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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, October, 2005

Wendy Dager, Editor

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please e-mail the editor of SPAWNews:

Those of you who are SPAWN members, be sure to go to the first page of the site, and click on the "Visit Member Area" button. You will be asked to log in.

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Table of Contents

- Editor's Note

- We Get Letters

- SPAN Conference and Trade Show

- Market Update

- Q&A

- Book Review

- Commentary: Used Books on Amazon

- How to Get a Business Web Site into Google

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests and Awards

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

Off the Fence

By Wendy Dager

When I got the e-mail from SPAWN member Dr. Katherine Poehlmann, I wasn’t surprised - I was darn impressed. Katherine writes and lectures about the very serious subject of rheumatoid arthritis (, but she took a class in standup comedy and is performing at the world-famous Improv on Sunday, October 2 at 7 p.m. (See Member News, below.) Anyone who's spoken to Katherine - even via e-mail - knows that the woman has chutzpah.

Me, I'm gutsy on paper. In person, however, it's a different story. I swear I have no adrenal gland. My thrill seeking consists of navigating my little car through a sea of caffeine-fueled, SUV-driving housewives each weekday morning, with the lofty goal of safely squiring my 13-year-old to school.

I wish I were as fearless as Katherine Poehlmann.

But I remembered something I'd been doing while Katherine was enrolled in a comedy workshop. I'd decided to sign up for the fencing classes advertised by my local parks and recreation department. For three consecutive Mondays, I donned sweats - which I never wear in public - and drove myself to the multipurpose room of our community center. The "newbie" class consisted of five kids aged 7 to 13, a guy who's an ex-Marine, and me - the one who was always picked last in P.E. I was terrified, but I tried not to show it.

Amazingly, I did a lot better than I thought I would. I'm not the most coordinated chick on the block, but I held my own (foil) just fine.

Am I going to sign up for more classes? Maybe. Not sure yet. So, you're probably wondering what I got out of it.

I forced myself to step into an unfamiliar environment to see if I had the chops - the chutzpah - to take on something new. It was difficult, but it was great, because it was a personal decision that will make it a lot easier to brave challenges in my professional life. I learned that sometimes it's better to just go for it - even if "it" is something a little scary - than forever sit "on the fence."

- Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. Check out her new blog "Wendy Dager is Not Famous" at

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We Get Letters

(Note: This e-mail was received in response to the September edition of SPAWNews. Back issues of the newsletter are archived on our Web site,

This was a great issue! I read every word. SPAWN News is definitely a newsletter worth reading from top to bottom. Kudos for the hard work - and I definitely recognize the work.

C. Hope Clark

Editor, FundsforWriters, and author, The Shy Writer, An Introvert's Guide to Writing Success,

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SPAWN Recommends SPAN's Small Publishers Marketing Conference and Trade Show

SPAN's mission has always been to help small publishers sell more books, increase profits, and create more successful businesses. SPAN's Small Publishers Marketing Conference and Trade Show on October 21- 23, 2005 in Denver, Colorado, will provide a concentrated course in the marketing, sales, and PR aspects of the publishing industry.

For more information:

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

The October edition of the SPAWN Market Update fulfills the desires and needs of most members this month. We've included:

  • Over two dozen opportunities for authors, artists, photographers, freelance writers and screenwriters.
  • Fascinating information about memoir writing.
  • A publisher survey: What do publishers most want to know about you when you submit a manuscript? This may surprise you.
  • Self-publishing versus POD publishing - a comparison.
  • Discover the book market that's growing more than any other category
  • Publisher's pet peeves that almost always quarantee a rejection slip
  • Find another outlet for short stories.
  • Publishers looking for nonfiction.
  • Receive a list of eager reviewers.
  • What the heck is a digital short?
  • A competition for a job with Fox21!

Here's a sneak peek from the October Market Update:

Publisher Pet Peeves -- Don't Make These Mistakes

Sandra from Waltson Publishing, LCC says, "There are several pet peeves that can guarantee a rejection slip - a synopsis almost as long as the manuscript, not being willing to use anything other than a typewriter even though we publish for electronic media, poor technical skills (format, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure), but the worst of all is the author who sends a first draft. Just because an author is finally able to type ‘the end' doesn't mean it's the end of the process - only the first part."

Sandra said that they are also leery of authors who are too passionate about their projects. She says, "This is almost a guarantee that the author will fight every editing suggestion and want to dictate cover design, marketing and so forth."

When asked to describe the ideal author, Sandra said, "In my opinion, the ideal author is one who submits a well-written, short query with an equally short synopsis accurately giving the tale's highlights." She further appreciates an author who will "submit a manuscript that has gone through as many edits as necessary to make sure the elements are all strong - punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, story movement, and sufficient conflicts and resolutions with a believable ending."

