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Jim Cox Report: July 2017

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

Proofreading is simply the reading of a galley proof or an electronic copy of a publication to detect and correct production errors of text or art.

One of the major reasons why self-publishing has a stigma attached to it in the minds of all too many reviewers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and librarians is that all too often self-published authors do not adequately proof read their books to remove various types of errors before presenting them for sale to the general reading public.

Here are some very practical, easy-to-apply proof reading tips from the folks at the professional proof reader company called Bulletproof:

1. Don't Take Headers for Granted/Read Them Again...and Then One More Time

People often assume headers are correct and speed right past them to get to where they think typos are hiding. Sometimes they're in plain sight...and large.

2. Read Every Letter

Because of language familiarity, we have a tendency to read what we expect to see instead of what's actually there. If you force yourself to look at every letter, you will avoid this risky habit.

3. Read the Copy Backwards Once

Obviously, context is important, but this different perspective keeps you from getting lost in the narrative of the subject matter and missing a typo.

4. Double-check Then, Than and That

The wrong choice between then and than and a that meant to be a than are among the most common mistakes seen, and of course, your spell-check program is no help.

And I should give the folks at Bulletproof a plug for the benefit of self-publishing authors who have more money than time (or inclination) to proof read their own work themselves. Their for-a-fee proof reading services can be seen on their web site at

Recently I was asked why an author whose book was selected for review should have a snail-mail address as part of the "info block" for our review of their book. This is that exchange:

In a message dated 7/12/2016 12:31:58 P.M. Central Daylight Time, Felicia writes:

Dear Jim:

That is great news to hear!!!!

Kiwai Media’s website is

Would the best snail-mail address be their distributor?

Best regards,

Here was my reply:

Dear Felicia:

The reason for a snail mail address as part of a book review's "info block" is so that librarians and booksellers have somewhere to snail mail a purchase order if so inclined to do so by the review.

The general reading public doesn't need this info because most of them will either show up in a bookstore or go online to somewhere like Amazon to obtain the book.

So use whatever snail mail address would best serve librarians and booksellers.

A snail mail address need not be the author's, but could be that of a distributor or a wholesaler.

I'm planning to write an instructional guideline piece on the importance of an "information block" as part of a review for my monthly advice column for the publishing industry called the "Jim Cox Report" and will include our little email exchange by way of illustration.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Now on to this month's reviews of new 'how to' books on writing and publishing:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

How to Be Good with Words
Don LePan, Laura Buzzard, Maureen Okun
Broadview Press
c/o FedEx Trade Networks
555 Riverwalk Parkway, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781554813254, $14.95, PB, 256pp,

In recent decades, the contested areas of English usage have grown both larger and more numerous. English speakers argue about whether we should say man or humanity, fisher or fisherman; whether we ought to speak of people as being disabled, or challenged, or differently abled; whether it is acceptable to say that's so gay. More generally, we ask, can we use language in ways that avoid giving expression to prejudices embedded within it? Can the words we use help us point a way towards a better world? Can we ask such questions with appropriate seriousness while remaining open-minded -- and while retaining our sense of humor? To all these questions "How to Be Good with Words" is a concise and user-friendly guide that definitively answers yes. The collaborative effort of Don LePan, Laura Buzzard, and Maureen Okun, "How to Be Good with Words" provides clear-headed discussions of many of the key issues including Class; Disability; Gender; Humans & Other Animals; Race; Relationship Status; Religion; Sexual Orientation; Political Controversies; Seriousness & Humor; Euphemism & Plain Speaking; and Political Correctness. Of special note is the inclusion of Bias-Free Vocabulary: A Short List. A unique, extraordinary, thoroughly 'user friendly' study, "How to Be Good with Words" should be considered a 'must read' for any and all aspiring writers, and a core addition to both community and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional resource collections.

The Rules of Screenwriting and Why You Should Break Them
Bill Mesce, Jr.
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9781476668505, $29.95, PB, 228pp,

Only a couple of generations ago, the Hollywood-based movie industry ran on gut instinct as film schools, audience research departments, and seminars on screenwriting were not yet dominating the cinematic medium. Today the standard is the analytical approach, intended to demystify filmmaking and guarantee success (or at least minimize failure). The trouble with this method is that nobody knows how to do it they just think they do and films are made based on models of predictability rather than the merits of the script. "The Rules of Screenwriting and Why You Should Break Them" by Bill Mesce(an adjunct instructor at several New Jersey universities and colleges, and an author, screenwriter, and playwright) provides a true insider's look at the craft and business of screenwriting while exploding some of the popular myths, demonstrating how little relevance the rules have to actual filmmaking. With long experience in film and television, Mesce provides insightful how-not-to analyses, with commentary by such veterans as Josh Sapan (CEO of AMC Networks), bestselling author Adriana Trigiani, and Oscar nominated screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi (Goodfellas). Impressively informed and informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, "The Rules of Screenwriting and Why You Should Break Them" should be considered a "must read" for any and all aspiring screenwriters. While very highly recommended for community and academic library Writing/Publishing collections in general, and screenwriting supplemental studies lists in particular, it should be noted for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Rules of Screenwriting and Why You Should Break Them" is also available in a Kindle format ($15.99).

Crash! Boom! Bang! How to Write Action Movies
Michael Lucker
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615932634 $26.95

Crash! Boom! Bang! How to Write Action Movies provides an insider's look at writing action films and comes from a professional screenwriter and teacher who pairs observations of the industry with writer's tips. It is designed for writers who are already familiar with action and adventure productions, who want to hone and refine their screenwriting skills in the genre; but newcomers will also find it a fine introduction to features of the action production, and will find the process quite accessible and logical. From outlining stories and producing snappy dialogue to tightening up writing, this produces plenty of examples from successful action productions to illustrate all the concepts of what separates casual from superior writing.

The Story You Need to Tell
Sandra Marinella, MA, MEd
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608684830, $17.95, PB, 328pp,

In the pages of "The Story You Need to Tell: Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss", Sandra Marinella draws upon her many years of experience and expertise as a writing instructor who has taught thousands of students and fellow educators and presented hundreds of workshops to veterans, educators, and cancer patients to provide a practical and inspiring guide to transformational personal storytelling. "The Story You Need to Tell" features riveting true stories illustrating Marinella's methods for understanding, telling, and editing personal stories in ways that foster resilience and renewal. She also shares her own experience of using journaling and expressive writing to navigate challenges including breast cancer and postpartum depression. Each of the writing techniques, prompts, and exercises she presents helps us "to unravel the knot inside and to make sense of loss". Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Story You Need to Tell" is especially commended for community and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Story You Need to Tell" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.97).

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:

Katalin Balogh
Lin Stepp -- "Daddy's Girl"
Carol Florio -- "Nuts For Me"
Carmen Baca -- "El Hermano"
Stephen Baker -- "Final Jeopardy"
Jerry Labriola -- "Spying For Keeps"
Nan Wisherd -- "Brule River Country"
Harry E. Wedewer -- "The Bravest Guy"
Carol Smallwood -- "In Hubble's Shadow"
Donald J. Kruse -- "Take a Bath -- Please!"
David E. Geiger -- "In the Matter of Edwin Potter"
Katherine P. Stillerman -- "In the Fullness of Time"
Nick Totem -- "The Professor And The Suicide Girl"
Michael F. Myers -- "Why Physicians Die by Suicide"
Red Feather Publishing
Incorgnito Publishing Press
Sally K. Burt -- Sally Kaye Enterprises
Barbara C. Wall -- The Barrett 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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