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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, December, 2006

Wendy Dager, Editor

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

Those of you who are SPAWN members, be sure to go to the first page of the site, http://www.spawn.org 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

- SPAWN Members Talk about SPAWN

- Letter to the Editor

- 2006 SPAN Marketing Conference Report

- Market Update

- Help Us Improve Market Update!

- Got SPAWNDiscuss?

- Are You Wearing Clean Underwear?

- Book Marketing Idea

- ISBN Changes

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

By Wendy Dager

Wow. Last month, there was quite the upheaval in the world of publishing. Anyone with access to a television, newspaper or the Internet knows I am talking about the controversial book pulled due to public outrage--turning the adage "any publicity is good publicity" on its heels.

This book was authored by an alleged murderer who was acquitted in criminal court, but found liable for the victims’ deaths in civil court. He has never paid the judgment owed the victims’ families, contending he’s broke, even though he received a large sum after signing the book contract. His publisher said the book was a "confession," but the alleged murderer says he was just joining the "jackals" in order to receive his share of "blood money"--money, he says, already spent on bills.

Without editorializing on guilt or innocence and, instead, taking this issue from the perspective of someone whose agent has had trouble selling her novel because of its author’s lack of fame, I can only say I am appalled by the waste of publishing dollars.

Certainly, I could say a lot more about many other issues related to this tragic case, but in this venue I choose to address that which affects writing professionals: the fact that large publishing houses rarely take chances on "unknown" authors because there are too many celebrities with lurid tales to share--and too many readers willing to immerse themselves in dirt. It’s a matter of supply and demand. Luckily--and surprisingly--the public refused to be sucked in--this time.

What can we do? Continue to do what we do best--write well, market fervently, and publish with smaller houses if that’s the way to go. We may never get rich, but at least we’ll have our dignity.

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. Her Web site is http://www.gorgeousandbrilliant.com.

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SPAWN Members Talk about SPAWN

When asked about their most memorable writing/publishing/promotional moments, long-time SPAWN members Russell and Kathlynn Spencer said this about SPAWN:

"...probably the most memorable…moment was when we...realized that we were able to gain professional, unselfish assistance in doing things which we had been either unaware of or unable to do by ourselves. At that time, we had self-published two travel books, coil-bound and run off of copiers at Kinkos. Today, not only are we able to offer the reading public a digital printed perfect bound product complete with color pictures at a competitive price, had numerous book signings and attended book show/sales, but we also sell lots of books. THANK YOU, SPAWN!"

--Russell and Kathlynn Spencer operate Windshield Adventures Publishing in Oxnard. Visit their Web site at http://www.windshieldadventures.com.

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Letter to the Editor

Note: This is in response to an Editor’s Note about writers receiving "hate mail."

Wendy:

Once many years ago--and yes, I was already a professional (paid) writer--I received a postcard rejection from a magazine saying, "This was the worst thing I have ever read." Can you imagine what something like that would do to a neophyte writer…an insult like that out there for any postal person to have read?

Another time I got a short story rejection from Good Housekeeping magazine and I’ve never sent to them again. Someone had set a coffee cup on the first page of my manuscript leaving a stained ring, and made no apology. That is good housekeeping?

Thanks for reading my gripe as feedback to what you wrote.

Anne Louise Grimm

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2006 SPAN Marketing Conference Report

By Patricia Fry

Editor’s Note: SPAWN President Patricia Fry was invited to represent SPAWN and her publishing company, Matilija Press, at the recent SPAN Marketing Conference and Trade Show held in at the San Mateo Marriot just outside of San Francisco in late October. The following is her first-hand account.

If you are promoting a book and/or building a publishing company, you really must consider attending this annual conference. SPAN Director Scott Flora and his team created a wonderful three-day program for authors and publishers who are or want to be serious professionals.

I started off the conference on Friday morning with my talk featuring "The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book," driving home the concept that writing the book should not be the first thing that you do. Hopeful new authors need to first study the publishing industry. It is vital that you have some understanding of the publishing industry before you enter into it. The second most important step to producing a successful book is to write a book proposal. I pointed out five things that a well-organized, well-designed, well-written book proposal will reveal to an author--things that you really must know BEFORE you write that book. Why? So that you will more likely make the right decisions and the right choices throughout the process of your project. Here’s what a book proposal will reveal to you:

  1. Is there a market for your book? Is it a viable product?
  2. Who is your audience and how extensive is it?
  3. How will you locate your audience?
  4. What is your platform? What can you contribute to making your book a success?
  5. What promotional opportunities can you build into your book while you’re writing it?

