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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, December, 2004

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

- Free Book Offer

- L.A. Times Festival

- SPAWN in St. Louis

- Market Update

- Chapter Reports

- Q&A Bonanza

- Step 7 in Developing a Web Site

- Hunt for Markets Over the Holidays

- Ask the Book Doctor

- The Importance of Mentors

- Member Web Site of the Month

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests and Awards

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

How Kelly Got My Groove Back

By Wendy Dager

In Southern California, where I live, writers and would-be writers are fortunate to have an enormous selection of writing seminars, some specialized and some of a general nature. One is the annual Write Fest, put on by the Ventura County Writers Club, of which I have been a member for years.

I hadn’t attended a Write Fest in a while. In fact, I don’t go to nearly as many classes or seminars as I did early on in my career, mostly because, when it comes to speaking engagements, I’m a giver, not a taker.

I suspect many professional writers and others in related fields share this trait. We don’t attend these events because we’re too busy giving our own lectures. And why should we go? There isn’t anything left for us to learn.

Not true. At this year’s Write Fest, speakers included "The Writer’s Mentor: A Guide to Putting Passion on Paper" author and workshop leader Cathleen Rountree, Ph.D, Los Angeles Times Book Review editor Steve Wasserman, and award-winning People magazine correspondent Ron Arias. They all had valuable information to share.

For me, the highlight of the Write Fest was keynote speaker Kelly Lange. Those of us who lived in the Los Angeles area in the ‘70s remember her as a "weather bunny," traffic reporter, and longtime anchor for NBC-4 television. Lange now writes best selling mystery novels. I got a chance to talk with her after she charmed the group with stories from the newsroom and from her writing experiences. She graciously personalized her book, "Dead File," which I purchased for my mom—who remembered seeing Lange at a donut shop in the ‘60s, wearing her helicopter reporter’s flashy silver jumpsuit. Lange also gave me a bit of advice about my own novel. I’d expressed skepticism about its potential publication and she scolded me: "You have to be a lot more positive." I told her it’s hard to be positive when an author must rely on others, like agents and publishers. Lange smiled and looked straight into my eyes. "No it isn’t," she said. "You have to let them know how lucky they are to have you."

That was the moment I was very glad I’d attended the Write Fest. I realized that it doesn’t matter how advanced we are in our careers—there’s always something we can learn from others—even if it’s delivered in a single, motivating sentence.

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. E-mail her at For more about Dager, visit her Web site,

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Special SPAWN Offer: Free Book With SPAWN Renewal or Membership!

If you would like to become a SPAWN member or if you haven’t yet renewed your membership, do so now and receive a FREE book. Choose the paperback or e-book version of The Successful Writer's Handbook by Patricia Fry.

For details:

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Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

SPAWN Member Offer

The very popular 25th Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is scheduled for April 23-24, 2005.

This year, SPAWN is considering purchasing two booths so that we can offer members the opportunity to join us in the booths to sell their own books. Festival organizers tell us that the earlier we submit our booth request, the better our location. To secure the booths, we need firm commitments from all members who are interested.

SPAWN is offering you two ways to participate:

Option 1 - You sell your book in a SPAWN booth

1 day: ¼ booth for $170 or 2 days: ¼ booth for $290

Option 2 - SPAWN sells your book and distributes your marketing materials in a SPAWN booth at $75 per title

We plan to display and sell books for as many as 8 absentee members on a first come, first served basis. We would like to open up this opportunity to those of you whose books Patricia Fry is still storing from last year’s event. The deadline for signing up to participate is December 15, 2004.

The Los Angeles Times Book Festival is an exciting event and a great way to get your book before the reading public. Be sure to take advantage of this economical way to participate in the festival. Contact Patricia Fry at right away and tell her which option you choose.

