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SPAWNews Newsletter – April 2012

by SusanDaffron on April 1, 2012

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please email the editor of SPAWNews: editor@spawn.org.

Those of you who are SPAWN members, be sure to visit the Members Only Area to read this month’s Market Update. Go to http://www.spawn.org and click Log In. You will be asked for your username and password.
If you are not a member, join now online: http://www.spawn.org/join.htm

From the President

Welcome to all the new members and subscribers who have discovered SPAWN this month!

Last weekend, I placed my garden seed order for this year. Instead of doing it online, I spent an enjoyable evening doing it the old-fashioned way. I browsed through the colorful catalog, dog-eared the corners of things that looked interesting, pondered my options, filled in the product numbers on the little form, wrote my check, packaged it up, and mailed it off.

It was more fun to slowly go through the process and really take time to enjoy it rather than doing it online. I realized I haven’t done that with my writing in a long time. When was the last time you just doodled? Or daydreamed?

Much of the time we’re rushing to create. We have our word processor open and type furiously in the quest to be productive. But sometimes it’s good to go back to the old-fashioned tangible paper and pencil, particularly if you’ve been feeling less than creative lately. Stepping back, looking at pictures, dreaming, doodling, thinking, and just embracing the creative process can feel really good. When you step away from the electronics, relax and just breathe, your creativity flows.

On another note, once again SPAWN is one of the sponsors of 4th annual Self-Publishers Online Conference. In fact, you’ll notice a couple of our members are speaking at the event which will be May 8-10. If you’re an author or book publisher, you don’t want to miss it: 16 expert speakers, Exhibit Hall, Q&A, discussion area and more. Sign up before May 1 for low Early Bird rates and enter the coupon code SPAWN12 at checkout to save another 10%!

Read more and register at http://www.SelfPublishersOnlineConference.com

Susan Daffron (susan@spawn.org)
President & Webmaster, Small Publishers Artists and Writers Network (SPAWN)
http://www.spawn.org
President, Logical Expressions, Inc.
http://www.LogicalExpressions.com

Editor’s Note

Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, My Space (oh, wait, that one is passé), Branch Out, Twitter and more. How can you learn to use social media without it taking over your life? Do you use it because you’re supposed to? Does it bring you work or sales? I asked Barbara Florio-Graham. This is what she had this to say:

I’m not a big fan of social media. I do have a Facebook account, and am on Branch Out and LinkedIn, but don’t find any of them have actually produced much for me. I do post messages when I can figure out a way to mention one of my books, my website or my services. When I track actual sales, nobody ever tells me they discovered me on any of these. Instead, people find me on search engines, where my website comes up when they look for Canadian libraries, training cats, creativity courses, or one of my books.

I find Facebook’s frequent changes annoying, and feel it’s a great time-waster. I limit myself to half an hour once a week to check Facebook, Branch Out and LinkedIn, posting pre-prepared messages if I have something to announce.  Barbara Florio Graham, www.SimonTeakettle.com

On the other hand, we do need a presence on the web. Articles on LinkedIn, Twitter and more follow. Email the SPAWNdiscuss group with your contact information and we’ll build a stronger platform together. It’s hard to constantly sell yourself. Working as a SPAWN team, we can promote each other’s work and we’ll all gain.

 – Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews, editor@spawn.org

SPAWN Market Update

by Patricia Fry

This edition of the SPAWN Market Update has something for everyone—artists, photographers and poets, as well as freelance writers and authors. We’ve reported a scam that authors should know about, a great new site for fiction writers, a site featuring classified ads for editors, a social networking site for poets, job boards for artists, three fascinating ways to promote your books and interviews with industry movers and shakers. To join SPAWN and then not take the time to read the meaty monthly Market Update is to waste your membership fee.

Join SPAWN at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books – Openings Still Available!

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (LATFB) is billed as the nation’s largest public literary festival, attracting around 140,000 people last year.

It wasn’t always this big, and some of us here at SPAWN remember its beginnings. The LATFB launched in 1996, the same year that SPAWN did. SPAWN has had a presence at this now-gigantic event almost every year since.

The LATFB will be held at the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles again this year on April 21 and 22, 2012. SPAWN has secured two booths to accommodate our members. The fee for selling your books from our booth is $200 per day. (Three titles per member, only.)

