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Jim Cox Report: March 2023

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

As the editor-in-chief of the Midwest Book Review, one of the services to authors, publishers and publicists is to provide answers, help and assistance when they have questions about writing, publishing, and the marketing of books. A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from a prospective author in Menomonie, Wisconsin who asked for help in locating a publishing lawyer in our state (I'm in Oregon, Wisconsin). I was able to walk her through the process by using Google. I thought I'd share that process with you in case you would ever need (as an author or as a publisher) legal assistance with respect to your own publishing projects.

Because she wanted someone in Wisconsin, in the Google search bar I typed in the words "Wisconsin Lawyer Publisher Consultant"

What I downloaded was:
Literary Lawyer | Book Publishing Attorney

Melissa Nasson founded Literary Lawyer to combine her diverse legal and publishing background with her desire to provide expert consultation, legal review, and negotiation services to agents, authors, and publishers. Melissa brings the unique experience of working on both sides of the publishing negotiation table. › publishers › wisconsin › milwaukee
Find Top Milwaukee, WI Publisher Lawyers Near You | LawInfo Attorney ...

O'Neil, Cannon, Hollman, DeJong & Laing S.C. Publisher Lawyers
Foley & Lardner LLP Publisher Lawyers › f › us › wisconsin › publishing-lawyers
Wisconsin Publishing Lawyers: Compare Pricing and Save - ContractsCounsel

Free Consultation: The Law Office of David Watson, LLC provides comprehensive and individualized estate-planning services for all stages and phases of life. I listen to your goals and priorities and offer a range of estate-planning services, including trusts, wills, living wills, durable powers of attorney, and other plans to meet your goals.

This type of Google search for a publishing contracts or plagiarism law suite issue is what I recommend if you ever need the services of an attorney for your publishing project -- just use the same entry but with your own state's name.

By the way, type American Literary Attorneys into the Google search engine and you'll get a nation wide response.

Quick Note #1: Last month's my article on 'Selling Books to Libraries' was apparently so popular that I've added it to the 'Advice for Writers & Publishers' section of the Midwest Book Review website. Here is a directly link to it:

Quick Note #2: One of the resource links added to the Midwest Book Review website recently is to the EveryLibrary Institute (a 501c3 non-profit companion organization dedicated to ensuring continued public and political support for library funding):

Now here are reviews of new books that will be of particular interest and value to authors, publishers and bibliophiles:

Encyclopedia of Self-Publishing
Thomas A. Williams
Venture Press
c/o William & Company Book Publishers
9781878853882, $18.95, PB, 262pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "The Encyclopedia of Self-Publishing", Tom Williams completely and authoritatively answers the questions posed almost daily by first-time and even more experienced self--publishers.

A compendium of fact and how-to information, The Encyclopedia of Self-Publishing" is arranged in encyclopedic format for easy use, the personal and anecdotal style of this book, growing out of the author's own 30-year experience, invites browsing into unfamiliar areas that many readers may not even know enough to ask about.

Of special note are the lengthy entries on secondary profit centers that can spell the difference between success and failure in home-based, entrepreneurial publishing. This discussion is unique to "The Encyclopedia of Self-Publishing".

Of particular value are the entries on specialty book projects with fast turnaround and very high potential for substantial, quick profit and the discussion of the profitability of advertising-based periodicals well within the capabilities of self-publishers.

"The Encyclopedia of Self-Publishing" targets not only those readers who want to publish a single book but those who want to convert their publishing enterprise into a sustainable, income-producing, home-based business

Critique: Impressively comprehensive and exceptionally well organized and presented, "The Encyclopedia of Self-Publishing" will go a long way in enhancing the chances for a financially successful self-publishing venture. -- Then there are all those priceless quotes regarding self-publication, such as: 'First you're an unknown. Then you write one book and you move up to obscurity.' -- Martin Myers. A combination of instructional reference and 'how-to' manual, "The Encyclopedia of Self-Publishing" is a very special and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing collections -- and ideal as a DIY textbook on self- publishing.

