Sandra Murphy, Editor
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From the President
Welcome to all the new members and subscribers who have discovered SPAWN this month!
After a long summer of updating pretty much every SPAWN communication mechanism (Web site, newsletter, online payment), I’m finally able to take a breath. However, that doesn’t mean we haven’t stopped thinking about new and better ways to serve our members. The SPAWN board and I have made some exciting decisions, based on feedback from our recent member survey.
1. We learned from the survey that members join SPAWN for the information in Market Update (which we suspected), but also for networking opportunities and access to SPAWN leaders when you have questions. So we’ve made a renewed commitment to make sure all members are invited to participate in the SPAWNDiscuss newsgroup. If you haven’t heard from Patricia Fry or aren’t sure how to participate, please send her an email at email@example.com. Recent discussions have been lively and fun!
2. When asked about additional benefits they would like, the most people said they want access to SPAWN-sponsored conferences and workshops. To that end, SPAWN will be a sponsor of the Self-Publishers Online Conference (SPOC), which will be held May 12-14, 2009. “Mr. Self-Publishing” Dan Poynter has already agreed to be the keynote speaker. The three-day event will feature 15 speakers and a virtual exhibit hall. Attending the conference live is free, and SPAWN members will get discounts on the recordings. Learn more at the SPOC site: http://www.SelfPublishersOnlineConference.com
As you may know, we also negotiated special “member” rates for SPAWN members to attend the PubWest 2009 National Publishing Conference and Book Industry Trade Show in Tucson, Arizona on November 12-14. You can read more at http://www.pubwest.org/conference. I’ll be there, so please let me know if you’ll be attending. I’d love to meet SPAWN members in person.
3. We also are starting up a series of teleseminars. The first one will be on December 10, 2009 at 1 pm (Pacific) with Sandra Beckwith. She’ll be talking about how you can “Build Book Buzz.” We’ll be sending out more information, including call-in information when we get closer to the date. If there are experts you would like us to contact for future teleseminars, please let me know.
by Sandra Murphy
Looking for SPAWN Market Update? Here are some easy steps to follow to get to it.
2. Click that.
3. Provide your username and password at the prompt. If you don’t have yours, contact Susan@spawn.org.
4. At the Home page of the Blog, use the links listed under Categories (on the right) to explore the SPAWN blog. If you are logged in, you will see “Market Update” listed there along with “Contests and Awards,” “Events and Opportunities,” “Members” and “SPAWNews.”
In other news, SPAWN member Barbara Florio-Graham has expanded the Book Publishing Options page on her Website, with more comprehensive descriptions and many links to additional information. SPAWN leaders Patricia Fry and Susan Daffron, along with self-publishing expert and long-time member Dan Poynter were a great help with this. See: www.SimonTeakettle.com/options.htm
Bobbi says you are free to pass this on to anyone else you think might be interested. It’s important to clarify some of the misperceptions in this muddy field.
These topics and more were discussed during the month of October on SPAWNDiscuss, our Yahoo email group. You could have had a jump on all the other newsletter readers by being a part of the group. Join us! Contact Patricia Fry at Patricia@spawn.org to learn how.
— Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Your Calendar!
The first SPAWN teleseminar is December 10 at 1 pm (Pacific time). We’ll be talking with Sandra Beckwith about how you can Build Book Buzz. Read more about Sandra at her Web site: http://www.buildbookbuzz.com/
by Patricia Fry
The SPAWN Market Update for November is geared toward our members who want to make money through their writing or art or who simply need work. The job listings number in the hundreds, so set aside time NOW for your job hunt.
Our Special Report this month features how to break into the high-paying business magazine market with non-business articles.
We also reveal huge online and offline bookstore databases for those of you with books to promote. And we provide a lead to a worldwide newspaper database where you can research articles on any topic for your next presentation, article or book.
Some of you have already discovered the tremendous value in your SPAWN membership. For $45.00, you get membership in SPAWN for a year, a free book of your choice (from 6) and free shipping. If you read even one issue of the SPAWN Market Update and pursue some of the leads, you could earn many times your membership fee in books sold, articles/stories sold or a paying job, for example. You might save tens or hundreds of dollars by educating yourself and making better choices as a result of what you learn in the SPAWN Market Update.
Join SPAWN now at http://www.spawn.org. Click on “Join/Renew.”
