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From the President
Welcome to all the new members and subscribers who have discovered SPAWN this month!
Recently, I received an email from a member asking if we could have a teleseminar with an expert who specializes in making more money as a writer. Naturally, I thought of Hope Clark, the brains behind the wonderful Funds for Writers newsletter.
You asked for it; you got it! Our next SPAWN member teleseminar is June 10 and Hope Clark will offer up strategies you can use to earn more from your writing efforts. She’ll be talking about everything from grants to freelance writing sites. And she’ll also share tips for avoiding the scary scams and low-paying time-wastering sites you encounter out online.
You can always see the upcoming member teleseminars on this page:
If there are experts you want to hear from or topics you want us to cover, please do feel free to send me an email. It never hurts to ask, and often nice folks like Hope, even say yes
Until next month, keep on creating!
June Teleseminar Announcement!
Hope Clark to Present Teleseminar for SPAWN Members
Who: C. Hope Clark, Editor of Funds for Writers
When: June 10, 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time (4 pm Eastern)
How: Members will receive an email with call-in details
Title: “Make More Money Writing: Strategies for Finding New Funding Streams”
Read more: http://www.spawn.org/blog/?p=1151
Steve worked nights. Even with thirty-five years of seniority, it was the best shift he could bid. That all changed and in a dramatic way. The regional manager toured the workplace and Steve got to talk to her for a minute. “Maybe you’d like something to read while you’re traveling—this is what I do when I’m not here,” he said, as he handed her two books he’d written.
A few weeks later, he was called into the office and wondered why. His boss said the manager had been impressed with his writing—would he be interested in starting and writing a daily newsletter for the employees? It would mean working daytime hours. Steve says it took him 4.2 seconds to respond with an emphatic YES! He’s been smiling ever since.
Another friend has been a food writer since I met her six years ago. As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter, she wrote an article that will be in the Sunday paper (on the front page of the travel section). After all the articles she’s done, this one made the difference. She now sees herself as a writer, not just the foodie.
The point is—how do you introduce yourself? Are you a writer or somebody who does a little writing?
The saying used to be, “You are what you eat.” I’d like to remind you of the concept, “You are what you think.”
What do you think?
— Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews, firstname.lastname@example.org
SPAWN Market Update
by Patricia Fry
The June SPAWN Market Update includes the usual array of resources, leads, and information you need in order to succeed as a writer/author. Be sure to check out the new job listings directories, publishers of memoirs, and job sites for graphic artists and photographers. But pay special attention this month to the Bonus Item. It focuses on the mysterious world of social networking.
If you’ve been using some of the social media programs such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn in hopes of increasing your exposure and book sales and you’re not seeing much in the way of results, don’t miss this issue. We interview Penny Leisch, a self-taught expert on social media. She demystifies the whole social media concept. Learn which social network site is best for you and your project. Find out how to maximize your exposure. After reading this interview with Penny Leisch and putting some of her suggestions into practice, you may finally begin to experience the results you’ve been seeking.
If you are a freelance writer or author, do your career or your book promotion efforts a huge favor. Spring forward and join SPAWN NOW. It’s only $65/year. That includes 12 issues of the valuable SPAWN Market Update. Check out the other benefits of joining here http://www.spawn.org
Overheard on SPAWNDiscuss
Topic of the day on our Yahoo SPAWNDiscuss list (for members only): We all seem to have multiple personalities—should we have multiple Web sites and blogs so people can find all of us in our varying forms? Here are some of the comments:
Barbara Florio-Graham—“I have mixed feelings about multiple Web sites. I find too much of my work crosses over from one of my areas of expertise to another, and I think if I had two (or more) sites, I’d find it cumbersome to keep both of them updated. I could provide a link to my ‘other’ site, instead of to other pages, but there’s always a danger when you offer a link, as the person may not return to ‘home.’ I think the important thing on any Web site is a
comprehensive site map linked from the home page. This is how my clients find what they’re looking for.”
Michael Marcus—“People have multiple Web sites for multiple purposes, like having a van and a sports car, or jeans and formal wear, or an iPod and an iPad and a laptop and a desktop, or an apartment in the city and a house in the country. I’ve had Web sites since 1995. One has been online since that year. Others have lasted years, months or just weeks. I currently operate about forty Web sites and blogs for various purposes.”
