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Jim Cox Report: February 2012

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

Because of Amazon's new policy prohibiting professional review resources like the Midwest Book Review from posting their own reviews, but leaving it up to authors and publishers to do so, I thought it would be useful to provide a general "how to" instruction guide for those who are not familiar with the process of posting reviews on the Amazon web site. The following was prepared by my web master:

Book Review Posting Guide for

1. To post a customer review on the Amazon web site at, you first have to create an account.

2. If you don't have an account, look at the top of's home page where it says "Sign in to get personalized recommendations. New customer? Start here." Click on the "Start here" link.

3. You will be prompted to enter an email address. Enter an email address that you will use reliably, and click on the circle in front of "No, I am a new customer" to fill it in with a dot. Then click on the button that prompts you to take the next step.

4. From here, will spell out the necessary steps to finish creating your account. You'll have to think of a password, ideally one with both letters and numbers, and you'll also set the answers to some security questions. These are so a random person can't sign into Amazon using your name and buy stuff on your credit card.

5. Amazon will walk you through the process with step-by-step instructions; the final step will be to go to your email account and click on the link in an automated email that has sent you.

6. Once you have created an account, you will have to use it to buy something before you can post reviews on This will most likely involve adding credit card information to your account, which is why the password and security questions are so important. I recommend buying a cheap digital download item if you want to start posting customer reviews right away.

7. Once you have created an account and bought something with it, you can go to almost any book displayed on and click on the "create your own review" link to submit a review for that book.

8. Amazon itself has a lengthy Help section about customer reviews, displayed on its website at

That authors and publishers can post book reviews by Midwest Book Review on Amazon seems to be going quite well. I know this because Amazon keeps sending me little emails when there are reader comments with respect to these posted reviews. The following is an example:

Sent: 1/28/2012 12:45:04 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: New comment on your review of Tiffany by Design: An In-Depth Look at Tiffany Lamps (Schiffer Book for Designers & Collectors)

Greetings from Customer Discussions,

Because you requested to be notified when people commented on your review of "Tiffany by Design: An In-Depth Look at Tiffany Lamps (Schiffer Book for Designers & Collectors)", we are sending you this e-mail.

Jan 28, 2012 10:44:59 AM PST DON MCLENNAN says:

Having viewed the Neustadt collection of Tiffany lamps at an exhibit at the Biltmore Estate, I found myself interested in this particular collection. This book identifies the lamps with key information about each one. It is a lovely collection. Because one is not permitted to take photographs while viewing the traveling exhibit- the book offers that physical keepsake that keeps the collection a part of the experience of actually seeing the lamps.

Tracked review: Tiffany by Design: An In-Depth Look at Tiffany Lamps (Schiffer Book for Designers & Collectors) An outstanding reference, December 9, 2006

Now on to some reviews of new "how to" books on writing and/or publishing:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

The Writer's Workout
Christina' Katz
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
4700 East Galbraith Road
Cincinnati, OH 45236
9781599631790, $19.99,

No one is going to get better at writing without practice, just like anything else. "The Writer's Workout: 366 Tips, Tasks, & Techniques From Your Writing Career Coach" is a writing exercise guide from Christina Katz as she advises readers on how to improve their writing, appealing to your intended audience, and much advice on the most difficult wall for many to climb - publishing. With plenty of practical advice for life alongside the wisdom for literary pursuits, "The Writer's Workout" is a strongly recommended and top pick for writing and publishing collections.

Now Write! Mysteries
Sherry Ellis & Laurie Lamson, editors
Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
9781585429035, $14.95,

There's more to a mystery than a crime and a culprit. "Now Write! Mysteries" is an advisory guide for those who love mysteries and want to try their own pen to create their own stories, be it for novels, screenplays, or other formats. With many tips and tricks and what to think about no matter what type or degree of mystery one is pondering of creating, "Now Write! Mysteries" is a choice and much recommended read for aspiring writers with a love of keeping people guessing.

Story Solution
Eric Edson
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd, #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615930845, $26.95,

The Story Solution: 23 Actions All Great Heroes Must Take comes from a professional screenwriter who pinpoints all the reasons why typical stories don't sell. Examples from hit movies outline the elements of successful plots and approaches, with chapters going beyond the usual writing approaches to plot development to consider the pros and cons of building a story for the screen. Stories are broken down into distinct parts for analysis, with plenty of insights into the entire process of creating memorable characters and plots. A 'must' for any screenwriter and collections catering to them.

