SPAWN Market Update – October, 2007
By Patricia L. Fry
Going, Going Gone – 8 more magazines gone
Here’s What’s New – An even dozen items to report
Opportunities for Authors – 2 paying jobs, 3 new small press publishers and price comparisons for PODs
Opportunities for Fiction Writers/Authors – Expert explains a better way to understand the concept: “show” don’t “tell” & Narrative Mag launches a contest. 3 high-paying markets and a contest
Book Promotion Opportunities – 12 of them, including new book review sites, plus mags and newsletters that welcome your promo bits
Opportunities for Artists/Photographers – Get your art on a magazine cover.
Opportunities for Screen Writers – A significant magazine re-launches.
Resources for Authors and Writers – Once Written, Calling All Authors and The Book Marketing Expert
Editorial Comment – Too Many Books, Too Few Readers
Warning for Authors – Two publishers going under.
Bonus Item – One author’s successful book promotion idea
Bonus Article – Do You Engage in Book Promo Babble?
Business 2.0 is gone again. Some of you may remember that, when we first started producing the SPAWN Market Update, Business 2.0 was yo-yoing. Yes, way back in late 2001 and early 2002, first they were solid and then they were out of business—oops, then they were back again. Something tells me this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing from this magazine.
The New York Dog has gone out of business.
Success was not successful, after all. This magazine has folded.
If you were looking forward to Cocktail Weekly, don’t hold your breath. Evidently, it isn’t going to make it, after all.
In case you haven’t heard yet, Jane Magazine has folded. I remember announcing Jane’s arrival two years ago.
Asahi Sonorama, a company that produced mostly comic books, has quit.
Sys Admin is out of business.
Your Book has ceased publication.
The Mystery Writers of America organization seems to be making it more difficult to become a member. I met a few authors at the Central Coast Book Festival in San Luis Obispo over the weekend who were grumbling about changes taking place in their beloved Mystery Writers of America organization. Evidently, some authors who have been members for a very long time, no longer qualify for membership. The problems seem to be twofold. 1) You cannot join this organization if you self-published or otherwise paid to have your book published. 2) Your publisher has to be approved by the organization. To date, they have 89 approved publishers listed at their site. And there’s a note stating that they are quite willing to evaluate other publishers that potential members bring to their attention. Learn more about gaining membership in Mystery Writers of America at http://www.mysterywriters.org.
Skirt! a woman’s lifestyle magazine which is currently found in several southeastern states, is now being circulated in Boston, as well. This is a paying market, but they are unwilling to post their pay scale at their site. According to Writer’s Market, they pay anywhere from $150 to $250 per piece. And the opportunities here are plentiful. They buy over 100 manuscripts each year and publish 14 personal essays every month. Submit essays of 800 to 1200 words to email@example.com. Learn more about the magazine and their current needs at http://www.skirtmag.com.
F&W Publications is now publishing humor books under their new imprint, Tow Books. I can give you a web site address, but I can’t seem to locate anything about submission guidelines. Maybe this information will come with time. Keep visiting. http://www.towbooks.com.
Genre Magazine has a new editor-in-chief. Neal Boulton has taken over that position. http://www.genremagazine.com
Sir John Magazine will become a print magazine within the next few months. Currently online only, this magazine covers politics, fashion and culture as it relates to Canada. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you live in or near San Diego, CA, you are probably familiar with the new Bellissima Magazine. This magazine debuted in July with informational pieces and articles covering health and wellness, fitness, the environment, nutrition, dream interpretation and more. Check out the magazine at http://www.bellissimasandiego.com. While they don’t publish a great big welcome to potential writers at their site—asking them to submit material, they do offer a subtle invitation under the heading, “editorial opportunities.” They suggest that your contact Pia Mangini with your ideas at email@example.com.
Vegetarian Times has been known by that name for a long time, but it may be on the way out—the name, not the magazine. The publisher is testing a new name—Greens. The proposed subtitle is Eat Fresh. Choose Organic. Be Healthy. Why change a good thing? The idea is to appeal to vegetarians, as usual, but also they want to attract readers who do not consider themselves vegetarians.
We announced the demise of Arthur. Well, guess what, he’s back.
Central Plains Book Manufacturing has filed bankruptcy. I recall being one of their first customers when a group of employees split off from the original printing company, Gilliland Printing, in 1999, just before Gilliland went out of business. Seventy people are now unemployed and the publishers, who were in the process of printing with this company, are probably pretty nervous about what will happen to their projects. I understand that other printing companies are helping out with the workload, including the one that one of my books is currently with. I hope this doesn’t cause a delay for us.
Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine appeared in print form for the first time last month. While the print magazine is brand new, the site is 2 years old, http://www.momwriterslitmag.com.
