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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, January, 2009

Sandra Murphy, Editor

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 go to the first page of the site, and click on the "Visit Member Area" button. You will be asked to log in.

Table of Contents

- Editor’s Note

- Market Update

- Book Review by Patricia Fry—The Naked Author, Exposing the Myths of Publishing by Katherine Smith

- Ask the Book Doctor by Bobbie Christmas

- Member News

- A Member Asks About Book Promotion

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

Editor’s Note

by Sandra Murphy

I believe ideas hang in the air like a fine mist. As we go though our days, we walk into an idea—sometimes it’s an idea we can use, and we marvel at the good luck in finding it or at our own brilliance for thinking of it. Other times it’s an idea we don’t have the time or means to use, but we hate to let it go. Maybe later, we think, and we hoard the idea, knowing it is likely to wither and fade.

For 2009, I propose the Catch and Release Program for Ideas. Pass them along to someone who can better use them, trade with your friends, gift one to a stranger, leave another on the library table for someone to find.

On days when your first response is “Hey, that’s MY idea!” realize you lead a unique life. No one else can write a story like you do. Your outlook is as unique as a fingerprint.

With a recession in progress, we have to rethink our plans. Instead of writing of fine dining, the article may be “Fast Food Offers Happy Hour.” Brides will be less Bridezilla and more open to articles full of do-it-yourself ideas for the reception. Job layoffs mean there’s a market for “100 Macaroni Meals.” Businesses will change the way they go after customers—there’s another article. Book lovers will always find a way to buy books—it’s popcorn-and-a-movie for readers.

With all the gloom and doom of the economy, we are lucky to have the best job in existence—writing. We can adapt more easily, change with the tide, go with the flow and not only see the trend but show it to others with our words.

Be creative and open to change. Walk through a few ideas today. Catch and release as needed.

Wishing you a creative and prosperous New Year,

Sandy Murphy


Market Update

by Patricia Fry

The January edition of the SPAWN Market Update goes beyond useful and valuable. We’ve reported viable opportunities for every member whether you are an author with a book to promote, a hopeful author with a book to pitch, a screenwriter with a play in the works, an artist, photographer or freelance writer. We’re starting out the new year with tens of thousands of listings and resources you can use from job sites for creatives and specific writing opportunities for freelance fiction and nonfiction writers to publishers seeking book projects and, as always, oodles and gobs of opportunities for promoting your book this year.

  • What’s the future of the print magazine?
  • Which publications are paying for poetry?
  • Which magazines are hot this year?
  • Where can you go to keep your finger on the pulse of the magazine industry?
  • Which publishers are closing to submissions and which are wide open?
  • Where can you find help in locating an appropriate publisher?
  • Is there an easy-to-access online and neighborhood bookstore directory?
  • What are some unique and specific ways I can promote my book this year?
  • How can I access the lucrative newsletter market to get book reviews?
  • Where is a directory of columnists I can access?
  • Why, in most cases, is it better to publish your book yourself than to go to a self-publishing company?

Get answers to all of these questions in just this one edition of the SPAWN Market Update!

Membership also entitles you to peruse our gigantic SPAWN Market Update archives. For ease in locating topics of interest, use the convenient search function. Maybe you want to find book festivals, library directories, book marketing ideas, science fiction publishers, or magazines that publish personal stories. Whatever it is, our search function can help you find it. JOIN NOW and get a free book—we give you six titles to choose from—3 ebooks and 3 print books.

Book Review

by Patricia Fry –

The Naked Author, Exposing the Myths of Publishing The Naked Author

By Katherine “Kat” Smith

TomKat Productions (2003)

ISBN 978-0-9715024-4-4


212 Pages–$14.95

Anyone who has been involved in publishing for any length of time knows how important a good cover is to the success of his or her book. Here’s a book that provides an excellent example. This cover will get your attention!

The second thing that impresses me about this book is the volume of resources offered throughout. Yes, she mentions SPAWN under publishing organizations. (Thank you, Kat.) Nearly half of this book focuses on resources such as agents, distributors and such. She even tells you how to contact the program directors for Good Morning America, Live with Regis and Kelly and 20/20. She lists over 50 book reviewers and includes nearly 40 pages of contacts for events for authors—book festivals and so forth.

To read the full review of The Naked Author, Exposing the Myths of Publishing, go to

Ask the Book Doctor: About Synopses or Pitches, Speed Writing, O.K. or Okay, and Character Description

by Bobbie Christmas

Q: What is the difference between a synopsis and a pitch?

