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Jim Cox Report: January 2013

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

It's the beginning of a new year and I want to start with a brief glance back at 2012. That was the year I was honored with a "Lifetime Achievement Award in Publishing" by the eBook Publishers Association out in Santa Barbara, California. It was also the year in which I decided that total retirement from an occupation/vocation that I love and enjoy so much and so consistently was never going to happen as long as my health would permit it. So I will continue on into 2013 working as a part-time volunteer in the position of the Editor-in-Chief of the Midwest Book Review.

A major part of my motivation for donating my time and energy to the Midwest Book Review is that it will continue to allow me to be an interested observer in the ever evolving technological, cultural, and economic trends within the publishing industry. One of the latest of which (and to keep an eye out for in 2013) is the possible merger of two of the major New York publishing conglomerates: the Random House Publishing Group and Penguin Publishing USA.

Also picking up speed (and market share) is the continuing phenomena of digital publishing. That alone is a fascinating thing to watch unfold.

For example, one of my assistant editors is now earning an average of $300 a month publishing his science fiction short stories on Amazon through the digital publishing program called Smashwords. Not bad for a part time hobby!

One more bit of "office gossip" here at the Midwest Book Review is that my daughter Bethany (who is the Managing Editor of the Midwest Book Review) will begin a monthly column of her own in 2013 called the "Beth Cox Report". Like my "Jim Cox Report" it will largely focus upon the publishing industry. Also like the Jim Cox Report it will be free, archived on the Midwest Book Review web site, and available for personal subscription just by sending in an email and asking to be signed up for it.

But now on to items that have a more immediate, particular, and practical value to aspiring authors and novice publishers:

I've added the Advice for Publishers article "5 Ways to Promote Self Published Books" to our website at:

Here are a few reviews on titles of interest to writers, publishers, and the occasional bibliophile:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

The Positively Productive Writer
Simon Whaley
Compass Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing Ltd.
Laurel House, Station Approach, Alresford
Hampshire, SO24 9JH, United Kingdom
9781846948510, $19.95,

Simon Whaley draws upon his many years of experience and expertise as a creative writing tutor, workshop facilitator, and featured speaker at writer's circles to crate "The Positively Productive Writer: How To Reject Rejection and Enjoy Positive Steps To Publication", a 198 page instructional compendium for helping aspiring writers and novice authors whose work has been rejected for publication any number of times and are therefore struggling to continue their literary efforts. More than just a 'think positive' exhortation, "The Positively Productive Writer" is deftly organized and eminently practical. Comprised of four major sections (Setting Achievable Writing Goals; Learn To Look On The Bright Side of Life; Putting It Into Practice; and A Positive Writer's Year - Strategies To Succeed), Whaley addresses a wide spectrum of writing tools and tips ranging from having a 'writing buddy', to booster cards, to creating lists, to workshops and seminars. Every writer will experience rejection. That's why every writer should have their own personal copy of "The Positively Productive Writer"!

How To Write And Sell Great Short Stories
Linda M. James
Compass Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing Ltd.
Laurel House, Station Approach, Alresford
Hampshire, SO24 9JH, United Kingdom
9781846947162, $22.95,

In "How To Write And Sell Great Short Stories", Linda M. James draws upon her many years of experience, expertise, and success as a published author to create a 211 page instructional compendium that covers ever element of a publishable short story. Ranging from the creation of memorable characters, to the importance of grammar, to 'showing vs. telling', to the role of research in writing, to common faults to avoid, to the art and craft of manuscript revision, the advice and commentary is unfailingly practical and 'user friendly'. Of special note are the concluding three chapters having to do with marketing the story, tips for writing stories that will stand out in the highly competitive field of publishing, as well as diverse and accessible writing outlets. Enhanced with the inclusion of three classic short story examples, a list of recommended readings, and some concluding remarks by Linda James, "How To Write And Sell Great Short Stories" is informed, informative, and strongly recommended reading by anyone aspiring to write in the short story format -- and have those stories published!

Love and the Art of Bookstore Signing
P.A. Ritzer
Seven Ox Press
PO Box 472467
Aurora, Colorado 80047-2467
9781933363042 $9.95

Love and the Art of Bookstore Signing is a practical guide for authors (especially self-published and independent authors!) to engaging in successful bookstore-based book signings, with the goal of promoting one's book and earning good publicity. Author P.A. Ritzer has personally signed copies of his debut novel, "Seven Ox Seven, Part One: Escondido Bound" at over 175 bookstore events, and some stores have hosted him over fifteen times; he draws upon this wealth of personal experience to give a practical run-down of what to expect, what to prepare for, and the right attitudes for success. From the four most essential virtues of a successful book signer (Humility, Flexibility, Tenacity, and Gratitude) to humorous anecdotes to solid, essential advice (including how important it is to be able to take "no" for an answer), Love and the Art of Bookstore Signing is a "must-read" for any author about to plunge into the book-signing scene.

