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Home / Jim Cox Reports / Jim Cox Report: September 2014
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Jim Cox Report: September 2014

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

Our Midwest Book Review policy of archiving reviews for a minimum of five years has resulted in tens of thousands of reviews being housed on our website. That necessitated having an on-site search engine in order to find a particular book review needle in all those book review haystacks! Even so, about once or twice a month I get inquiries from authors, publishers, and book publicists in how they can go about locating the review for their particular title.

So as of this month we have added to our website homepage a 'click on it' instructional called:"How Do I Find a Specific Review on the MBR Website?" which you will find at:

Marsha Friedman is one of the most successful and knowledgeable book publicists in our industry. She puts out an enormously helpful newsletter for authors and publishers called "The PR Insider" that is packed with practical, applicable, insightful, experienced-based information, ideas and advice. With her permission I'm reprinting one of her newsletter columns that I think will prove to be particularly invaluable -- especially for the self-published author operating on a shoe-string (and even no-string) publicity budget:

5 Tips for Landing Speaking Engagements

Speaking to large - and small! - groups offers a lot of marketing benefits, whether you're promoting your company, professional practice, products or book.

While marketing is the primary goal for many speakers, others hope to turn public speaking into a lucrative new career. There are plenty of organizations that pay proven speakers to address their conferences, corporate meetings and educational events. Sometimes the pay comes not as an honorarium but as a guaranteed number of book sales.

No matter what your goal, it all starts with establishing your expertise on a particular topic. What are your credentials? Do you have relevant work experience? Educational degrees or specialized training?

Perhaps you're more of a motivational speaker. You faced tremendous adversity in your life and overcame it. Your story may not only provide valuable information to others in the same situation, it may inspire them to take action.

If you've written a book on your topic, it can help establish you as an authority and help land those invitations to speak - as long as you've taken pains to make sure your book both looks and
If you're just starting out or have some engagements under your belt, here are some things you should be doing to build your speaker platform:

Have a 3- to 5-minute video of yourself at a speaking engagement. Organizations that are considering asking you to speak will often request video of you in action - a speaker's reel, so to speak. This will give them a good sense of your style, energy and professionalism. Ideally, have a videographer attend more than one of your speaking engagements so there will be plenty of great footage, and include shots of the crowd laughing and/or applauding.

Get testimonials! These are essential. You can ask for them from organizers, but you should also save those emails people send you after an event, thanking you for your informative and inspirational talk. If attendees are live-tweeting an event where you're speaking, you might find some great testimonial fodder on Twitter. If you plan to use the person's name or Twitter handle with the testimonial (and it's better if you do), be sure to get their permission in writing first.

Share traditional media exposure that brands you as an expert. If you're being quoted as an expert by journalists or interviewed by TV and radio talk show hosts, you will increase your credibility tremendously. The implied third-party endorsement of the media is a valuable way of cementing your standing with organizations that are considering inviting you to speak.

Continue to build your social media following. Organizations now always ask about the number of people following you on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and the like for a couple of reasons. First, the bigger your following, the more credibility you have as an expert in your field. Second, the organization itself will benefit from being exposed to all of your followers when you post on your social media sites about your speaking engagement.

Develop a dynamic, engaging speaker landing page for your website. Your speaker page should sell you to prospective organizations. How will your presentation reflect on them? Describe some of your speech topics and how they will benefit audiences. Your speaker page should also include that short video we talked about earlier, and the testimonials you collected. Remove distractions on the page, such as side-rail links that might lure visitors to other pages.

Speaking to groups pays off in so many ways! I find it personally gratifying to give people tools that will help them make their dreams come true and to talk with individuals who seek me out to ask for advice after I've spoken. I form so many new relationships at the conferences I attend, and many of them turn into lifelong friendships.

Those relationships can also grow into new customers for your business, and new associates with whom you can ally.

But before you can reap the rewards, you have to get the invitations to speak. You'll boost your standing as a great prospect by establishing yourself as a bona fide expert: write a book, get publicity, develop a large social media following, and share it all on a lively, engaging speaker landing page on your website.

Belly up to the mic!

Marsha Friedman

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

How to Make a Living Writing Articles for Newspapers, Magazines, and Online Sources
Wendy Vincent
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781601385673 $24.95

How to Make a Living Writing Articles for Newspapers, Magazines, and Online Sources: Everything You Need to Know to Become a Successful Freelance Writer in 30 Days lives up to its title as a "must-have" resource for any "writer with a day job" looking to make writing their full-time career. Chapters are filled with tips, tricks, and techniques for dedicating a workspace to the craft (and countering procrastination), marketing oneself, mastering the art of the query letter, targeting one's submissions, supplemental writing income sources (including corporate materials, contract books, travel writing, and more), how to ensure one gets paid, how to determine whether one needs an agent, and much more. "[Never trust] Agents asking for a retainer - Reputable agents are able to pay for their own expenses. They can determine whether a book is marketable and do not request up-front fees or retainers from a writer." Accessible, practical, and grounded in professional experience, How to Make a Living Writing Articles for Newspapers, Magazines, and Online Sources is highly recommended.