Hopefully, my message was absorbed and embraced because, if the author just writes the book of his dreams without considering the market and the audience, the rest of the material presented at the SPAN Conference may be useless to him. And that would be a shame, because it was a valuable collection of facts, ideas and information.

Brian Jud of Beyond the Bookstore was scheduled to speak after me, but he was delayed. So Jeniffer Thompson (correct spelling) of Monkey C Media in San Diego took to the microphone and talked about "Web Site Wow: How to Create a World Class Web Presence." She demonstrated the components that make up a successful Web site and recommended that every author have one. She also suggested updating and adding to your Web site regularly--something that my Webmaster, Virginia Lawrence, keeps me doing. Jeniffer provided an enormous helping of information and tips designed to help any author develop a dynamic Web presence.

There was a trade show going on simultaneously adjacent to the conference room, so our breaks consisted of a trip to the beverage bar, if we wished, and a tour of the two dozen or so exhibits. Represented were several printing companies, distributors, Web design and cover design firms, publicists and other companies ready to assist authors and independent publishers with their projects. Amazon.com was also represented, as was Foreword Magazine. I had a booth and sold several copies of my book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. I also had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about SPAWN.

Brian Jud spoke just before lunch on the "Seven Steps to Planning Success." A primary point in his talk was that consumers aren’t as interested in books as they are in information. In other words, we will be more successful as authors if we offer readers what they want--the material and the benefits they desire. He talked about how to price your book to sell by considering the audience and their needs as well as the competition. He shared some interesting and humorous anecdotes.

I liked the story he told about sending out hundreds of promo pieces. He received responses from only a handful of the targeted recipients, so he printed additional copies of the letter and wadded them up. He then smoothed the letters out just so he could fold them and tuck them into an envelope. He wrote on each one of the letters, "Now don’t throw this away again!" Can you imagine receiving something like this in the mail? Wouldn’t you wonder if someone was watching you toss your junk mail into the waste basket? According to Jud, his tactic was mildly successful. The second time, a few more recipients responded.

That afternoon, we heard from Penny Sansevieri, a literary publicist for her company, Author Marketing Experts. She spoke eloquently on "Creating a Lifetime of PR Success." She gave a plethora of promotional ideas including:

  • When promoting a fiction book in public, don’t read from it; tell your story in your own words.
  • Pitch your promo piece to the media in December. This is the slowest month for news.

She also gave us an enormous number of amazing resources to use. I will be sorting through this material and including it in future issues of the SPAWN Market Update. Do you want to know more about how to get the most from your Internet marketing efforts? Are you interested in proven methods of selling more books--lots more books? Do you want to create a Web site that really works for you? Are you interested in how your site rates? Be sure to read upcoming issues of the SPAWN Market Update. If you’re not a member, join SPAWN now in order to obtain this information and so much more.

After a lovely sit-down lunch on Friday, we experienced our first breakout session. Attendees split into small groups, and, under the guidance of pre-selected leaders, we started developing our marketing plans using the workbooks in our packets. The first lesson was "Thinking Strategically." Most attendees found the brainstorming sessions extremely useful.

We were invited to a Chinese buffet reception Friday evening where I enjoyed the opportunity to meet more attendees and exhibitors.

Saturday Penny Sansevieri spoke about "Crafting a Message That Rockets You to the Top." This was an excellent presentation with way more information than anyone could possibly retain. A point that resonated with me is that most authors put a lot of effort and energy into promoting for about 90 days--and then they quit. Penny said that the first 90 days is for planting seeds and then it is necessary to nurture them in order to make them grow. She reinforced my talk by reiterating the importance of producing a book that is marketable and learning whether it is so even BEFORE writing it. Penny was relentless in her spiel about promoting benefits when marketing your book instead of features.

There was a great panel discussion on cover design. Cathy Bowman of About Books, Barry Kerrigan of Desktop Miracles and Pamela Terry of Opus 1 Design talked to us about "Book Covers That Sell." These artists displayed some of their best works and then evaluated book covers for three attendees. I found this discussion very interesting. I was especially surprised to find that the three artists were pretty much in alignment with their expert opinions.

