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Jim Cox Report: August 2011
Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:
Getting reviews for your book from reputable sources is an essential element in any marketing plan. To obtain a review there is a capital investment comprised of the production costs of the book your provide the reviewer gratis, plus the postage , plus your time (which also has a monetary value).
So now that you've got a good review for your book what do you do with it? There have been entire books written on the subject and you'll find reviews for a great number of them archived on the Midwest Book Review website at:
In this issue of the "Jim Cox Report" I want to share with you two 'real world' examples of publisher folk who've made very good use of a review as illustrations of what you can do.
This is a snail-mail letter I received from Kathy Cecala who on July 14th wrote me as follows:
Dear Mr. Cox:
I just wanted to thank you so much for the two reviews of"The Raven Girl" which appear in this month's MBR. Self-publishing is truly a struggle, but your recognition of my book and good words about it were immensely helpful, not only in bolstering my self-confidence, but in winning additional reviews. The book editor of our daily newspaper, the Star-Ledger of Newark, NJ, does not generally review self-published works, but I was told she chose mine based on the MBR review posted on Amazon! So your reviews are quite influential! (Not that I doubted it!) As a gesture of thanks, I'm enclosing a book of stamps. Keep up this good work!
Kathy's reference to 'this month's MBR' refers to the July 2011 issue of our "MBR Bookwatch", one of our nine monthly book review publications.
Then this came in:
Thank you for your very kind words and your gesture of support for what we here at the Midwest Book Review attempt to achieve in behalf of folks like yourself and your clientele.
I'd like to include your email in my monthly "Jim Cox Report" as an excellent example of how to maximize the effect of reviews. Well done!
Midwest Book Review
In a message dated 7/15/2011 1:25:53 P.M. Central Daylight Time, Karen writes:
Thanks for your excellent review of The Great Kat's "Beethoven Shreds" CD in Midwest Book Review's Wisconsin Bookwatch.
Thomas PR is donating a roll of 100 First Class Stamps, which we mailed to you today.
We have posted your review on the Kat Web site, with a link to your site at:
Also up on the Thomas PR web site at: http://www.thomas-pr.com/ and http://www.thomas-pr.com/greatkat/greatkatinmidwestbookreview.html
Also posted on The Great Kat Fan Pages on FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Great-Kat/296984350242 and TWITTER http://twitter.com/greatkatguitar
What I wanted to point out is how Karen utilized pretty much every electronic age social networking tool there is to give our review of her book as wide an audience as possible.
Of course you don't need to donate postage stamps as a gesture of support for the Midwest Book Review as did Kathy and Karen -- but it is always much appreciated!
Now on to some reviews of 'how to' titles for writers and/or publishers -- it's been a prolific month for this category!:
The Writing/Publishing Shelf
77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected
1935 Brookdale Road, #139
Naperville, IL 60563
9781402254123, $14.99, www.amazon.com
It goes without question that to be successfully published aspiring authors must have imagination and literary skill. What you don't often hear is that they must also have marketing skills and 'know how' with respect to persuading agents to represent them, publishers to publish them, and the reading public to read them. Every writer from the Hemingways of the world to the newest aspirant wanting to write the next 'Great American Novel' will experience the dreaded rejection letter -- over and over and over again. That is unless they give a careful reading to Mike Nappa's new 'how to' manual "77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected". This compact, 360-page, informed and informative compendium of real-world based insights draws upon Nappa's more than two decades as a professional author, editor, and literary agent breaks down into three major categories of reject by publishers: editorial reasons; marketing reasons; and sales reasons. By following Nappa's sage and insightful commentary any author can learn how to avoid rejection letters for any and all of these common areas of literary proposal rejection and significantly enhanced their chances of becoming published -- and published profitably! Simply stated, "77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected" should be considered mandatory reading for any and all aspiring authors yearning to break into print and launch themselves into successful careers as published writers.
