Sandra Murphy, Editor
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From the President
Welcome to all the new members and subscribers who have discovered SPAWN this month!
Here’s a question more creative people should probably ask themselves: "Why?" If you’re a writer, why did you start writing? Why do you keep writing? It’s easy to get so caught up in the business of doing what you do that you forget why you started doing that creative work in the first place.
For some people turning what was a hobby into a business can ruin it for them. Many aspiring professional painters, photographers, or writers end up getting burned out. Once they discover that they have to market their creations or be creative "on demand" for clients, the creative process isn’t fun anymore. It’s work. When that happens, sometimes you need to step back and reevaluate what you do, reinvent your marketing, or simply change jobs.
In my case, I’ve morphed my business multiple times, but it has always involved writing in some way. For me, writing has given me the freedom that makes it possible to live almost anywhere. Freedom is my "why." What’s yours? If you haven’t asked yourself "why" lately, maybe you should.
This month we’re talking about how to make your book stand out from the crowd of those already on the market. Two authors from Untreed Reads show us how they do it. Catherine Stovall talks about a targeted readership, keeping genre simple, and she gives examples of how to combine an event with marketing. Kaye George reports on social media, which she’s used with mixed results. It’s nice to know everybody’s not an expert in every media!
Ever wonder what SPAWN’s former newsletter editor Wendy Dager looks like? Read her Member News about the encouraging and discouraging parts of writing and take a look at her video. You’ll be able to see her prize for writing haiku—about beer. It’s a humorous look at the glamorous life of a writer.
If your book isn’t published yet, be sure to read Patricia Fry’s review of Penny C. Sansevieri’s book. She has publishing covered.
You might notice that the newsletter is a little shorter. With the attention span of the reading public getting shorter, blog posts average just 300-400 words and magazine editors are cutting back their article requirements from 1,200 to 1,000, and even 800 words. SPAWN is going with the times. You’ll still get a jam-packed newsletter, but one that is easier to read.
We’re in the eighth month of themed issues for the newsletter. I hope you’re enjoying the focused articles. It’s never too early to start thinking about next year—what would you like to see in coming issues? Suggestions are welcome; send to the e-mail address below. Thanks!
– Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews, email@example.com
SPAWN Market Update
by Patricia Fry
The August SPAWN Market Update boasts over 50 opportunities, resources, and news bits for authors, freelance writers, and screenwriters. Not only do we offer you 20 solid book-promotion ideas, opportunities, and resources, we provide links to two sites with scads more book-promotion ideas and opportunities for promoting print books and e-books.
Writing for regionals is the theme for our freelance-writing section this month. We list seven paying regional magazines and provide a link to a regional magazine database. You’ll also find two job boards for writers, two new magazines seeking submissions, and a link to a large general magazine database.
If you are seeking a publisher, promoting a book, trying to earn a living or supplement your income through writing, you don’t want to ignore this issue of the SPAWN Market Update. While you’re in the member area, be sure to spend some time in the Market Update archives.
Use your personal SPAWN username and password to access the member area. If you are not a member of SPAWN, join now. Go to http://www.spawn.org and click on “Join/Renew.” Membership is $65/year. Most members can earn at least triple the cost of the dues by using one or more of the tips and resources in just one issue of the SPAWN Market Update.
Ask the Book Doctor:
About Pronouns for Deities, Items in a List, Quotation Marks, and the CMOS
By Bobbie Christmas
Q: I quoted the Bible in my book, and my copyeditor lowercased the pronouns that referred to God and Jesus. I have always seen them capitalized, as in the following: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son.” Who’s right? The copywriter, the Bible, or me?
A: The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) 16th edition (8.94) says that pronouns referring to God or Jesus are not capitalized. It also notes these pronouns are lowercased in most English translations of the Bible. Interestingly, in the King James Version, the passage is written this way, with the pronouns in lowercase, but the word “son” is capitalized. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” Regardless of the capitalization in any version of the Bible, books written today should follow Chicago style, so I would not capitalize “son” in a book.
