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SPAWNews is packed with writing, editing, illustrating, and publishing information. Each month you receive market opportunities, events, and articles you can use now!
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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, March, 2003

Wendy Dager, Editor







- FEATURE ARTICLE: Establish Yourself as a Writer





- Syndicate Your Articles in Newspapers and Online (PART I OF II)


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It's awfully hard to ignore the sound of opportunity pounding on your door. While it's likely that everyone who reads this newsletter has had the experience of choosing one career path or another, freelance writers in particular know it's hard to turn down a job. Yet, it's sometimes difficult to tell if the opportunity we're presented with is worthwhile from a time/money standpoint, or is going to lead us somewhere bigger and brighter, or, frankly, is even a legitimate offer.

That's why it's good to be discerning. That is, explore your horizons, but take precautions while doing so. If something sounds "hinky," it probably is. Too often, our judgment can be clouded because we are flattered by the attention given by a potential employer, or simply because we are afraid to say no. This can cause an internal battle for struggling writers who are trying to pay their bills with the relatively meager earnings of the average freelancer. If you're undecided about taking on work that is offered to you, talk it over with someone who's been there, such as another writing professional who may have a better idea of what is good for you, career-wise. Sometimes, however, we just have to learn on our own.

I am reminded of a friend who took a job as a ghostwriter. While some have found success and fulfillment from ghostwriting, my friend's experience turned out to be more trouble than it was worth from a financial aspect, as well as causing a serious drain of his constitution. My own dose of reality came several years ago, when I was writing informational articles for a public relations company whose owner seemed a tad flaky. Eventually, a paycheck bounced. They did end up paying me what they owed, but I chose to sever my relationship with them. I wasn't happy about the experience, but it didn't sour me on writing. Instead, this bump in the road helped me develop my instincts. I can't guarantee something like this will never happen again, but I am certainly much wiser now. It's those experiences-good and bad-that are an important part of developing your successful writing business.

For more on how to be a true professional, read this month's article, "Establish Yourself as a Writer," by Patricia Fry. We are also pleased to present Part I of a guest feature written by "TaxMama" Eva Rosenberg, who penned "Syndicate Your Articles in Newspapers and Online" just for SPAWNews. Part II of this informational piece will appear in the April issue. And, for those of you who are interested in local chapters of SPAWN, be sure to check out the following announcement. -Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews, newspaper opinion columnist, and professional freelance writer.

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New Local SPAWN Chapters

Many members have been asking about local SPAWN Chapters. Well, now we're ready to start creating local Chapters!

If there is no SPAWN Chapter in your area... may be interested in forming one. It's fun and a great way to meet and interact with other SPAWN members. Local SPAWN Chapters provide opportunities for SPAWN members to get to know each other and work with other professionals within their own community.

What happens at Chapter meetings?

SPAWN Chapter leaders can run meetings devoted to any aspect of writing, publishing, illustrating, or marketing books. Chapters can be simply discussion groups, or they can highlight meetings with invited speakers.

A Chapter might be designated as:

  • a writer's critique group where everyone brings writing to be reviewed.
  • a mystery writer's group where members discuss police procedures and forensics.
  • a romance writer's group where members talk about romantic locations and the optimal level for explicit love scenes.
  • a book cover design group where members share the best cover designs for bookstore sales.
  • a book typesetting group where members comment on book design and how it affects ease of reading.
  • a book marketing group discussing the latest Market Update.
  • a self-publishing group working their way through Mary Embree's The Author's Toolkit or Dan Poynter's The Self-Publishing Manual.
  • An unpublished author group working their way through The Writer's Market to find the best publishers for each member.

This is just a quick list to get you thinking about the possibilities. I'm sure that you'll come up with a lot more Chapter topics.

What are the advantages of being a Chapter leader?

As a Chapter leader you will get to know all the members of your Chapter and they will get to know you. This will give you increased visibility and more opportunities to network on your own behalf. Your responsibilities are to identify other leaders in your community and encourage them to help you build the Chapter.

First you must locate an appropriate meeting place. This can be your home, or a bookstore, or a restaurant willing to lend a small private room, or your office, or…

After establishing the meeting location, it's just a matter of sending out news releases to announce your meetings to your local papers, facilitating the monthly meetings, and keeping in touch with Chapter members.

Where can Chapter leaders get materials and more ideas?

