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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, November, 2007

Wendy Dager, Editor

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please email 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

- Market update

- Q & A

- Book Review

- 12 Ideas for Promoting Your Book During the Holidays

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

By Wendy Dager

As I type this, the air outside is thick with smoke and ash, the Santa Ana winds are near-gale force, and the sky glows eerily.

Southern California is on fire.

So far, the fires have missed my community, but we are on alert, having gone through it four years ago, nervously watching the flames as they crept down the hillside toward my street. Our cars were packed and ready to go in case we had to evacuate. We didn’t. The winds shifted and our houses were spared.

This time, we remain wary, but our possessions are still inside and not crammed into our vehicles. I asked my kids what they would bring if we had to leave. My 19-year-old said she’d grab some clothes and her boyfriend’s cowboy hat. My 15-year-old’s prized possessions were her favorite stuffed animal and as many of our vintage ‘50s sweaters—beaded, sequined, appliquéd—as she could carry.

I’d planned to take computer hard drives, legal documents, a few pieces of jewelry and the pile of paperwork on my desk.

I realized that this time—as well as four years ago—I hadn’t considered the file cabinets and boxes full of twenty years’ worth of work. Hundreds of my published articles, essays, opinion columns, greeting cards and short stories are crammed in every crevice of my home office. I didn’t even think about the possibility of them going up in smoke until I sat down to write this editor’s note.

My writing has, at times, been all-consuming—a career that has been both agonizing and wonderful. Each feature article, every silly greeting card one-liner, all the many personal essays I have written have been—in an emotional sense—akin to childbirth. How would I feel if my literary "children" were left to burn?

I’d be sad, of course. Much of my work is long out of print and irreplaceable. Still, I will always have the exhilarating experience of producing them, marketing them, getting a byline and a paycheck for them, and seeing them published. Nothing—not even the forces of nature—could take that away from me.

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. Her email address is

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

Once every month for six years, we have compiled information, opportunities and resources designed to help you meet your publishing goals. We’ve made it our business to keep our finger on the pulse of the publishing industry. We continue in our mission to help you find an agent and/or a publisher for your project, get your book reviewed many times over, land freelance writing or art work, successfully promote your book and so forth.

If you are an author, artist, screenwriter or freelance writer and you read every issue of the SPAWN Market Update, you have a definite advantage over those who don’t. If you apply the information, ideas, tips and techniques toward your professional goals, you are most assuredly more well-informed, more well-known and/or are earning more money as a result.

In this issue of the SPAWN Market Update, along with our usual industry news, opportunities and resources, we evaluate other writing/publishing/marketing newsletters and offer recommendations. In addition, those who are interested in selling art or getting into the greeting card business shouldn’t miss my interview with Susan Florence, successful gift book artist and author.

The information, resources and opportunities in just one issue of the SPAWN Market Update will MORE than pay for a one-year membership in SPAWN. For example, the November issue includes over fifty news items, resources and opportunities for anyone who is interested in publishing, whether it's in the area of art, books, articles, stories or screenplays.

In this month’s NOVEMBER 2007 Market Update:

  • Find out which major publishers are merging.
  • How certain targeted lists can be used to promote your book.
  • Who’s offering last-minute discounts on ad rates.
  • Great newsletter reviews and recommendations.
  • Where to go for FREE radio advertising, online classified ads, newsletters, and web pages!
  • How to check your book’s sales at Amazon.
  • Tips on how to find companies to represent your art.
  • Why you may want to resend a manuscript without changing it when it is rejected.
  • How to locate and use these local groups for book promotion.

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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Q & A

I don't have a lot of money to get my book published and I was looking for a backer. Being that it involves the wine industry, do you think I should pursue that? Since I don't have a lot of money to spend getting the book published, if you know of someone who could help, I am willing to share the profits.

