SPAWNews Newsletter – January 2011


For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please email the editor of SPAWNews:

Those of you who are SPAWN members, be sure to visit the Members Only Area to read this month’s Market Update. Go to and click Log In. You will be asked for your username and password.
If you are not a member, join now online:

From the President

Welcome to all the new members and subscribers who have discovered SPAWN this month!

Before writing this note, I looked back at what I wrote in the newsletter one year ago. In January 2010, we had just held our first member teleseminar with Sandra Beckwith about book publicity. (Note that members can download the audio of any past SPAWN teleseminar from the member area of the Web site.)

We have hosted 12 teleseminars since then on everything from making more money writing to social media. Did you listen to them? If not, why not?

A lot of us are glad to see 2010 in the rear-view mirror. Some things you can’t do anything about. In my case, I lost two of my beloved pets in 2010. I can’t change the fact that my critters are getting older.

When it comes to your business, however, you can choose what you spend your time doing and learning. This year, for example, I’ve decided to learn copywriting, so I’m excited that veteran copywriter Bob Bly will be the guest expert for our February teleseminar. No matter what you want to learn in 2011, you’ll probably find SPAWN member resources that can help you.

Happy New Year!

Susan Daffron (
President & Webmaster, Small Publishers Artists and Writers Network (SPAWN)
President, Logical Expressions, Inc.

January Teleseminar Announcement!

Teleseminar for SPAWN Members

Who: Marcia Meir
When: January 11 at 1 pm Pacific (4 pm Eastern)
How: Members will receive an email with call-in details
Title: “Navigating the Rough Waters of Today’s Publishing World”

Editor’s Note

Here we are with a brand new year. What are we going to do with it? Since the newsletter hits your e-mail on the first day of the New Year, you have 365 days that are clean slates. One of the first things I’m going to do is follow Helen Gallagher’s suggestion about using OneNote to keep track of my sources and articles. It’s in my computer—I just didn’t know what it was or how to use it.

While the weather is not what I’d like, I’ll spend time with the cats and the computer so I can finally get my Web site updated. I’ll add to my blog, too—see the Member News for a note about Patricia Fry’s two blogs. I might not achieve that level of dedication, but I can improve.

A while back, a friend asked me how to find an illustrator for a book she had in mind. I had no clue. Luckily, Andrea Hazard knows how and she’s written an article about it for us. As with all previous newsletters, it will go into the archives, so the next time I’m asked, I’ll know where to look. If you’re ever at a loss for ideas, wander through the archives; they go back to 1997. Can you imagine the information stored there?

I hope your holidays were good, and your gifts given and received were great. Start your New Year with your lucky food, good friends, and a fabulous attitude. Make this the year you do something a little daring. It’s like I told my grandma when she said she’d like to have a pair of red shoes but was now too old for them—if you don’t get them now, when are you going to do it?

— Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews,

Join SPAWN at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (LATFB) is billed as the nation’s largest public literary festival, having attracted around 140,000 people last year.

It wasn’t always this big, and some of us here at SPAWN remember its beginnings. The LATFB launched in 1996, the same year that SPAWN did. SPAWN has had a presence at this now- gigantic event almost every year since.

The LATFB will be held at a new venue this year—the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles, April 30-May 1, 2011. SPAWN has secured two booths to accommodate our members. The fee for selling your book(s) from our booth is $200 per day. (Three titles per member, only.)

We are offering those who can’t attend LATFB the opportunity to display a copy of their book(s) in the SPAWN booth at $20/title. For an additional $35, members can list their books in the SPAWN Catalog of Member’s Books and Services; everyone visiting the SPAWN booth will walk away with one of our beautiful full-color print catalogs. The absolute deadline for having your book included in the SPAWN Catalog of Member’s Books and Services is March 15, 2011.

Visit for all of your options, and sign up today.

The LATFB opportunity is open to members only. If your membership has expired or you haven’t joined yet, this is a good time to take care of business.

If you want a major bookselling opportunity and incredible exposure for your book, sign up to join us in the SPAWN booth—first come, first served.

Learn more about the LATFB here:


SPAWN Market Update

by Patricia Fry

The January issue of the SPAWN Market Update offers up a big taste of what’s to come throughout 2011—dozens of paying markets for freelance writers, access to hundreds of publishers, book promotion ideas, and resources galore. We haven’t forgotten artists, photographers, and screenwriters who are looking for paying work. Opportunities abound throughout the January edition. We also report on happenings within the industry so you can make more informed decisions on behalf of your projects.

