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Jim Cox Report: October 2014

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

I think that the Midwest Book Review is pretty well known among freelance book publicists and marketers. Many of them have their own newsletters or advice columns designed specifically for writers -- and by extension, tend to be of value to small press publishers as well.

Ginny Grimsley is the National Print Campaign Manager for "News and Experts" and a freelance book publicist that, like so many others, I'm in a monthly (even weekly) contact with via email as they appraise me of their latest author client's titles seeking review.

For you authors and small press publishers out there -- here's the contact information for Ginny:

Ginny Grimsley
News & Experts
3748 Turman Loop #101, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544
Tel: 727-443-7115, Extension 207
Twitter: @GrimsleyFL

Not too long ago Ginny send me an advice commentary by Darlene Quinn that I thought was simply outstanding. I have her permission to share it with my own "Jim Cox Report" audience. I think aspiring authors and small press publishers who are new at the game of book marketing will find it invaluable:

Top-Selling Indie Author Shares 4 Tips for Marketing Your Book:

Building a Following is a Marathon, Not a Sprint.

If you want people to read your book, you have to be more than a talented storyteller or researcher - you will need plenty of persistence, says Darlene Quinn, a 75-year-old award-winning novelist whose passion for the written word trumped her lucrative position as a top executive at the legendary Bullocks Wilshire department stores.

"Sometimes an author has it easy; either they're already a celebrity, or their name has been widely reported in a major public scandal - or both - but not even those criteria guarantee readership," says Quinn, author of "Unpredictable Webs", (, the newest in her stand-alone series of suspense-filled dramatic novels.

"Many authors will tell you just don't get into the book-writing business, because writing something that people will want to read is challenge enough. Then you face the daunting process of getting people to buy it!"

She offers these tips for getting your book in front of the masses - and enticing them to buy it.

Draw on the strengths that helped you meet previous challenges: Quinn found professional footing decades ago, in a time when it was rare for women to rise to executive positions. After earning a bachelor's at San Jose State University, she became a schoolteacher. She later climbed her way up to working as a department store executive during a time of tremendous upheaval in the retail fashion industry. The tenacity and perseverance required to achieve that dream served her well when she fixed on another dream - writing - late in life. She sharpened her writing chops by penning articles for trade journals, magazines and newspapers.

Book awards: Simply entering your book in a contest gives it some exposure. Should it be selected for an award, you've got a great marketing tool that can open doors otherwise closed to you. Awards sticker or seals, which can be added to the book cover, can help persuade book stores to carry it. The press release announcing winners of local, national or international book awards also trigger Google Alerts, positively increasing exposure. Announcements of winners prior to publication alert avid readers to upcoming releases.

Book awards II: Do your research; make sure that the contest is well-established and legit. Read the rules, and if at all possible, research the judges who will be reviewing the books. Try to avoid contests that have high entry fees and those that appear to be non-discriminating. National and international contests such as the Indie Book Awards, Writers Digest Book Awards, USA Best Book Awards Reader's Favorites, and International Best Book Award (sponsored by USA Book News) are just a few respectable contests that meet these criteria. There are also many legitimate regional and local book contests to consider.

Quality in every respect: With power comes responsibility. In the past, the only real hope an author had of being read by anyone beyond his or her immediate family was going through a major publisher. Today, authors can take production matters into their own hands with self- or independent publishing, which may lead to a contract with a major book company. Either way, a writer should ensure quality in every aspect -- from the plot and characters, to the cover art, design and paper. Make sure the book is edited by an objective professional.

About Darlene Quinn

Darlene Quinn is an author and journalist from Long Beach, Calif., whose novels about deceit, intrigue and glamour in the retail fashion industry were inspired by her years with Bullocks Wilshire specialty department stores. Her newest, Unpredictable Webs, is the winner of the Beverly Hills Book Awards for Excellence in Fiction and was selected as the number-one President's choice before publication. The novel continues her series, including Webs of Fate, which won the 2011 Reader's Favorites Award before it hit bookshelves; Webs of Power, winner of a 2009 National Indie Excellence Award, and Twisted Webs, winner of the 2011 International Book Award for General Fiction and the 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards for General Fiction.

I recommend that novice authors and their small press publishers print out this article and begin implementing these suggests as soon and as often as possible.

