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Jim Cox Report: July 2013

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

I received the following email request at the Midwest Book Review:

Subject: Thesis and Dissertation Question
Date: 5/15/2013 2:50:16 P.M. Central Daylight Time


My name is Leslie and I recently just updated my blog article that covers Thesis and Disseration resources for writers. It is a collection of resources I researched covering the best tools possible for a masters student to write their thesis and be successful at it. It will no doubt be an asset and hopefully you will not mind taking a quick look here:

If you find it to be a useful writing tool and appropriate, would you mind posting a link on your site page?

Any efforts to give my research some exposure would terrific and I think that many people will find it educational and informative. Taking a look at your site, I thought it could be useful for some of your visitors and I figured it would make good sense to reach out to you and hopefully get a post on your site. Thank you so much for taking a look and I look forward to hearing back.


Leslie Hanson

Leslie's helpful website, "Top 100 Thesis & Dissertation References on the Web", has been added to our "Writer Resources" section at

Being essentially a "non-computer" type person who grew up with typewriters, filing cabinets, stationary phones, rolodexes (does anyone under the age of 30 even remember that word?), school and community libraries filled with print editions of multi-volume reference books and encyclopedias, as well as the personal journal written down by hand and intended to be read only by the diarist, this new world of computers, web sites, digital books, smart phones, online resources, Wikipedia, and blogs (a word created from the phenomena of web logs) will never be second nature to me like it is to my grandchildren. But such is the way of the world. Technology forever marching on and leaving older generations in its wake.

Fortunately for the Midwest Book Review my daughter and managing editor is very much of this new computer comfortable generation. So when she said we should create a new section to the Midwest Book Review for authors, publishers, bibliophiles, and the general reading public who have book related blogs -- I agreed whole heartedly.

So now we do and you'll find it at:

I want to extend an open invitation to anyone with a writing/publishing/book oriented blog to send me a link and I'll add it to what seems to be a rapidly growing new feature of our Midwest Book Review web site.

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

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Kicking in the Wall
Barbara Abercrombie
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608681563, $15.95,

Kicking in the Wall: A Year of Writing Exercises, Prompts, and Quotes to Help You Break Through Your Blocks and Reach Your Writing Goals offers creative advice from a creative writing teacher and provides exercises to help writers overcome blocks. It's a daily workout for any who would kick start their creativity, offering exercises on everything from dreaming to childhood and changing. Each entry opens with a quote from a writer, then one to three exercises based on the quote. Dozens of exercises completed by the author's own students make for a fine compendium of inspiration perfect for any aspiring writer.

Editor-Proof Your Writing
Don McNair
Quill Driver Books
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721
9781610351782, $16.95,

Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps t the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave provides a foolproof method for identifying common misused, overused words and errors that lead publishers and agents to reject manuscripts at the first page, and comes from a veteran editor who shows how to change dull or error-laden copy to sparkling, fresh text. Over 40 years as a professional editor and writing instructor lend expertise to these suggestions, which eliminates the common approach of making the same mistakes over and over again. Most of the corrections involve removing a few specific words. Any who would edit weak verb forms, redundancies, and more will find this a solid, professional approach to editing one's own work for maximum impact.

Scribblin' for a Livin'
Thomas J. Reigstad
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616145927, $19.00,

Scribblin' for a Livin': Mark Twain's Pivotal Period in Buffalo provides an engaging portrait of Twain at a point in his life when he lived in Buffalo, worked as an editor, and became committed to full-time newspaper work. It considers his work environment and influences at the Buffalo Morning Express, offering anecdotes about his colleagues and fun work habits and providing original Twain stories and illustrations not previously reprinted. The result is a fine insight into how Twain the writer evolved, filled with rare photos and a pick for Twain students and scholars of American literature and writing as a whole.

