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)

SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, November, 2002





- FEATURE ARTICLE: Self-Publishing Basics





- GUEST ARTICLE: Developing Your Teen Voice:

A Writing Exercise for Contributors to Teen Publications


* * * * *


Like many of SPAWN's members, I've heard countless writers, publishers, artists, and other creative types give speeches on a vast number of subjects. Some were utterly brilliant and some-well-weren't. Since my attention span is short and portions of my memory seem to be fading gently into that good night, it is quite a testament to even the best of these speakers that I actually remember what they've said.

In particular, there was one woman whose words have stayed with me and to whom I credit much of my perseverance as a writer. Phyllis Gebauer is an accomplished author and lecturer. I don't recall when I heard her speak, but I do remember her likening a writing career to "the path up the mountain." This analogy itself is not extraordinary, but her follow-up to that statement was something of an epiphany to me. This path up the mountain, she said, is not straight. It takes many twists and turns. It is not, as we may hope, a direct route to the peak. I cannot express how wonderful this thought was to me at the time, and how it remains helpful. I find I am able to visualize the diverse aspects of my career, from writing greeting card copy to newspaper feature articles to, recently, my first novel-certainly not a linear path. Indeed, it is a long, crooked walk. Yet, in our struggles for ultimate success, we have to learn to accept that those side trails up the mountain are not obstacles, but steps that take us ever higher, toward the top. --Wendy Dager

* * * * *


The November Market Update is brimming with excitement and inspiration for writers at any stage of their passion. To date, we've reported changes relating to over 125 publications. We've brought you information about nearly 50 Internet resources for writers and we've interviewed over 25 writers, editors and publishers. All back issues of the Market Update are available in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site (

* * * * *


This month's SPAWN Market Update (found in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site) is overflowing with 11 pages of information and resources for writers. We stumbled across a cool site for writers this month and are featuring it in our November Market Update: "Essentially, is the headquarters for National Novel Writing Month, an organization I started four years ago," said Chris of NaNoWriMo. "Every November, about 5,000 of us say goodbye to our friends and families, stock up on immense amounts of chocolate and coffee, and set out to write a short novel (50,000 words) in 30 days. No one signs up for NaNoWriMo expecting to write great literature. It's more intended as a creative kick in the pants--a structured excuse to turn off your inner editor and just dive into your own imagination." For more details:

* * * * *


Self-Publishing Basics

By Patricia Fry

Today's publishing climate offers authors many options. You can submit your work to traditional publishers, partner with a co-publisher or take control and self-publish your book.

Here are the benefits of self-publishing:

  • You'll definitely see your book in print.
  • You can have a finished product within weeks.
  • You have the potential to make more money.
  • You have all of the control.
  • There are tax breaks to owning your own business.
  • You are the best possible marketing agent for your project.
  • Your book will keep selling for as long as you are willing to market it.

What about the downside?

  • Self-publishing a book is a full-time job.
  • Self-publishing requires a lot of decision-making.
  • Promoting a book is 100 times more difficult and time-consuming than writing it.
  • Your book will keep selling for as long as you are willing to market it.

If you're still interested in self-publishing, here are some of your choices: You can have your book printed through a traditional printer, take it to a Print-on-Demand (POD) company, print and bind it yourself at home or produce an ebook.

The most expensive way to produce a book is through a traditional printer. It's also the best way to get large quantities of a quality product. But there are differences in quality and price between printers. Ask several printers for price quotes, samples of their work and references. Expect to pay anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000 for 1000 to 5000 copies of your book (depending on number of pages, number and type of illustrations, binding style and so forth).

If you want to test the market and/or don't want to store boxes and boxes of books, consider POD (Print on Demand). You can have as few as five books printed and the turnaround is fast-usually a week to ten days. However, the cost per book is generally higher through a POD company. One advantage is that you can make changes each time you go to print.

Some self-publishers forego the hassles of dealing with outside print companies and produce their books in-house. Anyone with a home computer and printer has the capacity to manufacture a book. Create an ebook and you don't even need a printer. You can sell your ebook through your own Web site or display it on someone else's site and pay them a percentage of sales.

A major part of self-publishing is promotion. If you're not an aggressive marketer, hire someone who is. Don't expect to do a blast of marketing during the first few months and then just sit back and collect money for evermore. A successful self-publisher must have a business head, ongoing enthusiasm for his project, perseverance and a bent for self-promotion. Your book can live for as long as you are willing to promote it. Once you stop, it will likely die.

