SPAWNews – May 2012


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!

I have been working hard on the 4th annual Self-Publishers Online Conference, which is next week. SPAWN is a sponsor and you’ll notice a couple of our members are speaking at the event which will be May 8-10.

Self-Publishers Online Conference

If you’re an author or book publisher, you don’t want to miss it: 16 expert speakers, Exhibit Hall, Q&A, discussion area and more. Enter the coupon code SPAWN12 at checkout to save 10%!

Read more and register at

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

Editor’s Note

Which would you rather do—alligator wrestling or public speaking? It seems a no-brainer, but many people would stop, think, and maybe ask, “Just how big is the alligator?”

Public speaking, done well, won’t get you as dirty as alligator wrestling. If you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself, make a joke of it. Say, “I’m a little nervous—well heck, I can’t even breathe! If I faint, haul my body off to the side of the stage and administer chocolate until I’m all better.” Listeners will relate. Public speaking is ranked as our number-one fear.

Making small talk while remembering someone’s name, rank, and employment is akin to rubbing your stomach and patting your head. Speaking to a group can be easier because you cantalk about your work. It’s what’s on your mind every day and what you enjoy most. Once you get started, it will be fine. Trust me. And there’s always that chocolate antidote.

I once introduced Susan RoAne, author of How to Work a Room, to a mixed audience of strangers and people I knew. The strangers were easier. I mentioned that Susan’s book gave me the ability to make small talk, but speaking in front of a crowd was still a nerve-wracking experience. Someone in the front row snorted, “Yeah, right.”

I guess it was a compliment that meant I was doing okay, but I replied, “Oh sure, you be her friend and then tell her you can’t introduce her because you can’t speak to a bunch of strangers, and see how far you get!” The laughter broke the ice; I lived through it and didn’t fall on my face even though I was wearing three-inch heels. You gotta look good whether on your feet or on your face.

And as Susan showed me, when all else fails, coercion and squinty-eyed looks from the sidelines work.

 — Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews,

SPAWN Market Update

by Patricia Fry

The May issue of the SPAWN Market Update provides:

  • A link to a directory of over 65 e-book publishers
  • A new e-book distributor with nearly 75 e-book outlets
  • A directory of online critique groups
  • A directory of blogs for authors
  • A guest blogger opportunity for authors with 1,000 hits per day
  • Ten paying opportunities for photographers
  • A huge website jammed with good and bad information about hundreds of publishers
  • Two new publishers seeking mysteries, memoirs, science fiction, short-story collections, horror, historical fiction, paranormal, criminal series, and more
  • Leads and support for freelance writers/journalists
  • And more…

Whether this is your first visit to the member area of the SPAWN site to read the SPAWN Market Update or your 1,001st, you won’t be disappointed. What we’re offering is the equivalent of hundreds of specific resources, dozens of hours saved in research, and possible savings or book-sale earnings that could way surpass your SPAWN annual membership fee. For example, find someone to publish and distribute your e-book and earn a few hundred bucks in the coming months. Hire an e-book distributor and score several good outlets for your e-book resulting in hundreds of sales. Visit some of the blogs for authors and discover additional book-promotion leads, resources, connections, etc. Score with one of the magazines or publishers we mention this month. Get a guest-blogger invitation and receive excellent exposure. We all know that exposure can lead to sales and additional opportunities, connections, etc.

Will this issue of the SPAWN Market Update generate the success you desire? Only if you read it and follow up on some of the resources we bring you.

A few of you have never visited the member area. You’ve even lost track of your login information. Now that’s no way to get the most out of your SPAWN membership. If you have problems logging in, remember to use your whole name, no spaces (ex: PatriciaFry) and then your password. Can’t remember your password? Click on Lost Password? and then enter your email or user ID. It will send you a new password that you can put in a nice, safe place for the next time. You don’t want to miss the Market Update!

Some of you are subscribers only. You have yet to join SPAWN and receive all of the benefits. Join this month by going to and click on Join/Renew.

