SPAWN Market Update – September, 2007
By Patricia L. Fry
Going, Going, Gone – 8 items to report.
Here’s What’s New – Writer’s Market is here and so is 360 Digital Printing.
Did You Know This? – Marilyn Ross is still working with writers; Here’s a new way to figure what to charge clients; Brian Jud offers a marketing newsletter; Successful Arab novel goes on sale in the U.S.
Opportunities for Freelance Writers – A writing job site, a contest and 7 other opportunities.
Opportunities for Authors – Over a dozen of them.
Book Promotion Opportunities – Get exposure for your book.
Opportunities for Artists – 2 opportunities, an excellent resource for artists who want to earn a living with their art and grant money available for artistic projects.
Resources for Authors and Writers – Get it Write Online and a great newsletter for children’s authors and illustrators.
Editorial Comment – What’s the real reason publishers reject manuscripts?
Bonus Item – 6 new and high-paying markets for career freelance writers and authors who want to promote their books. Plus 6 links to sample query letters.
Looking Good Now has quit publishing.
Beginnings, a newsletter for writers, is no longer publishing.
Crisis Magazine is in crisis. The last issue will appear in September.
Weekly World News will cease publication.
Your Look has gone out of business.
History Publishing, at http://www.historypublishing.com, seems to have gone out of the publishing business.
Creatrix Books at http://www.creatrixbooks.com is not currently accepting submissions.
StoneGarden Publishing is closed to submissions for 2007 and 2008. Any submissions received now will be considered for 2009. http://www.stonegarden.net.
The 2008 Writer’s Market is out. They claim to have over 600 new listings this year and the new listings are all marked with the familiar little “n.” Order your copy at http://www.writersdigest.com, http://www.writersmarket.com, http://www.Amazon.com, http://www.BarnesandNoble.com or another online bookstore. Or purchase it at your neighborhood bookstore. Libraries used to keep current editions of the Writer’s Market in their reference sections, but I don’t think they are so inclined to do that since the digital age. By the way, the regular price for your Writer’s Market is $29.95. You can purchase the deluxe edition for $49.95. What do you get for the extra $20? Access to Writer’s Market online—the Writer’s Market database at http://www.writersmarket.com.
Book distributor, Quality Books Inc., is under new ownership. The new owner, Rob Zimmers, is no stranger to this company as he’s been involved in various capacities with Quality Books for 32 years. It is unclear whether anything will change under his leadership. As far as we know, the contact information stays the same: Quality Books Inc., 1003 W. Pines Road, Oregon, IL 61061. Toll-free phone #: 800-323-4241. http://www.quality-books.com or http://www.myqualitybooks.com. Quality Books is a major distributor for libraries. They’re also one of two providers of the PCIP for your self-published books.
Take heed, those of you who write science fiction, fantasy and so forth. Dragons, Knights and Angels and The Sword Review are becoming one. http://www.theswordreview.com
A new printing company emerges from the old. I’ve used Fidlar Doubleday printing several times and have enjoyed working with Linda Castner and Keith Reisinger. As it turns out, Castner and Reisinger have recently left Fidlar Doubleday and, along with Kim Warner and Brian Bell, have started a new digital printing company. Their company, known as 360 Digital Books, does short-run digital printing. According to Linda, “We have newer presses that provide greater quality.” And, she says, “Our pricing is competitive.” She is open to questions, so contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 866-379-8767. Learn more about the company at http://www.360digitalbooks.com.
There was talk that Business 2.0 was closing again. I recall a few years ago announcing every other month that they were closed and the opposite months that they were open. I guess this yoyo effect is happening again. As I hear it, employees were halfway out the door on the last day of July when they were called back in to operate the magazine for one more month. What happens after the October issue is anyone’s guess.
Marilyn Ross is still helping authors. Some of you may remember when Marilyn and Tom Ross ran SPAN (Small Publishers Association of North America). They started SPAN a few years before Mary Embree started SPAWN in 1996. Well, did you know that Marilyn is still in the business of helping authors through the process of self-publishing their books? Visit her site at http://www.selfpublishingresources.com. You’ll find numerous free resources and articles. Marilyn offers her books for sale there and she’s also available to consult with authors on issues related to self-publishing, marketing and preparing your book for publication.