Prepare a book proposal before writing your book, including a marketing section. This is where you determine who your audience is and how you will reach them. Be realistic. How will you market your book? Don't assume that Barnes and Noble and Borders will clamor to order caseloads of your book to stock. It has become more and more difficult for the independent publisher to get shelf space in the big bookstores. One way to get their attention is to publicize your book widely and strongly enough that customers start asking for it by name.

Find out where other books on your topic are sold-specialty shops, gift shops, county fairs, the school system and so forth. Request reviews in appropriate publications. Write magazine articles and give workshops on your topic. Invest in mailing lists involving the demographics of folks who would purchase your book. Send press releases nationwide, if applicable. Draw attention to yourself and your book. If your book is for diabetic children, for example, do a fund-raiser for the local diabetes association and make sure you get national coverage.

There are numerous things to consider when contemplating self-publishing. Hopefully this article will help you make the decision that's right for you.

This is condensed and excerpted from Patricia Fry's ebook, "The Successful Writer's Handbook" (

* * * * *


We are always updating our information on book printers to ensure the quality of our list of recommended resources for SPAWN members. Printing companies, like all companies, can change with economic pressures, and if there is a reduction in staff, deliveries may take longer. Also, while one customer might be happy with a specific printer, another may not. That is why although we may recommend a printer based on favorable reports we have received, we cannot and would not endorse any printer. In order to serve you better, we would like to gather your views on customer satisfaction for book printers. Just go to and give us your opinions. We will publish the results at a later date. Thank you for your help.

* * * * *



I'm interested in having a short story (fiction), and a poem published. Could you please give me some advice on how to go about this process?

Thank you,


Dear Shirley:

Writing is a specific task and finding a publisher for your work is another, as you've no doubt discovered.

First, you must decide where you want your story and poem to appear--the local newspaper, a magazine or online, for example. In fact, you may have a particular publication in mind. If so, find contact information in that magazine, in a reference volume such as "Writer's Market" or online. Request the magazine's writers' guidelines.

If you don't have a publication in mind, study "Writer's Market" (found in the reference section at most libraries) or tap into one of the online market listings such as or http://www.woodenhorsepubcom. There are hundreds of poetry and fiction markets listed in the 2003 edition of "Writer's Market." I counted 29 pages of listings in the literary category, alone. When you find a match for your story or poem, request their writers' guidelines and follow them in submitting your work.

They may request that your story be a certain length and double-spaced. They might require that you send poems in batches of 5 or more. And there may be a line limit. Some editors prefer stories submitted via email, while others receive stories submitted by postal mail.

I would further advise you to change the order of the process with your next story. Instead of writing it and searching for a publisher, study the magazines you would like to write for and write the story to conform. In fact, for nonfiction articles, you generally send a query first to find out if the magazine is interested in a story on a particular topic.

I hope this helps to get you started. And if you have any more specific questions, please ask away.


Patricia Fry, President



* * * * *


The Midwest Independent Publishers Association announces the Call for Entries for its 12th and 13th Book Awards competition. Publishers in the following states are eligible: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. To be eligible for the 12th Book Awards, a book must have a 2001 copyright. For the 13th Book Awards, the copyright date is 2002.For more information, visit or email

Now is your chance to show off your shorts--and win cash and prizes in the process! Enter your bold, brilliant, but brief fiction (1,500 words or less) in the 3rd Annual Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition. Get the details, or enter today:

First Place, $1,500 cash - Second Place, $750 cash - Third Place, $500 cash - 4th through 10th Place, $100 cash - 5th through 25th Place, $50 gift certificate for Writer's Digest Books.

The names and story titles of the First- through Tenth-Place winners will also be printed in the June 2003 Writer's Digest. Winners will receive the 2003 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market and 2003 Guide to Literary Agents. Deadline is December 2, 2002.

A $2,003 top prize and valuable Hollywood contacts are being offered in the Monterey County Film Commission's Hollywood Connection 2003 Screenwriting Contest. It's the commission's eighth annual screenwriting competition and the final entry deadline is Dec. 31, 2002. The $2,003 money award reflects the year of the contest, and will be awarded to the first place winner at the Hollywood Connection 2003 Day, to be held in Monterey in May. Top finalists receive free tuition for the day along with Final Draft screenwriting software, personal comments from film industry professional judges, and publicity and exposure within the industry. A $1,000 Monterey County On Location Award will be given in recognition of an outstanding screenplay that includes at least 50% Monterey County settings. Submissions must be full-length film or television movie scripts between 90 and 130 pages in length and must not have been optioned or sold at the time of submission. Entry fee is $45 per script for early entries postmarked by Nov. 30, 2002; $55 per script for those postmarked by the final deadline of Dec. 31, 2002. There are discounts offered for multiple script submissions. Complete rules and an application form may be downloaded at