Susan Daffron has numerous Web sites and she says, —“The reason mostly has to do with having been online for a long time and the fact that they all serve different purposes. The bad thing is that keeping them updated can be a challenge. The good thing is that they are all linked to one another and I created them all myself, so I don’t have to pay a Web developer to update them. When we release a new book and set up a new site, we add the link and a rotating ad on one or more of the article sites. We also link from the corporate Web site, so it is spidered by Google virtually overnight. Our highest-traffic site gets 2.4 million visitors per year, so having ads for our own products rotating on it helps with book sales. Obviously some of the other sites don’t get anywhere near that much traffic, but they all get some.”
Helen Gallagher—“The best Web sites show the full menu of a person’s offering: talent,
services, information, and yet we can’t expect visitors to struggle to find what they’re looking for. When we grow our business and travel different paths, we need to leave a better trail. Blogs are sometimes the answer, for those who don’t want multiple sites. Blogs are often appreciated because of their singular focus. So Patricia is right; it’s hard for us to have just one site, with material that might be germane to two or three different audiences.”
Leslie Korenko suggests reserving several domain names (like your name, your book title, your blog name, a catchy phrase) and then redirecting them to a page on your main Web site.
There were also many other good suggestions and comments offered during this discussion as well as links to some interesting Web sites.
Join SPAWN and our yahoo email group so you can be in on the conversation!
Understanding Book Discounts
by Susan Daffron, SPAWN President
Author’s Note: Setting book discounts is another topic that came up on SPAWN Discuss recently, and Sandy asked me to write an article about it for the newsletter. Because it’s a big topic, I’ve included the introduction, with a link to the complete article on the SPAWN site.
Many book publishers find discounts confusing. When you sell your book, you need to decide on the discount you will offer and whether or not you will take returns.
For me, it took ages to “get” how discounts work because of the name itself. Anyone who shops thinks “discount” equals a very good thing. (Get 10 pairs of socks at a 50% discount!)
However, as a publisher, setting a higher discount means you make less money per book, which is obviously a bad thing.
Read the rest of the article here: http://www.spawn.org/editing/bookdiscounts.htm
Ask the Book Doctor:
About Military Titles, Word Counts, Dark Fiction, Copyright Marks, and Formal versus Informal Narrative
By Bobbie Christmas
Q: What are the rules for capitalizing government and military titles? For instance, would I write “Hold him,” the general said, or would this be correct: “Hold him,” the General said.
What about when using the characters name? “Hold him,” General Smith said.
The same would apply for senators, representatives, etc.
Also, what is a good book on Chicago style?
A: Chicago Style, preferred by most book publishers, dictates that a business or military title be capitalized only when it precedes the name, as in General Smith. When using only the title, it is not capitalized. The correct usages are as follows:
“Hold him,” the general said.
“Hold him,” General Smith said.
“Hold him,” the senator said.
“Hold him,” Senator Smith said.
The best and only official book on Chicago Style is The Chicago Manual of Style produced by the University of Chicago Press. A new copy costs as much as $40.00, though, and the sixteenth edition is going to be released in the fall of 2010. You may want to wait to purchase the newest edition then.
Q: Please give general guidelines of word counts for short stories, novellas, novelettes, and novels. What is the minimum length for a short story? I have several that are only a few hundred words long. Are they short shorts?
Also, what is “dark fiction”?
A: Short stories have no minimum or maximum, but some publishers or contests have preferred lengths or maximums, so check with the publications or competitions where you plan to send your stories. A few hundred words may be considered a short-short, yes. Flash fiction might be even fewer than a hundred words.
The recommended length for a novel is between 50,000 and 100,000 words; anything under that word count might be considered a novella or a novelette; the two terms mean the same thing. Anything over that length might get a manuscript rejected, or a publisher might request that the manuscript be cut down to 100,000 words or under, to save on printing costs, unless you already have a strong following.
When you think of dark fiction, think of vampires, werewolves, serial killers, things that go bump in the night, Stephen King, horror, skinheads, Bram Stoker, zombies, evil, bloodthirsty beings, and the like.
Q: When I send my manuscript to readers or agents, should I put the copyright c in a circle on the title page, on every page, or anywhere at all? Should a date be there also?
A: I tend to trust people and therefore do not put a copyright mark on my manuscripts, because the laws of copyright protect us—that is, we own the rights to all our intellectual property the moment we create it. Also, agents and publishers who see a copyright mark may think the person who sent the manuscript is unknowledgeable or paranoid, because it is not necessary to officially register the copyright until the work is laid out and ready to be published in book form.