An Author

Dear Author,

First, I would suggest that you approach traditional royalty publishers. If you get one interested, he will put up the money, handle all of the details of publication and even do some promotion. The major task of promotion, of course, is up to the author. Use Writer's Market (at your local library or for $30 at any bookstore) to locate an appropriate publisher. Go to bookstores and look for books similar to yours and see who is publishing them. Contact those publishers.

When you get a publisher's name, go to their Web site and locate the submission guidelines. Submit according to the requirements. Competition is so fierce today that you don't want to risk going unnoticed because you did not follow protocol. Most publishers want to see a query letter first and then will ask for a book proposal. Some give you an outline to follow in preparing your book proposal.

An alternative to the traditional royalty publisher is to find someone who is willing to invest in your project. Maybe a winery would put up the money if you feature its wine. A local company (bank, perhaps) might provide the funding if you give it copies to use as premiums—giveaways to new customers, for example. Or you could sell advertising pages in your book to raise the money to publish it.

Perhaps you could pre-sell copies of the book to wineries throughout California and/or other businesses and that would give you the capital to produce the book yourself.

How about coming out with an ebook first? They are inexpensive to produce. You can produce it yourself and offer it for sale at your Web site. If not, have Booklocker ( produce it for you. I believe they charge only $99. They are also less expensive when it comes to producing a print book through POD technology. Check them out. It seems as though it's only $299 for the initial setup and then you pay so much per book when you want copies. They are reputable people. Not all fee-based POD publishers are.

I hope that the answer to your dream of publishing is somewhere in this email. Choose an option and then put all of your energies into pursuing it and you will soon have a book in your hands and money jingling in your pocket.


Patricia Fry

President, SPAWN

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Q & A

You may recall that we met at the Santa Barbara Book Festival. I joined SPAWN on your recommendation, and I'm wondering if you could give me some ideas for locating an illustrator for my children's book. I prefer working with someone local.

New Member

Dear Member,

While it is common today to work successfully with illustrators, editors and book designers from a distance via email, I understand your interest in finding a local artist. Here are my suggestions:

Search our Member Directory (access from the SPAWN home page, and use keywords: "illustrator (and your city)," "illustrator California," "artist CA" or "children's book illustrator."

Also contact our members who are authors of children's books for recommendations.

Place an announcement in the SPAWN newsletter asking for illustrators who fit certain criteria to contact you.

Post a request for recommendations at SPAWNDiscuss and/or the SPAWN Forum.

Contact your local arts council about illustrators in your area.

Look in your phone book Yellow Pages under "Art" and "Artists."

Access the classified ads in the newspaper. Artists sometimes advertise.

Do a Google search using keywords similar to above.

Ask for references at local art galleries.

Find artwork you like in other children's books and look on the copyright page or cover to see if the illustrator is noted.

Find artwork you like at various Web sites and ask for names and contact information.

I hope this helps.


Patricia Fry

President, SPAWN

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Book Review

By Patricia Fry

Copyright Companion for Writers

Tonya Evans-Walls, Esq.

Legal Write Publications, 2007

148-pages, $19.95, paper, size 8.5 x 11

I often refer to Tonya Evans-Walls’ book, Literary Law Guide for Authors and I’m pleased to now have this companion book with everything legal one needs to know about writer’s rights. For example, what is fair use and how is it different from public domain? How is copyrighted work protected on the Internet and internationally? What do freelancers and songwriters need to know about copyright? I am also intrigued by the concept of permissions, which Evans-Walls covers in this volume.

To read the full review of Copyright Companion for Writers, go to

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12 Ideas for Promoting Your Book During the Holidays

By Patricia Fry

Whether your book is brand new or it’s been around for a while, this is an excellent time of year to promote it. In fact, I suggest kicking your marketing efforts into high gear during the next six weeks. How?

