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Beth Cox Report: March 2015
Dear Loyal Readers, Authors, and Publishers,
On April 7, 2015, there will be a number of elections across America for local and judicial government positions, as well as assorted ballot referendums depending on where one lives. Participation in such elections tends to be disturbingly low, an unfortunate fact that threatens our standing as a nation governed of, by, and for the people.
So if you are an American, then please, take 10 minutes out of your day and do an internet search
"[date of election]" + "[your town]" + "[your state]" + "ballot"
followed by a little more internet research to determine which candidates your conscience tells you to vote for, and whether you should accept or reject any presented referendum. Then take another bit of time on April 7 to vote. The willingness of people to hold government figures accountable at the polls is a fundamental building block of democracy itself.
One final note for fellow Wisconsin residents: while voter ID will not be required for the April 7 election, it will be required to participate in future Wisconsin elections, due to our state's new voter ID law. More information is available at
including instructions for getting a free state ID card.
Those of you who have been reading Beth Cox Reports for a while might have observed that I have a particular curiosity about the video game publishing industry, in addition the book, music, and movie industries. It's fascinating to watch the video game publishing landscape evolve and adapt to the digital era, and the current fierce competition among independent game developers has parallels with the challenges that writers, musicians, artists, and filmmakers face today.
One indie game developer blog that I regularly follow is Zeboyd Games; they recently published an entry that is completely applicable to indie authors and publishers:
Here's a crucial quote from the blog entry:
"Quality isn't enough. If you make a quality game that's similar to a thousand other quality games, you're still competing against a thousand other quality games.
The way to be successful as an indie who doesn't have the money to brute-force their way to success via marketing or better technology is to STOP COMPETING WITH EVERYONE ELSE. Make something that stands out. Make something that's different. Make a game that gets people to think 'I want this game and no other game out there is an adequate substitute.' Make something that's worth buying. Make something that's not 'yet another' game. Make something that's glorious. Make something that's yours."
Replace the word "game" with "book" in the quote, or the entire blog entry, and you have words of wisdom for every struggling author today.
March's Link of the Month also has a wealth of invaluable information for authors and publishers, including/especially those who work with ebooks. It's a site called CopyLaw.com
Its valuable articles include "Fair Use in a Nutshell", "Who Controls eBook Rights?", and "Termination of Book & Music Publishing Copyright Contracts", and many more, all written in plain terms. This site is a "must-bookmark" for anyone in the publishing industry!
Now for the MBR Book of the Month. I used to call this feature the "Review of the Month", but I'm changing the name because the whole purpose is to spotlight an exceptional book, or a book that intelligently confronts an important social issue, such as March's selection:
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616149727, $25.00, www.prometheusbooks.com
Rare: The High-Stakes Race to Satisfy Our Need for the Scarcest Metals on Earth discusses the waning availability of precious metals on earth, what will happen when they are used up, and how, in particular, life would change if tantalum, rhodium, or niobium vanish. These metals may not be in the popular public eye or language, but they are key components of many consumer products and medical and military devices. Chapters probe chemistry, geology, the political issues involved in mining and using these minerals, and the wars that are being fought to obtain control of tungsten, tin, and others. From black market operations to blossoming demand that's placed these minerals in jeopardy, this is a power reference documenting these minerals and how they might prove game-changes in future struggles.
That's all for the March 2015 Beth Cox Report. Stay informed!
The Midwest Book Review
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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