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Home / Jim Cox Reports / Jim Cox Report: June 2016
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Jim Cox Report: June 2016

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

In my internet journeys this past month I stumbled upon the February 2016 Author Earnings Report: Amazonís Ebook, Print, and Audio Sales at:

Every author and publisher having to deal with Amazon should find this report, with its graphs and accompanying commentaries of immense interest.

As someone who has read himself to sleep at night for most of my life I immediately chose the newly arrived review copy of "Reading in Bed" for myself to review -- that's one of the best prerogatives my job as editor-in-chief has! Since a good many subscribers to the Jim Cox Report are no strangers to reading in bed, I wanted to share this with you:

Reading in Bed
Brian Doyle
ACTA Publications
4848 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640
9780996136204, $19.95, PB, 215pp,

Comprised of brief headlong essays about books, writers , reading, and readers, "Reading in Bed" by Brian Doyle reflects upon the scent of books, their papery wings that flutter as you read, the amazing variety of books people secretly carry in their cars, the way that refrigerators hosting stories of every kind are actually a literary genre, the way we all make scurrilous moral judgments when surreptitiously scanning other people's bookshelves, the subtle joy of reading a select series of books, the pleasures of reading box scores and Ships in Port in the newspaper, the terrible epidemic of misplaced apostraphes in American life, and the most elegant literary form of them all -- the essay. Doyle also offers notes on Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Louis Stevenson, Tony Hillerman, Joseph Conrad, Cynthia Ozick, Jan Morris, William Blake, Andre Dubus III, the moist, moist delights of sea novels, a particular interview with the nonfiction author Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and so much more that will make the reader laugh and snarl and ponder the endless pleasure of books and their creators. "Reading in Bed" is a book to enjoy, enlighten and inspire. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Reading in Bed" is an extraordinary, thoughtful and thought-provoking read from beginning to end, and very highly recommended for personal reading lists of all bibliophiles, as well as an enduringly popular addition to community library collections.

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

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Comedy Writing Secrets, third edition
Mark Shatz with Mel Helitzer
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
10151 Carver Road, Suite 200, Blue Ash, OH 45242
9781599639611, $17.99, PB, 235pp,

Mark A. Shatz is a professor of psychology at Ohio University, Zainesville. In addition to teaching humor writing, he has extensive international experience as a teacher, speaker, and seminar leader. He draws upon his many years of experience and expertise to create an invaluable and thoroughly 'user friendly' guide to writing humor. Now in a newly updated and expanded third edition, "Comedy Writing Secrets: The Best-Selling Guide to Writing Funny and Getting Paid for It" truly lives up to its extended title and reveals the secrets of successful humor writing that will the comedy writer's laughing out loud. "Comedy Writing Secrets" covers all the basics of joke construction, as well as in-depth comedy-writing techniques that apply to a variety of print and online markets. "Comedy Writing Secrets" features: Hundreds of updated one-liners, anecdotes, and bits from top comedians like Louis C.K., Conan O'Brien, Tina Fey, Amy Schumer, Rodney Dangerfield, Jon Stewart, Steve Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon, George Carlin, Zach Galifianakis, Stephen Colbert, Erma Bombeck, and more; Exclusive tips for injecting humor into articles, speeches, advertisements, greeting cards, and more; New instruction on writing for online markets and social media; Advice on brainstorming and editing to beat writer's block and generate new material; Exercises and expanded instructions for exaggeration, reverses, word play and more to practice and refine your writing skills. "Comedy Writing Secrets" is enthusiastically recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Comedy Writing Secrets" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Creating Nonfiction
Jen Hirt & Erin Murphy, editors
State University of New York Press
State University Plaza, Albany, NY 12246-0001
9781438461151, $75.00, HC, 254pp,

"Creating Nonfiction" is a collection of twenty essays and interviews with authors that will open the eyes of readers and writers to the formal possibilities of creative nonfiction. Included in the pages of "Creating Nonfiction" are examples of memoirs, personal essays, literary journalism, graphic essays, and lyric essays, and the content is equally diverse, with topics ranging from childbirth to child labor, from dandelions to domestic violence. Whereas most anthologies leave readers to speculate about the evolution of each contribution, "Creating Nonfiction" provides companion interviews that offer insight into the inspiration, drafting, and revision process that produced the essays. Cheryl Strayed talks about how working as a reporter for her hometown newspaper influenced her later writings. Dinty W. Moore reflects on the delicate balance between observation and judgment when writing about subjects whose values differ from your own. Kristen Radtke explains how she decides between textual and visual images when creating a graphic essay. Although they offer an eclectic mix of voices and styles, what these essays all have in common is that ultimately, as contributor Faith Adiele observes, truth becomes art. Exceptionally well organized and presented, "Creating Nonfiction" is an informative, insightful, thoughtful and thought-provoking read throughout and very highly recommended for community and academic library Writing/Publishing reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists. For personal reading lists of aspiring writers it should be noted that "Creating Nonfiction" is also available in a paperback edition (9781438461168, $24.95) and in a Kindle format ($13.99).