Q: My husband and I have been discussing sentences that list multiple items following a word such as “when.” See my sentence below. After it, I discuss the part that confuses my husband and me.
The author reveals common obstacles patients confront when making appointments, arriving at facilities, sitting in waiting rooms, meeting with nurses, and talking with their doctors.
My understanding is in such sentences the “when” applies to all items that follow, such as “when making appointments, when arriving at facilities,” and so on. It still follows for after the “and,” such as “and when talking with their doctors,” right?
My husband and I notice some authors add an extra “when,” but we don’t think they should. For example they might say, “and when talking with your doctors.” The “when” from before is already there, though. (You might also advise me that the “their” should come out so people don’t think I mean the nurses’ doctors, but I left it in because I mean the patients’ doctors, not just any doctor.)
A: If modifiers (prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, or articles) precede objects in a list, the modifiers apply to all items in the list. In the case of the sentence in question, the word “when” applies to all items that come after it. Although adding “when” to the final item is not wrong, it is redundant.
As for the use of “their,” pronouns do refer to the last stated noun, so the pronoun “their” does refer to the noun “nurses,” in the purest sense. I doubt anyone would interpret the sentence that way, however. Clarity is the important issue, and the sentence is clear as written.
Q: On the back cover of my upcoming book, there is a long quote by another author, so her quote is in double quotation marks. She refers to one of my poems, which is supposed to be in double quotes as a title of a poem. Should the title of the poem go into single quotes? I am only guessing here. I would like to know for sure that I am right.
A: Your guess is a good one. In American English, double quotation marks go first, and then single quotation marks go inside double quotation marks. Example: “I read ‘The Raven’ to the class,” John said, “and one of my students asked, ‘What’s a raven?’”
Q: My head is reeling with all I need to know as a writer. Should I read The Chicago Manual of Style?
A: CMOS, with more than 1,000 pages, covers vastly more subjects than most writers ever need to know. It is geared toward publishers who must know every detail of style issues as well as issues with illustrations, rights, documentation, production, and more. Reading it would be akin to reading the Encyclopedia Britannica. The CMOS is not meant to be read, but to be used as a reference. You may want to buy a copy to use to look up specific issues, such as punctuation, capitalization, the use of numbers, or grammar and usage, but I have a few reports that cover a great deal of what writers need to know. Visit my website at www.zebraeditor.com and click on the Resources tab to download any or all of my free reports.
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.
by Patricia Fry
Get Published Today! An Insider’s Guide to Publishing Successby Penny C. Sansevieri, Wheatmark (2012), ISBN 978-1-60494-559-1, 354 pages, $25.95, http://www.wheatmark.com / http://www.AMarketingExpert.com
Most of you know who Penny Sansevieri is. Among other things, she is an Adjunct Instructor at NYU teaching self-publishing. She is the CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., a leading marketing and publicity company for publishers and authors, and she is the author of Red Hot Internet Publicity (which we have reviewed in this column).
When I contemplated where to start in the process of reviewing this amazing book, I was stymied. How would I do justice to this book, which contains over 350 pages and 60 chapters on such a complex subject as book publishing? The book covers practically everything you need to know about the publishing industry before getting involved (so very important), your publishing options, the steps you must take no matter which publishing option you choose, and what to expect once your book is published. Yes, she covers it all, and with the expertise and professionalism she is so well-known for.
I decided to point out the things she includes that you’re not apt to find in other books on this topic. There are her insider connections, for example, that help her bring to the table unique and important information and tips. And there’s her vast experience. Sansevieri does not sit in her office day in and day out doing her own thing. She is out and about meeting her colleagues, readers, clients, students, and audiences, and is in constant learning and teaching mode. She keeps updated on news and trends in this ever-changing world of publishing.
I especially like her Self-Publishing Checklist and the chapter following it: “Taking Care of Business.” By the way, when Penny Sansevieri talks about “self-publishing” in this book, she is referring to establishing your own publishing company.
