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Jim Cox Report: December 2015

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

Last month the publishing industry lost Dan Poynter, a truly great man who influenced self-publishing as almost no one else could or did. I received the following request from Karen Villanueva of Karen Villanueva Author Services and want to share my response.

In a message dated 11/5/2015 3:46:13 P.M. Central Standard Time:

Dear Jim:

Would you be open to writing a brief memorial notice about Dan Poynter that NMBA could copy and use in our Flash News newsletter and in Libro our online newsletter? You knew Dan in a way most of us did not and we would be happy to post your byline and notice, should you wish to do this.

Just a thought,

Karen V.
NMBA President

Dear Karen:

I've never written a memorial notice before but I'm happy to give it a try.

Dan Poynter Memorial Notice:

Most folk know Dan Poynter because of his work in promoting self-publishing as a viable alternative for authors or through his self-published book Parachuting: The Skydiver’s Handbook. But I knew him in a very different context with respect to the business of publishing.

In September of 1976, I started my career as a book reviewer with a little half-hour weekly radio show in Madison, Wisconsin. I became responsible for soliciting review copies of books from authors and publishers. It was in those first few months of my learning about the publishing industry and how it worked that I first became aware of Dan Poynter.

If memory serves, some 39 years ago, I wrote to him asking if he had any advice relevant to my being a reviewer of self-published books and indicated that I meant to give priority to self-published authors whenever possible as a way to distinguish the Midwest Book Review from other book review organizations and publications. I received an immediate and very positive response from Dan who sent me a great deal of instructive material about self-publishing – including the business of marketing and promotion. That latter, Dan indicated, was where the province of book reviewers was particularly relevant.

Over the years, I had occasional contact with him and was privileged to review the various editions of his famed Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book. It was in those early months of my mastering the art of book reviewing and my learning the nuts and bolts of operating a book review as its editor-in-chief that his unflagging advice and support laid the groundwork of what went from being a weekly half-hour
radio book review program to a two-hour weekly broadcast, to a weekly half-hour television show that went on for 21 years, to the major online book review resource for self-published authors and small presses today that is the Midwest Book Review.

So the Midwest Book Review as an asset for the self-published author is yet another of Dan Poynter’s legacies. It is quite fair to say that if there had been no Dan Poynter back then, there quite likely would be no Midwest Book Review today.

Finally, it was Dan Poynter and his Ebook Publishers Association that flew me to Santa Barbara, California, in 2012 to receive a Lifetime Achievement in Publishing Award – the only time in 39 years that I would meet my mentor in person to shake his hand and thank him yet again for all the help, support, and inspiration that he had given me. He was truly one-of-a-kind and will be sorely missed.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

By the way, let me give a plug for Karen's NMBA which stands for the New Mexico Book Association. Founded in 1994 their web site address is The NMBA is the only statewide nonprofit that I'm aware of that serves all book professionals. They are passionate book people who have come together through their common interests to preserve, protect, and promote the book in all its forms. Their members include book creators, writers, editors, publishers, publicists, marketing professionals, illustrators, librarians, booksellers, book designers, typesetters, printers, literacy advocates, agents, reviewers, and avid readers.

Now, on to reviews of some exceptional titles about writing and publishing:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Stop Talking & Start Writing Your Book
Terrance Zepke
Safari Publishing
PO Box 4881, Greensboro, NC 27404
9780990765332 $9.95 pbk / $0.99 Kindle

