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Jim Cox Report: January 2018

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

This month I thought I'd give you an insight into how the book review assignment process works here at the Midwest Book Review. I'm going to illustrate the process with an email correspondence example when we were asked to review a prepublication manuscript by an aspiring and soon-to-be published author.

In a message dated 8/1/2017 3:30:31 P.M. Central Daylight Time,

Mr. Cox,

I am a first time Wisconsin novelist, and am currently shopping my manuscript to agents and publishers. My question is would it be appropriate to submit my manuscript to your organization for review, or must it be published first? Thank you,

Michael F. Pitsch

Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2017 7:40 AM
Subject: Michael Pitsch - Re: Query

Thank you for your information and inquiry.

There is a charge of a $50 "Reader Fee" for reviewing ebooks, pre-publication manuscripts, galleys, uncorrected proofs, ARCs, and PDF files. If you wish to pursue this then let me know and I'll send you the name and email address of the assigned reviewer. Payment is made directly to the reviewer who would also tell you what information would be needed along with a copy of the title to be reviewed.

The reviewer would provide you with a copy of the review and you would have automatic permission to utilize the review in any manner you deem useful to promote and market the book. I will also be provided a copy of the review and it will run in our book review publication "MBR Bookwatch", be posted on the Midwest Book Review web site for five years, and published in "Book Review Index" which is distributed to thousands of academic and community libraries throughout the United States and Canada.

Published books in a traditional print edition (paperback or hardcover) are reviewed free of charge.

Please let me know if you'd like to proceed further.

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review

In a message dated 8/2/2017 9:40:52 A.M. Central Daylight Time

Mr. Cox,

Thank you for your response. My only real concern here is the selection of the reviewer. You did not indicate that I would have a role in that part.

It is critical to me to find out what kind of books the reviewer likes to review and select an appropriate reviewer. I would like to be aware of the reviewers preferred genre, past reviews, if they will accept a bound paper copy, etc.

Also, since this manuscript has not yet received a publishers final production edits, if any of those foibles would be included in the review.


Subject: Michael Pitsch - Re: Query -- Part 2
Date: 8/3/2017 12:42:38 PM Central Standard Time

Dear Mike:

Thank you for your further inquiries:

1. The task of selecting a reviewer is the sole prerogative of myself as the editor-in-chief of the Midwest Book Review.

My goal is to always assign a reviewer that I deem reliable, capable, and thematically appropriate to the genre or subject matter of the book in question.

2. With the Reader Fee format, the assigned reviewer submits the review to the author for their approval. If they approve, the reviewer is then required to send the review to me for inclusion into our monthly book review publications. This is my compensation for acting as the "middle man" in getting the author and the reviewer together.

If the author does not approve the review then that ends the matter.

Also, if the author approves of the review he or she has an automatic right to utilize the review themselves in any manner they deem useful in their own marketing efforts.

3. It is up to the author and the assigned reviewer as to whether the reviewer will be working off of a pdf file, an ARC, an unpublished manuscript, and uncorrected proof, etc. Almost always my reviewers can work off of any of these formats.

The time frame for creating the review is usually 4 to 6 weeks.

4. I'm always happy to provide links on the Midwest Book Review web site so that an author can have access to previous reviews of an assigned MBR reviewer if they would like see the quality and variety of some of the reviewer's previous work.

Or they can simply ask the assigned reviewer for samples of their work when they initially get together (via email) before proceeding further themselves.

5. Almost always when working off of an unpublished manuscript a reviewer will have suggestions for the author. It's a rare occasion when that does not happen.

Let me know if you'd like to proceed further.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Incidentally, Mike availed himself of the Reader Fee service and was quite happy with the resulting review.