Ask the Book Doctor:
About soliciting clients, resubmitting to publishers, and using new words
By Bobbie Christmas
Q: When writing for a magazine that invites you to solicit clients, what’s the best way to do it?
A: Make full use of the byline at the end of the article. If you are a family therapist, for example, and you’ve written an article on reconciling estrangements, and if you have a Web site that has all your contact information on it, you could simply add at the end, usually in italics, a brief note that might go like this: John Tranquil is a family therapist in practice in Pleasant Falls, Tennessee. His Web site is www.TranquilFamily.com.
If you do not wish to refer to a Web site, you can try something like this: John Tranquil is a family therapist in practice in Pleasant Falls, Tennessee. He can be reached at 555-555-5555.
If you’d like to go for the super-deluxe version, write a longer byline and see if it passes muster with the editor. It might go like this: John Tranquil has been a family therapist in practice in Pleasant Falls, Tennessee, for 22 years. He has reunited more than 100 previously estranged families through his unique style of counseling that is outlined in his upcoming book, Glue Your Family. Contact him by calling 555-555-5555.
The byline is the contact information, but remember to include clues in your article that reveal your products or services. Don’t sound like a commercial, though. You might use an anecdote like the following:
When Sue and Ralph came to see me for counseling, their son had sought emancipation at age 16 and had not contacted them since. After six months of working with the parents, I was able to bring the family back together by . . . etc.
Q: I submitted my nonfiction book to quite a few university presses some time ago. It’s possible that they rejected me because my writing wasn’t good enough, which may not be the case after I incorporated your editing suggestions. Is it okay to resubmit to the same presses?
A: It’s also possible that the first submission did not reach the right person or that the company had already filled its publishing calendar. Without feedback, you have no way of knowing the reason for rejection. I don’t know how long ago you submitted the manuscript, but if a year or more has passed and the newer version is much better, go ahead and resubmit. Treat it as if you had never submitted it before. With the turnover rate in this business, chances are good the submission will reach a different person, anyway.
Q: I would like to know of a book or Web site that shows complete sentences in which a specified word is used. I have a good vocabulary and know how to use a thesaurus, but I’m fearful when it comes to promoting a word from my cognitive vocabulary to my active vocabulary; i.e., actually using a word I know in a sentence I write. (For example, I stepped out on a limb to use the word “cognitive.”)
A: First, never use a word in your writing that you wouldn’t use in casual conversation, and you’ll never go wrong.
Next, if you never stretch your own vocabulary, you won’t grow, so after the first caution, I’ll add my favorite source: American Heritage Dictionary. It often, but not always, uses words in a sentence.
A third warning: When you look something up in a thesaurus, be cautious, because each word has its own connotation, and choosing a word from a list does not ensure that the exact meaning you intend will be relayed to the reader. One of my clients for whom English was not a native language, for example, wanted to impart excitement, so after referring to a thesaurus, he wrote, “‘Oh, no!’ he ejaculated.” Yes, the sentence and word use are both technically correct, but Americans more often use ejaculate to mean something other than to exclaim, so the word choice was less than ideal. It did give this editor a chuckle, however.
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 Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Visit Bobbie’s blog at http://bobbiechristmas.blogspot.com/. Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at www.zebraeditor.com.
by Patricia Fry
The Well-Fed Writer (2nd Edition/revised) By Peter Bowerman
Fanove Publications (2010),
339 pages, perfect bound, $19.95
Peter Bowerman came out with his first edition of The Well-Fed Writer, an attempt to help writers gain financial “self-sufficiency” as commercial freelance writers, in 2000. This year, he has revised, updated and expanded on this book to create an even more powerful guide and support system for any writer who aspires to earn money within the world of business.
He says that writing drives business. According to Bowerman, “In the course of communicating with its customers and employees, a typical corporation generates an enormous volume of writing.” Companies need marketing brochures, in-house policy manuals, advertisements, newsletters, trade articles, press releases, business letters, annual reports and more. And they prefer to outsource this work when they need it, so they don’t have to pay salaries and benefits.
Bowerman has been working as a commercial freelance writer for over fifteen years, and in recent years, he’s been teaching what he has learned in the trenches, through seminars and books.