Brian Jud spoke before lunch on Saturday on "Extreme Profits in Non-Bookstore Markets." Everyone was paying close attention and taking notes. He emphasized the importance of promotion outside of bookstores--something that you hear from me all the time through my articles and in the SPAWN Market Update. It’s always refreshing to hear someone else provide their promotional ideas. Stay tuned to upcoming issues of the Market Update as I will be revealing some of those that Brian shared.

Jeniffer Thompson talked about "Incredible Internet Makeovers" later in the day. She shared with us some of the psychology of Web site design. We also had another breakout session and time to visit the trade show. Saturday night we celebrated SPAN’s birthday--another great opportunity to get to know other authors, publishers and some of the professionals in attendance. Scott Flora had fun organizing icebreaker games, which worked wonderfully well in helping us to mingle and to dialogue with new people.

Sunday, Eric Kampmann, President of MidPoint Trade Books, talked about distribution and distributors and how to get into bookstores. Eric’s talk was encouraging for many authors who, prior to this, didn’t know much about distributors and distribution. I saw Eric in conversation with several conference attendees after his talk, so I’m sure he has many new books to consider.

Erin Eaves from Amazon.com delivered an interesting presentation telling us how to make Amazon.com work for us. One thing that became clear to most attendees is that any author can place his or her book on Amazon. Some fee-based POD publishing services try to convince authors that they need the POD in order to get on Amazon and it is simply not true. Erin also drove home the fact that the author will experience success in relation to the number of Amazon programs in which he or she participates.

The last activity of the conference was a panel discussion involving me, Jeniffer Thompson, Erin Eaves and Eric Kampmann. Our topic was "My Hottest Book Marketing Secrets." This was a lively and revealing discussion, which evoked a lot of questions and comments. As a panel, we offered the few remaining attendees a realistic view of the book marketing process and provided them with some great promotional ideas.

I came away from this event feeling full and a bit weary. I imagine some of the attendees are still recovering from the enormous blast of information that filled their heads almost faster than anyone can possibly receive it.

I’ve attended many writing and publishing conferences throughout the United States, but the SPAN Marketing Conference and Trade Show is by far the most professional and well-organized. The organizers were very accommodating. The expert speakers were phenomenal. And most of the attendees were serious and talented authors.

Read future issues of the SPAWN Market Update for some of the tips, techniques and resources from this three-day marketing conference. Only members have access to Market Update, so be sure to join SPAWN now so you won’t miss out on any opportunities.

–Patricia Fry is the author of 25 books, including, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. http://www.matilijapress.com. Be sure to follow Patricia’s blog at http://www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog.

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

Happy Holidays. The December edition of the SPAWN Market Update is full of gifts for every SPAWN member. There are nearly 75 resources, ideas, news bites and opportunities for authors, publishers, freelance writers, scriptwriters and artists. Give yourself the gift of publishing or freelance success this year. Join SPAWN and have access to each new edition of the SPAWN Market Update, plus our complete archives.

In this issue:

  • How popular is your Web site? Learn how many sites have linked to yours!
  • Get book reviews. Thirteen more review sites and publications AND two book review site/publication directories.
  • Patricia Fry's tip for mass-marketing your promotional articles.
  • Fourteen great opportunities for writers--both fiction and nonfiction.
  • Six publishers seeking manuscripts.
  • A site that offers tips on running an art business
  • Retired businesswomen, and those in the medical field – who’s looking for your stories!
  • A new market for greeting card writers
  • Attention: Why you should purchase more than one ISBN at a time!
  • Researching a book? Where to go for archived magazine articles as far back as the 1700s!
  • Been on that cross-country trip with the kids? This magazine is seeking your enlightened tales.
  • Web sites that offer FREE site popularity searches and results
  • Advice on streamlining your article submission process

And MUCH more…

If you are not yet a member of SPAWN and would like to access Market Update and enjoy other benefits of membership, please join now online at http://www.spawn.org.

Note: If you are a free newsletter subscriber only, you will be unable to log onto SPAWN’s "Members Only" page.

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Help Us Improve Market Update!

We read many writing/publishing-related newsletters and we think that we are offering something quite unique and special to SPAWN members. If you think so too, or if you have suggestions for making it BETTER, please let us know.

We would like to publish reviews of SPAWN Market Update in the January 2007 edition of SPAWNews. Please read the new December version. Go back and review some of those in our archives. Try out our search function to locate subjects of interest to you. Then write your impressions. Compare our newsletter with others you read for a fee and for free. Would you recommend the SPAWN Market Update to others? Send your comments to patricia@spawn.org or plfry620@yahoo.com.