BarCode Graphics has launched a portal that will enable clients to place orders for bar code labels and digital bar code files themselves. http://www.databar-barcode.info
The Donohue Group is moving and the founder is moving on. Christine Donohue founded the Donohue Group nearly 25 years go. She leaves the company to Audra Zimmermann and Bob Geoghegan, longtime employees. The new address is 41 Mechanic St, Windsor, CT 06095. http://www.dgiinc.com
How would you like to get a commission to write a book? OTTN Publishing will pay $2,750 each for 20,000/word biographies of certain Biblical characters. This company needs authors for 5 such projects. Learn more at http://www.online-writing-jobs.com/jobbank/job10161.htm.
Earn $2,000 for writing an ebook for seniors. According to the employer, there could be future jobs for good work. Send your resume and samples of your work to firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the job at http://www.online-writing-jobs.com/jobbank/job10167.htm.
Angela Hoy has been comparing prices between fee-based POD publishers in her Writer’s Weekly newsletter. Here’s her latest August 29, 2007 edition. Check it out at: http://www.writersweekly.com/the_latest_from_angelahoycom/004231_08292007.html.
Do you have a coffee table book, a book of humor or a gift book? You might consider submitting it to Red Rock Press. They’ve been in business for about ten years in New York. Ilene Barth is the acquisitions Editor. Contact her at email@example.com. Check out their other titles at http://www.redrockpress.com.
For your autobiography, humor, reference, biography, military memoir or self-help/recovery book, contact River’s Bend Press at http://www.riversbendpress.com. Contact William Schmaltz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whittler’s Bench Press publishes fiction in the areas of adventure, humor, military, mystery, regional suspense and history. Contact them at email@example.com. Go to http://www.dramtreebooks.com for more information.
I read an interesting article last week by Jeanne Lyet Gassman. It comes from Jeanne’s Writing Desk. http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com. She has some techniques for teaching how to better understand it when someone says, “show, don’t tell.” She said that she thinks the words “show” and “tell,” when used to instruct a fiction writer how to bring his story to life, are a bit too abstract. She suggests using, instead, the terms “scene’ and “summary.” She uses summary in place of “telling” and “scene” in place of showing. She coaches her students to create a scene (show) instead of writing a summary (tell). If you are having trouble creating believable, interesting, active scenes when writing fiction, you might want to peek in on what Jeanne offers at her site.
Narrative Magazine is running a fiction story contest for their Story Quarterly. The story must be no longer than 8,000 words. Top prizes range from $750 to $2,500. There is a $20 entry fee. Entries deadline is November 20. http://www.narrativemagazine.com/SQ/shared/contest.php.
Opportunities for Freelance Writers is back and eager to receive your great article ideas. Read their editorial guidelines at: http://www.spiritualityhealth.com. Send material to firstname.lastname@example.org. By the way, they pay for articles, but they don’t reveal their pay scale at their web site. All they say is that they will negotiate fees once they accept your article. According to the 2008 edition of Writer’s Market, however, they might pay as much as $800 for an article.
Spirituality and Health Magazine
KIKI Magazine pays .50 cents to $1.00/word for articles to suit their 9 to 14-year-old female audience. Check out their guidelines for writers at: http://www.kikimag.com/overview.html.
CNW/FFWA 25th Annual Florida State Writing Competition has been announced. The entry deadline is March 15, 2008. This year, they have 4 divisions and 4 places in each category with $100 being the highest award given. Entry fees range from $3 to $20 depending on what you are submitting and whether or not you are a member of CNW/FFWA. Learn more at http://www.writers-editors.com. Questions? Contact email@example.com.
Narrative Magazine is a high paying literary online publication. They publish both fiction and nonfiction and will pay up to $1,000. http://narrativemagazine.com
Do you have a book on spirituality and/or health? Editors at Spirituality and Health Magazine reviews books, CDs and DVDs. Send review copies to Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you will notice in the Spirituality and Health Magazine listing under “Opportunities for Freelance Writers,” this is a fairly high paying market. If your book fits into the spiritual/health realm, you might consider writing articles for this magazine as a way to earn some money while also promoting your book. Learn more at their web site: http://www.spiritualityhealth.com.
Do you have a children’s book of interest to girls 9 – 14 years of age? Look into writing articles and, perhaps getting your book reviewed, in KIKI Magazine. Contact Jamie Bryant through their web site: http://www.kikimag.com.
There’s a new magazine in town that just might be a good friend to Christian book authors. If you have a Christian book to promote, consider sending a review copy to Dave Condiff over at Christian Book Reader. http://www.christianbookreader.com. Contact Dave at email@example.com.