Frederick Turner
Rutgers University
35 Berrue Circle
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8042
1412849446, $39.95,

Epic is a term that means great, grand, bigger than you or I. "Epic: Form, Content, and History" delves into this concept in storytelling, where massive, sweeping narratives have taken hold in much of literature as well as countless other mediums in comics, gaming, movies, anime, and so many others. Analyzing the epic story and why it attracts so many with its origin stories, endless journeys, and battle of good and evil. "Epic" is a core addition to any community or college library literary study collection.

Writing for the Web
Lynda Felder
New Riders
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300
Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
9780321794437, $24.99,

WRITING FOR THE WEB: CREATING COMPELLING WEB CONTENT USING WORDS, PICTURES AND SOUND teaches all the basics for creating effective Web content using words, pictures and sound, and comes from a writer who blends guidelines with photos, lists and tables to outline the key concepts behind writing interactive stories. It teaches how to create copy appropriate for the Web and provides exercises and guidelines tested by the author. Any who would produce written content for Web distribution needs this clear how-to manual!

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
Fred White
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
38 E. 29th Street
New York, New York 10016
9781599635309, $16.99,

Where Do You Get Your Ideas? A Writer's Guide to Transforming Notions Into Narratives is a recommendation for any writer's reference library and covers six basic stages of writing, from idea to drafting and final product. It tells how to create and use a writer's notebook, where to locate ideas and inspiration, and how to develop said ideas into works of fiction and nonfiction using mapping and collaging techniques, among others. Exercises accompany specific ideas on getting better organized with accompanying online information including printable worksheets for further organizing and encouraging these inspirations. Any writer's reference collection will benefit from this specific approach to honing creative thinking.

Jill Talbot, Editor
University of Iowa Press
119 West Park Road
Iowa City, IA 52242-1000
9781609380892, $39.95,

METAWRITINGS: TOWARD A THEORY OF NONFICTION deserves a place in any college-level literary criticism collection and is packed with examples and interviews demonstrating the finer art of writing about writing. Metawriting is present in Facebook and web pages and has fostered essayists and nonfiction writers in the next generation. METAWRITINGS offers a first-person collection packed with insights both literary and stylistic, and pairs pieces steeped in humor with astute analysis for a diverse anthology that remains lively despite its serious-sounding title.

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:

Grigor Fedan
Anonymous (Atlanta, Georgia)
Phyllis Katz -- "Hipwrecked"
Jan Shapin -- "A Desire Path"
Melda Beaty -- "Lime: A Novel"
Jan Moran -- "Scent of Triumph"
Billi Tiner -- "The Rescue Team"
Merryl Polak -- "Murphy Lives Here"
Kristine Duehl -- "Budding Biologist"
Frank E. Babb -- "Hot Times in Panama"
Michael J. Roueche -- "Beyond the Word"
Dew Pellucid -- "The Sound & The Echoes"
Anthony Barton -- "The Bat Riders of Yumi"
Linda Baten Johnson -- "Homer the Racehorse"
Daniel C. Chabot -- "God Speed: A Love Story"
William Claassen -- "Journey Man: A World Calling"
Dennis Miller -- "Me Tarzan...You Train Without Pain"
James A. Harner -- "Up Sell Your Home In Any Market"
Mary Wayne Adams -- "Jilli, That's Silly!: A Story About Being a Girl"
Avard Enterprises LLC
Sylvia Lee -- Bookswells
Jo Curran -- Calliope Press
Rick Silvers -- Conure Press
P. A. Ritzer -- Seven Ox Press
Nan Wisherd -- Cable Publishing
Sandy Baker -- Black Garnet Press
Leland Payton -- Lens & Pen Press
Jessica Lourey -- Toadhouse Books
Lisa Omstead -- Decadent Publishing
Kathy Walden Kaplan -- Librado Press
Alexandra Erickson -- Levins Publishing
Bob Prentiss -- Tiger Arts Communications
Terry L. Mominee -- Broken Glass Publishing
John Philip McCarthy -- Boathouse Entertainment
John R. Guevin -- Biographical Publishing Company
Evander Lomke -- American Mental Health Foundation
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Maryglenn McCombs -- MM Book Publicity

In lieu of (or in addition to!) postage stamp donations, we also accept PayPal gifts of support 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 an attempt to fool 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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