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SPAWNews, January 1998 - Archives Available



Coming up in February and March are two seminars presented by Mary Embree, writer, editor, literary consultant, and Executive Director of SPAWN.

The first, How To Write Attention-Grabbing Query Letters and Book Proposals, will be held on Saturday, February 28. At this seminar we will review the format and basic principles of these two important sales tools for authors, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to prepare them. As a participant, you will learn what agents and publishers want to know about you, your book, and your promotional skills.

The second seminar, held on March 28, will be a workshop on Fine-Tuning Your Query Letter and Book Proposal. Participants will get help with their specific letters and proposals. Priority will be given to those who attended the February seminar. However, all participants will be given a chance to talk about their projects and to ask questions.

The fee is $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers for each seminar. For both seminars, paid in advance, it is $30 for members and $50 for nonmembers. Please make your reservations early. The number of participants in each seminar is limited to 15 so that everyone in attendance may receive individual attention.

There is a materials fee of $3 payable to the instructor. All other proceeds will be donated to SPAWN.

For reservations call Mary Embree at 805-643-2403.


Publishers Marketing Association (PMA)


Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN)

SPAWN members who heard PMA's Executive Director Jan Nathan speak at our First Birthday celebration last June recall that Ms. Nathan is not only a compelling speaker but also a veritable walking encyclopedia of facts about book publishing and marketing. For writers and self-publishers who have reached the point where they want to have the wheat separated from the chaff of the industry, PMA affiliation becomes substantially valuable.

PMA is a trade association representing independent U.S. and Canadian publishers, whose interests they advocate and advance by offering cooperative marketing and educational programs. PMA offers seminars, newsletters and publications addressing marketing, book design, book-binding, editing, legal contracts and copyrights, sales, finance, publicity, electronic reprint rights and every other possible topic of interest to small publishers. PMA's annual $80 membership fee is only $54 for SPAWN members.

For information call, fax or write PMA at 627 Aviation Way, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, 310-372-2732, FAX 310-374-3342. The email is

SPAN members receive discounts on products and services such as office supplies and trade journals, half-priced Publisher's Weekly subscriptions and advertisements, a cross-referenced membership directory, internet Websites on SPAN's Book Emporium, an annual conference with reduced rates for members, simplified access to Visa and MasterCard merchant status, discounts on freight shipping and a 20-page monthly newsletter. SPAN's annual membership fee of $95 is only $60 for SPAWN members. For further information write to SPAN, P.O. Box 1306-NRL, Buena Vista, CO 81211, or email to Their website is at

Both PMA and SPAN are excellent organizations with knowledgeable and experienced administrators. Their programs are worth investigating for anyone in search of answers to questions about any area of self-publishing or promotion.


Meetings of the SPAWN Santa Barbara Writers Circle will be held twice monthly beginning this month. The Circle is for SPAWN members of any level—beginner or published—who seek a safe place to read and give feedback. Nonmembers may attend one free introductory meeting. The Circle's initial meeting in November was well-attended and participants look forward to a stimulating New Year.

For further information about directions, times and locations, contact The Circle's facilitator Dallas Glenn at 805-899-1174, or at


SPAWNews welcomes advertisements and if you would like to place one, the rates are as follows:

Full Page:


Half a Page:


Full Column:


Half a Column:


21/4 by 31/2 inches:


21/4 by 21/4 inches:


· All advertisements are discounted 20% when run for three consecutive months and paid in advance.

· All advertisements are discounted 25% when running for six months and paid in advance.

· Members receive the first month at half price.

· Call SPAWNews Editor Kathy Schultz at 805-644-9843 to place an advertisement.



The National Writers Union (NWU) assists its members in resolving nonpayment of writers' fees by editors or publishers and has recovered more than $1 million in writers' compensation. NWU also maintains an online Tech Writers' Job Hotline and an Agents Database with information about more than 400 literary agents. For membership information the L.A. Chapter can be reached at 310-281-6901. Their website is at, or


The Graham Literary Agency awarded one of its recent Writer's Hotspot of the Week Awards to the website of internationally-recognized Internet Law expert and attorney Ivan Hoffman, who was our guest speaker at the October Ventura Chapter meeting and the subject of SPAWNews' October interview. Hoffman has now garnered three awards for his informational website at http://home.earthlink .net/~ivanlove.

Hoffman's site includes numerous authoritative articles about copyrights, contracts, writing and publishing law, recording and music law, internet law and web design issues. It includes links to the Graham Agency at "Other Sites of Related Interest."

"Because there remains considerable confusion about the concept of 'fair use,' and as part of my program to keep you informed via this continuing series of articles," Hoffman tells SPAWN, "I have posted a revised version of 'Fair Use Revisited.' Click on 'Helpful Articles for Writers and Publishers,' 'Articles About the Internet and Electronic Rights,' 'Articles for Web Site Designers and Site Owners' or 'Articles for Recording Artists and Song Writers.'

