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Jim Cox Report: July 2016

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

If you haven't had a chance yet, I urge you to read my daughter's monthly advice column for writers and publisher for July 2016. You'll find it at:

This time Bethany has invaluable information of interest to the self-publishing community, including the lawsuit against Apple and five other companies about an ebook price fixing scheme, a free on-line translation resource, and the phenomena of Bit Coins.

One of the perks of being "the face & voice" of the Midwest Book Review is the daily correspondence (both snail mail and email) that I'm privileged to have with writers and publishers. Like this for example:

In a message dated 4/16/2016 5:26:06 P.M. Central Daylight Time:

Dear Mr. Cox,

I am extremely grateful to Midwest Book Review for the most generous review of my novel Zabel. It gives me confidence to continue to put my book before the public when I know that it has been so highly regarded by someone in the trade. And it makes the years of writing well worth it.

I would very much like to have my book in libraries. Is there an organization in America from which I can get a e-mail list to contact local libraries? Do you have any information that could help me?

Also, I would like to send something to your stamp fund, but am not aware of what such a contribution should be. Please let me know the usual amount.

Once again, thank you,

Pearl Gray

To which I responded as follows:

Dear Pearl:

First I want to thank you for your very kind words. They are much appreciated.

As to the library market, you will find an entire section of library resources on the Midwest Book Review web site at:

You will find a section devoted to book marketing resources and free lance book publicists at:

Then there is a specific instructional "how to" article on selling to libraries at:

Finally, there is an archive of reviews of "how to" books on every aspect of book marketing and other publishing issues at:

I strongly suggest you browse through them. Take two or three that seem to be the most pertinent to you, copy down the title, author & ISBN, then take that information to your local public library and ask the librarian to obtain them for you (for free!) from the Interlibrary Loan Service.

As for a postage stamp fund donation, just make out a check to Midwest Book Review for any amount you wish as a gesture of support and appreciation for what we try to accomplish here in behalf of authors and small presses. Be sure to put in the lower left hand corner of the check "Postage Stamp Fund" so I'll know what it's for.

Then send it to my attention at:

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI, 53575

Let me know if I can be of any further service.

By the way, you asked an excellent question that I get from time to time and I will be sharing my response in "The Jim Cox Report" which is a monthly column of advice, commentary, and tips that I write for the publishing industry.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

The above is an example of how almost 40 years ago the Midwest Book Review was founded to be note only a forum for ordinary folk to express their opinions and commentary about the books they were reading, but to be an educational resource for writers seeking to improve their writing, and publishers seeking to publish more effectively in what has always been a fiercely competitive market place.

Now on to reviews of new books for authors and publishers on writing and publishing:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

On Being Stuck
Laraine Herring
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115-4544
9781611802900, $16.95, PB, 192pp,

Synopsis: Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Throughout history, writer's block has been a documented problem -- indeed, almost every successful author has had to deal with this almost universal experience.

Laraine Herring holds an MFA in creative writing and an MA in counseling psychology. Her short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in national and local publications. Her fiction has won the Barbara Deming Award for Women and her nonfiction work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She currently directs the creative writing program at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona and teaches at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. She's the author of seven books.

Although a common malady among writers, in "On Being Stuck: Tapping Into the Creative Power of Writer's Block", Herring argues that we’ve been thinking about writer’s block all wrong. That by paying attention to its qualities and inquiring into its hidden gifts writers can use the tools of deep inquiry, writing prompts, body and breath exercises, and a range of interdisciplinary approaches to become 'unstuck'. Indeed, "On Being Stuck" will help writers uncover the gifts hidden within their creative blocks, while also deepening the relationship to their work and reawakening creative process.

Critique: Based upon practical experience, "On Being Stuck: Tapping Into the Creative Power of Writer's Block" will prove to be an exceptionally useful read for anyone who aspires to write professionally. Indeed, "On Being Stuck" will also have a very special relevance to students tasked with writing reports, essays or dissertations. Absolutely 'user friendly' in tone, content, organization and presentation, "On Being Stuck" should be a part of every professional, community, college, and university Writing/Publishing instructional reference collection. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "On Being Stuck" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99)

Ten Characteristics of Quality Indexes
Margie Towery
Information Today, Inc.
143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055-8750
9781573875264, $45.00, PB, 140pp,

In publishing there are three major categories of indexes: Bibliographic index (a regularly updated print periodical publication that lists articles, books, and/or other information items); General Index (a detailed list, usually arranged alphabetically, of the specific information in a publication); Subject Indexing (describing the content of a document by keywords). Among the community of professional indexers, Margie Towery is well know for the quality of expertise as consummate indexer. In "Ten Characteristics of Quality Indexes: Confessions of an Award-Winning Indexer", Margie has distilled her more than two decades of experience for the benefit of novice indexers. "Ten Characteristics of Quality Indexes " defines and explores the characteristics of quality indexes: audiences and accessibility, metatopics and index structure, accuracy, comprehensiveness, conciseness, consistency, clarity, reflexivity, readability, and common sense. Writing in an engaging and accessible style, Margie shares her own struggles in indexing and offers strategies for overcoming challenges such as bias and language, indexing blocks, and working with authors. Her digressions into research on reading and decision-making provide a wider context for thinking about quality, while her suggestions and checklist for evaluating indexes round out this essential volume for professional indexers at every skill level. Simply stated, "Ten Characteristics of Quality Indexes" is emphatically and unreservedly recommended as mandatory reading for anyone aspiring to become a professional indexer.

Indexing Tactics & Tidbits
Janet Perlman
Information Today, Inc.
143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055-8750
9781573875257, $45.00, PB, 170pp,

"Indexing Tactics & Tidbits: An A to Z Guide" by Janet Perlman (who draws upon her more than 30 years of experience and expertise as a professional indexer of books and journals) is very highly-recommended reference for indexing professionals. A master indexer, Janet Perlman presents a treasure trove of practical, in-depth explanations and advice present in an alphabetical format. While bringing her own in-depth, conversational style and a multitude of fresh topics to the table, "Indexing Tactics & Tidbits" provides answers and insights on such vital subjects as audience analysis, clients and contracts, computers and software, ethics and standards, index depth and length, index structure, periodical indexing, professional resources, quality and usability, work methods and strategies, and much more. Thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, content, organization and presentation, new and experienced indexers alike will appreciate how "Indexing Tactics & Tidbits comprehensively and accessibly addresses the tasks of indexing by one of the truly preeminent indexers working in publishing today. Indeed, "Indexing Tactics & Tidbits" will prove to be a core and valued addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections in general, and Indexing supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

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:

Diana Bui
Kelly Hughes
Robert A. Schmid
Lesley G. Crawford
Biren Anand -- "Clovers"
Lawrence Klepinger -- "Outlander"
Sherrill S. Cannon -- "The Golden Rule"
Meg Nocero -- "The Magical Guide To Bliss"
Barbara Huntress Tresness -- "Beyond A Charmed Life"
Margaret A. Harrell -- "Keep This Quiet!: More Initiations"
Rob Couteau -- "More Collected Couteau: Essays and Interviews"
True Light Publications
Butterflies & Bliss, LLC
PenPower Book Marketing
Berkeley Varitronics Systems
Jason Gridley -- Gresham & Doyle
Eva Flynn -- WilliamsTown Communications
Jonas A. Zukas -- Computational Mechanics Associates
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Barbara Wall -- The Barrett Company Communications

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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