THE NEXT REALLY BAD IDEA
The title is taken from John C. Dvorak's column in PC Magazine for December 1, 1998, which discusses the emergence of the e-book, a hand-held device designed to download entire books. Remember the article in last October's SPAWNews Is a Cyber Book a Book? and the mention of the electronic book that MIT was working on, with pages and everything? Well gang, they're here. Several firms are putting out these things, typically the size of a small clipboard or notepad. Prices range from $200 to $500 and one can subscribe to the E-Book of the Month Club for about $19 per download [book]. These devices are really computers in themselves, with all of the hard- and software necessary to display the pages of any one of a long list of books. My goodness! What will they think of next? Sometimes I wish they wouldn't. Think of anything next, I mean. Actually, it was thought of some time ago, but the idea never went anywhere commercially.
Here is a précis of six things that Dvorak considers wrong with this picture:
- You can't carry around interesting-looking books as conversation starters. No can do with an e-book.
- Many book purchases are done on the spur of the moment. Downloading a free book today and reading it tomorrow can be done, but few people want to go through the bother of doing so.
- What about sharing or marking up the text, or dog-earing a page? Dvorak says that real books are something that has been tweaked to perfection over the centuries.
- Technology. Computer screen contrast and readability suffer in comparison to those of real books.
- Those in the e-book business insist that the product should look and feel like a book. But you can't scroll, only turn a page. Just read a book is Dvorak's recommendation.
- Prices. Evidently, 75% of book costs are in distribution, ink and paper. Thus, one would think that an e-book's price could be reduced by some 60%. The aforementioned price of $20 a book is outrageous. Dvorak suggests that a new e-book title could be brought out during its paperback phase for something like $2 a book.
Dvorak ends his piece by saying that, after the initial burst of interest, this whole idea is going to fall flat.
What do you think? Dvorak writes for the computer world and his opinions must be viewed in that light. It's possible that there are those SPAWNees who can see a new publishing opportunity in e-books. Give it a try. It couldn't hurt.
Ventura County Chapter
Next meeting: Wednesday,
January 13, 1999
The January meeting of the Ventura County Chapter of SPAWN will feature a surprise speaker.
Members are encouraged to bring their books, brochures and business cards to display and any other information on themselves they would like to share. There will be refreshments and networking opportunities after the featured program.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Newbury Park Branch Library, 2331 Borchard Road. See page 4 for the address and directions. For more information contact Ventura County Chapter President Carol Doering at 805/493-1081.
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY CHAPTER
Next meeting: Saturday, Jan. 9, 1999
D. Gordon Johnston, M.D. will present It's Never Too Late to Start A Writing Career. Yes, it's the same Dr. Johnston who will speak at the Ventura County Chapter's meeting on the 13th.
The Chapter meets at the Karpeles Manuscript Library & Museum. See page 4 for the address and directions. For more information, please contact Santa Barbara County Chapter President Dallas Glenn at 805/899-1174.
There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away.
by Mary Embree
Quotations & Punctuation Marks
How to use quotations within quotations and punctuation with quotation marks can be confusing. But here are some generally accepted rules.
Double quotation marks are used in text to enclose quoted words, phrases, and sentences. Single quotation marks are used for quotations within quotations. And quotations within those single quotation marks should be double quotation marks again. Here's an example from The Chicago Manual of Style:
Don't be absurd! said Henry. To say that ‘I mean what I say' is the same as ‘I say what I mean' is to be as confused as Alice at the Mad Hatter's tea party. You remember what the Hatter said to her: ‘Not the same thing a bit! Why you might just as well say that I see what I eat is the same thing as I eat what I see!'
The ending punctuation is placed according to the person to whom it belongs. The placement of the punctuation in the first quotation above is obvious. As Henry is the one who said Don't be absurd! the exclamation point goes within the marks. In the last quotation of the example: I eat what I see!' the exclamation point belongs to the Mad Hatter's speech and goes within the single quotation mark. Henry is quoting the Mad Hatter who is quoting what someone might say.
