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Jim Cox Report: June 2012

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

Jan Yager of Hannacroix Creek Books is an experienced and successful publisher. She's also a long time cyberspace pen pal of mine. I want to share one of our email exchanges as a way of introducing my topic of discussion for this month:

In a message dated 11/22/2011 7:47:58 A.M. Central Standard Time, Hannacroix writes:

Hi Jim,

I just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family (and friends too!) as the holiday draws closer.

For me it is a time to reflect on who really cares about the hard work and quality titles that we do at Hannacroix Creek Books, inc. and you are definitely up there as one of the biggest champions of our efforts!

It's been a struggle to keep going -- I'll be blunt about that -- but I do keep going and I like to think our titles contribute to making the world a better place because of it. Fiction, YA, adult nonfiction, self-help, business books --even journals! -- as you know, we do it all!

So thank you, thank you, thank you, Jim.

I don't want you to think I take your dedicated hard work on behalf of independent publishing companies like mine for granted. You are a national treasure!

Here's to a wonderful Thanksgiving and hopefully a happy holiday season as well.

We hit it "big" with our very first book, back in 1997, "Friendshifts," and we're still optimistic that we'll have another big hit again. Till then, we just do what we do since every quality book that is published, whether it sells 10, 100 copies or 10,000 or more, is still a book worth doing -- to the author, to the publisher, and to our society including international readers through translations or English language reprint editions. (We just got the Vietnamese translation of author Fred Yager's YA novel "Cybersona" and it looks terrific and Rei Kimura's My Name is Eric, a novel about a Pomeranian dog, is being translated into Italian!)

All the best,

Jan Yager, Ph.D.
Hannacroix Creek Books, Inc.

Of course it's always nice to hear good things said about oneself. So I emailed back to her the following:

In a message dated 11/22/2011 12:45:03 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, writes:

Dear Jan:

Thank you for your very kind words. They are greatly appreciated. One thought I've always had about the value of the writing of books and the publishing of books. Each well crafted title, wether or not it is a commercial success, is a valued addition to the growing cultural legacy of the human race.

So keep up the good work! If only for the sake of our children's children's children and for the many, many generations beyond them.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

And that's my subject: The values harvested from the hard work of writing and of publishing. For most of us its far more than just the money. And for all to many of us the money wasn't all that much to begin with!

What happens when we write and publish (and this applies just as much to fiction as it does to non-fiction) is that we are contributing to an ever growing cultural legacy for our families, for our friends, and for the generations to come.

To imagine this just think of what it would be like to read the lost manuscripts of antiquity that all of our historical sources tell us were a part of the collection of that fabled Alexandrian Library established in the Egyptian city that Alexander of Macedonia created on the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Or the lost books of Biblical Antiquity that we know only by their titles mentioned in the manuscripts that were able to survive the ravages of time and tide.

Or the letters and diaries written by our great-grand parents who struggled with lives of hardship and hope in order that their children and their children's children would have better lives than their own -- but that subsequent generations somehow lost track of in the daily confusions of ordinary lives lived in extraordinary times.

I have a friend, Phil Kaveny, who occasionally writes books reviews for me. He is currently working on a book of his own, a scholarly work dealing with medieval literature. He needed an essay (cleverly disguised as one of his extended book reviews) that he had done for me many years ago in this subject area. He had long lost his original copy. But he was able to find it in the archives of the Midwest Book Review web site.

He was so grateful that he phoned me up long-distance just to say so. Here was one of those all-to-rare occasions when a time-lost document was found.

So remember and appreciate that what you write and what you publish can have a value to future generations of readers, writers, and publishers that has the potential to far exceed your own current expectations -- financial or otherwise.

Now on to reviews of new "how to" books on writing and/or publishing:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Wild Ink
Victoria Hanley
Prufrock Press
PO Box 8813, Waco, TX 76714-8813
9781593638641, $17.95,

The young adult market is a primary source of revenue for the publishing industry and requires aspiring authors creating fiction and non-fiction works for a YA audience to be able communicate and connect with their audience if their books are to be successful in a highly competitive marketplace that includes school and community librarians, booksellers, and the adolescent to young adult reading public. "Wild Ink: Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing for the Young Adult Market" by successful YA novelist Victoria Hanley is a 302-page instruction manual that will prove indispensable to writers as she descriptively discusses the special needs of the YA genre, tips on staying inspired when writing for this specialized audience, as well as avoiding common mistakes when writing for teens. Of special note are the provision of writing exercises to hone skills necessary to capture the interest of teen readers, interviews with YA authors, bloggers, editors, and agents within the YA genre, and self-editing techniques appropriate for the YA genre. Of special note is Victoria Hanley's observations on dealing with rejection and time constraints. Informed, practical, and offering a wealth of superbly presented constructive information, "Wild Ink" should be considered mandatory reading for anyone seeking to write for a YA readership.

Book Formatting for Self-Publishers
Jeannette Green
Diamond Press
3400 Pegasus Drive, Box 80043
Bakersfield, CA 93380
9780984404476, $19.97 print, $9.97 ebook

Book Formatting for Self-Publishers is quite simply a 'must' for any collection strong in self-publishing techniques. It comes from an author who professionally prepares clients' books and ebook files for publication and shares her techniques of professionally publishing a book in either print or ebook formats. The directions are presented in an easy step-by-step coverage that anyone can readily absorb, with illustrations making the entire process even simpler. From using Microsoft Word to format to using it to create ebooks for Kindle, NOOK and Smashwords, this is a 'must' for any aspiring self-publisher and for collections catering to them.

Finally we have "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:

Sonja Klein
Daniel Flynn
Queenie Mac
Helge Deaton
Jerry Labriola
Aine Minogue
Denise Neman
Donny Allison
Craig Etchison
Althea Williams
David W. Tollen
Rachelle Weisberger
Valerie Storey -- "Overtaken"
Bud Rudesill -- "Cutter's Bizaar"
Tessa Dawn -- "Blood Possession"
Krys Roxien -- "Antonia De Rocsini"
Creston R. Southard -- "Duffytown Boy"
Gerald J. Kubicki -- "A Dubious Terrain"
Dan Calandro -- "Lose Your Broker Not Your Money"
Caballo Press of Ann Arbor
Milton Kahn Associates Inc.
Pat Holl -- Hieropub LLC
Mary Lloyd -- Hankfritz Press
Debbie Skora -- Music of Words
Steve Feuer -- Gihon River Press
Andre Vaguine -- ConsReality, Inc.
Angela Norris -- Moonleaf Publishing
John-Paul Leonard -- Progressive Press
David Parker -- Darwin Bay Publishing
George C. Connolly -- Crosswinds Press
Judith Geary -- Ingalls Publishing Group
Catherine Treadgold -- Coffeetown Press
Alexander S. White -- White Knight Press
Catherine Blakemore -- Adams Pomeroy Press
Lynne Rock -- James A. Rock & Company Publishers
William R. Johnson -- Superior Book Publishing Company
Barbara C. Wall -- The Barrett Company
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!

If you have postage to donate, or if you have a book you'd like considered for review, then send those 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. 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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