Brian Jud of Beyond the Bookstore fame publishes an ezine called Book Marketing Matters If you’re interested in getting on his mailing list, email him at: email@example.com or sign up at his Web site: http://www.bookmarketing.com. Look at back issues of this ezine at http://www.bookmarketingworks.com/mktgmatters.asp. .
There seems to be a book boom going on in Saudi Arabia. According to an article in the Washington Post last month, there were about 50 novels published in 2006 in Saudi Arabia as compared to 26 in 2005. And it’s all because of one author and one book. Rajaa Alsanea’s book, Girls of Ridyadhwhich was produced a few years ago, has been immensely popular in the Arab countries. However, success hasn’t come easy. The book was banned in many areas, including Beirut, where it was published. Two years later, the book has been translated into English and it’s gone on sale worldwide. As a result, other Middle Eastern women are sharpening their pencils and writing their own stories. Evidently few Saudi novels have been translated for audiences outside of the Arab world, but, according to Abdallah Hassan, an editor at the American University in Cairo Press, this is changing. ,
Freelance writers often ask me how much to charge. They might say, “I’ve been asked to edit a corporate brochure (or ghost-write a book or help someone write a book proposal). What’s the going rate for this work?” I typically use the “How Much Should I Charge” section in Writer’s Market to come up with a reasonable recommendation. This week, I discovered another, more personal method of figuring your hourly rate. It’s called Freelance Switch. To discover what you need to charge in order to maintain your freelance writing business, go to http://freelanceswitch.com/rates and fill out the chart.
Locate writing work at Writer’s Resource Center. http://www.writingjobroll.com. This month I noticed jobs for book editors, copywriters, sports writers and proofreaders.
Juan C. Paez contacted me a few weeks ago to let me know that he needs freelance writers for a parenting magazine. If you have appropriate articles of from 600 to 900 words, Paez might offer you a publishing opportunity. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cahoots, an alternative Canadian magazine, will pay $100 each for articles on motherhood, education, business, friendship, travel, finances, adventure and other topics. They also print fiction, poetry and visual art. Check their guidelines at http://www.cahootsmagazine.com/submit-your-work.
Union County Writers’ Club has launched their annual contest for poetry, short stories, children’s stories and flash fiction. The deadline is October 31, 2007, so there is still time to polish up your best piece and send it in with the very reasonable fee of from $3 to $5. Learn more at http://www.unioncountywritersclub.org/contest.html.
Do you write humor? If so, here’s a contest for you. The deadline is September 30, 2007. Learn more at http://www.leafbooks.co.uk.
Write book reviews for WPSU radio station at Penn State for a show called Book Mark: The Book Review. They want 450-word reviews along with your name and phone number. Send to WPSU-FM, Room 174 Outreach Building, 100 Innovation Blvd., University Park, PA 16802.
The editors for the Cup of Comfort series are still seeking material for some of their books. Do you have a story about dealing with Alzheimer’s? They also need stories of inspiration, support and comfort for divorced women and breast cancer survivors. The deadlines for stories range from October 1 to December 1, 2007. You’ll get $100 and a copy of the book if your story is chosen for publication. The authors of the best stories chosen for the Alzheimer’s book and the divorced women’s book get an additional $500. And the grand prize for the best breast cancer survivor story will be awarded $5,000. There will also be 3 runners up for this anthology. Now that’s a contest worth entering. Learn more at http://www.cupofcomfort.com/share.htm.
Guideposts Books is coming out with their version of feel-good books. The series is called Miracles Happen and each volume (containing 40 true stories) will feature a different aspect of life and living. Titles include, Miracles of Healing, Miracles of His Care, Children’s Miracles and Prayer, Miracles of Love, Miracles and Rescues and Miracles of Renewal. Coming around the corner are Miracles of Caring, Miracles in Tough Times, Miracles of Coincidence, Miracles of Wonder and Miracles of Dreams. Here’s what they want, stories of 500 to 2,000 words written in first-person narrative. For additional submission guidelines, I guess you’re going to have to request them by emailing email@example.com or write to Guideposts Books, 12 FL, 16 E. 34th St., New York, NY 10016.