Editorial Note: Thomas A. Williams is the author of a series of books in the writing/publishing field, including Get Paid to Write!, Poet Power: The Practical Poet's Guide to Publication, and How to Publish Your Own Magazine, Guidebook or Weekly Newspaper, now in its fifth edition and the standard in its field. He has owned and edited his own weekly newspaper, regional magazines, and guidebooks. He now directs his own publishing company, Williams & Company, Publishers. (

How to Promote Your Book
Dr. Jan Yager
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
9780757004742, $17.95, PB, 288pp

Synopsis: Whether your book is being released through a commercial publisher or an academic press, or you are self-publishing it, as the author, you can, should, and must play a crucial role in getting your book seen, talked about, and sold.

While you may watch dozens of authors pitch their books on TV, in social media, and in bookstores, they represent only a fraction of the writers who come out with new books each year. What do they know that you don't? They know what to do to get attention for themselves and, more important, for their books -- and as you will discover with "How to Promote Your Book: A Practical Guide to Publicizing Your Own Title" by publishing veteran Jan Yager that you can, too.

"How to Promote Your Book" is divided into three sections.

Part One begins with a look at promotion basics. These include knowing what your book's marketplaces are, who your audience is, how the media is divided, the elements involved in publicity, and how to create an effective promotional timeline.

Once you understand the basics, Part Two focuses on the ways to package and market yourself to the various book and media outlets. It discusses putting together professional looking press releases and media kits. It also explains how to obtain endorsements and reviews, as well as how to generate speaking engagements and interviews with journalists; bloggers; and radio, TV, and podcast hopes.

Part Three provides a plan that covers the first three months of an author's publicity program -- from the day the book is formally released through all the media events that have been lined up. Throughout the book, you will find insets that answer important questions such as, "What are the real costs involved?" and "Should I promote myself or hire a publicists?" Just as important, the author includes a valuable resource guide that provides the names, addresses, and links to many of the key places covered in the book.

Critique: As a self-published author you have 100% of the responsibility for promoting your book. As a mid-list author you have 98% of the responsibility for promoting your book.

Jan Yager has enjoyed an impressive and successful career as both a best-selling author and as a publisher. She has been interviewed by many of the top shows on TV and radio. In the pages of "How to Promote Your Book: A Practical Guide to Publicizing Your Own Title", she provides informative examples what she has done (both for herself and for her authors) to create effective DIY publicity, promotion, and marketing campaigns.

This is an exceptionally well written, organized and presented 'how to' manual for marketing a book will enable even the most novice of authors to successful utilize speaking engagement, social media, book signings, radio/tv/cable, mailings, book fairs, podcasts, conferences/conventions, reviews, and more.

While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "How to Promote Your Book: A Practical Guide to Publicizing Your Own Title" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.49).

Editorial Note: Jan Yager ( is a sociologist, freelance writer, coach, speaker, artist, and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. She also teaches at Baruch College and William Paterson University. Her 50+ award-winning books, translated into 35 languages.

The Kabbalah of Writing: Mystical Practices for Inspiration and Creativity
Sherri Mandell
Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781644116104, $18.99, PB, 160pp

Synopsis: Revealing how the ancient spiritual tradition known as the Kabbalah can be applied to the art of writing, with the publication of "The Kabbalah of Writing: Mystical Practices for Inspiration and Creativity" author Sherri Mandell presents a mystical system for developing creativity and harnessing divine inspiration in your storytelling and other written works.

Sharing insight from her own spiritual journey and her years of teaching writing, Mandell explains how the characteristics of the 10 sefirot (the channels of divine creative life force that make up the elemental spiritual structure of the world) can be used to think about and develop writing in a profound way and give you the power to grow as a person and a writer. She explores each sefira in detail and how it can be used to manifest creative visions through words. Showing how writing can be healing and redemptive, she provides writing exercises and imaginative techniques to help you create a writing practice that allows you to appreciate the richness of life, retrieve its divine beauty, and share your unique wisdom.

By unveiling how writing can become a spiritual path, a pilgrimage to discover the sacred stories within, Mandell shows that sharing your inner truth and expressing your personal gifts of imagination through writing is part of your individual spiritual mission as well as an essential part of the spiritual evolution of the world.