* * * * *


The Reno/Tahoe Screenwriting Conference, presented by Planetary Voices Institute, Inc., takes place November 1-3. Speakers include Academy Award-nominated Screenwriter Jeff Arch, "Sleepless in Seattle"; Blockbuster Screenwriter Shane Black, "Lethal Weapon I and II"; Nations foremost Screenwriting Professor, USC Film School Professor, Richard Krevolin; Scott Nemes, President - Development Immortal Entertainment; Tom DeSanto, Screenwriter/Producer, "X-Men"; Marc B. Lorber, Vice President, Carlton Productions; Craig Clyde, Majestic Entertainment, Maggie Biggar, Vice President Productions, Fortis Films. Hotel packages are available at the Eldorado Hotel Casino. For more information:

November 2-3 is the date for the Latino Book & Family Festival in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It is the largest Latino consumer tradeshow in the U.S. Call 760/434-7474 or visit : . November 23-24, the Latino Book & Family Festival takes place in Chicago. For more information:

Free Expressions Writing Success Series presents "Writing the Breakout Novel" by Donald Maass and "Get That Contract, Write That Book" by Elizabeth Lyon on November 9-10, from 8am - 5pm (Sat), 8am - Noon (Sun) at the Renaissance Dallas North Hotel (LBJ Freeway @ Midway Road). Registration is $199.

The Creativity Workshop Studio is a ten-minute walk from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Creativity Workshops consist of Creative Writing, Drawing, Storytelling, and Personal Memoir.

November 9, 10, 11 (Veteran's Day) and 12 (16 contact hours)

Extensive 4 day workshop.

Thursday through Sunday, 4 to 8 PM

Tuition Fee: $600

November 16 - 17, 2002

2-day weekend workshop (8 contact hours)

Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Tuition Fee: $300

December 7 - 8, 2002

2-day weekend workshop (8 contact hours)

Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Tuition Fee: $300

December 14 - 22, 2002

US Virgin Islands - St. Thomas

7 day workshop

Tuition and 8 nights at Marriot Beach Resort hotel: $1,950

For more detailed information on all workshops visit

For the Spring Calendar 2003 go to:

For the Summer Calendar 2003 go to:

The 2002 Screenwriting Expo, the largest screenwriting conference and tradeshow, takes place November 16-17 at the L.A. Convention Center. $49.95 brings you over 130 seminars, workshops, and panels, Q&A sessions, and book signings with prestigious guests of honor, an Expo Pitch Fest sponsored by Scr(i)pt magazine, a screenplay contest, a discount trade show, a screenwriting auction, and the first-ever screenwriting tournament. Participants include Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile), Harlan Ellison, David Goyer (Blade, Dark City), Richard Matheson (The Twilight Zone, Duel), Scott Rosenberg (Spider Man, Armageddon), Bruce Joel Rubin (Ghost, Jacob's Ladder), and David O. Russell (Three Kings, Flirting With Disaster). For more information: or call (323) 957-1405.

Conferences in La Casa Grande, Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico - on the Pacific Coast: Self-Editing for Publication: November 30-December 4 and Dynamics of the Dramatic Structure: December 7-11. $950 tuition includes shared en-suite with fridge, microwave, A/C. For registration and more information: or call Micheline at (819) 876-2065.

The Second City Council is pleased to announce its Members Exhibition and 2nd Anniversary Party. Bars, Barriers & Borders - An artistic exploration of mental or physical situations that limit, separate or protect. 1st-$500, 2nd-$300, 3rd-$200.

Slides must be received by Friday, Nov 8

Notification Mailed Monday, Nov 18

Art Delivery Saturday and Sunday, Nov 30 and Dec 1

Reception Saturday, Dec 7 from 7:00 - 9:00

Pick-up Saturday and Sunday, Jan 18 and 19

Consumerism - January 25, 2003 - February 28, 2003

Slides must be received by Wednesday, Dec 18

Notification Mailed Monday, Jan 6

Art Delivery Saturday and Sunday, Jan 18 and 19

Reception Saturday, Feb 1 from 7:00 - 9:00

Pick-up Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2

2003 Women's Festival of the Arts - (Highlighting the Art of California Women)

Opens on International Women's Day, Saturday, March 8, 2003 - April 18, 2003

Slides must be received by Friday, Jan 31

Notification Mailed Monday, Feb 17

Art Delivery Saturday and Sunday, Mar 1 and 2

Two-Day Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Mar 8 and 9 (Festival times to be announced)

Visual Artists, Musicians, Dancers, Spoken Word Artists, Authors, Independent Film Makers and Youth Exhibition plus a 1950's Style Pajama Party (for Women Only) and Beehive Hair Contest