Are you concerned about rights? Copyright? Libel? The author devotes a chapter to these important issues. And her section on how to determine your target audience is brilliant. I’ve never seen this topic so thoroughly covered.
She also weaves into this book tips and techniques for writing a book proposal, writing your elevator speech, and designing a successful marketing plan. Her resource list will also be valuable to any author who purchases this book.
If you want a successful publishing experience, I suggest reading this book as a first step.
Destined to Sale or Destined to Fail
by Catherine Stovall
Fact: There are about 1.5 million books in print at any one time in the United States. With so much competition, many authors simply fade into the background. So how do you stand out?
Standing out isn’t about spending big money on ads, having a huge following, or even about being a celebrity. It is all about familiarity, marketing, and using your creativity to help launch your manuscript to the front of people’s minds.
Choose the correct genre, recognize your audience, and engage in effective marketing. These three things can make or break your writing/publishing career.
It can be daunting to select the genre that accurately describes your work. With a nearly limitless number of genres and sub-genres, the options span as far as our imaginations. The question is: do you want your novel to be a work of Absurdist Biorobotics Slipstream or do you prefer Science Fiction Satire? Sure, the first choice sounds fascinating and you are bound to get plenty of chances to promote your book by explaining what it means, but is it helpful to the reader? Average readers are going to completely overlook what they don’t understand. Keep it simple.
Once you know what type of book you have, the next step is to identify your audience. Fact: out of approximately 230 million adult Americans, only about 38 percent read weekly. Ask yourself who will actually spend hard-earned money to buy your book? Of course, in your own mind, everyone will want to read your work because it is the best thing since chocolate. However, the honest answer is never “everyone.”
What age group, geographic area, race, sex, and even social class should you concentrate on reaching? If you are telling the story of a fifteen-year-old white female living in Beverly Hills, marketing to fifty-year-old African-American men will do you no good. By marketing to a smaller group, you narrow the amount of people who are affected by your efforts. But if it is a more appropriately targeted group, your growth potential won’t be lessened; instead it will allow you to spend your advertising dollars more effectively. If you reach 10 percent of your selected genre instead of 2 percent of the entire population, your sales and word-of-mouth potential will both benefit. Do research, use some good old-fashioned common sense, and remember that sometimes the obvious really is the obvious.
Fact: the Keller Fay Group found that 90 percent of word-of-mouth recommendations are conducted offline. A surprising 72 percent of these recommendations takes place face to face, while 18 percent takes place by telephone. Are you spending big money on those social-media adds? If you are not getting the results you want, step outside the box. Sure, it’s easier to post on your favorite blog, website, or through your book-promotion group, than to stand around telling everyone how great you are. However, making yourself available and approachable can have many more benefits.
Go out and get involved. Becoming involved in community fundraisers is a great way to show your audience you care and to get your name out. I recently hosted a pet-food drive for our local no-kill shelter in combination with a signing for my novel, Stolen: Requiem of Humanity Series: Book One. I saw great results in sales, got the attention of the local media, and helped a wonderful cause.
Give stuff away. Hold a fun contest. Donate a copy of your book to a local library, school, or the waiting room at the chemo institute. My father spent endless hours in that room and there were never any good books for him to read.
The more original the promotional idea, the more people will remember you and your novel when it’s time to purchase.
Standing out amongst the crowd is tough, but it is part of the job. When it comes time to venture into the world with your book, remember who your readers are. Make yourself and your novel approachable, familiar, and easy to find. Market in the right places to the right people. Be unforgettable and it will seal the deal. You are in control of your novel’s destiny.
Catherine Stovall is a new and upcoming author of fantasy fiction. Her novel, Stolen, is the first in the Requiem of Humanity series. Reborn: Requiem of Humanity: Book Two will release from Untreed Reads in Fall 2012. Catherine received her Associate of Science degree from Colorado Technical University. After working in the criminal justice field for several years, she has decided to dedicate her life to her true passion: creating captivating works of fiction. She lives in Southeast Missouri with her husband, three children, and pets. Untreed Reads: http://bit.ly/qCgNAS Createspace:https://www.createspace.com/38106 Website: www.catherinestovall.webs.com
Getting Your Name Out There
by Kaye George
It’s possible you know more about this than I do. But some people don’t, so this article will start with the basics.
