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Jim Cox Report: March 2018

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

There were three individuals who served as my mentors with respect to my eventually becoming the editor-in-chief of the Midwest Book Review.

The first was John Ohliger

a professor at the University of Wisconsin who worked in the field of adult education and 'life long learning' and came up with the idea of providing a forum in which ordinary people could express their opinions about the books they read.

The second was Dan Poynter

who as an expert on self-publishing and book marketing taught me in great detail how the publishing industry worked.

The third was Joan H. Wethal, a woman who was the head librarian of the Village of Oregon public library for some 31 years. It was Joan who taught me the behind-the-scenes facts of how libraries really worked and was responsible for me to become, for more than a decade, an acquisitions consultant to the more than a dozen libraries making up the south-central region of the Wisconsin library system.

With Joan's passing on February 7th at the age of 81 all of three of them are now gone -- but collectively they leave behind them as a part of their respective legacies the Midwest Book Review -- which never would have become what it is today without their advice and their support of a (back then) young guy by the name of Jim Cox.

I miss them all.

The internet continues to become an enormous source of practical "how to" information for writers and publishers seeking to learn how to effectively, successfully, and profitably market their books.

I've mentioned Peter Blaisdell and his "Blaisdell Literary Enterprises" last month. I'm going to lead with him again this month with his new article/essay "Book Marketing: Signings and Readings". Another true gem of 'real world practical' advice, tips, tricks and techniques that you will find on his web site at:

As if self-published authors and small press publishers (or publishers of any size for that matter) did not have enough to worry about in a fiercely competitive market set against a background of national economic ups and downs, now there is the phenomena of Book Piracy that must be dealt with. With respect to Book Piracy (especially regarding eBooks), Devon Weston has written a succinct but highly informative little essay on the subject that should be read by everyone and anyone struggling to publish (or get published) profitably. Here is a link to "Inside the Mind of a Book Pirate: Nielsen Study Shows Who Pirates Books":

Inside the Mind of a Book Pirate: Nielsen Study Shows Who Pirates Books

I'm always keeping an eye on Amazon and what they're up to. So many times so much of what they do doesn't seem to make any sense -- such as how they go about determining how much (if any) they will discount on a particular title. But every now and then something about how and why Amazon does what it does slips through to see the light of day thanks to the research of dedicated journalists.

Case in point is "Amazon Doesn't Just Want to Dominate the Market -- It Wants to Become the Market" by Stacy Mitchell. Here is the link to her article that should be read by every author, every publisher, and every bookstore owner:

Now on to reviews of new books which will prove to be of special interest to writers and publishers:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

What Editors Do
Peter Ginna, editor
University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
9780226299976, $25.00, PB, 320pp,

Synopsis: Editing is an invisible literary art where the very best work goes undetected. Editors strive to create books that are enlightening, seamless, and pleasurable to read, all while giving credit to the author. This makes it all the more difficult to truly understand the range of roles editors inhabit while shepherding a project from concept to publication.

Peter Ginna was most recently publisher and editorial director at Bloomsbury Press; before that he held editorial positions at Oxford University Press, Crown Publishers, St. Martin’s Press, and Persea Books. He has taught editing in New York University’s publishing program, and comments on editing, books, and publishing at the blog Doctor Syntax and on Twitter at @DoctorSyntax.

In "What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing", Ginna expertly compiles essays from twenty-seven leading figures in book publishing about their work. Representing both large houses and small, and encompassing trade, textbook, academic, and children’s publishing, the contributors make the case for why editing remains a vital function to writers (and readers) everywhere.

Ironically for an industry built on words, there has been a scarcity of written guidance on how to actually approach the work of editing. "What Editors Do" will serve as a compendium of professional advice and will be a resource both for those entering the profession (or already in it) and for those outside publishing who seek an understanding of it. It sheds light on how editors acquire books, what constitutes a strong author-editor relationship, and the editor’s vital role at each stage of the publishing process -- a role that extends far beyond marking up the author’s text.

Taken collectively, "What Editors Do" treats editing as both art and craft, and also as a career. It explores how editors balance passion against the economic realities of publishing. "What Editors Do" shows why, in the face of a rapidly changing publishing landscape, editors are more important than ever.

Critique: Absolutely essential reading for anyone who aspires to be an editor, as well as critically important reading for authors and publishers with respect to the critically important role that editors play in the publishing process, "What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing" is also available in a digital book format (eTextbook, $9.00). Librarians should be aware for their collections that there is a hardcover edition of "What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing" ( 9780226299839, $74.00).