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SPAWN Goes to St. Louis

Patricia Fry took SPAWN to St. Louis, MO over the Halloween weekend to participate in the first annual Meet Me in St. Louis Book Festival. Patricia spoke on publishing and book promotion both Saturday and Sunday, and hosted a booth where she talked to people about SPAWN and handed out brochures. Visitors to the booth were also interested in the SPAWN Catalog of Member Books. Many people walked away with a catalog to peruse at their leisure. It was wonderful to meet some of our St. Louis SPAWN members and newsletter subscribers. While attendance wasn’t all it could be for a city the size of St. Louis, members of the St. Louis Publishers Association are already working on ways to make next year’s event even bigger and better—and they are most eager for SPAWN to participate in 2005.

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SPAWN Market Update

The December SPAWN Market Update offers gifts to rival those under any Christmas tree—that is, if you appreciate writing/publishing resources. We have filled 16 pages with inspiration, ideas, opportunities and tips, many of which you won’t find anywhere else.

Visit the SPAWN Members-Only Area and read Market Update this month. You’ll learn:

  • What "expert" information is most detrimental to your publishing success?
  • What are some of the best publishing opportunities for romance/horror writers?
  • 10 creative ideas for promoting your book during December.
  • Another good reason to RE-consider using a POD publisher.
  • What is a Graphic Novel?
  • What Web site has the most active writing discussion group going?
  • Which contests have deadlines during the month of December?
  • Why you MUST write a book proposal.

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

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SPAWN Chapter Reports

If there is no chapter near you, join with other members or nonmembers to start one. If you would like to meet with other SPAWN members, contact Patricia Fry at

Big news! SPAWN announces the formation of its Colorado Chapter!

Greetings from Tom & Karen SternerHowe in Lafayette, Colorado. We are both writers and creative types. We are starting a SPAWN Chapter and would appreciate any help we can get (we're new to SPAWN) in what promises to be an enjoyable learning experience. We'd like to arrange our first meeting for the evening of Thursday, December 30, 2004.

If you are interested, please e-mail or


The Austin SPAWN Chapter is on temporary hiatus as leader Tamara Dever spends time with her newborn son. For meeting information, or to volunteer to temporarily lead meetings, contact her at


If you are interested in attending SPAWN chapter meetings in the Baltimore, MD area, or wish to be a guest speaker at a meeting, please contact Ramona Davis, Baltimore Chapter Leader,

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Q&A Bonanza

(Note: The editor did not correct grammatical errors in the first and second letters as Patricia Fry addressed this issue in her answers.)

Hi my name is Jessica. I am a sofmore in high school and i have written and illistrated my own book. Its based on a character I made up 5 years ago. I have looking for a publisher for sevral months now and havent had any luck and I was wondering if u can look at it and see if u like it. I have always loved writting and I want to be a children's book auther. My family and my english teacher says I have a lot of pontiontal. I think that I can win the hearts of children and families everywhere. If you are interested or have any questions please feel free to email me. thank you.


Dear Jessica:

How excited you must be about your book. I wish you every success in following your dream. It sounds as though you have a good start.

Finding a publisher can be a daunting experience. It helps to have an organized approach. For example, I often suggest to hopeful authors that they find current books like theirs at local bookstores or on and find out who published them and contact those publishers. You will also find publishers listed in "Writer's Market," a reference book for authors and freelance writers. The 2005 edition of Writer's Market lists over 300 publishers for children's books. You can buy a copy at any bookstore or reference it in the reference section at your library.

I would also suggest that you study the process of how to approach a publisher. You'll find information about this in the front section of Writer's Market. But you need to request Submission Guidelines from each publisher you hope to approach and follow these guidelines in submitting your material. Some publishers want to see a query letter first, while others prefer receiving the completed project. Some will only accept materials via email, while others want things sent the old-fashioned way.

Caution: Never send your original materials--drawings and so forth. And always include a self-addressed-stamped envelope with your submission with enough return postage.

There are more books being published than ever before in America. There are more authors seeking publishers. The competition is extremely stiff. So it is very important that you always make a good first impression when contacting a publisher.

Your family and English teachers are probably right about your potential and I love that you want to win the hearts of children through your writing. I know what it's like to be passionate about writing and I encourage you to follow your dream. As a writer who wants to be published, however, it is important that everything we produce is the best that it can be. Always use spell check before sending even an email. Make sure that you've used capitalization correctly. You've done a pretty good job of this in your email to me but I did notice some errors. You seem to be a good communicator. However, I urge you to always take a second and third look at your emails and letters before sending them.

