to the publishing house.
We like series, too.
Q: Tell us about your proudest moment as an editor/publisher in the publishing business.
A: As an editor, those moments can come any time I pick up one of our books or play one of our audios. They come across as fresh and exciting as when they were brand-new.
We’ve won several awards with our work, and that’s a thrill, too. One of the most exciting years was when Marshall Thomas, a first-time author, was nominated for three national awards at the same time for Soldier of the Legion.
Q: Please add anything you feel is important. We’d also like to have your contact information.
A: Study the house you want to approach. This goes not only for Timberwolf, but for any publishing house. What have they already done, what do their guidelines say they want to see? Pick your publisher like you would pick a friend, because if you are fortunate to be published by them, it will be a long relationship.
Now, this may seem a bit off-topic, but it isn’t really. Many authors look for an agent, and there are a lot of great agents out there, so this is not a slam on them. But there are a lot of questionable agents out there, too. So when you’re considering approaching one, at least Google all of the names you can find that are connected with the agency. These manuscripts are dear to you, in a way they’re your babies, and you wouldn’t turn your baby over to just anyone you happened to find on the Internet, now would you? And yes, some of these “agents” do send out your work, and some of them have really professional presentations, but they typically aren’t selective, so your manuscripts are shot down before they have a chance.
What raises a red flag for me? If all of a sudden, I receive a number of inappropriate queries or manuscripts from an agent or agency I’ve never heard of (especially if there’s more than one submission per envelope). All of this wastes my time and your opportunity—and probably your money. Remember, those great agents—the ones that are legitimate—they’re not going to charge you anything.
Believe it or not, we’re on your side. Without authors, where would publishers be? And without this whole process, where would readers be?
Surefire Ways to Get Your Book Proposal Rejected
As you all know, SPAWN has made an important addition to our ebook offerings. How to Write a Successful Book Proposal in 8 Days or Less is available now for $12. If you are in the process of writing a book or are even thinking about writing a book, you MUST have this 32-page booklet. In the ebooklet, I’ve outlined everything that you need to do in order to sell a publisher on your book idea. Now here are some of the biggest mistakes to avoid when developing your book proposal.
1: Tell the publisher his business. In other words, don’t say, “You’ve really got to add this book to your list if you hope to make a success of your publishing company.” Or “This book will make you rich.”
2: Threaten the publisher. It will do you no good to say, “If you don’t buy my book, I will kill myself.” Or “You’re missing the book of the century if you pass on this one.”
3: Claim that your book contains no mistakes. Have you ever picked up a book that had no mistakes? I don’t think it is humanly (or even mechanically) possible to produce a book without a mistake. And from what I’m told by publishers, many authors who claim to have hired a professional editor for their book, have been taken for a ride. So make sure you hire a reputable editor before submitting your book proposal or manuscript.
4: Say that everyone will buy your book. This is a dead giveaway that you are an amateur. You may hope that everyone will buy your book, but this is an unrealistic expectation. A publisher will be more impressed by an author who has done his homework and is quite clear as to the segment of the population who will actually be likely to purchase a book of this sort.
5: State that this is the only book you’ll ever write. Publishers like to work with authors who are likely to produce more than one good book. If your book is successful and you are a pleasure to work with, the publisher would just as soon accept another book from you than someone unknown to him.
6: Reveal that you’ve been working on the book for 25 years or so. There is nothing impressive in the fact that you have not been able to complete a 12-month project in over two decades.
7: Try to bribe the publisher. Unless you can offer the publisher a large sum of money or a free vacation in Tahiti, don’t bother to entice his favor through bribery.
8: Hire an unprofessional, unqualified agent. A bad agent is worse than no agent at all. What is a bad agent? One who charges you for her services, who either sends your manuscript to publishers who are inappropriate for this project or doesn’t send it out at all and who does not maintain reasonable communication with you.
9: Try to write a book without writing a book proposal. I tell people that the first step in writing a book is to write a book proposal. Without a book proposal, you are at risk of using the wrong slant for your book and/or writing for the wrong audience. Of course, there are two types of authors—those who have something to say and they’re going to say it regardless of whether anyone ever reads the book and those who want to be widely read. Let your expectations be your guide. If you are the former, do it your way. If you are the latter, you’ll have a greater chance for success if you’ll follow industry protocol.
10: Try to land a publishing contract without writing a book proposal. While manuscripts have been accepted without a book proposal, it is becoming less and less common. Your excellent, honest, thoroughly researched book proposal is your key to success.
