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Jim Cox Report: December 2022

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

With respect to writing, publishing, and marketing, I've drawn upon the wit, wisdom, and experience of David Hancock of Morgan James Publishing many times. Lately I've been interested in learning that my Jim Cox Report apparently qualifies as a blog -- where in my pre-computer years I'd always thought of it as a just a monthly column that I wrote (as back in the days of magazines and newspapers) for the benefit of authors, publishers, librarians, booksellers, and bibliophiles.

I want to share some very good information and advice with you on the subject of blogs for authors from David Hancok, author of "The Ethan Report":

Why Every Writer Needs a Blog

Author and prolific blogger Frank Viola wants writers to know: Blogging isn’t dead. If you are a writer who wants to reach readers, a blog is still the best place to do it. Blogging hasn’t disappeared, it has evolved since the height of its popularity in the early to mid-2000s, and that’s good news for writers who are beginning to build their online presence.

For many content creators, social media has taken over where blogs left off. While social media is an important tool for reaching followers and growing a platform, it’s also a borrowed digital space. Writers are subject to algorithms, platform changes, and the possibility of losing their work altogether. On the other hand, a blog belongs to you, the creator. You can offer whatever you want in your space.

"A blog is still pertinent, relevant, and even more appropriate today than ever." - Frank Viola

Why do you need a blog? Here are four reasons blogging remains an excellent way to build your readership.

1. Blogging improves your writing.

Most writers grow their readership alongside their craft. If you want to grow in the craft of writing, blogging offers a safe, accessible opportunity to practice your work. You can write and publish as frequently as you like while gaining valuable experience. The best way to improve your writing is to write and write often.

2. Blogging provides instant feedback.

Before blogging arrived on the internet, writers had to wait weeks or even months to see their work in print. There was little opportunity to connect directly with readers, which made it difficult for writers to receive helpful feedback. Blogging allows you to connect directly and in real time with your reader. It gives you the chance to see what material resonates and what doesn’t, and to pivot your content accordingly.

3. Blogging helps you create content to repurpose.

In the digital age, it can feel like we’re expected to create fresh content on a daily basis for social media, our blogs, and larger projects. Seasoned writers know that repurposing content is the easiest way to accomplish this without burning out. Blog content can be easily repurposed for shorter pieces on social media, and can also be a great place to develop ideas you’d like to offer in longer form later through a course or a book. Write with the express purpose of sharing your words in multiple forms, knowing that it can begin with one piece of solid content.

4. Blogging is your home base to grow a loyal readership.

Unlike social media, you own your blog. You control it. This is great news for writers! It allows you to connect directly with your reader without a middle man, while also providing opportunities for you to share other work beyond your blogging. If you intend to create a course, start a podcast, sell products, or write a book, you need a home base. A blog allows you to point your loyal readers in any direction of your choosing, while continuing to provide them with consistent, creative content.

Blogging isn’t dead. It’s an opportunity for you to take ownership of your work and bring your writing directly to readers.

David Hancock
The Ethan Report

Here are some invaluable and informal instructional guide/how-to links for creating a blog of your own (along with a little history of the blog):

1. What is Blogging?

2. How To Start a Blog – Beginner’s Guide for 2022

3. The History of Blogging

Here are reviews of new books that will be of interest to authors, dedicated bibliophiles and anyone else with an interest in the history of publishing:

The Writers' Room Survival Guide
Niceole Levy
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
Dreamscape Media
9781615933464, $29.95, PB, 230pp

Synopsis: A writers' room is a space where writers, usually of a television series, gather to write and refine scripts. The television industry has long had a collaborative model for writing shows. With the explosion of scripted shows, and the competition among the networks and streaming channels, a "fluidity has developed to the way shows are created." The writers room follows no single formula; it is an open-ended process with a range of set-ups. Room sizes vary from two to thirty, depending on the budget and number of episodes, each room with its own rules. "Mini-rooms" exist for limited series and smaller shows, mostly those haven't gotten the thumbs-up. (Wikipedia)

Writers' rooms can be a heaven or hell, depending on a few things. The best rooms foster inclusive and productive creative flow. The worst create a toxic stew of bad feelings and doubt. Both kinds and everything in between require basic knowledge of how the room works. These fundamentals are best learned before you go in. The mystery box of the writers' room need not stay sealed shut forever.