If you are a member of SPAWN, be sure to read each and every edition of the SPAWN Market Update. There is always something that could affect your writing or publishing business or project. If you are not a member, you’re missing out on one of the best resources around.

Locate the SPAWN Market Update in the member area of the SPAWN Web site.

Ask the Book Doctor:

About Narrative Nonfiction, Memoir, Finding Your Niche, and Page Counts by Bobbie Christmas

By Bobbie Christmas

Q: What’s the difference between narrative nonfiction and a memoir? I’m hearing that because of so many fake memoirs, editors are shy about taking memoirs. Could a memoir be pitched as narrative nonfiction?

A: All memoirs and biographies are considered narrative nonfiction, while how-to books are considered prescriptive nonfiction. In other words, call the book narrative nonfiction or memoir, but it’s the same thing. Agents and publishers won’t be fooled by the word choice.

The market for memoirs is still strong. Think of runaway bestseller Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs, for example.

If you can attest to the accuracy of the details and the story is alluring and well-written, the manuscript has a fair chance. Well-written memoirs include vignettes or scenes with beginnings, middles, and ends and include action, dialogue, narrative, settings, and other elements of fiction to make readers feel as though they are watching the story unfold.

Q: I like English, and it has always been my best subject. I’m trying to find which area of writing I am most talented in. I feel that I can write punchy, short prose well. Do you have any tips for how I can find the type of writing that suits me? Would I be better off taking lots of short learning courses? Reading books? Any help you could give would be very helpful.

A: I don’t know your age, but if you’re still in school, I’ll assume you are under thirty, and with that thought in mind, I can tell you what I did with my life and see if it works for you. I loved writing from the time I was young, so I took every creative writing class I had the opportunity to take, in high school, college, from arts institutes, or at continuing learning centers. I majored in journalism in college, because it was the only writing path available to me back in the 1960s, but I didn’t think I would be a journalist. I thought I would be great at writing advertising copy, so I wrote some spec ads to create a portfolio and took them to several ad agencies. To my surprise I garnered some freelance work, which led to my being able to build a strong portfolio of published works. Ad copy was fun to write, but I wanted more, so I volunteered to write articles for the newsletters and magazines that nonprofit organizations produced, and when those articles were published, I added them to my portfolio and went out to find assignments from trade magazines as well as consumer magazines. You get my drift; I never settled into one area.

Eventually I had tried out—and usually enjoyed—just about every kind of writing a person can do to make a living, including ad copy, press releases, brochure copy, business reports, proposals, news articles, personality profiles, magazine articles, radio commercials, resumes, business profiles, white papers, books, memoirs, personal experience essays, and you name it. With a motto of “I’ll write anything for money,” I launched a career in writing and editing that has carried me for more than four decades, and I am doing what I love and making a good living at it.

If I were you, then, I would try everything, and you will find what best suits you. If you find you can do it all, then why specialize? Write! Enjoy! Count your blessings that you’re able to do what you love and make money doing it.

Q: I’ve noticed that printed paperback mysteries range from 250 to 325 pages. Using double spacing, what should my manuscript page count be, then? I’m trying to determine how much background information I need to include without it looking like padding. Any ideas?

A: Rather than thinking in terms of page count, think in terms of word count. Most publishers prefer first novels to run between 50,000 and 100,000 words. In most word processing programs, you can go to Tools to get the word count of your file.

No matter what, avoid padding at all costs. If you have only 40,000 words, but they are tight and great and nothing more could enhance the story, stop writing! If, however, you have an idea for another plot-related scene or chapter that could flesh out the story, by all means add it and pump up the word count closer to 50,000 words.

What’s your question about writing or publishing? Bobbie Christmas, book doctor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too. Send them to Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at

Book Review: Art and Craft of Cover Design

by Patricia Fry

The Art and Craft of Cover Design, a Comprehensive Book Cover Design Guide for the Self-Publisher by Gene Stirm
West Way Productions (2010)
ISBN: 978-0-9826828-1-4     Paperback, 106 pages, $12.99

Now here’s a book I haven’t seen on the market and one that countless self-publishers can use. As author Gene Stirm points out so accurately on his back cover, “Every book deserves a great cover; it is the number-one marketing tool for the self-publisher.”

Stirm, a veteran graphic artist and cover designer, has a way of simplifying the overwhelming task of cover design. He says all it takes is typography, graphics, color, and appeal. Readers will appreciate that he breaks each of these things down for you. I found the section on color to be informative. Have you ever thought about using complementary colors that evoke emotion on your book cover? Something else I’ve never thought about, but will be paying more attention to now, are the rules of composition. Stirm talks about balance and movement as elements of composition and how to make them work in your particular project.