. http://www.wisewordsonwriting.com. While this is a commercial site—D-L Nelson is promoting her services—she also offers a tremendous amount of useful information free on her site for those interested in the written word. If you have a question about grammar, email D-L and she will respond. offers a free newsletter. If you haven’t checked out this organization yet, be sure to visit them at http://www.artistshelpingartists.org. Sign up for their free newsletter. The organization offers networking opportunities and resources for artists, musicians, arts educators, arts leaders and arts organizations. You might even want to attend their Call to Arts! Summit IV to be held Sunday, November 7th at Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn at 4222 Vineland Ave., No. Hollywood, CA 91602. This event is free. They also have Round Table Salons in various places throughout Southern CA each month. The newsletter reports when and where. Or contact Jeannie Windsor for a schedule: firstname.lastname@example.org. in Rockport, Maine needs a new acquisitions editor (212-904-2000). is looking for an editorial director and an editor (212-782-9000). Now here’s something for the rest of us. The format for the The Online Review has changed and they now accept all independent/small press fiction and nonfiction books for consideration for its “Recommended Reads” list. There’s no charge. Just go online to http://www.onlinereviewofbooks.com to read the Submission Guidelines. Or go ahead and mail a hard copy of your book to Online Review of Books, 7536 Circuit Drive, Citrus Heights, CA 95610. The deadline to be included in a particular month’s issue is the 20th of that month. And there’s a bonus offer. If your book is selected to be reviewed, it will also be entered in their Independent/Small Press “Book of the Year” contest. Contact email@example.com for more information. e is America’s book review magazine. It’s distributed free to libraries and the editors will allow reviews for almost every category of new book—literary, popular fiction, nonfiction, children’s and gift books, for example. They rarely review poetry or scholarly books and they do not give review consideration to self-published books, print-on-demand titles or books from presses that lack major distribution. That narrows the opportunity down considerably, doesn’t it? But if you have a book published the traditional way, make sure that your publisher sends BookPage an advance review copy at least 3 months prior to the publication date. Send adult titles to Lynn Green, BookPage 2143 Belcourt Ave, Nashville, TN 37212. Children’s titles go to same address except use the contact name: Children’s Editor. is coming this fall. Visit their new Web site at http://www.nytimes.com. Contact the editor here: firstname.lastname@example.org. is scheduled for publication early next year. I’ll offer up more details on this new regional magazine as soon as they are published.is coming soon. Judy Burnett is the new Publisher. I’ll provide more information as it becomes available. has new email address. The email address, email@example.com is no longer any good. Use firstname.lastname@example.org to reach executive editor, Rick Shea. and Custom Planes are combining to form one magazine beginning with their October, 2004 issue. Contact Editor Norm Goyer or Managing Editor, Kara Dodge at email@example.com or 265 S. Anita Dr., Ste. 120, Orange, CA 92868. is a new lifestyle magazine for Canadian couples. Receive a copy of their Submission Guidelines by emailing deputy editor, Naomi at Naomi@2magazine.com. is a new monthly magazine designed to connect San Diego (California’s) writers and readers. In fact, it is so new that it isn’t even published yet. But watch for it in January of 2005. This publication will list writing and reading events being held in San Diego, works of regional writers, interviews with national and local writers and it will report periodically on the writers’ resource center which they maintain. http://www.wordsandiego.com is new. This may not be a paying market, however. If you’re interested in writing for this magazine, email a resume and outline your area of expertise to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, email them to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Web site at http://www.militaryspousemagazine.com. is new. The editors are looking for articles geared toward men and women who are particularly interested in healthy recipes. Articles should be based on research and interviews with experts as well as with people who love to cook or who are dieting. Web site article work pays $25-$50 per article. Earn between $75 and $250 for articles from 400-1200-words. Executive editor, Nancy Price is open to receiving personal stories, product reviews and opinions. Contact her at: email@example.com. and Boston Magazine’s Home and Garden are new. Editor Barbara Brynko is looking for ideas, trends, tips and advice from freelancers. Request their Writer’s Guidelines at firstname.lastname@example.org. was established in 2002. John O‘Brien is the fiction and nonfiction editor while Ben Henry receives poetry submissions. At this time, they are only publishing 4 titles. They are looking for small humor and scholarly booklets as well as poetry books and a variety of fiction manuscripts. Contact them at email@example.com. Visit them at http://www.pulpit.com. launched last year and has published 8 titles already. They specialize in ghost stories and books about hauntings. Contact Mitchel Whitington at firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.atriadpress.com. publishes children’s books. President, Kevin Burton, established Krby Creations last year. Presently, he is publishing 3 titles per year and he only receives 10-15 queries throughout the year. Visit their Web site at: http://www.krbycreations.com. Request a copy of their Guidelines for Writers via email: email@example.com. is two years new. Rifkind represents nonfiction, scholarly books and textbooks. Contact her at 132 Perry St., 6th Fl, NY 10014 or Barbara@barbararifkind.net.. Finch established her agency just last year and already represents 35 clients. She was formerly assistant editor with St. Martin’s Press. Finch represents both fiction and nonfiction in numerous areas. Query with SASE. 116 W. 23rd St., Ste. 500, NY 10011. Diana.firstname.lastname@example.org
, a 20-year old publishing house in Connecticut specializing in literary subjects, is no longer in operation. was a juvenile fantasy and science fiction magazine. It’s gone., a Canadian magazine covering visual arts has ceased publication. is no longer being offered. was new this year and is already being cancelled. will cease publishing their regional publications: Southern Graphics, Printing Journal, Print & Graphics and Printing Views, at least for now. is also gone., a youth publication of St. Anthony Messenger is no longer publishing.. has folded after less than two years in business.—another one I’ve enjoyed writing for is gone. (Sob)