Incidently, there is a section of the Midwest Book Review dedicated to a list of freelance and independent book publicists if anyone wants to check it out at:

Here are recommended books of special interest to writers and publishers:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

An Agent Speaks
Joan West
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781500257347 $5.45

Author, publisher, and professional agent Joan West presents An Agent Speaks: A Primer for Unpublished Writers, a practical, no-nonsense advice guide. Although An Agent Speaks is especially intended for unpublished writers who are new to the system, veteran writers will also find its tips, tricks, and techniques invaluable! Chapters discuss why one might or might not need an agent, self-publishing, how to prepare query package for fiction or a proposal for nonfiction, how to search for an agent, how to format a fiction manuscript, and much more. "In my opinion, it is unethical for an agent to charge a reading fee and all negotiations with an agent who charges one should be halted immediately. Essentially, the same is true for an editing fee... Sometimes an agent will see potential in a manuscript and suggest that the author have it professionally edited. In that case, it is permissible for the agent to provide the author with a list of editors from which the author may choose. It goes without saying that the agent's name should not appear on the list." An Agent Speaks is an absolute "must-have" for debut writers, worthy of the highest recommendation.

Why Books?
Allen Johnson, Jr.
Premium Press of America
6581 Jocelyn Hollow Road
Nashville, Tennessee 37205-3950
9781887654906 $4.95

As ebooks become more and more common, are printed books on their way out? Why Books? The Value of Stories on the Printed Page makes a compelling case for the value of the printed book. A brief, pocket-sized, yet compelling case, Why Books? stresses the gratification and inspirational value of reading physical books, and their role as a storytelling treasures. A persuasive contemplation written by a book lover, for book lovers, Why Books? is highly recommended! "There is another mysterious power often found in good novels... their ability to engage us. An engaging novel welcomes me. Being drawn into a novel by an engaging writer is like visiting a home on a cold night and being invited into a warmly lit room where a fire is burning, and an old friend is waiting by the hearth."

Write It Up
Paul J. Silvia, PhD
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433818141 $19.95

Write It Up: Practical Strategies for Writing and Publishing Journal Articles is a guide especially for academic writers of all skill and experience levels, including novices to the craft. Chapters focus on how to make a research article seize the reader's attention as well as efficiently deliver information, and the core premise of Write It Up is that academics should write to make a difference in people's hearts, minds, and the world at large, not just for the sake of getting published. From practical advice on grammar to tips, tricks, and common pitfalls when co-authoring papers, Write It Up is an absolute "must-have" for any scientific or academic seeking to build their reputation through published journal articles. Highly recommended!

Nuts & Bolts
Lisa M. O'Hearn, editor
American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Difficulties
501 3rd Street NW, Suite 200, Washington DC 20001
9781937604080 $30.00

First in a guidebook series to the art and profession of writing for publication in scholarly journals, Nuts & Bolts: Writing Outstanding Journal Articles lives up to its title with no-nonsense instructions, tips, tricks, and techniques for writing review articles, research articles, and theoretical articles. Topics covered include how to keep one's writing as bias-free as possible, expected mechanics and style (punctuation, quotation, reference citing, etc.), the submission/publication process including peer review, and much more. "Do not refer to people with disabilities as their disabilities. For example, do not use the term 'epileptics;' instead identify these individuals as 'people with epilepsy.'" Nuts & Bolts is an absolute "must-have" for any aspiring contributor to a scholarly journal.

I'm not the only one here at the Midwest Book Review with an avid interest in 'how to' books for writers. Here's a 'cluster review' from MBR reviewer Gary Roen:

Story Structure: The Key to Successful Fiction (9781484024898)
Sizzling Style: Every Word Matters (9780989378970)
Dynamic Dialogue: Letting Your Story Speak (9780989378949)
Creating Character: Bringing Your Story to Life (9780989378901)
Perfecting Plot: Charting the Hero's Journey (9780989378925)
William Bernhardt
Red Sneaker Press
c/o Babylon Books
$6.99 each,

Gary Roen

All five of these titles are part of The Red Sneaker Writer's Book Series that are a great resource for any new writer to read and learn many different tricks of the trade. Bernhardt, who is a bestselling author of legal thrillers, gives many insightful tips on how to write better by the use of dialogue, character development, and many other aspects that starting out writers often forget. He also has many different quotes from fellow writers that also are very helpful as well as good and bad examples for novice authors to learn the craft of writing. The Red Sneakers Writers Books Series is one of the best series because there is so much information that is easy to follow and learn how to be a better novelist.

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:

Ingrid Hart -- "My Year in California"
Rachel Sumner -- "Jingle All The Way"
Reginald Down -- "The Midsumer Mouse"
G. Michael Blahnik -- "Democracy in Business"
J. C. Hager -- "Hunter's Witness: Trial By Terrorism"
Jacqueline Dougan Jackson -- "The Round Barn: Volume 3"
Hub City Press
Barb Knight -- Tiger Tales
Claire -- Richmond Pickering Ltd
Barbara C. Wall -- The Barrett Company
Beth Blenz-Clucas -- Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
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 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

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