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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, December, 2003

Wendy Dager, Editor

Table of Contents

- Editor's Note

- Spam Warning

- Market Update

- Catalog of Member Books

- Chapter Reports

- Q&A

- Member Web Site of the Month

- Feature Article: Develop a Successful Writer's Web Site

- Tips From the F-Xpert

- Member News

- Contests and Awards

- Events and More

- Sign Up for Escrip

- Mission Statement

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Editor's Note

You're a creative person, and, unless you're J.D. Salinger, you probably hang around with one or two other creative people. So, since it's holiday time, you're probably trying to figure out what you're going to get that friend who is a writer or artist or publisher.

Why torment your friend with a sweater that isn't her style? You know she's too polite to ask you for the receipt!

Instead, visit your local office supply store. You will find many gifts, including organizers for those who are-uh-less than organized. Everyone can use a datebook, notebook, or calendar. What about printer paper? Or blank business cards? Or envelopes with postage affixed? These suggestions may sound impersonal, but you can spice up those dreary office supplies with an insulated mug and a small package of herbal tea or flavored coffee. Who doesn't like the comfort of a hot beverage while frantically typing the Great American Novel?

If you're feeling especially generous, you can add a subscription to a writing or art magazine, or a 1-year membership to a professional organization such as SPAWN,

Arrange the items in a nice basket (hint: thrift stores are a great place to buy inexpensive baskets) and you've got a thoughtful and practical present for the person who has everything-except that million-dollar book contract. Who knows? Your gift might be just the thing to get your friend on the path to success!

-Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews.

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Don’t Fall for Scammers Sending Fake PayPal Messages By Virginia Lawrence Well, the scammers are at it again, trying to fool you into handing over private information. Now they are sending messages that appear to be from PayPal, saying that your account will be closed because your credit card information is outdated. The e-mails ask you to click on a link to a form where you can update your credit card information. Don’t do it! Read the entire article at

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SPAWN Market Update

The Market Update is an additional benefit provided for SPAWN members. Each month we publish 8-15 pages of information and resources for writers and publishers.

Join SPAWN for access to this generous issue of SPAWN Market Update. All back issues of the Market Update are also available in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site, This month, Patricia Fry serves up dozens of markets, tips and news for freelance writers, authors and publishers. Discover opportunities for writers, cartoonists and young artists. Learn how to access Literary Market Place for just $19.95. Find out how to track your book sales through Ingram. Access 8 new markets for authors/writers.

In December, Patricia interviews Francine Silverman, editor of the Book Promotion Newsletter. Fran shares some creative ideas for marketing your book and tells SPAWN, "There is nothing sadder than writing a book and keeping it a secret."

And here's an excerpt from Patricia's interview with Ms. Lee Emory, publisher at Treble Heart Books.

"More and more people are turning to small press to publish their books because NY has all but closed their doors to new authors. Readers are seeking something different to read and NY isn't listening. I encourage writers to NOT write in the NY box. They will have a better chance if they submit something different than the staid old NY stuff. That doesn't mean it mustn't be an excellent piece of writing, because it does," says Lee. "I don't accept junk and I'm not in the business of teaching those who are unwilling to do their homework how to write. Excellent self-editing is a must before you submit, so our editors don't have to reject your work for sloppiness."

Want to know what type of manuscripts Emory is seeking? In her own words:

"We especially need Westerns, SF, Metaphysical and hard-boiled mysteries. However, the workload dictates that submissions must close until March 31, but authors can email me personally and inquire. If it's something I need badly, you may be invited to submit anyway."

Go to and click on the Join SPAWN Now button to join SPAWN and get the important information you need in this month's Market Update.

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SPAWN Catalog of Member Books

SPAWN members are writing, editing, illustrating, and publishing an astounding array of high quality books. To read the latest full printed SPAWN catalog of Member Books, just go to and click on "Download the SPAWN Catalog of Member Books now" and you can download the catalog in Adobe Acrobat pdf format.

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SPAWN Chapter Reports


The Austin chapter manned two nonprofit tables for SPAWN at the

Texas Book Festival November 8-9 and it was a huge success! Last year

nearly 50,000 people attended and, despite the chilly, drizzly

weather, near that number was estimated this year. See pictures at

Our booth was constantly busy with people browsing members' books and

taking the promotional pieces. The exhibitors with children's books

did especially well since we were located across from the children's

tents. Krispy Kreme donated 15 dozen donuts and we all had a great

time giving those to unsuspecting visitors. People were excited to

hear about SPAWN and an overwhelming number stated they'd been

waiting for a local group like this. Those from out of town were

strongly encouraged to start their own chapter. Several new members

have registered as a result of our exhibit and we expect more after

our meeting on December 3.

