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Jim Cox Report: August 2016

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

This month I want to begin with a piece of marketing advice specifically for self-published authors who have not created a publishing house name for their books but send them out for review to folk like me (as well as to book distributors, book wholesalers, book sellers, librarians) identified as "Self Published".

The term "Self Published" is one that has a built-in discrimination against it because of the modern history of the publishing industry. When desktop computer publishing became an easy way to turn any manuscript into a book, amateur self-publishing writers all too often turned out a book that was significantly flawed with such things as typos, problems of grammar, organization and presentation -- basically books that were in serious need of an editor before being unleashed upon the reading public.

What I recommend for self-publishing authors who have heretofore simply used the term "self published" in their publicity and marketing materials, or on-line book seller (such as descriptions, is to replace that term with "Privately Published".

"Privately Published" means the same thing as "Self-Published" but it doesn't have that 'built-in' prejudice that would mean a summary dismissal that would automatically result from reviewers and other folk who have seen so many flawed books sent to them as 'self published'.

If you don't think that a simple change of terms would have that much of an impact, consider that "inheritance taxes" used to have a popular connotation in the public mind until a clever Republican operative came along and changed the term to "death taxes" -- thus helping to alter the tax laws so that the rich got even richer.

Now on to reviews of new books for authors and publishers on writing and publishing:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

The IngramSpark Guide to Independent Publishing
Brendan Clark
Graphic Arts Books
PO Box 56118, Portland, OR 97238-6118
9781943328482, $17.99, HC, 104pp,

Synopsis: Brendan Clark is a graduate of Western Washington University's English Department, where he studied creative writing, technical writing, and world religions. As the Publishing Director at Village Books in Bellingham, Washington, he designs books for independent local authors and consults with them on using IngramSpark to print and distribute their titles.

In "The IngramSpark Guide to Independent Publishing" Brenday draws upon his years of experience and expertise to create an instruction guide for novice authors who, having written a manuscript, are unsure how to get that manuscript transformed into a published book and subsequently into the hands of readers. Crafting raw text into a physical or digital book that can be sold and read is a time-consuming, multifaceted process. Independent authors need not face this challenge alone but can equip themselves for success with skilled professional collaborators and a tool that combines multiple essential functions under one virtual roof with IngramSpark. In today's diverse, competitive book market, authors have access to an array of online publishing and print-on-demand services. IngramSpark combines affordable, high-quality book production with the distribution channels of the largest book distributor in the world, making titles available to thousands of book retailers worldwide.

This guidebook walks the aspiring author through the process of editing, designing, printing, and marketing their manuscript, and provides a thorough overview of the many versatile services IngramSpark offers to indie publishers of all stripes ranging from humble scribblers, to ambitious superstar authors, to established small presses. You'll learn how to enhance the readability of your book, get the most out of your publishing budget, convert your physical book into digital e-book form, efficiently fulfill orders for your book, and generate buzz beyond your local community of acquaintances. "The IngramSpark Guide to Independent Publishing" isn't just a manual for utilizing IngramSpark, but also a crash course in the intricacies of becoming a successful independently published author.

Critique: The IngramSpark Guide to Independent Publishing is a practical-minded, user-friendly resource, and a "must-read" for aspiring authors. While highly recommended for community and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The IngramSpark Guide to Independent Publishing" is also available in a paperback edition (9781943328352, $7.99) and in a Kindle format ($5.99).

The Writing Game
David Lodge
Performed by Ian Abercrombie, Michael Brandon, Christine Estrabrook, et. al.
L.A. Theatre Works
681 Venice Boulevard, Venice, CA 90291
9781682660331 $29.95

The Writing Game is a full-cast performance audiobook, recorded before a live audience, of David Lodge's play about what it truly means to be a writer. Set in 17th century England, The Writer's Game features a group of writers at a creative writing seminar. Once of them is an strong-willed, opinionated American novelist, who quickly discovers that he has far more to learn about writing and love than he ever could have imagined. Vivacious, witty, and inspirational, The Writing Game is the next best thing to witnessing a performance of this exceptional play in person, and highly recommended especially for personal and public library audiobook collections. 2 CDs, 1 hour 38 min.

Here is "The Midwest Book Review Postage Stamp Hall Of Fame & Appreciation" roster of well-wishers and supporters. These are the generous folk who decided to say 'thank you' and 'support the cause' that is the Midwest Book Review by donating postage stamps this past month:

Laurenn Barker
Rhonda Dooley
Felicia N. Trujillo -- "Pandora"
Lila Dooley -- "Each Step I Take"
Scott M. Graffius -- "Agile Scrum"
Barry Finlay -- "A Perilous Question"
John Ballard -- "Decoding the Workplace"
Marnie Mellbom -- "The Reluctant Soldier"
Megan Bearce -- "Super Commuter Couples"
Michael J Klaassen -- "Fiction-Writing Modes"
Victor Pearn -- "American Western Love Song"
Notable Kids Publishing
Paramount Market Publishing
Cory Cullinan -- Doctor Noize Inc.
Jerome Tiller -- ArtWrite Productions
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Barbara Wall -- The Barrett Company Communications

In lieu of (or in addition to!) postage stamp donations, we also accept PayPal gifts of support to our postage stamp fund for what we try to accomplish in behalf of the small press community. Simply log onto your PayPal account and direct your kindness (in any amount and at your discretion) to the Midwest Book Review at:

SupportMBR [at]

(The @ is replaced by "[at]" in the above email address, in an attempt to avoid email-harvesting spambots.)

If you have postage stamps to donate, or if you have a book you'd like considered for review, then send those postage stamps (always appreciated, never required), or a published copy of that book (no galleys, uncorrected proofs, or Advance Reading Copies), accompanied by a cover letter and some form of publicity release to my attention at the address below.

All of the previous issues of the "Jim Cox Report" are archived on the Midwest Book Review website at If you'd like to receive the "Jim Cox Report" directly (and for free), just send me an email asking to be signed up for it.

So until next time -- goodbye, good luck, and good reading!

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI, 53575

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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