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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, April, 2006

Wendy Dager, Editor

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please e-mail 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

- Reviewer Warning

- Market Update

- 7 Habits of Highly Successful Writers and Authors

- Don’t Fall for These Web Marketing "Great Ideas"

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

By Wendy Dager

Last year, I wrote a SPAWNews column about my decision to enter several writing contests. Sounds silly, but I was quite the reluctant entrant. Part of the problem was my cynicism—I thought I couldn’t possibly win cash prizes because I was certain the judges would be looking for the opposite of whatever I’d written.

The best I’d done in a contest was "placed," winning honorable mention certificates that are now sitting at the bottom of a filing cabinet somewhere in my messy office.

I decided I was being ridiculous—that I might as well give myself a chance. Maybe my fiction writing had improved and matured.

I entered two short story competitions and one international screenwriting contest. I waited and waited. The first short story didn’t even rank in the contest’s top 100. I was a little dejected. My original sitcom, to my amazement, had made it to the semifinals of the screenwriting contest, but, about a month later, I learned that it hadn’t graduated to the finals. Disappointed, I called my friend Tracie and we commiserated about how odd it was that, as professional writers—paid and published—we were unable to win competitions. My ego was a bit bruised. I figured I hadn’t won anything in the third contest I’d entered, particularly since the "notify by" date had come and gone.

Then I got a phone call. The impossible had happened. I’d won first place and $500 for my short story.

Six months later, it’s still hard to believe. I have the story, which was published in my local newspaper, tacked up on the corkboard in a corner of my office. I occasionally glance at it and remember how thrilled I was when I learned I’d won.

I’m a nonfiction writer. For me to win a fiction competition gave my confidence a huge boost. And the five hundred bucks wasn’t so bad, either.

So, what did I do last month? I entered three more contests—one with my unpublished novel, another with some of my previously published newspaper columns, and a third with a short memoir.

I don’t know if I’m going to win anything this time, but it really doesn’t matter. Because I already know I can.

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. Visit her Web site at

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Reviewer Warning

SPAWNews was forwarded a very interesting article by Dave Holton in the March 7 e-mail edition of the "PMA Hotline." He reports on Bob Garber, a man who bills himself as a book reviewer, then gets free copies of books, only to sell them on eBay. Holton says authors and publishers should remove Garber and anyone else on the "Garber Plan" from their list of reviewers. Remember, Garber and his associates are not the only scammers out there. If you discover other fake reviewers, please e-mail

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Questions about writing? Ask the Book Doctor!

Send your questions to Bobbie Christmas today:

Her column appears further below in this newsletter.

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

This month's SPAWN Market Update includes an interview with book publicist Joni Pypers. I asked her for some specific book promotion ideas. I also interviewed talk show host Catherine Franz, who gives tips for talk show guests who have books to promote.

  • What elements make up the next best-selling books? I can tell you.
  • How successful are ebooks today? The stats are in.
  • Win $1,000 and a movie deal. We give details on the opportunity.
  • Find out if your ISBN is valid or not. Here's a test.
  • Make money writing for regional magazines. It's the trend.
  • Win a trip to France with your script. We'll tell you how.
  • How radio gigs can be used to promote your book
  • There’s been a whopping rise in sales in this type of publication
  • How to sell your book in these non-traditional markets
  • Shaking in your boots at the thought? Prepare yourself to be a radio show guest with these tips!
  • Who’s calling for entries for author of the year (and win a trip to Hollywood)

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.

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7 Habits of Highly Successful Writers and Authors

By Patricia Fry

What distracts you from writing? Do you have cats wandering in and out of your office while you write? Are there children in the house? Maybe your spouse is retired and at home a lot. Perhaps you’re distracted by something as simple as a sunny day or friends going out to lunch or for a round of golf.

Do you allow temptations to lure you away from your writing? Or do you stand strong against the call to read a novel, watch a cooking show or mow the lawn? How do you handle the lure that threatens to take you away from your writing? If your writing is suffering, your earnings are down and you’re missing deadlines, you probably tend to cave in the face of distraction. On the other hand, if you collect enough money each month to pay the bills and add to your nest egg, you’ve probably established some excellent work habits.

To find out exactly what some of the habits of highly successful writers are, go to

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Don’t Fall for These Web Marketing "Great Ideas"

By Virginia Lawrence

If you have a Web site for your books or services, you have probably received messages like the following:

"We place good Web sites in the top ranks in the top search engines. We have exclusive technology, and our technology will get your web site ranked higher than every other company in your field!"

