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Jim Cox Report: February 2016

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

I want you to go to:

There you will find an informed and informative, yet quite succinct history of publishing in the 20th Century down to the present day by Mike Shatzkin.

Halfway through the article is when it gets vitally pertinent to authors, publishers, and publicists. That's when the Mike Shatzki starts revealing how book marketing really works in today's online media environment including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook. Please take the time to read this article. It will take you about 4 or 5 minutes. It's one of the best I've ever seen in both analysis and practicality.

With that same theme of on-line book marketing, here is another "must" for any author or publisher trying to make a living selling books online.

Daniel Lemin
Quill Driver Books
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721
9781610352628, $14.95, PB, 151pp,

Synopsis: "Manipurated: How Business Owners Can Fight Fraudulent Online Ratings and Reviews" is a manifesto for business owners struggling against an online ratings and reviews industry that is holding their businesses hostage through manipulative practices. "Manipurated" uniquely combines an exposé of the shifty inner workings of this industry with a step-by-step playbook to empower the 30 million American business owners desperately trying to fight back. In today's hyperconnected world, business owners are confronted with the challenge of managing their online reputation right out of the gate. The first weekend for a new deli, salon, café, or boutique store can be make-or-break with online reviews. Few business owners understand that amazing businesses can be permanently damaged with a few bad reviews. Managing a reputation online requires skills and tactics that are not always intuitive to business owners, and is made more difficult by the presence of fraudulent and fake reviews. "Manipurated" gives business owners an insider's view of how the multibillion-dollar ratings and reviews machine systematically stacks the cards against them -- and more important, empowers business owners to fight back with a six-step playbook to defend, control, and enhance their business's online reputation. Both a warning and a call to action, "Manipurated" is a must-read for all business owners who depend on online reviews.

Critique: As informed and informative as it is 'real world' practical and thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, content, organization and presentation, "Manipurated: How Business Owners Can Fight Fraudulent Online Ratings and Reviews" will prove to be an invaluable instructional reference -- especially for small business owners and novice entrepreneurs. Very highly recommended for corporate, community, and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Manipurated: How Business Owners Can Fight Fraudulent Online Ratings and Reviews" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.19).

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

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Fiction-Writing Modes
Mike Klaassen
9781682221006 $19.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Most books about the craft of writing fiction explain a few fiction-writing modes, but none addresses or even identifies all eleven. Fiction-Writing Modes: Eleven Essential Tools for Bringing Your Story to Life is the most comprehensive and concise resource available anywhere regarding fiction-writing modes and the mechanics of presenting them. A mode is a particular manner of doing or expressing something. Eleven different modes comprise all written fiction. Fiction-Writing Modes offers beginning writers an invaluable foundation from which to build skills. This book can help experienced authors reach new levels of success. A better understanding of fiction-writing modes can help any writer understand why some writing works and why some does not.

Critique: Chapters cover a wide range of issues affecting the art of fiction writing, from how to make dialogue sound natural (and properly punctuate it), to using attributions to control rhythm and pace, to effectively using both action and dialogue to advance the plot, and much more. Fiction writers of all skill and experience levels will find these insights, copiously demonstrated with examples throughout, invaluable to refining their craft. Highly recommended!

Making Nonfiction from Scratch
Ralph Fletcher
Stenhouse Publishers
480 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3451
9781625310125, $18.50, PB, 134pp,

In "Making Nonfiction from Scratch" children's book author Ralph Fletcher draws upon his many years of experience and expertise to offer a candid critique of how nonfiction writing is often taught in schools and gives teachers the inspiration and strategies they need to help their students write authentic nonfiction. Skilled nonfiction writers draw on strategies, techniques, and craft found in other genres: poetry, comedy, even mystery. Without those elements, nonfiction would be dry and dull. "Making Nonfiction from Scratch" helps bring all of those aspects together and shows how each genre can enrich nonfiction writing. Ralph emphasizes the power of choice, mentor texts, and nonfiction read-alouds in making nonfiction an everyday part of classrooms. The "Classroom Connection" sections throughout "Do you have students whose nonfiction writing is formulaic, devoid of energy and voice?" suggest immediate, practical strategies for putting the ideas in the book to use. Two case studies and a chapter on the dos and don'ts of nonfiction writing instruction round out this short, practical book. Any informational writing should be insightful, accurate, and well organized - but it doesn't have to be boring. Ralph invites you to make your classroom a place where students can create delicious nonfiction full of passion, voice, and insight. Although primarily intended as an instructional resource and reference for classroom teachers, "Making Nonfiction from Scratch" is also very highly recommended to the attention of aspiring authors seeking to write non-fiction articles or books. Simply stated, "Making Nonfiction from Scratch" should be a part of every school and community library instructional guide or curriculum manual reference collection. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Making Nonfiction from Scratch" is also available in a Kindle edition ($16.19).

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:

Brittany Bass
Stanley Graham
Mike Brogan -- "Kentucky Woman"
Rugger Burke -- "The Power of Ten"
Helen Currie Foster -- "Ghost Letter"
Mary Ann Cogliano -- "Rooty Le' Boar"
Rana Diorio -- "What Does It Mean To Be...?"
Michael J Klaassen -- "Fiction-Writing Modes"
Christine M. Grote -- "Where Memories Meet"
John Schmidt -- "Friends Forever, You and God"
Harriet Hodgson -- "The Family Caregiver's Guide"
Terri A. DeMitchell -- "Chelsea Creek to Bunker Hill: Spring 1775"
Valerie Christopher -- "I Wonder, I Wonder, What's On This Side of My Super Adventurous Purple Train Ride"
Pamoon Press
Divine Phoenix Books
Champlain Avenue Books
Frederick Barrows -- Lone Argonaut
Ellie Pelto - Concierge Marketing Inc.
Beth Blenz-Clucas - Sugar Mountain PR
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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