spawn spawn logo






Sign Up for the
SPAWNews Newsletter and
Get a FREE Report Too!



SPAWNews is packed with writing, editing, illustrating, and publishing information. Each month you receive market opportunities, events, and articles you can use now!
Not sure? Check out back issues of SPAWNews on our blog, or in the older SPAWNews archives)

Editing articles

Internet articles

SPAWNews, June, 2001

Archives Available

The Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference takes place June 22-29 at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. Seminars and workshops will feature notables such as Ray Bradbury, Charles Champlin, Barnaby Conrad, Cork Millner, Phyllis Gebauer, S.L. Stebel, Richard F.X. O’Connor, and more. For detailed information, call 805-684-2250 or write SBWC, P.O. Box 304, Carpinteria, CA 93014.

Riviera Writers Workshop is a critique group whose purpose is to help established and emerging writers improve their skills, with particular focus on publication. Fiction of all genres is welcome, as well as creative nonfiction. Groups are now meeting every other Wednesday morning 9:15 to 11:45 a.m. OR every other Wednesday evening 7 to 9:30 p.m., on the Riviera in Santa Barbara. For more information contact Lisa at 805-560-0542 or e-mail or


Working Writer, a print newsletter for and by people who write, is a bimonthly publication with articles on a wide variety of subjects: promotion, publishing, different genres, freelancing, agents, how-to, and how-not-to. Working Writer offers solid information with a good dose of humor and a spirit of writing camaraderie. FOR A COMPLIMENTARY COPY, write: Working Writer, P.O. Box 6943, Libertyville, IL 60048-6943 or e-mail your mailing address to

Aiming to discover the next best-selling authors, Creative Hive, the Los Angeles based integrated marketing agency that specializes in representing first time authors to the publishing industry, announces the first annual “Buzz Your Way to a Best Seller Writers Contest.” The Grand Prize winner will receive free public relations representation for an entire year. Two runners up will receive six months and three months of free representation, respectively. Creative Hive will accept manuscripts of any length for the contest beginning April 26, 2001. The contest is open to all genres except poetry. All submissions must be postmarked by December 15, 2001. Winners will be announced on the company’s web site the week of February 1, 2002.

The judges will consist of a panel of editors from the publishing and literary marketing industries. For complete contest rules, visit

ipublish: writers beware

The Authors Guild warned its members that experimenting in digital publishing with Time Warner's new iPublish division presents substantial legal risks and loss of literary rights for little pay. In a press release dated May 17, 2001, the Guild urged all writers, including new writers not yet eligible for Guild membership, to approach iPublish with extreme caution. Established writers who are merely dabbling in a new medium may find they've inadvertently granted a laundry list of rights to Time Warner and agreed to a bargain-basement advance for print rights to their work. Worse yet, writers surrender rights to their next work as well, agreeing to sell the digital rights to iPublish for advances as low as $25 or less. Writers agree to the terms of this contract by merely submitting their manuscripts to iPublish. “The seductive appeal of e-book publication should not blind authors to the risk involved in the iPublish contract,’’ said Guild president Letty Cottin Pogrebin. “No professional writer or responsible agent would accept terms that call for the author's virtual surrender of basic literary rights, yet with its pitiful advances and Draconian option clause, this contract does just that.’’ Writers seeking more information may contact the Guild’s legal services department at or 212-563-5904.




By Patricia L. Fry

After 28 years of writing for magazines, I’m often asked, “Where do you get your article ideas?”

I say, look everywhere for article topics. Here’s a guide to get you started:

Write About What You Know

What skills do you have? What are your interests and hobbies? What insights have you gained over the years?

Write About Things You Want to Know

A good way to learn about something is to write about it.

Share Your Experiences

I’ve sold articles based on my experiences with caring for an aging horse, rescuing feral kittens, grandparenting and working at home, for example.

Relate the Experiences of Others

Tap into the life adventures of family, friends and acquaintances.

Look Everywhere For Article Ideas

While most people complain about standing in line, I consider this an opportunity. My long-distance grandparenting book resulted from a conversation I overheard while standing in line at the grocery store. I once wrote an article featuring a handywoman I met in the post office.

Stop, Look and Listen

Pay attention to the world around you. Notice what people are doing and listen to what they’re saying. Other people are excellent resources for a writer whether you write nonfiction or fiction.

Keep Up With the News

Your newspaper is brimming with article ideas. Read it everyday from cover to cover.

Use the Internet

Open up to new topics you find while Web surfing.

Write From the Heart

What are you passionate about? How would you like to make a difference? I’ve written articles on teaching kids responsibility through horse ownership, youth mentoring, how America is helping our children and, of course, articles on being a more effective grandparent.

As you can see, coming up with article ideas is as easy as paying attention to the world around you.

—Patricia Fry is the author of A Writer's Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit and Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book.

Ad Rates for SPAWNews

As of April 1, 2001:

2.25 x 2.25 inches ¾ $30

2.25 wide x 3.5 long (vertical business card size) ¾ $40

2.25 wide x 4.75 long (1/6 page) ¾ $50

2.25 wide x 9.5 long (1/3 page/full column) ¾ $75

7.5 wide x 9.5 long (full page) ¾$150

Rates are per month. There is a 20% discount for ads that run three or more consecutive months, paid for in advance.

Deadline is the 15th of the month. Please send your ad to Wendy Dager, newsletter editor, via e-mail: Send payment to SPAWN, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653.