Report from the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

By Patricia Fry

It was another busy weekend at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. What a great event for authors. SPAWN had the equivalent of two booths and we arranged space inside for some of our members to sell their books. We sold a total of around 100 books. (I sold out of Publish Your Book and Promote Your Book and had to take orders.) Three members were so enthused about their sales and the exposure that they have reserved space for next year. Most members made some amazing connections. Here are some of them:

  • An editor from a major magazine approached one of our author members about writing his story.
  • One member made contact with representatives from several book clubs. She has decided that her novel would be a great book-club book.
  • Another member connected with someone who wants to recommend his book to her clients and students.
  • Dozens and dozens of visitors picked up and looked over some of the members’ books we had on display.
  • We handed out several SPAWN member applications and signed up three members on the spot.
  • I collected contact info from several great sources for upcoming issues of the SPAWN newsletters.
  • We handed out around 250 copies of the SPAWN Catalog of Members’ Books and Services, which means that many of our members’ books are being noticed and may be ordered.
  • Likewise, I met dozens and dozens of authors who expressed an interest in my editorial services.
  • And we learned new marketing techniques and ideas for new publicity forums from one another.

You cannot go out in public with your meaningful nonfiction or entertaining fiction book, or even a lovely children’s book, without making some worthwhile connections. So I hope that all of you with books are seeking out public appearances, becoming known through social media, and following up on the people you meet while out and about.

Read comments in the Member News section by some of the members who staffed the booth.

Ask the Book Doctor:

 Advertising versus Speaking Engagements, Gerund Use, and Singular Verbs

By Bobbie Christmas

Q: I’ve been offered a big discount on an ad in a national magazine that appeals to poets and other writers. The magazine plans a special section that features new writers, and I want to promote my poetry book in that section. What do you think? Should I spend my money promoting my poetry book in a magazine?

A: When was the last time you bought a book because you saw an advertisement in a magazine? Let me guess: never, right? You’re not alone. Although I do not set myself up as an advertising guru, I worked in advertising for many years, and I never heard of a book ad that brought in much revenue. Yes, the ad may get the book some recognition, so that when potential buyers later see the book in a store, they may be influenced to buy it, but few people pick up the phone or go to a computer to order a book from an ad, especially an ad for a poetry book.

Who is most likely to buy a poetry book? Someone who has heard that poet’s work. Where can potential buyers hear a poet’s work? At gatherings for writers, of course. For that reason, my number-one suggestion is to use your time and money getting booked to speak at venues where you can read your poetry and sell your books face-to-face.

Q: Why is it considered poor English usage to begin a sentence with a gerund?

A: If by “poor” you mean incorrect, it’s not consistently true, although it can happen, and if by “poor” you mean “weak,” it can be true, but again, not necessarily. To say using a gerund at the beginning of a sentence is always poor, weak, or incorrect is an over-generalization. Once I explain the problems a gerund at the beginning of a sentence can cause, however, you will see why smart writers avoid them.

Gerunds—verbs turned into nouns by adding ing, such as laughing, cooking, and walking—are common and proper English. That said, -ing formations often weaken writing when they call for passive verbs to drive the sentence. For example: Hanging from the rafters, the bats were upside down. “Were” is an inactive verb that shows no action. Recast the sentence, and see what you get: The bats hung upside down from the rafters. “Hung” is a stronger verb than “was,” because readers can visualize “hung,” and it shows action, even if not much, and therefore it is a stronger verb than “was.”

Worse than weak writing, though, are dangling modifiers, and gerunds, especially at the beginning of a phrase or a sentence, often act as the culprits in dangling modifiers.

Let’s examine, for example, the following sentence: Waving good-bye, the boat pulled away, while we watched the shore fade in the distance. As written, the boat waved good-bye, because the word “waving” refers to the next noun, the boat. That example is typical of a dangling modifier created by beginning the sentence with a gerund. If you want to keep the gerund in the beginning, you could rewrite the sentence this way: Waving good-bye, we watched the shore fade in the distance while the boat pulled away. In the recast form, the word “waving” refers to “we,” which is correct.