The first thing you need, in order to get your name out there, is—your name. Do you want to use a pen name or your own name? Google it to see what your competition is, then adjust if you must. It’s best if your e-mail address includes the name itself. That’s easy to accomplish with a free e-mail service like Gmail or Yahoo.
Once you’ve settled on a name, start to use it in the online groups you belong to.
Next, you’ll need a website if you don’t already have one. If you can’t get the domain for your_own_name.com, you can tack “writer” on the end: my_own_name_writer.com or my_own_name_author.com.
There are probably a million blogs now, but it’s still a good way to get your name out there. You can blog on writing, on your life, on your interests, on anything, really. Announce your new blog on the lists you belong to, Facebook, Twitter, or wherever you communicate online. This is a good way to engage people, too.
Make use of other people’s blogs by commenting and tweeting for them and writing guest blogs. Bloggers are delighted when someone wants to post a guest column.
Then there’s Facebook, the one we all love and hate because of the constant change. Having a pen name is an advantage here. I keep my family and close friends on the profile with my real name, with very private posts, and I put writer friends and contacts under my pen name, where all is bared. There’s a limit to how many friends you can have on FB. After accumulating 5,000 friends, you must create a Fan Page. At least that’s how it was last week. Whatever FB does, you can count on it changing within a month or so. That’s the most frustrating thing about it.
Goodreads is mainly a place for people to tell about what books they’ve read and to rate them. When you have a book out, you should set up an author page and put your books there, to make it easy for people to pick them and read them. There are a LOT of avid readers at Goodreads.
I honestly don’t know what good LinkedIn is to a writer, but people keep adding me to their lists and I just reciprocate. I participate in a couple of discussions that others have invited me into.
The Kindle Forum setup is very difficult for me. I’m told that authors must be very careful about saying they’re authors, or they’ll be banned from discussions. Some people have gotten a lot out of the forums, but I haven’t done much with them. I’m too afraid of being banned!
A friend of mine insists that Twitter is different—and better than—Facebook. She says it’s because it’s viral. If others retweet your tweets, they can reach a lot of people. A subject, or topic, is designated by the number/pound sign (#), called a hash tag. These two—#writer and #books—are topics that a lot of people follow and pay attention to. Tweetdeck and Tweetchat make the messages more manageable, because they allow sorting.
Pinterest is the most recent social media I’ve joined. I love it because it’s pure fun—no writing involved. I’m not sure what good it does a writer, but that may become apparent someday.
Here are a few other ways to get your name known: get short stories published (faster than novels), write articles when asked (or volunteer to do them), put out a newsletter, attend conferences and conventions—especially if you can get yourself on panels—enter contests so you can say you’re an award-winning author, judge contests, join writing organizations.
Source of short-story markets: http://www.duotrope.com/
When you accomplish something, put it in your signature line. Then every post will remind people of your award or acceptance, or upcoming appearance or publication. Make sure your website and blog addresses are in your signature line. Do anything you can to interact with other writers and eventually, readers will get your name out.
Finally, do only what you have time for and are comfortable with. If you’ve never done any of this, start with one item at a time and build until people begin to know who you are. Then keep on going, so they don’t forget who you are.
Kaye George, twice nominated for Agatha Awards, is the author of Choke: An Imogene Duckworthy Mystery, as well as numerous short stories that appear in various online and print magazines and anthologies. She reviews for Suspense Magazine, writes for newsletters and blogs, and has given workshops on short-story writing and promotion. Homepage: http://kayegeorge.com/ Blog: http://travelswithkaye.blogspot.com/ Blog: http://allthingswriting.blogspot.com/ Guppy president, 2010 & 2012 Agatha Nominee/ Grimm Tales Anthology at http://tinyurl.com/bnu9zdx www.untreedreads.com Choke, nominated for Best First Novel Agatha Award http://kayegeorge.com/
SPAWN President Susan Daffron has been invited to speak at the 2012 No More Homeless Pets National Conference that is put on by Best Friends Animal Society. Along with Melissa Steimer, Senior Director of Development for Best Friends, she’ll be doing a workshop called "Big Fundraising Ideas for Small Rescue Groups." The event will be held October 25-28 in Las Vegas.