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300
Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
9780273746584, $19.99, www.amazon.com
It doesn't matter if you are an author from a major publishing house like Simon & Schuster or Penguin-Putnam, or self-published in this age of desk-top publishing and POD companies, you will carry the burden of publicizing, promoting, and marketing your book if you hope to have a financially successful, professional career. That's why every author needs to give a close and careful reading to Cathy Bussey's "Brilliant PR: Create a Pr Sensation, Whatever Your Budget, Whatever Your Business", a 168-page compendium of sound, 'real world', instructive commentary, tips, tricks, techniques, and do-it-yourself strategies adaptable to shoe-string and 'no-string' marketing budgets. Applicable to any business and the marketing of any product, "Brilliant PR" is especially germane for the book industry as it will teach newly published authors on how to best present themselves and their book to the reading public, what the various and diverse elements of a public relations campaign are and how to organize them effectively, managing the inevitable and unexpected crisis, and utilizing the promotional power of social networking in this modern age of computer web sites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Of special note are the illustrative insider stories, sample press releases, and good PR examples featured throughout. If you want to engage in an effect PR campaign for your book, read "Brilliant PR" by Cathy Bussey.
Musings Of An Online Bookseller
6341 - 5th Avenue NE, #509
Seattle, WA 98115
9781592433322, $19.95, www.amazon.com
To be a successful bookseller in today's increasingly competitive and volatile marketplace, there must be an online aspect to the business plan for traditional 'brick & mortar' retailers. The phenomena of 'online only' book selling and the steadily increasing numbers people who only sell books online are publishing industry trends that, among other factors, are responsible for the demise of so many independent and chain bookstores -- the latest of which is the national Borders bookstore retail empire. Then there is the advent of digital publishing to consider! That's why "Musings of an Online Bookseller" by John Landhal is such important, informed, and informative reading. Included are such factors as the impact an aging baby boomer generation is having on the publishing industry, the impact of the ebook, the use of web site oriented sales venues, alternatives to that 800 pound gorilla of online book selling known as Amazon.com, and so much more. Although invaluable for anyone new to online bookselling, "Musings of an Online Bookseller" is especially recommended for those seasoned and experienced retail book sellers that are trying to make the transition from 'brick & mortar' businesses to online retailing either as a supplement to their traditional venue or as a replacement for it.
Rebel Bookseller, second edition
Seven Stories Press
140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013
9781609801397, $16.95, www.amazon.com
The local independent bookstore was long a hallmark and core contributor to the intellectual life and well-being of individuals and communities. In this modern era of "big box" bookstores, chain store booksellers, online book sellers, and digital publishing, those traditional independent bookstores are becoming an 'endangered species'. That's why Andrew Laties "Rebel Bookseller: Why Indie Bookstores Represent Everything You Want to Fight for from Free Speech to Buying Local to Building Communities" is such a timely and important contribution to our national dialogue. Now in a fully updated and significantly expanded second edition, "Rebel Bookseller" is a personal history of how Laties got into selling books, how he has survived and even prospered against book marketing factors that have proved devastating to so many others, the growth of the big chain booksellers, and more. Of special note are the wealth of anecdotes, innovations in book selling, and the cogent 'real world' advice for anyone contemplating starting up an independent bookstore of their own. Informed and informative, occasionally inspired and inspiring, "Rebel Bookseller" is very highly recommended reading.
101 Best Sex Scenes Ever Written
Quill Drive Books
2006 S. Mary St., Fresno, CA 93721
9781610350013, $14.95, www.quilldrivebooks.com
A well done sex scene is a wonderful thing. Too bad so many writers are awful at it. "101 Best Sex Scenes Ever Written: An Erotic Romp Through Literature for Writers and Readers" looks at the writers with enough tenacity to write sex scenes with authenticity and purpose for their characters. Although drawing readers in with a spicy topic, Barnaby Conrad hopes to spin readers into the literature of the likes of Faulkner, Burgess, Hemingway, and much more. "101 Best Sex Scenes Ever Written" is a fine collection for anyone who wants to understand what makes a sex scene good, for those who tire of the awkward nature that most writers approach.
Write Your Book Now!