The SPAWN national office provides membership forms online. We also provide information, guidance and support. The Chapter page at will host an ongoing list of suggestions for meeting topics, plus other ideas and help.

Your Chapter will receive 5 copies of the first edition of The Author's Toolkit, one for each of the first 5 Chapter members who join SPAWN. (This offer holds until all copies of the first edition have been given away.) The Chapter leader will also receive a complimentary SPAWN membership renewal. Contact Patty Fry now to discuss your Chapter plans:

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Are you trying to market a script? Have you been thinking about writing a screenplay? The March issue of SPAWN Market Update is compiled especially for YOU! We've listed nearly 20 markets, sites and other resources for screenwriters and playwrights. And we've added two new departments this month: Opportunities for Writers, and Markets for Scripts. Join SPAWN,, and gain access to the enormous array and scope of material in all 16 issues of Market Update.

And, great news for artists: Next month, we're devoting the 11-pages of the SPAWN Market Update to the A in SPAWN, Artists; including illustrators, graphic designers, musicians and performers!

Here's an excerpt from this month's interview with script analyst Lynn Pembroke.

Patricia Fry: "What is the most common mistake you see among screenwriters?"

Pembroke: "The problems I run across are many and varied, from lack of solid plot development to creating good, believable characters. However, the most common problem for those just starting is the lack of a solid grasp of the basics-industry standard screenplay format and structure. There are also many problems that arise in writing good narrative description. Since the growth in popularity of the Internet, there has arisen a whole new way to get one's screenplay on the market. These Internet companies, for a fee, post an individual writer's screenplays over the web. These companies have working relationships with many producers, studios and agents who visit the site to look at the available screenplays. A writer would have to research on his own the viability, statistics of sales/options and honesty factor of each of these Internet companies to choose the ones with whom he/she feels comfortable."

Tina Miller is the founder/editor for a brand new writing magazine, Writer's Apprentice. Here's an excerpt from Patricia Fry's interview with her:

Patricia Fry: "What type of articles are you currently looking for?"

Miller: "The biggest need I have right now is for articles that explore the pros and cons of a particular topic that pertains to writers-articles that include quotes and feedback on both sides of the issue from real working writers who have 'been there, done that' and can share the benefit of their experiences with other writers. These articles should not be biased but should fully explore both sides of the issue so the reader can decide for him/herself the best course of action. They should include quotes and input from AT LEAST two people on each side of the issue for a well-rounded story."

All back issues of the Market Update are available in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site,  

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Hello! I have written a poem. It is a rather lengthy poem, but I feel it is a very easy poem to read because of the content. I know nothing about publishing and feel a little sheepish about even contacting you. I would be so grateful if someone would even take time to look at the poem and give me an opinion. I do feel that the poem has something to offer, but I have not a clue how to get started just to get it seen. If you would be at all interested, I will email the poem to you. If not, I understand. I just thought it would be worth a try. Thank you so much, regardless of your decision.


Dear Sharon:

Thank you for offering to share your poem. While I don't think it would serve a purpose for me to look at it, I can tell you how to show it to the right people. There are 4 avenues I would suggest you explore:

  1. Study magazines that publish poetry and send your poem to one that is appropriate. If you read poetry, you might know of magazines that accept poetry. Make sure that you follow their submission guidelines and adhere to their word count, number of poems submitted, etc. While there are numerous poetry and literary magazines that publish poetry, be sure to also research general magazines, women's, associations, and others. A good way to find out about magazines and their contents is through Writer's Market or Literary Market Place (both found in the reference section of most libraries)
  2. Submit your poem to the author of a book or chapbook of poetry. You may find authors looking for poetry submissions through writing-related newsletters and Web sites, through online forums and advertised in writing magazines. (The SPAWN Member Forum is a good place to meet other poets as well as publishers.)
  3. Enter contests. There are Web sites dedicated to writing contests-many would be appropriate for your poem. Find contests in writing/poetry magazines. Writer's Market lists contests for all types of writing, including poetry
  4. Join writing groups and organizations. In most writing groups, members are encouraged to share their works with one another for critique and comment. This can be helpful. Another enormously beneficial move would be to join SPAWN and discuss your poem. We have several published poets who would give you some more specific suggestions.

I hope this helps.

Good luck,

Patricia Fry, President


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I think SPAWN is a terrific organization.  I have received much useful and inspiring information through SPAWN and I want to thank you for making this such a worthwhile and valuable resource.


