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Jim Cox Report: December 2013

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

If you haven't read my daughter's monthly column for the publishing industry for November 2013, ( then you I urge you to do so. She talks about the transitional revolution that is going on in audio books as it evolves from CDs to digital downloads -- along with cogent, practical information and resources for authors seeking to create their own digital audio book editions on shoestring and 'no string' budgets.

By the end of the next eight decades, print books (hardcover and paperback) will be as extinct as the cuneiform tablet or the papyrus scroll. The digital book is not only here to stay, but year by year it continues to increase its market share of the consumer's book buying dollar.

There are three major factors at work with respect to this phenomena:

1. Economic
2. Technological
3. Cultural

1. The economics are obvious. If you were on a budget and wanted to read "Sets, Lights, & Lunacy: A Stage Designer's Adventures on Broadway and in Opera" by Lloyd Burlingame, would you pay $25.99 for the 210 page paperback edition or $7.99 for the Kindle edition. With so many $7.99 mass market paperbacks now available as $0.99 ebooks, digital publishing is even more pronounced in its financial advantage over print for the general reading public.

2. The technological advances in both the creation of digital publications and the accessing of digital publications continues at a breathtaking pace. Digital readers are getting cheaper and cheaper while what they can do and the ease of their operation is getting better and better.

3. The impact of the "baby boomer" generation was a massive cultural influence from its infancy in the mid-1940s to its senior citizen stage in today's mid-2013 and beyond. Just think of what the Generation X and the Millennial Generation's impact has already been with such things as iPads, iPhones, Facebook, and Twitter. The future belongs to the young -- and that includes the future of the publishing industry.

My daughter Bethany (who is the managing editor and webmaster for the Midwest Book Review) is helping her own generation of writers and publishers to keep abreast of these ever changing aspects of the publishing industry. I again urge you as an aspiring author or a novice publisher to benefit from her experience, her perspective, her resources, and her natural talent in the book reviewing / web site reviewing end of all things publishing.

Everyone who subscribes to the Jim Cox Report is automatically signed up for the Beth Cox Report as well. You can sign up for both monthly open letters by sending an email and asking to join the mailing list.

Here are reviews of some new books of special interest to writers and publishers:

Writer's Rehab
D.B. Gilles
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615931569, $12.95,

WRITER'S REHAB: A 12-STEP PROGRAM FOR WRITERS WHO CAN'T GET THEIR ACTS TOGETHER holds specific interest for the performing arts and film writer, and comes form a playwright and script consultant who uses his years of writing and teaching to help writers plan for periods of low production. This is a 12-step program containing humor and fun, packaged in a paperback nearly half the size of a trade paperback so it can be slipped into any back pocket or purse and consulted at any place. From putting aside fictional characters to work on yourself to moving from having a great idea to translating that into a killer script, this is a solid set of practical insights and exercises for any aspiring scriptwriter, from novices to neo-professionals who struggle with writer's block.

Shakespeare for Screenwriters
J.M. Evenson
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615931415, $19.95,

Shakespeare for Screenwriters: Timeless Writing Tips from the Master of Drama belongs in both creative writing and film collections and provides a powerful analysis linking Shakespeare's approaches to drama with screenwriting success. Chapters not only provide the usual consideration of elements that made the Bard's works so compelling and long-lasting, but link these insights to modern screenwriting efforts and requirements. Each chapter provides specific lessons based on a reading of Shakespeare, and each offers concrete tools screenwriters can employ for success today, making this a unique approach and a 'must' for any aspiring screenwriter who wants to use time-tested lessons from the Bard himself to achieve greater heights.

A Self Made of Words
Carl H. Klaus
University of Iowa Press
119 West Park Road, Iowa City, IA 52242-1000
9781609381943, $18.00,

A Self Made of Words: Crafting a Distinctive Persona in Nonfiction Writing is a pick for any collection strong in creative writing guides, and provides exercises and directions to help develop a persona of choice by understanding the effects of different writing approaches. Chapters come from the founder of the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program and provide detailed discussion of how one's written persona evolves from decisions on what to say and how to say it. No creative writing collection should be without this specific and important guide.

Frank and Fiona Build a Fictional Story
Rachel Lynette, author
Jan Lieffering, illustrator
Norwood House Press
P.O. Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631
9781599535876, $25.27,

From a middle grade educational series called Writing Builders, “Frank and Fiona Build a Fictional Story” presents a components construction toolkit for young budding fiction authors that is appealing, carefully sequenced for optimum understanding, and attractively and clearly presented. Frank wants to enter a story writing contest but he is afraid he doesn't know how to write fiction. Fiona encourages him and helps him find a way to begin. First comes a story map, with brief descriptions of the setting, characters, and story line with beginning, middle, and end. Fiona gives Frank many helpful writing tips to make his story more interesting and vivid. Finally, it is up to Frank to begin writing and then to rewrite the story as needed to build it. Using transitions and sensory details help to place the story’s action in the imagination more firmly. At the end a 6 step process is outlined for creating a fictional story, with added special ideas, a glossary, and list of resources, including web sites. “Frank and Fiona Build a Fictional Story” is clearly written with likeable young students as budding authors and illustrated in a fun, quirky, colorful comic style, featuring adults and children of varying racial-ethnic backgrounds. Middle grade students from ages 9-11 will enjoy using this helpful literary tool to create their own works of fiction.

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:

T. R. Dowden -- "Aftermath"
Tessa Dawn -- "Blood Redemption"
Chas Watkins -- "To Hold The Sun"
Reginald Down -- "The Midsumer Mouse"
Terrance Zepke -- "Spookiest Lighthouses"
Nan Baker -- "How Do You Say Goodbye?"
Len Lamensdorf -- "The Mexican Gardener"
Joanne S. Black -- "Pick Up The Damn Phone!"
Ruby Cavanaugh Koerper -- "Antarctic: A Someday Book"
Robert Whitfield -- "Some Other Time, Some Other Place"
4-Deuce Books
Walt Shiel -- Jacobsville Books
Maria Writesel -- Racemaker Press
Lois Qualben - Langmarc Publishing
George R. Slanina, Jr. -- Yamhill Press
Carol Jean Delmar -- Willow Lane Press
Jean Ann Geist -- Eli Kenoah Enterprises
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!

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. 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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