Hoffman is quoted extensively in an article entitled "Intellectual Property In The Brave New Digital World" by Ivars Bezdechi in the November 3, 1997 issue of MicroTimes (Issue #171). It's also online at

SPAWN congratulates Mr. Hoffman on his third site award and thanks him for his continued support.


Once SPAWN attains legal nonprofit status, we will be able to obtain grants and other funding available to nonprofit organizations. We are seeking experienced grant writers to assist us in completing grant applications. If you are knowledgeable in this field, please contact SPAWN's Executive Director Mary Embree at 805-643-2403 (phone and fax), P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002. The email address is


The UCLA Extension Writers' Program is sponsoring the Los Angeles Writers Conference from Thursday to Sunday, February 19-22. The purpose is to bring together aspiring writers with some of the area's most accomplished writers and teachers in a series of intensive 4-day workshops.

A selection of 12 different 4-day workshops, where participants work closely with an eminent professional with no more than 19 other enrollees, is offered. Other events include a Publishing Panel entitled "Getting Published: Agents and Publishers Roundtable," and a Film Panel, "Getting Produced: Executives and Agents Roundtable."

Workshops include Writing The Situation Comedy, Writing The Romantic Comedy, Creating A Blueprint For Your Feature Film: An Intensive Story Structure Workshop, Improving Your Dialogue, Writing The Character-Driven Screenplay, Introduction To Screenwriting, Writing Picture Books For Children, Writing Nonfiction For Publication, Writing Crime and Mystery Novels, and Writing The First Novel.

Teachers and panelists include award-winning playwright and performer Luis Alfaro, writer/actor/director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, Happy Days), novelists Susan Taylor Chehak, MFA, and Claire Carmichael, magazine writer Linda Marsa, Harcourt Brace Editorial Director Allen Johnston, William Morris agent Debra Goldstein, 20th Century Fox VP of Comedy Development Michael Hanel, Dreamworks Creative Executive Andrea McCall and numerous other novelists, editors, and film and television screenwriters.

The registration fee is $495 before February 5 and $595 after that date. In addition to the workshops and panels, the fee includes an opening breakfast and concluding Wrap Party. For further information call the UCLA Extension Writers' Program at 310-825-9415 or 800-388 UCLA, or email The Extension Writers' Program offers 450 courses annually in a Continuing Ed format.


Co-editors Keith McMullen, administrator of an extensive library of literature about musical improvisation as well as vintage recordings, and Jeff Kaiser, multi-instrumentalist, teacher, performer and recipient of numerous grants to compose everything from modern dance pieces to opera, have debuted their newsletter pfMENTUM, which is devoted entirely to the development of innovative new musical forms. pfMENTUM will feature interviews, photos, editorials, and concert announcements. For further information, write to P.O. Box 1653, Ventura, CA 93002, or post to

Protecting Copyrights Online

by Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

The World Wide Web has introduced new problems into the realm of intellectual property. As you will see, artists have tremendous resources to help them protect their copyrighted graphic materials. So far, writers have only their negotiating skills.


Do you worry about placing your photos and graphics on the Internet? Of course, your copyright still applies, but we know that people happily grab images for personal and business use. How can we stop them? The answer is digital watermarking which embeds a digital copyright signature into every image.

Unrecompensed online publication is similar to giving away European rights... The publisher is definitely using an article twice after paying once.

Start with Adobe PhotoShop 4.0. Using PhotoShop, you can apply a digital watermark to every image you create or process. The watermark is mostly impervious to changing file and media formats, and the watermark does not damage the image. When you find your image being used by someone else, you can use PhotoShop to uniquely identify the image as yours, even after the image has been printed or scanned.

Marking an image with an unique digital watermark, however, does not communicate the name of the owner. That's where the Digimarc Personal Lite service comes in. This free service provides each registrant with an ID code to be embedded into the digital watermark created with PhotoShop. If you embed your code into the watermark on an image, anyone who downloads that image and views it with PhotoShop will see that the image is copyrighted. If the person viewing the image then connects to the Digimarc Web site, he will find your name as the owner of the copyright on the image.

Of course, we still have the problem of finding our images when they are being illegally used somewhere among the millions and millions of Internet Web pages. The Digimarc Professional service provides the solution by searching for your images. Digimarc will track your images on the Web with a monthly online report giving you a list of any Web sites using your watermarked images on the Web. The charge is only $99.00 per year. See the details at As one reviewer said, the Digimarc method is "Way cool!"

Literary Works

I have not yet found a digital watermarking scheme that works well with written documents on the Web. So far, writers and publishers are just starting to recognize the various aspects of copyright infringement. For example, copyright law states that literary works are "works other than audio visual works, expressed in words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as books…tapes, disks, or cards in which they are embodied."

What does this mean to those of us using the Internet? For starters, did you know that existing copyright law considers your e-mail to be a literary work? This means that the e-mail messages you receive are also considered to be literary work, and we risk copyright infringement every time we forward an e-mail message. There is some debate concerning whether the author of an e-mail message has created the message in a "fixed form." Nevertheless, the copyright of an e-mail message currently belongs to the author of the e-mail message, just as copyright of a letter belongs to the author of the letter. We do not have the right to copy or forward an e-mail without receiving permission from the author.

