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Jim Cox Report: March 2013

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

First a little Midwest Book Review "office gossip"!

I've very pleased to again be a judge for the Audies awards in the Multi-Voiced Performance category. This is an annual series of awards given out by the Audio Publishers Association. I've been one of their judges for more than ten years now. I think it all began because of my monthly review column "The Audiobook Shelf". I have the pleasure and privilege of seeing pretty much all of the audio book titles published by the major audio publishers in this country -- and a couple of others (namely Britain and Australia).

This year my assigned category is Multi-Voiced Performance and there are six candidates. I'm now on the last one and so have every confidence of comfortably making my March 22nd deadline.

A second piece of news is that one of my assistant editors (who has been with me for something like five years now) has established himself in a very nice career as a writer. But even though he's now gone on to a literary career he will still have ties to the Midwest Book Review as a freelance reviewer.

It puts me in mind of how (when I had a weekly local half-hour television called "Bookwatch" that ran for twenty-one years in Madison, Wisconsin) three of my volunteer crew members were able to use my little book review show as a stepping stone to professional careers as camera operators and video editors - two in Los Angeles and one in New York.

Being able to nurture other people's talent is one of the more obscure but satisfying benefits of what I call one of the best jobs in the world -- being the editor-in-chief of the Midwest Book Review!

Finally there is this:

In a message dated 8/22/2012 5:02:28 P.M. Central Daylight Time, Brian Jud writes:

Hi Jim:

I am sponsoring the Writer's Digest 2013 Self-Publishing Awards. There are 10 "category" winners and a Grand Prize winner. Last year you offered a free review as a prize to each of the category winners. Do you want to repeat next year? Any other "prize" you want to offer?

Thanks, Brian

Dear Brian:

I'd be happy to be one of your "prizes", offering a guaranteed review for your ten category and the GP winners.

Just be sure that those winners note in their cover letters accompanying their review copies that they are Writer's Digest 2013 Self-Publishing Award winners. Without such a notification I wouldn't be able to pick them out from the 2300+ titles we receive in an average month from the publishing industry.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Note: Brian Jud is the author of "How to Make Real Money Selling Books" and now offers commission-based sales of nonfiction, fiction and children’s titles to buyers in special markets. In my opinion, he is one of the best at what he does.

I think this is the fifth or sixth year I've served as a kind of 'prize' for the Writer's Digest Press annual self-publishing awards. I've been at this so long I can't quite remember when it all got started. But I'm always happy to help out with these sorts of things when I can.

But MBR office gossip isn't what the readers of the "Jim Cox Report" really expect - so on with something more germane to writing and publishing!

Here's a little exchange that I think you might find of value as writers, publishers, and consumers living in a world of scam artists and scallywags:

In a message dated 6/12/2012 11:43:22 A.M. Central Daylight Time, Alisa writes:


Your book review page was so helpful and I wanted to write and say thank you for having such a useful resource. I've been researching about scams, fraud and consumer awareness on the Internet, after all the horror stories I've been hearing I want to be prepared and know what to look for. While researching I came across your web site's Miscellaneous online resources page (, which has great resources about spam and scams that really helped me out in my research, and I really appreciate it.

To show my thanks I'd like to suggest another resource that's about consumer awareness that I found while continuing my research (, that I think would make a great additional Miscellaneous Website resource on your web site's online resources page. I would love to share the page with the additional resource to my friends and family, who I feel also need to be prepared. How often is it updated?


Alisa Ballard

Dear Alisa:

Thank you for your very kind words. They are much appreciated. The Midwest Book Review web site is updated on pretty much a weekly basis -- partly due to the generosity of our web site visitors like yourself who provide useful information and links to what's out there on the web that would be thematically appropriate for our constantly expanding and updated web site.

I'll share this email communication in an issue of my monthly "Jim Cox Report" column which I write (and archive on the Midwest Book Review web site) for the benefit of authors, publishers, booksellers, librarians, and the general reading public.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Here is a question I get at least once a month -- and my stock answer:

In a message dated 8/11/2012 2:05:39 A.M. Central Daylight Time, Sleewinters writes:

How are books selected for review?

Sent from my iPad

Dear Sleewinters,

They undergo a literary triage upon arrival and are separated into three groups:

1. Immediate rejection for review.
2. Immediate acceptance for review
3. Provisional acceptance for review

The first category is usually because what was submitted was not a finished copy of the published book but a galley, uncorrected proof, or advanced reading copy (ARC). Other reasons could also include a physical problem such as poor binding; or a marketing problem such as a significantly substandard cover art; or the absence of an accompanying cover letter and publicity or press release. So many times with a self-published author the reason is the absence of a mailing address or contact information which we require in order to be able to send the author and/or publisher a copy of the review and a publisher notification letter.

The second category means that the book was specifically requested by one of our reviewers, or is in a category or topic area that one or more of our reviewers specialize in and therefore can be immediately assigned out for review.

The third category means that the book looks good, is accompanied by the proper paperwork, and will be given a 14 to 16 week 'window of opportunity' in which to achieve a review assignment.

We receive an average of 2300 titles a month from the publishing industry and have a roster of 80 reviewers to cope with them. If a book in the 'provisional acceptance' category does not achieve a review assignment it is no reflection on the quality of the book, but simply the unfortunately consequences of too many books and not enough reviewers.

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Here are reviews for new titles of interest to writers, publishers, and the occasional bibliophile:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing
Michelle Spring and Laurie R. King
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315
New York, NY 10010
9781408131220 $20.00

Award-winning mystery/suspense novelists Michelle Spring and Laurie R. King present The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing, a solid primer for aspiring crime novel authors and part of Bloomsbury's excellent series of writing guides. Chapters cover the history and evolution of the genre, advice from an immense diversity of popular writers including Meg Gardiner, Guy Saville, Andrew Taylor, Laura Wilson, and many others; and techniques to apply to problems ranging from writer's block to finding an agent for one's completed book. "Poetic imagery can be useful in less extended forms, in places where you would like the reader to pause briefly to reflect on the sensory meaning of the story. However, take care that your poetic metaphor doesn't distract the reader right out of the fictional dream you've been working so hard to construct. When in doubt, leave out the metaphor." The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing is absolutely invaluable for prospective authors in the crime and mystery genre, and packed with wisdom that writers of other disciplines will find useful regardless. Highly recommended.

HBR Guide to Better Business Writing
Bryan A. Garner
Harvard Business School Press
60 Harvard Way
Boston, MA 02163
9781422184035, $19.95,

Good writing persuades and captivates, no matter its ultimate purpose. "HBR Guide to Better Business Writing" is an advisory guide for business writers who want to enhance their potential for business communications, as Bryan A. Garner elaborates on the importance of good writing in corporate writing, from within the company to the outside of the company. From catching the readers attention to driving a persuasive argument home, "HBR Guide to Better Business Writing" is an invaluable and very much recommended resource, not to be overlooked.

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:

Jenna Brooks -- "October Snow"
Tessa Dawn -- "Blood Shadows"
Stephen Dougherty -- "Fish House"
W. H. Dean Olson -- "The Life Line"
Ethan Rappaport -- "The Lesser Evil"
Mark Rubinstein -- "Mad Dog House"
Hugh Leonard -- "Interiority Powered"
Sands Hetherington -- "Night Buddies"
Sandra H. Esch -- "Tracks in the Snow"
Donald W. Kruse -- "Where's the Gold?"
Valerie W. Stasik -- "Incidental Daugher"
Martha MacGibbon -- "Never Give Into Fear"
Pat Engebrecht -- "When Love Is Not Enough"
Jackie Kingon -- "Chocolate Chocolate Moons"
Carol Sue Gershman -- "Here Comes Amazing You"
Dianne Durkin -- "The Power of Magnetic Leadership"
Joyce Graham Fogwill -- "Bubs the Bumblebee and the Spider's Web"
Mary E. Trimble -- "Tubob: Two Years in West Africa with the Peace Corps"
J. W. Winslow -- Fresh Art
Pam Glenn -- Class Action Ink
Amy Wische -- American Stripes
Nan Wishered -- Cable Publishing
Laurence Street -- Kangel Publishing
Stephen Farnes -- Rauson Group LLC
David Parker -- Darwin Bay Publishing
Francine L. Trevens -- TnT Classic Books
Ruth E. Donald -- Proud Horse Publishing
Kira Henschel -- HenschellHAUS Publishing
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!

In lieu of (or in addition to!) postage stamp donations, we also accept PayPal gifts of support 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. 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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