Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / Jim Cox Reports / Jim Cox Report: June 2003
Home | Jim Cox Reports Index

Jim Cox Report: June 2003

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

I'm thinking about starting a new regular segment for these monthly Jim Cox Reports. Something like "The Postage Stamp Brigade" or "The Midwest Book Review Appreciation and Postage Society". Ever since we started allowing folks to express their appreciation for what we do here in behalf of the small press community by sending us postage stamps, every week has seen one or two grateful authors and/or publishers sending in sheets and booklets of stamps in support of "The Cause"! Here are the latest additions to this roster of Midwest Book Review postage stamp supporters:

Paulette Cooper -- "277 Secrets Your Dog Wants You To Know"
Narain Gehani -- Silicon Press
D. Newman -- Blueberry Press
Wade Keller -- Marco Island, Florida
Mulberry Hill Press -- Englewood, Colorado
Bill Ginnodo -- Pride Publications, Inc.
Lee Jackson -- Snaptail Press
Linda Davis Kyle -- Blueberry Press
Sandi Nelsen -- Loveland Press, LLC
Lee Xavier -- Anvil Publishers

If you'd like to express your support for what we try to do here in behalf of the small press community, feel free to send postage stamps to my attention.

I received some saddening news. Meredith Campbell, one of our family of volunteer reviewers, past away on May 28th. She was a wonderful reviewer who combined equal amounts of literary perceptiveness with genuine compassion when analyzing and commenting upon the books that caught her attention. She will be missed.

Now for a kind of cautionary tale for self-published authors and small press publishers:

These are the publishers whose book submissions made it all the way through our review screening process; were successful in achieving a review assignment; then of getting reviewed; and then of having that review published in our book review magazine(s) --- but whose mailing address information was obsolete and therefore resulted in our publisher notification letters (including a tear sheet copy of the review for their records) was returned by the post office as undeliverable:

Authors of Unity Publishing
Stealth Press
Bristol Publishing

Every month there is one or two or three such cases. Almost always they are self-published or very small presses. The moral of this story is that you must always insure that your current address is a part of your cover letter and/or publicity release accompanying your book submissions -- especially if the address printed inside your book has become obsolete.

Now for some Q&A from the small press community:

Sandra Humphrey writes:

> I just finished reviewing your website which contains a great deal of
> valuable information and I have a question. When I do book signings for my
> books, it's always suggested that we sign the books that we don't sell, as
> then they can't be returned. So if I sign the review copies that I send out
> to reviewers, those can't be returned either can they?

Outfits like Ingram will try. But by autographing review copies you are clearly denoting to a publisher who might receive them from a bookstore or a distributor as returns that they are not returns but publicity/promotional copies instead. The publisher can then deny the requested returns credit.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Date: 03-01-09 11:02:41 EST

Hi Jim, as you probably know, Rod is thrilled with his review. As a publicist, I have to once again send my thanks and appreciation for the work you do for small press folks. Your attention to detail, and to follow-up in sending tear sheets is admirable...and I wish others would only do a part of what you so diligently provide. You are great to work with! Dorothy

Dorothy Molstad, Publicist
Voyageur Press

Running a book review has a great deal in common with running a publishing house -- pay attention to details and you will prosper. Neglect to pay attention to details and you will founder. I long ago discovered the best way to win the hearts and minds (and loyalties) of Publicists and Marketing Directors was to simply let them know what happened to the book(s) they sent to me for review. When those submissions make the final cut and are featured in our publications, then it is not only common courtesy to send them a tear sheet (copy of the review) but to include it with a letter notifying them of all the other places we positioned that review for the benefit of the reading public (not to mention to the benefit of authors and publishers!).

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Date: 03-01-12 00:27:22 EST

Thank you so much for your wonderful review of 101 Ways Black Women Can Learn to Love Themselves. I am both honored and pleased about the warm review. I am currently in negotiations for a two-book deal with a major publishing house. Thanks so much for your time and wisdom. :)

Peace and Light,

Jamie Walker, Author
101 Ways Black Women Can Learn to Love Themselves


If this is Jim Cox, are you still a member of SPAN?