Now on to some reviews of new 'how to' books that will prove to be of special interest for writers and publishers.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

So You Want to Publish Your Own Book & E-book
Myra Faye Turner
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781620232545, $34.95, Library Binding, 230pp,

A deftly presented instruction guide and manual specifically written for aspiring self-publishing authors, "So You Want to Publish Your Own Book & E-book: A Step-by-Step Guide to Fun & Profitable Publishing" draws upon author Myra Faye Turner's years of experience and expertise to show how to write a killer query letter and book proposal. Aspiring authors of all ages (but especially young adults) will also learn what to look for in literary agents and editors and how to read the fine print on contracts. The creative part of book publishing is covered with beautifully colored photography and graphics; you will learn how to create an eye-catching cover as well as some basics on book design. Reader familiarity is the biggest factor in sales, with 60 percent of readers saying they're more likely to purchase if they've heard of the author. This may seem like a catch 22, especially for young people, but "So You Want to Publish Your Own Book & E-book" offers dozens of low-cost tactics to get an author's name into a public awareness. Also covered are book tours, signings, and how to make the most of Amazon's marketplace. Advice and information from all types of publishers and authors provides a 'real world' window into today's publishing industry. Exceptionally 'user friendly' in tone and comprehensive in coverage, "So You Want to Publish Your Own Book & E-book" is unreservedly recommended for any aspiring writer seeking a profitable and successful self-publishing approach to their career. While especially recommended for highschool, community library, college and university library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "So You Want to Publish Your Own Book & E-book" is also available in a paperback edition (9781620232194, $19.95).

The Coffee Break Screenwriter Breaks the Rules
Pilar Alessandra
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615932825 $12.95

A follow-up to the enormously popular and informative guide "The Coffee Break Screenwriter" (9781615932429, $26.95), The Coffee Break Screenwriter Breaks the Rules is about writing a script for television, theater, or cinema ten minutes at a time - and about making one's script stand out from the rest by breaking the major rules of screenwriting. But rules exist for a good reason, and shouldn't broken thoughtlessly - it's important to understand why the rule exists, and why breaking it in a specific manner can punch up one's work. "The safe writer is the unemployed writer. He or she keeps getting the comment, 'Interesting, but not for us.' You want to turn this around to 'Fascinating. We don't have anything like it!'" The Coffee Break Screenwriter Breaks the Rules is a "must-have" for every aspiring or professional screenwriter, highly recommended.

The American Writer
Lawrence R. Samuel
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9781476671024, $39.95, PB, 170pp,

The American writer (both real and fictitious, famous and obscure) has traditionally been situated on the margins of society, an outsider looking in. From The Great Gatsby's Nick Carraway to the millions of bloggers today, writers are generally seen as onlookers documenting the human condition. Yet their own collective story has largely gone untold. Tracing the role of the writer in the United States over the last century, "The American Writer: Literary Life in the United States from the 1920s to the Present" by Lawrence R. Samuel (an independent scholar and a published author of works on 20th century American cultural history) describes how those who use language as a creative medium have held a special place in our collective imagination. An inherently fascinating and impressively informative study that is augmented for academia with the inclusion of a three page Bibliography and a three page Index, "The American Writer" will prove to be particularly interesting to the current generation of writers, and should be considered a 'must' for inclusion into both community and academic library 20th Century American Literature and Writing/Publishing collections.

Novel & Short Story Writer's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published
Rachel Randall
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
10151 Carver Road, Suite 200, Blue Ash, OH 45242
9781440352652, $29.99, PB, 512pp,

Rachel Randall, Covington, KY, is the Content Strategist for Writer's Digest. She has served as editor for short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her musings on fiction craft and the writing life can be found on the Writer's Digest "There Are No Rules" blog. Novel & Short Story Writer's Market 2018 is the only resource you need to get your short stories, novellas, and novels published. Under her knowledgeable and experienced editorship, this l37th edition of "Novel & Short Story Writer's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published" features hundreds of updated listings for book publishers, literary agents, fiction publications, contests, and more, and each listing includes contact information, submission guidelines, and other essential tips. Additionally, "Novel & Short Story Writer's Market 2018", offers 'real world practical' tips for: How to take your readers on a roller-coaster ride by mastering the art of the unexpected; Weaving foreshadowing and echoing into your story; Discovering the DNA (dialogue, narrative, and action) dwelling inside all memorable characters. Of special note for beginning writers are the insights provided from best-selling and award-winning authors, including Steve Berry, Liane Moriarty, Junot Diaz, and more. Also included is a one-year subscription to's searchable online database of fiction publishers (this comes with print version only). Pluse there is exclusive access to the webinar "Say What? Create Dialogue to Hook Readers and Make Your Story Pop" by best-selling author Jennifer Probst. While "Novel & Short Story Writer's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published" is a critically important addition to every author's instructional reference bookshelf, and should be a part of every community and academic library's Writing/Publishing reference collection, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Novel & Short Story Writer's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Poet's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide for Publishing Poetry
Robert Lee Brewer
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
10151 Carver Road, Suite 200, Blue Ash, OH 45242
9781440352676, $29.99, PB, 474pp,

