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Jim Cox Report: February 2017

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

We all know that book reviews can impact and influence librarians and the general reading public. What is perhaps underestimated is the impact and influence book reviews can have on the author. Last month I was vividly reminded of this fact while reading my review copy of "How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally And Ethically" by Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

Here's what I came across in the introduction on page VIII:

"We have all had disasters if we've been around very long. My book of poetry, "Imperfect Echoes" ( was released just after my husband broke his back trouncing around on our roof to save $140 on solar repairs. I became a full time caretaker and part time writer and had not time to market my book. I did occasionally send out a query far a review and one was so special that it made up for the sad reality that few will read the book because few will have heard about it. So, thank you to Jim Cox, Editor-in-Chief of Midwest Book review for that memorable gift."

I had no idea at the time who Carolyn was or anything about her circumstances. It was just another self-published book of considerable merit by an unknown author and I was trying to establish the Midwest Book Review as a champion of just such folk.

Since then Carolyn has gone on to a career of writing 'how to' books for authors and publishers and we became 'cyber-space pen pals'. When I thanked her for her very kind words in her introduction, she noted that we first met in person at a BEA convention in Chicago back in 2001. But as I was meeting hundreds (no exaggeration) of folks at that event I didn't remember her specifically.

But I did recall meeting Carolyn at John Poynter's ebook publishers convention in Santa Barbara, California in 2012 when I was awarded that Life Time Achievement in Publishing award.

I think she was also in the audience for my 'workshop' at that event -- I recall that one was 'standing room only' it was so crowded in that huge room. A few folks couldn't physically get in because there was no more room -- there was even a line of people standing along the back and side walls of the room.

Incidentally, that John Poynter convention was also the first time I met in person my managing editor Diane Donovan who for many years prior to our meeting in the flesh had (and continues to be) the editor for three of my nine monthly book review publication: The Bookwatch; California Bookwatch; Children's Bookwatch. Up until then she was a just a voice on the phone and an email correspondent only.

I'm now in my 41st year as the editor-in-chief of the Midwest Book Review. That means at the age of 74 I have now spent more than half my life in this position!

Every now and then I get an email or a letter expressing heartfelt appreciation for myself and the Midwest Book Review from authors and publishers for what we try to accomplish in their behalf. It's those messages of support and thanks that give me a reason to keep doing this job for as long as my health, my wife, and my daughter will allow.

Here is the review of Carolyn's most recent publication and the one that started me down memory lane:

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
HowToDoItFrugally Publishing
9781536948370, $17.95, PB, 340pp,

In the pages of "How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically", Carolyn Howard-Johnson draws upon her many years of professional experience and expertise spent helping writers to avoid pitfalls, misconceptions, and out-and-out scams perpetrated on unsuspecting authors -- and helping them reach their dreams of obtaining great reviews, going on great book tours, and experiencing great launches.

Simply stated "How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically" comprises the complete, comprehensive, and core manual for obtaining reviews and utilizing them in a practical, effective, and successful marketing campaign that includes all those things and for building the readership necessary for a financially prosperous and emotionally satisfying writing career.

Covering every aspect of the book review process from solicitation to exploitation, "How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, content, commentary, organization and presentation.

Basically, "How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically" is classified as a "must" for the instructional reference shelf of any and all authors and publishers be they novice beginners or seasoned professionals. While an essential and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.95).

Now on to some more current reviews of new titles that I recommend for authors and/or publishers:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

So You Want to Write a Screenplay
Taylor Gaines
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781620232156, $19.95, PB, 180pp,

Getting started as a screenplay writer at a young age is the key to mastering this specific literary skill. That's precisely the purpose driving Taylor Gaines to publish "So You Want to Write a Screenplay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing for Film, Video, and Television". This thoroughly 'user friendly' instruction manuals includes: How to write a screenplay, from capturing the audience at the introduction to having a satisfying conclusion; How to use screenplay-writing software; How to pitch and sell your screenplay when the time comes; How to interact with agents, giving you a competitive edge over other young writers. Gaines has drawn upon interviews with a number of veteran screenwriters, producers, agents, and directors and provides a wealth of inside secrets to professional writing for television or the movies. While very highly recommended as a core addition to personal, community, college, and university Writing/Publishing collections in general, and screenwriting supplemental studies reading lists in particular, it should be noted that "So You Want to Write a Screenplay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing for Film, Video, and Television" is also available in a Kindle format ($19.95).

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:

Barbara Garro -- "Love Bites"
Bob Jenkins -- "Azriel Dancer"
David H. Simons -- "Zoonauts"
Ginny Heenan -- "Avril Knows"
Teresa Marotta -- "The Grave Tracker"
Adrea Freeman -- "What the River Knows"
Dennis P. Freed -- "Love, Loss, and Awakening"
Elvo Fortunato Bucci -- "Songs of the Deliverer"
Paul J. Scott -- "Building a Successful Web App"
Danny Rubin -- "Wait, How Do I Write This Email?"
Winged Hussar Publishing, LLC
Jan Yager -- Hannacroix Creek Books
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Diane Feffer -- Marketing Consulting LLC

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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