I want to thank everyone who helped with our booth.

We couldn't have done it without everyone's help, and having

you there made it so much more fun. We all made new friends over the

weekend. I encourage other chapters to take advantage of events

like this in their towns. It was a lot of fun and quite rewarding. Until next month, best wishes!

-Tamara Dever is the Austin Chapter Leader. Contact her at


Baltimore chapter meetings are the 4th Friday of the month at 8:00 p.m. at Barnes and Noble. Please e-mail Ramona Davis for more information. -Ramona Davis is the Baltimore Chapter Leader. Contact her at

If you're interested in starting a SPAWN Chapter in your area, find out more at, then contact Patricia Fry at

Please remember that you must be a paid SPAWN member prior to becoming a SPAWN chapter leader.

Potential New Chapter:

We have a member in North Carolina who is interested in starting a Chapter there. If you live in North Carolina and are interested in attending SPAWN Chapter meetings, please contact Patricia at

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Q: What is the best way to present a "how-to" book to an agent or publisher?

Should I always get an agent or go to publishers, too? Are e-books really profitable?


Hi Rae,

One of the values of SPAWN membership is that we learn about the publishing world from the continuous flow of information presented in our newsletters and the enormous store of information on our Web site, as well as from one another. As you will notice, there are numerous articles about writing and publishing at, including how to write a query letter and how to prepare a book proposal.

You certainly can approach an agent with a how-to book. If an agent sees merit in your book, he/she may agree to represent you to publishers. Or you can go directly to publishers with your project. Note that there are some publishers that won't work with an author without an agent. However, there are many who prefer to work directly with the author.

Before you even start writing a nonfiction book, I recommend writing a book proposal. This will help you determine if you have a book that will sell, and it will give you something to show an interested agent or publisher. A book proposal consists of a synopsis (What is this book about?), promotional ideas (How will you promote this book? Who will buy it?), market analysis (What is the competition?), about the author (Who are you-what are your writing credentials and why are you the best person to write this book?), chapter outline and sample chapters. You'll find details about writing a book proposal on the SPAWN Web site and in my latest book, "The Successful Writer's Handbook" (Matilija Press, 2003).

Locate agents or publishers through reference books such as Writer's Market and Literary Market Place (in the reference section at your library). Or do an online search. You'll find an agent list at Follow their submission guidelines. Generally, you will mail an agent or a publisher a brief query letter that succinctly describes your project. If they are interested, they will request your book proposal, sample chapters or the complete manuscript.

As for the potential of the e-book-this is a great question for SPAWN Discuss, where members gather to discuss publishing issues. I think most people are finding e-book sales disappointing. However, there are some who claim to be making a lot of money with their e-books. I produced an e-book last year to test a book idea. Sales were less than brisk. I went ahead with the print book and it is getting a lot of attention.

I hope this has helped.

Good luck,

Patricia Fry, President

SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network)

Q: Dear SPAWN,

The printers I've found so far are asking for 50% of my sales. Can you help me to find someone more reasonable?



A: Dear Steven,

This is an important topic. To answer your question, we must define terms, because no ordinary book printer asks for a percentage of sales. Book printers simply tell you how much it will cost to print your book, and you pay the price. After printing, all sales revenues go to you.

The publisher does not charge the author. The publisher edits and typesets the book at no charge. He supplies the ISBN and the publisher's name, then selects the book printer. The publisher arranges for distribution and pays the author a small percentage per book as royalty.

The subsidy publisher commonly charges the author for editing and typesetting. The subsidy publisher supplies the ISBN, supplies the publisher's name, then selects the book printer. The subsidy publisher often distributes through only one Web site. After receiving the up-front fees, the subsidy publisher may pay 50% to the author for every book sold. The subsidy publisher may also charge 50% of the cover price for all books sold to the author. Any business entity charging the author 50% of the cover price is a subsidy publisher, not a printer.

The printer simply prints the books. The small publisher who uses the printer sends the book after it has been edited and typeset. The small publisher sets up his own set of ISBN numbers and assigns an ISBN to his book.  The printer gives a quote for printing the chosen quantity of books. If the small publisher has chosen the right printer for the job and the right price for his book, the cost per book is far less than 50% of the book price.

