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Jim Cox Report: October 2016
Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:
I want to lead off with a profound thank you to all the folk who responded to my announcement last month of the 40th Anniversary of the Midwest Book Review. One of the things that keeps me going is the generous appreciation and support from so many, many people who feel like what we try to accomplish here in behalf of authors and small press publishers is so worth while. Thank you one and all!
Too many aspiring authors and novice publishers treat the enterprise of writing and publishing as a kind of hobby. Those folk are pretty much doomed to fail unless they come to understand that being a professional writer and/or a professional publisher is a business. A literary business to be sure but a business like any other in that you have to have a revenue income that is higher than your expenses. Otherwise you will face the end of your business as illustrated by such unhappy consequences as bounced checks, a stack of overdue and unpayable bills, and eventual bankruptcy.
Learning the basics of how to operate your writing career or your publishing house as a profitable business isn't all that hard. You don't have to reinvent any wheels. All you have to do is a little homework and learn how a business operates by reading a few good 'how to' books on the subject. One of the best of these is a newly published instructional manual called "Bootstraping 101".
Here's is my review:
9780578024134, $19.95, PB, 188pp, www.amazon.com
Bob Reiss has been involved in 16 start-up companies. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Business School. His company R&R/Valdawn was named to the INC 500 list of America's fastest growing companies three years in a row. Two of his companies have been the subjects of Harvard Business School cases. One of the cases is included in this book to show real life Bootstrapping. He is a frequent speaker to Entrepreneurship classes at many of the major business schools. In "Bootstrapping 101: Tips to Build Your business with Limited Cash and Free Outside Help" he draws upon his years of experience and expertise to write one of the best introductory 'how to' books on being an entrepreneur on a 'shoestring/no-string' budget. "Bootstrapping 101" is specifically designed to help novice small business owners improve their odds of success in any highly competitive business environment. "Bootstrapping 101" shows entrepreneurs how to grow their business with less money than they thought they needed and steers them to free quality advice. His tips are based on practical experience in the trenches. Topics covered in the book include: Cash Free Ideas on Barter, Publicity Advertising, Internet, Selling, Outsourcing, Networking, Factors; Acquiring and Keeping Customers; Places to Find Free Quality Help; Maximizing Profits through Correct Pricing; Creating and Understanding a Cash Flow Statement; Non-traditional Ways to Get Money; Key Factors for Entrepreneurial Success. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Bootstrapping 101" will prove to be an enduringly valued, practical, and thoroughly 'user friendly' instruction manual that should be considered a 'must read' for anyone venturing into any form of business endeavor for the first time. While absolutely and enthusiastically recommended for community, college, and university library business instructional reference collections, it should be noted for students and the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject that "Bootstrapping 101" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.95).
You'll find reviews for a rather impressive number of other 'how to' books for operating a writing/publishing enterprise on a 'show string' or 'no-string' budget at:
One piece of practical advice -- jot down the titles of 3 or 4 'how to' books you'll find on operating a successful writing and/or publishing business from this book review archive of mine. Then take that list to your local public library and have them get them for you through their free Interlibrary Loan System. Then read those books with paper and pencil at hand to jot down the ideas, tips, trick and techniques you'll discover. Should you find a book that you simply must have for a permanent reference then you can go to that publishers web site, or Amazon.com and purchase it.
Now on to some more current reviews of new titles that I recommend in my monthly "The Writing/Publishing Shelf" book review column:
The Writing/Publishing Shelf
I'm Published! Now What?
Jeffrey S. Copeland
3600 Labore Road, Suite 1, St. Paul, MN 55110-4144
9781557789198, $18.95, PB, 286pp, www.amazon.com
Every year there are dozens of writer workshops and hundreds of academic classes in creative writing -- none of which touch upon what aspiring authors should do after their books have been written and published. "I'm Published! Now What?" by Jeffrey S. Copeland (the successful other of numerous books and a Professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Northern Iowa, where he teaches courses in literature and English Education) is practical guide to conducting successful book readings, events, and promotions will help authors (and their publishers) to understand and navigate the shifting sands of the publishing world. Practical and 'real world based', "I'm Published! Now What?" is thoroughly 'user friendly' guide that will thoroughly demystify book marketing and prepare authors (and their publishers) to work effectively with bookstore event coordinators. Copeland quite correctly points out that the best friends an author can have are inside bookstores. Drawing upon his own years of experience and expertise, Copeland also shares what to do after events to maximize and build upon success. If an author and/or their publisher has time for only one "how to" book on developing effective marketing strategies and plans, the would be well advised to make it "I'm Published! Now What?"! While unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for community, college, and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of novice (and even established) authors that "I'm Published! Now What?" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.95).
Information Today, Inc.
