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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, June, 2004

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

- Letter to SPAWN

- Kids’ Writing Project

- Market Update

- Chapter Reports

- Q & A

- Book Review

- Member Web Site of the Month

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests and Awards

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

One of the benefits of being a SPAWN member is the ability to participate in our online discussion group, SPAWNdiscuss. There, members can ask questions pertaining to the businesses of writing, publishing and art, as well as share experiences and successes. Recently, a member asked for tips on finding an agent to market his books. Since I know something about this subject, I e-mailed a response. I told the member to send queries to agents listed in the most recent Writer’s Market, but I also made this comment:

"I hate to be the bearer of negative tidings, but getting an agent is a toughie. I am a published writer--been doing it for many years, with a number of credits under my belt--and finding an agent for my humorous mystery novel has been a drag. Had several who ‘liked’ the book, but didn't ‘love’ it enough to represent it. Of course, they held onto it for months before letting me know. Finally got one--signed contract and all--but she flaked. Currently, it is being reviewed by a New York agent, but I am not counting my royalties before they hatch."

I felt a little guilty after I sent the e-mail. I wasn’t trying to be discouraging, but anyone who knows me knows I call ‘em as I see ‘em. Am I of the same mind as Aesop’s fox—the one that assumes the grapes that aren’t within reach are probably sour? Or is my perception of literary agents a fair assessment? Write to tell us about your dealings with agents. We’ll publish the responses in a future edition of SPAWNews. If you’re not yet a member, sign up now so that you can participate in SPAWNdiscuss.

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

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Letter to SPAWN

After joining SPAWN, I read through the entire archives for the SPAWN Market Update. You do a bang-up job with that publication. I wonder if people realize how much "leg work" they're getting for their membership dollars.

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SPAWN Kids’ Writing Project

"Tuesday Afternoons, Creative Writing By Ojai Valley Homeschoolers" is a hit with everyone who sees it and an object of pride for the 12 students who participated in the project. The students did an excellent job designing the book from the inside out. They filled over 130 pages with their own submissions and did most of the editing and proofing.

SPAWN members Patricia Fry, Polly Bee and Virginia Lawrence helped guide the students through their first self-published effort. Eva Rosenberg ( donated the funds to produce the book and Dennis Mullican followed the students’ instructions in preparing the book for the printer, Fidlar Doubleday. (Patricia Fry highly recommends Fidlar Doubleday. They were great to work with and produced a quality product for a nominal fee).

On May 17, the students entertained an audience of 35-40 people by reading from their book. Present to support the students were Mary Embree, Virginia Lawrence and Eva Rosenberg. Patricia Fry had the honor of introducing each student as they read a few of their favorite works. The lovely, perfect-bound book contains over 80 poems, stories, letters and articles written by this prolific group of writers. When asked what they plan for their next project, the homeschoolers said, "We want to publish another book." They have asked Patricia Fry to be their mentor.

This SPAWN pilot project was made possible through the donation of time by Patricia Fry and the donation of funds by Eva Rosenberg. We are currently seeking a grant to operate more projects of this type for children throughout the U.S. The estimated cost is $3,000 for one 12-week course.

See the book cover, read one poem, and read the article that appeared in the Ojai Valley News:

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SPAWN Market Update

Each month since December 2001 we’ve posted an 8- to 14-page update reflecting industry trends and information for writers and publishers. We include interviews with editors, publishers, agents and other writers and a tip for authors and/or writers.

The June issue of the SPAWN Market Update features reviews of 16 writers’ e-newsletters and interviews with two of the editors. Some of the e-newsletters reviewed by Patricia Fry are: Absolute Write, TV Writer, Working Writer, Writing for Dollars and Scriptmag News, Book Promotion Newsletter and Writer’s Weekly. Read the editor interviews to learn how one can benefit from producing an e-newsletter, readers’ favorite parts of a writing-related newsletter, and how an editor finds material to fill a weekly newsletter. This edition also includes over a dozen opportunities for authors and graphic designers.

In order to have access to the incredibly informative SPAWN Market Update, you must be a member of SPAWN. Go to and then click on "Join SPAWN Now." Many members say that they received a return on their membership dues threefold or more within a short time of joining SPAWN and taking advantage of the opportunities available to them.

All back issues of the Market Update are also available in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site,

In this month’s JUNE Market Update, you’ll find:

  • A publisher looking for poetry, young adult, romance novel submissions
  • A press looking for Dilbert-type stories
  • Niche outlets for selling your specific type of publication
  • Where to find submission guidelines for well-known book reviewers
  • New ways to promote your children’s book through schools
  • How to select the writing-related e-newsletter that is best suited for you
  • A newsletter publisher discussing how producing your own newsletter could benefit your career

Join SPAWN now to get the full Market Update. To join go to the Join SPAWN Now button on the upper left of this page.