Quill Driver Books
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721
9781610350068, $15.95, www.amazon.com
Writing a book, whether it be a personal memoir or the next 'Great American Novel', is some of the hardest work anyone can ever take a hand in. But there are some 'tips, tricks & techniques' to help the novice author out and they are to be found in a 144-page compendium of commentary, instruction, and 'real world' advice by professional comedy writer Gene Perret in "Write Your Book Now!: A Proven System to Start and FINISH the Book You've Always Wanted to Write". Drawing upon his many years of experience and expertise, Perret shows the aspiring writer how to break a book project down into small sequential tasks; establish a workable, productive, realistic writing schedule; deal with the inevitable writer blocks, life distractions and delays; and keeping up motivation until the manuscript is finished and ready for publication. Thoroughly 'user friendly', "Write Your Book Now!" is an ideal instruction manual and especially recommended to beginning writers aspiring to a professional and successful career as a published author.
Writer's Digest Books
4700 E. Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati OH 45236
9781582979984, $17.99, www.writersdigest.com
What makes a good story or screenplay great? Most writers have no idea of story engineering basics, so never achieve the 'great' level they could. STORY ENGINEERING is a 'must' for any writer's library: it analyzes the design of a story line and uses it as the basis for narrative, offering six specific ways storytelling methods combine and elevate writing to its highest standards. From scene construction to character development, this discusses the basics of plot and method and is an ongoing 'must' for any aspiring writer and libraries catering to them.
Writer with a Day Job
Writer's Digest Books
4700 E. Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati OH 45236
9781582979960, $17.99, www.writersdigest.com
Writer with a Day Job provides an invaluable collection of exercises to help integrate a side career of writing with a regular day gig. It's a talented dance to keep the daily grind of a job from sapping a writer's energy: this tells how to achieve that balance, providing exercises, ideas, and techniques to build creative expression into a daily work cycle. From planning a writing getaway to using one's lunch hour for writing, this is filled with keys to a writer's success, and is a pick for any literary or writer's collection.
Dr. Linda Seger
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd. #1111
Studio City, CA 91604
9781932907964, $16.95, www.mwp.com
WRITING SUBTEXT: WHAT LIES BENEATH is one of the most valuable writer's guides in print, covering the power of subtext in film and screenwriting and exploring how it's used. Writers and film professionals like will learn the tools to creating effective dialogue, description and more, and will appreciate a guide that probes different levels of complexity in the writing and character-building subtext process. From gestures and action to words that express subtext, this is a specific, key reference!
Clip Stamp Fold
Beatriz Colomina and Craig Buckley, Editors
c/o ActarBirkhauser Distribution
151 Grand Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10013
8496954526, $54.95, www.actar.com
Clip Stamp Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X to 197X is a 'must' for not just arts but college-level literary collections, packing in interviews with over 40 magazine makers, reproductions of magazine styles and articles, and details to accompany an exhibition's global travels. Discussions have been transcribed into English and accompany a chronological presentation of over 120 issues from the 1960s and 70s and facsimiles of magazines designed for browsing. From activist politics to the changing trends of small press and magazine production standards, this is just packed with key historic, artistic and literary reference detail and is an outstanding reference.
Now for some Q&A commentaries:
Subject: you were right, Jim Cox!
Date: 12/13/2010 5:52:52 P.M. Central Standard Time
Hello again, Mr. Cox,
Two years ago my last book, Deborah Whitney of Shady Flat, was given a complimentary review by some kind person at Midwest Book Review and you actually took the time to write to me opining that what I was calling an older kids' book about the CA gold rush was not just a children's book and shouldn't be pigeonholed as such. You maintained that it was a book for general readership, and that has turned out to be absolutely correct. The book has had a good run, with more than half the readers being middle-aged and older.
Score one more for your "perspicacity and condescension", as Jane Austin would say. Thanks for steering me in a wider direction.
I'm sending you the sequel to the above tomorrow.
Katie W. Green
It's getting little emails like this that truly make my day -- clear into the middle of next week!