From Helen Gallagher: "In the June Market Update, there was a listing for a new publisher: “Familius is a new publisher of family-oriented books…”
I was just finishing up a year-long book project with a client, and the timing was perfect. We contacted Familius and my client signed a contract last week. They are not a POD firm, but a traditional full-service publisher focused on the big picture of getting books into the hands of readers. Unique idea, and fresh thinking. The owner Christopher Robbins is very professional and efficient to work with. I’m excited, my client is happy, and her book is on the fast track to national distribution at no cost to the author. Thank you SPAWN!"
From Wendy Dager, www.wendydager.com, author of I Murdered the PTA and I Murdered the Spelling Bee:
"I was lucky enough to be at the SPAWN table at the Book Tea portion of the Ojai Writers Conference, so I’m happy to share my perspective.
I consider myself a reasonably social being. I like talking to people. I like hearing their stories. In fact, I love hearing their stories. I also enjoy parties, particularly when the attendees are fun or brilliant or both. But as a professional freelance writer, I’m mostly sitting at my computer. Working. Alone. Except for the company of my two dogs, who gently remind me when it’s time for a break, or frantically alert me when the neighbors’ visitors are blocking our driveway. Good doggies.
Anyway, I made the hour-ish drive from my home in suburban Simi Valley, California, to Ojai, which is one of the most beautiful cities in Ventura County. It’s a wonderful mix of quaint and artsy and scenic, but it’s also an artists’ and freethinkers’ colony. Lots of very talented people live there because they can create and exhibit and perform.
In the couple of hours I was at the Book Tea, I felt very fortunate to hear the stories of some of these extremely gifted folks. I admit that I am sometimes reluctant to go to gatherings of writers and artists because I don’t know if I’m going to learn anything new. However, it seems that whenever I get away from my computer, say bye-bye to my dogs, hop in the car, and take a little drive to one of these events, I end up feeling energized, as well as incredibly impressed by the diversity of those who share in the craft and the business of writing.
We may not all like the same genre or have the same skill set or use the same methods to get to wherever it is we want to go, but the one thing we have in common is the ability to offer inspiration to others.
It also doesn’t hurt to have a nice cup of tea and some good pastries to go with it.
And for a humorous look at why I need to be inspired by others of my kind—A Discouraging Word: True Tales of Rejection, Dejection and Unnatural Selection in the world of writing is an upcoming nonfiction humor book about the not-so-sunny side of writing by award-winning—meaning she once won a hoodie in a beer-themed haiku contest—writer Wendy Dager. From now until August 4, it’s a project on the creative fundraising site Kickstarter. You can see the project details—and a video, featuring the hoodie—at http://kck.st/Pftrua"
Patricia Fry is offering her new e-booklet FREE at http://www.patriciafry.com. Download your FREE copy of 50 Ways to Promote Your E-book today! Download a FREE sample chapter of Patricia Fry’s latest book, Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author http://www.matilijapress.com/PublishYourBook.html Need a speaker for your writer’s group meeting or conference? Check out Patricia Fry’s speech topics at http://www.matilijapress.com/contactus.html. Contact her at PLFry620@yahoo.com.