Visit http://www.spawn.org/latfb.htm to sign up.

The LATFB opportunity is open to members only. If your membership has expired or you haven’t joined yet, this is a good time to take care of business. If you want a major bookselling opportunity and incredible exposure for your book, sign up to join us in the SPAWN booth—first come, first served. Learn more about the LATFB here: http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks

Questions? Patricia@spawn.org

Ask the Book Doctor:

 About Perplexing Apostrophes

By Bobbie Christmas

Q: Which of these is correct?

The Magicians’ council decided against it.

The Magician’s council decided against it.

The Magicians council decided against it.

Note: The council has ten members.

A: I cannot answer the question until I know why the word “Magicians” or any of its variants would be capitalized. If it is not the title of an official body, it should not be capitalized. If it is the name of an official body, then “council” should also be capitalized. In addition, if it is the name of an official body, the punctuation and other treatment would depend upon the official title of the council.

If it’s not an official title and one magician actually owns the council (doubtful, but I’m making a point), then it would the magician’s council. If two or more magicians own the council, it would be magicians’ council. It’s more likely, however, that no magician actually owns the council; it is a council made up of magicians, in which case the correct use would be this: The magicians council decided against it.

If you are writing fiction and made up the entire concept of the council, you also have the choice to use the word “magician” as an adjective. In such a case the correct use would be this: The magician council decided against it.

Q: I’ve looked and I’ve looked, but I can’t find the answer, so I knew you would have the correct one. Which is correct, in keeping with The Chicago Manual of Style, 1920′s bungalow or 1920s bungalow?

A: CMOS does not cover all grammar issues, only style issues, and your question poses a grammar issue. In the use you cite, the date covers several years, so it is plural, but not possessive. Most plurals do not call for apostrophes, so the correct form is 1920s bungalow.

Q: Lately my critique group has indulged in much discussion about writing dialogue to show sounds of the characters’ actual speech. Some say it adds flavo’ to the novel; some say it slows down the reading and should be used sparingly, if at all. How do you feel about it?

A: When you show the sounds of a character’s speech by dropping letters and adding apostrophes to indicate dropped letters, it is called dialect, and most editors distain the use of dialect. It slows down reading and makes readers work too hard to comprehend the dialogue. It annoys many readers, and authors should do nothing to annoy readers.

The following is the kind of dialect editors do not like:

“He ben goin’ ta dat sto’ ever’ day since thin.”

It is much better to write in the vernacular—the lingo—of a character’s speech, spelling words correctly, but using the character’s word, as in this rewrite:

“He been going to that store ever day since then.”

Readers still get a feel for how the character speaks, yet no apostrophes are necessary. Writing in vernacular rather than dialect allows readers to get a sense of how the character sounds without making readers struggle to understand the wording.

For an excellent example of writing in black vernacular without delving into dialect, bad spelling, or abusive apostrophes, read The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

Q: If I use a word like huntin’ at end of a quote, I’m not sure where to put the ending period or question mark. Here’s my example: “Let’s go huntin’.” Is this correct?

A: The punctuation is correct; however, I have to address the issue of replacing letters with apostrophes. It is best done with accepted contractions, such as “can’t,” “won’t,” “hasn’t,” or “isn’t,” etc. Otherwise, dropping letters and using apostrophes means you are writing in dialect. Dialect is a slippery slope that often bore readers and makes dialogue difficult to read. Most people drop the g when they speak naturally, anyway. If a writer insists on dropping a letter and replacing it with an apostrophe, disregarding conventional wisdom, the correct punctuation would be this: apostrophe, period, end quotation marks, just as you have written in your example.

Bobbie Christmas, book editor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too.  Send them to Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Read more "Ask the Book Doctor" questions and answers at www.zebraeditor.com.

Book Review

by Patricia Fry

 Profit and Prosper with Public Relations by Rhonda Rees, Aseity Press (2011), www.aseitypres.com, ISBN 978-0-9822235-0-5, Paperback, 230 pages

Rhonda Rees is a thirty-year veteran in the public relations field. Her goal with this book, Profit and Prosper with Public Relations, Insider Secrets to Make You a Success, is to give readers a better understanding of public relations and how to apply it in their own situations. Whether you are an author with a book to promote, a business owner, organization leader or you work for a company in the public relations department, this book is for you. Studying it could make the difference between mild and wild success.