If, however, you feel more comfortable marking your manuscripts with a copyright mark, the traditional method for showing a copyright is to use the symbol c in a circle or write the word “Copyright.” Either form should then be followed by the year and your first and last name, all on one line. It should appear on the title page only, and because it is not standard to have a copyright mark on a manuscript, there is no standard for where on the title page to put it. I would probably put it two lines below the name of the author on the title page.
Do not, however, go to the trouble of registering the copyright with the government until the book is about to be published. The content will no doubt change between the time you write it and it gets published, so wait until the book is in its final form before paying to register the copyright.
Q: Where can I find the guidelines about how formal or informal the narrative should be?
A: I cannot point to one specific source for formal versus informal writing. But I can tell you that slang, contractions, dialect, and clichés are informal, whereas most narrative should be formal. That said, I used an informal narrative style in my own book, Write In Style, including contractions, because I wanted the book to reflect my personality and be upbeat, friendly, and not too textbook-like. It’s important to know the guidelines and break them only for a specific reason, such as when the narrative intentionally reflects the voice of a specific narrator.
Bobbie Christmas, book doctor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too. Send them to Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Visit Bobbie’s blog at http://bobbiechristmas.blogspot.com. Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at www.zebraeditor.com.
Want to be part of the Member News? Send us your items and we’ll be glad to include your good news in the next issue. Want to be a Member Interview? It will give you a chance to plug your book, your business, yourself. Just email me and let me know you’d like to be included. The email is email@example.com
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Susan Daffron writes: “My book Funds to the Rescue: 101 Fundraising Ideas for Humane and Animal Rescue Groups was named the winner in the How To category of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
More information about the awards is at: www.IndieBookAwards.com. More information about the book is at: www.FundstotheRescue.com
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From Patricia Fry: “I signed my newest book, Catscapades, True Cat Tales at Noah’s Apothecary in Ojai this week and had a great time. This book is featured on several cat-related sites and has had some great reviews. Steve Dale, who has a syndicated newspaper column, included Catscapades in his recent review of cat books. http://www.matilijapress.com/catscapades.html.
I just posted my 800th publishing/writing blog at http://www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog.
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Sandra Beckwith recently participated in two workshops at the American Society of Journalists and Authors annual conference in New York City in April. She moderated “Big Changes, Big Rewards,” a panel on how to rejuvenate a writing career, and served as a panelist for “Content Into Cash,” a session on how writers can turn their intellectual capital into information products.
Sandra was also recently appointed to the board of trustees of the Raymond Simon Institute at Utica College, Utica, NY.
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Leslie Korenko was honored with a (NABE) Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – History category, for her book Kelleys Island 1810-1861, reflecting the courageous, poignant and often quirky lives of island pioneers. She previously won the Reviewers Choice Award 2010 – History/Science (a Reader Views Award). This book tells the story of the settling of one little island in Lake Erie. In 1830 it was the frontier, now it is one of Ohio’s most popular tourist destinations. Leslie is finalizing the second book in the series and expects to be in print in July. Watch for Kelleys Island 1862-1865 – The Civil War, the Island Soldiers & the Island Queen. This new book will be of particular interest to Civil War enthusiasts, as it contains many original letters from Ohio soldiers. You can read more here: http://www.kelleysislandstory.com
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SPAWN President Susan Daffron and her husband James Byrd are offering a writing retreat for non-fiction book authors this fall (September 24-29, 2010). Information about the retreat is available here: Cabin in the Woods Writing Retreat
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Susan Alcott Jardine writes: “I participated in the Book Publicists of SoCal Booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA April 24 & 25. Met some nice folks and sold/signed copies of THE CHANNEL: Stories from L.A. both days.
I’m in the process (next week) of having some professional headshots done so that my Web site can be re-designed by a very good Web designer, with a blog, drop-down menus and “the whole enchilada,” RSS feed, social network connection, mailing list, etc. He will be doing it to serve both the artwork and my one book, so far…hope for the future. (Note: Susan’s Web site is: www.GreenDoorEditions.com.)
On June 6, I’ll be participating in the El Segundo Author Fair, to be held at their public library. There will be two panel discussions, a children’s area, music, and book signings. This is a beach city in Southern Calif.
