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SPAWNews, September 1998 - Archives Available

Leadership Committee MEETING

SPAWN's Leadership Committee meeting was convened at 2:00 PM at the home of Carol Doering on August 19, 1998. Present, in addition to Carol, were Mary Embree, Patricia Fry, Dallas Glenn, Ruth Hibbard, Hal Ranzenhofer, and Roni Tagliaferri. Here are the highlights.

1. The following people have come forward to take on the following tasks: Mary Embree: to remain as Executive Director until one can be found.

Ruth Hibbard: will handle the data base from which the Member Directory is compiled. She also volunteered to take on the job of Treasurer on an interim basis until a permanent candidate can be found. The chapter presidents will ask for candidates at the chapter meetings.

2. Board meetings will be held every two months, on the 3rd Wednesday, at two PM. The next meeting is scheduled for 2 PM on October 21 at Mary Embree's 1375 Poli Street, #14, Ventura.

3. Patty Fry suggested that an assistant to Chapter Presidents be appointed to act as reporters. Their task will be to poll the attendees on what they expect from SPAWN, their ideas, etc.

4. Any changes in e-mail addresses should be sent to Ruth Hibbard at

5. The board members were asked to solicit ads for the Member Directory.

Rates are given below.

6. A discussion took place on various ways of publicizing SPAWN. Putting notices of meetings in local papers was one suggestion. And word of mouth is always effective.

7. As to fund raising, Mary Embree's suggestion of a poetry contest was enthusiastically received. Details on the contest are below.


The deadline for members to insert an ad, or to make changes in their listing or to get their listing into the Member Directory is September 15.

We hope to mail the directory in October. We are looking for ads to help defray the printing and mailing costs. The ad rates are as follows:

Business card size (horizontal): $30

Quarter page (4½" wide x 2" long): $30

Half page (4½" wide x 3¾" long): $50

Full page (4½" wide x 7½" long): $90

Back cover of directory (4½" wide x 7½" long): $125

Members and nonmembers may advertise in the Directory. Those who have written books may want to advertise them and give ordering information. The ad may promote a service or product. All advertisers will receive a copy of the Directory and a free, one-year subscription to SPAWNews. Of course, current members get that already.

I can't write five words but that I change seven.

~ Dorothy Parker


Ventura County Chapter

There was no meeting in August.

Next meeting: Wed., September 30. The theme for this meeting is "Networking at its Best." Speaker Diana Johnson, a self-published author, takes the audience down the bumpy road of self-publishing, covering the process from A to Z. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Newbury Park Branch Library, 2331 Borchard Road. See Page 4 for directions. For more information call Ventura County Chapter President Carol Doering at 805/493-1081.

Santa Barbara County Chapter

Next meeting: Saturday, Sept. 12.

Cork Millner is the speaker. His topic is "Four Secret Steps to Nonfiction Writing Success."

Santa Barbara claims Cork Millner as their local celebrity; however, he is a recognized international author. Cork has sold over 200 magazine articles to such publications as Playboy, Seventeen, Los Angeles Times, The Saturday Evening Post, Diversion, Travel-Holiday, Islands, Vintage, The Retired Officer, Writer's Digest, The Writer, Delta Sky and the Santa Barbara Magazine. Published books to his credit are Vintage Cork, Portraits, and Write from the Start. Currently he is working on a sex-laden, scandal-ridden novel on polo, which he hopes will outsell the Bible!

Don't foget to bring your cards, flyers, etc. for our networking session at the end of the meeting. The chapter meets at the Karpeles Manuscript Library & Museum. See page 4 for the address and directions. For more information, please contact Santa Barbara County Chapter President Dallas Glenn at 805/899-1174.


SPAWN is pleased to announce our first poetry contest which is open both to members and nonmembers of SPAWN. There are two categories: rhyming and non-rhyming poetry. Cash prizes will be awarded.

First place prize in each category is $100; 2nd place $50 and 3rd place $25. That's a total of six prizes! Each winner will also receive a certificate.

Here are the rules:

  1. The poem shall be the original work of the entrant, in good taste and publishable in the SPAWN newsletter. Any subject suitable for a general audience is acceptable.
  2. Poem shall be on 8-1/2" x 11" paper, computer generated or typed. (No handwritten entries)
  3. Poem shall be no more than 36 lines long. Only one poem per page.
  4. Place the letter R for rhyming or N for non-rhyming in the upper right corner of the page.
  5. Do not put your name or any other information on your entry.
  6. Enclose a separate sheet of paper with your name, address, telephone number and title of poem on it.
  7. More than one submission may be made but an entry fee must be paid for each one.
  8. Enclose a check in the amount of $5 for SPAWN members or $10 for nonmembers for each submission. Make your check payable to SPAWN. Please do not send cash.
  9. Send the above to SPAWN Poetry Contest, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653.
  10. Deadline: entries must be postmarked by December 31, 1998.

Note to entrants: Winners will be notified by phone or mail by March 31, 1999. Winners will be announced and first place winners' poems in each category will be published in the April 1999 issue of SPAWNews. Judge's decision is final. Submission guidelines will be strictly enforced. No phone calls, please.


The Santa Barbara Writers' Circle has established new meeting dates: the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month. The next meeting will be at 6:00 PM on September 14 at Dallas Glenn's home, 515 Red Rose Lane #1, Santa Barbara. Telephone 805-899-1174.


