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Jim Cox Report: February 2013

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

One of the strange anomalies with respect to the publishing industry is that while the economy was tanking back in 2008 into what I refer to as the "Great Recession", and causing the major New York publishing houses to severely cut back their new title lists, the numbers of books being self-published through the significant improvement of writing/publishing software for personal computers and the rise of the POD (publish on demand) companies (where all an author needed was a manuscript and a check to see their book published) so dramatically increased as to more than take up the slack in terms of sheer numbers of new titles published.

Over the past five years those POD companies have become even more numerous than during the dark early days of the Great Recession. I know, because the 38-year reputation of the Midwest Book Review as being favorable to, and supportive of, the small press community, including self-publishers, resulted in my seeing the titles put out from pretty much all of POD companies.

But as with any other encounter with any other business, the customer must be wary. It came as a shock to a great many POD published authors to learn that it would be themselves that would carry the burden of publicizing and marketing their newly minted books. Incidentally, this is the same shock that has come to so many mid-list authors from even the established New York houses. Some of the more responsible POD companies try to help with marketing services that can be purchased from them. Some even do a little bit more for aspiring publishers. One such, Lulu, has put out a handy 5-point outline available to anyone and that I want to reprint here:

5 Ways to Promote Self Published Books

Whether books have been published traditionally or through self publishing routes, it is important for every author to know effective ways to promote their books. Someone can be the best writer in the world, but if people don't know about their book, they won't have many sales.

"It is crucial, when you self publish your book, that you in turn do things to promote it," explains Sarah Gilbert, director of sales at Lulu (, a self publishing company. "Taking the time to promote your book will result in an increase in sales, recognition and success, without a doubt."

Here are 5 ways to promote self published books:

1. Start blogging. Blogging can be an effective way to build a platform. Using the right search engine optimization (SEO) words can help draw in traffic to the blog. Blogs can contain written posts, or even video posts. Use it as a way to connect with current fans, and create new ones.

2. Give talks. Giving talks or book readings can be an effective way to get noticed. Offer to give them at local book clubs and libraries, or even do an online virtual book tour, engaging in webinars.

3. Connect with media. Many media outlets can be helpful in getting a book or author noticed. Send a press release, or work with a public relations agent, to contact local radio, television, and print media outlets. Offer to do talks, be a show guest, etc.

4. Send review copies. Many people review books, either on blogs or in print. Sending out some review copies, with a nice note enclosed, can be a good way to get them interested in choosing the book for a published review.

5. Use social media. The power of social media cannot be denied. Whether using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or something else, these are effective ways to connect with people and spread the word. Make it a goal to get connected.

"Book sales really come down to people knowing about the book in the first place," adds Gilbert. "The job of every author, whether self published or not, is to let people know about your book and why they should read it. Make an effective plan of action for marketing your book, and then work toward it each month."

Lulu, a self publishing company that was founded in 2002, provides complete services to authors. Their self publishing service is provided free, and authors retain all rights, as well as 80 percent of all profit from sales. To learn more about using Lulu's publishing tools, log onto

I'm not endorsing Lulu or any of the other POD companies. I just included their own self-description because I've availed myself of their 5-Point Outlines. Aspiring authors should always check and compare the services of at least 3 POD companies to see the differences in prices, services, etc.

You'll find a list of Self-Publishing Resources on the Midwest Book Review web site at:

Here are reviews on two new titles 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 provides a completely updated fifth edition for PR students and practitioners alike, and covers grammar and editing skills as it surveys the specifics of developing writing skills for public relations. New examples and advice in the new edition also covers the basics of web development, blogs, and online media relations. Any student of public relations needs this specific reference.

Deeper Writing
Robin W. Holland
Corwin Press, Inc.
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218
9781452229942, $31.95,

DEEPER WRITING: QUICK WRITES AND MENTOR TEXTS TO ILLUMINATE NEW POSSIBILITIES packs in keys to developing fluent writers and while originally intended for teachers encouraging students, is reviewed here as a recommendation for any who would hone their own creative writing pursuits. Tools and strategies cover student writing and provide 45 quick writes in frameworks geared to grade levels, using 'mentor texts' as examples to provide models and inspiration. It provides the basic tools and strategies to refine any creative effort, and is a 'must' of resources showing how to nurture deeper writing efforts. Any creative writer and teacher of such needs this key to deeper writing.

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:

Linda Riebel
Diane Reed
Donald W. Kruse
Kathleen Gonzalez
Jerry Brown Schwartz (Ms.)
Jeff Beals -- "Selling Saturdays"
Alfred V. Cafiero -- "Vengence"
Jenna Brooks -- "October Snow"
Hanson -- "Slugo the Banana Slug"
Donald W. Kruse -- "Gorilla Soup!"
Linda Riebel -- "The Green Foodprint"
Rob Dinsmoor -- "Does Dixie Like Me?"
Jack Tucker -- Innocents Return Abroad"
Byron Edgington -- "The Sky Behind Me"
Katherine McCord -- "My CIA: A Memoir"
Roland Salazar Rose -- "My Father's Room"
Kathleen S. McFall -- "Blood and Whiskey"
M. Terry Green -- "Shaman Sister Sorceress"
Margaret Ann Harrell -- "Keep This Quiet Too!"
Karen Lenfestey -- "What Happiness Looks Like"
Tesha Vann -- "Kensie Cook: The Pickiest of Pickies"
Patrick W. Ledray -- "The Dragon in the Christmas Tree"
Kathy Gruver -- "Body Mind Therapies for the Bodyworker"
Frank G. Sommers -- "Lose Weight, Stop Stress and Make Better Love"
Sharry Traver Underwood -- "No Daughter of Mine is Going to be a Dancer!"
Sheila & Letty Sustrin -- "The Teacher Who Would Not Retire Becomes A Movie Star"
Consumer Press
Filsinger & Company, Ltd.
Christine Keleny -- CK Books
James Pylant -- Jacobus Books
Melissa Mahle -- SpyGirls Press
Jenna Russell -- Open Data Press
LaVonne Ewing -- Pixyjack Press
Al Hunter Jr. -- Love Eagle Books
Wendy Kupfer -- Handfinger Press
Sydney Collier -- Lysmata Publishing
Clarinda Harriss -- BrickHouse Books
Lise Marinelli -- Windy City Publishers
Beverly Burchett -- Black Currant Press
Victor M. Depta -- Blair Mountain Press
Susan Case Bonner -- Kid Niche Publishing
Erika Kimbie -- Bandages & Boo-Boos Press
Evander Lomke -- American Mental Health Foundation
Perry Westmoreland -- Lee and Vanc Publishing Company
Kathryn Hall -- Publicist
Paul J. Krupin -- Direct Contact PR
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!

In lieu of (or in addition to!) postage stamp donations, we also accept PayPal gifts of support 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. 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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