Voted Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere in 2010, Robert Lee Brewer, Suwanee, GA, is the Senior Content Editor for the Writer's Digest Writing Community, focusing especially on and the Writer's Market series. He is also the editor for the 31st annual edition of "Poet's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide for Publishing Poetry", which is an absolutely essential instructional reference and resource for anyone seeking to have their poetry published. The "Poet's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide for Publishing Poetry" features hundreds of publishing opportunities specifically for poets, including listings for book and chapbook publishers, print and online poetry publications, contests, and more. These listings include contact information, submission preferences, insider tips on what specific editors want, and (when offered) payment information. In addition to the completely updated listings, "Poet's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide for Publishing Poetry" offers brand-new articles devoted to the craft and business of poetry, including how to handle a book launch, delivering poetry in unusual places, starting your own poetry workshop, and more. "Poet's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide for Publishing Poetry" also offers: A one-year subscription to the poetry-related information and listings on; Lists of conferences, workshops, organizations, and grants; A free digital download of Writer's Yearbook, featuring the 100 Best Markets:; Exclusive access to the webinar "PR for Poets: The Secret to Getting Your Poems Read" from Jeannine Hall Gailey. Impressively informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, thoroughly 'user friendly' in form and format, "Poet's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide for Publishing Poetry" should be a part of ever aspiring poet's personal instructional reference and resource collections. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Writing/Publishing collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Poet's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide for Publishing Poetry" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Daily Writing Resilience
Bryan E. Robinson
Llewellyn Publications
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
9780738753430, $19.99, PB, 432pp,

There is not a seasoned author or an aspiring one who has not had to deal with rejection, setbacks, and heartbreak. Ironically, most literary agents believe that the most important element to writing success is perseverance in the face of disappointment. Bryan E. Robinsonis the author of 35 nonfiction books and two novels ( and in "Daily Writing Resilience: 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers" draws upon his years of experience and expertist to provides an incredibly valuable volume of 'real world' advice, inspiration, and techniques to help even the most novice of aspiring authors to turn writer's blocks into launch pads. Offering a wealth of tips and support through exercises such as meditation, breath work, yoga, stress management, gratitude, de-cluttering, sleep, exercise, mindful eating, and more, Robinson presents 365 meditations will help anyone successfully navigate the ups-and-downs of their writing practice, creating positive habits that will guide them toward the success and fulfillment that they have been seeking. As thoughtful and thought provoking as it is inspired and inspiring, "Daily Writing Resilience: 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers" should be considered a core addition to the personal reference shelf of anyone seeking (or maintaining) a professional career as a writer. Indeed, no personal, professional, community, or academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collection should be without a copy of Bryan Robinson's "Daily Writing Resilience: 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers"!

Finally -- 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:

John Lubans -- "Fables for Leaders"
Donald W. Kruse -- "What's That Smell?"
Robert Bivona -- "The New Enlightenment"
Danny & Michael D'Agonstino -- "Back to Sovietsky"
David R. Dennington -- "The Ghost Captain Hinchliffe"
Kathleen A. Watson - "Grammar For People Who Hate Rules"
Tammie Rogers - "10 Most Common Mistakes Dog Owners Make: And How To Resolve Them!"
BLS Limousin Service
David Carriere - The Carriere Company
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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