Terrance Zepke, award-winning author of twenty-eight fiction and nonfiction books, and co-host of "A Writer's Jouney" podcast, shares his wisdom in Stop Talking & Start Writing Your Book, a no-nonsense guide for writers of all skill and experience levels, from aspirant to seasoned professional. Chapters outline nine different ways to write a book, keys to writing nonfiction or crafting a breakout novel, guidelines for dealing with common distractions and writer's block, the role of "beta readers" and editors, and much more. "Pacing is how you control the flow of information given to the reader and often depends on the genre. For example, in a cozy mystery there better be a murder within the first few pages. In historical fiction, the pacing can be more leisurely. No matter what kind of book you're writing, you don't want to go so fast as to leave readers confused or disoriented." An excellent, user-friendly resource, Stop Talking & Start Writing Your Book lives up to its title! Also highly recommended are Zepke's additional guides to the writing and publishing process, "Stop Talking and Start Publishing Your Book" (9780990765356, $9.95 pbk / $4.99 Kindle) and "Stop Talking and Start Selling Your Book" (9780990765370, $9.95 pbk / $4.99 Kindle).

Guide To Literary Agents 2016
Chuck Sambuchino, editor
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
10151 Carver Road, Suite 200, Blue Ash, OH 45242
9781599639406, $29.99,

A literary agent represents writers and their written works to publishers, theatrical producers, film producers and film studios, and assists in the sale and deal negotiation of the same. Literary agents most often represent novelists, screenwriters and non-fiction writers. They are paid a fixed percentage (usually twenty percent on foreign sales and ten to fifteen percent for domestic sales) of the proceeds of sales they negotiate on behalf of their clients. It is exceptionally difficult for new authors to have their books published by the larger publishing houses without the assistance of a literary agent. Now in a fully updated fifth edition, "Guide to Literary Agents 2016: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published" is a 332 page compendium covers every aspect of what a literary agent is responsible for, how to contact and select an appropriate literary agent, and a roster of roster of literary agents currently available. Of special note is the Glossary of Industry Terms and Chuck Sambuchine's New Agent Spotlights. Featuring hundreds of listings for literary agents and writing conferences, as well as including a one-year access to the literary agent database at, this 25th annual edition of the "Guide to Literary Agents 2016" should be considered an essential reference resource for all aspiring authors and will prove to be an invaluable aide for even the experienced author. No community or academic library Writing/Publishing reference collection should be without a copy of the "Guide to Literary Agents 2016". For individual authors it should be noted that the "Guide to Literary Agents 2016" is also available in a Kindle edition ($16.19).

Questions Writers Ask
Karen Speerstra
Robert D. Reed Publishers
PO Box 1992, 1380 Face Rock Drive, Bandon, OR 97411
9781934759325 $16.95 pbk / $8.99 Kindle

Now available in a Kindle edition as well as paperback, Questions Writers Ask: Wise, Whimsical, and Witty Answers from the Pros offers nearly 6,000 quotations from a vast diversity of professional writers from a diversity of backgrounds. Offering pithy answers to common questions ranging from "What do I do about writer's block?" to "How do you handle criticism?", "Do you have a writing method?" and much more, these quotes are insightful, invaluable, and simply fascinating to browse. Highly recommended! "If my doctor told me I only had six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood; I'd type a little faster. -Isaac Asimov."

Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors
Kim Staflund
Polished Publishing Group
9780994043511 $14.99

Calgary Herald bestselling author Kim Staflund presents Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors, a user-friendly guide packed with tips, tricks, and techniques for self-published and trade published authors alike. Chapters offer practical advice and tested strategies for marketing audiobooks, ebooks, paperbacks, and hardcovers. From making the most of blogs, twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, and pay-per-click advertising, to promote one's book, to the dynamics of price-based marketing versus value-based marketing, to redirecting traffic to one's storefront using book reviews (both paid and unpaid), and much more, Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors is a "must-have" for every author. Highly recommended.