Have you heard of Self-Pub News? This looks like a good place to get your book reviewed, be interviewed and leave comments that you would like others to read. In other words, this seems to be a great promotional opportunity for all authors. Check them out at http://smallpress.typepad.com/selfpubnews.
Do you have something to announce to the world? Maybe your book just came out, you are planning a signing, you will be presenting a workshop or your book just won a prize. Misti Sandefur at Coffee Break for Writers will gladly post your book announcement in her newsletter. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out her newsletter and site at http://www.coffeebreakforwriters.com.
Dana Cassell, the editor of Freelance Writer’s Report invites authors to send news, new book info, speaking schedule, articles/reviews appearing in major magazines and so forth to email@example.com. She will post to member news web pages. This is for members only. Interested in checking out membership opportunities? http://www.writers-editors.com.
Brian Jud of Book Marketing Matters fame, is offering authors a special on 90-minute video tapes telling you how to get on radio/TV and perform more successfully. The cost is only $10. Go to http://www.bookmarketing.com and click on “media Training” for info on how to order.
If you have a book related to writing and/or publishing, The Writers Life might want to interview you or post your blog at their site. Check out this opportunity at http://www.thewriterslife.homestead.com/home.html.
By the time you read this newsletter, there will be one more online bookstore established and it caters exclusively to independent published authors. Check out Nothing Binding at http://www.nothingbinding.com.
Watch for the launch of Blue Eagle web site—another new book review site: http://www.blueeagle.com.
Mom Writers Literary Magazine print edition will review books and they welcome your already written book reviews. http://www.momwriterslitmag.com. Contact Samantha Gianulis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunities for Artists and Photographers has a marvelous opportunity for artists and photographers. They use either a photograph, painting or illustration on every cover and they solicit submissions each month. Check out previous cover art at: http://www.skirtmag.com. Read submission guidelines at http://www.skirtmag.com/contributor.shtml.
Opportunities and News for Screen Writers , a magazine for independent filmmakers, went out of business last year, but it has re-launched their web site along with a print publication. Mike Hofman is the editor-in-chief for this quarterly. Learn more at http://www.independent-magazine.org.
Calling All Authors is a new site for authors. This organization was established by Valerie Connelly for the purpose of developing a community web site for writers, authors and industry experts. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because this is also the name of a radio show. http://www.callingallauthors.org.
Penny Sansevieri, The Book Marketing Expert puts out a great little newsletter once a month or so. I recommend that, if you have a book to promote, you get on Penny’s mailing list: http://www.amarketingexpert.com. I’ve heard Penny speak on book promotion a couple of times across the U.S. when she’s on the same speaking circuit as me and she is on the cutting edge. For example, in the August 9 edition of her newsletter she writes about Google Backtracks, Virtual Author Tours, how to get on media blogs, a virtual book review network and she introduces StumbleUpon, a social bookmarking toolbar application that allows users to recommend sites that you basically stumble upon.
Warning for Authors is evidently an e-publisher. It’s being reported that they are not paying their authors royalties.
It’s rumored that Triskelion, a relatively new publisher on the block, is calling it quits and leaving their authors holding their book bags.
Publishers are concerned about the number of readers.
Authors, before we publish another book, we should be cognizant of the rising number of published books and the relatively few number of readers. There were 291,920 new titles produced last year. Yes, more and more people are actually writing their books instead of just talking about it. But are there enough readers to support this influx in books?
Stats show that one in four Americans have not read a book in the last year. One-third of high school graduates never read another book. Forty-two percent of college grads never read another book. Eighty percent of American families did not buy a book last year. The typical reader read only four books last year.
Do you want to know who is reading books? According to a survey by AP-Ipsos this year involving around 1,000 men and women, your reading audience is comprised of white, Democratic or Liberal women living in the West or Midwest.
Now there’s a strong clue as to how to promote your book this month. Let me know what promotional avenues you discover in order to reach this segment of readers and how your efforts pay off.
Meet Rebecca Leonard, an author just like you and me with a marketing idea unlike any I’ve seen. Rebecca wrote Adirondack Nightmare, a children’s story for the 9-12 age bracket. Rebecca self-published this book through Leonard Publishing in February of this year. What’s her great idea? She is offering a $100 prize to a lucky winner, but it has to be someone who purchased her book. I visited her web site again while I was preparing this information and found an announcement stating that she has sold 100 books. I believe that was her quota for the contest. Here’s my mini-interview with Rebecca:
Q: I’m always looking for unique and successful book promotion ideas. You seem to have one. Will you describe your $100 prize offer for our members?
A: I offered a $100 cash prize for the first 100 people who bought the book and submitted a proof of purchase to me. (Editor’s note: I believe she means she will choose one winner from the first 100 customers who purchased the book.)
Q: Is it necessary to have a blog or a newsletter in order to operate a contest like this?