Sharla Gentile

Tampa, Florida

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Establish Yourself as a Writer

By Patricia Fry

People often ask me, "How can I break into the writing profession?" Since this question cannot be answered in a paragraph or two, I've prepared this guide for beginners who are serious about establishing a writing career.

I've been writing for publication since the early 1970s. I've contributed hundreds of articles to about 175 different magazines and I have twelve books to my credit. Writing is my full-time work. If you're thinking about designing a career around your love of writing either now or in the future, here's what I suggest:

Make a commitment. I don't mean that you should give up your day job. On the contrary, it's wise to have an income to count on while you're testing the waters of this profession. If you're serious about a career as a freelance writer, however, take appropriate steps in that direction. Write every chance you get. Take on some assignments. You'll soon learn whether or not you're a self-starter, if you have organizational and time management skills and whether you really enjoy the work.

My writing career was interrupted once by the necessity to work at a traditional job. I feared that full-time employment was my future and that I would never be able to write seriously again. I became despondent.  I had to prove to myself that I could write no matter what else was going on in my life. I started getting up everyday at 4:00 a.m. and I wrote for two hours before getting ready for work. I also wrote on weekends. I finished my book, Quest for Truth, in eight months on this schedule. Can you make this type of sacrifice and commitment?

Establish a routine and stick to it. If you can't find the time to write, make some lifestyle changes. Give up some of your club and organization affiliations, stop watching television, get up an hour earlier, stay up later at night or cut back on your hours at work, for example. Log your daily activities to discover where you may be wasting time.

Create a place to write. Don't try to launch a writing career on the kitchen table where you share space with the family at meal times. Set up permanent office space where the distractions are minimal-in a spare room or a corner of your bedroom, for example.

Practice self-discipline. Lack of self-discipline is the cause of failure for many would-be writers. Here are three reliable disciplinary tactics for writers. Set strict hours and don't accept any excuses to deviate. Find a writing buddy-another writer with whom you can connect for support and encouragement. Reward yourself. Say, for example, "Once I finish this chapter, I'll take a thirty-minute walk." Or "As soon as I complete this brochure, I'll call a friend and chat for ten minutes." It may also be necessary to train friends and family to honor your working hours.

Become familiar with the markets. Once you've established the area of writing you wish to pursue, spend time each week searching for potential clients. For example, study the magazines you want to write for, search out companies that contract writing work out.

Be a bold promoter. It's well known that writers are usually more contented sitting at home quietly writing. In order to make a living as a writer, however, it's generally necessary to go out after the assignments.

Write, Write, Write. Keep your mind and your fingers nimble by writing every single day.

The fact is that many people fail each year in their attempt to start a writing business. If you recognize yourself in the points below, refer to the seven tips above to pull yourself out of the quagmire. -This is an excerpt from Patricia Fry's e-book, The Successful Writer's Handbook. Join SPAWN and get a free copy of this e-book or purchase it at

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Congratulations to SPAWN founder Mary Embree, whose publisher, Allworth Press, has announced that her book, The Author's Toolkit, was accepted by the Writer's Digest Book Club. In addition to this monumental achievement, Allworth Press says the book club ordered more copies of Mary's book than any other book they have published. The publication of the revised edition of Author's Toolkit is (approximately) March 15 and should be in Writer's Digest Book Club in April or May.

Congratulations to SPAWN member Joan Blacher who reports that her new book, Murder Canyon (Zumaya Publications, ISBN 1-89-494869-64-8, $14.00) came out this past December. Murder Canyon is the intriguing tale of "Ardis Jensen, a forensic psychologist turned campus counselor, who'd thought she'd left the grim world of serial killers far behind until a mutilated body is found in a nearby canyon. This grisly discovery shatters her tranquil rural community and embroils her in the police investigation. As the list of unsavory suspects grows, Ardis finds herself entangled in a web of deceit, sexual misconduct and violence." You can order Joan's book from or Joan will be part of a mystery writers' panel at the Left Coast Crime Convention at the Pasadena Hilton on Sunday, March 2 at 11:00 am. The convention has many interesting sessions to choose from, including one featuring Elizabeth Devine, technical consultant and a producer of both CSI programs.