Master of The Cinematic Universe
John Bucher & Jeremy Casper
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615932412, $14.95, PB, 130pp,

Cooperatively written by John Bucher (an award-winning writer / director / producer from Los Angeles, California) and Jeremy Casper (an award-winning writer / director / producer from Los Angeles, California, and who currently teaches film at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center where he has held workshops for well over a thousand short films with his students and alumni) "Master of The Cinematic Universe: The Secret Code to Writing In The New World of Media" is a guide to the future of trans-media storytelling. Content creators of every flavor are constantly needing to expand the mediums they can work in. "Master of The Cinematic Universe" serves as an invaluable resource for using the timeless truths of story structure to craft established as well as up and coming short-form media formats. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Master of The Cinematic Universe" is very highly recommended for both community and academic library Theatre/Cinema/TV instructional reference collections. For the personal reading lists of students, film buffs, and the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject, it should be noted that "Master of The Cinematic Universe" is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.59).

Writing in English for the Medical Sciences: A Practical Guide
Steve Hart
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781498742368, $33.95,

Writing in English for the Medical Sciences: A Practical Guide has been designed to help medical students and professors in medicine and surgery schools to make best use of English in the course of their work, and teaches how to produce professional results in medical writing. The profession has many common requirements for such writing, but writing errors typically occur during the process. This book identifies these common mistakes, shows how to correct them, and includes errors by international students and ESL students and professors. Exercises encourage self-testing and real understanding of the underlying principles of English, making this a top recommendation for college-level medical and English language reference collections alike.

Book Cover Designs
Matthew Goodman
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764350160, $34.99,

Book Cover Designs compiles over five hundred designs and descriptions of the process from over fifty leading modern designers, and gathers some of the most clever of titles and themes of both classic and modern books from illustrators, design professionals, students, and more. The result is a range of approaches to book cover design that can serve two purposes: as a fine set of visual artistic efforts for artists seeking book cover inspiration, or for authors who want to sample the full range of approaches to book jackets and all the options involved.

The Script-Selling Game, second edition
Kathie Fong Yoneda
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781932907919, $19.95, PB, 245pp,

Kathie Fong Yoneda has worked in film and television for more than 30 years. She has held executive positions at Disney, Touchstone, Disney TV Animation, Paramount Pictures Television, and Island Pictures, specializing in development and story analysis of both live-action and animation projects. Kathie is an internationally known seminar leader on screenwriting and development and has conducted workshops in France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Ireland, Great Britain, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and throughout the U.S. and Canada. In this newly updated and expanded second edition of "The Script Selling Game: A Hollywood Insider's Look at Getting Your Script Sold and Produced Second Edition", Yoneda draws upon her years of experience and expertise to provide practical answers questions about successfully selling scripts, and provides aspiring script writers with not only valuable information, but real-life examples on how to maneuver their way through the Hollywood labyrinth. While the first edition focused mostly on film and television movies, the second edition includes a new chapter on animation and another on utilizing the Internet to market yourself and find new opportunities, plus an expansive section on submitting for television and cable. While very highly recommended for community and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Script-Selling Game" is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.99).

Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts
Stephen Gillen
Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TTA)
PO Box 367, Fountain City, WI 54629
9780997500400, $29.95, 52pp,

The forming of contracts to the benefit of authors is a subject never taught in any creative writing class or workshop but it is a vital and necessary skill -- especially for writers of textbooks. In "Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts", Stephen Gillen (a partner at the 145-year-old legal firm Wood Herron & Evans which specializes in intellectual property law) provides a complete and comprehensive course of instruction that is as 'user friendly' as it is do-it-yourself practical. "Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts" begins with an Introduction, followed by practical orientation advice (You Have More Leverage Than You Think / You Have to Do Your Homework / Determine What's Important to You. Then continues with Key Provisions of a Typical Textbook Contract; Grant of Rights and Royalties; Advances and Grants; Electronic Rights; Copyright; Competing Publications; Obligations of the Publisher; Manuscript Submission; Ancillaries; Editorial Control; Warranties and Indemnities; Permissions to Use Other Material; Author's and Publisher's Changes in Proofs; Marketing and Promotion; Royalty Reporting and Payment; Inspection of Publisher's Accounts by Author; Author's Copies / Revisions of the Book; Assignments and Successors / Reversion; Choice of Legal Venue; and Signature Block. "Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts" is enhanced further with the inclusion of '20 Questions to Ask Your Editor', a list of Resources, a Glossary of Terms, and Contact Information. Although as the title lays out, "Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts" is focused on contracts for textbooks, the core basic information about contract negotiation and content will prove to be of practical value for any author entering into a contractual arrangement with any publisher for any book, fiction or non-fiction. It should be noted that "Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts" is also available in an ebook format ($24.95).

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:

Karen Gens
Pearl Gray -- "Zabel"
Valerie Smalkin -- "Love Bug!"
Victoria Hewitt -- "The Outside"
Caitlin Avery -- "The Last Cruz"
L. A. Justice -- "Stalking Melissa"
Genevieve LaGreca -- "Noble Vision"
Inge-Lise Goss -- "The Cost of Crude"
Janice J. Roane -- "One Stayed Home"
Jerry Labriola -- "Dangerous Triangle"
Judy Martialay -- "Let's Learn Spanish"
Henry Hoffman -- "On A Midnight Clear"
Marguerite Moores -- "A Casualty of Hope"
Alan Sproles -- "The Train From Outer Space"
Dennis P. Freed -- "Love, Loss, and Awakening"
CCS Innovations
Waldorf Publishing
Ann Starr -- Upper Hand Press
Linda F. Radke -- Five Star Publications
Rachel Semlyen -- Royal Fireworks Press
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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