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Jim Cox Report: December 2017

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

I was for many years an Acquisitions Consultant for the 12 or so library systems that back then comprised the South Central Wisconsin region that included Dane, Rock, and Green Counties. Plus one of the targeted audiences for the Midwest Book Review monthly book review publications were, from the very beginning, community, college, and university library systems. So connecting self-published authors and small press publishers to the library market has always been something of a special interest to me.

For this month's column I want to focus on a specific tool for marketing books to community and academic libraries. I'm going to assume that you have already crafted a good marketing kit and what you need now is mailing/contact lists for school, public, college, university, corporate, institutional, and governmental libraries.

A few weeks back I received the following email:

In a message dated 10/13/2017 1:30:54 P.M. Central Daylight Time, Lynn Sanders writes:

Hi Jim

Wonderful news! Remember my children’s book -- “Dancing With Tex: The Remarkable Friendship To Save The Whooping Cranes?” ( Well, on September 28th, The Illinois Conservation Foundation honored me with “The 2017 Conservation Author of the Year” for raising environmental awareness from my book.

Attached is their press release, and the lyrics to an original song that I composed for my book presentations, “Keep Your Dreams Alive.” This article was also just published...

I’m wondering if you could give me advice about getting this book into the Wisconsin libraries. There is one copy at the Breadloaf Bookstore in Lake Geneva, and a few Wild Birds Unlimited stores are carrying the book. Do you have a list of local Wisconsin libraries? My book is also now listed in The American Library Buyers Guide, which could also be useful for librarians, and it has a number of positive reviews on “Goodreads” as well as Amazon.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

All the best,

Lynn B. Sanders
The Story Marketing Mentor
Difference Makers Media

This was my reply:

Subject: Lynn Sanders -- Re: Jim - Sharing good news!

Dear Lynn:

1. Here is a link that will give you access to a wealth of contact information regarding Wisconsin public libraries:

2. Here is a link that will give you access to a wealth of contact information regarding academic libraries in Wisconsin:

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

And Lynn was gracious in response:

Subj: RE: Thanks so much!

Thanks so much, Jim!

I appreciate your help. Our world needs all the positive stories we can share right now... All the best,


So basically here is how I was able to help Lynn build a listing of both community and academic libraries in Wisconsin using a Google Search technique that can be applied to building a database of libraries for any state. Put the following in a Google Search bar:

For community libraries -- community libraries + (name of the state)
For academic libraries -- academic libraries + (name of the state)

Then there are the specialty searches you can Google for, such as each state government's individual Department of Libraries.

Here what happens when you use: state + libraries + departments

[The above URL is actually using the Duck Duck Go search engine, but putting the search terms in Google or any other search engine should work just as well.]

You can do other specialized library Google searches, just figure out a good descriptive word for the type of library (e.g. Museum Libraries) and Google will serve up a roster of thematically appropriate links.

By the way, a Google search for Museum Libraries will give you:

Now on to some reviews of new 'how to' books that will prove to be of special interest for writers and publishers.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays
Windy Lynn Harris
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
10151 Carver Road, Suite 200, Blue Ash, OH 45242
9781440350832, $17.99, PB, 246pp,

The ability to write marketable short stories and personal essays can be significantly important in the creation of a successful writing career. Earning bylines in magazines and literary journals is an excellent and profitable way to get noticed and earn future opportunities in both short- and long-form writing. "Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Work Published" by Windy Lynn Harris (herself a prolific writer, a trusted mentor, and a frequent speaker at literary events) capitalizes on the popularity of these genres by instructing on the two key steps to publishing short works: crafting excellent pieces and successfully submitting them. Aspiring writers will learn how to: Develop different craft elements--including point of view, character, dialogue, scene writing, and more -- specifically for short stories and essays; Recognize the qualities of excellent short works, using examples from recently published stories and essays in major journals; Understand the business of writing short, from categorizing your work and meeting submission guidelines to networking and submitting to writing contests; Master the five-step process for submitting and selling like a pro. "Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays" features practical advice and 'real world' examples drawn from a multitude of published authors. An ideal and indispensable instructional reference for anyone seeking to publish short stories and essays, "Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays" will prove to be an enduringly valued and often referred to addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing collections. It should be noted that "Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

How to Write a Book Proposal
Jody Rein & Michael Larsen
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
10151 Carver Road, Suite 200, Blue Ash, OH 45242
9781440348174, $19.99, PB, 328pp,