Another way that gerunds result in weak writing is that many writers get into a pattern of overusing them, especially at the beginnings of sentences. Strong writers, however, avoid overusing any structure.

Q: Which is correct? “Neither of us rides (or ride) the bus.”

A: When saying something negative that applies to each of two people, the word “neither” calls for a singular verb: “Neither of us rides the bus.”

Bobbie Christmas, book editor, 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

Always a Warm Welcome

by Helen Gallagher

 I’ve loved libraries since I was a toddler. The public space and private time opened my imagination and taught me there is a special place to explore and learn. Plus I got to take books home without having to ask my mom to buy them for me.

I spend time at public libraries whenever I travel, and enjoy seeing the collection of diverse society. Today libraries are part cafe, part theater, a strong community resource, and of course they are my favorite place to book my author events.

Public librarians plan their schedules far in advance, and are always looking for programs their patrons will enjoy. Authors are especially welcome because our books are perceived as a sign of credibility.

Not convinced? Here is another reason why public libraries are a great place to speak: their schedules require them to find interesting seasonal programs. Authors can pitch an event in the season of romance, travel, life transitions, and memoir. Evergreen topics will always find a home at a library. Librarians have to fill a new calendar every month of the year.

While being an author is a good way to get invited, it is best not to think the presentation is about you selling your books. The book gives credibility, but in addition to hearing a reading from the book, the audience expects a wider array of information about your topic, and about your experiences. The talk must go far beyond the book. I always make sure the audience knows I am donating a copy of my book to the library.

I do programs for writers on a range of topics from blogging to e-books to publishing and author marketing. I provide libraries with a list of topics, and they call when they are planning their next season. They share news of successful events with other libraries, which leads to more referrals. They also do all the promotion for your event, including in local newspapers. They take reservations and set up the room according to your needs with professional equipment and seating.

I’m sure compensation for speakers varies around the country. In the Chicago area, rates are $250 and up for a one-hour presentation or writing workshop.

Sign up with a local speakers’ bureau if you want even more visibility among libraries, associations, and area non-profits.

Helen Gallagher is SPAWN’s membership chair. She is devoted to retaining and recruiting members. She is a national speaker on technology, writing, and the beautiful way they intersect in publishing today.

Start Locally

by Patricia Fry

Personality sells books, and public speaking is a great way to promote your book without having to travel to spread the word. Most authors begin their speaking journey in familiar territory.

Start your speaking tour by arranging to talk at pre-scheduled meetings. Get a list of local groups and organizations that meet regularly in your city/county. Find this in the front pages of your phone book, or at your local Chamber of Commerce or your city’s website.

If you belong to a club or organization or know people who do, use these connections to get your toes wet as a public speaker. Contact the program chair for your college alumni organization, your businesswomen’s club, and your church auxiliary and arrange to speak about your appropriate book. Call on your co-worker who belongs to a couple of civic organizations, your cousin who heads up a book club, the principle of your children’s school, your friend who is a librarian, and the neighbor who is a supporter of a local Boys and Girls Club. If your book is appropriate to the group, ask your contact to recommend you as a presenter.

Do a little research to discover the types of programs potential clubs/organizations feature and which organizations’ meetings are open to guest speakers. Once you become familiar with speaking before readymade groups who are accustomed to hearing a speaker every Thursday, for example, consider organizing some local presentations through established groups that don’t typically have guest speakers. From there, you can get more creative. With the assistance of store managers, librarians, corporate or church leaders, or teachers, for example, you might devise programs at appropriate venues and invite the public.

Study your local newspaper regularly for listings of clubs and organizations as well as announcements of special events occurring at the women’s center, schools, senior facilities, animal shelter, Moose Lodge, library, city hall, churches, retail stores, etc. Depending on the topic of your nonfiction book or the theme of your novel, you might arrange to speak to nurses, vegetarians, horse owners, adoptive parents, real estate brokers, homeowners, educators, adult victims of child abuse, daycare workers, pet owners, or a general audience.