Read about 12 Holiday-time promotion tips at

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Ask the Book Doctor: About Self Publishing, Screenplay Agents, and Ghostwriting

By Bobbie Christmas

Q: I am thinking of getting a good edit, printing a few hundred copies [of my novel], sending it to major bookstores in the country, and seeking an agent who would want to do a movie manuscript. How do you find an agent or publisher that is interested in meaty, meaningful writing that says something and doesn't have triteness?

A: Before I answer, I have to address a few misconceptions that many people have. First, sending a printed book to a bookstore doesn’t ensure the store will put it up for sale. You must have a consignment agreement with the store or arrange distribution through one of the traditional book distributors, such as Ingram, Baker & Taylor, or Simon & Schuster. Most stores will not take books except on consignment, and many subsidy presses do not make consignment arrangements for you. Before you go to the expense and trouble of self-publishing, be sure you can indeed get the book into bookstores or that you have a sales and marketing plan for your book.

Next, I am familiar with literary agents who handle books, but I am primarily a book editor, so I do not know any screenplay agents. If the two careers are similar, though, it means a screenplay agent won’t represent an idea, but only a well-written screenplay that is complete and ready to go. If you haven’t written a screenplay before or studied screenplay writing, chances are low that you can create one without serious assistance on the first try.

As for an agent or publisher interested in meaty, meaningful writing, you’re looking for an agent or publisher that handles literary fiction. The reason they are rare is that literary fiction is difficult to sell, and agents and publishers have to make a living, so they choose to represent manuscripts that are easier to sell. A few agents and publishers interested in literary works are still out there, though. The best way to find them is to go to the bookstore and read the acknowledgments in other books of literary fiction and see if the authors thank their agents. If so, write down the names. See who the publishers are, as well. Contact those agents and publishers, and your chances of success are higher.

Even if you don’t plan to self-publish, you may have to pay a good editor to line edit and evaluate your novel, if you want to get your manuscript past the gatekeepers who allow only the best to get to the decision makers.

To read about these and other interesting 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 email your news to

Two days before its formal publication on October 1, The Writer Within You by Charles Jacobs was made a Writer’s Digest Book Club selection. Subtitled A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing and Publishing in Your Retirement Years, the book leads readers through the basics of writing in several genres popular with senior citizens, helps them select the appropriate method of publishing and introduces them to the fundamentals of promoting their book. The book has already received accolades from publishing luminaries like Dan Poynter and Patricia Fry. Reviews to date have been highly favorable and have earned the book a five star rating on Amazon. Published by Caros Books and distributed by the Atlas Books division of Bookmasters, The Writer Within You is available at bookstores, on Jacobs’ web site or by telephoning 800-BOOK LOG. Now freelancing in his retirement, Jacobs is the former Publisher of the Alameda Newspaper Group in the San Francisco Bay area and the Garden State Newspaper Group in New Jersey. He has served as editor of FOCUS magazine and Travel World International, and has published more than 750 articles throughout the United States and Canada. His writing has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, New Jersey Press Club, Working Press Association and North American Travel Journalists Association.

Get your publishing project off the ground or out of the gutter! Finally, someone has developed a WORKBOOK to help you chart your course through the writing, publishing and marketing process. Read Patricia Fry's newly revised The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book (366-pages) and then use her Author's Workbook to evaluate the potential for your project and guide you in achieving your publishing goals. Guaranteed to increase your potential for publishing success.

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Up to 145 of the best examples from published and unpublished novels, short stories and screenplays will be featured in DON'T SABOTAGE YOUR SUBMISSIONS: An Editor Tells Writers How to Save a Manuscript from Turning Up D.O.A. Its author is Chris Roerden, an editor for 43 years and a former instructor of writing at the University of Maine and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Deadline for submissions is December 1, 2007. Details and official submission form may be downloaded from or received for a 58¢ SASE sent to Don't Sabotage Your Submissions, P.O. Box 16024, High Point, NC 27261.

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Read about the latest contests at:

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Events and More

Read about the coming events at:

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

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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! 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



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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