Congratulations to Chuck Hillig, who has found international success with his second book, The Way it Is, now out in German. His newest book Seeds for the Soul, will be published in English in April and in Russian sometime early next year. Enlightenment for Beginners will also be published in Hungarian this spring. His children's book, The Magic King will be reprinted in late 2003. He invites SPAWNews readers to check out his newly updated Web site,, where you can see the book covers and read some enthusiastic endorsements.

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR WRITERS is seeking a qualified writer who can help develop 6-8 articles about online research and performance improvement. They provide software and infrastructure for web surveys, online testing and assessment, certification programs, and performance measurement. Areas of particular interest are:

Human Resources: 360 degree feedback reviews, organizational climate surveys, employee skills testing/certification.Market Research: web surveys versus paper and pencil, data mining combining purchasing info, demographics and customer surveys; using multimedia in web based questionnaires; using online testing to pre-qualify respondents for an online survey; best practices combining focus groups and surveys.

Training and Education: Online testing versus paper and pencil, using practice testing as a learning tool, what can you do with a database of student/test historical information.

Membership Organizations: Online member surveys, member certification/testing, pre and post conference surveys, best practices, online benefits versus offline, etc. Please provide brief description of you and your experience, some links to sample articles, price estimate or range for 500 to 2,000 word articles, including necessary research (they are hoping to find writers very familiar with the topics), and your availability.

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Independent Publishers have announced their Book Awards Contest for 2003. Entries will be accepted until April 15, 2003 for titles released in 2002. It's the 7th annual Independent Book Awards. They call this the IPPY Awards. They have 52 categories including some new ones this year. The seventh annual Independent Publisher Book Awards, honoring the year's best independently published titles, will accept entries until April  15, 2003.NEW THIS YEAR - SECURE ONLINE REGISTRATION: All independent, university, small press, and self-publishers in North America are eligible to enter books published with a 2002 copyright or that were released in 2002. Visit the Independent Publisher Book Awards site for FAQ, guidelines, entry form, and a complete listing of last year's winners. For more info: or 1-800-706-4636, extension 1011.

The 5th Annual Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition boasts "The usual suspects: $10,000 first place prize, software and the precious Hollywood contacts which include established production companies and literary representatives such as A Band Apart, Samuel Goldwyn, Evolution, Lawrence Mark Prods. and Marc Platt Prods."

The competition is sponsored by screenwriting software company Write Brothers Inc. (formerly Screenplay Systems), The Writers Store, Script Magazine and For application and rules visit or call the office 323-654-5809. Regular deadline is March 3 and the Final deadline is April 15, 2003.

$2,000 Awaits Winners of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, created to recognize and encourage the efforts of writers who have not yet achieved major-market success. Writers will compete for a $1,000 first prize, $500 second prize, and $500 third prize in thisinternationally acclaimed competition. Several honorable mentions are also awarded each year. Stories in all genres of fiction are welcome. Maximum length is 3,000 words, and writers retain all rights to their work. The final deadline is May 15, 2003; winners will be announced at the end of July. For complete guidelines, please visit, e-mail, or send an SASE to the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, P.O. Box 993, Key West, FL  33041.

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Please note: Although SPAWNews does its best to filter announcements and press releases for various events, seminars, and classes, we cannot guarantee a successful experience for all who attend.

The Second City Council (art gallery) is hosting the "2003 Women's Festival of the Arts" March 8 & 9, 1:00 - 6:00 p.m., in honor of International Women's Day.  The visual arts exhibition will run March 8 - April 18, 2003. Ruth Weisberg, Dean of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California (USC) an internationally known and respected artist, will be juror. There are cash awards plus the infamous Eye-Opener statue.  Full details and an entry form can be obtained from the Web site:

Mystery Writers of America, Inc.'s Florida Chapter's "S" is for SleuthFest 2003, March 13-16 at the Deerfield Beach/Boca Raton Hilton. Special Guests: Sue Grafton and Dr. Henry Lee. Thursday, March 13: Writer's workshops, including critiques of attendee samples by NYT Bestseller, Barbara Parker, techniques of establishing setting through World Building with award-winning Carole Nelson Douglas, and how to give a pitch to an agent/editor. Friday, March 14-Sunday March 16: Over 35 panels open to writers of all levels and genres, National Shooting Sports Foundation Shootout, and editor/agent appointments. Registration: Thursday workshops: $50; Friday thru Sunday: $165, members, $180, non-members before 1/1/03.  Registration forms: or send SASE to Anne K. Walsh, 6056 NW 56th Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33067, e-mail, or call: Jody Lebel at (954) 782-8872.