Your book topic might be appropriate for some rather unique venues and presentations. An author of a poetry book might participate in a poetry slam and/or read her poetry at a local coffeehouse, natural food restaurant, private home, local spa, or retreat center. You could talk about your animal- or pet-related book at a feed store, pet shop, animal shelter, vegan restaurant, wildlife preserve, kennel, cattery, the lobby of a busy veterinarian’s office, a gift shop, animal rehabilitation center, park, forest-service property, campground, stable, and more.

The key is to use your imagination and then make it happen.

This article is excerpted from Patricia Fry’s upcoming book, Talk Up Your Book, How to Sell Your Book Through Public Speaking, Interviews, Signings, Festivals, Conferences and More (Allworth Press, 2013). Several SPAWN members contributed some great stories and perspective for this book. Watch for the launch in the fall.

Five Reasons you Can – and Should – Teach Workshops

by Dena Harris

Writers and publishers sport multiple hats—editors, marketers, accountants, office administrators, sales, and the list goes on. We may not enjoy Excel spreadsheets, but we tolerate them because they’re part of the job.

Yet, too often we view public speaking as optional. Why? There is no quicker way than through public speaking to niche yourself as an expert and appeal to agents, editors, and employers as someone who is a standout writer.

For those who feel queasy at the notion, there’s hope. Below are five reasons why offering a workshop is a fun and simple alternative to public speaking.

1. Workshops Are a Less-Scary Version of Public Speaking

Many writers who aren’t comfortable speaking at a podium find themselves at home in the classroom. There’s less pressure to “present” and more natural give and take between you and attendees, removing the dread of having to stand and “give a speech.”

2. It Doesn’t Matter What You Teach

Just because you write for the insurance industry doesn’t mean you need to offer a class on benefits. The fact that you’re teaching anything confers a “halo effect” upon your author platform. What attracts agents and editors is not so much a specific topic, but the fact that you’re a writer who’s out there, unafraid to present.

3. Workshops Build Your Platform

There’s no denying the symbiosis between speaking and writing. The more speaking you do on a topic, the easier it is to niche yourself as an expert in that area. Similarly, the more writing you do in one area, the more people will seek you out as a speaker. This leads to increased exposure and an easier time landing writing assignments and being sought as a go-to writer in your field.

4. You Can Team Teach

Still unsure about standing in front of a group alone? Recruit a friend (or friends) to team teach with you. I have a friend with a strong fiction background, while my strength lies in non-fiction. Together we teach a six-week workshop that covers both subjects. Although we divvy up the work, my writer’s resume and author platform is enhanced by being associated with a fiction workshop, as is his with non-fiction.

Another idea is to arrange a panel of speakers, of which you are one. The panel can be part of a workshop series or can stand alone.

5. Workshops Increase Income

Are you going to get rich teaching workshops? Unless you’re Nicholas Sparks, probably not. You may even decide not to charge for your workshop or panel. Where the payoff arrives is in referrals, assignments, exposure, and name recognition. It’s the book sales at the back of the room… the ghostwriting assignment you land as the result of having met someone in a workshop you taught… or the extra “oomph” in that paragraph in your query letter that explains why you’re the best person to write a particular article or book.

If you’re interested in putting together a workshop but are not sure what to teach, pay attention to what people ask you when they discover you’re a writer. We’ve all been invited out to coffee so a would-be writer could pick our brain about the writing or publishing process. Aside from the fact that our time and knowledge is worth more than a tall Starbucks latté, consider how professional you appear when your response is, “I teach a half-day workshop that answers beginning writers’ questions. I’ve attached a flyer with class times and pricing. I hope you can attend!”

Have fun, no fear, keep writing. Dena Harris is the owner of Spotlight Publishing, Inc. ( ) and the author of several humor books, including Who Moved My Mouse? A Self-Help Book for Cats that has been translated into six different languages. Her next book from Ten Speed Press is due out in Fall 2013. She is a frequent workshop presenter.

