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SPAWNews is packed with writing, editing, illustrating, and publishing information. Each month you receive market opportunities, events, and articles you can use now!
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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, March, 2008

Wendy Dager, 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.

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Table of Contents

- Editor’s Note

- Welcome New Editor

- L.A. Times Festival of Books

- Market Update

- Authors as Salespeople: An Oxymoron?

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

By Wendy Dager

Nearly a decade ago, with my kids in school full-time, I got the chance to do something I felt I was born to do: write feature articles for the lifestyle section of a newspaper.

Just a few years after that, the newspaper business faced cutbacks, so the first to go were us "stringers," the non-staffers who worked per assignment, rather than as regular employees.

While I still had other freelance work, I was no longer going out in the community, meeting interesting and talented people, conducting fun and informative interviews, and writing those adjective-laden articles that kept me from the drudgery of real news reporting. I got to talk to celebrities and psychologists; novelists and sculptors; vintage jewelry collectors and modern fashion aficionados; and so many other people with so many diverse careers that I can’t list them all here. I met an Oscar-winning songwriter and his wife, the first woman to dive in a submersible to view the wreckage of the Titanic. I schmoozed with a Tonight Show writer who pens comedy books in his spare time. I wrote a story about candy and sampled way too much of my subject. I was handed the reigns of a team of Clydesdales—for about thirty seconds, until the magnificent horses realized I was terrified.

And exhilarated.

And, now, the ever-changing newspaper business has taken a step in reverse, once again bringing in stringers and affording me the opportunity to go back to doing what I love.

So, it is with mixed feelings that I step down as editor of SPAWNews and as the SPAWN member database manager, and leave you in the capable hands of your new editor and database manager, Sandra Murphy.

It’s been a great honor to serve you, and I wish all of SPAWN’s members and SPAWNews subscribers much success in your careers as publishers, artists and writers.

–Wendy Dager’s web site is

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SPAWN Welcomes its New Editor, Sandra Murphy

By Patricia Fry, SPAWN President

SPAWN Executive Director, Virginia Lawrence, and I feel a deep loss this month as we say goodbye to Wendy as our newsletter editor. Wendy has been an extremely conscientious editor. She has been reliable, professional and loads of fun to work with these past eight years. We will miss you, Wendy, and we wish you well in your growing freelance business.

In the same breath, Virginia and I would like to welcome Sandra Murphy as the new editor of SPAWNews. I met Sandra about three years ago at a writers’ conference and book festival in St. Louis. We have remained email pals every since. I’m aware of her love for the written word and her marvelous way with them. Sandra writes nonfiction pieces, mainly related to animals, but she also dabbles in humorous fiction. She currently writes and manages other newsletters and seems eager to add her brand of expertise to SPAWNews. Sandra has been a SPAWN member for over a year and she belongs to several writers groups online and off. She lives in St. Louis with her menagerie of pets. We look forward to working with her and we’re confident that you will enjoy and appreciate what she brings to SPAWNews.

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Join SPAWN at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

SPAWN members: Display and sell your books from the SPAWN booth at the gigantic Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, April 26 and 27, 2008.

The Book Festival expects 133,000 visitors this year. SPAWN has purchased two booths for SPAWN members only. Act now, because space is limited.

Sign up for one day only at $200 or sign up for both days at $360.

Here's what you get: One-half booth, which gives you room to display and sell four titles, plus you’ll have space for one poster on the back wall. Every member will have front-of-the-booth access to visitors. If you want to reserve one booth and display eight titles, it's $400 for one day.

Don't miss this opportunity to sell lots of books, get that all-important exposure, make new contacts, network with other members, and have a really good time.

If you won’t be in the Los Angeles area, you can send us a book for display. The display charge is only $40 per book.

Sign up now at:

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

The March SPAWN Market Update has over 1,000 resources, tips, links and news bites for authors, artists, freelance writers, screenwriters and others interested in publishing.

This month, we have posted five magazine directories you probably don’t know about, a book festival directory, a directory of book review sites and a directory of the best artists’ blogs. Do you want to check other blogs to see who is writing about you, publishing your articles, talking about your book? We give you two sites specifically for this purpose.

PLUS don’t miss the interview with Book Publicist, Kate Bandos. She answers those questions you’ve always wondered about, but didn’t know who to ask.

Join SPAWN now and you’ll have access to all of this valuable information AND our SPAWN Market Update archives which houses hundreds of thousands more resources, tips, links and news bites.

If you are not yet a member of SPAWN and would like to access Market Update and enjoy other benefits of membership, please join now online at

Note: If you are a free newsletter subscriber only, you will be unable to log onto SPAWN’s "Members Only" page.

In this month's MARCH 2008 Market Update:

  • How to determine the best marketing tactics for your book
  • A contact and website for victims of the Airleaf Publishing closure
  • How your blog can become a book or "blook"
  • Who's looking for debut authors of romance and women's fiction
  • How to get a discount for the 2008 PMA Publishing University in Los Angeles
  • 5 FREE online publishing directories
  • Where to find the best blogs related to art and artists
  • Common publicity mistakes authors make and how to avoid them
  • Great sites for finding out your book's blog exposure
  • Where to go for book promotion workshop presentations

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Authors As Salespeople: Is This an Oxymoron?