Then there are hybrid companies offering free editing and typesetting services for self-publishers who are willing to use specific printers. This can be a confusing market, and I'm sure that some of our readers have seen even more permutations.

At SPAWN, we are particularly interested in giving out information on how to self publish. We want everyone to know that self-publishers have many choices. We tell people about the possible routes to publishing, and our members decide on the best method to suit their needs.

Three of the best choices in printing can be found offering discounts in the Discount section of the SPAWN Members Only Area at and

Choosing how to self-publish your book is an important decision. It's always a good idea to make such decisions based on enough information to select the best solution for you.


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Executive Director, SPAWN

Q: Hello SPAWN,

I contacted a magazine to request a copy of its editorial guidelines and ended up with an offer to write a column for them. I'm really thrilled at the opportunity, and I have a long file of ideas that will provide topics for the column. They publish bimonthly, so I'm confident about having enough material. On the flip side, I've never written a column before.  It wouldn't hurt to do a little homework on the matter.

So, SPAWN, here are my questions: Is there any book that provides tips on writing a feature column?  Is there anything unique about format or style when writing a column?

Would the SPAWN members who have experience writing columns be willing to share some of their experiences or tips on the matter?

Thanks so much for your information and encouragement to the new kids on the block.

A Member

A: Dear Member,

Congratulations on your opportunity. I wrote a column once for the local newspaper and found it most enjoyable. I don't know of any books on the topic, although there probably are some. I would suggest doing a search on

As for format, your best guide is to study the magazine that his hired you as well as columns in similar magazines. Primarily, you should be aware of word count (the editor will give you this information), subject matter (which I'm sure you have already discussed with the editor) and tone. Will this be a column designed to inform or entertain? Do they want a personal, friendly touch or a professional, businesslike approach?

One thing I liked about writing a column was the amount of room I had to be creative and spontaneous. But mine was a business column and focused on local business personalities, so I had some parameters.

For more input, I would address SPAWN members through SPAWNDiscuss.

Good luck,


* * * * *

SPAWN Member Web Site of the Month

A new feature of SPAWNews is the Member Web Site of the Month, in which we profile members who promote their work via the Internet.

This month's URL is, the site of SPAWNews' editor, freelance writer Wendy Dager.

"My site is really just a biography, although it does advertise that I am a corporate newsletter specialist," said Wendy. "It also mentions that I am trying to put together a documentary, and that I am seeking a publisher for my novel."

Wendy found that creating a Web site for her writing business was a lot simpler than she thought it would be.

"Actually, I'm kind of a goofball when it comes to computer stuff, but it was really easy to publish the site, thanks to a template offered by my Internet provider," said Wendy. "The Web space is free, and I pay a small annual fee to a company to use the domain name `gorgeousandbrilliant,' which I have also trademarked through the U.S. Patent Office, intending to use it for a series of freelance writing books. My goal is for `Gorgeous and Brilliant®' to be on the lips of someone besides my husband!"

If you are a SPAWN member and you would like to be featured in this space, please send a brief description of your site to SPAWN president Patricia Fry, If you are a newsletter subscriber who would like to become a member, please go to

* * * * *

Develop a Successful Writer's Web Site

by Patricia Fry

Do writers need Web sites? They do if they have something to sell or a message to share. And I guess that includes just about every writer.

Read the full article at

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Highlights from the December MarketUpdate

  • BookZone domain names are now available.
  • See the name of a publisher looking for children's books.
  • Find out which magazines are looking for articles, stories, and Web reviews
  • Update your files with new addresses for magazines, changes in format, etc.
  • Discover the book publishers seeking comfort stories, stupid human tricks stories.
  • Contact the publisher looking for young artists.
  • Start submitting to a paying market for cartoonists.
  • Rejoice in the new, inexpensive route to keeping up with publisher details.
  • Learn about book promotion in the interview with a writer who sends out a free newsletter on book promotion.
  • Find out why the Romance genre was the top fiction seller in 2002
  • Read the interview with a tech writer to went on to become a small publisher.
  • Submit to the publisher who is seeking Westerns, SF, Metaphysical and hard-boiled mysteries

All of that and more in the December SPAWN Market Update.

SPAWN gives you the Business Side of Writing.

Go to and click on the Join SPAWN Now button to join SPAWN and learn what you need to know about publishing.