Until They Say Yes

by Lucinda Crosby

I’ve discovered that when you are an unknown author from a minuscule publisher without limitless funds for PR, developing an accessible, engaging, enlightening, and amusing presentation about your book and your writing and then contacting book clubs and writing clubs and Rotary Clubs, garden clubs, historical societies, whatever….until they say yes is a slogging but effective way to build street cred—and a repertoire of topics. Done well, 1) you’ll sell books like hotcakes, 2) you’ll get great references for future events, and 3) your name will get passed to other interested parties/groups, often unbeknownst to you.

It helps that I have an acting background. I’ve found that the energy level usually required for children’s theater is the right framework for my approach.

I use my entire body. I make sure my voice is warm and travels up and down the tone scale. I dress specifically for an audience. I subtly alter the length of time per section depending on the restlessness of the audience. I try to take questions as I go. The first ten minutes of every seminar, workshop, or speech is pretty much the same: how I taught myself to read at age three, the influence my grandmother and father had on my relationship with the written and spoken word, the wondrous storytellers and people I knew who expressed themselves so uniquely. These ten minutes have been rehearsed and rehearsed, sometimes in front of my publicist or other patient friend, sometimes in front of a mirror, or sometimes all alone. I know where the laughs are. I know the power of the message, where folks will nod, where they’ll connect. 

This uniformity of opening gets me into the body of the speech and grabs the audience. They begin to trust my competence. This allows me to relax and enjoy whatever topics fleshes out the remainder of my time.

Here’s the thing: every writer and/or author has at least one fascinating story about their “life of the word,” how they fell in love with a story or with storytelling. On the audience side, who doesn’t want to peek behind the wizard’s curtain—go backstage—be allowed into the creative process behind the scenes? It’s like House Hunters International—we all are driven to see how the other is really living—especially those who are where we wish to go.

I picked out five amazing and not-too-long readings from my book, no more than a page or so. I’ve practiced them to extract nuance and opportunities for gestures or emotional underlining. I read three or four, depending on time. They drive sales like an engine drives a train! Remember, who you are and what you’re writing about must be important to you or it won’t be important to anyone else…so act with importance.

The first-born of Crosby’s novels, Francesca of Lost Nation, released in late 2010, has earned five literary honors, including being listed in the 2011 version of 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading. Her next release, scheduled for mid-2012, is a children’s tale called The Adventures of Baylard Bear: a story about being different. Both books have just received nominations for Dan Poynter’s International e-Book Awards. To engage Crosby for your conference, please contact Laura Dobbins (760) 301-4279.

Ignoring the Audience Can Be a Good Thing

by C. Hope Clark

Writing fiction doesn’t necessarily require me to speak, but being editor of does. Organizers of writing conferences ask me to participate at events across the country, and while speaking did not come easily for me, I soon learned how to manage. Before long, I developed tricks and a keen sense of the dynamics of a room full of people. I soon learned who and what to ignore in that audience, and to save your sanity and self-esteem, you should, too.

Just as you cannot write a book that pleases everyone, you will not please everyone in a room when you are speaking. If you speak more than a few times, you’ll soon develop pet peeves, but you can also develop a thick skin in dealing with, or ignoring, them.

Someone will walk in late.

Don’t worry about them. Life happens, and especially at a conference, audience members find themselves lost in conversations, caught on phone calls, and wrapped up in special talks with agents and editors. Don’t stare at them. Instead, turn your attention to another part of the room so the late entrant isn’t embarrassed. Your audience pays attention to where you are focused.

Someone will get up and leave early.

I’ve done it several times. When a conference has multiple speakers at one time, I’ve entered a room, started listening to a speaker, then realized this was not a subject I needed. Rather than waste the time of both the speaker and myself, I quietly slipped out and stealthily slid into another session. Frankly, any seasoned speaker is calloused to the comings and goings of the audience and should never miss a beat as it happens. Never take it personally. Again, you can’t be all things to all people.

Someone will fall asleep.

I chuckle at this one, because in a sea of people, the one dozing often thinks nobody notices. A speaker has a fantastic vantage point to see everything and anything. When I recognize more than one head nodding, I take that as a warning that I need to step up my game. My voice changes or I skip to another topic that’s more captivating. Instead of being insulted by some sleepyhead, consider it a wakeup call for you. But if the room is thoroughly engaged with you, ignore the napper. He apparently needs his rest.