Commas and periods always come before a close quote. Colons, exclamation points, and question marks are usually placed inside quotation marks. For example:
Peggy Lee's hit song was called Is That All There Is?
Only rarely is the quotation mark placed before the ending punctuation.
Who was called the voice?
Semicolons should be placed outside quotation marks.
I agree with William Faulkner who said, Really, the writer doesn't want success; when the day comes that I must pass through that wall of oblivion I'll be content just to leave a scratch on that wall.
Guide to Literary Agents, Writer's Digest Books. Published annually
Literary Market Place, R.R. Bowker, A Reed Reference Publishing Co. Published annually
The Insider's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers & Literary Agents, by Jeff Herman, published by Prima Communications
Literary Agents: A Writer's Guide, published by Poets & Writers
Literary Agents of North America, by Arthur Orrmont, published by Author Aid and Research Associates International. 340 E. 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022; phone (212) 758-4213. Listings of over 650 agents, their interests and charges
Writer's Guide to Hollywood Producers, Directors and Screenwriter's Agents, by Skip Press, Prima Publishing, 3875 Atherton Road, Rocklin, CA 95765-3716; phone (916) 632-4400
Writer's Market, Where & How to Sell What You Write, Writer's Digest Books. Published annually
The Writer's Handbook, (110 Chapters on How to Write; 3200 Markets for Manuscripts) edited by Sylvia K. Burack; published by The Writer Inc. Published annually
Books in Print and Forthcoming Books, published by R.R. Bowker & Co.
How to Get Happily Published: A Complete and Candid Guide (Fifth Edition) by Judith Appelbaum; published by Harper Perennial
How to Market You and Your Book by Richard F.X. O'Connor; published by O'Connor House
How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen; Writer's Digest Books
Write the Perfect Book Proposal; 10 Proposals that Sold and Why by Jeff Herman and Deborah M. Adams; published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
The American Directory of Writer's Guidelines: What Editors Want, What Editors Buy compiled and edited by John C. Mutchler; Quill Driver Books
The Portable Writers' Conference: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Published, Edited by Stephen Blake Mettee, Quill Driver Books. (To order, call 1-800-497-4909)
Publishers Weekly (The International News Magazine of Book Publishing and Bookselling) A Cahners/R.R. Bowker Publication
Writer's Digest, monthly magazine
Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR), 3rd floor, 10 Astor Place, New York, NY 10003. Send $7 and SAE with 55 cents for postage for a list of member agents
Independent Literary Agents Association (ILAA), 55 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003. Ask for a list of their members
National Writers Union, 873 Broadway, Suite 203, New York, NY 10003-1209. (212) 254-0279. A trade union; offers an agent database to members
Writers Guild of America-East, 555 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019. (212) 767-7800. Provides list of WGA signatory agents for $1.29
Writers Guild of America-West, 8955 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048. (213) 550-1000. Provides a list of WGA signatory agents for $2 and SASE sent to Agency Department
Publishers Marketing Association (PMA) is a trade association representing independent publishers. They offer their $80 membership to SPAWN members for only $54. 627 Aviation Way, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266; 310/372-2732; fax: 310/374-3342; Email: PMAOnline@aol.com.
Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN) also a trade association, offers discounts on shipping and access to Visa and MasterCard merchant status. Their membership fee of $90 is only $60 for SPAWN members. P.O. Box 1306-NRL, Buena Vista, CO 81211. Email SPANnet.org.
Dear Ann Landers
byVirginia Lawrence, Ph.D.
Dear Ann Landers,
Joy in Mudville wrote to you saying that the Internet is not a source of information. That statement is like saying that people or books are not sources of information. When we receive information from another human or from a book, we must evaluate that information and consider the source.
The same is true on the Internet. If we run across an Internet site run by a person with no credentials, we should not believe that the site offers the one true cure for cancer. However, the Kids Health at the AMA site offers important health information to everyone (http://www.ama-assn.org/insight/h_focus/nemours).