The publishers of God Allows U-Turns is also seeking true stories for three new volumes to be released in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Their themes are Parents Setting Boundaries, Boomer Babes Rock and Writing from the Heart and Soul. Their writer’s guidelines are at http://www.godallowsuturns.com. Send stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you working on a book related to natural or historic resources of New York City or the state of New York? You might be able to get one of 50 or 60 grants offered each year by the Furthermore Grants in Publishing foundation. Since 1995, this foundation, a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, has disbursed more than $3.7 million to help 650 publication projects. They typically grant amounts ranging from $500 to $15,000 for each project. Applications for this year must be postmarked no later than September 15. You’ll find the application form at http://www.furthermore.org.
Members of the Cassell Network of Writers—that is, subscribers to Freelance Writer’s Report—are invited to share their news with readers. Editor, Dana Cassell encourages members to announce their author appearances, publishing successes, new book launches, etc. in Freelance Writer’s Report. Send your information to email@example.com. Get more details as http://www.writers-editors.com/Need_a_writer_/Member_News/member_news.htm.
As an aside, Cassell Network of Writers members also get a break on the new Writer’s Market each year. Check with Dana Cassell at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if the offer is still good for this year.
Are you looking for a new (or new to you) publisher for your magnificent, fully edited manuscript? Consider these:
Motorcycling, a publishing house based in Rockledge, Florida, publishes nonfiction books on many aspects of motorcycles and cycling. Are you a woman who has written a book about the new wave of women weekend bikers? Contact this publisher and pitch your idea. Maybe you restore motorcycles, you just completed a record-breaking ride or you have a large collection of vintage bikes. This publisher might be interested in books on these topics. http://www.bfpbooks.com
Falls Media is a relatively new publishing house and they want both nonfiction and fiction books for all ages. They seem to like books for the younger set—children, college students, young adult and pop culture fans. But they also produce books for professional adults. Check them out at http://www.wouldyourather.com. And be sure to contact the right editor: Justin Heimberg for humor, gift and nonfiction manuscripts and David Gomberg for children’s illustrated books and young adult titles. (Editor’s note: I wasn’t able to access this site to get the editors’ contact information for you. I hope you have better luck. You might try http://www.falls-media.com/ too.)
Here’s a publisher that accepts fiction and nonfiction book manuscripts as well as screenplay submissions. According to their submission guidelines, before contacting Dead End Street Publishing, your manuscript or screenplay must be completed and professionally edited. But they don’t want to see your manuscript, yet. First, send a 500-word synopsis through their online form at http://www.deadendstreet.com. If they’re interested, they will request the manuscript. At this time, they are particularly interested in screenplays for features and shorts.
Do you have a self-help book manuscript with a religious/spiritual theme? Consider contacting ACTA Publications with your idea. But make sure that your project is right for them. Study their submission guidelines before sending them anything. They’re pretty rigid. For example, while they accept unsolicited submissions, they do not encourage electronic submissions. They request that you study their current catalog to make sure your project could be a fit. If so, they want to see a cover letter explaining who your target audience is and why this group of people would buy your book. Say that your book is for everyone and you’ll be rejected on the spot. They also want to see a table of contents for your proposed work, an introduction and one chapter. They state the sentiments of most publishers today—“Send us your best writing. It does no good for you to tell us that something is just a draft or that you are still working on it. We are going to judge it as if it is your final product.” Contact Andrew Yankech at email@example.com. http://www.actapublications.com
Whittler’s Bench Press publishes fiction related to North Carolina. They especially love historical fiction, regional mysteries and humorous novels, but they must all have a link to North Carolina. Like most publishers today, those at Whittler’s Bench Press have strict guidelines. They want to see a cover letter, short bio of the author, the first 3 chapters and an outline for the rest of the book. Learn more at http://www.dramtreebooks.com.
Are you familiar with River’s Bend Press? They publish both fiction and nonfiction in many genres and topics. They produce autobiographies and humor, military stories and books about various hobbies. They also publish recovery stories. They do not want children’s or animal stories at this time. They want to see a query or the first three chapters of your book sent via regular mail—not registered or certified mail, for example. Learn more at http://www.riversbendpress.com. Contact William Schmaltz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bud Jillett at Jillett Publications is in the market for good nonfiction manuscripts. He publishes how-to books, humor and self-help. He’s interested in New Age, spirituality, hobbies, art and many other topics. He says he is always on the lookout for something really interesting to publish. Learn more about this company at: http://publications.jillett.com. Contact Bud Jillett at email@example.com.
