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Jim Cox Report: January 2024
Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:
At the ripe old age of 81 it seems I'm in the process of becoming a YouTube celebrity. It all began with a Zoom interview I did some 3 years ago when I was interviewed by author and book publicist Barbara Gaughen-Muller. (https://rotaryactiongroupforpeace.org/barbara-gaughen-muller)
She put the interview up on YouTube as part of her Peace Podcast series. You can find it at:
Tracy Smoak (https://www.tracysmoak.com/index.html) is a published author, a seasoned blogger, and now a Zoom interviewer & YouTube content provider. She recently had the idea of interviewing me on the wonderful world of book reviewing, the marketing books, current trends in the publishing industry, and the Midwest Book Review.
What started out as the kind of interview I have been doing on and off for the past several decades, ended up as a series of 15 minute sessions where she asks a question and I use up another 14 minutes worth of answers.
This 15 Minute Q&A format is specifically designed by Tracy (she interviews other folks on and about writing & publishing as well) to be put up on YouTube and made available to anyone with an interest in writing, publishing, marketing, getting reviews, and becoming successful as an author and/or publisher, or interested in some other aspect of the publishing industry.
Here is a link to the first four sessions (with more to come in 2024):
Here is a link to Tracy's YouTube endeavors:
Quote of the Month:
Interlibrary loans are a wonder of the world and a glory of civilization.
Jo Walton (Winner of the 2012 Hugo Award for best SF novel)
Website of the Month:
Kim Weiss Publishing Services
Now here are reviews of some newly published books that will be of special interest and relevance to writers, publishers, and dedicated bibliophiles:
Self-Promote & Succeed
Stick Horse Publishing
9781736031513, $17.95, PB, 300pp
Synopsis: Every nonfiction author dreams of being a bestselling author, having their book flourish in the hands of eager readers. This dream hinges on a well-positioned book and a savvy understanding of marketing. Many authors feel like they have tried everything in the world of self-publishing -- launching mass press releases, designing attractive bookmarks, and attempting to run ads on Amazon. Yet the numbers crawl, the dream stalls, and the frustration mounts.
With the publication of "Self-Promote & Succeed: The No Boring Books Way to Build Your Brand, Attract Your Audience, and Market Your Non-Fiction Book", Julie Broad (the founder of Book Launchers and specialist in promoting/marketing the work of self-published authors) brings her high-energy approach and hold-nothing-back attitude in the form of a comprehensive and compelling guide to successfully self-publish. Julie champions independent authors to achieve book marketing success, revealing that the secret to success goes beyond a narrow focus on book sales. She presents a map to use your book to become an industry thought leader, bolster your personal brand, and leverage your book as a tool for business growth.
"Self-Promote & Succeed" shows how to: Architect a layered marketing strategy, optimizing every aspect of your book production and marketing, for success; Position your author brand to appeal directly to your target audience; Choose your book launch strategy from four proven methods; Enhance your book's visibility with the right pricing and keywords on platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing; Leverage speaking engagements to personally connect with readers and boost book sales.
Critique: Simply stated, if you are (or want to become) a self-published author, then "Self-Promote & Succeed: The No Boring Books Way to Build Your Brand, Attract Your Audience, and Market Your Non-Fiction Book" by seasoned and successful book marketing professional Julie Broad is the 'how-to' book for you. A compendium of information, tips, and technique, "Self-Promote & Succeed" is extraordinarily well written and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation. While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Writing/Publishing collections, it should be noted for aspiring and newly self-published authors that "Self-Promote & Succeed" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note #1: Julie Broad (www.JulieBroad.com) is the founder of self-publishing services firm Book Launchers and an Amazon Overall #1 Best Selling Author. Her popular YouTube channel BookLaunchers.TV teaches nonfiction authors how to write and market books people will want to read. An expert on writing with marketing in mind, Julie has been speaking on stages across Canada and the US since 2009, providing the best approaches to get results, make an impact, and ultimately, make more money.
