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Jim Cox Report: July 2006

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

Another month has come and gone in the proverbial "blink of an eye" and it's time for some more advice and commentary on the fine art of writing and the difficult science of publishing.

As we do every month, a great many more resource links of interest for authors and publishers have been added to our Midwest Book Review website. We've also did a little bit of reorganizing as well.

In addition to adding a hundred or so new links to our website this past month, we now have devoted a links page specifically devoted to eBook publishers and eBook dealers. You can find it at

The Publisher Resources page has a new section added which is devoted to Technical Resources for publishers. You can find that one at

Professionally and personally, I always look forward to getting feedback from authors and publishers. For example:

Subject: review inquiry for Meerkat's Safari
Date: 6/26/2006 2:42:28 P.M. Central Standard Time

Hi James.

I recently found your Web site and wanted to let you know that, as a self publisher, I found the information you have posted there extremely valuable. (It was also one of the factors that contributed to my joining PMA, so thank you.)

Your site also prompted me to send you a review copy of my children's book, Meerkat's Safari. Is there a particular editor at Midwest Book Review I should send the book to?

There's also a good story behind the printing of this book, which I think may be of interest to your readers. I originally published this book through Xlibris, an expensive vanity press. However, after selling 500 copies to friends and family, I decided to take the book more seriously and print it myself. The book was just reprinted (offset) in Hong Kong last month, and I'm now working with PMA to find a national distributor. And since my per-unit cost has gone down to less than half of what it was under Xlibris, I'm now finding it easier to sell to brick-and-mortar stores.

Anyway, thought you might enjoy the anecdote.

Best regards,

Claudia Graziano

I find Claudia's experience repeated quite often within the community of self-published authors. POD publishers may be the easiest way to turn your manuscript into a book -- but it is also the most expensive way, as well as the way most likely to fail in the marketplace when it comes time to actually sell your book or develop a readership demand for it.

For those who have more money than time, it's probably worth their investment. But for those with more time than money, they will almost always be better off in the long run to do their basic homework, learn for themselves how to publish their manuscript under their own imprint, and educate themselves on the practices of marketing and promotion that will insure their best chance to have a commercially viable book with the widest possible readership.

One of the regular monthly book review columns we do around here has as its specific focus "how to" books which are devoted to writing and publishing. I call it:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Joy Writing
Kenn Amdahl
Clearwater Publishing Company
PO Box 778, Broomfield, CO 80038-0778
0962781525 $12.95

Joy Writing: Discover And Develop Your Creative Voice by published author Kenn Amdahl is an expertly presented introductory guide to the artful approaches to creative writing. Covering the major aspects of the writing process, Joy Writing begins with the fundamental question of "Why Writer?" and then presents five major sections in methodical order: "Before You Write"; "Beginning to Write"; "Thinking about Language"; "The Overall Flow of any Work: and "Improving". For its outstanding perspective, interpretation, and quite stimulating presentation, Joy Writing is very strongly recommended and "user friendly" reading for both novice and seasoned writers alike, but most particularly those aspiring writers struggling with expressing or developing their own distinctively artistic and creative style.

Getting Started As A Freelance Writer
Robert W. Bly
Sentient Publications
1113 Spruce Street, Boulder, CO 80302
159181037X $18.95 1-303-443-2188

In Getting Started As A Freelance Writer, professional writer Robert W. Bly draws upon more than twenty-five years of experience and expertise (he became a self-made millionaire while still in his thirties and is the author of more than one hundred articles and sixty books) offers aspiring writers and authors a comprehensive understanding of the highly competitive process of becoming a published freelance writer. Introducing readers to a complete knowledge of where the work for writers is to be found, how to get paid assignments, the fine art of negotiating fees and contracts, how to turn out acceptable manuscripts, and how to insure getting paid, Getting Started As A Freelance Writer provides a concise exploration and complete knowledge of what freelance writing is all about. An informed and informative resource for a sustainable progression into the world of profitable writing and freelance authorship, Getting Started As A Freelance Writer is very strongly recommended as a key "how to" reference for anyone at the beginning of their professional writing career.

Ordinary Miracles
Danny Iny
1650 Lincoln, Apartment 1201, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3H 1H1
1411672526 $14.95

Ordinary Miracles: Harness The Power Of Writing And Get Your Point Across! by Danny Iny is an informed and informative introduction to the writing process as a modern medium for communication. Insightfully providing readers with information clarifying the misinformed understandings presented in grade school and how they might be effecting the writing of many students, Ordinary Miracles addresses such issues as writing structures for effectively presenting solid and compelling arguments; how grammar can be used effectively by sometimes breaking rules; the subtle differences in structure and how it affects readers; and how to choose just the right words to get a specific point across. Ordinary Miracles is very strongly recommended reading for classroom teachers and aspiring writers for its concise understanding of the process of writing as an evermore creative, persuasive, and informative medium for communication.