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SPAWN Chapter Reports

Many of you have expressed an interest in joining a SPAWN chapter. If there is no chapter near you, join with other members or nonmembers and start one. If you would like to meet with other SPAWN members, contact Patricia Fry at


There will be no June meeting for the Austin chapter due to several members attending the BookExpo America in Chicago. We will resume our regular schedule at the July 7 meeting.

–Tamara Dever is the Austin Chapter Leader and a SPAWN board member. Contact her at


If you are interested in attending SPAWN chapter meetings in the Baltimore, MD area, or wish to be a guest speaker at a meeting, please contact Ramona Davis, Baltimore Chapter Leader,

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Dear Virginia,

Can I use my own domain name with my free SPAWN member Web site?



Dear Mike,

Very interesting question. It used to be the case that individual domain names would not work with our SPAWN member sites. But now most domain registrars offer domain forwarding, so the answer is yes. With your SPAWN membership, you get a free Web site, which you can use with your own domain name.

Check with your domain registrar and see whether they offer domain forwarding. If so, the forwarding is usually only $5.00 or $10.00 per year. Just sign up for domain forwarding and when asked for the address to be used for the forwarding, give the address for your SPAWN member site. Choose the masked version of forwarding, and your domain name will continue to show in the browser for visitors, even though they are actually on the SPAWN site.

If your registrar does not offer domain forwarding, just move your domain registration to one that does. Dotster at does offer domain forwarding, and Dotster is a good registrar. To move a domain to Dotster, you'll pay something between $8.95 and $14.95, depending on the special deals offered at the time. For that you also get one year of registration added to the amount of registration time you have left at the other registrar. After moving the domain, you can set up the domain forwarding to your SPAWN member web site.



–© 2004 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. SPAWN's Webmaster and Technology Editor, Virginia is a professional Web Designer and Online Marketing Consultant who publishes both in print and online. Contact her at or visit her Web site at

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Hello, I recently joined spawn. I would like to find out if any of your other members have any experience writing book proposals to help me develop my book proposal – any suggestions?

Dear New Member:

Did you receive a copy of my book with your membership? It's "The Successful Writer's Handbook." There is a section about how to write a book proposal. (See page 62.)

Also, you're in luck. I'm teaching an online book proposal class starting June 1. Each student will have the opportunity to complete a book proposal during the 8-week course. This class is through Writing World. To learn more, go to And let me know if you have any questions about it.

To answer your original question, I have written numerous book proposals and I'm sure that many of our members have, although probably not as many of them as should have. Many authors bypass this important step. What they don't realize is that a book proposal is as much for the author as it is for the publisher. A book proposal will tell you whether or not you actually have a book at all. A book proposal challenges you to organize the book into chapters, to analyze the market for a book such as yours and to consider the promotional possibilities even before it's a book.

Another excellent book that I still use when creating a book proposal is, "Write the Perfect Book Proposal" by Herman and Adams. I like this book because it gives good examples of a book proposal.

Good luck,

Patricia Fry, President


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Book Review

Beyond the Bookstore:

How to Sell More Books Profitably to Non-Bookstore Markets

By Brian Jud

Reed Business Press (2004)

ISBN 1-59429-002-4

303-pages/hard cover

Brian Jud first realized a need for this book when he attempted to market his own title through bookstores during the early 1990s. He found what many of us are learning—that placing a book in major bookstores isn’t easy, reliable or even very profitable. His research and experimentation led him to discover viable alternatives to bookstores—so viable, in fact, that he has sold over half million copies of his book, "Job Search 101." In 1996, Jud established a marketing consultancy firm known as Book Marketing Works. And his latest book, "Beyond the Bookstore," teaches authors and independent publishers the lessons and strategies formerly only available to his clients.

While this book echoes many others that suggest marketing outside the box, Jud goes a few steps further. He provides a detailed how-to guide for readers who want to sell more books and are willing to stretch in order to do it. He writes in his introduction, "Special sales marketing is the process of finding out what information consumers need and in what form they want it and then delivering it to them where they are located." This is the focus of this book. And you’ll be pleased to know that his strategies are for fiction as well as nonfiction titles.

This book teaches the independent publisher how to recognize potential buyers and where to go in search of them. A mystery novel, he says, might be placed in a hospital gift shop, discount stores and be marketed as a premium item. A children’s book could be promoted to daycare center chains, toy stores, children’s museums, children’s hospitals and pediatricians’ offices.