Editorial Note #2: As the editor-in-chief of the Midwest Book Review I can attest personally and professionally that Julie Broad is an expert in the field of book promotions/marketing and self-published authors (and anyone who aspires to become one), should add a copy of "Self-Promote & Succeed: The No Boring Books Way to Build Your Brand, Attract Your Audience, and Market Your Non-Fiction Book" to their personal reading and instructional reference list. - Jim Cox, Midwest Book Review
How to Draw a Novel
c/o Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
9780802159304, $15.99, HC, 224pp
Synopsis: "How to Draw a Novel" is composed of a series of finely wrought essays in which, Martin Solares examines the novel in all its forms, exploring the conventions of structure, the novel as a house that one must build brick by brick, and the objects and characters that build out the world of the novel in unique and complex ways.
With poetic, graceful prose, that reflects the power of fascination with literary fiction, Solares uses line drawings to realize the ebb and flow of the novel, with Moby Dick spiraling across the page while Dracula takes the form of an erratic heartbeat. A novelist, occasional scholar, and former acquiring editor in Mexican publishing, Solares breaks out of the Anglo-American dominated canon of many craft books, ranging across Latin and South America as well.
He also considers how writers invent (or discover) their characters, the importance of place (or not) in the novel, and the myriad of forms the novel may take. Solares' passion for the form is obvious, and his insights into the construction of the novel are as profound as they are accessible.
Critique: "How to Draw a Novel" by Martin Solares is preeminently book for writers, and an important, significant, and memorable contribution to the study of the craft storytelling for aspiring authors, literary academia, and dedicated bibliophiles. Ideal as a textbook for creative writing classes and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, organization and presentation, "How to Draw a Novel" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Writing/Publishing collections. It should be noted that "How to Draw a Novel" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Martin Solares is the author of the novels Don't Send Flowers and The Black Minutes, which was a finalist for France's most prestigious award for crime fiction, the Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere, and for the distinguished Spanish-language award, the Romulo Gallegos Prize. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mart%C3%ADn_Solares)
Rise of the Reader
The Reading Revolution Publishing
9798988090922, $19.99, HC, 287pp
Synopsis: Are you devouring every personal development bestseller out there but still finding it hard to apply what you're learning to everyday life? Reading for self-improvement can be powerful as long as you're effectively implementing the right information. You can become a more successful problem solver and transform your life in as little as 15 minutes a day!
Nick Hutchison, founder of the popular book review site BookThinkers, read over 400 personal development books, but implementing their valuable lessons was tougher than just finishing the next chapter. Nick knew self-help books could help him do things like master his social anxiety and fear of public speaking, opening the doors to a successful career in business. Through trial and error, he developed an easy-to-follow framework to retain the knowledge needed to transform his life completely. Now with the publication of "Rise of the Reader: Strategies For Mastering Your Reading Habits and Applying What You Learn" he is giving you over 100 habits to implement into your own reading journey and fulfill your dreams.
With "Rise of the Reader" you will learn:
How swapping 15 minutes of social media scrolling for 15 minutes of reading can dramatically impact 20 different areas of your life.
The power of intention when it comes to choosing the right books for you and how much you retain from their knowledge.
How to avoid bias and situational advice in the self-help industry.
Methods for note-taking and information implementation.
More than 100 new habits to improve your health, wealth, and happiness.
With relatable anecdotes and engaging stories, "Rise of the Reader" will inspire and motivate you to take action and embrace the power of reading. Whether you are a student, a professional, or someone who just wants to reach their full potential, "Rise of the Reader" is your guide to self-actualization and embracing change through reading.
Critique: Original, fascinating, inspirationally motivating, "Rise of the Reader: Strategies For Mastering Your Reading Habits and Applying What You Learn" is of special interest to anyone concerned with reading as a means of memory improvement and personal transformation, While also available for in a paperback edition (9798988090908, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), "Rise of the Reader" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as professional, community, and college/university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections.
Editorial Note: Nick Hutchison (https://nickhutch.com/) is the visionary force behind BookThinkers, a company dedicated to bridging the gap between authors and readers. He hosts the popular book podcast, BookThinkers: Life Changing Books, where he chats with the authors of his favorite self-help and business publications. As a speaker and coach, he's helped thousands of people achieve their personal and professional goals through the power of positive reading. He can also be followed on Instagram: @BookThinkers
Libraries Without Borders
Steven A. Knowlton, et al.
9780838936634, $69.99, PB, 216pp
Synopsis: What does it mean for a library to be without borders?