A: A pitch is an extremely brief summary of the premise and is intended to intrigue and make people interested in the story. It should be as short as one or two sentences, and has also been called an “elevator speech,” because it could be said on a brief elevator ride. Here’s a sample pitch for The Wizard of Oz. “A tornado sweeps a young girl away to a magical land where unusual friends try to help her and evil enemies try to stop her from finding her way back home.”

A synopsis, on the other hand, covers the plot from beginning to end. It’s not a teaser, it’s not creative, and it’s not meant to intrigue, simply tell the story. It’s usually one page long and single-spaced.

To read more about these and other interesting topics, go to

SPAWN Members Take a Turn

Do you participate in the SPAWNdiscuss list? ( If you do, you would have seen an email from James who asked for suggestions on book promotion. He got several replies—below are two of them. This is a great resource for information about writing, publishing and promotion. Join us and start a discussion of your own.

From - Barbara Florio Graham

Simon Teakettle Ink

Go where you’ll find many free resources for book promotion and also an extensive package of notes for my sold-out workshop from last spring, called “How to Promote Your Book or Your Business.”

Anyone who buys my book, Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity, with the bonus package of workshop notes, gets ongoing support from me by email. But this is only for members of SPAWN (and the other writers’ organizations I belong to).

From - Patricia Fry

President of SPAWN, freelance writer, author and editorial consultant

We appreciate your participation in SPAWNDiscuss, James. As a member, hopefully, you are also spending some time reading the monthly SPAWN Market Update, where we provide opportunities and resources for book promotion in every issue.

As I tell my clients and my online course students, successful book promotion takes a huge commitment, energy and time. The two most common questions I get are, “What is the best way to publish a book?” and “What is the best way to promote a book?” My answer to both of these questions is, “It depends on the author and it depends on the project.”

I generally recommend that hopeful authors write a book proposal before they complete their book. Particularly for nonfiction books, the questions that are addressed in the book proposal will help the author create a marketing plan. How? A book proposal requires that you isolate your target audience. I don’t mean everyone and anyone who might possibly decide to read the book you are writing, but specifically, who are you writing this book for? Next, you’ll want to determine the size and scope of that audience and where you will locate them. How many are in this demographic and where do they shop for books of this type, for example?

As part of the book proposal process, when conducting your comparative study–your market analysis–where you locate books like yours (or those that will be stocked in bookstores where yours will be), you’ll have the opportunity to find out all sorts of important things about the book you are writing. For example, how are these other books selling? What makes your book different/better than the other books on the market? How are these books being marketed?

As part of the book proposal, you will take inventory of your platform, skills, talents, connections (to companies or individuals who can participate in the promotion of your book) and so forth. Put all of these things together, and you should be able to create a marketing plan appropriate for you and for your book.

So many people bypass this important piece to the publishing puzzle that I have written a book designed to help authors play catch-up. It’s called, The Author’s Repair Kit and it basically represents the after-publication book proposal. It’s $5.95.

I find that many authors are targeting the wrong audiences with their books. All these authors have to do is shift their mindset to encompass the correct audience, and their books will start selling.

Other authors simply don’t realize, until they find themselves maintaining a storage unit for hundreds of books that it is up to them to promote their book. Even placing it on bookstore shelves does no good if the author is not also promoting it to his/her audience. How does one do that? While it depends on the audience you are trying to attract, there are some pretty basic promotional activities. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Get book reviews. Locate magazines, newsletters and websites related to the topic or genre of your book. Contact those that post or publish book reviews or recommended books. There are thousands of magazines and newsletters. The January SPAWN Market Update includes newsletter directory sites where you can locate appropriate publications and sites to contact for FREE publicity. Yes, you pay nothing to get a book reviewed–at least you shouldn’t be expected to pay. The January edition also includes a database of media and newspaper columnists you can contact for stories, interviews, book reviews related to your book.

    Book reviews is a subject I touch on often. Visit the archives and use the search function (top of the Market Update page) to locate the information you are seeking. Go to member area and click on “Market Update.”
  2. Write informative articles related to your nonfiction book topic or stories in your fiction book genre and submit them to appropriate websites and magazine and newsletter editors. Not only can you get some marvelous exposure to your target audience, you can even make a little money along the way.
  3. Go out and speak on the topic of your book. Start locally–civic club and organization program chairpersons are always on the lookout for programs for their meetings. Sell books at the back of the room after the program. Eventually, consider traveling to conferences related to the topic of your book as a workshop leader or speaker.

