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SPAWNews, November, 1997 - Archives Available


SPAWN'S Novice Computer Users Group focuses on those over age 55 but welcomes anyone just starting out. For information call Ruth Hibbard at 805/654-1294, or email her at


by Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

All SPAWN members do research in the literature of particular topics, and some of us research every day. With these proclivities in mind, we have added a link to a new research resource in the Other Sources section of the SPAWN Web. Melvyl(R), the University of California catalog system, allows everyone to search the publications carried by universities in the UC system.

Go to and you'll see the Melvyl search page.

Just enter a title, a subject or an author into the appropriate search field and press the Go button. Melvyl will display the title, author and one line of the abstract for the first ten publications filling your requirements. Press the Forward button to view the next ten publications.

Where are these books and periodicals? Right under each listing you'll see the names of the UC schools carrying the listed publication. If you click on UCSB, for example, you'll receive the call number and the name of the library carrying the publication at UCSB.

Using Melvyl you can find the information you need online. You'll know exactly where to go to research those necessary details.

- Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN's Webmaster, is a technical writer, editor, and professional webmaster who specializes in the presentation of information both in print and online. She's at, or at SPAWN's Website,

SPAWN MAKES Publisher's Weekly

SPAWN's many endeavors on behalf of writers and artistic networkers everywhere merited a mention in the October 13, 1997 issue of Publisher's Weekly Magazine, one of the most influential and widely circulated magazines in the publishing industry. Thanks to all members whose efforts have sustained the organization, thereby helping SPAWN to 'get some ink,' and some prominent ink at that.

A drama critic is a man who leaves no turn unstoned.

- George Bernard Shaw


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), or write to SPAWN, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002. The email address is



Susan Casey, President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Writers Union, was the guest speaker at the October meeting of the Conejo Valley Chapter of SPAWN. Founded in 1983, the NWU has 4500 members including novelists, journalists, poets, technical writers, cartoonists and textbook authors. NWU represents members in legal cases of nonpayment from publishers, and works to prevent the exploitation of writers' work by electronic media corporations.

SPAWN: What are the main goals of NWU?

CASEY: Our goal is to improve the economic situation of the freelance writer. To do that our 4500 member organization provides grievance assistance in disputes between writers and their employers, contract advice, a database full of inside information on over 400 agents, health insurance, job banks, workshops and the opportunity to network with other writers.

SPAWN: What is the typical situation where writers experience difficulty getting compensated?

We have recovered more than $1 million in writers' fees through our grievance assistance program...

The most important issue writers need to be concerned about today is retaining rights to their work.

CASEY: Writers usually contact us when their publisher stops returning their calls or letters of demand for payment. Most grievances are for non-payment. In some cases, it is over contract terms or because the publisher has lost original art work or manuscripts.

SPAWN: What success has NWU had?

CASEY: We have recovered more than $1 million in writers' fees through our grievance assistance program.

SPAWN: What are some other NWU member benefits?

CASEY: We offer medical insurance. We also offer press passes, grievance and contract advice, a national technical writers' job hotline, discount car rental rates, free publications about book contracts, and guides to author-agent agreements.

SPAWN: Tell us about NWU's "Bookstore Browsers" program.

CASEY: As part of our book campaign, writers around the country have volunteered to visit bookstores to see if NWU members' works are on display. We also help each other out by

putting up visiting authors when they are in town on book tours.

SPAWN: What is NWU's Agents Database?

CASEY: Our Agents Database includes information on over

400 agents. It includes information from writers who have been or are represented by the agents listed. In many cases there are personal comments by writers who have also included their names and phone numbers so that they can be contacted.

SPAWN: What is the most critical issue in the Internet Age?

CASEY: The most important issue writers need to be concerned about today is retaining rights to their work.

SPAWN: How did you personally first become involved with NWU?

CASEY: I became active after being threatened with a lawsuit by a major publisher.

SPAWN: How can we get more information about NWU?

CASEY: Call 310-281-6901 and leave a message on our hotline.

SPAWN: Tell us about your own latest book.

CASEY: Women Invent!: Two Centuries of Discoveries That Have Shaped Our World has just arrived in bookstores. It's for children aged 9-15, and it provides both a survey of the inventions of women since 1715 and an overview of the invention process from idea to product. It's a great book for kids since it provides lots of stories about how women invented as well as a resource chapter detailing how kids can become involved in invention contests themselves.

SPAWN: Best of luck to you with Women Invent!


Renaissance Books Acquisitions Editor and SPAWN Board of Directors Member Richard F.X. O'Connor is alerting SPAWN members to a new distribution opportunity. Ingram Book Company is one of the largest, most influential U.S. distributors. Their customers include thousands of bookstores and libraries nationwide. The Ingram Express inventory is a program to which publishers can submit titles for a 6-month 'trial run.' The program serves as the initial stage of a potential business partnership between Ingram and publishers. During the 6 month period, Ingram's selection committee analyzes titles that sell consistently or demonstrate future sales potential.

To qualify, title(s) must have an EAN barcode on cover 4, a printed ISBN, a price printed on the book, a spine with the title imprinted thereon, and must not have objectionable content.