Critique: With the publication of "The Writers' Room Survival Guide: Don't Screw up the lunch order and other keys to a happy Writers' Room" by experienced film and television writer Niceole Levy provides aspiring script writers with a true insider's perspective on what its like to work on script developments as a group process in a room with two or more additional writers working on joint writing projects.

A unique, informative, insightful, and fascinating read throughout, "The Writers' Room Survival Guide: Don't Screw up the lunch order and other keys to a happy Writers' Room" is a 'must' for all aspiring script writers and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject of how films and TV shows are made.

While absolutely recommended as essential additions to professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections, it should be noted that "The Writers' Room Survival Guide: Don't Screw up the lunch order and other keys to a happy Writers' Room" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.49) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666626704, $22.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Niceole Levy ( studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts which eventually yielded the epiphany that she preferred writing. She completed the Master of Professional Writing program, also at USC. She is also an alum of the CBS Writers Mentoring Program, NBC's Writers on the Verge, and the WGAw Showrunner Training Program, Niceole has written on Ironside, Allegiance, The Mysteries of Laura, Shades of Blue, Cloak & Dagger, Fate: the Winx Saga, and S.W.A.T. She also co-wrote a feature, The Banker, with former Allegiance showrunner and director George Nolfi, available on AppleTV+. Niceole is currently a co-executive producer on Graymail, which will air on Netflix, and has several TV and feature projects in development.

Intermediate Horizons: Book History and Digital Humanities
Mark Vareschi, editor
Heather Wacha, editor
University of Wisconsin Press
728 State Street, Suite 443, Madison, WI 53706-1418
9780299338107, $79.95, HC, 184pp

Synopsis: The collabortive work of co-editors Mark Vareschi and Heather Wacha, "Intermediate Horizons: Book History and Digital Humanities" is innovative collection tat examines how book history and digital humanities (DH) practices are integrated through approach, access, and assessment.

There are eight erudite essays by rising and senior scholars practicing in multiple fields (including librarians, literature scholars, digital humanists, and historians) that consider and reimagine the interconnected futures and horizons at the intersections of texts, technology, and culture and argue for a return to a more representative and human study of the humanities.

Integrating intermedial practices and assessments, the editors and contributors explore issues surrounding the access to and materiality of digitized materials, and the challenge of balancing preservation of traditional archival materials with access. They offer an assessment in our present moment of the early visions of book history and DH projects. In revisiting these projects, they ask us to shift our thinking on the promises and perils of archival and creative work in different media.

"Intermediate Horizons: Book History and Digital Humanities" reconsiders the historical intersections of book history and DH and charts a path for future scholarship across disciplinary boundaries.

Critique: Of special relevance and appeal to readers with an interest in the subjects of General Library & Information Science, Communications & Media Studies, and Continuing Education, "Intermediate Horizons: Book History and Digital Humanities" is collaboratively compiled and co-edited by Professors features fourteen illustrations, a four page listing of the contributors and their credentials, as well as a fourteen page Index. Impressively informative and thought-provoking throughout, "Intermediate Horizons: Book History and Digital Humanities" is a strongly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Library Science collections and writer/publisher/bibliophile reading lists.

Editorial Note #1: Mark Vareschi ( is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the author of "Everywhere and Nowhere: Anonymity and Mediation in Eighteenth-Century Britain".

Editorial Note #2: Heather Wacha ( is a former University of Wisconsin fellow and CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow and associate coordinator of the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is also the coauthor of "The Cartulary of the Abbey of Prémontré: A Dual Print and Digital Edition".

"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:

William Cook
Kenneth Fireman
Karen Kurtz -- "Sophia's Gift"
Olga Tymofiyeva -- "Just City"
Homa Pourasgari -- "The Dawn of Saudi: In Search for Freedom"
David Gittlin -- "The Silver Sphere: It's Coming--No Time to Waste"
Cynthia Bordelon -- "Unknown Waters: Sara's Magical Coral Reef Adventure
Mary Ann Horton -- "Trailblazer: Lighting the Path for Transgender Equality..."
Villa Magna Publishing
Donovan's Literary Services
Kama TImbrell Communications
Elizabeth Frazier -- Waldmania! PR

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So until next time -- goodbye, good luck, and good reading!

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review
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James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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