143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055-8750
9781573875318, $49.50, PB, 244pp, www.amazon.com
Editors who work directly with academic researchers, helping to make their draft manuscripts suitable for publication in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, refer to themselves as authors editors. As a profession, author editing has been around for more than a half-century, but its role in research communication is often underappreciated and sometimes misunderstood. In "Editing Research: The Author Editing Approach to Providing Effective Support to Writers of Research Papers", authors editor and former researcher Valerie Matarese documents the history of author editing and illustrates through interviews with experienced editors the varied ways in which these language professionals support researchers in their efforts to publish. "Editing Research" fills a void in the historical record of academic publishing and provides an up-to-date account of how authors editors facilitate research communication and contribute to good publication practice. Enhanced with the inclusion of figures, tables, sidebars, a twenty-page listing of references, two pages of abbreviations, and an eleven page index, "Editing Research" is an exceptional, highly recommended, and absolutely practical addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections.
MLA Handbook, eighth edition
The Modern Language Association of America
26 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10004-1789
9781603292627, $12.00, PB, 146pp, www.amazon.com
The Modern Language Association is the preeminent authority on research and writing, Now in a fully updated and significantly revised eighth edition, The "MLA Handbook" takes a fresh look at documenting sources. Works are published today in a dizzying range of formats. A book, for example, may be read in print, online, or as an e-book -- or perhaps listened to in an audio version. On the Web, modes of publication are regularly invented, combined, and modified. Previous editions of the MLA Handbook provided separate instructions for each format, and additional instructions were required for new formats. In this groundbreaking eighth edition of its instruction manual, the MLA recommends instead one universal set of guidelines, which writers can apply to any type of source. Shorter and redesigned for easy use, this eighth edition of the MLA Handbook deftly guides writers through the principles behind evaluating sources for their research. It then shows them how to cite sources in their writing and create useful entries for the works-cited list. Simply stated, any writer and editor working in any format should have a copy of this newly published eighth edition of the "MLA Handbook" as a core part of their personal reference library as well as every community or academic library's "Writing/Publishing" instructional reference collection!
Julie A. Gerber & Carole P. Roman
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781537228068, $12.99, PB, 146pp, www.amazon.com
Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of forty books. Julie A. Gerber is the founder of Away We Go Media, a social media management and consulting firm for authors. In "Navigating Indieworld: A Beginner's Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing Your Books" Roman and Gerber effectively collaborative to provide a complete course of step-by-step instructions for self-publishing authors on how to be financially successful and create/reach as large a customer base for their books as possible. Of special note is the inclusion of a Directory that features a listing of resources for Blogs & Websites; Book Tours; Book Trailers; Communities & Social Media; Covers; Formatting Services & Tutorials; Illustrators & Agencies; Marketing Services; Photo Editing; Publications; Radio; Reference Books; Voice Artists. It should be noted that the Midwest Book Review is twice cited resource. The information is as sound as it is practical, the tone is thoroughly 'user friendly', the organization and presentation are excellent. Simply stated, "Navigating Indieworld" should be considered a 'must read' for anyone considering or already engaged in self-publishing. It should be noted that "Navigating Indieworld" is also available in a Kindle format ($2.99).
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781632863058, $26.00, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com
A prizewinning scholar and academician, Mark Edmundson is on the faculty of the University of Virginia. In "Why Write?: A Master Class on the Art of Writing and Why it Matters", Professor Edmundson tackles the critically important question that every writer, author, and novelist struggles with at some point in their literary careers in this day and age. Why write when it sometimes feels that so few people really read -- read as if their lives might be changed by what they're reading? Why write, when the world wants to be informed, not enlightened; to be entertained, not inspired? Writing is backbreaking, mindbreaking, lonely work. So why do it? Because writing, as Professor Edmundson explains, is one of the greatest human goods. Writing teaches us to think; it can bring our minds to birth. And once we're at home with words, there are few more pleasurable human activities than writing. Because this is something Professor Edmundson believes everyone ought to know he has created an effectively persuasive defense in behalf of essential reading (both practical and inspiring) for anyone who yearns to be a writer, anyone who simply needs to know how to get an idea across, and anyone else who finds themselves having or wanting to put pen to paper. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Why Write" is a consistently compelling read from beginning to end and very highly recommended for community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections. For the personal reading lists of students, aspiring writers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject, it should be noted that "Why Write" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).
The Mindful Writer
Dinty W. Moore
199 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781614290070, $12.95, HC, 152pp, www.amazon.com
Dinty W. Moore is a professor at Ohio University, where he directs the graduate program in creative writing. A highly regarded and active figure on the literary scene, Moore is often invited to speak and teach writing workshops nationally and internationally. He has published several books of fiction and nonfiction, including two books on the craft of writing. "The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life" by Professor Moore is not a typical "how to write" book, rather it is an illumination of the creative process: where writing and creativity originate, including how mindfulness plays into work, how to cultivate good writing habits, how to grow as a writer and a person, and what it means to live a life dedicated to the craft of writing. Inherently fascinating, absolutely practical, and creatively inspiring, "The Mindful Writer" will prove to be of enduring benefit for novice writers and established professionals alike. While unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for students, aspiring writers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Mindful Writer" is also available in a paperback edition (9781614293521, $9.95) and in a Kindle format ($6.99).