The key to selling books—to succeeding as a published author—is exposure to the right audience. And it is up to the author to arrange for it.

Member News

Patricia Fry is now offering on-demand, online courses featuring “How to Write a Successful Book Proposal,” “How to Write and Sell Magazine Articles,” as well as a “Self-Publishing Workshop” and a “Book Promotion Workshop.” Questions? Contact her at:


This offer is from member Sandra Jones Cropsey:

CDs of the fully dramatized abridged edition of Tinker’s Christmas, which is airing as a radio drama on several stations in Georgia this holiday season, are now available. Sandy says: “I would like to offer a discount to the members of SPAWN. Demos/excerpts can be listened to at my new (so new it is yet-to-be-edited) web site, click on the “Media” page. SPAWN members would receive 25% off the retail price of $14.95 plus shipping. Members would need to identify themselves as members to receive the discount.”

Sandra was interviewed on “The Author Show” at They have been conducting these interviews weekly, but plan to begin doing daily interviews. They need more authors. If you are interested, there is a link to make a request for consideration on the site. They also have a Web TV program—those near Arizona might want to consider that possibility. Danielle Hampson is the Producer, and Don McCauley conducts the radio interviews. Nice folks and yet another resource for marketing and promotion. Good luck!


Welcome Sue Newton, a new member from Ventura. Sue is a long time member of the Ventura County Writers Club. If you need help editing your book, contact Sue at 805-649-8148 or by email at for more information.


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


The Tobin Project brings leading scholars and policy makers together to promote outstanding work in a small number of research areas. The project seeks nominations and applications for the position of Director of Publications, a creative and sophisticated communications professional to increase the presence and influence of academic ideas in the public debate. S/he will create and execute a strategy to help disseminate these ideas, will author articles for the Tobin Project and work with scholars to develop their research ideas into op-eds and other widely-accessible formats. S/he will identify print and digital outlets and conduct outreach to facilitate publication, conceive of innovative ways for scholars to share their thinking and research. The Director of Publications will develop and lead a public relations strategy for the Tobin Project; creating content for the annual report, website, and newsletters and handling media relations.

S/he will be a superb writer and editor, interested in academic research and public debate, with an intimate understanding of the current landscape of academic and popular media and possess the relationship building skills necessary to help facilitate the placement of Tobin Project ideas. S/he will be an entrepreneurial and creative thinker; able to conceive of new ways in which publications can serve as incentives and avenues for participation by scholars in the public debate. Required—at least 5-10 years of communications experience in the academic, policy, or related field, and driven by a deep and personal commitment to the mission of the Tobin Project. The Tobin Project would consider uniquely-qualified part-time applicants.

More information about the Tobin Project may be found at:

Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume in Word format, and where you learned of the position should be sent to:


Read about the latest contests at:


Read about the coming events at:

Note: SPAWNews advises “caveat emptor“ when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you. SPAWN is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

SPAWN is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Donations are tax deductible.

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Join SPAWN now and receive one FREE book! See the selection from which you can choose your book at the Member Benefits page. As a member, you can enjoy the benefits of the Members Only Area. There you will find:

  • Member Forum. In the SPAWN Forum, you can discuss publishing with knowledgeable published writers and publishers.
  • Market Update. This valuable Market Update will appear every month, letting us know exactly what is going on with magazine and book publishers.
  • Event Calendar where you can submit your events. After approval, your events will be available for all members to see.
  • Member Webpages where you can upload your HTML pages to build your own web site. Your Web pages will be viewable by everyone on the Internet.
  • Member Catalog where you can list your books and services
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Join SPAWN now by clicking on the "Join SPAWN Now" button at the top of this page.

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Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023


Telephone: 805-646-3045

Fax: 805-640-8213

Sandra Murphy

SPAWNews Editor, Membership and Database Coordinator


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Webmaster


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Executive Director


Patricia Fry

SPAWN President



To promote the literary arts and provide education, information, resources and a supportive networking environment for artists, writers, and other creative people interested in the publishing process.

Submission Guidelines

Members and Nonmembers: Please send your press releases, seminar information, and books for review to Sandra Murphy, Editor, SPAWNews

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023

or email

SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year; spouses, half-price. Make your check payable to SPAWN and mail to P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653. Or click on Member Application to fill out the secure online form and pay your dues by credit card.

SPAWNews, Member Directory and web site listings, and discounts for SPAWN events are included in membership.

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023



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