Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / Jim Cox Reports / Jim Cox Report: May 2016
Home | Jim Cox Reports Index

Jim Cox Report: May 2016

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

For any author who is using Amazon to sell digital copies of their books they should read what my daughter Bethany has to say in her April 2016 monthly column for the publishing industry (Beth Cox Report) about recent changes in Amazon policy that are truly ripping off the folks who are using Amazon's Kindle Unlimited ebook platform. You'll find her comments at:

Selling to libraries should always be considered as an option. The Midwest Book Review got it's start way back in 1976 in providing reviews for library systems for Wisconsin public and academic libraries (along with a local weekly radio show). For about seven years I served as an acquisitions consultant for our south central region Wisconsin library systems. So libraries have always been of very special interest to me as a book reviewer. What follows is an inquiry by an author about selling to libraries -- and my response:

In a message dated 4/20/2016 9:47:51 P.M. Central Daylight Time, Kevin Christofora writes:

Hello again Mr. Cox,

I just had a conversation with my distributor STL. I was in search of targeting Libraries. Getting their attention and trying to get my books into more destinations. Currently the summer reading program is themed sports, and I got it! I am primed for them. STL said that you may have more ways to reach them, other services? I thought I would start with you and see how we could initiate something. Let me know. Thanks.

Kevin Christofora

Dear Kevin:

Here are the library resources we have archived on the Midwest Book Review web site:

Here are instructional articles on selling and to and/or dealing with libraries:

Marketing to Libraries:

Public Library Talks:

Library Approval Plans:

Google Library Project Title Exclusions:

This last one has more to do with Google than libraries per se, but still is information that authors and publishers should be aware of.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Now on to reviews of new books for authors and publishers:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Before You Write Your Novel
James McCreet
711 - 3rd Avenue, Floor 8, New York, NY 10017-9209
9781138186729, $120.00, HC, 214pp,

"Before You Write Your Novel: Essential Skills for the First-time Novelist" by James McCreet (who has worked as a teacher, a bookseller, an editor, a copywriter, a journalist, and who currently teaches the MA Novel course at Sheffield Hallam University, UK) sets out the essential techniques and basic approaches that lay the perfect foundation for writing your first novel. This concise and readable guide addresses the major stumbling blocks of fiction writing: the importance of planning and structure. "Before You Write Your Novel" covers the essential components of novel writing including narrative, story, plot, pace, chronology, character arc and engagement techniques, as well as research, story building, plotting and editing. Using an open and honest approach, feeding from his own experience as a published novelist and creative writing teacher, McCreet offers a practical guide to the structural mechanisms of the novel, helping you plan a first draft through to a finished novel. While very highly recommended for community and academic library Creative Writing instructional reference collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of aspiring novelists that "Before You Write Your Novel" is also available in a paperback edition (9781138186736, $25.95) and in a Kindle format ($20.18).

The Tao of Book Publicity
Paula Margulies
One People Press
c/o Paula Margulies Communications
8145 Borzoi Way, San Diego, CA 92129
9780991354535, $7.99, PB, 156pp,

Herself a successfully published author, Paula Margulies is also the owner of Paula Margulies Communications, a public relations firm for authors and artists. In "The Tao of Book Publicity: A Beginner's Guide to Book Promotion", Paula draws upon her years of experience and expertise to provide the novice author with a complete course of basic instruction into the nuts and bolts of promoting, publicizing, and marketing books successfully. As informed and informative as it is exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Tao of Book Publicity" provides expert commentary and advice on book covers, creating a press release, the author biography, the author photo, book events, scheduling media interviews, social media and blog touring, pricing, web site content, publicity costs, hiring a publicist, and the importance of gratitude. Of special note are the final two chapters: The Ten Best Books on Writing & Publishing Resources. Thoroughly 'user friendly' in content and presentation, every novice author seeking to establish a successful carrier by selling their books needs to have their own personal copy of "The Tao of Book Publicity". It should be noted that Paula Margulies has made her invaluable and comprehensive instructional guide on book publicity available in an inexpensive Kindle edition ($0.99) as well.

The Coffee Break Screenwriter, second edition
Pilar Alessandraw
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615932429, $26.95, PB, 270pp,

In the pages of this newly revised and expanded second edition of "The Coffee Break Screenwriter: Writing Your Script Ten Minutes at a Time" by Pilar Alessandra (who is the director of the writing program On the Page, and host of the popular On the Page Podcast), the aspiring screenwriter will receive invaluable guidance and practical tips at every stage of the often intimidating writing process with a relaxed, "ten minutes at a time" method that focuses the writer and pushes him or her forward. At each step, writers are encouraged to "Take Ten" and tackle an element of their script using the templates and tools provided. "What You've Accomplished" sections help writers review their progress. And "Ten-Minute Lectures" distill and demystify old school theory, allowing the writer to unblock and get writing. Thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, content, organization and presentation, "The Coffee Break Screenwriter" will prove to be an enduringly valued and useful addition to personal, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections.

Scenes and Sequels
Mike Klaassen
9781682229071, $14.99, PB, 200pp,

Most books about the craft of writing fiction don't even define a scene, much less describe how to write one. Even fewer address sequels. Scenes are the exciting, turbocharged parts of fiction, driving the story forward. Sequels provide a breather, where the focal character can celebrate or lick his wounds and plan his next move. Together, scenes and sequels help create page-turning fiction. The concept of scenes and sequels were championed by Dwight V. Swain (1915-1992) and Jack M. Bickham (1930-1997). In "Scenes and Sequels: How to Write Page-Turning Fiction" published author Mike Klaassen deftly builds on the work of Swain and Bickham to create the most comprehensive and concise explanation of scenes and sequels anywhere. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Scenes and Sequels" is enhanced for the aspiring author with the inclusion of a seventeen page glossary of fiction-writing terms; a four page bibliography; a four page index, and eight pages of end notes. Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, content, and presentation, "Scenes and Sequels" will prove to be an invaluable instruction guide and reference. Very highly recommended for personal, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing reference collections, it should be noted that "Scenes and Sequels" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

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:

D. Newman
VCSA Argus
Eric Saltmarsh
David Smithers
Donna Malacina
Rodolfo Tello - "Judo"
Caroline Miller - "Ballet Noir"
L. A. Justice - "Saving Dakota"
John D. Moulton - "White Ashes"
Bonnye Matthews - "Winds of Change"
Judith Martialay - "Let's Learn Spanish"
David R. Dennington - "The Airshipmen"
Kipp Wessel - "First, You Swallow the Moon"
James Bastian - "Wisconsin Logging Camp, 1921"
Agatha Carubia - "Heart-Based Singing: Vocal Technique"
Chelonian Press
Ronin Robot Press
International Jewelry Publications
Laura Ponticello - Divine Phoenix LLC
Linda F. Radkey - Five Star Publications
Evander Lomke - American Mental Health Foundation
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Karen Villanueva - Karen Villanueva Author Services

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 at 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

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design