The Librarianís Guide to Book Programs and Author Events
c/o American Library Association
50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611
9780838913840, $55.00, PB, 135pp, www.amazon.com
From hosting authors to planning and coordinating book activities such as book signings and book clubs, libraries are perfect venues for readers to interact directly with authors and their books. And mounting literary programming can be relatively easy and straight forward with the help of Booklist's Brad Hooper' "The Librarianís Guide to Book Programs and Author Events" which comprehensively covers how to provide a wide range of programming that targets a librarian's specific community of book lovers. "The Librarianís Guide to Book Programs and Author Events" includes step-by-step guidance adaptable to any type of audience, from children and teens to millennials and older adults; shows how to plan author readings, coordinate book signings, and put together and moderate an author panel; offers marketing and outreach pointers, including interviewing authors for local radio, library podcasts, or webinars; lays out the nuts-and-bolts of organizing and hosting book clubs, with suggestions for facilitating book group discussions; presents ideas for creating displays of staff favorites and other ways to get staff involved and engaged; and explores programs for community-wide book events, such as 'One Book, One City' programs Using this practical and thoroughly 'user friendly' guide, community libraries can connect book lovers eager to learn about recent and noteworthy books to authors and fellow book lovers. "The Librarianís Guide to Book Programs and Author Events" is also very highly recommended and informative reading for writers and publishers wanting to create author lectures and signing events as a means of marketing their books to libraries.
The Author's Apprentice
480 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3451
9781571109415, $33.33, PB, 242pp, www.amazon.com
Whether it's a creative writing class in school or a writer's workshop retreat in some idylic setting for contemplation and conversation, aspiring writers of all ages, but especially young writers, will profit immensely from "The Author's Apprentice: Developing Writing Fluency, Stamina, and Motivation Through Authentic Publication" by Vicki Meigs-Kahlenberg, who draws upon her many years of experience and expertise as an educational consultant who collaborates with teachers and young writers in classroom settings to create this outstanding instruction manual and guide. In this complete course of instruction under one cover, Vicki reinvents the writerís workshop using an authentic and engaging ďapprenticeshipĒ approach that is based on the writing advice of middle grades and young adult authors students are currently reading. "The Authorís Apprentice" provides a year long planning guide, weekly writing challenges, ideas for publication possibilities, step-by-step lesson plans, and hundreds of author quotes to motivate student learning. The ideas and lessons in this book are not a quick and easy journey, but becoming a better writer (and ultimately a published author) never is. Impressively well constructed, exceptionally well organized and presented, "The Author's Apprentice" is especially recommended for elementary school writing students in grades 4 to 8, as well as having substantial and practical value for aspiring writers of any age or background.
From the Errors of Others
Rebecca M. Lyles
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480828476, $42.95, HC, 394pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "From the Errors of Others: How to Avoid Embarrassing Mistakes in Writing and Speaking" is an informative collection of crisp, witty, and slyly informative essays for grownups with a sense of humor by technical writer and editor Rebecca M. Lyles. The focus is on communication including the good, the bad, and the patently bizarre. "From the Errors of Others" is as entertaining a read as it is informed and informative as aspiring writers and speakers learn how to: keep a professional tone; avoid awkward writing and speech habits; communicate clearly without being pretentious; detect deception; and use a writing comfort zone.
Critique: Impressively well written, organized and presented, "From the Errors of Others: How to Avoid Embarrassing Mistakes in Writing and Speaking" is an extraordinary compendium of insight, experience, advice, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' commentary. While very highly recommended for community and academic library Writing & Speaking instructional and reference collections, it should be noted for students, aspiring writers, novice speakers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "From the Errors of Others" is also available in a paperback edition (9781480828469, $23.99) and in a Kindle format ($3.99).
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:
Nanette L. Avery
Alex Tully -- "Hope for Garbage"
William Garcia -- "Now O'Clock"
Richard Arbib -- "The Vampire Girl in London"
Susana Gordon -- "My Turn: Women Speak Out"
Pratap C. Singhal -- "One Solution to Many Diseases"
Shiona 'Shi' Curry -- "SNAC it Up Cookbook with Shi"
David & Joan Vokac -- "Carmel, Monterey & Pactific Grove"
Terri A. Demitchell -- "Chelsea Creek to Bunker Hill: Spring 1775"
Rouse house LLC
Joyce Rouse -- Earth Mama Music
Linda Purpura -- Minted Prose, LLC
Marjorie Lesko -- The Part-Time Press
Kitty Foth-Regner -- Everlasting Place
Leslie Brooks -- Love Incarnate Books
Sneed B. Collard III -- Bucking Horse Books
Elizabeth Cauthorn - Material Media, LLC
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Barbara Wall -- The Barrett Company Communications
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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