I plan to do the West Hollywood Book Fair in Sept. with BPSC. Am still sending out media kits for reviewers and will try also to do some local indie bookstores.
My husband and I donated a Limited Edition Giclee in April to the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble of L.A. for its 40th Anniversary Gala and auction. We also donated an original oil painting to the Providence Saint Joseph Foundation (Medical Center in Burbank, CA) for their summer art June 22. The artwork will become part of the medical center’s permanent collection. Neal and I
have been donating artwork to the medical center since 2000, as we both received cancer treatment there in 2000 and 2001, and we were happy to donate the work for their “Healing Through Art” program.”
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Joel Friedlander from Marin Bookworks writes: “My news for now is that I’ve put together a 27-page free report I call “The Self-Publisher’s Quick Guide to Copyright” and I’m giving it away to anyone who wants to sign up for the free newsletter. The copyright report brings together a lot of articles from my blog on copyright, fair use, how to obtain copyright, copyright myths, and other articles. I hope people find it
useful. I’m just starting up a newsletter related to book design, book production, self-publishing and related topics. The first issue will be out very soon and I’ll post a link when it’s available.” (Here’s the url: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/newsletter-subscriptions.)
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Note: To have your announcements included in Member News, you must be a paid member of SPAWN. Please email your news to firstname.lastname@example.org
Words to Live By
by Bonnie Myhrum
Yesterday I heard the word alacrity used by someone who was being interviewed on National Public Radio. I’ve read the word; I’ve heard the word spoken; I am somewhat embarrassed to say I’ve never looked it up. Therefore, I am looking it up right now.
ALACRITY (a noun)–promptness in response; cheerful readiness.
Earlier yesterday morning my husband mentioned irascible, which had been used the previous evening on “Jeopardy.” I’ve always had the idea irascible means something like crabby or grouchy, but I’ve never looked IT up, either.
IRASCIBLE (an adjective)–to become angry, be angry; marked by hot temper and easily provoked anger.
Thinking about these words as I was driving to Kalamazoo, I was reminded of laconic, which I have read many times, especially in novels written at least fifty years ago, and never have known what it meant. So now I’m looking up laconic.
LACONIC (an adjective)–the Spartan reputation for terseness of speech; using or involving the use of a minimum of words; concise to the point of seeming rude or mysterious.
So there you (we) have it! I will never again wonder what those words mean when I hear or read any of them.
The mention of irascible (an IR word in the “Jeopardy” game) made me think of irregardless, a word about which my mother and her brother argued nearly every time they saw one another. He defended his use of it and she told him it was a useless non-word. I won’t repeat everything the dictionary says about irregardless, but I will tell you that it is a blend of irrespective and regardless that is commonly used but is not commonly accepted. The dictionary recommends using regardless instead.
Regardless, it is obvious I am not laconic and never have been. My goal is always to work with alacrity and I certainly hope no one considers me to be irascible.
Read Bonnie’s blog at http://professionalsecretary.wordpress.com
by Patricia Fry
The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking Like a Professional
By Philip A. Yaffe
Indi Publishing Group (2009)
286 pages — $14.00
Philip Yaffe wrote this book primarily for those students and professionals who hope to further their career through public speaking and serious writing. He uses what he calls “The Gettysburg Approach.” What does this mean? Yaffe says that to his mind, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was one of the greatest speeches of all time because, “It incorporates all of the fundamental principles and many of the tips and techniques I hope to teach in this book.” In fact, you may want to skip to Appendix J, where the author gives a line-by-line analysis of the Gettysburg Address, before digging into the philosophy, lessons, and exercises in this book.
After what Yaffe terms “An Indispensable Introduction,” he begins by teaching fundamentals of good writing. His take on this topic differs from any I’ve seen, as he attempts to use logic along with his examples. He seems to teach a mindset rather than writing principles or a writing style.
There are three sections in the book. Section One covers writing, while Section Two deals with public speaking. And this is one reason I chose this book to review. Most of our members and probably a good portion of our SPAWNews subscribers are authors. Authors who want to sell books really must get out and do some speaking; however, many of us need guidance along these lines and here’s a book that provides quite a bit of direction. As he did in the writing section, Yaffe addresses the attitude of a successful public speaker as well as the fundamentals of the presentation process. He even suggests how to get into the mind of your audience.
Would you like to try operating a slide show or a PowerPoint presentation with your speeches? This author shows you how in great detail—even as far as the colors you should use on your slides or in your PowerPoint display.