Numerous companies are offering information within their expertise. Seed company sites display planting and anti-erosion information (http://www.albrightseed.com); shipping companies list the various methods of overseas shipping; one well-known travel guide publisher displays the full content of every travel guide they publish (http://www.roughguides.com); a non-profit foster family agency provides details on becoming a foster parent (http://www.fosterfamily.org); a consultant in buying and selling high-tech businesses writes a monthly advice column for business owners (http://www.cashing-out.com); a non-profit foundation tells how researchers can apply for grants (http://www.haynesfoundation.org); a non-profit organization for small publishers lists resources for printing books in quantity (http://www.spawn.org).
How can this information be worth anything if it's free? Why should we be able to get information without paying for it? Well, the spirit of the Internet is a concept which many people find unsettling. The spirit is a carryover from the early days of the Internet when everything was free, because the Internet was fully subsidized by government funding. The spirit is: information should be free, so to draw people to a site, we must be generous with information.
That is, any site which expects to build up a reasonable amount of traffic must first offer something to bring in the traffic. Thousands of companies and organizations display their high-quality information so that they can inform potential buyers. The Internet is an astounding web of information on any subject. Of course, it is still up to the reader to evaluate the quality of the information.
Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.
~ Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN's Webmaster, is a technical writer, editor, and professional webmaster who publishes both in print and online. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at SPAWN's Website, http://www.spawn.org.
Santa Barbara Chapter member Andora Hodgin's article Grande Dame of Décor was published as the lead article in the winter issue of Santa Barbara Magazine. It is a written tribute to Andora's late mother Elva Twomley whose influential style and design talents still can be seen in such Santa Barbara institutions as the Lobero Theater, The University Club and the First Presbyterian Church.
PMA's Call for Entries
Benjamin Franklin Awards
PMA invites you to enter their 11th annual Award Competition for excellence in publishing during 1998. They are looking for the most impressively marketed title for the Book of the Year for Excellence and Innovation in Marketing Award. Other awards recognize excellence in editorial and design which affect the successful outcome of marketing programs.
The contest is open to publishers of books, videos, CD's or audiobooks copyrighted in 1998.
Entry fees are $45 per title, per category for PMA members. For non-PMA members it is $100 for first title, which includes one year's membership in PMA; $45 per title per category for subsequent entries.
The deadline for entries is January 10, 1999. Contact PMA for complete information. Their E-mail address is PMAonline@aol.com, phone 310/372-2732, and fax 310/374-3342.
NEXT CHAPTER MEETINGS OF SPAWN
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY CHAPTER: Saturday, January 9, 1:30 p.m.
Karpeles Manuscript Library, 21 W. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara
Directions: 101 Freeway to Carrillo, right on Carrillo, left on Chapala, right on Anapamu. (Parking in back, off Chapala, just before Anapamu.) Guest donation: $5
VENTURA COUNTY CHAPTER: Wednesday, January 13, 7:00 p.m.
Newbury Park Branch Library, 2331 Borchard Road, Newbury Park
Directions: 101 Freeway to Borchard Road, right if going south, left if going north, to the 1st right, which is Michael. Right to first driveway on left.
SPAWNews is published by
Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network
P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002
Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045
President, Santa Barbara County Chapter
President, Ventura County Chapter
Writer, Editor, Publicist
Board of Directors
Author, Editor, Literary Consultant
Founder and President of SPAWN
Vice President of SPAWN
Virginia Lawrence, PhD
Writer, Editor, Webmaster
Secretary of SPAWN
John C. Woodward, Esq.
Attorney at Law
Treasurer of SPAWN
Author, Columnist, Talk-show Host
Executive Director, Manuscript Libraries
Richard F.X. O'Connor
Author, Publisher, Editor,
Author, Senior Editor, Publishing
To provide education, information, resources and a supportive networking environment for artists, writers, and other creative people interested in the publishing process.