One thing Rees stresses is the fact that a PR person (or anyone who is in promotion mode) must understand the media and how the various aspects of it work. You’re going to approach and interact differently with newspaper reporters and columnists than you do when pursuing promotion through social media or magazines, for example. She spells out the processes for each.

I particularly like the fact that she uses real life scenarios throughout the book to help readers relate to the information. I also found her “Helpful Tips” most useful. She uses these to introduce great resources. In one, she suggests reviewing newspaper and magazine editorial calendars and asking the advertising department for press kits in order to more accurately plan your book pitches to them.

Rees also points out the importance of targeting your audience. She reminds us that we need to figure out who our audience is. She says, “You should be aware of the age, income, and educational level, geographic area, gender, attitudes, values and trends of your target group.” What PR book would be complete without sample press releases, pitch letters and press kits. She provides some excellent examples, for both print and electronic media.

Finding the right PR angle or “hook” is another topic valuable to anyone doing PR. She suggests that it takes real creatively and ingenuity. She offers this encouragement: “From what I have learned and experienced over the years, I can pretty much tell you that there is an angle to be found in almost everything.” The example she uses to illustrate this point is hilarious and quite inspiring.

This book has two major purposes. One is to help individuals become their own PR persons and do it much more successfully. The other is to coach people in pursuing a career in PR. Chapter sixteen aptly covers the PR job market, salaries, qualifications, etc. and resources for students.

 If you have something to sell, you’re promoting yourself or a business or you would like a career in the PR field, this book is a must-read. It is complete, up-to-date, well-organized and easy to read and comprehend. Studying it will surely give you a greater understanding of promotion and help you to sell more of your product or services.

Ignore Social Media at Your Own Risk

by Tammy Ditmore

“Content Is King” was the theme of the recent 2012 IBPA Publishing University, but social media surely played the role of crown prince. In session after session, speakers from every niche of the publishing world touted the power of social media and gave tips on how to harness that power.

For almost 30 years, the 3,000 member Independent Book Publishers Association has focused on helping publishers succeed, and many of the lectures and workshops at the March 9 and 10 Publishing University in San Francisco showed how using social media can help authors and publishers get noticed in an enormously crowded field. (You can order copies of all the 2012 sessions at www.vwtapes.com/ibpa2012mp3s.aspx/)

Facebook. Google+. Twitter. Pinterest. Goodreads. Mommy bloggers. YouTube. Virtual blog tours. LinkedIn. Online book clubs. The list of social media outlets grows and changes daily and the variety of options can be staggering. Ignoring social media is not an option, according to the IBPA experts? Unless you don’t care about selling books.

Steven Piersanti, president of Berrett-Koehler Publishers (www.bkpub.com), painted a grim picture in his opening address, “The 10 Awful Truths about Book Publishing.” To have any chance of selling books, Piersanti said, authors and publishers must master new digital channels and “leverage” their communities.

Dan Poynter, of ParaPublishing (www.parapublishing.com/sites/para/), suggested joining online forums where you can ask questions, get advice, give advice, and make yourself known to a community who will want to read what you write. Look for forums on writing and publishing and those focused on your subject, he said. If you’re writing fiction, look for forums in your genre or in a field related to characters or settings (i.e., quilters, cab drivers, Cubs fans).

Otis Chandler, founder and CEO of Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/), said authors can create buzz with the millions of users on that platform by creating contests or giveaways that tie in with books.

An “Amazon Friends and Family” launch day can help push your book up on Amazon’s list, according to Stephanie Ridge, a publicist from PR by the Book (www.prbythebook.com). Ask your contacts to purchase your book on a particular day and also to post reviews of the book on Amazon or blogs and share those reviews on Facebook and Twitter.

Others suggested posting video book reviews or author interviews on YouTube, creating Facebook pages or Pinterest boards, hosting Twitter conversations and utilizing specialty websites such as Shelfari (www.shelfari.com/).

Many suggestions for how to market your books involved blogging and bloggers. Poynter said, “Book bloggers are the new book reviewers” and suggested sending review copies of a book to bloggers who would be interested in the content.

