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From the President
Welcome to all the new members and subscribers who have discovered SPAWN this month!
Our fearless editor Sandy pointed out to me that the theme for this issue of SPAWNews is expansion. Yes, I know it’s summertime, but as creative people, we all need to remain on the lookout for new ways to expand our ideas, markets, and opportunities. That’s why I’m excited about our upcoming July teleseminar with Stephanie Chandler. She’ll give you ideas for expanding your publishing horizons beyond the book to other profitable streams of income.
Note that we’ve added more teleseminars to the events page. In August, Jerry Waxler will talk about how to deal with writers block. In September Brian Jud will talk about special sales and in October the Gail Z. Martin offers thrify marketing tips for authors launching books. You can always see the upcoming member teleseminars on this page:
If you have suggestions for experts you’d like to hear or teleseminar topics you’d like us to include in our line-up, please don’t hesistate to get in touch with me.
Until next month, keep on creating!
July Teleseminar Announcement!
Stephanie Chandler to Present Teleseminar for SPAWN Members
Who: Stephanie Chandler, CEO of Authority Publishing
When: July 15, 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time (1 pm Eastern)
How: Members will receive an email with call-in details
Title: “Publish, Promote and Profit from Books, eBooks and Information Products”
Read more: http://www.spawn.org/blog/?p=1072
Like what you see in the newsletter? Drop us a line and let us know we’re doing it right. Suggestions? They’re always welcome. It’s our goal to improve the newsletter and SPAWN services each month to better serve our members. To accomplish this, we need feedback. Bonnie is traveling, so Words will be back next month. Barbara Florio-Graham is taking this month off from giving us creativity prompts. In their places, it’s bonus month! I’m adding a bonus book review as Patricia Fry is ahead on her reading. And there’s a bonus item in the Market Update that you won’t want to miss. Grab your beverage of choice, sit back, and enjoy!
I’ve been threatening to start a blog, expand my areas of writing, and finish painting the kitchen. By the time you read this, two out of three will be going on—poor kitchen. Usually, I write about dogs and cats. The blog will be about coffee. Expanding my writing means I’m going to meet alpacas. I’ll spend a day meeting a lot of alpacas and learning about them, followed by a day meeting one little alpaca who wouldn’t give up. It should be a fun time, as long as I watch where I step.
President Susan Daffron reports the success of last month’s teleseminar with Hope Clark of Funds for Writers. If you missed it, you can hear it by going to the Members Only area of the SPAWN Web site. If you’ve grown into writing books, not articles, hearing this teleseminar might inspire you to think short again. It’s valuable information, provided at no cost to members.
Are you planning to write a book with another author? You’ll want to read the book review on successful collaboration for authors, in this issue. If you’re thinking of expanding your area of expertise, consider the New Age market. See Patricia Fry’s book review for help. Sometimes expanding your market means narrowing your focus so you can target specific magazines or publishers. Which is easier—writing to a market or finding a market for your writing? Would you rather send your work to an editor who says “this is a good fit for our magazine” or to one who says “this isn’t for us”?
Me? I like acceptance, followed by the check!
— Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews, email@example.com
SPAWN Market Update
by Patricia Fry
This month’s SPAWN Market Update focuses on education as well as opportunities. We provide over 100 opportunities and resources for writers and authors. The highlights include:
- How to research your choice of publishing companies before getting involved—what one SPAWN member discovered about some well-known pay-to-publish services and how she uncovered the complaints.
- We tell you about a catalog with standards. They will accept only well-written books to showcase to their list of nearly 35,000 librarians, booksellers and members of the media.
- We list some of the best blogs for freelance writers and published authors.
- And if you ever struggle with coming up with blog topics, we found a site that can help.
- The Bonus Item tells how to make more money writing magazine articles—a piece that was inspired by Hope Clark’s June SPAWN teleseminar.
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—this month’s hot topic was plagiarism. What do you do when you find paragraphs, sections, or even whole pages of your work in someone else’s book, as if it were his or her own work? Is there any recourse? There were many great suggestions, comments and lists of Web sites.