The Science Writers' Handbook
The Writers of SciLance
Da Capo Press
c/o Perseus Books Group
11 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142
9780738216560, $17.50,

The Science Writers' Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Pitch, Publish, and Prosper in the Digital Age is edited by Thomas Hayden and Michelle Nijhuis and analyzes the challenges facing science writers who pursue careers, and how to achieve success. From key skills needed for quality science writing to maintaining a work-life balance in a home office setting and supporting oneself on fluctuating freelance monies, this is packed with powerful strategies key to success, and is a pick for any writing and publishing collection as well as many a science holding.

Vivid and Continuous
John McNally
University of Iowa Press
119 West Park Road
Iowa City, IA 52242-1000
9781609381561, $19.95,

VIVID & CONTINUOUS: ESSAYS AND EXERCISES FOR WRITING FICTION provides college-level readers with a helpful key to becoming a writer, offering a supplement to beginning courses in writing that focuses on lessons and exercises supporting a writer's efforts. Novels and short stories are used as examples to support lessons that help would-be writers think more deeply about their work. From building characters to using humor, this is packed with clear pathways to success.

Red Hot Internet Publicity
Penny C. Sansevieri
Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
PO Box 421156, San Diego, CA 92142
9781480224957, $15.95,

In "Red Hot Internet Publicity: An Insider's Guide to Marketing Online", Penny C. Sansevieri draws upon her many years of marketing, publicity, and promotion experience and expertise to write a superbly organized and presented, 280 page, thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional guide to utilize every aspect of the internet to promote, publicize, and market products and/or services. From utilizing search engines, to exploiting social media sites, to crafting an effective web site, to employing blogs, to creating on-line videos, to taking advantage of newsletters, and so much more, "Red Hot Internet Publicity: An Insider's Guide to Marketing Online" is a complete course of practical, 'hands-on', real-world advice, examples, instructions, tips, tricks and techniques that will enable even the most novice of marketers to create effective customer base outreach with a complete roster of internet tools. -- This is especially true if your product is a book and you are a self-published author shouldering the totality of an online marketing campaign.

The High School Student's Guide to Writing a Great Research Paper
Erika Eby
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781601386045 $24.95

The High School Student's Guide to Writing a Great Research Paper: 101 Easy Tips & Tricks to Make Your Work Stand Out provides a fine survey that stems from interviews with dozens of teachers who tell exactly what they want in student papers. High school students also share their successful paths to overcoming writing issues. All aspects of the research paper, from initial subject to research and writing approaches, are revealed in a powerful pick for any student who would produce an outstanding paper.

Plus, here are three thematically appropriate reviews from Marjorie Thelen who is one of our veteran book reviewers with a keen interest in writing and publishing:

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book
Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch
Nononina Press
3300 Hillview Avenue, Suite 150, Palo Alto, CA 94304
9780988523111, $16.49 pb., $9.99 Kindle,

APE is a tremendous help for anyone considering self-publishing. Since I publish my own books, I found the tips, comparisons, and recommendations extremely useful. Kawaski writes with humor and is straightforward in laying out the steps necessary to self-publish a book, including but not limited to design, layout, editing, financing, covers, distribution as well as marketing. (Welch is the geek of the team and was involved more in the layout of the book.) The book has around 400 links which on a Kindle is really great because the reader merely touches the link, and it takes you to the web site being cited. That alone makes it worth buying the Kindle version. Kawasaski includes many charts and photos to demonstrate his points, one of which is to use bulleted lists to make the book easier to read. His advice would be most helpful to those interested in publishing a non-fiction book. I publish fiction books, and this book gave me a much clearer picture of what I want to do to publish my next book and gave me great ideas on how to market my books. Kawasaki is pro Google, which was fine with me as I want to learn more about Google and their product offerings like Google Plus and Google Player. I love cruising around the Kindle version and re-reading the sections I found most helpful. The best chapter for me was Chapter 21, How to Navigate Amazon. He succinctly lays out the myriad of programs that Amazon offers, which gave me new ideas of how to take advantage of their offerings, like serialization of a book and publishing through Kindle Singles. This is a must have book to read and keep on your self-publishing reference shelf.