Bluebridge produces nonfiction titles in the area of child guidance and parenting, ethnic, gardening, spirituality, health, language, religion, women’s issues and more. Their submission guidelines are weak, but you can learn more about the type of books this company produces at: http://www.bluebridgebooks.com. If you have a manuscript for them, contact Jan-Erik Guerth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study the last 3 listings under “Opportunities for Freelance Writers.” You might find a great opportunity to promote your book. Maybe your book is inspirational in nature. Is there an episode, anecdote or excerpt that would make a good story for one of the Cup of Comfort series, the God Allows U-Turns books or the Guidepost Books anthologies? Maybe your book features step-parenting. You might be able to come up with a great story to share in the divorced women volume. If your memoir features a miracle of healing, consider sending an excerpt for Guideposts Miracles of Healing book. What’s in it for you? Exposure for your book. Anyone who enjoys reading these anthologies would surely be interested in buying your book. You’ll find the contact info with the listings above (under “Opportunities for Freelance Writers”).
Here’s an opportunity for promoting your book through cooperative marketing programs. The Atlantic Publishing Company maintains that you can reach 25,000 libraries or 27,000 bookstores for just a thin dime each. Yikes, no matter how you slice it, it’s still a pretty expensive promotions activity. And what you get is actually piggyback marketing. The company is, supposedly, already mailing out their own catalogs to these lists and they will include your postcard, brochure or catalog for a dime each—around $2,500 for the library list. (According to their ad, prices vary depending on the plan you choose.) Maybe you’ve received this ad. All they offer is a link to click for more details. I tried to track down a Web site and couldn’t find one. I wonder if their return email address is any good. In case you want to check them out, it’s email@example.com.
You’ve heard of networking. Now there is social networking. That’s the term used for what goes on at MySpace, YouTube, Squidoo, Facebook, Friendstar and Xanga. I must say that my social network doesn’t exist beyond SPAWNdiscuss, the SPAWN Forum and a few writing/publishing-related message boards, but I keep hearing what wonderful opportunities these sites provide for book promotion. If you venture out and get involved in social networking would you let us know your impressions? Are you finding customers for your books through social networking?
WOA (World of Art) Publishing is calling all artists. They’re producing a book of art and have issued an invitation for artists to enter their works to be considered for publication in this book. Learn more at http://www.worldofartmagazine.com. Or email the publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cahoots Magazine in Canada is seeking art for their alternative quarterly magazine. Learn more at http://www.cahootsmagazine.com/submit-your-work.
Do you want to earn more money through your art? Some of you may recall the article I wrote in the January 2006 edition of the SPAWN Market Update called, Promotion, Your Success as an Artist Depends on it. If you read the article a year and a half ago, you really should read it again. If you never got around to reading it, now’s your chance. http://www.spawn.org/private/marketupdate/mu_01_06.htm. In fact, read the entire issue, as that one is devoted almost entirely to artists.
The Furthermore Grants in Publication foundation in New York is offering grants to artists for projects related to New York City or the state. The Deadline for applications is September 17. You’ll find an application at http://www.furthermore.org.
Get it Write Online provides some great tips for us writer types. Go to their archives and you’ll find links to such writing helps as using nauseated versus nauseous, bad or badly, making verbs agree with relative pronouns, how to use the ellipsis, when to use a comma before the word and, which versus that and much, much more. This is one site I’m going to keep handy. You can too— http://www.getitwriteonline.com/archive/tips.htm.
Alice Pope has a newsletter for the children’s writers and illustrators market. Check it out at http://www.cwim.com.
When authors ask me why it is so hard to sell books or why they can’t get their books into bookstores, I explain that it is a matter of competition. There’s a tremendous amount of it in this industry. And the competition starts even before your book is published.
Most authors experience rejection at least a few times when their books are in manuscript form. I’ve been turned down by some of the biggest and best publishers. I’m sure that some of you have, too. It can be downright disheartening. But, recently I came across an article that helped to put rejection in perspective.
Andrew Franklin of Profile Books stated in the July issue of the Huffington Post the real reason why publishers miss good books (why they reject our excellent books). It boils down to sheer numbers. Again, competition.