On a lighter note, SPAWN member Barbara Florio-Graham shared this list from another SPAWN member, Marin Bookworks (The Book Designer):
The Bookseller runs an annual award, the Diagram Prize, for the
oddest book titles of the year. Here are the finalists for the oddest book titles of the year in 2009:
- David Crompton’s Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter (Glenstrae Press)
- James A. Yannes’s Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich (Trafford)
- Daina Taimina’s Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes (A K Peters)
- Ronald C Arkin’s Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots (CRC Press)
- Ellen Scherl and Maria Dubinsky’s The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (SLACK Inc)
- Tara Jansen-Meyer’s What Kind of Bean Is This Chihuahua? (Mirror)
Join SPAWN and our Yahoo email group so you can be in on the conversation!
Ask the Book Doctor:
About Essays, Publishing, and Self-Publishing
By Bobbie Christmas
Q: I just wrote up an account of an event that happened to me when we first moved to Georgia. I want to know if it qualifies as an essay. It is not a series of musings on a central theme, as in some essays I’ve read. It is the true story of what happened and what I learned from it.
I looked up how to write an essay, and the information told how to write a persuasive essay. Mine isn’t that type of writing, though. If I write a nonfiction piece without attempting to prove a point, is it an essay or an opinion? It would help to get clarification, because I usually don’t write nonfiction.
A: Essays come in many forms, including personal opinion, persuasive, and personal experience. Many humor columnists write essays that relate personal experiences combined with their personal opinions about what took place.
Personal experience essays concentrate on a specific event or related events, and they unfold with action and dialogue, which sets them apart from a persuasive essay. If your story is shown through action and dialogue with strong writing, it becomes creative nonfiction. If you already write strong fiction, you should have no problem writing strong personal experience essays, too, and it sounds as if that’s what you have done by writing about your experiences when you moved to a new state.
Q: How would I go about publishing an original one-hundred-page poetry book? Generally how much would the profit be from such a book?
A: You have quite a few options and potential paths when it comes to publishing. Before you decide to self-publish or try to sell a book to a publisher, first you must know your goals and assess your abilities. My fifty-minute seminar on CD, called “I Finished My Book; What Should I Do Next?” covers the decision-making process, so you’ll know which way to go—whether you want to self-publish or attempt to find a publisher—and if you self-publish, whether you want to use a traditional printer, print-on-demand (POD), or a company that helps in the publishing process. I crammed the seminar with information and included many pages of supplemental printed material, so you can understand why I can’t answer your question in detail in only a few paragraphs.
Here’s a little information to help, though.
If you already know you want to self-publish, your next step depends on whether you want to handle all the pre-printing details, such as editing, internal and cover design, ISBN numbers, and finding a printer, or whether you prefer to rely on a company that handles those details for you—for a price. Read a good book on self-publishing and learn all aspects of the process before you make your decision. Also carefully scrutinize the company you choose as a printer or publisher—there is a difference—and carefully ensure that the services the company provides are the services you need.
You also asked how much profit to expect. Let me first ask a question: When did you last buy a poetry book? If you are like most Americans, you have not bought a single poetry book in the last ten years. Although millions of people write poetry, not many write it well, and even fewer buy poetry books. Poetry books rarely make any profit at all.
Although few Americans make much, if any, money from poetry, it is the highest form of literary art. Once writers master poetry, they can apply those skills to their fiction and nonfiction and increase their chances of making money with their prose.
My news should not discourage you, however. If you put a great deal of time and effort into marketing, you might make some money after all. At least one poet I know used POD for his books and he travels the country giving readings. He writes excellent poetry and performs it well, and he has sold nearly a thousand copies of his book. He chose POD, which gives him less profit per book than if he had chosen a traditional printer, but he did not have to invest a huge amount of money up front or store thousands of books, so the trade-off suits his needs.
As you can see, the answer to both questions—how to go about getting a poetry book published and how much you might profit—are the same: It depends on what you are willing and able to do, and none of the paths is simple. Educate yourself first and then decide what works best for you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Patricia Fry announces her new PatriciaFry.com Web site. http://www.patriciafry.com. Come on over and check it out. The Webmaster is none other than former SPAWN Executive Director, Virginia Lawrence of Cognitext Web Design.