Jody Rein, former executive editor with divisions of HarperCollins Publishers and Penguin Random House, is the founder of boutique literary agency Jody Rein Books, Inc., and respected publishing consulting and coaching firm Author Planet Consulting. Jody has represented, published and coached hundreds of authors through successful publication in every form, from e-books to international bestsellers to major motion pictures. Michael Larsen, co-director of the San Francisco Writers Conference and the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference, is the author or co-author of eleven books. He is an author coach and a former agent, having co-founded the Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency, which sold books to more than 100 publishers and imprints. Together they have collaborated to produced the newly updated and expanded fifth edition of "How to Write a Book Proposal: The Insider's Step-by-Step Guide to Proposals that Get You Published". If you want to publish a book, you must present it to agents and publishers with a knock-your-socks-off proposal. Whether seeking a traditional press to publish a self-published book or trying to win over an agent for a graphic novel, memoir, or nonfiction title, aspiring authors need an irresistible proposal. The better the proposal, the better the editor, publisher, and deal an author can get. Nailing a proposal requires an understanding of how publishers work and how authors needs to brand themselves, build a platform, and structure for their book. This new edition of "How to Write a Book Proposal" provides: Examples of successful proposals that earned six-figure deals; Guidance from agents, publishers, and writers; Ways to customize any proposal; Strategies for proposals in the Digital Age; Effective structures for narrative writers; as well as A list of the "Top Ten Proposal Killers". Informative, practical, comprehensive, instructively 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "How to Write a Book Proposal" is strongly recommended for personal, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections. "How to Write a Book Proposal" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative
Chuck Wendig
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
10151 Carver Road, Suite 200, Blue Ash, OH 45242
9781440348389, $17.99, PB, 232pp,

Great storytelling is making readers care about your characters, the choices they make, and what happens to them. It's making your audience feel the tension and emotion of a situation right alongside your protagonist. And to tell a damn fine story, you need to understand why and how that caring happens. Using a mix of personal stories, pop fiction examples, and traditional storytelling terms, "Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative" by Chuck Wendig (author of Star Wars: Aftermat) will help aspiring writers to internalize the feel of powerful storytelling. "Damn Fine Story' explores: Fretytag's Pyramid for visualizing story structure -- and when to break away from traditional storytelling forms; Character relationships and interactions as the basis of every strong plot—no matter the form or genre; Rising and falling tension that pulls the audience through to the climax and conclusion of the story; Developing themes as a way to craft characters with depth. An impressive and comprehensive course of instruction that is specifically and emphatically recommended for writing a novel, a screenplay, a video game, a comic, or even if just telling stories to friends and family, "Damn Fine Story" is a funny, informative, and effective guide replete with illustrative examples about the art and craft of storytelling. Of special note is the appendix '50 Storytelling Tips'. While highly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Damn Fine Story" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Guide To Literary Agents 2018
Cris Freese
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
10151 Carver Road, Suite 200, Blue Ash, OH 45242
9781440352669, $29.99, PB, 336pp,

Cris Freese is the managing editor of Writer's Digest Books, the editor of Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, the editor of Guide to Literary Agents, and the editor of the GLA blog at Now in a fully updated and expanded twenty-seventh edition, the "Guide To Literary Agents 2018" is comprised of hundreds of current listings for literary agents, writing conferences: An exclusive webinar on 'How to Land a Literary Agent' by Danielle Burby and Joanna MacKenzie from the Nelson Literary Agency; and essential, 'real world practical' advice on the use of query letters, the first page, beta readers, and critique groups. This new edition of the "Guide To Literary Agents 2018" also features a one-year subscription to the literary agent content on; 'New Agent Spotlights' offering targeted profiles of literary agents who are currently actively building their client lists; instructive advice on getting the most out of literary and publishing conferences. Of special note is the special genre section on science fiction and fantasy. Also new is the information concerning online content that is applicable to working with any and all literary genres. Simply stated, "Guide To Literary Agents 2018" is an indispensable instructional reference and resource for all aspiring authors seeking to get their work into print. Indeed, no personal, professional, community, or academic 'Writing/Publishing' reference collection can be considered complete or comprehensive without the inclusion of the "Guide To Literary Agents 2018". It should be noted that "Guide To Literary Agents 2018" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Finally -- 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:

John Halfnight
Gene Napue -- "In My Pod"
Bernard L. Remarkus -- "Keystone"
Dale Allan Pelton -- "Celine on Fire"
Ellen Cooney -- "Bite Into the Moon"
Ann H. Lucas -- "Aging...Get Over It!"
Luke Reynolds -- "Surviving Middle School"
John Branning -- "Keys To The Truculent Me"
Lou Del Bianco -- "Out of Rushmore's Shadow"
Theodore D. Kafas -- "Economic Crisis & Solutions"
Debbie Barbuto -- "Loblolly, Loblolly, You're So Tall"
Vincere Press
Wendy D. Jones -- Ida Bell Publishing
Gerald Everett Jones -- La Puerta Productions
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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