Nancy and Biff Barnes at Stories To Tell Books have some new books out this month that they edited and designed for self-publishing authors. Check them out on amazon.com! Lessons In Honor by Lin Bothwell is a novel about the challenges of the Air Force Academy. Simple Wonders and a Memorable Year by John de Melo is a memoir about the author’s pilgrimage on the Camino in Spain and Portugal. Just Miatas is a non-fiction book about buying, restoring, and selling Miata sports cars. No longer specializing in memoirs and family history, Stories to Tell has expanded to general fiction and non-fiction. Nancy and Biff will be exhibiting at Wordstock in Portland October 13 and 14, and authors may sign up for a free consultation with either editor at the event. Contact them for an appointment, and bring your draft manuscript! www.StoriesToTellBooks.com
Get TOTAL FundsforWriters free with proof of purchase of C. Hope Clark’s latest mystery release, Lowcountry Bribe: A Carolina Slade Mystery. Total FFW is Hope’s largest newsletter with 75 markets, contests, grants, publishers, agents, and jobs for writers. Just like the regular FundsforWriters, only five times larger. Delivered bi-weekly to you by e-mail. $15/year for 26 issues. www.fundsforwriters.com/total.html
If you’re like most authors, you know you need to write a press release that announces your book, but you aren’t sure how to do it. Fortunately, you finally have help. Sandra Beckwith’s new e-book, Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release that Announces Your Book (http://bit.ly/M2d7M1 ), is the only resource that takes you through the process step-by-step. Veteran publicist and book-marketing coach Beckwith helps authors, book publicists, publishers, and others learn how to create a document that contains the information journalists need and expect. The book is available as a PDF for $9 at http://bit.ly/M2d7M1, where you will see a testimonial from SPAWN President Susan Daffron!
LuckyCinda Publishing is proud to announce that award-winning Ridgecrest , California, author and journalist Lucinda Sue Crosby has been named one of three finalists in Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards competition. Crosby’s latest effort entitled The Adventures of Baylard Bear: A Story about Being DIFFERENT received this signature recognition in the Children’s Literary Fiction category.
Joanna Celeste attended the Robert Quackenbush workshop for Children’s Writing and Illustration. Her website has some of my new illustration work: http://www.notionsofagirl.wordpress.com
Doug Snelson’s The Fable of the Snake Named Slim, was chosen by the Mom’s Choice Awards as an honoree in the category Children’s Picture Books-Growing Up/Personal Growth, ages 5-9. www.thefableofthesnakenamedslim.com
Dallas Woodburn, SPAWN’s Youth Director, has recently published short fiction in a number of literary journals including the Nashville Review, the Indian River Review, The Mom Egg, and thickjam. In addition, her one-act play A Frog in Boiling Water was performed in Los Angeles by Eclectic Company Theatre as part of their annual play festival Hurricane Season; that same play has been chosen to be performed as part of the prestigious Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival in New York City this October. Subscribe to Dallas’s free monthly newsletter at http://a.elf.mylogomail.com/rwcode/subscribe.aspx?SiteID=41327&SID=0&hitid=0 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new book, Self-Publishing: Writing a Book and Publishing Books and E-books For Yourself and Others by member A. William Benitez and published by Positive Imaging, LLC, is available from Amazon.com and other dealers. This is a complete course covering writing discipline, editing, layout, developing the title, creating a cover, building a website, and instructions on operating a self-publishing services business. Praise from Patricia Fry; “This workbook is an amazing publishing guide for any author who wants to do it all him or herself.” Patricia Fry, author, speaker, editor www.patriciafry.com. http://publishingsimplified.com/FreeSPCourse/SPeCourse2012.pdf
Win-Win Influence: How to Enhance Your Personal and Business Relationships (www.win-wininfluence.com ) by member Roger Ellerton PhD, CMC, was recently published in paperback and for Kindle by Renewal Technologies Inc. (www.renewal.ca). Parents, managers, salespeople, coaches—anyone who interacts with other people and is serious about making a significant difference—will benefit from reading this book. Even if you are already doing well, you will find ideas and processes that will enhance your abilities. Many thanks to Patricia Fry for excellent work in editing my book. However, she didn’t get to see this mini-write up, so any errors are totally mine!
Member, Cheryl Patrice Derricotte has been published in the new magazine, Author Entrepreneur. http://artistentrepreneurship.com/author-entrepreneur-magazine
Contests, Events and Opportunities
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