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Susan Daffron writes: My book Funds to the Rescue: 101 Fundraising Ideas for Humane and Animal Rescue Groups received an APEX Award of Excellence in the Books and Ebooks category.
More information about the awards is at: www.ApexAwards.com. More information about the book is at: www.FundstotheRescue.com
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BK Royston Publishing proudly presents the latest release from Julia Royston, titled Everyday Miracles, a devotional, workbook, and journal complete with an inspirational music CD and an instructor’s guide for small group study. Are you ready to see a miracle? See how! For more information, visit www.juliaroyston.com/.
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From Roger Ellerton, this month’s featured member:
My latest book, Parents’ Handbook: NLP and Common Sense Guide for Family Well-Being, was published in February and is available through online and traditional bookstores. Additional information is available at www.parents-handbook.com.
Costco Connections (Canadian version) published my article “Six Roles for Managers” in the March edition http://www.costcoconnection.ca/connectioncaeng/20100304#pg12. I submitted this article describing the six primary parenting roles in order to promote my new book. Costco said they did not publish articles on that topic and were looking for something more related to business. So I changed “parent” to “manager” and “children” to “staff,” resubmitted, and it was published.
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Susan Alcott Jardine will be participating at the Ventura Book Fair on Saturday, July 17, at the Book Publicists of So Cal’s table.
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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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Christy Pinheiro has been invited to speak at the BAIPA (Bay Area Independent Publisher’s Association) The topic will be “Using CreateSpace to Self-Publish and Start Your Own Home-Based Small Press.” The meetings are open to the public and are a great way to network and learn more about publishing. You can find out more at the BAIPA Web site, www.BAIPA.org
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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 email@example.com
Words to Live By
Bonnie is traveling this month but she’ll be back next month with more tricky words.
Read Bonnie’s blog at http://professionalsecretary.wordpress.com
by Patricia Fry
How to Write for the New Age Market by Richard Webster
Llewellyn Publications (2003)
When I chose this book to review, I thought it was new. However, despite the fact that it is seven years old, I found it to be valid and useful. Webster has been writing books for Llewellyn, a major publisher of New Age material, for years and has over thirty published books on topics ranging from astral travel to palmistry and dowsing to feng shui. So he knows about writing for the New Age market.
Webster takes readers through the entire process of writing a book for publication, starting with choosing a topic and recognizing grammatical issues and continuing through doing the research, choosing a publisher, learning about publishing contracts, and promoting the book. He talks about both fiction and nonfiction writing and even touches on article-writing for New Age publications.
I particularly enjoyed his chapter on modeling other authors. He tells some of his experiences when modeling authors such as Jack London and Erle Stanley Gardner and spells out exactly what he learned from these authors. In fact, Webster writes a lot in first person, which is inspiring, because he has lived what he is teaching in this book.
Another intriguing chapter for me was Chapter 7, “Writing Your Book.” Now the author covers the usual—preparing to write, finding the time, dealing with writers block, and developing a routine— but he also includes a few challenges you don’t often see in books about writing: he talks about boredom, fear, and food. He says, for example, “Eating can be a problem for many authors. As soon as they get stuck, they start eating.” He points out that authors do a lot of sitting, which means that food can quickly turn to fat. He recommends keeping a glass of water nearby at all times and sipping on it when you get stuck.
As you read this book, you feel as though Webster is your gentle mentor—that he is sitting there with you every step of the way. You sense a kinship with this man because he shares his own experiences throughout and you begin to believe that “if he could do it, so can I.”
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in writing for the New Age market. It is well-written and covers every aspect of this field. The only thing I missed was a resource list of New Age publishers. He almost makes up for it, however, by providing an extensive list of recommended reading.
Tapping Your Innate Creativity
by Barbara Florio Graham
Barbara would like to hear from you regarding this column. Do you find it helpful? Have you done the exercises she’s suggested? Should she continue the column or should we find something new for this space? Email Barbara at BFG@SimonTeakettle.com or me at firstname.lastname@example.org . We want this to be the best newsletter around, but we also want to make sure our time and effort are being utilized. In the meantime, Barbara is taking this month off. Thanks!
Read a description of the online course, “Tapping Your Innate Creativity,” at www.SimonTeakettle.com/tapping.htm.