The International Women's Writing Guild is presenting a retreat/conference Friday, March 14 to Sunday, March 16 at Bosch Bahai School in Santa Cruz, CA. You can attend all or part of the workshops. Fee for a day for nonmembers is $90. For both weekend days, it's $150 plus meals ($10 each meal). Full registration for all 3 days, including room and board, $345 (nonmembers). For information, or or phone 212-737-7536

According to its press release: "The Creativity Workshop's goal is to help individuals believe in and develop their creative process and break through the fears and blocks that inhibit creativity through using memoir, creative writing, visual arts exercises, and storytelling. It was established in 1993 by writer Shelley Berc and multimedia artist Alejandro Fogel to provide an alternative to traditional forms of education and thinking. The organization is dedicated to teaching individuals and groups about their creative processes. The Workshop's end product is expanded perception, innovative problem solving, and ways of looking at one's life and work as exciting and transformative."

Workshops take place in New York City during the year and in Europe in the summer. All workshops are taught exclusively by Master Teachers Shelley Berc and Alejandro Fogel. Workshops are either 2, 4, 7 or 9 days.

2003 Calendar:


March 15 - 16, 2003 2 day weekend workshop (8 contact hours)

Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Tuition Fee: $350

March 28 - 31, 2003 4 day intensive workshop (16 contact hours)

Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 4 PM to 8 PM

Tuition Fee: $600

April 19 - 20 2003 2 day weekend workshop (8 contact hours)

Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Tuition Fee: $350

May 17 - 18, 2003 2 day weekend workshop (8 contact hours)

Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Tuition Fee: $350

May 24 - 30, 2003 (Memorial Day weekend) 7 day intensive workshop (21

contact hours)

Monday through Saturday, 5 to 8 PM

Tuition Fee: $950

Tuition + accommodations packages available



Island of Crete June 17 - 27, 2003

9 day workshop

Tuition + accommodations packages available from $1,450

Florence June 29- July 9, 2003

9 day workshop Tuition Fee: $1,100

Tuition + accommodations packages available from $1,450


Paris July 10 - 20, 2003

9 day workshop Tuition Fee: $1,100

Tuition + accommodations packages available from $1,800

Barcelona July 23 - August 2, 2003

9 day workshop

Tuition Fee: $1,100

Tuition + accommodations packages available from $1,450


Prague August 4 - 14, 2003

9 day workshop

Tuition Fee: $1,100

Tuition + accommodations packages available from $1,450

London August 17 - 24, 2003

7 sessions in 6 days

Tuition Fee: $1,050

Tuition + accommodations packages available from $1,600

For more information: or Tel: (212) 922-1555 or

Sell your script at PITCHFEST (Voted the #1 pitch event by Script


Hyatt Hotel, West Hollywood, CA, March 15 & 16, 2003. This is an opportunity for you to present your story ideas, script, book or TV project directly to Hollywood buyers in one-on-one (7-minute) pitch meetings.  Over 50 film and television industry top professionals to pitch to/meet with, plus one full day of individual craft sessions with this year's Oscar-nominated filmmakers. To reserve your space or find out more: (310) 275-0287 or (800) 646-3896 or Reserve before Feb. 10 and receive an early-bird discount. Sponsored by Borders Books and Fade In Magazine.

David S. Freeman's "Beyond Structure Workshop" takes place in Los Angeles on March 15-16 and in New York on March 29-30. Receive $50 off if you mention Script Magazine when you pre-register or get $100 off if you fly in from out of town.

The workshop comes with a full money-back guarantee that your writing will significantly improve (in your own estimation) by the end of the first day. Freeman, who has written or developed projects which have been set up at companies such as Paramount, Columbia Pictures, MGM, Castle Rock, and New Line Cinema, says you'll learn 200 proven techniques to: Create memorable, psychologically rich characters;

Write dialogue that captures characters' unique voices and emotional depth; Sculpt scenes audiences will never forget; Brainstorm riveting plots, which are tightly tied to the emotional growth of your characters. For a free brochure, call toll-free from

outside California: (866) 239-2600, and inside CA: (310) 394-6556 or check out the website at:

Breaking Personal Rules: How to Get Out of Your Own Way is a 4-week coaching group led by Barbara Caplan-Bennett, specifically geared to help writers become more productive in writing and submitting their work. The group takes place via telephone bridge (participate from anywhere in the world) on 4 Wednesdays, March 19, 26, April 2 and 9, 2003, 8:00-9:00 p.m., Pacific Time. The fee is $150; SPECIAL OFFER FOR NEW CLIENTS:  For an additional $100, receive a 45-minute individual session (prior to the start date of the group if time allows), and one half-hour individual follow-up session after the group concludes. See Writers' Page for more details on weekly topics.