Pick-up Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20

For more information:, e-mail, phone (562) 901-0997 or write P.O. Box 90503, Long Beach, CA 90809-0503

Mystery Writers of America, Inc.'s Florida Chapter's "S" is for SleuthFest 2003,

March 13-16 at the Deerfield Beach/Boca Raton Hilton. Special Guests: Sue Grafton and Dr. Henry Lee. Thursday, March 13: Writer's workshops, including critiques of attendee samples by NYT Bestseller, Barbara Parker, techniques of establishing setting through World Building with award-winning Carole Nelson Douglas, and how to give a pitch to an agent/editor. Friday, March 14-Sunday March 16: Over 35 panels open to writers of all levels and genres, National Shooting Sports Foundation Shootout, and editor/agent appointments. Registration: Thursday workshops: $50; Friday thru Sunday: $165, members, $180, non-members before 1/1/03. Registration forms: or send SASE to Anne K. Walsh, 6056 NW 56th Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33067, e-mail, or call: Jody Lebel at (954) 782-8872.

* * * * *


Developing Your Teen Voice:

A Writing Exercise for Contributors to Teen Publications

By C.J. Phillips

If you wish to write for teen magazines, your teen spirit will show through after you try this writing exercise. When you have some time to concentrate on writing, go to a teen-inspired location for this project. You could head over to the local high school and sit in the bleachers during a sporting event, visit a public library after school, or sit on a park bench at a popular rollerblading or skateboarding area.  

Before you go, collect a few types of teen media, either from the Web, magazines, school newspapers, or a book. Try the public library, or ask a teen friend if you can borrow a "zine." Gear the media to what you are interested in writing, but make sure you have a variety. Gather up these publications and throw them in a book bag, along with a big notepad and some fun pens.

Once you are "on location," look around for a few minutes, taking it all in. Listen to how the teens around you talk, or just imagine how they chat with each other. Or, if you are at a sporting event, watch how they communicate with a coach. Imagine interviewing them for your chosen topic-how they pause, whether they speak slowly or quickly, or if they lower their voices when discussing a serious subject. The goal is not to learn about teens as much as it is to think from a teen perspective.

Next, open the bag of writing tools you brought along. Choose the most trendy or silly sounding article, perhaps a personal experience piece written by a teen, or one that deals with a typical teen issue. Read the article, skimming it quickly, so that instead of focusing on content, you notice the tone and word choice. Now give yourself five minutes to write an article using that same tone and phrasing. Choose a topic related to what you just read. Write nonstop for five minutes, looking back on the published article now and then to keep on track.

Highlight or circle things in the articles you read or wrote that appeal to you, or that you dislike. Make a few notes about how you felt writing this, or try to describe what you read or wrote. This will help when you are back at your desk writing a teen article for publication.

Now choose another, more serious article-one that skips the slang, and is not superficial or corny. Read this article, then write for five minutes, replicating its style. Pause to read what you have written, or go back to the article, so that you can really mimic its style,instead of writing as you usually do. If this article was punchy or edgy, you may want to repeat the exercise one more time, with a more relaxed story this time.

Lastly, think up a narrow topic you may want to write about for a teen publication. Start writing. After five minutes, read aloud what you have written, in the voice of a teen who would enjoy your article. Do a quick once-over of the other exercises you wrote, or even the published articles, so you'll remember the type of things you enjoyed or didn't enjoy reading. Now jump back into five or ten more minutes with your article. It is OK to switch around some lines from the first five minutes, or add a catchy opening sentence, but try to get a lot of words on paper in a short time.

Take a break. Read over what you have written. Pretend now that instead of your own work, you are reading one of the publications. You may feel inspired to do a rewrite, or start a new topic in the same, or slightly different experimental voice. Take another twenty minutes or so to write either a new article or the one you have already started. Then read over what you have written, making notes if necessary.

Now that you are done with the writing exercise, hang out on location just a few minutes longer to think about what you have done. Consider why you enjoy writing about teens, or from the perspective of a teen. Write down any fresh topic ideas, along with a sentence or bullet point outline, so you remember why the topic was intriguing. As you pack up your magazines and handwritten exercises, give yourself some goals for your next teen writing session.

--C.J. Phillips is a Clinton Township Michigan attorney and freelance writer who  writes a weekly column for the South Lyon Herald. She is working on several nonfiction manuscripts, including "A Better Guide to Writing Style."

* * * * *


November, 2002

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

Mary Embree


Wendy Dager

SPAWNews Editor, Membership and Database Coordinator


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


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

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder of SPAWN

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer of SPAWN

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.

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



Popular Articles
on Writing, Editing
Publishing &


spawn spawn