Someone will talk.

If friends sit together, they’ll inevitably chat. Most are polite enough to limit the back-and-forth, but if they aren’t, change something. Speak louder. Make a sudden shift in topic. Move across the room. Ask a question of the crowd. Speak with your attention on them. Chances are the friends aren’t trying to be rude. They might even be discussing what you just emphasized, sharing an example that pertains to your point. But with a little shift, you can draw their attention back to you so they don’t bother their neighbors with their talk.

Audiences don’t always behave. But you don’t have to let them ruin your presentation. Understanding that someone won’t go along with the norm empowers you to keep your momentum going so everyone has a better experience, including the ones breaking the rules.

C. Hope Clark travels the country speaking at writers’ conferences, promoting not only, her award-winning website for writers, but also her debut novel Lowcountry Bribe, A Carolina Slade Mystery. You can find where Hope will next speak by visiting Also consider visiting, voted 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writers Digest Magazine for the past eleven years. Her newsletters reach 43,000 readers.

Overcoming Shyness in Public Speaking

by Joanna Celeste

I am no expert at public speaking, but I have been called upon to deliver speeches to crowds numerous times (at graduations, accepting awards, as a bridesmaid, etc.) even when I was so shy that talking to people at all, let alone en masse, could bring on a panic attack. Through experience, and by incorporating what worked for me as a salesperson, I now actually enjoy public speaking. This is what I learned:

  • Treating people as I would like to be treated, and taking the time to work out who my audience will likely be, what they are interested in, and what I would want or need if I were in their place, tends to be helpful. In sales, my most successful tactic was listening to people before giving my pitch.
  • It’s valuable to write down what I want to say beforehand. Otherwise I ramble.
  • Practicing what I want to say with an inanimate object (e.g. a mirror, wall or—as a kid, my teddy) builds my confidence. Then I can talk to people without tripping over my tongue.
  • Taking my notes with me helps me stay on point, and when I need to take a deep breath I can sneak one in while glancing at my notes.
  • To prepare, I remind myself that I know what I want to say, that it’s important to me to share this, and that I can pull this off. I find one person in the room (my mother, a friend, someone familiar) whom I can “hook” onto when I realize that I can’t do this, and then I tell that person what I want to say, and once I’m back in the groove I move my attention to another person.
  • I walk into a room or to the podium with good posture and my version of grace and confidence. (I think of Audrey Hepburn.) I always smile, even if I’m suddenly struck at how bad an idea this is.
  • I approach the crowd as a mass of individuals—I direct my speech to one person at a time, usually for about a sentence, and I look them directly in the eye. I can’t talk to People because I’m not in a conversation with People, I’m having a one-to-one conversation with several persons simultaneously.
  • Above all, if I’m sincere in what I want to say, and I make a point to connect with the persons I’m sharing my thoughts with, I tend to be successful. And while I may kick myself later for the occasional rambling, I’m in the moment and I have fun despite being somewhat nervous inside.

A tip from the experts:

“Good public speaking is seven parts attitude and three parts mechanics (organization, body language, and rhetorical devices). You can wow an audience with a forceful message and a good attitude.” Getting Over Yourself: A Guide to Painless Public Speaking by Barbara Rocha

Joanna Celeste is a storyteller and budding technical writer. Her published stories, poetry, articles and How To’s are on her website,

Ten Tips for Public Speaking—How to Find Your Confidence from Toastmasters

Feeling some nervousness before giving a speech is natural and even beneficial, but too much nervousness can be detrimental. Here are some proven tips on how to control your butterflies and give better presentations:

1.   Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories, and conversational language—that way you won’t easily forget what to say.

2.   Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words; practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.

3.   Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.

4.   Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.

5.   Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand.” Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.

6.   Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear, and confident. Visualize the audience clapping—it will boost your confidence.

7.   Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you.

8.   Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem—the audience probably never noticed it.

9.       Concentrate on the message, not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.

10.   Gain experience. Mainly, your speech should represent you—as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters Club can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment.

