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Jim Cox Report: January 2017

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

Continuing the theme of writing and publishing as a business, I want to draw attention to a newly published 'how to' instructional guide that will apply to a majority of the readers of the Jim Cox Report. Most self-published authors and a great many small press publishers work out of their apartment or their home. All such folk should acquire a copy and give serious attention to:

Home Business Tax Deductions
Stephen Fishman, J. D.
Nolo Press
950 Parker Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781413322071, $34.99, PB, 488pp,

For any form home business, regardless of the product produced or the service provided, claiming all the tax deductions you are lawfully entitled to is essential to financial success. Now in an expanded 16th edition that is fully updated for 2016 tax returns, "Home Business Tax Deductions: Keep What You Earn" shows how to deduct for: start-up costs, home office expenses (using new IRS rules), vehicles and travel expenses, entertainment and meals, medical expenses under Obamacare, and retirement expenses. "Home Business Tax Deductions" also shows how to keep accurate and thorough records in case the IRS ever comes calling. Easy to read and full of real-life examples, "Home Business Tax Deductions" can help any home business entrepreneur to take full and lawful advantage of all the valuable tax deductions they are entitled to. Of special note is the information on how to avoid a home business from being classified by the IRS as a hobby and therefor not entitled to business deductions. A very special and unique feature to this edition of "Home Business Tax Deductions" is the accompanying web site with hundreds of informative articles and FAQs, useful legal forms, online services allowing the formation of an LLC or corporation quickly and easily, in-depth profiles of business and tax lawyers around the country and in any given area. Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Home Business Tax Deductions" should be considered an essential instructional reference for personal, professional, community, and academic library Business Management collections. It should be noted that "Home Business Tax Deductions" is also available in a Kindle format ($19.99).

I speak from personal experience when I recommend this title. Decades ago I bought a duplex and lived with my wife and cats in one half while operating my business and housing my daughter and her husband in the other half -- making the Midwest Book Review essentially a home-based business. I even turned one of the garages into a mail room shipping/receiving station. For all 40 years of operating out of this duplex the Midwest Book Review has operated on a shoe-string budget supported by donations & foundation grants -- and taking maximum legal advantage of home business tax deductions. Some of those years it was those tax deductions that made the difference in our ability to operate in the black and avoid ending up in the red.

If you only have time to read one business management book, make it Stephen Fishman's "Home Business Tax Deductions" -- your financial bottom line will benefit from it!

Incidentally, it occurs to me that I should inform you that I've never met Stephen Fishman and the only thing I've received as compensation for my time in reviewing his book is that I get to keep the review copy that Nolo Press sent me.

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

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Freefall into Fiction: Finding Form
Barbara Turner-Vesselago
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781785921728, $18.95, PB, 152pp,

Barbara Turner-Vesselago is a published author who teaches Freefall Writing Workships ( Her first book, "Writing Without a Parachute: The Art of Freefall" (9781908363046, $9.99 Kindle), showed writers how to fall in love with writing. With "Freefall into Fiction: Finding Form" Barbara builds on her first 'how to' instructional guide and encourages writers to pursue their work with intention and without inhibition. "Freefall into Fiction: Finding Form" is specifically designed to help writers, step-by-step, to create publishable short stories, novels and memoirs by finding their own unique balance between the exploration offered by Freefall Writing and the requirements of each particular genre. "Freefall into Fiction: Finding Form" penetrates deep inside the writing process where that balancing act takes place. While unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and academic library collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists for aspiring authors seeking to improve their skills that "Freefall into Fiction: Finding Form" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

A Fairly Creative Guide to Telling Tales
Aubrey Lively
Royal Fireworks Press
First Avenue, PO Box 399, Unionville, NY 10988
9780898245530, $12.99, PB, 154pp,

Educator, author, and home-schooling parent of six children, Aubrey Lively has written "A Fairly Creative Guide to Telling Tales", a delightfully informative guide that offers a thorough and sophisticated introduction to creative writing in terms of prose fiction. She wittily describes the various elements necessary to a good story, and she provides amusing examples of what to do and (just as important) what not to do. Most of her examples come from classic fairy tales so that readers can see how her lessons apply to the stories we all know. "A Fairly Creative Guide to Telling Tales" is deftly organized into three parts: plot, characterization, and setting. Each individual chapter ends with an assignment that allows writers of all ages to practice their skills in a fun and nonthreatening way. "A Fairly Creative Guide to Telling Tales" will enable aspiring authors to gain practical and applicable insights what will make them better writers. An accessible resource for aspiring writers of all skill and experience levels, "A Fairly Creative Guide to Telling Tales" especially recommended for creative writing classes in grades 7 to 12.