Now, I have a surprise for you. I know of a couple of publishers that publish works by kids and teens. Contact Deb Staples at SynergEbooks. 1235 Flat Shoals Rd., King, NC, 27021. You may find an email address and submission guidelines at: Word Warriors Press also publishes teens’ works. Learn more about them at

Of course, there are other publishers who don't advertise that they will work with young authors. They want good manuscripts and it doesn't matter the age of the author. So consider contacting some of those who publish books similar to yours.

I hope this has helped. Please let me know if you have any specific questions.


Patricia Fry, President

SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) (for more about me)

Author of "Young Writer's Handbook "--


I am a book writer. I got your add while surfing through the net .I

have just finished writing a book. I will like to sell the book out to

you for publication. I was actually looking for a normal deal, but i

want to sell it off to you with all the rights. I am in a kind of

problem so that is why i want to sell it off, with all the rights. I

will like you to contact me, so we can talk more on the book sale.


Dear Fred,

Thank you for your interest in SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network). We are not a publishing company, but a networking organization where you can learn how to write, publish and promote your book.

I doubt very much that you will find anyone to purchase your book outright as you suggest. It's an interesting concept, but the industry just doesn't support this sort of thing unless, of course, you are a well-known personality.

In order to find a publisher for your book, I suggest that you go to local bookstores or and find books similar to the one you have in mind. Who published these books? Contact these publishers. You will need to formulate a query letter in order to approach them. And some publishers will want to see a formal book proposal. If you are not familiar with these terms, you can learn more in my book, "The Successful Writer's Handbook." or in "Writer's Market" (sold in most bookstores for around $30).

In reading through your attached book summary, I must caution you to make your presentation as professional as possible. Always run a spell check before sending something to a publisher or agent. Watch for mistakes. Capitalize I and put a space after the period, for example.

The world of publishing has changed. There is a tremendous amount of competition out there for hopeful authors today, thus it is important to be informed and well prepared. I wish you success with your project.


Patricia Fry, President

SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network)

Hello SPAWN,

I'm pleased to report that distributing pre-publication review copies of my non-fiction "how-to" book resulted in a contract for an instructional article from the leading (and only) trade publication in my field.

Apparently, the magazine editors had been discussing my topic and the advance review copy of my book crossed their desks at the perfect time.

I asked the magazine editors if I could postpone signing a contract and committing to a completion date until I had firm commitments from the people I wanted to interview for the article. They agreed. (This tactic also bought me some time to review the contract.)

The contract turns ALL rights over to the magazine. I've been reading up on magazine contracts and hope that this option is negotiable. However, in case the contract terms are fixed, I'm interested to know how this will affect my ability to "tell the world" that I wrote this article.

Do I have to obtain written permission or pay royalties to the magazine if I want to send a copy of the article with a query to another magazine editor?

Am I allowed to mention the article on my Web site? May I mention the article in a brochure or flier I print up for my book or company? I'd like to play up this opportunity as much as possible.

At this point, I'm ready to contact the editor and sign a contract. Any suggestions you have--including suggested reading--would be very helpful.

As always, I appreciate the support and guidance from the dedicated folks at SPAWN. Thank you very much for your time and kind assistance.


A SPAWN Member

Dear SPAWN Member:

Congratulations on your article assignment. It sounds as though you're making some good decisions with regard to promoting your book. And you made a good decision not to sign a contract that requests all rights to your article.

Yes, you can try to negotiate with the editors for a first-rights or one-time rights contract. Sometimes it is as easy as asking. I often ask for clarity and or changes in a contract with success. Only occasionally is an editor not willing to negotiate. You expressed concern about being known as the author of the article. Does the contract indicate that you do not get a byline? Usually, even when you sell all rights to a piece, the author gets a byline.