Publishers can send Ingram 4 free copies and the title will be added to the inventory. During the following 6 months, the demand for the title is assessed. Publishers must extend Ingram a 55% off retail price, free freight, and 100% returnable less 20% reserve for customer returns agreement. If the publisher is unable to offer these terms, their title(s) will not be stocked but may be made available through Ingram's Special Order Program.

In addition, Ingram requests publishers to provide them with a marketing plan detailing strategies, publicity, prior sales, comparable book analysis, national chain bookstore interest, independent bookstore interest, and other pertinent information.

"Essentially," O'Connor comments, "any publisher can get his/her book into the Ingram system for a 6-month initial trial," if they are able to meet Ingram's terms. For further information, contact Mr. Eddie Thornhill, Publisher Relations Manager, Ingram Book Company, One Ingram Blvd., LaVergne, TN 37086-3629, or email Mr. Thornhill at:


by Kittie Templeton

Writing the historical epic The Righteous Rebel: Adam Cloud and the Natchez Intrigues, 1790-1975 was a wonderfully enriching experience. To be published is still a miracle to me. But all that idealistic stuff was suddenly over with publication. I was faced with the demands of marketing and promoting.

I began long before publication, speaking wherever I was requested about the history or genealogy aspects. Before my Texas publisher risked backing an unknown author, he wanted some indication the book would sell. He suggested I draw up a list of names of potential buyers and design a flyer. I provided 400 flyer labels from contacts in Natchez and Jackson (Mississippi, the story's locale), historical and genealogical societies, educational organizations, college history departments, libraries, members of the Cloud families of America, the Ventura County Writers Club and personal friends. He mailed the flyers with a return postcard enclosed for the recipient to indicate interest in buying such a book. Nearly 50% were returned, and I received a contract for publication.

I asked the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, where Adam Cloud had built the first church, if he would read the manuscript and support me. His archivist read it, gave it high praise, and the Bishop announced its publication in his newsletter to 25,000 members.

I requested and received the same courtesy from the Bishops of Louisiana and West Louisiana. We will only know if these promotional ploys pay off when my books get into enough bookstores to really test the market. Meanwhile, I do the usual exhausting activities taught to us by the experts: TV, radio talk shows, bookstore visits, newswriting, letter, and telephone promotion. Some radio shows are at 6 a.m.!

-Kittie Templeton was nominated by the Book Publicists of Southern California for a 1997 Irwin Award for excellence in book publicity in the Best Fiction Campaign category. Her next signing is Sunday, November 9 at 2 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks Borders' Books.


The Working Parent is a new magazine circulated throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Articles of 750-1000 words submitted by freelancers will be considered for inclusion and paid at the rate of .10/word if accepted. The Working Parent was launched by the publisher of Business Digest, and focuses on juggling parent/job responsibilities, educational/recreational resources, health, career options and childcare. The address is P.O. Box 1860, Ojai, CA 93023 and the fax is 805-646-9995.

Arts Festival

A consortium of Ventura area arts organizations will present a monthlong series of plays, art exhibits, dance performances, madrigal music, improvisational comedy and much more from November 7 until December 5 at the Addison Bldg. at 38 West Main Street in downtown Ventura. For "38 West Theatre Arts Festival" information call 805-650-1423.

Who Counts? Creativity Beyond Age

by Andora Hodgin

Dynamic actor/writer/producer Helena Hale presents the world premiere of Who Counts? Creativity Beyond Age co-hosted by SPAWN's Santa Barbara Chapter and the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (CAF) at CAF in Paseo Nuevo on Saturday, November 8 at 1:30 p.m. The multi-talented Ms. Hale will reveal how artists have felt and spoken about the challenges and rewards of age and will perform excerpts in costume from her original shows, transforming in front of the audience from one character to another. She has designed this presentation, with music and slides, for people of all ages.

Hale will also speak frankly about her own career changes from Broadway actor to Santa Barbara City College professor and how these experiences contributed to her fulfillment and success as an actor/writer/producer. In addition, she will share varied interesting and unexpected adventures and friendships resulting from her far-flung research and performances. Hale communicates vividly and with great humor about the adventures of her touring life.

Internationally acclaimed for her One-Woman Theatre, Hale has presented her original shows about women artists, as well as her program of readings A Woman s Place: Intimate Glimpses of Six Women of 19th Century France, in numerous museums, theatres, universities, galleries and arts festivals. Her accolades include spellbinding performance ... Audiences are transfixed by the humanity, humor and life that come through her characters ... powerful and compelling ... enriching experience ... most entertaining ... a tremendous success ... Your courage is inspiring and your talent greatly appreciated ... Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Your performance was the highlight...uplifting and invigorating, a real inspiration.

For further information about this not-to-be missed premiere, see Chapter News.

~ Arts and editorial consultant Andora Hodgin is President of SPAWN s Santa Barbara Chapter.

SPAWN S.B. Writers Circle

Santa Barbara Chapter member Dallas Glenn is facilitating a writers group for SPAWN members of any level beginner or published who seek a safe place to read and give feedback. Non-members may attend one free introductory meeting. For further information contact Dallas at 805/899-1174, or at




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