Peter Bowerman, The Well-Fed Author (www.wellfedsp.com), said much of his success came from personally approaching hundreds of bloggers. Think hard about what will set your book apart, Bowerman said, identify target audiences and their online hangouts, and then contact bloggers in that sphere. “Take MASSIVE action; think hundreds, not dozens.”

MaryAnn Kohl, of Bright Ring Publishing, (www.brightring.com), said “mommy blogs” are a huge factor in the success of her books. If you want to research this slice of the blog market, www.bloggymoms.com would be a good place to start. Look for other bloggers who might be interested in your book through www.technorati.com and www.alltop.com or by doing an Internet search for “top 10 bloggers,” in a particular field, said Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound (www.publicityhound.com/).

“Virtual book tours,” where an author “visits” a number of blogs in a short period of time, can be a hugely effective way to boost your book. To create such a tour, authors arrange to be interviewed by bloggers or to provide a guest blog for a site. All “stops” are heavily promoted and often combined with contests or giveaways. Virtual tours are most effective when they occur immediately after a book’s release date, so you must start planning far in advance, said Stephanie Stewart of Fitzhenry and Whiteside (www.fitzhenry.ca).

Regardless of what social media platform or technique you pursue, these five tips can help you get the most from your efforts.

1. Remember that content is king. The crucial first step in selling your book is to write a good book, according to Bowerman. Joel Friedlander (www.TheBookDesigner.com) said “irresistible content” is key to successful marketing messages, particularly on blogs.

2. Design a website or web landing page for your book before you begin any publicity campaign. Focus on driving potential customers to this website.

3. Know your audience and know where they hang out online.

4. Start early. Begin promoting your book months before publication.

5. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Poynter, who has been self-publishing since the 1960s, put it this way: “Spend time learning the new technology, or you are going to be left out.”

Tammy Ditmore, edits and more at eDitmore Editorial Services. She has been helping authors and publishers sharpen and polish books, articles and papers for more than 30 years. This was her first IBPA event, but she does not plan for it to be her last. tammy@editmore.com, www.editmore.com

Finding Your Voice on Social Media

by C. Hope Clark

As writers, we understand that one of our most crucial milestones is identifying the voice. We strive to become confident in how we write our stories so they are like fingerprints, unique and identifiable with only us. How heavenly would it be if one of our lines was included in someone’s Top 100 Quotable Lines from Books We Love?

That voice is very important in more ways than a chapter’s opening line or the clinch at the end of a feature article. Success in social media commands use of voice as well. If you think everybody is competing against you with a book, imagine the competition on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs. Someone who misspells every fourth word can gain a following in social media, but as long as he’s cute, informative, funny, sarcastic or smart, i.e., has a voice, he can succeed.

The biggest turnoff in these social venues is usually the vanilla-flavored individual who only tries to sell. The person who says, “buy my book and buy it here.”  We don’t know the attributes of the product nor the strengths of the individual selling, but for some reason we are expected to want to purchase it. When a person assumes the public doesn’t need the details of the product (let’s say book) and can be coaxed (conned) into handing over money for it anyway, he insults the reader. 

Only when you become Nora Roberts, Patricia Cornwell or Stephen King can you say, “Hey, my new book is out,” and people unquestionably accept the quality. Those type names are one percent of the authors on the shelves. A solid mid-list author still has to convince a reader that the book is a worthy investment, and that the author is behooved to the reader to make that book selection.

So when using social media, any of them, remember these four rules:

 Posts should be FOR the reader.

Share with the reader as an equal.

Don’t SELL to the reader.

Mention your commodity in no more than 30 percent of your posts.

In a world where everyone wants you to follow, like, or recommend them on social media, it’s easy to cull those who don’t respect you. They are the ones who never chat with you, enlighten you, or entertain you. They want a piece of you, and aren’t willing to take the time to give back. If you can’t admire the poster in social media, then you probably aren’t inclined to buy what they’re selling.

Find that voice in you . . . the one that invites, strokes, and welcomes a follower. Leave the conning, hard-selling, and pleading to the novices, because you appreciate your readers. After all, don’t you want them to be your friends? Willing to follow you for life? Of course you do. So Tweet like it. Post like it. Message like losing these people would hurt your feelings; don’t post like you’re trying to step on theirs.