While Stirm describes some of his experiences working within the area of graphic arts, he also provides some good information for the self-publishing author. He even goes into how to choose a printer, how to design the back cover of your book, and has an interesting chapter on covers for memoirs. Therein he shows readers how to blend nostalgia with technology. He seems to favor the collage cover.

Whether you contemplate true self-publishing or you plan to hire a pay-to-publish company, it is wise to take charge of your book cover design. This compact book is a good starting place for gaining an understanding of what this entails. As Stirm says, “A good eye-catching cover is your first marketing tool.”

Keep It Together With OneNote

by Helen Gallagher

Your stories, character sketches, and article ideas are written in a spiral notebook. Your desk is cluttered with samples from magazines you want to write for. Your computer groans under the weight of unsorted files and scattered folders. You’ve sent out queries and requested book reviews, but you don’t follow up because you’ve lost track. Too many important ideas are buried in unfiled e-mail messages.

For a robust alternative to storing, finding, and sharing documents the hard way, take a look at Microsoft Office OneNote. I use version 2007, but there is a new version in Office 2010. OneNote is a digital notebook that functions as a collaboration tool, as well as a lively tab-based organizer for project fragments and completed work. OneNote files reside on your computer, not on the Internet. Take OneNote files via a USB stick, and you can work anywhere.

If you can’t imagine how you’d use such a freeform notebook, think about tracking your book plotlines and the marketing potential for the tasks to come when you launch a new book.


OneNote is a free-form structure in which you create a “notebook” for every major topic you wish to organize. Major notebook categories are listed down the left side of the OneNote screen.

As your ideas grow, you can add sub-folders and create hyperlinks from one notebook to another, so you never have to hunt through files and folders. The sub-notes live in tabs across the top of each major category, are further indexed down the right side, and are fully searchable. Notes within each section contain pages and pages of data, in whatever manner you want to organize them.  If you’re writing a novel, you can create tabs for all major categories of information, all in one place: Manuscript, Bibliography, Research notes, Graphics. Gathering data for tasks like agent research and building a bibliography have never been easier. Need to capture a new idea or resource, or a tip from the latest SPAWN newsletter? Highlight it on your screen, move to a tab or create a new sub-tab, click anywhere and paste. The important piece of information is posted, along with a Web link to remind you where you found it.

Using OneNote’s framework, even the most disorganized writer can catalog all of his or her work: ideas, drafts, pitches, clips, research, guidelines, Web pages, audio files, video clips, marketing and social media sites, passwords, and bio information. OneNote handles any text format, Word, Excel, Web pages, e-mail, etc. OneNote eases your workload with drag & drop from any other document, uses tables to keep materials in line, and supports audio/video recording. If you’ve used Paint or SnagIt to capture screen shots, you can now do this within OneNote.

By default, OneNote files are kept in a OneNote folder within My Documents, by notebook name, and with separate files for each sub-notebook. All files are saved automatically when you close the program. You’ll have no fear of putting everything into one large program that you can’t later extract.

  • Search within an open notebook or use the universal search feature to search across all notebooks.
  • Highlight text on a Web site, then paste just the text, or include the whole Web page with live links. Copy other documents into OneNote, and it will link directly to the source, such as an e-mail or a Word document. Paste an Excel spreadsheet into OneNote and it remains in Excel format to use, update, and alter.

We’ve come a long way with technology as writers, and now with OneNote, we finally have one place for everything.


Microsoft Office OneNote retails for $79 as a stand-alone product in the U.S. You can download a free trial of Microsoft Office OneNote at

Better still, you may already have OneNote on your computer. It is a standard component included in the Home/Student version of MS Office 2003 and 2007. The 2010 is included in both Home/Student and Professional versions.

While there is no Macintosh equivalent, you can run OneNote on a Macintosh by using Virtual PC and Microsoft Windows XP.

SPAWN member Helen Gallagher is the author of Release Your Writing: Book Publishing Your Way, and of Blog Power & Social Media Handbook. Contact her at

Member News

Want to be part of the Member News? Send us your items and we’ll be glad to include your good news in the next issue. Want to be a Member Interview? It will give you a chance to plug your book, your business, yourself. Just email me and let me know you’d like to be included. The email is

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Susan Daffron is launching a comprehensive 10-month writing and publishing training course in mid-January. SPAWN members who are interested should contact her for more information and to inquire about a member discount.