This is indeed Jim Cox and although I'm not an official member of SPAN or PMA, I strongly support both organizations as being exceedingly useful for novice authors and beginner publishers. I've written articles for SPAN and I've had the privilege of being a PMA University speaker many times in the past.

By the way, another reason for collecting reviews is that a good portfolio of reviews can bolster your negotiations both as an author seeking book deal contracts with publishers, and as a publisher seeking to contract with good writers.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Date: 03-01-20 15:42:42 EST

My name is Brian Taylor, and I first discovered your commentary in the "Southwest Signature" where you commented on POD pricing, and with your web address available, I then discovered your reviews and thoughtful website. I extend my thanks to you. Your articulations reveal a candid and experienced understanding of children's books, a field in which I have particular interest and love.

I have written three full-length animated screenplays, and have now procured a number of experienced individuals and other entities to potentially produce the film. It's a long, tedious process but worthwhile. Meanwhile, I am learning to self-publish children's picture books, a ninety degree learning curve.

Thank you for upholding such high standards. I hope to someday reach them.

My best,


Thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, my little commentaries and articles on publishing pop up in places I'd never heard of! I'm always delighted when they do because it expands my "audience" -- sometimes beyond my wildest expectations! You can see all of my commentaries in the "Advice For Publishers" section of the Midwest Book Review website at That's also were you will find a complete archive of all the back issues of "The Jim Cox Report" which often contains a lot of my observations, recommendations, advice, and suggestions that aren't part of any of the more formalized articles I've written.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Date: 03-01-14 16:31:31 EST

RE: Your Review of Creatures From Calumet City, by Danny D'Agostino.

Dear James:

We just received the MWBR review of The Hanjab Brothers audiobook by Danny D'Agostino. It is a fine review. We thank you for the review and your quick response. The author was very happy when he read the review. We'll will publish it on the Amazon site for the book, and on the web site Thanks again, Mike Stram, Hillary Press

Mike has done something that I would advice every author and every publisher routinely make a part of their work -- post favorable reviews on all of the thematically available internet resources starting with the major online bookstores that allow such postings, and continuing on to specialized websites and thematically appropriate internet discussion groups. Incidently, all authors and publishers have automatic permission to utilize any book review arising from the efforts of the Midwest Book Review in any manner they deem appropriate in marketing and promoting that book. Just be sure to give the usual credit citation when doing so.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Date: 03-01-20 13:54:27 EST

Thank you, Mr. Cox, for the very nice review. We got on line to to put it on our book description page, and there it was already. Good work. We will use the review widely.


Norman Russell
Joelle Publishing

And sometimes I'll beat you to it! Especially with where the Midwest Book Review is a "content provider" and has been almost since the conception of the world's largest and most influential online book seller.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Reviewer

Date: 02-09-10 11:33:33 EDT

Dear Mr. Cox,

I just found the review you wrote on amazon. I wish to thank you for writing this review and I am very pleased how well you dealt with this complex and difficult subject. Nobody could have done better. Thanks again,

Rich Anders

The book in question was "God's Ultimate Task". Every now and again I get these little email messages from what I refer to as "the general reading public". In all the years I've been a reviewer, I've encountered only a handful of folks that disagreed with my reviews. Almost all of them echo the sentiments of Rich Anders.

I've got a theory about this. I personally approach book reviewing as an "ordinary guy" who is looking to recommend something to other ordinary folk who happen to have an interest in the particular subject or genre that the book in question represents. The spectrum of my personal tastes seems to rather accurately mirror the "man on the street" as opposed to the inhabitants of ivory towers.

It's also one of the reasons why the pages of the Midwest Book Review are open to all reviewers to express any manner of opinion -- as long as they are articulate and rational when doing so. Our volunteer reviewers range from housewives to college professors, from students to cab drivers, and from bibliophiles to bookaholics. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Carmen Grayson writes:

> What we need is a freelance book publicity specialist, who is interested in
> fiction (non-fiction must be relatively straightforward, since there is
> usually a well-defined market).
> - Does such a person exist and how do we locate him or her?
> - What services can one reasonably expect?
> - What approximate costs can one expect?
> Have you in the past written anything on these issues?