You should also have the opportunity to include your bio at the bottom of the article. Here, you'll want to introduce yourself as the author of (YOUR BOOK TITLE). If you don't get a bio, be sure to refer to your book in the article. I'm pretty sure that the editors chose you to write this piece because of your expertise as the author of a book on this subject. They should be as eager to let their readers know who you are as you are to become known.

As for telling people about your article, if you sell all rights, that's not a problem. You may not be able to post the article on your Web site or offer the article to anyone else (without the magazine's permission), but you can say, "I'm the author of such and such article published in such and such magazine." I can see where this article could help you in your book promotion, so I would recommend that you negotiate for a first-rights contract. This means that the magazine has the right to publish the article first and then it is yours to do with what you want. The only thing you can't do with it is sell first rights to anyone else. It sounds as though it would make a good handout when you are giving a presentation or doing a book signing. When signing a contract for first rights, I would include that if they don't publish the article within 6 months or a year, all rights revert back to you. Sometimes a magazine will sign a contract for an article and then never get around to publishing it.

If you talk the editors into buying first rights instead of all rights, they may lower the amount they are willing to pay for your article. But think about it, $300 isn't much for all rights.

On the other hand, just look at the publicity you're getting for your book through an article in this particular magazine. So it may be worth your while to write this article, let the magazine have all rights (if they won't negotiate for first rights) and insist on a byline and bio.

Decide what you want most out of this opportunity--what will benefit you and your book the most--and go into negotiations with that in mind. Do you want a byline and bio? (Keep in mind that they may allow this even if they are asking for all rights.) Do you want to be able to publish this article in other magazines and on your Web site? Know what you want and ask for it. And then, make sure that they sign the contract with the changes made before handing over the article.

Good luck.



I am looking for legitimate poetry contests that I can enter. If you have any information you can send, I would appreciate it. Also, if you have any information on poetry contests scams, or contests I shouldn’t enter, or bother with, write me, or email me.


Hi Andrew:

I write the SPAWN Market Update, which is posted in the member area of the SPAWN Web site each month and I often announce contests. I wrote recently about a site where you can go to learn about poetry scams. I don't recall the site address off the top of my head. If I come across the information within the next week or so, I'll send it to you.

In the meantime, you should know to stay away from poetry contests that cost a lot of money to enter. You should find out exactly what will happen to your poem once you send it to the contest--who owns the copyright, what if you win--will your poem be published--what will you get in return? You might be suspicious of contests without guidelines and rules. But these are just common sense things.

I would also suggest that you do a Google search and you will probably find poetry scam sites, articles about how to spot a scam--things like that.

Good luck,


Patricia Fry, President

SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) (for more about me and my services)

* * * *

The Clear Guide to Online Business  Step Seven in Developing a Web Site

By Virginia Lawrence

After deciding on your goal and your target market, you have written the text to attract that group of site visitors. Now it’s time to actually start designing the site.

Read about how to start designing your site at

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How to Hunt For Markets Over the Holidays

By Dr. Erika Dreifus

Chances are, you'll be busy over the next several weeks. Between preparing for, celebrating, and unwinding from the holidays it may be difficult to maintain your regular writing routine. And if researching potential homes for your work is part of that routine—as it is for many of us who regularly submit stories, essays, poems, articles, and reviews for publication—you may be worried about falling behind.

But it's time to put those worries to rest. In truth, there are many ways to keep up with your market hunting over the holidays.

Read about the possibilities for market hunting at

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Ask the Book Doctor

By Bobbie Christmas

Showing versus telling, chapter divisions, mail protocol and nondisclosure forms.

To find out more about these and other topics go to

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The Importance of Mentors

By Richard F.X. O’Connor

My youngest daughter was recently recognized as an Outstanding Alumna by her grad school, Stonybrook University. In conversation I found that this very accomplished woman has never had a female mentor. Yes, an occasional teacher who counseled but not that one person to whom she could turn for life and career advice. For 30 years I’ve been asking women if they had women as mentors. And, importantly, if they have mentored other women.

The unscientific survey result is that, as a rule, they don’t. We men do.

Read more about the importance of mentors at

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Member Web Site of the Month

Here’s what SPAWN president Patricia Fry had to say about her Web site, Fry is a full-time freelance writer and author.