Not a member yet? Want to see what you're missing? Contact to get a sneak peek.

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Hello Patricia,

As always, the SPAWN Market news is very timely and helpful. All the leads on magazine articles were great.

I was particularly interested in the Sweets Magazine listing and followed up your mention with a visit to their Web site and a peek at the 2006 Writer's Market. The magazine must be quite new, because there is no listing in the Writer's Market.

On the magazine's Web site, they invite readers to submit articles of any length and topic. There didn't seem to be any sort of writer's guidelines; they were open to just about anything. Also, the reader submissions seemed to imply that publication of your article was the ultimate reward for your time and information.

Here are my questions:

  1. Based on what I saw on the Web site, should I assume that submissions are unpaid?

  2. Do you recommend writing for a publication that has such a brief history?

Thank you very much for your time and information.


A SPAWN Member

Dear SPAWN Member,

Thank you for your comments about the SPAWN Market Update. It does my heart good to know that it is being read.

While I do sometimes point out magazines and book publishers that are listed in Writer's Market, I also try to find brand new listings for you - listings that may not appear in a reference book or database for some time.

There are two schools of thought about writing for a new magazine. One is, of course, that they might not make it past their third or fourth month. On the other hand, a newer magazine may offer greater opportunities for the freelance writer in that they receive fewer submissions.

There are also two ways to look at the question of writing for money. Some professionals strongly advise against writing for free. I say it depends on the circumstance. Are you trying to build a freelance writing business or promote a book? While I write for a living, I sometimes offer my writing/publishing-related articles for free to writing/publishing-related newsletters for the primary purpose of getting exposure for my writing/publishing books. Sometimes I trade an article for an ad in the magazine or newsletter.

If you are starting out as a freelance writer, you might write for free occasionally in order to accumulate clips and build on your reputation.

Sometimes you can negotiate a fee for your article even when the magazine seems to be nonpaying.

And if a new magazine makes it and you started out with them on the ground floor, it is also possible that you will benefit along with them.

As for guidelines, not all magazines have them. I checked this site and the information you found about sending articles and the type of articles they want was their writer's guidelines. Just because they didn't mention their pay, doesn't mean they don't pay. You'd be surprised how many magazine publishers/editors prefer not to publish their pay scale. Contact them via the email address they provide and ask what their pay scale is.

If they say they pay only in copies, then you have a decision to make. If you have an impressive writing background or a really special article idea to pitch, negotiate for pay, if you wish. If, on the other hand, you really want to see your article appear in this magazine for reasons other than to get a paycheck and you don't have a lot of experience, go ahead and write for them. It might be fun and it might be a foot-in-the-door.

Good luck,


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Dear Patricia,

Thank you for your invitation to join SPAWN (did so today) and offer to answer any specific questions.

I am a new author about to have my first novel released next year by PublishAmerica. I have contacted and joined many organizations and am gathering information from all over the place. I am reading Guerilla Marketing for Writers. I plan to actively market, but my issue right now is how to organize this immense project with endless marketing opportunities. How do I narrow them down, or prioritize, or even begin? I have about 10 months before the book is released - my choice. So, I have time for research but I must say that I feel overwhelmed. I am also a practicing physician, author of continuing ed courses online and mom to two teenage boys. Time management is tough. Any advice, besides just keep informed with SPAWN?

Thank you,

A New SPAWN Member

Dear New SPAWN Member,

Welcome to SPAWN. How exciting - a first novel. I am so glad that you are heads up about the promotions' aspect of authorship. Yes, there are a lot of avenues you can take with promotion. And yes, you need to narrow them down so that you can handle them more successfully.

I would suggest prioritizing by quizzing yourself. Write the answers down so they actually mean something. Ask, for example:

  1. What type of promotion am I most comfortable with?
  2. How much time do I have each day/week to promote my book?
  3. How much money do I want to spend promoting?

Then I would break the types of promotion into bite-size pieces. For example:

  1. Promotion that you can do from home via the Internet, email, phone, regular mail. (Sending press releases, researching places to send review copies, doing radio spots by telephone, writing magazine articles to get your name out, sending announcements to your mailing list - you are working on your mailing list during these 10 months, aren't you?)
  2. Promotion that you can do locally. (Book signings, speaking engagements to local civic club and other club meetings, participating in networking organizations, visiting independent bookstores with your book, doing readings at libraries, TV and radio spots, etc.)
  3. Promotion that takes you out of town. (Book tours, conferences, book fairs and festivals, etc.)

Determine how much time you have to spend on these tasks and what you can accomplish within those segments of time. Then start scheduling. You might decide, for example, that you can spend an hour each morning before work to research reviewers and review sites. Send review copies out to reviewers who seem appropriate.