Section Three, the Appendices, covers over 150 pages, and is designed to provide detailed information on specific topics such as how to get into the mind of your reader, how to excite reader interest, how to get the most from your word processor. He also includes exercises and examples throughout these pages.
The Gettysburg Approach offers an unusual slant to enhancing your writing and provides some unique suggestions for speaking on a more professional level. It is obvious that Yaffe has put a lot of thought into developing this program. Who is this author? He’s a former feature writer with The Wall Street Journal and he currently teaches writing and public speaking in Brussels, Belgium.
Tapping Your Innate Creativity
by Barbara Florio Graham
Have you ever tried “mirror” writing? The notebooks of Leonardo DaVinci show that he wrote everything backward, so that in order to read the writing at a museum, a mirror is mounted in front of the case where it is displayed. No one knows why he did this, but it could have indicated how much his right brain was engaged.
Mirror writing can be used to tap into your right brain as you try to form the letters. Don’t use a mirror, as that defeats the purpose of the exercise.
Start by printing something backward, first in all upper case, and then using upper and lower case. Once you can do this without making too many errors, try cursive writing. That’s more of a challenge, but once you get the hang of it, it can be fun.
There are several benefits to this exercise. First, if you tackle something you’re stuck on by starting to write it backward, your right brain will likely help you proceed. Because you have to concentrate on how the letters are formed facing in reverse direction, things deep in your imagination can be freed, and new ideas or approaches will flow.
The other advantage of learning to do this is that it helps you read backwards and upside down. That can be very helpful if you’re standing in front of someone’s desk and wondering what the person is reading or writing!
Read a description of my online course, Tapping Your Innate Creativity, at www.SimonTeakettle.com/tapping.htm.
Featured Member – A. William Benitez
Q: Did you have to do a great deal of research for your book?
A: You could say that I did a great deal of research but it was done over many years of firsthand experience. From that standpoint, over twenty years of research went into this book.
Q: Then you became a writer. What motivated the change?
A: I’m still a woodworker; I just don’t do it as a business any longer. I’ve been interested in writing for years, having written on other topics, and decided to write about how to operate a successful woodworking business, in order to share what I learned.
Q: Is the emphasis on woodworking or on business?
A: The emphasis is on woodworking as a business. I describe some simplified woodworking techniques that helped me save time and increase profits, but the emphasis is on the business of woodworking, to help woodworkers use their woodworking skills for profit over the long term. My book assumes that readers already have good woodworking skills, but I do include safety tips. A moment of carelessness can ruin more than just the project.
Q: Do you think that any competent woodworker can succeed in the woodworking business?
A: It depends on the individual. To succeed, a woodworker has to be motivated enough to start and operate a fulltime business. Some highly competent woodworkers aren’t motivated to be small business owners. Like writing, small business requires competency, discipline, and self-motivation. Success will elude anyone not interested in performing the business-related tasks.
Q: How does a woodworker know how much to charge for jobs?
A: That’s a critically important topic to which I devote an entire chapter in my book. Financial success in the woodworking business demands that every job be profitable. Collecting for your work is just as important as charging enough; many professional woodworkers fall short in this. Careless collection policies can create serious problems, and my book describes the best ways to make certain you are charging enough and collecting in full for every job.
Q: You said that you are still a woodworker; what is your latest project?
A: I just finished building all new kitchen cabinets for our home. I enjoy woodworking and have built cabinets and furniture pieces and have many more projects in mind.
Q: What’s the most important thing to remember in the woodworking business?
A: Never stop learning. No matter how much you already know, things are always changing and new and better ideas will come your way. Be open to them and your profit will increase accordingly.
A. William Benitez has been involved in woodworking for most of his life. He owned and operated a woodworking business for over twenty years and has now written a book covering all his methods and techniques: Woodworking Business: Start Quickly and Operate Successfully; An Expert Woodworker Reveals the Keys to Succeeding in the Woodworking Business. It is available now at http://woodworking-business.com and on Amazon.com.
Contests, Events and Opportunities
We have moved the Contests, Awards, Events, and Opportunities listings to the blog. Please use these links to get the latest information
SPAWN is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. SPAWNews advises “caveat emptor” when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you. SPAWNews was proofread by Bonnie Myhrum, Professional Secretary, LLC. 734-455-0987.