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SPAWNews, October 1998 - Archives Available


by Mary Embree

LMP On Disk & On Line

If you've ever had a need to find a publisher, agent, printer, distributor, organization, literary grant or just about any other information connected with book publishing, you probably have heard of Literary Market Place, published by R.R. Bowker.

LMP is rather expensive to own ($189.95), so for most people it means going to the library to research their 2-volume annual edition. Now, however, you can get it on disc (for an even pricier $289.95) or through their new web site, according to an ad in Publisher's Weekly (September 7).

Although they claim that a huge part of Literary Market Place Online is browsable free of charge, they are offering a free trial subscription so that you can check out all sections of it for one month.

As I needed to look up agents and publishers, I took them up on the offer. It was easy and fast but I found that there wasn't as much of the kind of detailed information I needed as there was in Writers Market and Guide to Literary Agents. I would expect LMP Online to be more up-to-date, though, than a printed book, and of course it would cover many other kinds of information as well.

LMP is offering a special on subscriptions now of $216.75. Normally it is $289. If you'd like to get more information or want to take advantage of their 30-day free trial, visit

PC Postage

An event that could revolutionize the way we send our mail will begin next year when an innovative new system will enable us to buy postage over the Internet and print it out from our laser printer. The service is currently being tested in Washington D.C. and San Francisco.

Utilizing a two-dimensional bar code that adds horizontal lines to the vertical stripes, the PC postage indicia contain a lot of information. They tell the address of the sender, where the letter is going, the price paid, the time and date it was printed and the software used to print it. They can also track it.

It will probably work something like this: Customers would install special software, then log onto the service's Internet Web site to buy postage and pay the service fee, using a credit card. They would call up the software program and fill out the address information, click on the amount of postage needed and then click "print." Their laser printer would print out a fully addressed envelope or mailing label with an indicium printed in the upper right-hand corner.

Adding the above services to all the other things we can do now, we won't have to leave our computer, get dressed and go out to the grocery or clothing store, the library, the bookstore, the bank or the post office. We may never have to leave our home or office again and can now become completely isolated from all human contact.

Isn't technology great?


You are reminded that entries to SPAWN's First Annual Poetry Contest are due by the end of the year.


Ventura County Chapter

Next meeting: Tuesday, Oct. 27th.

The speaker will be Paul Hansen, Graphic Designer and Photographer, involved in design and productions of all phases of publishing. Will speak on book printer, producer, publishers and publicist. Also on rights and royalties, polishing your product, print production and the emerging internet marketplace process from A to Z. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Newbury Park Branch Library, 2331 Borchard Road. For more information contact Ventura County Chapter President Carol Doering at 805/493-1081.


Next meeting: Saturday, Oct. 10.

The Santa Barbara Chapter will feature our own webmaster, Dr. Virginia Lawrence. Virginia will talk about online publishing and the various ways you can increaese traffic to your site.

The Chapter meets at the Karpeles Manuscript Library & Museum. See page 4 for the address and directions. For more information, please contact Santa Barbara County Chapter President Dallas Glenn at 805/899-1174.

A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one.



It didn’t take long to for people to start publishing books on the Internet. But are they real books? Ever since the dawn of writing, words have been carved and printed on flat and curved surfaces for the edification of readers. Now we have something new: words recorded in a computer to be accessed by those who not only have computers, but access to the Internet as well. Of course, such books have to be bought and paid for, also on the Internet.

An article in the Los Angeles Times for September 4 last discusses the pros and cons of “virtual” books. Most dictionaries define books “as something printed on paper, bound along one edge and protected between covers.” The Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning book reviewer Richard Eder declares that “an electronic book is not a book. . . . If Shakespeare had hired a skywriter to write ‘Hamlet’ in smoke, would that be a book?” (Think of the effect on the publishing industry at the time, to say nothing of the effect on the history of aviation.)

There are many who would disagree with this verdict. There are book distributors who have been online for more than a year, offering hundreds of titles. Danny O. Snow, communications director of 1stbooks, foresees a time when “no book need ever go out of print—it can live forever.” He further says “. . . Let the authors write what they want, and let the readers decide if it’s good or not. It’s a purely market-driven operation.”

Another opinion comes from London, where a virtual book, “The Angels of Russia,” was submitted to the committee that awards the Booker Prize, Britain’s equivalent of our Pulitzer. The prize committee rejected it, calling it a “computer file” not a book. But Snow obtained an ISBN for the book, and the committee relented. Snow says that none of his listings has been given an ISBN “because a virtual book is not yet recognized as a book; it is not a physical object and cannot be archived and inventoried in the usual way.”

The publication of cyber books has given rise to the development of a number of devices in an effort to provide something that the reader can “curl up with.” The Palm Pilot, a hand-held computer, generally in use by the electronic publishers, is considered too small. A new, larger breed of devices will be in the stores shortly, retailing from $300 to $1600. One reviewer found them “too heavy, too clumsy, too poorly lit. . .”

John Sutherland, professor of literature at London’s University College, has read “Angels” on his home computer. He liked the book, although the experience “was not comfortable.” He could have printed the work on paper, some 400 unbound pages, if they weren’t to be “toppled by kids, wafted by winds, or pawed or peed on by pets.”

Now get this. The New Media Lab at MIT is developing “The Last Great Book,” a device that will “look, feel like and read like, an old-fashioned book. . . The pages will remain blank until you push one of the buttons on the spine to select the book you want to read.” . . . This book “will be able to hold as many volumes as the entire U.S. Library of Congress (20 million).” The reader can select whatever font size and style he prefers. An entire library need only consist of this one book. What in the world???!!!

