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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, December, 2008

Sandra Murphy, Editor

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please email 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

- Market Update

- Two Book Reviews This Month! —by Patricia Fry

- Ask the Book Doctor by Bobbie Christmas

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor's Note

by Sandra Murphy

Want to improve your writing? Read.

From “I can do better” to “what if?” reading sparks ideas. Subconscious editing prevents us from making the same mistakes. Absorbing the cadence of language helps our words flow. What if? gives us another story to tell.

Read non-fiction, read the paper, read blogs. Read romance, mysteries and science fiction. Read poetry, prose and the cereal box. Read something hard and when your brain is full, read something so light and fluffy it melts in your head and fills the cracks and crevices. Just read.

We’ve passed Thanksgiving. I was thankful for the ability to write. What other job could be both so satisfying and so frustrating? So awe-inspiring when someone you meet says, “You write? I wish I could.” and so frustrating when your family says, “You write? Do more. How hard can it be?”

Now it’s time for Hanukah, Christmas and Kwanza. For those silly enough to say to me, “I don’t know what to get you. What do you want?” I’ll answer….

“I want to read.”

Happy Holidays,

Sandy Murphy


Market Update

by Patricia Fry

The December edition of the SPAWN Market Update brings gifts to members in every category.

  • Artists will learn about links to hundreds and hundreds of jobs for illustrators, graphic artists, photographers and other creatives.
  • Freelance Writers--we've provided you with a generous helping of learning opportunities as well as 8 paying markets for your work.
  • Our gift to Authors includes encouragement for landing an agent or traditional publisher for their already self-published book.
  • You’ll also find a list of 8 publishers for the non-mainstream books they are pitching.
  • Poets and Scriptwriters, we did not forget you--check out the opportunities we've listed.
  • And those of you with books to promote, we've listed book review sites that are actively seeking books to review, and magazines seeking articles.
  • Then there’s a GREAT resource for teaching you how to promote your book through magazine articles.

As a Bonus gift, our editor's commentary features encouragement and ideas for reaching your publishing goals before the end of the year.

Membership also entitles you to peruse our gigantic SPAWN Market Update archives. For ease in locating topics of interest, use the convenient search function. Maybe you want to find book festivals, library directories, book marketing ideas, science fiction publishers, magazines that publish personal stories. Whatever it is, our search function can help you find it in the archives of the SPAWN Market Update.

JOIN NOW and get a free book—we give you six titles to choose from—3 ebooks and 3 print books. NEW TITLE JUST ADDED—limited quantities available.

Book Reviews by Patricia Fry – Happy Holidays – This month you get two reviews!

From First Draft to Finished Novel, a writer’s guide to cohesive story building.

By Karen S. Wiesner

Writer’s Digest Books, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-58297-551-1

Paperback, 263 pages, $19.99

Have you ever wished for a blueprint for your novel—one that would ensure that your story was strong, your characters interesting and your pace perfect? Karen Wiesner, author of 56 books, which have won a total of 68 awards, has created the book you’ve been waiting for.

To read the full review of From First Draft to Finished Novel, go to

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Travel Writing as a Freelancer, Your Own Guide to Getting Published

By Wendy Van Hatten

Ebook, 60 pages


This ebook is available only through the author and it seems to be based on her travel-writing course. You might consider it a workbook for travel writing. It seems to be fairly complete as it offers tips and techniques for many aspects of travel writing. For example, Van Hatten, a full-time travel writer and editor, tells you how to choose your travel destinations, how to glean articles from your experiences, how and where to sell your articles, how to write a travel article and she even shares her expertise on travel photography.

To read the full review of Travel Writing as a Freelancer, Your Own Guide to Getting Published, go to

Ask the Book Doctor: About Commas, Ebooks, and Pseudonyms

by Bobbie Christmas

Q: How would you punctuate the following sentence? Would you delete the comma after the first "that?" Would you delete both commas?

Mr. Smith concluded with the vague assertion that, if he ever gets a handle on the IRS situation, he will attempt to pay the client and asked that we call him in ninety days.