This little gem of an email came in but I've lost the notification as to who was the very nice person to bring it to my attention -- and where it's originally from. If you know I'd appreciate a word so I can give proper credit. Still, my point is how welcome small press publishing community support for the Midwest Book Review is. It is so very nice to be appreciated:
Subject: For the Jim Cox Report
Date: 1/15/2011 12:21:10 P.M. Central Standard Time
Every review produced by Midwest Book Review is indexed to the review index maintained by Gale Research. Book Review Index indexes reviews for the Midwest Book Review publications Bookwatch and Children's Bookwatch. Online Computer Library Center described the website of the Midwest Book Review as "a resource to locate book reviews, resources and advice for writers and publishers". Writing and Publishing: The Librarian's Handbook published by the American Library Association recommends Midwest Book Review as a resource for information for writers.
Midwest Book Review is listed as a resource, in Doris Booth's Writer's Handbook of FAQs. According to The Complete Guide to Self Publishing by Tom Ross and Marilyn Heimberg Ross, the reviews of the organization "are welcomed and respected". In Book Design and Production, author Pete Masterson listed the organization as a resource. He noted that the website for Midwest Book Review has "lots of useful information" for authors. Mayra Calvani of Blogcritics noted that the organization is "popular among small publishers, self-published authors, and academic presses".[25
To conclude this bit of congratulatory personal indulgence is this:
Subject: Thanks Jim for advice on the bad book reviewers.
Date: 1/31/2011 3:17:19 P.M. Central Standard Time
I am really enjoying this new ebook marketplace. Authors can finally get their great literary works out to their readers as the giant literary monopolies crumble.
Your advice on bad reviewers is a goldmine, thanks again.
"Mark Paul" Sebar
American Author, Poet and Filmwriter
Sebar Literary Network
I think Mark is referring to is this instructional article I wrote and have archived on the Midwest Book Review website:
How To Spot A Phony Book Reviewer
Finally we have "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:
Amanda Mininger -- "Touch"
Jerry Pollock -- "Gog & Magog"
Kathy Cecala -- "The Raven Girl"
Kim Rowley -- "Primal Whispers"
Harry T. Bryer -- "Hidden Genius"
June Greig -- "A Dog to Remember"
David R. Ford -- "Blind in One Eye"
Denise Moon -- "For One More Day"
Stephen F. Poleskie -- "Acorn's Card"
Karisha Kal'ee'ay -- "A Brief Madness"
Elizabeth Woodman -- Eno Publishers"
Jean Sheldon -- "Fowers for her Grave"
Jonthan Ross -- "A Weapon to End War"
Craig Machen -- "Still Life With Brass Pole"
James Baar -- "The Real Thing and Other Tales"
Darlyne Baugh -- "Black Girl & the Gay Channel"
Richard Langdon Cook -- "The Bright Side of Life"
Claudette -- ExceLovate
Tomkat Productions LLC
Stacy Bagley -- ISMPI, Inc.
Valerie Rogers -- West Press
Gale Leach -- Two Cats Press
Sharyn & Larry -- On Air Video
Linda J. Kichline -- ImaJinn Books
Marty Schupak -- Youth Sports Club
Lynne Siebert -- GreyFox Publishing
Michael Froehls -- Peitho Publishing
Lois Qualben -- Langmarc Publishing
P. Hewitt -- The Denebian Empire LLC
Joanna Griffith -- SLM Book Publishing
Victoria Richards -- Inkwell Productions
Malcolm D. Petteway -- Rage Books LLC
Kenneth C. Weiler -- Ostfront Publications
Willa Robinson -- Knowledge Power Books
Cassandra Faulkner -- Blue Book Publications
Bill Birnbaum -- Douglas Mountain Publishing
Br. Gary Joseph -- Servants of the Father of Mercy
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Maryglenn McCombs -- MM Book Publicity
Sue Engelhart -- Sue Engelhart & Associates
Karen Thomas -- Thomas Public Relations Inc.
If you have postage to donate, or if you have a book you'd like considered for review, then send those 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!
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI, 53575
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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