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Jim Cox Report: December 2012

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

I've added the article "5 Common Myths About Self-Publishing Books" to our website section called "Advice for Writers & Publishers". The link is

Here's an informative Q&A via email:

Re: Submitting Book for Review

When do you know they've reviewed your book and see a copy of it? For example, if I give a four-month "heads-up" to reviewers and plan to bring my book out the last week of March, when would I get the reviews and be able to decide if they are usable for pr purposes (inc. on the cover and at Amazon)?

Thanks again for sharing your expertise and experience (oh, and will they feel 12 weeks advance is enough? 4 months is very long.)

Alison Jones

Dear Alison:

With respect to Midwest Book Review, when a book is reviewed we automatically send a copy of that review accompanied by a notification letter to the publisher. It is then the publisher's responsibility to notify their authors, editors, illustrators, publicists, and anyone else they deem appropriate.

In the case of the self-published author, they are the one who gets that info.

In the case of the POD published author -- it's hit or miss, depending on your contract.

Pre-publication reviews (e.g., Publishers Weekly, Library Journal) require 3 to 4 months prior to the publication date and do not accept published titles.

In the case of Post-publication reviews (e.g. Midwest Book Review, television talk shows) the published book is required with no attention paid to publication dates. The criteria is that when a book is submitted for review it must be in print and available to the reading public.

All book reviews have their own policies. You have to ask them specifically what their particular timelines and author/publisher notification policies are.

When a book is reviewed by the Midwest Book Review in any of our nine monthly book review publications, we automatically send out a copy of that review and a notification letter to the publisher. It is then the publisher's responsibility to notify their authors, editors, illustrators, publicists, and anyone else they deem appropriate.

With respect to reviews generated by the Midwest Book Review, publishers have automatic permission to utilize the review in any manner they deem useful as part of their publicity and marketing campaigns.

The 12 to 14 week "window of opportunity" for a book to receive a review from the Midwest Book Review refers to a time frame that begins when the book passes our initial screening.

As a post-publication review, the Midwest Book Review only accepts published titles for review. Unlike pre-publication reviews (such as Publishers Weekly or The Library Journal) we pay no attention to publication dates. Our requirement is that when a book is submitted for review it must be in print and available to the reading public.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

This one has to do with reviewing second editions:

Subject: Carolyn Howard-Johnson -- 2nd Edition Reviews

Thank you for this input. It will help me a great deal. I've been thinking about transferring a few of the review for my first edition of The Frugal Book Promoter to the page of my second. Now I know I can. Now I am thinking about the ethics of that. What do you think?

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Dear Carolyn:

As an author/publisher you have the right to utilize any reviews you've received in exchange for a gratis review copy from that author/publisher in any manner you deem useful. That includes using reviews of 1st editions for promoting 2nd or 3rd etc. editions.

My personal advice is to furnish those reviewers who did those cited reviews on your first edition to be offered your 2nd edition for review just in case they wished to update or otherwise modify their reviews of your work.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Finally, I thought I'd top of the year with a representative "Thank You" that when they arrive in my email box truly make my day -- clean into the next year!

Subject: Thank you and please sign me up
Date: 5/9/2012 3:22:15 P.M. Central Daylight Time

Hi Jim,

I just wanted to thank you for the work you do. I keep coming back to your site and seriously appreciate the wealth of information you provide. I also appreciate your tone and candor.

When I decided to self-publish my book, I spent months researching the self-publishing industry and learning as much as I could about what to do and not do. I have a long way to go, but my general feeling at this point is that most of what is out there is, at best, redundant.

Even though I have already submitted my book for review by MBR, I find myself returning again and again. The site is an invaluable resource.

In response to your May report, I am curious whether or not Amazon is not publishing your reviews based on the deal they might have with Kirkus. Authors who print with CreateSpace get a substantially discounted price for Kirkus reviews and I wouldn't be surprised if there is an agreement in place.

As an indie, I am both frustrated by and extremely grateful for Amazon. It is the one place where I am not penalized by my choice to self-publish. The customer reviews and distribution capabilities have enabled my book to sell fairly well in the few months since its release. At the same time, Amazon's domination of the market is deadly for small business.

From where I sit, the system is broken across all spectrums. Bookstores, distributors and publishers/authors need to come up with a new model. Have you heard of Back to The Books? It is a new bookstore in Manitou Springs, CO completely dedicated to independent authors. The store bypasses distributors, big houses, and Amazon. It gets authors to promote each other and provides a bricks and mortar location for their books. It is an interesting concept and I, for one, hope it works.

How many stamps do you need?

All the best and thanks again. What you are doing matters.

Destiny Allison
(505) 930-4821

Here is a reviews on a title of interest to writers, publishers, and the occasional bibliophile:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Writing Skills for Public Relations, fifth edition
John Foster
Kogan Page USA
1518 Walnut Street, Suite 1100
Philadelphia, PA 19102
9780749465438 $37.50

Writing Skills for Public Relations: Style and Technique for Mainstream and Social Media is a practical-minded guide to effective communication for PR students, professionals, and anyone else who needs to represent themselves or their business. Chapters cover how to avoid boring cliches and jargon that will fly over the heads of lay readers, style and content crafting of press releases, how to use social media to maximum advantage, public speaking and speech writing, legal issues that challenge writers, and much more. "Although copyright is automatically acquired immediately a work is written (or recorded in some other form such as on tape or computer disk) and there is no formal registration as such, it is advisable to establish evidence of the completion of the work, says the Society of Authors. One way of doing this is to deposit a copy of the script with a bank and get a dated receipt for it." Writing Skils for Public Relations is an absolute "must-have" not only for those in the PR field, but also for any small business owner responsible for getting the word out on their enterprise - especially in the modern age when social media has become an inexpensive and invaluable publicity tool!

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:

Ben L. Walton
Joyce Blonskij
Weston Blelock
M. A. Kirkwood
Mark Rayner (PayPal donation)
George Pica -- "Blueboy"
Kevin Darne -- "My Cat Won't Bark!"
Susan Alcorn -- "Patagonia Chronicle"
Glenn Ickler -- "A Carnival Of Killing"
Christine Nolfi -- "Second Chance Grill"
Yil Karademir -- "Smart - Stupid Nation"
Rainey Mane Highly -- "The Water Code"
Christine M. Grote -- "Dancing In Heaven"
Vanita Oelschlager -- "Silent Is The Mapie"
Jerry Jaffe -- "One More Time, Jennie Darling"
Danny & Sandra Welch -- "Unruffled Courage"
Dahlyn McKowen -- "Not Your Mother's Book"
C. Robert Tower -- "The Adventures of Zack Gentry"
Linda Laird -- "The American Grain Elevator: Function & Form"
Eno Publishers
Bodies To Go Now
Diamond Valley Company
Don Monopoli Productions
Jim Wygant -- Lycetta Press
Janet Hill -- Raven Publishing
Pam Glenn -- Class Action Ink
Joan West -- Fireside Publications
Kristin Mitchell -- Little Creek Press
Sonja Linsley -- Higher Ground Press
Jerry D. Ward -- Del Cerro Publishing
Carol Denbow -- Plain & Simple Books
Patrika Vaughn -- A Cappela Publishing
Susan Daniel -- Daniel & Daniel Publishers
Don Bracken -- History Publishing Company
Mary-Kathryne Steele -- Wisdom Tales Press
Murdock Malone -- AfterThought Publications
Margaret A. Harrell -- Saeculum University Press
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Erin Pankowski -- Concierge Marketing/Publishing Services

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!

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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