C. Hope Clark is author of Lowcountry Bribe, A Carolina Slade Mystery, from Bell Bridge Books. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and most bookstores. www.chopeclark.com
Hope is also founder of FundsforWriters.com , recognized by Writer’s Digest for 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past eleven years. Her newsletters reach 43,000 readers. www.fundsforwriters.com

Be Active on Twitter and Automate It

by W. Terry Whalin

When I meet with writers at a conference or on the phone, they will often tell me, “No one knows me or my writing.” Maybe they have written a few magazine articles but never published a book. Maybe they haven’t published anything but want to get published.

First a reminder: I know of no overnight successes in the publishing business. If you are aware of someone who appears to become an overnight success, then look closer at the journey of that person. I’ve often found they have been in the trenches for years before they achieved their dream of success. OK, with this reality check, now what can you do to begin building your visibility in the community? There are many answers.

One is to become active on Twitter (www.twitter.com) According to Twitter’s site, as of September 14, 2010, there are 175 million users who tweet 95 million times a day. Those numbers are right—a million. What are you waiting for? Let’s get started.

1. Who is your target audience? Who do you want to reach and with what message? It is important from the beginning to select one or two “themes” to your tweets because this consistency will attract your audience and help you.

2. Create your Twitter profile and add your photo and bio. Get more details in my free E-book, Mastering Twitter in 10 Minutes or Less.

3. Add a distinctive twitter background to your twitter profile. Here’s a free tool to create it. www.twitrounds.com

4. Use a free tool like www.hootsuite.com  to send out your tweets and also to schedule them.

5. Locate Twitter Leaders in your area at www.twellow.com Follow those leaders and learn from their tweets.

6. Use a tool like TweetAdder (http://www.tweetadder.com/ ) to automate your twitter process of gaining followers. It is excellent and adding about 100 to 150 followers a day to my Twitter account. You can get 20 percent off TweetAdder by using code JONB20.

If you don’t like to tweet, then automate your content on Twitter using Google Alerts. Select several key words and pull in content to your twitter account.

1. Do you have a Gmail account? If not create one. While you are signed on to that Gmail account…

2. Go to Google Alerts

3. Select several phrases that you want to turn on alerts

4. Leave the Type as “comprehensive” or from anywhere on the web

5. Change How Often to “as-it-happens” because you want it throughout the day and fresh

6. Change Deliver to: and select “feed.”

7. When you save it, you will see the feed in Google. Notice the orange icon or the word “feed.” Right click on that and copy out the feed URL because you will need it for the next step.

8. Go to Twitterfeed (www.twitterfeed.com) and log on to this free application using your twitter username and password.

9. After you log on to Twitterfeed, you are creating a new Feed. Give your feed a title and paste the RSS feed URL from Google alerts into the feed spot.

10. Click the Advanced Settings. Change “Update Frequency” to every 30 minutes and post up to “3” new updates at a time.

This ten step system will automatically pull content into your twitter account. I have this system set up for some twitter accounts that I do not monitor as closely as I do for my main twitter account.

It is critical to provide content, point to articles, give free resources and not to engage in hard selling (buy me, buy me). It’s a soft sell approach that works on Twitter. With millions of people on Twitter, using some or all of these techniques can increase your presence and activity on Twitter.

BW. Terry Whalin, a writer and editor, lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com  Terry has over 36,000 followers on Twitter and you can follow him at: http://twitter.com/terrywhalin

Setting up a LinkedIn profile—a Step-by-Step Guide

by Joanna Celeste

Sign up at http://www.linkedin.com/ Use an email address that you check often. Expect a dozen emails a week. Note your password and email somewhere where you can find them again.

Fill in your employment status, zip code, company and job title. If you choose Working Independently you are asked for your Industry. The zip code allows people to find you in their general area, like Greater Los Angeles, and facilitates networking.

You can enter your email address to locate any of your contacts already on LinkedIn, and invite them to join your network. LinkedIn uses your email account address book and searches the email addresses in the LinkedIn database. Or, click “Skip this step” in blue text under the box.

Two plans are offered through LinkedIn: Basic or Premium. The free Basic plan is good for starters. 

Why have a photo?

1) LinkedIn can flag you as Spam if you don’t have a photo, and Group Administrators are less likely to accept you.

2) It facilitates networking.

3) Every time you comment or start a discussion, or someone posts on your discussion, etc., your name and avatar are shown. This is an opportunity to reinforce your personal brand.