BONUS Book Review
by Patricia Fry
The Collaborator Rules: 101 Surefire Ways to Stay Friends with Your Co-Author
by Sally Shields
Safflower Publishing, Inc. (2010)
Paperback, 135 pages—$12.95
Have you ever thought of collaborating with another author (or non-author) on a book project? Many people do—some even do so successfully. But it’s not always easy. That’s why Sally Shields has compiled this great little book of tips and ideas for those who want to walk down the collaboration path.
I frequently get emails from people who want to engage a co-author. Most of them already have someone in mind. Shields recommends keeping this sort of collaboration on a professional level; this means not involving friends. She would rather see you audition potential collaborators from a pool of virtual strangers. I can attest to the fact that a business relationship gone bad can spoil a good friendship. I’ve seen it happen over and over again among collaborating authors who started out as friends.
I like how this author guides you along a sort of courtship path with your potential writing partner and I love the suggestion that you practice collaborating on a small project before committing to the real thing.
The aspect of this book that potential collaborators will appreciate most, however, is the section on contracts. While this author doesn’t offer sample contracts, she discusses the uncomfortable issues that can arise from any collaboration. As she points out, it is best to be prepared and legally protected.
Another important aspect to the successful collaboration is the ability to work together—to give and take—to share and receive—to accept and to reject—as well as to graciously be accepted and rejected.
As Shields points out, a collaboration is a relationship. Not only that, it involves an emotional process—writing. Emotions are bound to escalate in both directions. She provides excellent counsel throughout her book to help you keep things in check. And she even tells you how to know when it’s time to make an exit.
The book is written with humor, but all of the issues you’ve feared or that you’ve actually experienced as a collaborator are addressed. If you are considering a book project collaboration, be sure to pick up this little book to guide you through a more successful process.
Featured Member – Roger Ellerton
In his own words…
I am an author, coach, and trainer in personal growth and development. I never thought my being an author was possible. In high school, I dreaded any assignment that involved writing; I barely passed high school English and was fortunate to gain admission to a university.
At 27, I earned a PhD in statistics from Virginia Tech. A friend of mine once said that the only reason I got a PhD in statistics is because I don’t have the charisma to be an accountant J. I eventually became a tenured professor in statistics at the University of New Brunswick. But something was missing, so I gave up security to become a certified management consultant (CMC) and from there an executive with the Canadian federal government. Although I was successful, collecting six professional designations and becoming the father of four tremendous children, something was missing. I felt good about myself only if my office was bigger than yours or if I had more professional qualifications than you. I judged people harshly, saving the most critical and damning criticism for myself.
I left the linear, logical, analytical world of mathematics and computers and went on a journey of personal discovery. I learned to love who I am and what I do regardless of what others may think. Now I simply “enjoy the magnificence of my imperfections.”
My first book, Live Your Dreams Let Your Reality Catch Up: NLP and Common Sense for Coaches, Managers and You, is based on neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)—a personal growth methodology that had a great impact on changing how I see myself and the world around me. It was almost three years from the time I wrote the first word until the book was finally published in 2006. This book serves as an introduction to NLP and includes many of the questions I asked myself on my personal journey, as well as some of my personal discoveries. See, for example, the excerpts “The Power of Thought” (www.renewal.ca/nlp40.html) or “Taking Charge of Your Life” (www.renewal.ca/nlp22.htm).
An e-book, Live Your Dreams Let Reality Catch Up: 5 Step Action Plan, followed about eighteen months later and provides, as the title suggests, a process for achieving your dreams. The main idea behind NLP and both of my books is simply this: Don’t wait for the conditions to be right—for someone to give you his or her blessing or for the stars to be in alignment; have a dream (no matter how big or small), take action, pay attention, make adjustments as necessary, and feel good about yourself.
This year I published my third book, Parents’ Handbook: NLP and Common Sense Guide for Family Well-Being. As I say in this book, I wish I had known NLP when I first became a parent. In fact, I wish I’d had the opportunity to learn and practice NLP concepts when I first went to school. I’m sure my experiences (and those of my children) would have been that much richer.
Contests, Events and Opportunities
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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.