Things have got to the point where online booksellers, such as, see what they call the beginning of the end. Who knows what has happened in this arena just since the Times article appeared?

In my opinion, for what it’s worth, an electronic book, to be read on a computer screen, is not a book. For those who enjoy reading, there is nothing like the pleasure and comfort of, in that hackneyed phrase, “curling up with a good book.” In an easy chair, on a sofa, or in bed, with plenty of light. — HDR


Free all-day seminar

What Editors Love and Loathe!"

Lecturer will be Richard F. X. O'Connor (and two Surprise Guest Lecturers). Richard is Executive Editor of Acquisitions for Renaissance Books of Los Angeles and has too many years in the publishing business (nearly four decades) in all areas from writer/published author, to sales Rep, marketing director, agent, audio abridger, and editor.

At Santa Barbara City College, Schott Center (Pueblo Street) Room 19 on Saturday October 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Course #: 15710101. This is part of S.B. City College's Adult Ed extension program. For details and driving directions, call 805/687-0812.

So, please TELL A FRIEND. They will be entertained and informed.


The Small Publishers Association of North America is sponsoring a conference whose topic is: Jump Start Your Book Sales. There will be seventeen sessions over three days, October 23-25, covering all of the aspects selling your book to the public.

Among the speakers will be Patricia Schroeder, former Congresswoman and President /CEO of the Association of American Publishers, Tom and Marilyn Ross, publishing gurus and authors of many books on publishing, and Arielle Ford, publicist extrordinaire, who has helped to create best sellers for the likes of Jack Canfield and Mark Victor (the Chicken Soup series) and Deepak Chopra (ageless Body, Timeless Mind).

The topics to be covered include, but are not limited to:

The Future of Publishing: How to Maximize Your Opportunities

Finding Your Niche in the Educational Market

25 Ways to Promote You and Your Business

Marketing Your Books on the Web

Show and Tell Roundtable

Building an Identity for a Book and an Author

The conference will be held at Marriotts Hunt Valley Inn, Baltimore, Maryland. Call (800) 228-9290 for reservations. The prices for the conference are:

SPAN member; 1 day $195

3 days $395

Nonmember 1 day $295

3 days $495

· There is a 10% discount for two or more people from the same company.

Prices include a lunch each day, hors doeuvres at the Saturday night reception, and a printing plant tour.

· If you cannot attend the conference, audio tapes of the entire meeting will be available for $169 +$8 s&h.


by Bernice Deleplain

At the Santa Barbara Writers Circle we discovered that Tana Sommer-Belin has finished her book, The Shy People. Being an artist as well, she rendered her own illustrations and is now looking for that special publisher or agent.

Linda Ferro, who writes short-story fiction and magazine articles of human interest, shared one of these stories with us and her dream of attending Middlebury College Breadloaf School of English for the next five summers on her way to receiving an MFA in writing.

Deborah de Camaret read several of her poems and was urged to submit them for SPAWNs First Annual Poetry Contest (See Septembers SPAWNews for details).

Never despair. Editors do occasionally remember us. Ask Penny Sidoli. After umpteen rejections, three years ago, her short story, Josie Goes West, was accepted for publication. This month she received a SASE from the publisher asking her to submit another. Shes thinking of framing that envelope, and putting it with the rejection slips, as a reminder that it takes more than talent in this business; it takes patience and perseverance.

Member News

According to the latest report, Carol Doering, President of our Ventura County Chapter, is recovering nicely from her broken ankle. She has a walking cast and is able to get up and down stairs. Nice to hear the good news.


Paula Spellmans book, Code to Victory: A Coming of Age in World War II, has been released and can be ordered from Sunflower University Press at 800-258-1232. It tells the story of a code breakers struggle to find his identity in a war of contradiction. The young soldier finds himself thrown into a kaleidoscope of events and emotions that force him to confront himself, as well as Hitlers armies.

Congratulations Paula! Youve worked long and hard on that book. Its good to see what youve achieved with it.

Desert Winds by SPAWN member D. Gordon Johnston, M.D. has just been released. Written as fiction, this is a collection of autobiographical stories told through childhood journals in the voice of a boy growing up poor on a farm in the Utah desert.

The stories illustrate how our values can shape our life and determine our destiny. [Winlock Publishing, hardcover, $18.50]

What's In the Air: Natural and Man-made Air Pollution, by Stephen E. Blewett with Mary Embree, gives many fascinating and little-known facts about the air we breathe It tells of the attempts throughout history to control and prevent man-made pollution.

Stephen E. Blewett is a meteorologist and chemist who has spent his life in the study of air pollution. Mary Embree is a book editor and author of A Woman's Way: the Stop Smoking Book for Women and other works.


SANTA BARBARA CHAPTER: Saturday, October 10, 1:30 p.m.

Karpeles Manuscript Library, 21 W. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara

Directions: 101 Freeway to Carrillo, right on Carrillo, left on Chapala, right on Anapamu. (Parking in back, off Chapala, just before Anapamu.) Guest donation: $5

VENTURA COUNTY CHAPTER: Tuesday, October 27, 7:00 p.m.

Newbury Park Branch Library, 2331 Borchard Road, Newbury Park

Directions: 101 Freeway to Borchard Road, right if going south, left if going north, to Michael. Right to first driveway on left.

SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year.

Spouses of members may join for half of the fee.

Subscriptions to SPAWNews are $15 per year for nonmembers.

Members receive SPAWNews as part of their membership.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P. O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002-2653

Write to the Executive Director:



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