"Libraries Without Borders: New Directions in Library History" is remarkable collection of essays, drawn from the Library History Seminar sponsored by the Library History Round Table (LHRT), explores the roles that libraries have played in the communities they serve, well beyond the stacks and circulation desk.
The research contained in these pages shows how librarians and users can not only reach beyond the border separating professionals from patrons, but also across institutional boundaries separating different specializations within the profession, and outside traditional channels of knowledge acquisition and organization.
Delving into a variety of goals, approaches, and practices, all with the intention of fostering community and providing information, this collection's fascinating topics includes:
1. A critique of library history as it is currently conducted, pointing out the borders of habit, familiarity, and bias that thwart diversity within library and information studies.
2. Stories of the community-based activism that has been key to battling the "epistemicide" that can undermine collective understandings about the world and the interests of African American library users.
3. Profiles of current Indigenous library practitioners who are both documenting and creating library history.
4. A grassroots movement to create a comprehensive collection related to the theology and practice of the Society of Mary at the time of great ecclesiastical and liturgical changes.
5. Histories of the innovations which led to the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services and the Instruction Section of ACRL.
6. Using the "due date" as a lens for understanding how patrons and the general public feel about the role of libraries and their rules in the lives of average Americans.
7. How the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act influenced the work of research libraries that collected materials from the Communist Bloc.
8. A primer on conducting research in library history that will allow readers to explore how libraries in their own communities have affected the lives of their users.
Critique: Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by the team of Steven A. Knowlton, Ellen M. Possi, Jordan S. Sly, and Emily D. Spunagule, "Libraries Without Borders: New Directions in Library History" also features an informative Foreword by Renate L. Crancelle. Exceptionally informative and impressively organized and presented, "Libraries Without Borders: New Directions in Library History" is an ideal for in-service Library Science workshops and training seminars. Of particular relevance for supplemental General Library Administration curriculum studies lists, Libraries Without Borders: New Directions in Library History" is unreservedly recommended for college and university library Informational/Library Science instructional reference collections.
Editorial Note #1: Steven A. Knowlton is Librarian for History and African American Studies at Princeton University. His research has appeared in many peer-reviewed journals, and he has served on editorial boards or as editor for numerous scholarly publications including Libraries: Culture, History, Society. He has won the Justin Winsor Library History Essay Award twice and is the recipient of prizes from the West Tennessee Historical Society and the North American Vexillological Association. His first edited book, Oscar Federhen's Thirteen Months in Dixie, or, the Adventures of a Federal Prisoner in Texas, appeared in 2022.
Editorial Note #2: Ellen M. Pozzi is an Associate Professor at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Her research interests include library history and diversity in children's and young adult literature. Her publications include "Going to 'America': Italian Neighborhoods and the Newark Free Public Library, 1900-1920" published in the edited book Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America. She is an ALA Councilor and a past chair of the Library History Round Table.
Editorial Note #3: Jordan S. Sly is the Head of the Humanities and Social Science Librarians and the librarian for Anthropology, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Digital Humanities, French, German, and Italian studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has published in the areas of library history, the extensions of critical theory in the practice of librarianship, digital humanities, and more.
Editorial Note #4: Emily D. Spunaugle is Humanities and Rare Books Librarian at Oakland University (Rochester, MI). She is published in library history and book history of the long eighteenth century and is co-director of the Marguerite Hicks Project. She has served as chair of the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association and as associate editor for SHARP News.
The Librarian's Guide to Bibliotherapy
Judit H. Ward, author
Nicholas A. Allred, author
9780838936627, $49.99, PB, 160pp
Synopsis: Bibliotherapy is a concept that can be best defined as the use of guided reading for therapeutic ends. And though you, as a librarian, might not be a licensed mental health professional, you can (and do, even without knowing it) support mental health and personal growth by connecting patrons to books that heal.
Regardless of your previous experience or existing skills, "The Librarian's Guide to Bibliotherapy" is an instructive guide that will empower you to make "shelf help" a part of your library's relationship with its community.
Drawing on Reading for Recovery (a Carnegie-Whitney grant-funded project), "The Librarian's Guide to Bibliotherapy" by co-authors Judith H. Ward and Nicholas A. Allred begins with an overview of bibliotherapy, including its concepts and history, and sketches out how its various approaches can be adapted for library settings/
It then goes on to explore the potential of bibliotherapy as an add-on to existing skills, services, practices, and collections; demonstrate how bibliotherapy-inspired initiatives can address the needs of diverse communities (thus advancing libraries' commitment to EDISJ); offer techniques for selecting reading material for your audience with bibliotherapy in mind; provide a range of possible programs ranging from group discussions and public events to book displays and reading lists, along with a step-by-step approach to planning and implementing them.