Those of us who write articles for print publications should be reviewing the contract for each article to see whether the publisher is taking Internet publication rights. Many of the print media are expanding into the Internet and simply converting articles submitted for one-time print publication. This means that the authors are paid only for print publication, yet the publisher can publish the work online without additional payment.

Now, doesn't this sound like signing away European rights to your book? Unrecompensed online publication is similar to giving away European rights, yet it is different. The publisher is definitely using an article twice after paying once.

Is the publisher making any money on the second use? He is probably not making a cent. While most online publications are not yet breaking even, online publishing is a required activity for serious print publishers.

In a judgment reported in Intellectual Property in November 1997, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York chose to side with print publishers who were reprinting in electronic databases and CD-ROMs. The judge decided that The New York Times had the right to convert the contents of their print publications into online databases, because the newspaper had the right to reproduce and distribute "any revision of that collective work."

What does this mean to writers? If we do not secure by contract a higher price for material which will be used both in print and on the Web, we currently have no legal recourse after a publisher publishes our work in both media. It's probably too early in the development of the Web to finagle higher payments for our work, but we should keep a close eye on the profitability of publishers' Web sites. As soon as those sites generate revenue streams for publishers, the authors should be ready to partake in the increased income.

~ Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN's Webmaster, is a technical writer, editor, and professional webmaster who publishes both in print and online. She can be reached at or at SPAWN's Website,

Grammar BOOTS UP

Wired Style: Principles of English Usage In The Digital Age, edited by Constance Hale, is a brand new collection of writings by the editors of Wired Magazine, who "are constantly navigating the shifting verbal currents of the post-Gutenberg era," in order to answer the question "What is the language of the global village?"

Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing by Jay David Bolter (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991) also explores the challenge of "writing in the electronic age" and "how to write for cyberspace." Bolter contends that "text in the new medium will be different than in a book."

Audible Inc. at is a new company that offers spoken word audio programs through the Internet which can be taped and played back later. Audiobooks, NPR programs, lectures and speeches will be available. Audible Inc. was launched in October 1997 by writer Donald Katz. After digging into other corporations for his books The Big Store ( about Sears) and Just Do It (Nike) Katz now has Audible Inc., his own company.

Poets and Writers magazine, which is celebrating 25 years of helping writers to get their work published with up-to-date details on grants and awards, conferences, copyright law, advice about why material is rejected, and literary agents, now has a website at It features a Job Bank, calls for manuscripts, and publishing advice.

At Random magazine, published thrice yearly and covering books, authors and publishing events at Random House Inc., can be viewed cyberspatially at

For those who need to know if 'cyberspatially' is really a word, a sage once said "You could look it up." In this instance, you could do so in either of the aforementioned recent reference books, which were specifically designed to address such questions. ~ KS



SPAWNers are teaming up on the airwaves. SPAWN Board Member, author and Los Angeles Times columnist Frances Halpern co-hosts the talk show "Beyond Words" with Jon O'Brien on 88.3 FM radio from 10 a.m. to noon every Sunday, and poet and SPAWNer Roni recently joined their team.

"Beyond Words" is the only regional broadcast for and about writers and writing. Each week an author or publisher is interviewed, and during the call-in portion of the program, listeners can comment or ask the guests questions.

Roni has added a new feature, a guessing game called "Writer's Riddle." Roni gives clues about the identity of a famous writer and later his/her name is revealed at the segment's end. She encourages local SPAWNers to share this interesting and intelligent program created especially for writers.

SPAWNer Shara Rendell-Smock has a brand new, self-published release: Getting Hooked: Fiction's Opening Sentences, 1950's-1990's. It covers 50 years of all genres—mystery, science fiction, romance, western and mainstream. Best-selling author Nancy Taylor Rosenberg enjoyed Getting Hooked, and her review of it can be read on Shara's website at Visitors also get a chance to win a free copy.

Shara's previous book, Living With Big Cats (International Zoological Society, 1995), earned The Cat Writer's Association Award of Excellence. She also authors weekly health articles, posted on the internet each Tuesday at

If you are a SPAWN member and have news about your upcoming publications, reviews, interviews or book-signings, or you are seeking work as an artist, graphic illustrator, writer, editor or related creative generator, let us know so we can support each other's projects and utilize each other's skills and talents. Write or fax SPAWNews at the SPAWN office.


SPAWN's Novice Computer Users Group focuses on those over age 55 but we welcome anyone just starting out. Please call Ruth Hibbard for information at 805-654-1294, or email her at


The December 1997 SPAWNews contained an inadvertent omission. We noted that SPAWNer Debbie Puente's book Elegantly Easy Crème Brulee And Other Custard Desserts will be distributed in February 1998 by St. Martin's Press, but failed to mention that the publisher is Renaissance Books. Our sincere apologies to Renaissance Books and to Debbie, and we hope that despite our error, we still get to have dessert.




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