If you have four hours one afternoon a week, use that time to send out press releases, contact radio talk show hosts about doing a bit on the air and work on sending book announcements to your HUGE (by now) mailing list.

Schedule a book signing in obscure/unusual places once every few weeks or so and make sure it gets a LOT of publicity.

When you are lying awake at night, design speeches you can make to promote your book to civic organization members, etc.

You might try creating a file folder for each type of promotional idea. Any time something occurs to you about a method of promotion or a book review opportunity, etc., tuck this information into the appropriate folder. When you have time, pick up a folder - choose one - any one will do - and do a few promo ideas from that file.

Do you remember how overwhelmed you felt when you thought about writing a book? Then again when you faced how to have it published? You found a path. You will with promotion, too. Just do what you can when you can. You'll get a feel for which activity works best for your particular book. Then you'll lean in that direction - that will become your priority.

You can't do it all - none of us can. You will make mistakes and miss opportunities. The best advice I can give you at this time is to just try to prioritize, truly understand your energy level, time constraints, etc. and focus on a few ideas at a time.



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Book Review

By Patricia Fry

How To Say It and Write It Correctly, Now

By Dr. Santo J. Aurelio

(Synergy Books, Austin, TX, 2nd Edition, 2004)

ISBN 0-9747644-3-4

For several months we've been offering a choice of free books to new and renewing members. One of the books is my "Successful Writer's Handbook." The other is SPAWN member, Stephen Dolainsky's "Grammar Traps." It's the popularity of Stephen's book that prompted me to choose a grammar reference to review this month.

To read the full review of "How To Say It and Write It Correctly, Now," go to

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Used Books Offered by Amazon

Comment by Virginia Lawrence on an article published last month.

In September, Bobbie Christmas mentioned in her excellent Q & A column that she had heard rumors about some people selling review copies on Amazon as used books in perfect condition. I believe that's true.

However, we don't want anyone to think that most of the used books on Amazon are review copies. In fact, the vast majority of used books on Amazon are offered by people in the used book business. Some are regular used book dealers, some are people selling their own collection book by book, and others are people who have built a business by buying books in bulk and selling them individually for almost nothing on Amazon.

Buying such used books can be a fun way for the consumer to get books at low cost. But as Bobbie's questioner notes, some used books are offered on Amazon for ridiculously low prices. In my opinion, when a recent $29.95 book can be purchased for $2.00, we have a scary situation for publishers and bookstores.

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How to Get a Business Web Site into Google

By Virginia Lawrence

Someone asked recently why Google had not listed his Web site. His site has been online for a year, but it's not listed at all in Google.

Read about how to get your business web site into Google at

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Ask the Book Doctor: About pseudonyms, submissions, audio books and writing in English as a second language

By Bobbie Christmas

To find out more about these and other topics go to

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Member News

Katherine Poehlmann's left brain does health research and serious article writing (see, but her right brain is always cooking up jokes. She will be doing a standup comedy routine at the Improv on Sunday, October 2 at 7 p.m. There will be other performers in the lineup of "Squeaky Clean Comedy" at the famous theater where Jay Leno tests out his material. The Improv is located at 8162 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, CA. There is a $10 cover, two-drink minimum. For reservations, call 310-396-8425.

Katherine says you might consider combining this event with a visit to the West

Hollywood Book Fair that same day, Oct 2, from 10-6, as it is only a mile from the Improv, at the park at 647 N. San Vicente Blvd. Parking is available across the street at the Pacific Design Center. The West Hollywood library adjacent to the park holds a big used book sale that day. Free lectures by famous authors are featured. Food and kids' booths make it an ideal family outing and fun for all ages, especially bibliophiles.

Elizabeth Burton's third novella for her erotic fiction/romance imprint, eXtasy Books, was released over the Labor Day weekend. Remembered Glory, written under her eXtasy pen name Dymitia, is one of the eXtasy Tarot series, and is based on the minor arcana card 6 of Cups. Each "card" in the series extrapolates from the interpretation, so "Remembered Glory" is the tale of a 50-something spinster who discovers that sometimes the best things in life take time to arrive. For more information:

SPAWN founder Mary Embree is coordinating The Ventura Book Festival, "Celebrating Diversity," on Saturday, March 11, 2006. See Events for full details.