4) When people search for you, they’ll need your picture/avatar in a network of over a hundred million people.

To build your profile, you may upload your resume. Click “Upload Resume,” browse for it, and then click “Upload.” Fill out the rest of the information on your profile by clicking “Edit” by the various sections, then “Save Changes.”

For other resources or detailed help please email me at joanna.celeste@gmail.com

Building Your LinkedIn Network through Groups

by Joanna Celeste

Before joining groups, find at least three personal contacts to connect with you on LinkedIn. Group Administrators look at that as a means of weeding out Spammers.

Go to the Groups tab and type in a keyword that matches your interests, i.e. “writers”.

Click “Search” and when you find a group you like, click “Join Group,” Some groups are designated “Open groups” and will accept you instantly.

Groups with a little lock sign next to the name means it is a Closed Group and requires a message to the group moderator to prove that you meet the specific qualifications of the group. Click on the group moderator’s name in blue text to message them. For example, I joined several Closed Groups for professional writers. My pitch was: “I am 26 years old and I have been published twenty-four times. I would be honored to join your group.” Group moderators will usually check your profile, so make sure it is set up with a photo. Include your website, too, if you have one.

Once you have a joined, get involved with the discussions, start your own post, and as you make connections, ask to add them to your network.

LinkedIn will ask you to designate how you know someone in order to send the invitation to join your network. Choose the Group that you share with the member. The good thing about LinkedIn is it is designed so that people can’t befriend you unless they know you.

I recommend always including a personal message with the request to add people. (As an example, I was wrapped up in the thread “What is your favorite poem?” and as I read post after post, I realized I wanted to befriend some of these people. I invited them to join my network and wrote: “Hello Amy, I saw your post in the ‘Favorite Poem’ thread and I really love Emily Dickinson, too. From what I could see on your profile, I would like to get to know you better and maybe swap poetry. I would like to add you to my network. Best, Joanna.”) About three of every four people I wrote to accepted my invitation.

Every day, take fifteen minutes to check one of your groups; try to connect with one or two people; keep up with your existing contacts. LinkedIn is like a garden that takes active cultivation, but it’s worth it for the opportunities to meet peers and new friends.

Other resources: Linking In to Pay it Forward: Changing the Value Proposition in Social Media by Chuck Hester.

For other resources or detailed help please email me at joanna.celeste@gmail.com

Joanna Celeste is an author of short stories, poetry, articles and How-To’s. She can be found on LinkedIn under http://www.linkedin.com/pub/joanna-celeste/9/3b5/a3b  Her website with published works is http://www.notionsofagirl.wordpress.com

Quick Kindle Tip

Here is a cool feature that member Sigrid McDonald saw on LinkedIn: signed Kindle books for readers,

If you have uploaded your books to Kindle and would like to offer your readers a signed book cover, set up an account on www.kindlegraph.com. The link below shows how books are displayed for readers to request a “kindlegraph.”

http://www.kindlegraph.com/authors/PublishedAuth

Sigrid signed in with her twitter account, but you can set up a separate account if you don’t use twitter or would prefer to set up a new account.

Member News

SPAWN President Susan Daffron is one of the organizers of the fourth annual Self-Publishers Online Conference (SPOC), which will be held May 8-10, 2012. At this virtual event, you can learn how to write, publish and promote a book all from the comfort of your own home. SPOC offers 16 expert speakers, 15 presentations, and live Q&A calls that are all focused on how you can successfully self publish fiction and non-fiction books and ebooks. Register at: http://SelfPublishersOnlineConference.com (Use the code SPAWN12 to get 10% off)

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Sandra Beckwith‘s website for authors, Build Book Buzz http://buildbookbuzz.com  was selected by members of the Association of Independent Authors as one of the best websites for independent authors. Nominated websites had to offer free information and resources of relevance and value to independent authors. To learn more about the award, go to http://www.independent-authors.org/?page=best_websites_misc

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David Perkins has been invited back to Villanova Preparatory School in Ojai, California to talk with parents of graduating seniors, again this year, on the topic of letting go when your children leave home for college. The school always buys a copy of his book Dear Austin – A Letter to My Son for each parent attending the discussion. David usually addresses the group for 30 to 45 minutes, and then opens up for questions and discussion for another 45 to 60 minutes. This will be in the first week of May. It’s a wonderful exchange of feelings and ideas, and gives parents a forum to deal with the anxieties connected with a child leaving home. It’s especially helpful for parents who are going through this transition for the first time www.DavidMPerkins.com