Patricia Fry will teach a workshop on Saturday, March 22 from 9 - noon at Ventura College. If you want to earn your living writing magazine articles or promote your book through articles, this is the workshop for you. Fry will help you feel more comfortable with the dreaded query letter, show you how to find the right markets for your works and write the right works for the publication. She will also demonstrate how to tap into a constant flow of article ideas. It will be an inspiring and educational morning. For more information, call Ventura College at 805-654-6459 or go to The workshop is $45. Class Code: ZW203. Fry is the author of 12 books, including "A Writer's Guide to Magazine Articles" and "The Successful Writer's Handbook."  Books number 13 and 14 are scheduled for publication in 2003. She has been writing for magazines for 30 years, having contributed to Writer's Digest, The World and I, Woman's Own, The Toastmaster, Authorship, Canadian Author, Writer's Journal, Pages, Cat Fancy, Your Health and many, many others.

THE ACTION/CUT FILMMAKING SEMINAR announces its Spring 2003  schedule.

MIAMI: March 22-23, CHICAGO:  March 29-30, NEW YORK: April 5- 6, LOS ANGELES: April 12 -13  Times:  9AM to 6PM both days.

Early Bird Special, 11 days before events: $275 & Students $250

According to its press release: In 2 days, you will gain first-hand career knowledge from a working director/writer with an  in-depth, audio-visual study of the skills, tools, and industry trade secrets to take any project from page to shooting to finished film

Seminar Director: GUY MAGAR - International film instructor and working director/writer presently on contract to Miramax Films. Credits include over 50 DGA Indie Feature Films and TV shows. Visit the Web site: or call (800) 815-5545.

A Music and Arts Expo will be held April 19 at California State University, Northridge, from 10 am to 8 pm. The 2003 Call to Arts! Expo has been gaining a great deal of momentum and cooperation with a wide range of artists and organizations. The expo will be a large and unique gathering of artists and arts leaders working at grassroots, community and industry levels and across various artistic disciplines, but sharing a common purpose in arts and music. It is a place where musicians, fine artists, songwriters, designers, singers, managers, visionaries, publishers, poets, promoters, authors and those who administer arts organizations, businesses or non profits are coming together to MAKE CONNECTIONS... and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!  Register before Feb 15, 2003 for only $35 (Price goes up to $55 on Feb 15th).  Make check payable to Artists Helping Artists and send to Artists Helping Artists, PO Box 8323, La Crescenta, CA 91224.  For more information: or

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Syndicate Your Articles in Newspapers and Online


By Eva Rosenberg, EA

Note: This article is based on a teleseminar conducted by Dan Janal and is available on CD,

My goal when I was thirty was to have a nationally syndicated tax column by the time I was forty. Well, that goal was missed, due to the vagaries of life. And now, as I approach my fiftieth birthday, I've finally managed to reach my dream. Well, almost. Sort of. In a way…

Sit back and relax while I tell you a tale of fortune and fame.  

Piece of Cake

Back in about 1995, I managed to snag contracts writing monthly tax columns for (bought up by Lycos, who fired all the editors and paid columnists), (also got venture financing and only kept their editor as a paid writer), and a couple of other places-some that actually paid, others that somehow, never seemed to carry through with their plans. Life was good for a couple of years-and I didn't put much energy into marketing it. After all, I have a tax practice, as a paying business, right.  

NOTE: I sold first Internet rights only and retained all other rights.

Most of the articles were resold many times. They were all used on my own website,

Why Syndicate?

Before we go any further into this little tale of Woah!, let's talk about why we want to bother with syndicating our work at all?  

Frankly, if you write well, your articles take a long time to write and polish. If you can only sell them once, your hourly rate gets tiny, doesn't it? Even at $500 or $1,000 per article, by the time you get done, you've earned, what? $15 - $30 per hour?  

Suppose you could sell that same article a hundred times? With no changes. Naturally, since it's not exclusive to one company, they'll pay you less. But, you could sell it to more and more places.