The New Book Model and Digital Printing

Three FREE Seminars Hosted by Dan Poynter and One 2 One Direct

Three free subject-specific seminars and plant tours will be offered on Saturdays in June. Each event is directed toward special groups within the book industry. Each seminar will be conducted by Dan Poynter and others, and will be followed by a tour of the One 2 One Direct digital printing plant. On Saturday, June 16, plan to attend the Industry Suppliers Seminar if you supply goods and services to the book trade. Discover the low prices and quick turnaround offered by digital printing and find out about mass customization and multipurposing. Saturday, June 23 is the day of the Book Writers and Authors Seminar, in which content creators will discover a quicker, easier and less expensive way to write books using the advantage of digital printing. The Publishers Seminar will take place on Saturday, June 30 for those who are engaged in the production, marketing and promoting of books. Learn how to produce books faster, easier and cheaper. The seminars will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Industry Suppliers Seminar ends at noon) at One 2 One Direct in Valencia, California. Space is limited so make your reservations immediately. Call Rita Armendariz at 866-220-0121 or fax 661-702-9001.

The 18th Annual Gene Perret’s Round Table Comedy Writers Convention takes place this year on July 13, 14 and 15 at the Holiday Inn in Woodland Hills, California. The convention is a way for comedy writers to meet others in the business of comedy. For information, call 818-865-7833 or e-mail

More on Security for Computers with Cable or DSL Online Access

By Virginia Lawrence

Last Fall, this column discussed security for computers using high-speed DSL and cable access. As you know, an important characteristic of these high-speed access choices is their always-on feature. That is, if your computer is on, your access to the Internet is enabled. With no dialup and never a busy signal, you can just sit down at the keyboard, use a browser to view sites, then check and send e-mail immediately.

Always-on online access has great advantages for e-mail communication and carrying out fast online research. Trouble is, always-on access brings with it one critical problem: hackers are much more likely to access the computer with always-on online access than the computer with dialup access. This vulnerability to hackers is due to the fact that a computer with always-on access has a static IP address. That is, the computer has its own internet address, and the computer can be found by hackers cruising the Web.

We certainly don't want strangers roaming around in the computer containing our tax records, our business records, our intellectual property, or our personal correspondence. We must protect our computers with DSL or cable access from nosy or malicious intruders.

Protect by Disconnect

A disconnected computer is unhackable. Be sure to disconnect the computer from the Internet any time the computer will be inactive for any length of time. The simplest disconnect may be shutting down the computer. An alternative to shutting down the computer for those with cable modems is disconnecting the modem. Since the cable modem and the computer are connected with a cord similar to a telephone cord, we can unplug that cord to instantly disconnect from the Internet.

Protect Connected Computer with Software

But the whole point of having always-on access is to utilize the efficiency of always-on, fast connections. We don't want to connect to send an e-mail, then immediately disconnect. We much prefer to have our online connection active while we are using the computer, so we need software to protect us, firewall software. When we have DSL or cable online access, we need a firewall.

Just as most SPAWN members are not interested in calling an expensive technician to install a $2,000 firewall, I am also vitally interested in an inexpensive, simple solution. Last Fall I suggested NetBuster, free downloadable software created to prevent one common type of unwelcome visitation on our computers. When I first installed NetBuster on my computer with cable modem, the software blocked many unwelcome visits—sometimes several per day, always several per week.

In recent months, the frequency of visits blocked on my computer by NetBuster has declined to 0, yet the number of sites describing how to attack computers has increased dramatically. It was obvious that hackers were using new methods of attack, and it was time for a new solution, and I chose BlackICE Defender. BlackICE defends against the type of attack blocked by NetBuster, plus hundreds of other types of attacks.

BlackICE also provides us with the computer IP address of each person attempting to get into our computers. Generally we won't do anything with this information, but if we find that a certain address is coming up day after day, the IP address gives a technician the key to tracking down the perpetrator.

BlackICE is inexpensive, and the publisher claims that BlackICE can detect and block over 99% of all attacks even while we are using our computers. You can purchase BlackICE Defender online for $39.95 at After you purchase the software online, you can download and install to protect your computer immediately.

If you prefer purchasing the CDs, BlackICE Defender has been at Costco, and it is available at Fry's. After installing, I suggest that you select the BlackICE Tools Menu and the Edit BlackICE Settings option to set the level of protection you prefer. The Paranoid level may be too limiting for you to continue to do what you want online, but choose the Nervous level to get both freedom to work online and maintain a reasonable level of protection. Go to the Tools Menu Preferences option to set an audible alarm to sound every time someone tries to attack your computer. You will hear the alarm, and you can decide whether to block the visit or to trust the visitor.

Do protect your computer and your information as soon as possible.

—© 2001 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN's Webmaster is a professional Web Designer and Online Marketing Consultant., or

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002-2653


Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045

Wendy Dager

Senior Editor, SPAWNews


Hal Ranzenhofer

Managing Editor, SPAWNews

Telephone: 805/984-3216


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


Patricia Fry

Acting President


Ruth Hibbard



Mary Embree

Executive Director


Advisory Council

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

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

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder and President of SPAWN

Patricia Fry

Vice President

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard


Frances Halpern

Author, Columnist, Talk-show Host

Marsha Karpeles

Executive Director, Manuscript Libraries

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant


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.

SPAWN Member Benefits

SPAWNews ¨ SPAWN’s Web Site,

Member Directory Seminars and Workshops ¨ Book Festivals

Field Trips

Discounts to other organizations are available through our partner program. SPAWN members may join Publishers Marketing Association (PMA) for $69 and/or the Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN) for $60.

To volunteer your services, please contact Executive Director Mary Embree.

SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year; spouses, half-price.

Subscriptions to SPAWNews are $15 per year for nonmembers. Make your check payable to SPAWN and mail to P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653.

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

Submission Guidelines

Members and Nonmembers: Please send your press releases, seminar information, and books for review to Wendy Dager, Senior Editor, SPAWNews, 3039 Country Lane, Simi Valley, CA 93063 or email

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P. O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002-2653




Popular Articles
on Writing, Editing
Publishing &


spawn spawn