"The Librarian's Guide to Bibliotherapy" also shares outreach tips, tools, and branding ideas to make the most of your resources and effectively reach your audience; demonstrates how to use assessment tools to test and tweak your program at every stage to achieve the results you want; and inspires you to take your offerings into new directions, such as creative writing and visual art programs, that fit your library and community.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Librarian's Guide to Bibliotherapy provides a complete and comprehensive course of instruction and is an ideal and unreservedly recommended textbook for in-service training programs and supplemental Library Science curriculum studies lists. Every personal, professional, community/academic library, library system, college or university Library Science collection should include a copy "The Librarian's Guide to Bibliotherapy".
Editorial Note #1: Judit H. Ward is a Science Librarian at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. In addition to providing reference, teaching library research, and hosting outreach programs, she promotes reading for mental health and wellness. In her previous position as the Director of Information Services at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies she developed "Reading for Recovery," a bibliotherapy-inspired tool for people grappling with addiction as the recipient of an ALA Carnegie-Whitney Award in 2014. She has presented her research and practice related to guided reading from the librarian's perspective both nationally and internationally. She is the author or co-author of over 150 articles and seven books, including two bibliotherapy readers in her native Hungarian. She received her MLIS from Rutgers, after earning a PhD in Linguistics and an MA in English and Hungarian Literature and Linguistics from the University of Debrecen, Hungary.
Princeton University Press
9780691135199, $35.00, HC, 384pp
Synopsis: Why do books have chapters? With this seemingly simple question, and with the publication of "The Chapter: A Segmented History from Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century", Professor Nicholas Dames embarks on a literary journey spanning two millennia, revealing how an ancient editorial technique became a universally recognized component of narrative art and a means to register the sensation of time.
Professor Dames begins with the textual compilations of the Roman world, where chapters evolved as a tool to organize information. He goes on to discuss the earliest divisional systems of the Gospels and the segmentation of medieval romances, describing how the chapter took on new purpose when applied to narrative texts and how narrative segmentation gave rise to a host of aesthetic techniques.
Professor Dames also shares engaging and in-depth readings of influential figures, from Sterne, Goethe, Tolstoy, and Dickens to George Eliot, Machado de Assis, B. S. Johnson, Agnes Varda, Uwe Johnson, Jennifer Egan, and Laszlo Krasznahorkai. He illuminates the sometimes tacit, sometimes dramatic ways in which the chapter became a kind of reckoning with time and a quiet but persistent feature of modernity.
Ranging from ancient tablets and scrolls to contemporary fiction and film, "The Chapter" provides a compelling, elegantly written history of a familiar compositional mode that readers often take for granted and offers a new theory of how this versatile means of dividing narrative sculpts our experience of time.
Critique: A simply fascinating history of the literary invention of the chapter from its origins in antiquity to today, "The Chapter: A Segmented History from Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century" is an original work of meticulous scholarship and of immense interest to students of the evolutionary history of literature down through the millennia to the present day. Highly recommended as a unique contribution to personal, professional, community, and college/university library collections, it should be noted for students, academia, historians, and dedicated bibliophiles that "The Chapter" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.25).
Editorial Note: Nicholas Dames (https://nicholasdames.org/) is the Theodore Kahan Professor of Humanities at Columbia University and an editor in chief of Public Books. He is the author of The Physiology of the Novel: Reading, Neural Science, and the Form of Victorian Fiction and Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and British Fiction, 1810-1870.
"The Midwest Book Review Postage Stamp Hall Of Fame & Appreciation" is a monthly 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 to our postage stamp fund this past month:
Joanne W. Small
Samar Reine -- "First Sons and Last Daughters"
Joe Landwehr -- "Astrology in the Era of Uncertainty"
Kay DiBianca -- "Lacey's Star: A Lady Pilot-in-Command Novel"
Elizabeth Frazier -- Waldmania! PR
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] aol.com (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 www.midwestbookreview.com/bookbiz/jimcox.htm. 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!
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James A. Cox
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