So, what's if you only sold the article for as little as $25.00 instead of $500? Well, multiply that by 100 and you've just earned $2,500.00 for that same article. That's pretty sobering, isn't it.  

The goal here is to give you some ideas on how to get your articles out to many venues…starting with a few, to beta test your column. Then, growing it to hundreds. And thousands.  

Let's face it, the big national syndicators are not really looking for new material. They'll be happy to carry if you're already famous. But, you're trying to build a name…and no one wants you yet.  

Meanwhile, while you're waiting for lightning and fame to strike, you can help it along.  

In my case, I hit the big time. Well, sort of.

Miracle of Miracles, I am Discovered

Suddenly, two years ago, one of my Internet friends, an Italian Countess and wire service journalist, referred me to the most amazing man, Bryce Miller,

He and Hugh Brower planned to work with a select few writers to syndicate them nationally. Their contract was eminently fair, letting me retain all copyrights. Their percentage split of the revenues declined as the revenues grew. Unfortunately, by the time I met them, they had learned that there was little money in syndicating columns with newspapers. The papers were paying, perhaps $7-$10 for a daily column. Maybe as much as $25.00 if you were lucky.  

For them, it was not cost effective, as a business. But they had other ideas - to syndicate their writers in the commercial arena. (That meant cereal boxes, corporate newsletters, customer newsletters, etc.) That meant contracts for articles that went to millions of people per issue. And those would be sold on a per reader basis, per year. So each annual contract would run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Just one contract might assure me an income stream of $50,000 - $100,000 per year.  

They were just getting up steam on the project, when Bryce died. That avenue of my career died with him. And I was really getting to like that man! (I do miss our conversations. You can just imagine how well read he was.)

NOTE: Again, I sold only first publication rights and retained all other rights. Most of the articles I developed for them were resold and all were used on my own website,

Conclusion: Corporate writing is still a good idea if you know how to pitch.

Do It Myself - Online

It was taking Bryce a long time to get this off the ground. All the waiting was making me crazy. So I kept doing some research myself. Many of my I-HelpDesk & WebReview readers started telling me about Will Bontrager's free and paid tools. He had a nifty little tool called the Master Syndicator Once I took a look at it, I was delighted with the simplicity of this tool. I could provide my articles to any site on the web. All they would have to do was create a Web page that suited both of us and paste a two-line code into the middle of the page. With this tool, I could post my new articles on any schedule I chose. All the sites' pages would magically be updated at the press of a mouse button.

Oh, and I could set up different formats for different sites. Or different schedules. Or different articles. In other words, I could syndicate as many different articles as I wanted. This is just better and better. But…

I asked Will, "So, what's if one of our sites stopped paying? How can we turn them off, without inconveniencing all the others? Would we simply have to issue new codes to ALL those sites?"

Will thought about it. And about the other suggestions people made. (He does that a lot. Develop new products based on your input, I mean.) He came up with the Master Syndication Gateway I Now, this tool is even better. I haven't upgraded yet, but will after tax season is over. Not only does this version let you shut out the deadbeats, it also includes tracking software so you can track the popularity of your columns.  

Using Will's syndication tool, I took my show on the road - the Electronic Highway. Seeking out specific sites that deal with my target audience, people who are sufficiently anal to want to spend their time learning about money and tax issues, I worked out deals with a few key sites.

NOTE: Incidentally, I looked at other alternatives, and other online services. None were as reliable or as responsive. Most of the services that were designed to sell us didn't respond or did, but went out of business. Even getting promises from their presidents produced no action. They couldn't meet the demand from writers - or get paid enough to make it work for them.  

So, now it's time for me to expand my base of syndicated sites.


Eva Rosenberg all rights reserved. -Eva Rosenberg, your 'TaxMama' and 'Your Humble Guide to the Internet' publishes Ask TaxMama and I-Helpdesk & WebReview online. Her tax practice in Southern California keeps growing strictly by word of mouth. She has been quoted in many publications, both print and online, including The Chicago Tribune, CBS MarketWatch, Womans Day, Wall Street Journal, INC Magazine, Entrepreneur, US News and World Report and more, Not afraid to take a stand, her editorials, opinions and colorful conversations with journalists and talk show hosts get her call-backs from them on a regular basis. Her informal manner makes her a very popular seminar speaker and mistress of ceremonies.

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