I have. You'll find some of my thoughts in the "Advice For Publishers" section of the Midwest Book Review website at

In the "Publisher Resources" webpage of our website you will also find a section called "Book Publicity & Promotion". There you will find specific information on a lot of independent book publicists that I am familiar with and are quite professional and competent. As to rates -- ask them. Rates change from time to time, from person to person, and from project to project -- but it's never cheap.

Here are the publicity outfits that routinely send books to the attention of the Midwest Book Review


411 Information Development
- Leslie T. McClure PO Box 1223 Pebble Beach, CA 939
Aman & Associates
- PO Box 5641 Santa Rosa, CA 95472
Andrea Blain Public Relations
- Andrea Blain 9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
Avalon Marketing & Communications
- James Brandenburg 18901 Bennet Road Bennet, NE 68317
Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
- 5505 SW Illinois Street Portland, OR 97221
Book One Publishing
- PO Box 80781 Rochester, MI 48308-0781
BookMasters, Inc.
- Matthew Wurster PO Box 2139 Mansfield, OH 44905
Carol Fass Publicity & Public Relations
Linda De Vito 26 West 17th Street New York, NY 10011
Cate Cummings Publicity & Promotion Group
- Cate Cummings PO Box 920232 Kansas City, MO 64192
Claire Kirch Publicity Services
- 8 North Second Avenue East, Suite 306 Duluth, MN 55802
Crane Creek Communications
- Stephen A. Crane PO Box 3347 Allentown, PA 18106-0347
Creative Resources Consulting & Media Services
- PO Box 1665 Sandpoint, ID 83864
Don S. Otis Creative Service Company
- 4360 Emerald Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Daffodil Productions
- Elizabeth Caulder PO Box 4 Malibu, CA 90265
Davidson & Choy Publicity
- B. Harlan Boll 4311 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 202 Los Angeles, CA 90010
DeChant-Hughes Associates
- 1440 North Kingsbury Chicago, IL 60622
Diane Glynn Publicity & Public Relations
- Diane Glynn 508 Westport Avenue Norwalk, CT 06851-4424
Goldberg McDuffie Communications, Inc.
- Mark Fortier 444 Madison Avenue, Suite 3300 New York, NY 10022
Gulotta Communications Inc.
- Victor Gulotta 341 Lexington Street Newton, MA 02466
Hastings & Pleadwell
- 31 North King Street Honolulu, HI 96817
Jane Wesman Public Relations, Inc.
- Jane Wesman 928 Broadway, New York, NY 10010
Jenkins Group
- 121 East Front St., 4th fl. Traverse City, MI 49684
Jenks Group Inc.
- Kim Hornyak 400 West Front Street, Suite 4A Traverse City, MI 49684
Karen Villanueva Author Services
- PO Box 25061 Albuquerque, NM 87125-0061
Kitchen Sink Literary Agency
- Bill Griggs PO Box 10275 Blacksburg, VA 24062
Mary Reed Public Relations
- 1101 Charlotte Austin, TX 78703
Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity
- 2817 West End Avenue, Suite 126-274 Nashville, TN 37203
McCall Public Relations
- Joanne McCall 3729 SW Plum Street Portland, OR 92719
Media Masters Publicity
- Tracey Daniels 1957 Trafalger Drive Romeoville, IL 60446
Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.
- 155 Post Road East, Suite 8 Westport, CT 06880
Nancy Berland Public Relations, Inc.
- 1437 Northwest 40th Street Oklahoma City, OK 73118
One On One Book Marketing
- Alan Gadney 7944 Capistrano Avenue West Hills, CA 91304
Peggy Sweeney Publicity
- 203 Kitchawan Road South Salem, NY 10590
Pete Taylor
- Public Relations Pete Taylor 6002 Bayview Drive, NE Tacoma, WA 98422-1227
Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists
- Marika Flatt 2525 West Anderson Lane, Suite 540 Austin, TX 78757
Phoenix Media
- Donna Gould 29 Miriam Drive Matawan, NJ 07747
Pigtail Public Relations
- Kim Bouchard 32 Hazleton Street Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660
PR/PR Public Relations
- Pam Lontos PO Box 617553 Orlando, FL 32861
Raab Associates
- Susan Raab 19 Price's Lane Rose Valley PA 19065
Rock Paper Scissors
- 5340 Old State Road 37 South, Suite B Bloomington, IN 47401
Shmarkus Productions
- PO Box 64812 Los Angeles, CA 90064
S. J. Communications
- PO Box 834 Randolph, MA 02368-0834
The Spizman Agency
- Paige Janco 5280 Cross Roads Manor Atlanta, GA 30327
Target Success
- 3306 Westmoreland Drive Tampa, FL 33618
Upper Access
- Kristen Lewis PO Box 457 Hinesburg, VT 05461
Warwick Associates Publicity & Publishing Consultation
- 18340 Sonoma Highway Sonoma, CA 95476