A: Yes, I feel that without the blog and web site, it wouldn’t have succeeded.
Q: How did you come up with this idea?
A: I don’t remember! I’m very good at marketing and it just popped in my head, I guess.
Q: How is it working so far? Is it generating sales?
A: Yes, it did generate some sales. I wish I had thought of it as soon as my book was released (February, 2007) but I thought of it later than that.
Q: What would you suggest to others who might want to run a similar contest/drawing?
A: Constantly advertise it via the internet and any free news releases. Don’t pay for any advertising, it isn’t worth it.
Q: Do you have any other unique promotional ideas you’d like to share with our readers?
A: I have a lot of bookmarks; a lot. Whenever I get mail from a company which provides a postage paid envelope, I mail them a bookmark. The cost to me is about 9 cents—the cost of a bookmark!
Q: Tell us about the book you’re currently promoting.
A: It’s a regional Adirondack children’s ghost story. It’s a quick read-aloud chapter book which is great for reluctant readers. It also features three original Adirondack recipes and I think the recipes have sold about half of the books. If I sell 1000, I’ll do a reprint and a sequel.
Learn more about Rebecca, her promotional ideas and her book at: www.rebeccaleonard.com.
From Patricia Fry’s Blog:
Do You Engage in Book Promo Babble?
Writers are not necessarily hotshot promoters—and this goes for authors of nonfiction as well as fiction and children’s books. But we know that promotion is required if we want to sell books, so most of us make the effort. We reach out to our audiences in all of the most creative ways and attempt to entice buyers. Unfortunately, our promotional methods aren’t always as effective as they could be. Here are some common mistakes:
Authors use vague promo babble terms. Recently, I’ve been running a prepublication discount offer for books that are currently with a printer and aren’t scheduled for publication until later this month. Several customers who ordered these books through my web site became upset with me when they learned that the books wouldn’t arrive within the usual week (or so). My attempt to explain the prepublication discount offer through my promo material and on my web site ordering page seemed to fail about 30 percent of the time.
When I pitched these books and the prepublication discount offer in person, I’d get blank stares and few orders. So I stopped using the term that I’d so carefully designed and I began stating simply, “Place your order for the revised edition of The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book and the new Author’s Workbook by September 20, 2007 and get 25% off. All orders will be shipped after September 21.”
Be careful when you coin a catchy buzz phrase to use in promoting your book. It could just steer customers away rather than draw them in.
Authors promote features instead of benefits. Customers don’t care how many awards your book has won, the number of tips you’ve included, the fact that your book was reviewed by five magazines. They want benefits. In other words, they want to know, “How will this book assist me; give me more quality of life, make me richer, thinner, prettier, stronger, healthier or happier?”
Let’s say that you’re promoting a book on how to create greater curb appeal when selling your home. Instead of telling a potential customer, “I’m the expert who wrote this book. I mention Martha Stewart’s ideas for instant climbing porch plants.” Say instead, “Follow the guidelines in this book and you could earn an additional $5,000-$30,000 on your next home sale.”
For your romance novel, rather than saying, “This is the story of two misfits who find themselves homeless and then fall in love,” you might say, “If you enjoy reading a touching story that requires a box of tissues nearby, this book is for you.” or “Do you like really feel-good stories?”
For a book of offbeat humor, don’t say, “There are 102 hilariously funny jokes.” Use this approach, “Be the hit at the office Christmas party, when you hand out copies of this book to all of your co-workers.”
Authors tend to oversell their books. Give your spiel, answer some questions and then pause. Watch for an indication of how to proceed. If the potential customer lingers over your book, engage him or her in conversation. Ask what type of books they like reading or inquire as to their interest in the topic of the book. Let the customer’s responses lead you from there. Keep droning on for too long about the features and you may chase him away.
I watched an author lose a sale this way recently at a book festival. The customer had his checkbook out. Instead of giving him a total, the author kept going on and on about how wonderful her book was. Pretty soon, his wife came along and drug him away to look at something across the aisle. He got distracted and never came back.
Authors neglect to ask for the sale. This may sound elementary, but most of us tend to refrain from taking that one last step to actually making the sale. We assume that the customer knows the book is for sale and we figure that if he wants it, he will plunk down the cash. Not necessarily. I find that I sometimes miss out on sales unless I say, “Would you like me to autograph it for you?” or “Will that be check, cash or credit card?” Or “How many copies would you like today?” Sometimes the customer just needs that little nudge. Without it, it’s easier to just walk away intending to “think it over” or “come back later in the day.”
Promotion is not usually a writer’s strong suit, but creativity is. Authors, I urge you to use that creative edge toward the huge task of promotion and you’re bound to sell hundreds if not thousands more copies of your book.
Visit Patricia Fry’s blog often: http://www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog.