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Jim Cox Report: June 2019

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

Last month I covered the subject of using public domain photographs for book covers. This month I want to expand the book cover issue with resources available to self-publishing authors and small press publishers with reference to using public domain artwork. Here is a listing of free internet resources for thousands and thousands of public domain artwork available for that purpose:

National Gallery of Art | Open Access:

Free Clip Art and Public Domain Images - Art Education:

Public Domain Paintings | Fine Art America:

Where to Find Public Domain Images - The Art League Blog

Just as an historical note, the art for the Midwest Book Review logos on our website and on all of our letterhead stationary are public domain clip art images.

Also last month I mentioned how one of my most prized perks as the editor-in-chief of the Midwest Book Review is that I get access to some truly esoteric and unique titles that are related to writing and publishing. Here is another example that anyone interesting in the subject of American Presidents writing their memoirs will find fascinating:

Author in Chief
Michael B. Costanzo
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9781476675701, $39.95, PB, 246pp,

Synopsis: With the publication of his Personal Memoirs in 1885, Ulysses S. Grant established what is today known as the presidential memoir. Every U.S. president since Benjamin Harrison has written one and many have turned to other forms of writing, as well.

"Author in Chief: The Presidents as Writers from Washington to Trump" by Michael B. Costanzo covers the history of these presidential literary works including autobiographies, diaries, political manifestos, speeches, fiction and poetry. All of which were authored by U.S. presidents and published prior to, during or after their terms.

The writing was easy for some, harder for others, with varying success, from literary comebacks and bestsellers to false starts and failures.

Critique: A unique, informative, and inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, "Author in Chief: The Presidents as Writers from Washington to Trump" will prove to be of special and particular interest to academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Author in Chief" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Now here are reviews of new books with particular relevance and interest for authors and publishers:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

How to Self-Publish Your Book
Jan Yager
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
9780757004650, $19.95, PB, 272pp,

Synopsis: For the past few decades that saw that the increasing consolidation of established publishers was resulting in fewer and fewer access opportunities for the publication books by unknown or midlist authors. That self-publishing was the only viable alternative for an aspiring authors wanting to be published and have what they'd written reach the general reading public.

Part One of "How to Self-Publish Your Book: A Complete Guide to Writing, Editing, Marketing & Selling Your Own Book" is divided into three parts and covers the initial manuscript preparation -- setting your goals, writing, sequencing, editing, and proofing, as well as creating a business plan for your book's eventual release.

Part Two focuses on the actual production of a book. It explains the importance of cover and interior design, what you need to know about producing physical books and e-books, and how to turn your title into an audiobook.

Part Three provides key information on how to market and sell a book -- subjects that are crucial to a title's success, but of which most writers have very little understanding.

Also included is a valuable resource section that guides the aspiring author to websites which offer essential information on self-publishing service providers, including complete self-publishing companies as well as freelance editors, proofreaders, printers, distributors, marketers, and publicists.

The fact is that any book's chance of success starts at its origin, not with the finished product. However you choose to produce your book, whether through a self-publishing company or through separate services, "How to Self-Publish Your Book" by Jan Yager is a complete road map to becoming a successfully self-published author.

Critique: It should be noted that in the pages of "How to Self-Publish Your Book" that the Midwest Book Review is positively cited (pages 168-169) as a recommended resource for the self-published author. That said, this is one of the most comprehensive, practical, and 'user friendly' how-to instructional guides available today on the subject of self-publishing. Of special note is the inclusion of a six page Glossary, and a five page Index. Candidly, if you only have the time or budget for one 'how to' book on the subject, then you would be well served as an aspiring but unknown author seeking publication to give "How to Self-Publish Your Book" a careful reading. That will save you time, money, and the avoidance of common mistakes. Simply stated, "How to Self-Publish Your Book" is unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections.

Editorial Note: Dr. Jan Yager received her M.A. in criminal justice from Goddard College, and a Ph.D. in sociology from the City University of New York Graduate Center. Beginning at the age 23, she began her publishing career first working at Macmillan Publishing Company, and then at Grove Press working directly under the company's founder, Barney Rosset. There she learned to do everything from selling foreign and subsidiary rights to acquisitions, publicity, and sales. Jan's life has been all about writing and publishing books. She is the author of more than 40 books published by such major houses as Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Scribner, Wiley, and Doubleday, as well as self-published by her own company, Hannacroix Creek Books, Inc. Dr. Yager's award-winning titles include Foreign Rights and Wrongs; Effective Business and Nonfiction Writing; Career Opportunities in the Publishing Industry (with Fred Yager); Business Protocol; Victims; When Friendship Hurts (translated into 29 languages); Friendshifts; The Pretty One (a novel); Untimely Death (a novel, with Fred Yager); The Quiet Dog (illustrated by Mitzi Lyman); Work Less, Do More; Put More Time on Your Side; and others.

Finally, "The Midwest Book Review Postage Stamp Hall Of Fame & Appreciation" is a monthly 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 to our postage stamp fund this past month:

Teri Rider
Elena Clark
Michael Kelley
Andrew Giesler
Bob Adamov -- "Flight"
Gretchen Dykstra -- "Civic Pioneers"
Patrick Finegan -- "Cooperative Lives"
L. A. Carastro -- "The Buss Ride Back"
Derek Cressman -- "When Money Talk$"
John Sandman -- "Debt Collectors in Love"
Cowboy Andy -- "Put Your Arms in the Air!
Paul Singh -- "The Death of the Rule of Law"
Lionel Binnie -- "The Future of Omni-Channel Retail"
Fr. Francisco Radecki -- "Vatican II Exposed As Counterfeit Catholicism"
Eve Heidi Bine-Stock -- "Coral Reef Animals Book 1: Invertebrates, A Guide in Rhyme"
Paramount Market Publishing
Katrina Johnson -- Galbadia Press
Jeff Howard -- Rand-Smith Publishing
Ellie Godwin -- Concierge Marketing
Barbara C. Wall -- The Barrett Company
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Karen Thomas -- Thomas Public Relations

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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