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Fourth Edition
Mark Levine
Bascom Hill Publishing Group
2123 Ave North, Suite 290, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781935098737, $11.96, Kindle Edition: $7.69,

The subtitle of this book reads Everything you need to know about the costs, contracts and process of self-publishing, and Mark Levine does an excellent, comprehensive job of covering these topics. This is a detailed how-to book. In chapters one through six he lays out the basics of print self-publishing, stuff you need to read over and over, the nine qualities of a good self-publishing company (this chapter alone is worth the price of the book), and the fine print of publishing contracts. Since he’s been a lawyer he has a detailed analysis of what you need to look at in any contract you sign. He is also a business man and astute marketer of his own self-publishing company ( In chapters seven to twelve he rates twenty-three self-publishing companies, seven of which he rates outstanding and two he rates pretty good. He goes into detail on each company evaluated as to what to expect, what their packages and pricing are, and the pluses and minuses of each. He emphasizes many times the need to have your book well-edited by a professional because a poorly edited book is not worth the time and money it will take to self-publish it. He advises to be sure to know who your audience is and to have a well-designed cover because this goes a long way to selling the book. Among other well-taken advice, he says to make sure the markup on printing the book is reasonable, make sure you are getting fair royalties, and be sure you can get your original production files back in the event you decide not to use an author services company. The book focuses on print self-publishing which Levine says from a reputable self-publishing company might cost from $1,000 to $5,000. The book is well-written, Levine is very honest about what he knows and doesn’t know, and he writes with straight talk humor. I bought the Kindle edition, and it was easy to navigate to chapters, to foot notes and to links on the web. There’s an added benefit when you reach the conclusion. Read this book and keep it on your self-publishing resource shelf.

Publish a Book! Compare over 50 Self-publishing Companies
J. Steve Miller
Wisdom Creek Press, LLC
5814 Sailboat Point NW, Acworth, Georgia 30101
9780981875668, $6.29 pb., Kindle edition: $.99,

This is a slim volume, just 120 pages in paperback, but it is packed with information. Miller compares the options for self-publishing by using Createspace and Lightning Source as a basis for comparison of other self-publishers. He covers similarities, differences, publishing costs, royalties, cost of author copies, and distribution. He covers e-book publishing options and clarifying fuzzy language. He emphasizes the need to understand the implication of various terms in a contract and covers other important aspects of self-publishing like pricing. He includes at the end a check list of essential questions for a Publishers/Printer, a small section on marketing, and a resource list of helpful links for further study. Of the three books I read to prepare for a workshop I taught on publishing a book and which I review here for Midwest Book Review, what struck me was the difference in opinion of the three authors about what works and doesn’t work in self-publishing. So I guess I have to recommend reading all three and then come to your own conclusion about what you want to do to self-publish a book.

Marjorie Thelen, Reviewer

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:

Marc Wong
Peter Shasta
Reginald Down
David Richards
Bruce D. Wetterau
Beverly Flaxington
Terry Baker Mulligan
Randall (Randy) Reneau
Eric Bronson -- "King of Rags"
Ralph Baker -- "Shock Exchange"
Sally O. Lee -- "Circle and Square"
Mark Nathan -- "A World Too Far"
Bo Rinaldi -- "The Secret of Paradise"
Matthew J. Pallamary -- "Land Without Evil"
Nathaniel Szymkowicz -- "The Sins of Peace"
David A. Beardsley -- "The Ideal in the West"
Mimi Schroeder - "Knox Robinson Publishing"
Palette Alden -- "The Answer to Your Question"
DM Consult, LLC
Hap-Pal Music Inc.
Debbie McFarland -- Synergetic Press
Reginald Down -- Lightly Press
Terri-Lynne B. Smiles -- PlotForge, Ltd.
Brian C. Strauss -- Cliff Edge Publishing
Brooks Olbrys -- Children's Success Unlimited, LLC
Alison Thomsen -- Concierge Marketing
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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