By Patricia Fry

What happens when the creative, right-brain thinker writes a book and learns that he or she must shift into left-brain mode and also market the thing? This is certainly a common scenario within today’s publishing world. Many of you, as you read this article, are nodding your heads—still in disbelief that you have found yourself reduced from author to sales agent for your book. You thought all you had to do was write it. The next step in your carefully laid plan was to retire on the profits or royalties. Right?

You’ve probably discovered—especially if you read this column every month—that promoting your book is your responsibility. And you may already know that there are many avenues through which to do this. Book reviews, public presentations, article/story submissions, advertising, book festivals, book signings and so forth. As part of the marketing process, you’re sometimes required to make that dreaded cold call.

To read more about great tips for making your cold calls, go to

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Ask the Book Doctor: About Selling Your Work and About Poetry Contests

By Bobbie Christmas

Q: How do we go from free to fee writing?

A: As you suspect, many accomplished writers began by writing free articles for nonprofit publications. I began by writing and editing newsletters for charitable and educational organizations to which I belonged. After I gathered enough writing credits and had a portfolio of clips, I approached sources that paid and asked for assignments or queried with appropriate article ideas. I’ve had more success with asking for assignments than querying, but other writers prefer to pitch their own ideas. We’re all different.

When I went out on my own full-time, I approached professional newsletter companies and trade magazine publishers and got work immediately from both. The trade magazines paid more per article, but the newsletter companies assigned more articles. The combination kept me fed and sheltered while I worked with the materials I loved the most: words.

As a freelance writer, you must constantly market yourself, though, because not even a steady client lasts forever. Editors change, publications close down, work dries up, and if you are not always looking for more clients, you will find yourself out of work. To get leads, sign up for newsletters that list markets for writers. The Internet also offers several paid services that give leads. Subscribe to and query all the magazines that appeal to you. Never stop looking. If you’ve honed your writing skills and approach editors in a professional manner, you, too, will get paid to write.

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

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Member News

Barbara Florio Graham is joining forces with another publicity expert to present a half-day workshop "How to Promote Your Book or Your Business" at the National Library of Canada in Ottawa on April 19. A copy of Bobbi's award-winning book, Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity, is included in the registration fee. Handouts for that workshop will be available over the summer, as a limited time bonus to anyone who purchases the book. Details at:

Tugson Press is proud to announce the release of its second publication: SOUL-FULL, a book of poetry published by Tugson Press and author/owner Leo Shelton. It is a follow-up to his debut release, RHYTHMS – Poetry and Muse. Shelton passionately articulates a love affair of words, between two poets, that is both is deep, articulate and intense. It is a love affair of spiritual connections, with a profound respect and admiration for words and flow; an emotionally charged dialogue that resonates deep and true through the movements of words, and where the muse and counter is obvious and present but not physically representative. Another journey of emotions, through reflections, insights, and a dance and flow, that is both uniquely his, but shared by the reader. Leo Shelton is an author, poet, writer, educator, scholar, and a self-proclaimed lifelong learner and student of life. For further information, contact Leo Shelton at 301-651-2563, via email at, or through the web site at

Patricia Fry will present a 3-hour seminar called "Preparing a Killer Book Proposal" at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta Saturday, March 29, 2008. The creator of the post-publication book proposal, Patricia will teach both published authors and unpublished authors how to write a book proposal that will result in success for their individual projects. Also there will be SPAWN member and Ask the Book Doctor columnist Bobbie Christmas, author of Write In Style, a triple-award-winning textbook on creative writing and owner of Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm based in metro Atlanta. Bobbie will explain how to find ways to make your writing more creative and more marketable. Sign up at

"Seemed harmless at first for Momma to keep Bunk’s amputated leg in the freezer." Who’s There? is a southern comedy peppered with characters who are funny, sad, absurd, but most of all memorable. Momma, Ivylee, and Sister live on a chicken farm in the rural South. Each day they have a memorial service for Bunk’s amputated leg while they wait for Bunk to come back and claim it. Bunk became "Precious" when he went berserk on Momma, was banned from the house, and lives outside much like a family pet. Someone knocks, but who will answer? Charles Dickens said, "No one is useless in the world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else." The absurd comedy of Who’s There? will lighten your burden. For more information, visit or contact author Sandra J. Cropsey directly at, 770-229-6136, C Works, LLC, P.O. Box 1006, Griffin, GA 30224.

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

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The Authors Show is broadcast on, and is accessible through our various out of state stations. Selected webisodes will be made available for broadcast through RSS video feed. Authors interested in participating must register at, and email a request for guest appearance. This request must include complete contact information, book title and a short paragraph introducing the book topic.

Jenkins Group and Combined Book Exhibit have teamed up to bring authors 21 incredible book display opportunities from around the world. Click the link to learn about all 21 shows including London Book Fair, Book Expo America, Book Expo Canada and fifteen library specific shows:

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Read about the latest contests at

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Events and More

Read about the coming events at

Note: SPAWNews advises "caveat emptor" when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you

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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
  • Member Discussion list where you can discuss your triumphs and questions with your publishing peers.
Join SPAWN now by clicking on the "Join SPAWN Now" button at the top of this page.

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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


Telephone: 805-646-3045

Fax: 805-640-8213

Wendy Dager

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 Wendy Dager, 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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