Writing a Research Paper: Quick and Easy Guide, third edition
Anna Georgantonis Keah
The Educational Publisher
1313 Chesapeake Avenue, Columbus, OH 43212
9781622490196, $8.95, 94pp,

Now in a fully updated and expanded third edition, "Writing a Research Paper: Quick and Easy Guide" by Anna Georgantonis Keah continues to be an excellent and affordable resource to use in teaching the research process. Professor Keah has taught at the college level for 21 years and clearly knows how to reach students. She writes a sample research paper in the latest MLA and APA styles taking students through the entire process in ten simple steps, from choosing a topic to the final edit. From a teacher's perspective, this instruction guide for students will save on a teacher's grading time because the students will have less stylistic errors. In addition, "Writing a Research Paper: Quick and Easy Guide" offers an organized approach to presenting the research process to students and is a good back-up to lectures. Professor Keah emphasizes form, grammar and thorough editing fostering quality work from students. Sample research topics are thought-provoking, which makes grading interesting, and the MLA and APA formats are well-presented. From the student's view, "by Anna Georgantonis Keah" presents a step-by-step process that will guide him or her to completion as Professor Keah goes through the process with them. The mind map hones critical thinking skills in their chosen topics, the outline organizes them and makes them accountable for their subject matter, and the sample research papers give students a pattern to follow. Finally, Professor Keah's motivational approach encourages students along the way to write a successful research paper. With this concise guide, students will write well-organized and thorough research papers, which, for the teacher, are fun to grade and exciting to read! Spiral bound and also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99), "Writing a Research Paper: Quick and Easy Guide" is an ideal instruction guide and highly recommended for classroom students and non-specialist readers who aspire to write (and have published) research papers regardless of the subject matter their research involves.

A Bushwhacker's Guide to Academic Writing
Michael Olendzenski
The Educational Publisher
1313 Chesapeake Avenue, Columbus, OH 43212
9781622491780, $19.95, 159pp,

"A Bushwhacker's Guide to Academic Writing" is the result of Michael Olendzenski's education (BA and MA, McGill; Ph.D. Florida) and his twenty-five-plus years of experience as an instructor of First-Year Composition courses. The book presents a narrative account of the rhetoric of academic writing and a thorough examination of the linguistics of English. The author takes exception to the shortcomings of typical English handbooks, and offers instead this sharply focused, readable guided journey down the path that he has bushwhacked for those who are learning or teaching academic writing. As informed and informative as it is thoroughly 'reader friendly' in both presentation and application, "A Bushwhacker's Guide to Academic Writing" is especially recommended for both community and academic library Writing/Publisher reference collections and supplemental studies lists. For personal reading lists for aspiring academic writers, it should be noted that "A Bushwhacker's Guide to Academic Writing" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

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:

Jack Langedijk -- "because"
Tessa Dawn -- "Dragons Realm"
Dawn Davis -- "The Tree of Life"
Val Smalkin -- "Springtime Dance"
Helen Currie Foster -- "Ghost Dog"
Andrew Hunt -- "The Salamanders"
Eric Miller -- "18 Wheels of Horror"
Lee D. Anderson -- "The Iron Bridge"
Ben Broeren -- "A Racket in the Burbs"
Azmaira H. Maker -- "Family Changes"
Susan Wolff -- "Quackers Wants to Fly"
Rob Couteau -- "Portraits from the Revolution"
Harry Silverstein -- "Let's Make Money Honey"
Tony Rose -- "America: The Black Point of View"
Donald W. Kruse -- "Jasper and the Haunted House!"
Anime Vendor -- "Selling to Heroes, Villains and Geeks"
Reg Down -- "The Seven Saws of Speedy Weedy and Mosey Dawdle"
Valerie Christopher -- "I Am Not a Minority! I'm Part of the Majority!"
Christine Walters -- "Ginny and Me: Reflections of What God Can Do"
Gary Stewart -- Cold Run Books
Teri Brown -- Crary Publications
Nan Wisherd -- Cable Publishing
A. R. Neurath -- Neurath Publishing
Jerome Tiller -- Art Write Productions
Nigel J. Yorwerth -- Yorwerth Associates LLC
John R. Guevin -- Biographical Publishing Company
Barbara C. Wall -- The Barrett Company
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!

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]

(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 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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