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, usually the guys who claim to have a secret technology are doing one of these three types of things. To read more, go to

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Ask the Book Doctor:

About commas, semicolons, quotation marks and italics

By Bobbie Christmas

To read more about this and other topics go to:

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Member News

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

Barbara Florio Graham is giving a workshop on "Protecting Your Writing Business: Contracts, Copyright and More." The half-day, hand-on session will be held at Ottawa's National Library on May 6. It includes protecting your copyright to allow you to sell your work over and over again to maximize your income, along with advice about analyzing a contract (with a publisher or a magazine), what wording is essential, and how to handle those who infringe your copyright. Workshop participants will receive a kit containing more than a dozen informative handouts. Copies of "Five Fast Steps to Better Writing, Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity," and "MEWSINGS/MUSINGS" will be available for sale. To register, contact Ottawa Independent Writers via Space is limited, but some of the handouts will be available in a few months on Barbara's website:

Chuck Hillig is on a 2- to 3-month book promotion tour in India. His publisher there has come out with new English editions of all five of his books and arranged for Chuck to travel around the country with him, doing newspaper and radio interviews as well as appearing on local and national TV. When Chuck returns to California at the end of June, he will be buying an RV and traveling around this country to sell and promote his books. For more information about Chuck Hillig and his books, or

Member Erika Dreifus reports some happy news. "It's been a good winter so far," she says. "The Chattahoochee Review has recently named me a Contributing Editor and I've just learned that one of my short stories received an honorable mention in the 2005 Soul-Making Literary Competition. Plus, I've won a residency for the fall in Maine. I hope all this luck continues!" Erika adds that her free monthly newsletter, "The Practicing Writer," recently celebrated its second birthday. For more information:

It's a new twist on the traditional bookstore: Simon Teakettle Ink,, is one of the authors and small publishers joining a cooperative bookstore opening in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada's capital. A local POD publisher has rented space in a strip mall in a very desirable part of the city, and is leasing shelf space to authors whose books will be displayed face out. A one-meter shelf costs just $20 per month, and the store will take only 30% of sales. Baico Books is also pairing with, which will allow visitors to search the Web site and order books online.

SPAWN President, Patricia Fry will teach a 3-week workshop "Learn How to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book" for Focus on the Masters in Ventura, CA, June 3, June 10 and June 17 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. The title of the course is: "The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book." The fee for all 3 weeks is $80. For more information:

Patricia Fry will be in Honolulu when this newsletter is delivered to your e-mail box. She is presenting a workshop at the Honolulu Pen Women's Conference this week. She will also be a speaker at the Book Publicists of Southern California on April 6 in Studio City. Just in time for the Los Angeles Book Festival, Irwin Zucker has asked Patricia to talk about how to work a book festival so it works for you.

Patricia Fry has been invited to give the keynote speech before 1,000 Toastmasters at their annual conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in May. She'll be speaking on how to present a more creative speech.

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

The Great American Poetry Show,, is a hardcover serial poetry anthology open year-round to submissions of poems in English on any subject and in any style, length and number with a SASE.

St. Louis Writers Guild has launched a writing project to involve the public in writing a tongue-in-cheek book about the Mississippi River--what it's REALLY like! It's an anthology of brief recollections, observations, laments, celebrations, humor, and soapbox tirades--all aimed at revealing aspects of life on the Big Muddy. The working title is "MIGHTY OR MUDDY? Reflections on the Mississippi River by Those Who Know it Well." Publication is planned for October 2006, after which the original submissions binder (with autographed submissions) will be raffled or auctioned off. This is a St. Louis literary, historical event. For more information: Deadline is August 31, 2006. The address to send submissions is St. Louis Writers Guild, Collaborative Book Project, POB 771765, St. Louis, MO 63177, or fax: 314-821-3823.

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

Read more about the latest contests at:

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Events and More

Please note: Although SPAWNews does its best to filter announcements and press releases for various events, seminars, and classes, we cannot guarantee a successful experience for all who attend.

Read more about the coming events at:

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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 by Patricia Fry. 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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SPAWNews 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


Advisory Council

Carol Doering

Dallas Glenn

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Jim Lane


Marcia Grad-Powers


Melvin Powers


Dan Poynter

Author, Publisher

Jean Wade


Board of Directors (as of December 1, 2003)

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Executive Director of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer of SPAWN

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant

Tamara Dever

Book Designer

SPAWN Founder

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant of SPAWN


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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