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Got SPAWNDiscuss?

Last month’s lively, informative online SPAWNDiscuss topic was about the new hush-hush policy by R.R. Bowker to allow authors and independent publishers to purchase one ISBN for $125. Fee-based POD publishing services are charging authors various amounts. Lulu.com, for example, is charging $149 for one ISBN. (See more about the recent ISBN changes in the article below.)

Patricia Fry verified this information. While there is nothing about this on Bowker's Web site as this issue of SPAWNews goes to press, you can call or write to them, and get one number. A whole block of 10 is around $250, so Patricia advises authors to purchase the whole block if they have any plans to produce additional books or even if they will be revising their one book. You don't need a new ISBN for a reprint, but you do for a revision.

The information is important, but so is the fact that SPAWN members are so sophisticated and professional that when a question like this comes up, we can get the answer from one of them at our online discussion group, SPAWNDiscuss.

SPAWNDiscuss is just one of the many benefits you can receive as a paid SPAWN member! If you are not yet a member, go to http://www.spawn.org and join now.

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Are You Wearing Clean Underwear?

By Bonnie Myhrum

Did your mom tell you to be sure to wear clean underwear in case you were in an accident? Mine did. I guess she was afraid that I would be judged by the condition of my underwear. Most of us probably won’t be judged on the condition of our underwear, because under normal conditions no one can see it (this is not taking into consideration the current trend of wearing underwear as outerwear), but there are many things that we mail, e-mail, publish, put on the Web and/or hand out that we want people to see and on which we will be judged.

OK. Here’s the thing. You are a poet--an artist--a writer. For the most part, you represent yourself, not a company. You are your own best marketing tool. You are your own advertisement. You are responsible for creating the impression that your current and potential adoring public has of you. Do you want these folks to think that you don’t care about how you present yourself--that you aren’t a professional?

Read about how to be your best at all times at http://www.spawn.org/marketing/wearingcleanunderwear.htm.

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Book Marketing Idea of the Month

Promote Your Book Through Your Blog

By Patricia Fry

A blog can be many things and serve many purposes. When you have a book to promote, it makes sense to turn your blog into a promotional tool. Whether your book is a historical novel, a how-to gardening book, a memoir or a book of poetry, let your blog entries spread the word and you will sell more books.

Read about the five blogging tips that you can use to reach even more people and sell even more books at http://www.spawn.org/marketing/promotebookthrublog.htm.

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ISBN Changes

By Elizabeth Burton

Editor’s Note: This is a two-part article. The first is Elizabeth’s explanation of the recent ISBN changes. The second part is a Q&A with Patricia Fry asking questions related to the ISBN changes and Elizabeth Burton providing the answers.

On January 1, 2007, ISBNs--International Standard Book Numbers--will go from the familiar ten digits to thirteen. There are several reasons for this, not the least one being that the supply of 10-digit numbers is just about depleted. However, another important reason in these days of global publishing is that the change brings the current system into alignment with the EAN.UCC system that is used to identify other products, like CDs and DVDs.

To read the complete article about the recent ISBN changes, go to http://www.spawn.org/editing/isbnchanges.htm.

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Ask the Book Doctor: About lie/lay, attributions, and evaluations

By Bobbie Christmas

Q: Is there an easy rule for remembering when to use "lie" and when to use "lay?"

A: That’s the same darned problem I often have, and I always have to stop and think. Lay, though, is an action word, and lie is something that has already happened. One of our members uses this memory tag: Chickens lay; people lie. I think in terms of this: We lie in state, but we lay our heads on the pillow.

Richard Lederer and Richard Dowis, two colleagues of mine who also endorsed my book, Write In Style, have written a great book for the grammatically challenged called Sleeping Dogs Don’t Lay (St. Martin's Griffin, 2001). I’ll bet they cover the lay/lie subject well in their book.

To read about these and other interesting topics, go to http://www.spawn.org/editing/askthebookdoctor23.htm.

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Member News

Note: To have your announcements included in this section, you must be a paid member of SPAWN. Please e-mail your news to editor@spawn.org.