From Carol Sanford: My upcoming book was just honored by @Bullishonbooks, CNBC’s 2011 Business Book Reading List. The Responsible Business is on the list of ten books to read for 2011. Available March 1, Jossey Bass. I’m so excited.


Barbara Florio Graham is this year’s winner of the Shojai Mentoring Award, presented at the international conference of the Cat Writers’ Association. The award consists of a plaque and $500. The full citation is on Bobbi’s Web site, at

Bobbi’s famous cat, Simon Teakettle, now has his own calendar. Artist/photographer Iris Ten Holder has created a 2011 calendar featuring thirteen photos of Simon Teakettle III (Terzo): one for the cover and one for each month. It’s available from


Member Jasmine Benjamin is using this idea to generate business and reward her customers. See more at

“If you sign up every day for fifteen days starting January 1 and continuing through March 1, we will send an e-mail with a new discount on one of our soft-back, e-book, & audio books. You’ll find discounts from twenty percent to seventy percent on everything from books to merchandise. Each discount is good for one use only, but even if you sign up late, you’ll get access to the remaining discounts. This is our way of having a little fun and giving our community an opportunity for some savings.”


From Patricia Fry: I just posted my 1000th blog post at I’ve been blogging for five years, initially posting every few days—I’d say three or four times per week. In late 2007, I decided to post daily and have dedicated myself to that schedule ever since. The only exceptions are when I travel and I do my best to post daily even then.

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Note: To have your announcements included in Member News, you must be a paid member of SPAWN. Please email your news to

Unusual Networking

by David Perkins ( /

This could be of interest to any of you who happen to be Costco members. It may be an avenue for free publicity you hadn’t thought of.

A couple of months ago while flipping through the Costco Connection magazine, I noticed a monthly column called Member Connection, where Costco members who have interesting stories to tell are profiled.

One of the three profiles on this page was of a woman who had written a book. There was a picture of her holding the book—even though it is not available at Costco—and a couple of paragraphs about how she came to write it.

I sat down and e-mailed Costco Connection a brief version of my press kit, explaining that I had written a book and why it might interest Costco members. This was in August. I got an e-mail from a Costco Connection reporter, who informed me that they liked my story and wanted to include me in the column in the February issue. We did a telephone interview and I e-mailed some photos to the magazine.

Good news all by itself, and I was thrilled. But, here’s the exciting part—I decided, a few hours before the interview, to e-mail the reporter a PDF copy of my book, “in case you might find it useful” for interview prep.

When he called to conduct the interview, he was effusive about how much he loved the book, and asked if I would mind if he passed it on to the Costco book buyer. I, of course, said I would be most grateful for that, and mailed a couple of paperback copies to him to pass on and one to keep for himself.

Now, I realize that getting your book onto a Costco table is about as easy as getting it on Oprah, and I don’t hold out much hope that it will actually happen. But I do know that someone in the book-buying office will read it, and it won’t end up in that roomful of 100,000 books that never got opened.

And at the very least, Costco members nationwide—and possibly in Canada and the UK—will be exposed to a couple of paragraphs about my book. I could not have purchased that kind of press.

Try your luck. “If you have a note, photo or story to share about Costco or Costco members, e-mail it to with The Member Connection in the subject line or send it to The Member Connection, The Costco Connection, P.O. Box 34088, Seattle, WA 98124. Submissions cannot be acknowledged or returned.”

How to Prepare for a More Successful Writers’ Conference

by Patricia L. Fry

Have you thought about signing up for a writers’ conference? Or have you attended a conference and came away less than satisfied?

What makes a successful conference? It depends on the type of conference, your needs and expectations, and your level of participation.

There are basically two types of writers’ conferences.

  • The author-friendly conference with seminars and workshops designed to teach hopeful and newbie authors how to find and work with a publisher or agent and how to market their books. This conference might also have sessions for freelance writers. Many of these conferences feature face-to-face meetings with publishers and/or agents.
  • Writers’ conferences and retreats focused mainly on the craft of writing. These programs often feature workshops and other presentations by well-known authors.

Some conferences specialize, offering workshops within, for example, only the fiction realm or non-fiction, children’s, spiritual/inspirational, science fiction, mystery, or romance.

Conferences and retreats cost anywhere from $50 for a local evening event, up to a few thousand dollars for a week-long retreat at a resort. Most typically, a two- to seven-day conference will cost between $150 and $850, not including travel or hotel.