All of these folks have websites. Just type their businesses or names into the Google search engine and you'll find them.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Barb writes:

> My question is, why would anyone care if the review copies were resold,

Quite often self-published authors and small press publishers have invested so much of the capital in their books and are working on such shoe-string budgets with such a tough time selling their books that they get very upset with the notion that a copy given to someone for free would be sold in competition with the other copies of the book that they have stacked up in their garages, basements, or warehouses.

Still another problem is that these folk have often placed their titles with distributors who return books given them by bookstores that were, in fact, purchased from reviewers but are now battered and otherwise unsaleable. The only way to stop from being taken unfair advantage of by distributors is to only sell to them on a pre-paid, non-returnable basis.

The tragedy for the paranoid or short-sighted producers small press title is that when they make their review copies stamped or otherwise disfigured, they lose out against other books sent from other publishers (large or small) who provide pristine copies of their books.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Bill Amatneek writes:

> I'm putting out just-acquired Vineyards Press business phone number in our
> about-to-be published first book.
> I've got it on the order page, but does it deserve to be listed elsewhere,
> say on the Copyright page?

I strongly suggest that you also add it to the copyright page -- along with your email address and website URL (if any), street address, and any other contact information you might have.

The reason is that you want to make it as simply and as self-evident as possible to anyone being shown your book as to how they could contact you and order a copy (or multiple copies!) for, as an example, meetings of community librarians, friends who happen to spot the title on their neighbor's coffee table, etc..

Not to mention making it easier on book reviewers!

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Susan Sabo writes:

> I'm preparing our first book for publication in early '04, and am starting
> to prepare a database of reviewers. Can anyone give me some good resources
> for this list?

The Midwest Book Review website has a section called "Other Reviewers" on our Book Lover Resources webpage. This is a roster of free lance reviewers, book review publications, and book review organizations that you might find quite helpful. The MBR website address is:

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Peggye Swenson writes:

> Sir, In the information you sent yesterday, you didn't include reading fee.
> Will you bill me or should this be sent upfront? Peggye Swenson

All services provided by the Midwest Book Review are free. We do not accept financial support or fees from authors or publishers in order to avoid conflict of interest issues.

We require a published copy of the book (no galleys or uncorrected proofs), accompanied by a cover letter and some form of publicity release.

If/when a book submitted for review consideration makes the final cut and is featured, a tear sheet (copy of the review) and a publisher notification letter are automatically send out.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review


Subj: a fan letter
Date: 03-03-07 12:24:33 EST
From: (Doris)

Dear Mr. Cox,

I am truly amazed at your ability to capsulize a book in a few sentences. Your recent review of Gene Del Vecchio's book, "A Knight's Code of Business," was s real shot in the arm for us. We have been trying to figure out how to reposition the book since a focus on "evil doers" has not been successful. Your review did a great job in helping us take a fresh look. Besides, it will no doubt help us sell books. Thanks again for paying attention to small specialized presses. We need all the help we can get!

Doris Walsh
Paramount Market Publishing, Inc.

And on that rather flatteringly note I will conclude this issue of the Jim Cox Report. Incidently, you can subscribe to the Jim Cox Report -- just send me an email requesting me to add you to the free subscription list. You can also sign up (for free) to our any of our online book review magazines: Children's Bookwatch; Internet Bookwatch; Reviewer's Bookwatch; MBR Bookwatch; Small Press Bookwatch.

Until next time!

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

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design