Critique: With a special relevance for students of the Kabbalah, and readers with an interest in the subjects of Mysticism, Metaphysics, Spiritual Self-Help, and Personal Transformation, "The Kabbalah of Writing: Mystical Practices for Inspiration and Creativity" is also highly recommended for aspiring writers seeking to improve their craft. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, writers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Kabbalah of Writing: Mystical Practices for Inspiration and Creativity" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note: Sherri Mandell ( currently resides in Israel and is an award-winning writer who has contributed to numerous magazines and journals, including USA Today, The Times of Israel, Hadassah Magazine, and the Jerusalem Post. She is also the author of several books, including a spiritual memoir The Blessing of a Broken Heart, which won a National Jewish Book Award in 2004. She holds a master’s degree in creative writing and studied Kabbalah with teachers in Jerusalem. For the past 20 years, she and her husband have directed the Koby Mandell Foundation in Israel whose flagship program is Camp Koby, a therapeutic sleepaway camp for bereaved children.

Handwritten Notes
Carrie Pierce
Hiccup Press
9798987090305, $11.95 Paper/$4.99 ebook

Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Donovan's Literary Services

Handwritten Notes: Learn How a Small, Powerful Act Can Enrich Your Life covers not just how to write notes, but how to communicate more effectively and personally via a rapidly-diminishing art form: the handwritten (not typed!) note.

Readers expecting a primer on how to write actually receive much more than another creative writing lesson. Carrie Pierce addresses the wider-ranging impact of the handwritten note, discussing the broader force of personal interaction rituals that have been largely replaced by technological distance and a from-the-hip shooting style of impulsive responding. Handwritten notes require more thought, purpose, and thinking about others. They inject a form of personal psychological inspection as communiqués are put onto paper, taking the modern propensity for succinct interactions and expanding it into a deeper effort that promises greater rewards via improved life connections.

The promise of personal enrichment is presented from the start: "If you read the book closely enough you might convince yourself that this practice of writing notes by hand and sending them out into the world can do more than simply express thoughts, it can actually fill your life with greater joy and abundance." While this sounds lofty (and might, indeed, feel impossible) to generations raised in the age of technology, Pierce explores how heartfelt communications can change relationships and lives.

Both a lost art and a form of magic, the effort of putting a thought to paper via pen fulfills the promise of a type of closeness that has largely been dissolved by the distance created by typewriter, computers, and voice commands. From the neuroscience behind note-writing efforts to famous notes of others and the psychology that drives them to succeed where other avenues of communication fail, Pierce makes a thought-provoking argument for the power of the pen and the influence of written words that take time to be produced.

Handwritten Notes teaches by example, including reflections on Carnegie and others whose approaches fulfilled the goal of creating and fostering authentic connection. It also considers the long-term effects of isolation created by reliance on devices and technology over personal interactions, including case histories of disparate individuals. These include the author's own father, whose health and psyche was heavily impacted by the distance created by COVID isolation.

The book is far more than another 'how to write' guide, but a social survey of the handwritten note's impact, potential, and inspirational results. Handwritten Notes represents a promise, an opportunity, and a return to basics. Libraries and readers that pursue its wisdom will find its promise of abundance to be inspirational reading, promoting a form of connection that can reap surprising rewards via deeper authentic relationships.

"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:

Bethany Cox
Diana Striedieck
Joan Cathcart -- "Aureus"
Jack Powers -- "Still Love"
Barbara Nickless -- "Dark of Night"
Sue Harrison -- "The Midwife's Touch"
David Gibbs Unger -- "The Mastermind"
John R. Strasburg -- "He Charged Alone"
Ronald Jensen -- "Death of the Antagonist"
Matthew Pallamary -- "Holographicosmic Man"
Patricia S. McCandless -- "Becoming Jesse: Celebrating the Everyday Magic of Childhood"
Betty Leaver -- MSI Press
Donovan's Literary Services
Tom Williams -- Williams & Company Book Publishers
Elizabeth Frazier -- Waldmania! PR

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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