His list of potential outlets for books includes airport stores, corporations, government agencies, military bases, colleges, catalogs and more. But the value of this book doesn’t stop there. Jud challenges readers to approach book marketing as a business, which is the only way you’re going to make any money in this game. And he shows you how to proceed. He provides information and data related to product strategy, such as pricing and how to test-market your product. An accompanying CD gives you a template for creating your personal marketing plan.

Writing a book is a right brain activity. But marketing that book requires a dramatic change in mindset. Jud helps you to make that transition.

This book seems a little long and I think that’s because it is somewhat repetitive at times. But this doesn’t take away from the usefulness of the message in the book or the value of the accompanying CD.

A hardback, it sells for $49.95. During the month of June and July, however, Jud is offering SPAWN members and newsletter subscribers a 20% discount. Order through Reed Business Press at or 646-746-6892.

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SPAWN Member Web Site of the Month

This month’s Member Web Site is, operated by Ellen Reid, president of Ellen Reid’s Book Shepherding.

"As a Book Consultant/Shepherd for first time authors or authors who want to self-publish first and create ‘buzz’ prior to going after a publishing house, my Web site serves me well," said Reid. "I keep it updated regularly by putting up the books and testimonials from current clients and then keep their books on the ‘recommended’ section. I also write about what I do on the site so people can read at their convenience and then call me to discuss their particular desires and needs.

"With the speed of life today, I find my Web site extremely valuable and discuss with my clients, the importance of designing their sites in ways that are quick, easy and informative. I am absolutely convinced that a good Web site helps create success."

For more information, contact Reid at

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SPAWN Member News

Note: Please send your Member News to It must be received by the 15th of the month for inclusion in the following month’s SPAWNews.

Rachel Andersen was featured in an article on NurseZone, The article profiled Andersen and her series of books, including "A Nurse’s World, Vol. III: Things I Didn’t Learn in Nursing School." She is currently accepting stories for publication in the fourth volume of "A Nurse’s World." For more information, or to order Andersen’s books, visit

Looking for hints to hone your fiction, polish your poetry, or enhance your essays? Searching for information about upcoming contests and conferences? Subscribe to "The Practicing Writer", a free monthly newsletter published by Erika Dreifus, Ed.M., M.F.A., Ph.D. Erika is also author of "Free Expression: 101 Fee-Free Contests, Competitions, and Other Opportunities for Resourceful Writers." A free excerpt is available at

Carol Talley is an emerging illustrator who is interested in working with local writers. She has a background in fine art and wants to build up the illustration part of her portfolio. You can see her paintings at: Talley is comfortable with many mediums and will work in a representational style.

Patricia Fry will teach an online book proposal class this month. The class will be taught via email--no schedules, no complicated chat components. Lectures, lessons and homework are all handled via email. The start date is June 1, with enrollment continuing through June 5th. This is an 8-week course. The fee is $100. And the goal is for each student to complete a book proposal during the session. For more information visit:

Fry also announces that her article "You Can Write for Children" will appear in the Writer’s Digest special July 2004 issue. While this edition is primarily for those who write for children, this is a piece specifically for kids. She was able to share some of the information in her "Young Writer's Handbook" about how to approach a publisher and how to find a publisher for kids' writing.

SPAWNews editor and professional freelance writer Wendy Dager will be teaching "Turn ‘Clever’ Into Cash: Writing Greeting Cards" on Saturday, July 24, 9:00 a.m. to noon at Ventura College. Fee is $45. To register, call 805-654-6459.

TLC Graphics is proud to announce that our books are recipients of seven regional and national awards this year! Among them are two finalists for PMA's Benjamin Franklin Awards. Winners will be announced at the ceremony during BEA. Our authors are already making use of their award-winning status in their PR and marketing efforts. Two of these are first-time self-published books, too!

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

Author/lecturer/investigator Joshua Shapiro of the World Mystery Research Center is seeking a writer who is able to help develop a powerful story based on a paranormal/spiritual/new age theme. For more information, e-mail

Marcia Schutte of Nonetheless Press, 1-877-250-BOOK,, submitted the following item:

Attention authors: We're looking for men and women of all ages who have found success after self-publishing a book. Whether you printed the book on your printer or used the services of a company such as AuthorHouse or iUniverse, we're interested in you and your work for an upcoming special issue focused on Self-Publishing. Please send your press release and contact information to, with "Self-Pub" in the Subject line. You can also mail this information to "Write & Publish," 4700 E. Galbraith Rd.,Cincinnati, OH 45236.

PopCobbler Magazine is interested in a broad range of topics including personal reflection, relationships, food, and more. For more information:

MPH (Maximum Performance and Horsepower) Magazine debuts in October 2004. For more information, e-mail editor Eddie Alterman at

Stephanie Marston, Co-author of "Chicken Soup for the Empowered Woman’s Soul" is seeking stories for "Girls Gone Stupid: Dumb Things Smart Women Do." For guidelines contact Maximum word count is 1200 words. Stories must be received no later than October 15, 2004.