The problem, as Franklin see it, is related to volume. A publisher handles so many manuscripts each year that he can’t possibly spend the time needed to do a thorough evaluation of each one. Of course, some good ones are going to be overlooked.
I heard a researcher state on the radio recently that we don’t actually focus as much as we think we do. For every hour that we think we’re focusing, our minds are actually wandering something like 30 percent of the time. This seems to be true of publishers, as well. Not only are publishers overwhelmed by the numbers of manuscripts they must evaluate each year, month, week, day, these publishers are truly focusing only 70 percent of the time.
Here’s proof that publishers sometimes don’t see what’s right in front of them. According to Franklin, authors sometimes test publishers to see if they are paying attention. How? They send out manuscripts almost identical to some of the classics. Surprisingly, publishers reject them most of the time. Earlier this year, a group of authors fooled 18 UK publishers in this way. The authors sent out a “thinly disguised” version of Pride and Prejudice along with two other Jane Austen favorites. All 18 publishers turned these manuscripts down.
Now you don’t feel so bad about those rejections you’ve received, do you? Or do you? This is certainly less than encouraging to those of us who are seeking publishing contracts, but maybe it will soothe the hurt feelings of those who’ve been taking rejection too seriously. Now you know that maybe it’s not you, it actually is them.
To read Franklin’s post, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com and use the search feature to find Andrew Franklin’s story, “The Real Reason Why Publishers Miss Good Books.”
Here are a few magazines that pay well enough to support your freelance article-writing career.
And this list is also valuable to you authors who want to promote your books through articles or stories in appropriate magazines AND get paid, too.
Vibe pays $1 word. Contact Danyel Smith with your article idea around urban music and the culture that surrounds it. Contact and additional information at: http://www.vibe.com.
Can you write a one-act play for Zoetrope: All Story? If so, Francis Ford Coppola, publisher, might pay you $1,000. Visit the Web site to find out what they want. http://www.all-story.com.
Who says no one will pay for literary fiction? David Leavitt at Subtropics pays anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per fiction or literary nonfiction piece. He also buys poetry. Learn more at: http://www.english.ufl.edu/subtropics.
Michael Goldman, editor at Boys’ Life pays $400 to $1,500 per accepted nonfiction piece and at least $750 for fiction. You can earn up to $300 for short department pieces. If you can write on science, health, sports, aviation, space, computers, pets, history and music, for example, you might get a gig with this mag. http://www.boyslife.org
Industry Magazine is a general interest lifestyle magazine for affluent and sophisticated residents in areas of Florida, Texas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and other major cities. Editor, Kim Nye, is looking for nonfiction by writers whose work is witty, sophisticated and opinionated. They buy around 500 articles per year in the 450-2,500-words range and pay up to $600. Contact Kim at email@example.com. http://www.industrymagazine.com.
Baby Steps is new. Editor Stacey Felson wants to see articles focusing on baby’s first year. They publish how-to and personal experience pieces related to health, child development, diapers, feeding—anything that affects the family during baby’s first year of life. Felson also welcomes appropriate book excerpts. And they pay well, too. How does $1.25/word sound? Contact Felson through their Web site: http://www.ivillage.com.
The Dreaded Query Letter
Links to Query Letter Samples
Do you consider the query letter one of the world’s great mysteries? Can you write volumes—even an entire book—but freeze up at the very thought of penning a one-page query letter? You’re not alone. This phenomenon is quite prevalent throughout the writing community. But there is help for writers with query block. Let me list the resources:
The 2008 edition of Writer’s Market includes examples of good and not so good query letters for fiction and nonfiction magazine articles and books on pages 22-29. (See ordering information in the “Here’s What’s New” section of this Market Update.)
Romance author, Charlotte Dillon provides some good examples of successful query letters at her new site: http://www.charlottedillon.com/QuerySamples.html.
Lynn Flewelling presents a fairly good article on the query, along with an example of the query letter that sold agents on this author’s book at: http://www.sfwa.org/writing/query.htm.
Literary agent, Jenny Bent, offers her favorite query letter ever at http://www.jennybent.com/letter/index.html.
Moira Allen offers this example at http://www.writing-world.com/basics/sample.shtml.
Judith Kelman provides her best query letter at http://www.jkelman.com/misc/queryletter.html.