"I'm a relative latecomer when it comes to having a Web site. I finally agreed to one in 2000 when a friend said she would build it FREE as a class assignment. I am so glad that I did as it has definitely increased my business.

Through my Web site,, I sell 13 of my titles and promote my publishing consulting business. Most of my clients and about 1/3 of my book sales come through my Web site.

Last year, I finally added a merchant account to my Web site so I could take credit cards. This was another good business decision as it has increased sales on my site and at book festivals. Yes, I can accept credit cards even outside my Web site.

I also use my Web site to showcase my magazine articles. I often refer magazine editors, publishers and others to my site to review my work. Recently, I decided that I also wanted my site to offer benefits for freelance writers and authors. So my current Webmaster, Virginia Lawrence, added my tips and resources for writers. We also added several new articles on writing, publishing and book promotion and set up a nifty index to the articles.

I visit hundreds of Web sites every month and have developed some pretty clear ideas about what makes a Web site successful. I've tried to apply these to my Web site. Here are my tips:

  • Be clear about the purpose of your site.
  • Make it easy to navigate.
  • Exceed visitors' expectations.
  • Add interesting things to your site from time to time."

Do you want your Web site featured in SPAWNews? E-mail editor Wendy Dager,

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Member News

Wendy Dager announces the opening of her new online store, "I'm a Writer. Really." at, which features humorous writer-related merchandise.

Laura Larsen, RN, encourages us to check out her redesigned and updated book, "Facing the Final Mystery: A Guide to Discussing End-of-Life Issues." For more information and easy ordering, visit her Web site,

Chuck Hillig, Black Dot Publications, Ojai, California, announces that his new book "Looking for God: Seeing the Whole in One" will be available early Spring, 2005. Click on the link to check out the extraordinary cover and to read a quick description of the very unique approach that this book uses to point at a Truth that is far beyond words and concepts. He recently sent out a few draft copies of the book for review and here’s the first one he received: "This is a fabulous book—utterly simple and right to the (pointless) point—written with the lightness and humor so characteristic of GOD. If I could recommend only one spiritual book, this could well be it. This is quintessential Chuck Hillig: delightful and enlightening." —Joan Tollifson, Author/Teacher, Awake in the Heartland, Bare-Bones Meditation.

Bobbie Christmas is pleased and proud to announce that her book, "Write in Style: Using your Word Processor and Other Techniques to Improve Your Writing" won first place in the category of Education in the Royal Palm Book Awards sponsored by the Florida Writers Association. She hopes this honor also gets the book some good publicity, but no matter what, she is surprised and overjoyed. "Write In Style: Using Your Word Processor and Other Techniques to Improve Your Writing" is available at local bookstores and Internet retailers, including

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

Anna Olswanger has created an online discussion group of marketing and publicity professionals, editors, publishers, authors, and others who want to network about promoting Jewish books. To subscribe, send a message to To learn more about the jewishbookmarketing group, For more information, or e-mail

Submissions are now being accepted for astonishing, amusing and aggravating experiences with cats. Write a true short story, article or poem on the comfort, joy and meaning cats bring to our lives. Deadline March 1, 2005. Or, do you have a great fish story? Hunting story? A funny camping story that included wildlife? An astonishing survival experience that involved wildlife? Deadline April 1, 2005. All work must be unpublished. E-mail or postal mail as a Word document, or include it in the body of the email. Include your name, address and phone number on the first page of the piece. For more information, or

The Periodical Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) offers a free Copyright Kit on their Web site, Other resources for writers can be found at Barbara Florio Graham’s Web site,

Seeking markets for your short stories? Check out "The Practicing Writer's Directory of 50 Paying Short Story Markets," the latest e-book from Erika Dreifus, editor of the free monthly newsletter, "The Practicing Writer". Free preview with sample listings available. Learn more at And be sure to keep up with Erika's latest blog posts, full of news and resources on writing and publishing,

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Contests and Awards

Read about the latest contests at:

* * * * *

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 all about the coming events at:

* * * * *

SPAWN is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

Donations are tax deductible.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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, 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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