The annual Travel Writers Conference at Troutbeck (Hudson Valley, NY) is set for November 12-15. Limited to 35 professional writers, there will be three days of close, personal contact with assigning editors from major travel magazines: Travel & Leisure, Golf, Colonial Homes, National Geographic, Traveler and several more to be named soon. The editors will stay through the weekend and have breakfast, lunch and dinner with the writers a rare chance to establish relationships. The meeting includes gourmet meals, wining and dining by the regional tourism people and tours of the area. Conference/lodging is headquartered in a beautiful, 1920s mansion with indoor pool/sauna., huge fireplaces and, if it can be arranged, snow.

This conference sells out. For more information, contact Karen Misuraca at

Online Marketing for Business Web Sites: What should we be doing?

by Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

As soon as we establish a Web site, we register with the most important search engines and directories. Many companies then move on to the next project, considering the site's online marketing to be complete. But search engine registration is only the foundation of a good marketing plan. Successful companies build a good foundation and use that foundation to establish their online marketing program. The following six steps are crucial:

  1. Page preparation. Prepare the Web site pages so that every viewer can understand the goal of the site. The non-visible Meta tags on each page are written to enhance the standing of the pages in search engines.
  2. Site registration. Register the site with the critical top ten search engines and directories, being careful to choose the most appropriate categories for the site. Register with at least another 150 general search engines and directories to obtain wider coverage.
  3. Strategic linking. Research specialized directories and complementary sites, then request the site owners to add a link to our site. The number of links inbound to a site has always been important. Now some of the most influential search engines are using the number of inbound links as a measure of the importance of a site. Strategic linking is a marketing activity which should be ongoing for the life of the site.
  4. Traffic measurement. Monitor the site logs to determine whether the traffic is increasing, decreasing, or remaining stable. We want to keep the traffic increasing or stable at a reasonably high rate.
  5. Site rank evaluation. Audit the site's standing in the most important search engines. The search engines change their selection algorithms frequently, and they are constantly receiving new registrations, so a site's standing can change from day to day. If we find that our ranking is not high enough, we research the difference between our site and any competing sites which rank above ours. We find a legitimate way to improve our key words or description, then we register our site again to increase its ranking.
  6. Referrer logs. Review the list of referring sites in the logs for the site. If we find that we never receive visitors who searched on one particular search engine in the top ten, we register again to improve our ranking.

A few marketers have stated that we should re-register every week, and that sounds like a nice easy solution. However, most search engines consider repetitive registration of unchanged sites to be spamming, and weekly registration can get our sites banned from a search engine. There is no single automated solution to attaining and keeping a good ranking in the search engines. The sensible solution takes time and attention: attention to site design, Meta tags, traffic, referrer logs, and search engine standings.

Member News

Carol Doering, President of our Ventura County Chapter, has broken her ankle in two places and was operated on at 4:00 PM, Saturday, August 15. Needless to say, we all wish her the best and a quick recovery. She returned home on Monday, August 17, and is in the excellent hands of her husband Richard.

Hal Ranzenhofer takes this opportunity to thank all of you who sent cards, letters, and telephone calls to him in Houston to wish him well during his late indisposition. I'm told that complete recovery from open-heart surgery can take months, but I'm feeling fine, back to dancing, to say nothing of working on the newsletter. Thank you Mary Embree and Patty Fry for your special consideration.

Dan Poynter will make a free presentation at the Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara's meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 10 on how to Jumpstart Your Book Project Dan has turned thousands of writers and other professionals into authors. He is the author of Write and Grow Rich, The Self-Publishing Manual, more than 75 other books and hundreds of other information products. He is the leading authority on how to write, publish and promote books. In his presentation you will learn:

  1. the secret to finding the right publisher and agent
  2. a step-by-step plan for writing your nonfiction book
  3. the use of speech-recognition
  4. the speed-writing process
  5. how to find an editor to help you
  6. how to handle interviews, autographings and throngs of fans.

The address is San Antonio Village Condominiums meeting hall, off North San Marcos Road (Turnpike exit) in Santa Barbara. Call Chuck Kent at 805/966-5485 for more information.


New member Ken Wilkins has written a delightful story for eight to twelve-year old readers called Marvin's Mansion (Winepress Publishing, P.O. Box 1406, Mukilteo, WA 98275; $10.95 + $3.95 s&h). It seems that a community of mice find life on Farmer Williams's farm full of new terrors when Pounce the Cat arrives. Many of them-including Marvin, a brave, considerate resourceful mouse-decide to hitchhike to the city on a truckload of pumpkins. Hours later, the truck loses some of its load beside the highway, including Marvin and sixteen other mice. A natural leader, Marvin quickly takes charge, guiding his friends as they search for a new home. Unfolding with many adventures and new experiences, Marvin's Mansion delivers a fun-filled, memorable story. Ken is an award-winning author who taught elementary school for thirty years. The book interweaves subtle moral lessons , such as honesty, courtesy, courage, loyalty, forgiveness, sharing and respect. With those lessons and the rousing adventures of the mice, Marvin's Mansion makes an excellent addition to any school library.


SANTA BARBARA CHAPTER: Saturday, September 12, 1:30 p.m. Karpeles Manuscript Library, 21 W. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara Directions: 101 Freeway to Carrillo, right on Carrillo, left on Chapala, right on Anapamu. (Parking in back, off Chapala, just before Anapamu.) Guest donation: $5

VENTURA COUNTY CHAPTER: Wednesday, September 30, 7:00 p.m. Newbury Park Branch Library, 2331 Borchard Road, Newbury Park Directions: 101 Freeway to Borchard Road, right if going south, left if going north, to Michael. Right to first driveway on left.

SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year.

Spouses of members may join for half of the fee.

Subscriptions to SPAWNews are $15 per year for nonmembers.

Members receive SPAWNews as part of their membership




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