Creating Graphic Novels
Sarah Beach
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111
Studio City, CA 91604
9781615931941 $26.95

Accessible to readers of all backgrounds, Creating Graphic Novels: Adapting and Marketing Stories for a Multimillion-Dollar Industry is a guide especially for would-be authors/marketers/publishers of graphic novels. The emphasis here is squarely upon transforming one's story idea (or novel/movie/media) into a script that a comic artist can use to bring the graphic novel to life. Creating Graphic Novels is not a "how to draw" book; it's a "how to write a script that a professional artist can draw" book. The basics of the publishing industry are also covered - what the industry expects from submissions, legal guidelines concerning copyright and appropriate credit, how to understand the terminology of a publishing contract, and more. (The legal basics in particular come with a strong disclaimer: "What follows is only a general explanation of legal matters. Do not take it as legal advice. Always consult a lawyer regarding rights and contracts", but before talking to an expensive lawyer it's very important to have a thorough, personal understanding of these fundamental concepts). Creating Graphic Novels goes in-depth on an seldom-covered aspect of the writing industry - translating a story from one medium to another - and is an absolute "must-have" for anyone interested in seeing their work (stories, movies, or plays) adapted to graphic novel format.

Index it Right! Volume 3
Enid L. Zafran, Editor
Information Today Inc.
143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055-8750
9781573875004 $40.00

Index it Right! Advice from the Experts, Volume 3 is a recommended reference adding the third installment to the "Index It Right" series and provides advice for indexing professionals on everything from ebook indexing and meta-tagging to indexing in niche areas from science to literature. Chapters cover the history of index, special indexing challenges such as indexing multicultural texts and ethnic names, and keys to teaching and using indexing. It's a fine pick recommended for any involved in the profession.

Organic Screenwriting
Mark David Gerson
MDG Media International
9708 Calle Chamisa NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114
9781499306750, $16.00,

Screenwriting, also called script-writing is the art and craft of writing scripts for mass media such as feature films, television productions or video games. It is frequently a freelance profession. Screenwriters are responsible for researching the story, developing the narrative, writing the screenplay, and delivering it, in the required format, to development executives. Screenwriters therefore have great influence over the creative direction and emotional impact of the screenplay and, arguably, of the finished film. They either pitch original ideas to producers in the hope that they will be optioned or sold, or screenwriters are commissioned by a producer to create a screenplay from a concept, true story, existing screen work or literary work, such as a novel, poem, play, comic book or short story. "Organic Screenwriting: Writing for Film, Naturally" by professional screenwriter Mark David Gerson is a 222 page instruction manual emphasizes what he describes as a 'Muse Stream' approach to writing scripts. Replete with effective techniques, exceptionally useful exercises, and practical inspiration, "Organic Screenwriting: Writing for Film, Naturally" is a seminal work that should be read carefully by any and all aspiring writers for film or television and will serve as an enduringly useful reference work. Very highly recommended, it should be noted that "Organic Screenwriting: Writing for Film, Naturally" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.99).

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:

Tessa Dawn -- "Blood Father"
Joan West -- "An Agent Speaks"
Jenna Brooks -- "An Early Frost"
M. A. R. Unger -- "Bits and Pieces"
Lorri Ungaretti -- "Stories in the Sand"
Vijay Mattewada -- "The Contemplator"
Rosemary Mild -- "Love, Laugh, Dance"
C. M. Shifflett -- "Conquering Concussion"
Catherine Eisen -- "What We Leave Behind"
Kelly K. Lavender -- "Beautiful Evil Winter"
Carole Marsh -- "My Life As A Third Grade Werewolf"
Ndaba Mdhlongwa -- "Steps to Small Business Start-Up"
Annette Barnard & G. A. Barnard -- "Aunt Bunny's Favorite Recipes"
Lori Wolf -- "Bank of Allowance Givers: Raising Financially Savvy Children"
Howard Binkow -- "Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns We Can All Get Along"
Joan B. Peterson -- Ginkgo Press
Jeff McArthur -- Bandwagon Books
Susan Sternau -- Susan Sternau Studios
Mary-Kathryne Steele -- World Wisdom
Charyl McComas -- TM Books & Video
Elizabeth Gerken -- Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company
Ellie Pelto -- Concierge Marketing Inc.
Barbara C. Wall -- The Barrett Company
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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