I became familiar with Bowerman’s “Well-Fed Writer” concept when he launched his first book and I continue to be impressed by what he offers. It seems that anyone with any gumption and even a minimal attention span should be able to earn more money after studying this book. The author does not let you down at any point. He starts out by describing how attractive your writing life could be. And right off the bat, he promises to respond to your questions, fears and doubts. He pledges to cover the following in this book: how to establish a corporate writing business, even in a small town; how to build a writing business while working a full-time job; how to develop a Web site to promote your business; powerful networking strategies, what it really takes to earn $125/hour and more.
That’s enough to whet the appetite of any serious writer, right? And Bowerman delivers. By the time you finish reading this book, you will be groomed to establish your own commercial writing business, locate challenging writing work, manage your clients and so much more. He even gives readers a script to help them approach and handle the dreaded cold call.
I’ve studied numerous books and articles on how writers can break into certain fields, but none are as complete and concise as Bowerman’s collection of “Well-Fed Writer” books.
Bowerman is also the author of The Well-Fed Writer Back for Seconds (2005) and The Well-Fed Self-Publisher (2007).
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 email@example.com
Because of her book Funds to the Rescue: 101 Fundraising Ideas for Humane and Animal Rescue Groups, SPAWN President Susan Daffron was invited by Best Friends Animal Society to present a workshop at the No More Homeless Pets Conference in Las Vegas, which was attended by 650 people. Susan’s organization, the National Association of Pet Rescue Professionals was an exhibitor and sold out of the books. Susan also was featured in the closing video along with other animal experts.
Have you heard about book trailers? Check out member Christy Pinheiro’s.
“I have been seeing a lot of book trailers. It’s like a video commercial for your book, and looks like a movie trailer. I’ve heard they can boost sales if they are done well.
I was thinking about paying someone to make a video trailer for my book, but prices ranged from $300-$2,000. I was looking through one of my favorite blogs and saw a book trailer another author had done. It was slapped together, but I clicked on the link to the Web site, One True Media. I signed up—it was easy. You can design as many videos as you want—I am going to do it for all my books! You can even order DVDs of your own videos. I am going to see if I can use this site to create my instructional videos for next year. It would save me thousands of dollars in design fees.
I made my own trailer in about three hours—music, special effects and all. It was way easier than I thought it would be. The selection for options was too much to look through all in one day. Tell me what you think.”
Here’s more from the ever-so-busy Wendy Dager—chocolate blood?
“Videos are a great marketing tool! They’re recommended by Smashwords in its marketing guide for e-book writers/publishers.
I have a little experience making videos, so I took digital photos (with my daughter as the serial killer main character from my e-book), put them on my computer, edited them in Video Explosion Plus, and then uploaded the final product to youtube.com.
I’m also a voice-over artist, http://voice123.com/wendydager, so I did the narration. A friend of mine thought the first version was “annoying” (thank goodness for honest friends!), so I made a shorter and, I hope, less annoying version.
The video is pretty campy, but because it was in black and white, I used chocolate syrup “blood” during the shoot, which made it a lot of fun. Tasty, tasty fun.
If any of those links don’t work (as they tend to get spaces added to them during the transmission of these emails), you can check out www.wendydager.com”
Wendy’s book is now for sale on Smashwords.
And from Barbara Florio-Graham and Simon Teakettle, featured in last month’s Member Interview:
There’s a profile of Simon Teakettle, called “The Cat Who Owns the Company,” in the October issue of 55-Plus Magazine. See: http://www.fifty-five-plus.com/ and click on the October issue. The feature is on pages 58 and 59.
Patricia Fry will speak to cat writers at the Cat Writers’ Association Conference this month in White Plains, New York. http://www.catwriters.org
Note: To have your announcements included in Member News, you must be a paid member of SPAWN. Please email your news to firstname.lastname@example.org
This and That
This article has a lot of information on ISBNs:
ISBNs are now 13 digits; they used to be 10. The switchover happened a couple of years ago, so virtually all books only show ISBN-13. Amazon still uses the ISBN-10 in some cases. But they are equivalent, so you don’t want to apply them separately.
The RR Bowker site at www.isbn.org has more than you ever wanted to know about ISBNs and the switch.
Free templates for business cards, stationery, invoices, etc. at this site: http://www.freeprintable.net/
Note: SPAWNews advises “caveat emptor” when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you. SPAWN is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.
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
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.