Learn about conferences within your realm of interest at or or To locate conferences near you or in an area you’d like to visit:

  • Do a Google search. Type “writers conference” + “Los Angeles” or “writers conference” + “Virginia,” etc.
  • Check with your local arts council or writers groups for conferences held in your area.
  • Ask your librarian if he/she knows of an upcoming writers’ conference.
  • Keep an eye on the arts section of your local newspaper.
  • Subscribe to writing- and/or publishing-related magazines and newsletter.

How to Get the Most for Your Conference Buck

A major aspect of most writers’ conferences is the opportunity to sit in on numerous workshops presented by experts and other professionals within the industry. I frequently travel to writers’ conferences and speak or teach on topics such as how to write a more successful book proposal, self-publishing, how to become a freelance article-writer, how to prepare yourself to become a published author, book promotion, and so forth. Some conferences provide courses on fleshing out characters, writing effectively in first-person, how to organize the how-to book, and memoir-writing.

What makes for a successful writers’ conference? YOU!! Here are my tips for conference success:

  • Choose the right conference for your particular needs.
  • Select the workshops you will likely benefit from most.
  • Participate fully with an open mind.
  • Show up at all workshops and other presentations alert and on time.
  • Open your mind, especially to concepts that might seem a little uncomfortable at first.
  • Take notes.
  • Follow up with questions during networking sessions and/or contact presenters via e-mail, if they invite you to do so. I always issue this invitation. I want to make sure my students have all of their questions satisfied.

Whether you’re about to enroll in your first writers’ conference or your 101st, use this guide and your conference experience will be more successful.

Patricia Fry is the executive director of SPAWN. She is the author of 32 books—most of them related to publishing and book marketing. She frequently speaks at conferences throughout the U.S. /


Featured Member – Ellen Reid

As a person who has several different companies that work with authors and indie/self-publishers, it’s important for me to keep abreast of the publishing business as a whole, and in particular, the segment of that industry dealing with self-publishing, independent publishing, and small presses. I also like to know what people are doing and what’s new and innovative in our industry.

That’s the reason I joined SPAWN so many years ago and will continue to be part of the community for many years to come.

The self-publishing world has changed and we must change with it. In my various companies, one thread remains constant; the Internet.  In order to compete, our visibility and the way we handle it separates the “men from the boys.”

I have found that the contest I sponsor (now in its fifth year) has grown because of the way we have worked to keep on top of the latest Internet developments by updating keyword search terms we put in the site, creating a new, more effective landing page, and starting a new Facebook fan page, as well as maintaining the traditional Web site we have had all along at

(Editor’s note: find details of the contest by clicking the link to the contest section.)

My own book consulting and shepherding work has changed because so many people are “doing it themselves” and I need to know what’s happening in that regard, ergo SPAWN’s great articles and information.

My publishing company, Little Moose Press, is about to have a brand-new presence on the Web, and we are marketing our books differently, in addition to the traditional Ingram/Baker & Taylor and Amazon distribution.

We are all in our own home, office and life. SPAWN not only helps us keep abreast of developments like those above, but it also connects us with each other as a group, not just on a Facebook page. It’s a great way to stay in the game without having to Google everything and is a terrific addition to group conversations as well.

I appreciate SPAWN and always recommend it to friends and colleagues in this ever-changing business of publishing.

— Ellen Reid ( / /

Words to Live By

by Bonnie Myhrum, Professional Secretary, LLC,

Orthography: The art of writing words with the proper letters according to standard usage.

I receive the RSS feed from It was the Daily Writing Tip on December 20—Spelling Isn’t Magic—that inspired me to learn the meaning of orthography.

Quoting Daily Writing Tips: “Many poor spellers think they’re less intelligent” (One “t” or two? One “l” or two?) than those of us for whom spelling is relatively easy, but “good spellers seem to be born, not made.”

Even I, who won nearly every spelling bee back in the day, have difficulty spelling certain words. Is there an “e” after the “g” in judgment? What about discouragement? Does occasion have a double “s” or a double “c”? And what about recommend?

I believe there are word people and numbers people; I am a word person. I admire and am intimidated by those for whom using numbers is easy. When my accountant begins to speak I start to sweat and immediately throw up (a mental block). On the other hand, those who aren’t word people think I am some sort of super-smart demi-god (not entirely untrue). The truth is, I just have a big dictionary and know how to use it.

The English language is loaded with “confusing, counterintuitive, and contradictory spelling rules.” Not only that, we don’t have very good examples to follow if we’re reading the newspaper or even a book, because of the decline in careful editing.