Visit a Toastmasters meeting!

Toastmasters groups meet in the morning, at noon, or in the evening in communities and corporations all over the world. No matter where you live, work, or travel, you’ll likely find a group nearby.  Article reprinted courtesy of Toastmasters.

Member News

SPAWN President Susan Daffron is one of the organizers of the fourth annual Self-Publishers Online Conference (SPOC), which will be held May 8-10, 2012. At this virtual event, you can learn how to write, publish and promote a book all from the comfort of your own home. SPOC offers 16 expert speakers, 15 presentations, and live Q&A calls that are all focused on how you can successfully self publish fiction and non-fiction books and ebooks. Register at: (Use the code SPAWN12 to get 10% off)


Roberta Raye got wonderful feedback from a contact she made at LATFoB. Here’s her experience: I am new to SPAWN, and decided to join the gang at the LATFoB on Sunday. I could tell pretty early that it wasn’t going to be a huge sales day for me, but wanted to make the most of it, so I decided to capture e-mail addresses by having a drawing for a free book. I got over forty-five –email addresses, sold eight books, and made some incredible connections. My promo giveaway, a handmade mini-book that looks just like my real book, is full of sweet reviews. I autographed each one. I handed out over four hundred of those, basically on faith that people would interact with them before they threw them away.


Nancy and Biff Barnes also attended the LA Times Book Festival and had an excellent experience.  She says, "I know that it is tough for a lone author to recoup the cost of the booth, but I recommend attending for the education it provides. For our editing and book design business, it definitely was the right place to be. There is something about meeting people face-to-face and feeling a good connection that just doesn’t happen online. We will be going to more book festivals from now on!  


Here’s a promotional hint from Barbara Florio Graham: When I self-published Mewsings/Musings, I had bookmarks run with the laminated covers, and found that people really liked a sturdy bookmark that didn’t get dog-eared or disintegrate when wet. I put a description of the book with ordering info on the back, but when I had the second batch printed, I left the backs blank to allow me to add labels containing whatever information I want to give out. The latest labels contain my photo, promote Prose to Go, and include my e-mail address (my website is already on the front).


Leslie Korenko was honored at the Ohio Genealogical Society’s convention in Cleveland recently. She received the Henry Howe award for outstanding Ohio history book published within the last five years. Leslie won the award for her two books about Kelleys Island. She is working on the third book in the series (1867-1871 – The Lodge, Suffrage & Baseball)


From Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D.: Independent booksellers across the country voted Mommy, Daddy I Had a Bad Dream! to the Summer 2012 Kids’ Indie Next List — “Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers.”

(Note from Executive Director, Patricia Fry: This was one of the most popular member books on display in the SPAWN booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. If the author had been there, she could have sold dozens of copies.)


Dallas Woodburn, SPAWN’s Youth Director, won the Asian Studies Fiction Award for her story Three Sundays at The Grove. She also received news that two of her plays will be produced this summer: A Frog in Boiling Water will be part of Hurricane Season at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Los Angeles, and The Stars in Illinois will be produced by the Santa Paula Theatre Company. Woodburn also received a Committee for the Education of Teaching Assistants (CETA) Teaching Award from Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate creative writing, composition, and business writing courses.


From Hope Clark: Lowcountry Bribe: A Carolina Slade Mystery from FundsforWriters editor C. Hope Clark (Bell Bridge Books, Feb 2012) is soaring at Amazon and B&N. Forty-eight reviews on Amazon, forty-two of them five-star. A professor plans to use Lowcountry Bribe in her Regional Literature class, and Hope’s 10th grade English teacher has invited her to speak at her book club. Amazing what a book can do to your life—in such a good way. Hope will be on book tour through Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Oklahoma the first week in May.  C. Hope Clark   Editor, FundsforWriters


Rex Owens will have a small article in The Writer, May edition 125 Years of The Writer and You.

Contests, Events and Opportunities

The Contests, Awards, Events, and Opportunities listings are located on the SPAWN 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.
Learn more about SPAWN at the Website

Subscribe to our Newsletter