Writing for the Web
Lynda Felder
New Riders
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300
Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
0321794435, $24.99,

WRITING FOR THE WEB teaches the basics of effective Web writing and shows how to blend words with audiovisual effects for maximum impact. It comes from an instructor who offers guidelines along with photos, lists and tables to document how interactive web-based stories make the most of the web's medium, and provides a lively approach to Web writing. Exercises, guidelines, and sidebars of pointers make this an easy and highly recommended survey for computer and literary collections alike.

The College Student's Guide to Writing a Great Research Paper
Erika Eby
Atlantic Publishing Group
1405 SW 6th Avenue, Ocala FL 34471
9781601386052, $24.95,

The College Student's Guide to Writing a Great Research Paper: 101 Easy Tips & Tricks to Make Your Work Stand Out offers a complete guide for college students who want to learn tips for formatting a research paper and tackling college course assignments. It covers the entire process of writing a paper from start to finish, from choosing a topic and researching to writing and editing drafts. Further insights on how to check work for plagiarism so as to use research to support rather than define a paper makes this an invaluable survey of all the basics, with exercises and checklists included to help keep a paper professional and polished. College students will find this specific and easy.

Shut Up & Write
Judy Bridges
Redbird Studio Press
3195 S. Superior Street #211
Milwaukee, WI 53207
9780976474272, $19.95,

All a writer needs to do to write is write. "Shut Up & Write" is an inspirational writing guide as Judy Bridges urges writers to pick up their pens and go along the way and piece together what they want out of their writing, as she critiques the values and methods to writing groups, publishing, the methods of writing, and much more. For those looking for that spice to get writing, "Shut Up & Write" is a strong pick, not to be overlooked.

Finally we have "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:

C. A. Kunz
Roberta M. Roy
Yuri Shestopaloff
James D. Bremner
Symm H. McCord
Anonymous (Tampa, Florida)
Anonymous (Pittsburg, Pennsylvania)
"No Ordinary Rose"
Peter Clothier -- "Mind Work"
Bernard Leo Remakus -- "Mia"
Stephen Goss -- "Heidi's Hope"
Gail Rubin -- "A Good Goodbye"
Tracy S. Deitz -- "Employed By God"
Chris Lindberg -- "Code of Darkness"
Frank W. Lewis -- "All Across Texas"
Dianne Ebertt Beeaff -- "Spirit Stones"
Henry Hoffman -- "Bridge To Oblivion"
Jay D. Glass -- "Busted!!!: The Big Con"
Cynthia V. Smith -- "Nettie Parker's Backyard"
Frank Costelloe -- Ichimannendo Publishing Inc."
Wally Wood -- "Getting Oriented: A Novel about Japan"
James Dunning -- "The Bright Lady and the Astral Wind"
Peter A. Balaskas -- "In Our House: Tantalizing Tales of Terror"
Richard Miller Smith -- "Peep in the Deep: Sea Creature Counting Book"
Joan O'Sullivan Wright -- "UP: Pursuing Significance in Leadership and Life"
John David -- "Ten Questions: The Insider's Guide to Saving Money on Auto Insurance"
Alex Feinberg -- "The Trade Deficit, Illegal & Unconstitutional Effects Destroying America"
DRT Press
Reg Down -- Lightly Press
Ann Hailey -- Cochiy Press
Stacy Bagley -- ISMPI, Inc.
John Novak -- Bookmagic LLC
David Katzman -- Bedhead Books
Anne Bengston -- Lake Street Press
Lois Qualben -- Langmarc Publishing
Judith K. Ivie -- Mainly Murder Press
Doug Kemme -- Arrowhead Publishing
David B. Riley -- Science Fiction Trails
Ann Atkins -- Flash History Biographies
Ann Marquez -- Desert Muse Publishing
Nancy McLaughlin -- Solano Press Books
Julie Murkette -- Satya House Publications
Judy Brizendine -- Bennett Knepp Publishing
Terry L. Mominee -- Broken Glass Publishing
Doug Dillon -- Old St. Augustine Publications
Nigel j. Yorwerth -- Yorwerth Associates LLC
Richard C. Hawkins -- Worldways Productions
Skye Wentworth Book Publicist
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!

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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