The Superior Person's Complete Book of Words
Peter Bowler
David R. Godine, Publisher
Fifteen Court Square, Suite 320, Boston, MA 02108-2536
9781567925906 $24.95 sc

Now available in a softcover edition, The Superior Person's Complete Book of Words: An Orgulous Verbal Arsenal for Everyday Use is packed cover-to-cover with accessible definitions for lesser-known English vocabulary words that demonstrate scholarship and intelligence simply through their responsible use. "Lemniscate: n. A figure of eight drawn lying on its side. An occult symbol for eternity and the mathematical symbol for infinity. But which infinity? The number of odd numbers or the number of all numbers?" An especial treasure for writers seeking to expand their verbal toolbox, The Superior Person's Complete Book of Words is highly recommended.

Twenty Writing Assignments in Context
Melissa Bender & Karma Waltonen
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9781476665092, $35.00, PB, 288pp,

Compiled by by Melissa Bender (a Lecturer in the University Writing Program and the Assistant Director of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program at the University of California, Davis), "Twenty Writing Assignments in Context: An Instructor's Resource for the Composition Classroom" is comprised of twenty original, classroom-tested by composition experts presenting assignments designed to teach aspiring writers the basics of composition. This innovative and diverse collection of college writing assignments deftly explores the practical applications of each lesson. Drawing upon current best practices, each individual chapter includes a discussion of the rationale behind the assignment, along with supplemental elements such as guidelines for evaluation, prewriting exercises and tips for avoiding common pitfalls. The assignments are designed for a range of courses, from first-year composition to upper-division writing in various disciplines. Of special note are Dalyn Luedtke's 'The Discipline Resource Guide Website' and Gwendolynne Reid's 'Critical Analysis of a Wikipedia Entry'. While unreservedly recommended for college and university library collections, it should be noted for non-specialist general readers seeking to improve their writing composition skills that "Twenty Writing Assignments in Context" is also available in a Kindle format ($14.99).

Write to Influence!
Carla D. Bass
Orlean Press
9780997593006, $18.95,

Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Donovan's Literary Services

Write to Influence! is a gem -- much more hard-hitting than the typical "how-to" book on writing. Itís more specific in its approach, teaching writing skills to purposefully craft words to present a powerful message, intended to influence readers.

Interested in powerful, super-charged writing? With Write to Influence! you will produce attention-grabbing pieces in all kinds of business and professional, real-world scenarios where standout writing means the difference between success and failure.

This stand-out, strategy-oriented book analyzes specific examples and passages to allow readers plenty of insight into the basics of not just composition, but rhetoric, arguments, and the kinds of critical thinking skills that apply to creating and presenting the written word.

Write to Influence! is directed to the business professional who may not have a talent for writing, but is required to write effectively as part of the job. This book is specialized and important -- translating to a host of business and professional pursuits, from personnel appraisals and grant applications to reports, bid proposals, marketing efforts, and more. Therein lies the core difference between this how-to guide and general books on writing. Plenty of examples accompany exercises designed to reinforce the teachings in Write to Influence!

Write to Influence! is a powerful tool for individuals wanting to get ahead, as well. Why? Selections for jobs, scholarships, fellowships, and more are often made based on the strength of the written application or resume. This book teaches writing skills to put forth the strongest possible case needed to edge out the competition.

Chapters focus on a series of "word sculpting" tools that tailor oneís writing to achieve a clear, strong, and unambiguous message. Write to Influence! then presents valuable strategies that help the writer define the core message, identify what facts to include, and organize information for maximum impact. Chapters also reveal how to translate written words to public presentations, offering keys to a process that expands upon the main objective of writing and speaking: producing standout results.

The ultimate goal of writing is to inspire, influence, and craft precision communications. All too often, however, the very professionals who could most benefit from these approaches receive dry writing books that focus only on basic mechanics of grammar.

Write to Influence! is unique in its genre. In short, it is a winner!

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:

Wayne Rudolph Davidson
Dennis Must -- "Going Dark"
J. Ronald Adair -- "Clueless 101"
Suzanne Eglington -- "She's Got The Jack"
Jerry Labriola -- "The Blue Baron Mystery"
Wendy Mac Ewan Kroger -- "My Brother's Keeper"
Paul Jamiol -- "Bikers Are Animals 4: Working and Riding"
Steven Burgauer -- "The Road to War: Duty & Drill, Courage & Capture"
David G. Carriere -- "Publicity: 7 Steps to Publicize Just About Anything"
Kyra Morris -- Bottletree Books
Charyl McComas -- TM Books & Video
Mary White Packer -- Meadow Lane Press
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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