Help is on the way! The first solution is to buy and use a decent, current dictionary. The second is to use a synonym for the word you don’t know how to spell; for example, if you aren’t sure if you should use “affect” or “effect,” use “to impact” or use “to create an impression,” depending on what you mean to say.

How to Find and Work with an Illustrator

by Andrea Hazard

ABeCeDarian easy readers ( /

You’ve finished writing your book, and now you need to illustrate it.  The problem is, you can’t illustrate. Here’s how to find and work with someone who can.

Step 1 Select an illustrator. Most illustrators specialize in a particular style and medium, so be sure to select an illustrator who does the kind of illustration you want for your book: don’t expect a cartoonist to produce delicate watercolors! To find an illustrator whose style you like, Google “illustrators” and start looking through online portfolios to find a style that suits your book. Be aware that if you’re a brand-new publisher, an artist who has illustrated ten books for Random House probably won’t want to work with you. However, there are plenty of talented illustrators who, like you, are new to publishing and will be delighted for the chance to break in.

Step 2 Negotiate the project. Specify the scope of the project: tell the illustrator how many illustrations you want and what the finished size should be, and set a timeframe for completing the project. If the illustrator creates more than one style of illustration, be sure to indicate which style you like. If you want your book’s artwork to differ from the illustrator’s usual style in any way (for example, to match existing illustrations), ask the illustrator if s/he can do this. However, you shouldn’t ask an artist to change his/her style too much as s/he will probably work best using the style with which s/he is most familiar.

Step 3 Creating a sample illustration. Before you send a contract, you should ask the illustrator to produce one illustration for your book. An experienced illustrator might request payment for this sample, but a newbie will probably be willing to do this for free. At this point you should let the illustrator know where you want the illustrations positioned on the page, and whether text should overlay illustrations or be positioned beside them. If you’re unsure, let the illustrator decide; chances are, s/he’ll have a good idea of what will work well. Make sure the artist is aware of any technical or historical details s/he will need to incorporate into the artwork, and share any photo references you might have. But also keep in mind that a talented illustrator works best if s/he is given creative freedom: let the artist do the artwork! And one final piece of advice: unless the main character of your book is your grandfather, never ask an illustrator to make a character look like one of your family members.

Step 4 Negotiate the contract. Specifics of contract negotiation are beyond the scope of this article, but at a minimum the contract should specify the timeline for the project, the number of illustrations to be rendered, and who retains rights to the artwork. Typically, you retain the right to use the illustrations in your book, and the artist retains copyright and the right to use artwork for promotional purposes. If you or the author wishes to use the artwork for other purposes, this should be specified in the contract.

Step 5 Produce sketches. Artwork is typically created in two stages: the sketching stage and the final artwork stage. During the sketching stage the artist produces pencil sketches (or, for digital artists, computer-generated line drawings) that are precisely rendered and contain all the details of the final artwork. Just as writing the rough draft is the hardest part of writing, sketching is the hardest part of illustrating, and creating the sketches typically takes about half the time for the project’s completion. Often the deadline for delivery of sketches is specified in the contract. Once the sketches are done, the illustrator will deliver them to you all at once, typically as e-mail attachments.  You should review them carefully, and tell the illustrator what changes need to be made. Your job here is to be an art director, not an art critic. An art director requests only changes that will improve the clarity or accuracy of the illustrations. If substantial revisions are needed, you may want to request a second round of sketches, but if the changes are minor, just let the illustrator know what they are. Try to get through the sketch review stage as quickly as possible to allow your illustrator ample time to produce the final artwork.

Step 6 Produce final artwork. Since the sketches have already been approved and the artwork style has been agreed upon, the final artwork is typically accepted as-is. The illustrator may mail you the final artwork, or as is becoming more common these days, send you scanned images. Check with your printer to find out how the artwork should be delivered. Most contracts specify that the illustrator keeps the final artwork, so if the illustrator does mail you the illustrations, you will need to mail them back when you are done.

Step 7 Print the book. The illustrator should review color proofs before the book is printed as s/he is more likely to notice unacceptable changes in color or improper cropping of images than you are. If you need to alter any of the illustrations, be sure to ask the illustrator’s permission before doing so.

Contests, Events and Opportunities

We have moved the Contests, Awards, Events, and Opportunities listings to the blog. Please use these links to get the latest information

Contests and Awards

Events and Opportunities


SPAWN is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. SPAWNews advises “caveat emptor” when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you. SPAWNews was proofread by Bonnie Myhrum, Professional Secretary, LLC. 734-455-0987.

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