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Tips From the F-Xpert

By Richard F.X. O'Connor

When lecturing, one of the most frequently asked questions I hear is, "If I send a query or book proposal to an agent or book editor, won't they steal my idea?"

I've traced this question's origin to Hollywood and the movie industry, which has a less than stellar track record in idea swiping.  

However, in the world of books, it just ain't so. Follow this logic: You have invented a new kind of widget (read: fiction plot line or nonfiction concept). Or at least you think it's new. Fact is, there is no new idea under the face of the sun that hasn't already been thought of, written about, published, remaindered and pulped by now-save emerging technologies.

So you submit this new idea/widget to an agent or editor.  Why would they steal it?  What would they do with it?  Would they give it to John Grisham or John Gray to then

sit down and write a complete book? That's too much work, folks. Truth told, agents and editors don't have to time to attend to such nonsense with so much on their plates every day. The payoff to such theft is simply not in the cards in book publishing, though Hollywood begs to differ.

Finally, what is new under the sun? Your twist, your take, your unique presentation of the same old universal themes that comprise the human condition.

-Richard F X. O'Connor is the published author of seven books including the best selling "How To Make Your Man More Sensitive" (E.P. Dutton/ Fawcett) and "Ident-A-Kid" (S&S). His self-published work is "How to Market You and Your Book." His writers' Web site is

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SPAWN Member News

Len Lamensdorf of SeaScape Press,, announces that The Raging Dragon, Book 2 in his WILL TO CONQUER trilogy (SeaScape Press, ISBN: 0-9669741-7-4), was named a Children's Choice 2003 by the Children's Book Council and the International Reading Association. The CBC and IRA conduct a joint program in which hundreds of books are submitted to 10,000 schoolchildren in 5 geographical areas in the U.S., and the kids name their favorites. Len has also won a Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for Book 1, The Crouching Dragon (ISBN: 0-9669741-5-8), and his three most recent novels have won seven national awards. Book 3, The Flying Dragon (ISBN: 0-9669741-1-5), was released in late October, and his hopes are high for the success of this book.

Chuck Hillig presents an animated CD-ROM version of his first book, Enlightenment for Beginners.  Currently, it's only available at his Web site at for $14.95 and is playable on your PC (sorry, no MACS).  Although this CD-ROM is a faithful re-creation of the book, the clever animation brings its non-dual "message" up to an entirely new level. A lot of fun for the entire family.

Barbara Florio Graham is offering her popular online course, Tapping Your Innate Creativity, beginning in January. A detailed description of the course is on her Web site:, or e-mail her at

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

Stephanie Marston, Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Empowered Woman's Soul, is seeking stories for Living Stupid: Dumb Things Smart People Do. For more information and guidelines:

Volunteers are needed to assist in the documentation of artists working in Ventura County. If you possess general office skills and computer knowledge, and have a desire to be part of a growing organization dedicated to the arts, apply at the Focus on the Masters Web site:, or you may request an application from Focus on the Masters at 805/653-2501.

Please fax your completed application to: Mary Galbraith, Volunteer Coordinator 805/653-2347 or send it to Focus on the Masters, Attention: Mary Galbraith, 1147 E. Main St., Ventura, CA 93001. For more information, log onto

To request your free copy of "McHugh's Rights and Publishing Glossary" call 414-351-3056 or email The publication defines 61 rights and publishing terms, which provides a working vocabulary for those seeking familiarization with rights and permissions. Visit to read free McHugh Publications on these topics: Association Publishing, Book Publishing, Copyright, Executive Recruiting, Journal Publishing, Product Development, and Publishing Management.

Book Talk Radio on WXXA-AM 790 in Louisville, KY is seeking authors.

Interested authors should email Steve Hudson at and submit

book synopsis, author bio and contact info.

The Reference Shelf is a way to showcase your titles before 65,000 librarians and library administrators. For more information:

Boox Review is seeking submissions and also accepting paid advertising. For more information: For the advertising info page:

Writer Online has developed an innovative support program for published authors, called WOLves. This support program serves as an exciting and viable alternative to classes and workshops that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and stop helping the writer when they end. The support program, on the other hand, is ongoing. It begins after the information has been absorbed by the student. WOLves: WOLves Media Room:

There will be book exhibits held in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri, Maine, New York and California through December. For more information on the Combined Book Exhibit:

Members of the Sacramento Publishers and Authors are planning to reserve a booth at the ALA Convention in Seattle on February 24-28, 2004. They are seeking other authors who wish to have their books displayed to keep the costs down. They ask that any interested SPAWN members contact Ernie Spencer at

