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Jim Cox Report: May 2014

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

The Midwest Book Review got started back in the fall of 1976 and was called The Madison Review of Books. All of the volunteer reviewers (myself among them) were local Madison, Wisconsin folk. Somewhere around 1980 the MBR expanded beyond Wisconsin and I gave it a name change to reflect that. One of the changes becoming a national book review created was that our roster of volunteers also (thanks to the advent of the internet) expanded and become nationwide. One of those first non-Wisconsin reviewers as Diane Donovan.

An unpaid volunteer for the MBR (which she still remains today), Diane was talented and only a few years later was 'promoted' to be the west coast editor and representative of the Midwest Book Review. She became the editor of three of our nine monthly book review publications: The Bookwatch; California Bookwatch; and Children's Bookwatch. Positions that she continues to have to this day.

All the years we had been working together, her as a book reviewer and an editor, me as the editor-in-chief, she had been a voice on the phone and a cyberspace internet pen pal. We had never met in person -- until I went to Santa Barbara, California in (I think it was August) of 2012 to receive the Ebook Publishers Association "Lifetime Achievement in Publishing" award.

I was giving a workshop on "How to Get Your Ebook Reviewed" when there she was, sitting in the front row. After something like 28 years or so, she and I met in person for the very first and only time.

A true Midwest Book Review veteran who resides in Petaluma, California, the one thing this very accomplished and skilled book reviewer and exceptionally effective book review editor never had was her own web site. That is, until now!

If you want to see an exceptionally well designed and information enriched (and yes, I consulted on it just a wee bit) book oriented web site, then I invite you to visit "Donovan's Literary Services" at

Aspiring authors, novice publishers, and neophyte book reviewers will find a great deal that will interest them -- as will the general reading public -- including sections devoted to:

Recommended Readings
Pick Per Month
Author, Author!
Title, Title!
Author Comments & Accolades
How to Get Reviewed
Recommended Resources
Other Services
About (a succinct autobiographical introduction)

Well done Diane!!

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

Book Publishing 101
Martha Maeda
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781601385642, $24.95,

"Book Publishing 101: Inside Information to Getting Your First Book or Novel Published" is a complete course of instruction on how to turn a manuscript into a book -- and then bring book to the attention of the author' intended readership. This comprehensive, deftly organized, exceptionally well written instruction manual begins with an overview of the business of publishing. The follows a chapter covering the options of traditional publishing, self-publishing, and the subsidy, co-op, and vanity presses. Practical information is provided on how to craft a financially successful book; publishing fiction and non-fiction; writing proposal and query letters; working with a literary agent; understanding publisher contracts; a comprehensive explanation of self-publishing; and book designing. Of immense importance is are the two chapters devoted to marketing resources and strategies. Enhanced with an impressive number of sample documents, a glossary, genre definitions, bibliography, and index, "Book Publishing 101: Inside Information to Getting Your First Book or Novel Published" should be considered mandatory reading for every aspiring author seeking to publish their work in today's highly competitive and volatile publishing world.

Shelly Frome
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9780786477470, $25.00,

A playwright, also known as a dramatist, is a person who writes dramatic literature or drama. These works may be written specifically to be performed by actors, or they may be closet dramas - simple literary works - written using dramatic forms, but not meant for performance. Every play, whether for the stage, the movies, or for television, begins with the written word. The playwright's work is the foundation upon which actors, directors, producers, and everyone else must base their productions. "Playwriting: A Complete Guide to Creating Theater" by Shelly Frome (Professor of Dramatic Arts Emeritus, University of Connecticut) is a 191 page compendium that succinctly covers every facet of writing plays. Professor Frome's commentary is enhanced with the inclusion of quotations from noted playwrights, excerpts from classic plays, and her own personal anecdotes as a former professional actor, as a teacher of acting, and as a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Informed and informative, thoroughly 'reader friendly' from first page to last, and offering a wealth of practical advice and insight, "Playwriting: A Complete Guide to Creating Theater" is strongly recommended for community and academic library Theatre Arts reference collections, and a 'must read' for anyone aspiring to become a successful playwright in their own right.

Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace
Sarah Bolme
Crest Publications
PO Box 481022, Charlotte, NC 28269
9780972554695, $25.99,

Now in a fully updated and significantly expanded third edition, "Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace" by Sarah Bolme will prove to be an indispensable instructional resource for authors and publishers of Christian literature whether fiction or non-fiction. Comprehensive, exceptionally well organized and presented, practical, informed and informative, "Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace" is an essential read and reference, especially and strongly recommended for those new to writing and publishing for a Christian readership. In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that the Midwest Book Review is recommended as a resource for obtaining reviews (page 46).

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:

Virginia G. Sampson
Donna Halper
Michael Wierimaa -- "Massacre"
Marsha Cornelius -- "Losing It All"
Lisa Paulson -- "Of Stones and Spirits"
Bill Friedman -- "All Against The Law"
Kathleen B. Johnson -- "What A Babe!"
Georgia Canoli -- "Northern Adventure"
Walter Williams -- "The Bicycle Garden"
Thomas B. Dowd III -- "Displacement Day"
Ioanna Soteropoulos -- "Metaphysics of Infinity"
Kane Schnetzier -- "Ambrose and the Dawn Patrol"
William C. Prentiss -- "One Man in His Time: A Memoir"
David H. Maring -- "Jefferson Davis Before He Wore Confederate Gray"
T. S. Poetry Press
Salina Bookshelf Inc.
Pat Correnti -- Muskrat Press
Ellen Nibali -- Fairland Books
Jessica & Mira -- Fun Contour
David Smitherman -- Palari Publishing
Katherine Holmes -- Couchgrass Books
Amanda Mulholland -- Royal Fireworks Press
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Alison Thomsen -- Concierge Marketing Inc.
Skye Wentworth -- Skye Wentworth Public Relations
Barbara Wall -- The Barret Company Communications

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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