Writes Of Life
Robert Yehling
Koboca Publishing
PO Box 133, Tomales, CA 94971
0974499773 $10.95 1-813-994-6262

Robert Yehling draws upon his experience and expertise as an author of fiction, non-fiction, memoir, poetry, the spoken word, and teaching workshops around the country in Writes Of Life: Using Personal Experiences In Everything You Write. An informed and informative introduction to the fine craft of writing, Robert Yehling deftly guides aspiring writers through the process and practice of using their own (and others) true life experiences by deliberately incorporating them into their writing style. A very strongly recommended and instructive resource and reference for novice writers searching for greater and easier expression through their authorship and compositions, Writes Of Life comprehensively and logically approaches the intricate art and medium of writing and in doing so has much to offer even the more experienced author.

Artful Sentences
Virginia Tufte
Graphics Press, LLC
PO Box 430, Cheshire, CT 06410
0961392185 $16.00

Artful Sentences: Syntax As Style by Virginia Tufte (Distinguished Emeritas Professor of English at the University of Southern California) is a remarkable collection of over one-thousand sentences demonstrating the utilization of syntax to create a distinctive writing style, and which were selectively compiled by Professor Tufte from the works of authors published in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Exemplifying the use of syntax to create a uniquely recognizable writing style, Artful Sentences features sentences showcasing every imaginable style as an writer, speechmaker, essayist, storyteller, and novelist, ranging from the example of Frank Lloyd Wright to David Gelernter. With a logical and definitive analysis of the actual root sentence structure, Artful Sentences is very strongly recommended for linguistics, literature, and English students, as well as aspiring authors seeking to distinguish their work in the highly competitive publishing marketplace.

The ABCs Of Writing For Children
Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff
Quill Driver Books
1831 Industrial Way, #101, Sanger, CA 93657
1884956289 $26.95

Expertly compiled and painstakingly organized by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff , The ABCs Of Writing For Children: 114 Children's Authors And Illustrators Talk About The Art, The Business, The Craft And The Life Of Writing Children's Literature is a comprehensive reference focusing on diverse aspects writing books and stories for children of various ages, including the business aspects of being published in various forums and formats. Providing especially informative interviews and commentaries from such expert and seasoned published authors of children's literature as Ted Arnold, R.L. Stine, David Greenberg, Alexis O'Neill, Richard Peck, and so many others, The ABCs Of Writing For Children offers a complete grasp and all-inclusive analysis of the literary art and practical business of writing for a juvenile readership ranging from preschool to young adult. Included are lists of recommended books and periodicals, a glossary, resources, and an extensive index. A core addition to personal, professional, and scholastic "Writing & Publishing" reference collections and supple-mental reading lists, The ABCs Of Writing For Children is very strongly recommended for all aspiring children's authors whether they are writing poetry, short stories, novels, or other forms of creative literature for young readers.

Book Publishing Encyclopedia
Dan Poynter
Para Publishing
PO Box 8206, Santa Barbara, CA 93118
1568601271 $19.95

Book Publishing Encyclopedia: Tips And Resources For Authors And Publisher by Dan Poynter (the legendary guru of small press publishers) is an in-depth, knowledgeable, experienced based and "real world tested" compendium of useful, practical, and helpful information pertaining to the difficult and somewhat complex process of publishing and authorship. Providing a "user-friendly" guide to saving time and money in the publishing process, the utilization of internet resources, and more then 1001 tips, techniques and strategies on how to write, publish and promote a book, the Book Publishing Encyclopedia deftly informs novice publishers of the most effective approaches to profitable book publishing in an increasingly competitive marketplace. The Book Publishing Encyclopedia is very strongly recommended for all readers and writers searching for the ultimate and concise reference for publishing an authored work. Indeed, no personal, professional, or community library "Writing/Publishing" reference collection can be considered complete without the inclusion of Dan Poynter's Book Publishing Encyclopedia which is available in a variety of formats including soft cover, large print, LIT, PF, MobiPocket, and Palm. See the Dan Poynter website at for specific ordering information.

You can find these and hundreds of other reviews of books on writing and publishing archived on the Midwest Book Review website in sections we call "The Writer's Bookshelf" and "The Publisher's Bookshelf". Almost every one of these books is available, for free, through your local community library's InterLibrary Loan Service.

Incidently, here's what my long-time cyberspace "pen pal" Dan Poynter thought of my review of his latest book:

Subject: Review of BPE
Date: 6/28/2006 12:37:18 P.M. Central Standard Time


Many thanks for the very nice review of The Book Publishing Encyclopedia. You are a true friend to the small press and I appreciate you.

Dan Poynter: Author (100+ books), Publisher (since 1969), Speaker (CSP)
Para Publishing
Information Products on Book Writing/Publishing/Promoting, Parachutes/Skydiving, Expert Witness & Aging Cats.
PO Box 8206, Santa Barbara, CA 93118-8206 USA
Tel: +1-805-968-7277; Fax: +1-805-968-1379; Cell: +1-805-448-9009.
More than 500 pages of helpful information:
Showing people how to write, publish and promote their books--one presentation at a time.,
F-R-E-E Writing-Publishing-Promoting InfoKits:

If you as a small press publisher or a self-published author are not intimately acquainted with Dan Poynter's "how to" books and website -- you should be!!