Southwest BookViews reviews books written by authors living in the Southwest OR books published in the Southwest OR books with a subject matter specific or relevant to the Southwest. Books to be considered for review for the Spring or Summer 2004 issues must reach the offices of Southwest BookViews in December. They only accept books published in 2002 and 2003. They also consider galleys and proofs if publication is imminent. Send your galley or book is BookViews, 7 Avenida Vista Grande #228, Santa Fe NM 87508-9199. For more information contact Candelora Versace at

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Contests and Awards

Write a story in 500 words or less and win $250 to $750. The story must begin with this sentence, "He collapsed into the chair next to the open window and muttered, 'What have I done?'" Deadline is December 15, 2003. Entry fee: $10.00. For more information:  

Publishers Marketing Association announces The 16th Annual Benjamin Franklin Awards Competition for excellence in publishing during 2003; submission deadline is December 31, 2003 for titles published July 1-December 31, 2003. For more information:

The MonkeyHawk Playwrights' Competition is now accepting submissions for 10-minute, One Act, and Full Length scripts. Top Entry wins over $1000 in cash and prizes, plus professional production during the Spring 2004 MonkeyHawk Playwrights' Festival in Hollywood. For more details:

* * * * *

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.

The South Carolina Poetry Initiative, a new statewide program based in the English Department of the University of SC, Columbia, promotes and celebrates the poetic arts and builds a more diverse audience for writers in the state.  The kick-off event is a public master class led by Whiting Prize-winning poet Terrance Hayes and facilitated by SC Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth, beginning at 2:00 pm, Saturday, December 6 at Longstreet Theatre, Sumter and Greene Streets, on the USC campus. For more information contact: Director/Coordinator: Kwame Dawes,

Writing the Screenplay 101 is an hour class that meets online, once a week for 4 weeks. Host Chris Wehner is editor-in-chief of Screenwriter's Monthly and author of "Screenwriting on the Internet: Researching, Writing and Selling Your Script on the Web" and other books. Classes will meet at 7 to 8 p.m. (mst) on December 1, 8, 15 and 22 and the location is to be announced (it will be an online chat room with a password.) Cost is $50 students. For more information:

The next Basic Online Workshop, given by Larry Brody and featuring "Everything you need to know but were so clueless you couldn't ask about writing for TV and films" starts early in January of 2004. For more information:

The American Self-Publisher Association is the largest national organization devoted to self-published writers and is a not-for-profit association. Bobbie Christensen, Director of the ASPA, will present the day-long conference Writing, Publishing & Marketing Your 1st Book (or 7th) for all authors and potential authors, fiction or non-fiction on

January 31 10:00am-5pm $29 Portland, OR, Portland Cmty. College 503-977-4933

For more information: 916-422-8435 or email

The Maui Writers Conference sets sail on an adventure that is unparalleled in the book world. Cruise into history with New York Times best-selling authors Janet Evanovich, John Saul, Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth George, Terry Brooks, Susan Wiggs and Gail Tsukiyama who will set sail aboard the MS Rotterdam for the 1st Annual MWC PANAMA CANAL CRUISE for BOOK LOVERS and WRITERS, March 3-13, 2004.

E-mail Georja Skinner, for more information.

To address the challenges and opportunities that eBooks pose for libraries, publishers and technologists, the Open eBook Forum, the electronic publishing industry's trade association will conduct the "eBooks in the Public Library Conference", a day-long event scheduled for Tuesday, March 16, 2004 in New York City. Further details about the conference including agenda, registration and sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities can be found at

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Electronic Scrip Incorporated (ESI) is a California-based corporation dedicated to establishing relationships between commerce and community. Since 1999, over $40 million has been distributed to schools and groups. eScrip is a fantastic resource for fundraising where participating business partners contribute a percentage of your grocery loyalty cards, credit card, and debit/ ATM card purchases to up to three schools, groups or organizations of your choice. You register any one or all of your existing grocery loyalty, debit and credit card for use in the program. Participating merchants will make contributions to your chosen group, based on purchases made by you, just by using the cards you have registered. You can go to, click on the orange Sign Up button, type in SPAWN, then register your grocery cards and/or credit cards. SPAWN, a 501(c)3 organization, gets a little over 2% in donations from all purchases from participating merchants. If you already have an eScrip account, please remember that you can list up to three groups. Thank you for supporting SPAWN.

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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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December, 2003

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, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653 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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