Erika Dreifus announces two December courses in the Boston/Cambridge area. On December 2, Erika will lead a seminar on "Publishing Your Short Stories" at the Cambridge Center of Adult Education, and on December 7, she'll help fiction writers in "Getting to Know Your Characters" at Grub Street, Inc., in Boston. Details on both events are available at Erika's Web site, http://www.practicing-writer.com (click "News & Events"). Erika is also pleased to report the semiannual update of two market guides for writers: The Practicing Writer's Directory of Paying Essay Markets and The Practicing Writer's Directory of Paying Poetry Markets. Find out more (and download complimentary previews with sample listings) at Erika's Web site, and/or at http://www.lulu.com/erika-dreifus.

Arlene Graham, author of To Walk Among the Stones, is announcing her new Web site, http://www.authorarlenegraham.com/. You can go to her site to read the great reviews of To Walk Among the Stones, read extensive excerpts and to purchase the book through PayPal.

PSB Publishing reports that three poems from its publication, A Rage of Intelligence, by Paul Bussan, were selected by Garrison Keillor to be read on his national radio show, The Writer's Almanac, on June 14 and 22, 2006. The poems he chose can be read and/or heard by going to the publisher's Web site, http://www.psbpublishing.com, and following the link to The Writer's Almanac.

Anne Louise Grimm’s books, Intimate Reflections: Two Years at the Panama Canal, Terralimbo: Out of Time, Something Fishy: At the Panama Canal (Illustrated), Fletter Cove: Romance and Relationships, Intimate Reflections: Tales Told Out of School (Illustrated, For release by end of year) are available at http://www.authorhouse.com, all major bookstores, Amazon.com, POD, and internationally from Ingram. For autographed copies, go to bookstore@reachone.com. For more information or to contact Anne Louise Grimm: anne@willapabay.org or (360) 942-4596 or go to http://www.willapabay.org/~anne/annepers.htm.

An old humor article by Barbara Florio Graham has been published in a new book, Funny Bone Fitness. Guideposts Books paid $250 for one-time rights for this piece, which had already been published many times over the years. There was no contact info on the article, but the editor found Bobbi via her Web site: http://www.SimonTeakettle.com.

If you're thinking about self-publishing your book, Barbara Florio Graham's free checklist will help you decide. Go to http://www.SimonTeakettle.com, and look for Self-Publishing Checklist at the bottom of the Mentoring page.

Would you like to learn more about Dubai--that amazing city in the Middle East? Patricia Fry has produced a 30-page book featuring her experiences in Dubai as a guest of Toastmasters District 79 along with color photographs and fascinating historical and cultural facts about the place. 11 x 8.5, plastic comb-binding, $10. Read about the book and place your order at http://www.matilijapress.com/dubai.html.

Perfect holiday gifts! For humorous T-shirts and other cool stuff for writers, visit Wendy Dager’s Cafepress store, http://www.cafepress.com/realwriter.

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Opportunities

SPAWN member Dallas Woodburn is holding a holiday book drive! In the past five years, her nonprofit organization Write On! has collected and distributed 7,390 new books to underprivileged children. Her goal this year is to surpass 10,000 books! Please do your part to help these children have a brighter holiday season. Help beat illiteracy and give the gift that lasts forever--the gift of reading! New books or monetary donations can be mailed to Write On! in care of Dallas at 400 Roosevelt Court, Ventura, California 93003. Or you can e-mail Dallas to arrange a pickup: dallaswoodburn@aol.com. For more information about Write On! go to http://www.zest.net/writeon.

PMA awards a PMA-U scholarship to one member of each Affiliate group. The scholarship should be awarded to a publisher who needs assistance in growing his/her publishing company. The scholarship includes free registration to attend the Publishing University, plus a $500 stipend to help pay for travel expenses. PMA encourages the Affiliate organization to assist with the rest of the travel costs. Applicants must be a member of an Affiliate group as well as PMA, must be a publisher, preferably in the early stages of developing his/her company and has not received the scholarship in the past. For more information and an application, go to the PMA Web site: http://www.pma-online.org. All final applications must be sent to PMA by December 31.

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Contests

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

Read about the latest contests at http://www.spawn.org/contests.htm.

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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 http://www.spawn.org/events.htm.

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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! 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

Website: http://www.spawn.org

Telephone: 805-646-3045

Fax: 805-640-8213

Wendy Dager

SPAWNews Editor, Membership and Database Coordinator

e-mail: editor@spawn.org

Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Webmaster

e-mail: virginia@spawn.org

Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Executive Director

e-mail: execdir@spawn.org

Patricia Fry

SPAWN President

e-mail: patty@spawn.org

MISSION STATEMENT

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 Editor@spawn.org.

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

execdir@spawn.org

 

 

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