For the past six or seven years (I lose count) I've had the honor of being one of the Audio Publisher Association's "Audie Awards" judges. I think it all started because of our monthly review column called "The Audiobook Shelf". It's a lot of work -- but well worth while. It's especially nice to know how appreciative the APA is for our annual services in their behalf -- as well as in the behalf of audiobook publishers generally . For example this little "thank you" came in a couple of weeks ago:

Subject: Attention Audies Judges! Post-Audies Recap
Date: 6/14/2006 4:34:01 P.M. Central Standard Time
To: "2006AudiesJudge"

Dear Awesome Audies Judges:

Another Audies Gala has come and gone, and I wanted to let you know how wonderful it was! It was held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on May 19, and we had about a dozen judges on hand, and another dozen or so audio performers (in addition to a few hundred other industry folk!). Narrator Grover Gardner was the host for the evening and he kept the laughs going.

You can check out a list of all the winners on, so I'll highlight just a few here.

Audiobook of the Year - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Tertiary Phase from the BBC was the judges' hands-down favorite, and if you haven't heard this recording yet, reward yourself by doing so! It's loads of fun, and features author Douglas Adams, too.

Judges' Award: Spanish - El Codigo Da Vinci from FonoLibro won this first-ever category, and the award stirred up lots of excitement in the industry.

Fiction, Abridged - Q&A by Vikas Swarup was the winner, from Audio Partners, and a personal favorite of mine to boot. It's another fantastic story and recording to listen to and recommend to others!

We also introduced a new honor that night: The Audiobook Hall of Fame, to be awarded to an outstanding contributor to the industry (be it an audio, author, publisher, etc.). It's not necessarily an annual award, and is given at the sole discretion of the judges (so the publishers don't submit titles for this one!), and so it is a very unique and special honor. The first recipient is the Harry Potter Audiobook Series by Listening Library - a group of works that has opened the eyes of hundreds of thousands of people to the audiobook world. We didn't announce this award before the Audies, so it was a huge surprise for all in attendance, including recipient and publisher Tim Ditlow, who said both J.K. Rowling and Jim Dale would be thrilled with it.

Of course, there are many more fantastic winners, so do look them up and see who won in the categories you judged!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU on behalf of all the publishers, authors, narrators, producers, etc. for all your hard work and so many hours of listening and judging this year. I wish I could convey to you the excitement of the Audies evening, and how thrilled the winners are - your work definitely pays off! I know it was an extremely heavy year for entries and your efforts have not gone unnoticed by me, the Audio Publishers Association board, or the industry. There is no way we could do this without you and your dedication!

...Note: I will be in touch in August to get assignments in order for the 2007 Audies, so rest up! Cheers, and thank you sincerely once again. :)

Traci Cothran
Audies Judge Chair

I wanted to bring the APA and the "Audies" to your attention because I think a lot of novice self-published authors and small press publishers might not be aware of how an audiobook edition of their title could be an excellent source of additional revenue with a minimal amount of capital investment. There are a couple of excellent step-by-step "how to" books for turning a print book into a CD audiobook. You'll find reviews of them in the aforementioned "Publisher's Bookshelf". If your audio book is good enough to win an Audies award, the library and retail markets will be wide open to you.

Now it's time for our monthly roster of new (and a couple of returning) inductees into the "Midwest Book Review Postage Stamp Hall of Fame & Appreciation". Thank you to all these good folk for their donations of postage stamps. They came in so very handy with our mailings of tear sheets and publisher notification letters.

A. J. Kelleher
Marsha Friedman
Maryglenn McComb - Publicist
Griffin Garnett - "Marcus"
Sonya Haramis - "Gracious Gifts...Expressions of the Divine"
Patti Ann Bengen - "New Beginnings"
James Robert Clifford - "Double Daggers"
C. R. Partridge - "The Character Clock"
Cathy Spigarelli - "Life as a Mommy"
Kevin Prochaska - "The Christmas Letter"
Larry Brian Radka - "The Electric Mirror on the Pharos Lighthouse and
Other Ancient Lighting"
Carol Bokas - Ann Arbor Media Group
Mary Krause - Krause Promotions
Jeannette Belliveau - Beau Monde Press
Rick Porrello - Next Hat Press
Aaron Barnhart - Quindaro Press
Victoria Castle - Sagacious Press
Ray W. Smith - Enlightened Ink
Andrew Morkes - College & Career Press
Adastra Press
Cordell & Cordell, P.C.
Suffering Servant Scriptorium

Well that's it for this time around. 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. If you have a book you'd like to review or postage stamps you'd like to donate, then just direct them to my attention. So until next time -- Goodbye, Good Luck & 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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