The critically acclaimed and bestselling "Cup of Comfort" book series provides a welcome home—and an ongoing paid and bylined publishing opportunity—for compelling creative nonfiction stories. Written by people from all walks of life, Cup of Comfort stories are carefully selected for publication based on originality, creativity, emotional impact, and substance. For guidelines:; SASE to P.O. Box 863, Eugene, Oregon 97440, USA; or

To receive a free issue of Working Writer by e-mail, send your request to, or go to

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Contests and Awards

For information about The 11th Annual Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, or call 1-800-310-FEST(3378).

The Denver Metro NWA Chapter has announced their annual contest for poetry, short stories, and nonfiction. Deadline is June 30, 2004. Word limit for poetry is 40 lines, for short stories and nonfiction is 5,000 words. Entry fees are $6 for poetry and $10 for short stories and nonfiction. Name and address information should be on a separate sheet. Entries can be sent to Denver Metro Chapter Contests, 11844 N. Delbert Rd., Parker, CO 80138.

The Writer's Workshop Creative Nonfiction Contest entries must be postmarked by June 15, 2004. Entry fee is $18. Limit is 5,000 words double-spaced. First prize is $350. Submissions should be sent to Creative NonFiction Contest, 387 Beaucatcher Road, Asheville, NC 28805.

NWA Short Story Contest opened on April 1 and runs through July 1. All guidelines and forms are available on the website at

The 17th Anniversary Penumbra Poetry & Haiku Contest, sponsored by the Tallahassee Writers' Association. Deadline: June 30, 2004. Cash prizes. Guidelines by mail or at their Web site: TWA Penumbra, PO BOX 15995, Tallahassee, FL, 32317-5995 or Prize notification by August 30, 2004.

InkSpotter's announces its 1st Annual Finding the Right Words Flash Fiction Contest. For more information:

The 2004 DIY Book Festival has issued a call for entries for its annual program, which celebrates the success of independent authors and publishers. Award winners will be honored at a ceremony held on October 2, 2004 in Los Angeles in conjunction with the 2004 DIY Book Festival. Entry forms are available online at or call 323-665-8080 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Pacific time.

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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.

The Santa Barbara Writers Conference, now in its 32nd year, takes place at Westmont College in Montecito, California on June 25 to July 2, 2004. Special guest speakers include Ray Bradbury, Christopher Buckley and Neil Simon. For more details and registration information:

The 4th annual WritingtheWest writer's workshop takes place in Gunnison, Colorado, July 7-10. For details: or email or

On August 14, in Philadelphia, join publishing guru Dan Poynter and other industry professionals at the exclusive WRITE and SHINE! seminar for serious writers. Facilitators include noted spoken word artists and educators Tonya Marie Evans, Stephanie Renee McNeal, L.I.F.E., and Zenzele. Details and registration information posted at

The 8th Annual Hollywood Pitch Festival™ takes place August 7-8 at Le Meridien Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. For more information,

The Mid-Western Christian Book Fair (MCBF) takes place Iowa City, Iowa on October 1-2, 2004 and will confer awards to Christian authors, publishers, bookshops, media houses, and Christian book patrons. For more information:

A one-day summit retreat takes place in Walnut Creek Ohio On October 2, 2004 so Christian Writers can have the opportunity to meet other leaders, learn, and share your experiences. Please visit for more information.

The Small Publishers Marketing Conference promises to teach authors and publishers how to increase book sales, generate greater profitability, and boost their professional standing. SPAN's (Small Publishers Association of North America) Ninth Annual Conference is designed to provide attendees a year's worth of marketing, promotional, and operational concepts in three days. Held at the Marriott Philadelphia Renaissance Hotel Airport, October 22-24, the conference will be filled with intensive sessions to get publishers' promotional activities focused, well planned, and aimed for success. The Small Publishers Association of North America is the second largest nonprofit trade association for small publishers in the world. For details about the conference visit For more information, call Jennifer at 719-395-4790, or e-mail

Just 35 professional travel writers will be accepted for the Travel Classics West Writers Conference, November 18-21, 2004, at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona. The conference is open to top level travel writers who have published at least 2 full-length features in major magazines within the last 18 months. Register at

For those of you attending BEA (BookExpo America) in Chicago next week, TLC Graphics would like to invite you to visit our booth, #3520. If you're in need of book design services, be sure to sign up for our daily drawing to win a $500 discount on your first full design project. If you're attending BEA please contact us there, 512-565-5851, or stop by booth #3520. See you there!

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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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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, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653 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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