A: I would delete the first comma and let the first part of the sentence act as a single introductory phrase. I would also separate his conclusion from his request, so I would write it this way: Mr. Smith concluded with the vague assertion that if he ever gets a handle on the IRS situation, he will attempt to pay the client. He asked that we call him in ninety days.

You could argue that both commas could be left, thereby setting aside the nonessential phrase, “if he ever gets a handle on the IRS situation.” I stand by the fact that what he concluded and what he asked should appear in separate sentences.

To read about these and other interesting topics, go to

SPAWN Members Take a Turn

Hi Sandy,

I want to thank Patricia Fry for the excellent review of my ebook, A Guide to Positive Book Signings – Lessons Learned at 100 Book Signings and for publishing it in SPAWNews. It will certainly be valuable for the marketing of my ebook.

I am fortunate and proud to be a member of SPAWN. Your web site and SPAWNews contains valuable information for the new author and also for the experienced author. Thank you Sandy, as editor of SPAWNews, for your hard work in producing a new issue every month, filled with information and advice.

All the best,

Phil Minnaar

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My name is Rhonda Rees, and I have just written a book about public relations. I am interested in joining your organization.

My client, Leon Cooper is also a member.

I was wondering if you know of any good distributor companies that handle the college market.

Many thanks,


Hello Rhonda,

Congrats on your book. There are a couple of ways you can seek out specific distributors—those for college bookstores, for example. First do an internet search. I came up with and others. IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) has a distributor and wholesaler directory at John Kremer lists distributors, You will probably find some distributors that specialize in or spill over into the college market on these lists.

Also, contact college bookstore managers and/or college course coordinators at various colleges and ask them what book distributors and wholesalers they work with.

As you will discover, nothing comes easy in the world of publishing. You are either in constant research mode (to locate the resources and services you need) or book promotion mode (which is ongoing for as long as you hope to sell books).

Of course, membership in SPAWN will help you with both of these tasks.

Good luck,

Patricia Fry, President


Member News

During December, SPAWN members can get the shipping waived on any US order of Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers (which Patricia Fry praised in a review when it came out), Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World, and/or Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First. These books make great gifts, and all three have won awards. The author, Shel Horowitz, is a copywriter and marketing/publishing consultant specializing in working directly with authors.

Just visit and enter the code. To get the code, join SPAWN and go to the SPAWN Member Area to get the code for this special offer.

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Patricia Fry is now offering on-demand, online courses featuring “How to Write a Successful Book Proposal,” “How to Write and Sell Magazine Articles,” as well as a “Self-Publishing Workshop” and a “Book Promotion Workshop.” Questions? Contact her at:

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Living Cheap and Loving It, by Carrol Wolverton, anticipated the current financial crisis with a book full of suggestions, including some contributed by SPAWN member Barbara Florio Graham. The book is described on Bobbi's website ( and available from

“Using Fido to Clinch the Sale” was the title of a column that appeared in U.S. Business Week last summer and continues to appear on NBC websites. The columnist quoted publicity expert Joan Stewart, who used Simon Teakettle as an example of "the cat who owns the company." To date this has appeared on NBC websites in Seattle, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Hartford, Connecticut. Bobbi, Simon, and the website ( have now been cited on websites in 40 countries across 11 time zones!

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Note: To have your announcements included in this section, you must be a paid member of SPAWN. Please email your news to


Christopher Grant has launched the crime fiction blog, A Twist of Noir, taking submissions for crime fiction stories (flash fiction up to 1000 words and short stories up to 3000 words). No pay listed, but stories are posted daily and there’s a noir book review. If this is your genre, check it out.


To read about the latest contests, go to


To read about the coming events, go to

Note: SPAWNews advises "caveat emptor" when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you. SPAWN is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

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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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

Sandra Murphy

SPAWNews Editor, Membership and Database Coordinator


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Webmaster


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Executive Director


Patricia Fry

SPAWN President



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 Sandra Murphy, Editor, SPAWNews

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023

or email

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

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

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023



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