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Leslie Korenko will have an article published in the summer issue of Inland Seas, a quarterly journal of the Great Lakes Historical Society. She tells the story of the first steamboat on the Great Lakes: Walk-in-the-Water. Leslie is the author of three history books about Kelleys Island. www.KelleysIslandStory.com

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Sandra Murphy’s latest short story Bananas Foster is now available at the Untreed Reads store, Amazon.com and the usual outlets.  When the doctor tells you, “Do something you used to love” maybe he’d better know what it was you used to do! http://tinyurl.com/75rrkf5 will take you there. You can also find Superstition and Sweet Tea and Deviled Eggs.

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Dallas Woodburn recently had an essay accepted for publication in The Indian River Review, and her short story "Three Sundays at The Grove" received an Asian Studies Award from Purdue University. In addition, this month on her blog www.dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com  Dallas is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the release of her first Write On! Books anthology, Dancing with the Pen: a collection of today’s best youth writing.dallaswoodburn@gmail.com/http://www.writeonbooks.org

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C. Hope Clark has begun her tour to promote her new mystery release, Lowcountry Bribe, A Carolina Slade Mystery. North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Oklahoma City, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia…visit her website to see if she’s appearing near you. The reviews are absolutely fantastic on Hope’s fictional debut. 18 five-star reviews at Amazon.  www.chopeclark.com / www.fundsforwriters.com  Writer’s Digest 101 Best Web Sites for Writers – 2001-2011

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Both of Patricia Fry’s newest books from Allworth Press are now in print as well as on Kindle and Nook. Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author and Promote Your Book, Over 250 Proven, Low-Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author can be ordered at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com as well as the publisher’s and the author’s websites. www.allworth.com and www.matilijapress.com

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Sigrid McDonald’s new book, Straight and Narrow is a mystery with several different subplots.  It’s available on Kindle and will soon be in the Apple Store, on Mobi, and available through Sony Reader. (Print, Ebook). If you would like to review this book, please send Sigrid an e-mail (sigridmcdonald@rogers.com) and she will mail you a free copy. Don’t forget to write a few words on Amazon after you finish reading. Short Description:  Right before her fortieth birthday, Lisa Campana goes missing. Her best friend, Tara, is devastated and bewildered. Has Lisa broken her sobriety or has she gone into hiding because she is afraid to tell her partner, Ryan, that she’s pregnant and he may not be the father? Worse, Ryan has a history of battery. Could he have harmed her? Take a roller coaster ride with Tara Richards as she falls headfirst into a comical midlife crisis while dealing with the grave situation of searching for her missing friend, with a little help from her left-wing feminist friends, and some old-fashioned, traditional Catholics from Lisa’s parents’ church.

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Positive Imaging, LLC, has just published a new Kindle book entitled Self-Publishing Simplified 2: Creating E-books For Kindle, Smashwords, Clickbank, and Your Own E-book Store. It is based entirely on first-hand experience writing for these outlets. The e-book will soon be available on Smashwords and Clickbank also. A. William Benitez, Positive Imaging, LLC  bill@positive-imaging.com  FREE Self Publishing eCourse at: http://self-publishing-support.com/freeecourse/ecourse.html

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Leon Cooper’s new book, Remembering Private Lamb, has been awarded Honorable Mention in the fiction category in the DIY 2011-2012 Book Festival.

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Wendy Dager is a professional freelance writer seeking quotes from writing industry professionals, including writers, publishers, editors and agents, for her upcoming humorous nonfiction book of negative writing experiences, A DISCOURAGING WORD. Please email your advice, anecdotes, and/or one-liners for A DISCOURAGING WORD to info@wendydager.com She’s looking for humorous, outrageous, cynical and over the top—but completely honest—quotes. Think Dorothy Parker, but with Internet access. Please include your name, title and company name/publication, unless you prefer to remain anonymous. Then you can use your stripper alias (name of first pet and name of first street you lived on). Wendy’s is Dobie Dewey.  Deadline is May 15, 2012.

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