The Copyright Handbook, thirteenth edition
Stephen Fishman, J.D.
Nolo Press
950 Parker Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781413324266, $49.99, PB, 448pp,

Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. This is usually only for a limited time. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves. Now in a fully updated thirteenth edition, "The Copyright Handbook: What Every Writer Needs to Know" fully lives up to its full title and provides writers with all the information needed to protect their work from infringement, plagiarism, counterfeiting, or unauthorized exploitation. Compiled, written, organized and presented by Stephen Fishman (who has dedicated his career as an attorney and author to writing useful, authoritative and recognized guides on taxes and business law for entrepreneurs, independent contractors, freelancers and other self-employed people, as well as books on copyright law and the public domain) shows writers how to: register literary work; maximize copyright protection; transfer ownership of copyright; avoid infringement; deal with infringers; understand the "fair use" rule; obtain permission to use copyrighted work; profit from copyright. Of special note is the inclusion of downloadable forms and that "The Copyright Handbook" comes with an invaluable web site enabling writers to keep current with legal updates on copyright law and access informative copyright podcasts. Simply stated, "The Copyright Handbook" is an essential, core addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted that this new edition of "The Copyright Handbook: What Every Writer Needs to Know" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $23.17).

The Dragon Grammar Book
Diane Mae Robinson
Privately Published
9781988714011 $12.99 pbk / $3.99 Kindle

Award-winning author and writing instructor Diane Mae Robinson presents The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons, and the Whole Kingdom, an English grammar guidebook created to be thoroughly accessible to readers of all ages and backgrounds. The fantasy and dragon motif adds a dash of tongue-in-cheek spice to the straightforward, user-friendly descriptions of English grammar rules complete with a wealth of examples. "Participles are adjectives ending in 'ing' or 'ed.' [...] A participle phrase is a phrase that contains a participle and modifies the subject of the sentence. A dangling participle is when the participle modifies the wrong thing. [...] (Wrong) 'Rushing to catch the dragon, Petra's sword fell out of its sheath.'" The Dragon Grammar Book is an excellent tutorial or refresher for writers everywhere, and highly recommended especially for public and school library college collections, as well as personal reading lists.

Writing Wrongs: Common Errors in English
Robert M. Martin
Broadview Press
c/o FedEx Trade Networks
555 Riverwalk Parkway, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781554813919, $19.95, PB, 352pp,

"Writing Wrongs: Common Errors in English" by Robert M. Martin (who after many years retired as a Professor of Philosophy at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada) is a concise and thoughtful guide to common errors in English. "Writing Wrongs" covers frequently confused and misused words along with problems of grammar, punctuation, and style, and offers a brief and up-to-date guide to major citation styles. Though it provides guidelines and recommendations for usage, "Writing Wrongs" acknowledges the evolution of language over time and the fact that different contexts have different rules -- it is not narrowly prescriptive. A friendly, flexible, and easy-to-read reference, "Writing Wrongs" will be useful to students and general readers alike, making it unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of aspiring writers, as well as community and academic library English language and writing instructional reference collections.

How To Publish Your Nonfiction Book, second edition
Rudy Shur
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
9780757004308, $18.95, PB, 252pp,

Rudy Shur began his work in publishing as a field representative for Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company and William C. Brown Publishing Company. He later founded Avery Publishing Group, where he was responsible for the acquisition of over 1,000 titles, many of which became bestsellers. Currently, he is the publisher at Square One in Garden City Park, New York. Now in a fully updated and significantly expanded second edition, Rudy Shur draws upon his years of experience and expertise to provide aspiring writers—who may have a great idea for a nonfiction book, but often don't know a thing about getting it published—with practical answers to such questions as: Where do you start?; What should you send?; and Are some book publishers better than others?, in the pages of "How to Publish Your Nonfiction Book: A Complete Guide to Making the Right Publisher Say Yes". Providing an insider's knowledge of how publishing companies operate in this era of publishing as a rapidly changing industry, this new edition of "How to Publish Your Nonfiction Book" starts off by helping writers define their book's category, audience, and marketplace so that you know exactly where your book "fits in". Writers are guided in choosing the best publishing companies for their particular book and in writing a winning submission package. Then using the Square One System, "How To Publish Your Nonfiction Book" explains exactly how to submit a package so that chances for success are optimized while minimizing time, cost, and effort. Also included is a special section on contracts that will turn legalese into plain English, allowing even the most novice of writers to be a savvy player in the publishing business. Most importantly, "How To Publish Your Nonfiction Book" will help neophyte writers to avoid the most common errors that so often prevent them from reaching their publishing goals. Impressively written, organized and presented, "How To Publish Your Nonfiction Book" is extraordinarily 'user friendly' and an absolute 'must' for anyone wanting to write (and have published!) a nonfiction book -- and an essential, core addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections.

Finally -- 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:

John Keenan
David Gittlin
Paul Beckman -- "Kiss, Kiss"
J. K. Kelly -- "Found In Time"
Ivan Figueroa -- "Spirituality 103"
Byron Metcalf -- "They Were Here"
Andrea Jackson -- "Where Is Home?"
Leon H. Gildin -- "The Polski Trilogy"
Peter Christopher -- "The Spanish Knight's Secret"
Tim Symonds -- "Sherlock Holmes and the Nine-Dragon Sigil"
Sora Vernikoff -- "Eat What You Want!, Stop When You Want!"
Carol A. Jensen -- "Lake of the Sky Images: The Photographs of Harold A. Parker"
The Adams Group
Green Writers Press
Booth Media Group
Devine Phoenix LLC
Jeff Miller - Zenga Books
Luanne Furrer -- Twin Feather Publishing
Jennifer K. Crittenden -- Whistling Rabbit Press
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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