The 20th anniversary edition of Barbara Florio Graham's popular little book, "Five Fast Steps to Better Writing", contains a new section just for freelancers. It includes an extensive list of resources, information about copyright (both in the U.S. and Canada), her article on "disaster-proofing" assignments, and bonus material on creativity and self-publishing. The book will be launched October 26, 6:00 p.m. at the National Library, Ottawa, in the sunken foyer at 6:00 p.m. For more information on the launch, contact Barbara Florio Graham at 819-663-3206. This is the third book under the Simon Teakettle Ink imprint and is available for $18 + p&h. Details at, or e-mail

Erika Dreifus has recently published a revised and expanded edition of "The Practicing Writer's Guide to No-Cost Literary Contests and Competitions." The e-book now includes 184 opportunities. Erika says: "For added value, we've excluded competitions that are limited to writer-entrants from a single state or province." Download a complimentary preview with sample listings at

Meet SPAWN's president in Simi Valley, California, Saturday, October 8 at the Posada Royale Hotel and Suites at 1775 Madera Road. The charity event is organized by Write 4 Hope and will benefit LA Family Housing and the Simi Valley Samaritan Center. Patricia is just one of the featured author guests and she'll speak from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. on the Right Way to Write and Publish a Book. Attendees will also be treated to a poetry slam, comedy workshop and a butterfly presentation. For more information:, or call Goldie Thomas at 805-276-2614.

On October 21-23 Patricia will be in St. Louis, MO for the second annual Meet Me in St. Louis Book Festival and Craft Art Fair, presented by the St. Louis Publishers Association. Meet Patricia in St. Louis at The Muny in Forest Park. Catch her presentation on book marketing at 2:00 on Saturday. She is also the featured author presenter at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. For more information:

Patricia will be teaching Toastmasters how to turn their speeches into articles or books at the Founder's District Fall Conference for Toastmasters on October 29 at The Phoenix Club, 1240 S. Sanderson Ave., Anaheim, CA.

Patricia Fry had a few weeks between projects late this summer and decided to produce another book. It's number twenty-three and is called "How to Write a Successful Book Proposal in 8 Days or Less." Does it sound familiar? That's because it is also an ebook available at Patricia revised and expanded the ebook and has created a beautiful print book, which is now available from her Web site for $12.99. This easy-to-use, perfect-bound book includes over 300 tips, information bites and resources and several examples from actual successful book proposals. Patricia is offering SPAWN members and newsletter subscribers a discount during the month of October only. Pay just $10 plus tax (where appropriate) and shipping when you order from her Web site, or send a check for $12.50 (includes shipping) to Matilija press, PMB 123, 323 E. Matilija St., Ste. 110, Ojai, CA 93023.

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Note: SPAWNews advises "caveat emptor" when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you.

Phil Spotts, owner of Phil's Flags in Junction City, Kansas, tells SPAWN that his store has been collecting and shipping used books to soldiers stationed at Fort Riley (Kansas) who are deployed overseas. Phil also accepts overstock or damaged books, as well as children's books, which are distributed to the children of soldiers. For more information: Phil's Flags, 908-B Grant Avenue, Junction City, KS 66441, 785-762-2242.

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Contests and Awards

Read about the latest contests at

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Events and More

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.

Read about the coming events at

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SPAWN is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

Donations are tax deductible.

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Join SPAWN now and receive one FREE book by Patricia Fry. See the selection from which you can choose your book at the Member Benefits page. As a member, you can enjoy the benefits of the Members Only Area. There you will find:

  • Member Forum. In the SPAWN Forum, you can discuss publishing with knowledgeable published writers and publishers.
  • Market Update. This valuable Market Update will appear every month, letting us know exactly what is going on with magazine and book publishers.
  • Event Calendar where you can submit your events. After approval, your events will be available for all members to see.
  • Member Webpages where you can upload your HTML pages to build your own Web site. Your Web pages will be viewable by everyone on the Internet.
  • Member Catalog where you can list your books and services
  • Member Discussion list where you can discuss your triumphs and questions with your publishing peers.
Join SPAWN now by clicking on the "Join SPAWN Now" button at the top of this page.

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SPAWNews SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023


Telephone: 805-646-3045

Fax: 805-640-8213

Wendy Dager

SPAWNews Editor, Membership and Database Coordinator


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Webmaster


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Executive Director


Patricia Fry

SPAWN President


Advisory Council

Carol Doering

Dallas Glenn

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Jim Lane


Marcia Grad-Powers


Melvin Powers


Dan Poynter

Author, Publisher

Jean Wade


Board of Directors (as of December 1, 2003)

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Executive Director of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer of SPAWN

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant

Tamara Dever

Book Designer

SPAWN Founder

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant of SPAWN


To promote the literary arts and provide education, information, resources and a supportive networking environment for artists, writers, and other creative people interested in the publishing process.

Submission Guidelines

Members and Nonmembers: Please send your press releases, seminar information, and books for review to Wendy Dager, Editor, SPAWNews

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023

or email

SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year; spouses, half-price. Make your check payable to SPAWN and mail to P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653. Or click on Member Application to fill out the secure online form and pay your dues by credit card.

SPAWNews, Member Directory and Web site listings, and discounts for SPAWN events are included in membership.

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023



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