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Home / Jim Cox Reports / Jim Cox Report: November 2018
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Jim Cox Report: November 2018

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

Once in a while I like to turn my attention from authors and publishers to the readers of what is written and published. In that frame of mind I want to bring to your attention of a very special book all about what reading can do for the reader.

Book Girl
Sarah Clarkson
Tyndale Momentum
c/o Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781496425805, $15.99, PB, 288pp,

Synopsis: When you hear a riveting story, does it thrill your heart and stir your soul? Do you hunger for truth and goodness? Do you secretly relate to Belle’s delight in the library in Beauty and the Beast? If so, you may be on your way to being a book girl (or boy!).

Books were always Sarah Clarkson’s delight. Raised in the company of the lively Anne of Green Gables, the brave Pevensie children of Narnia, and the wise Austen heroines, she discovered reading early on as a daily gift, a way of encountering the world in all its wonder. But what she came to realize as an adult was just how powerfully books had shaped her as a woman to live a story within that world, to be a lifelong learner, to grasp hope in struggle, and to create and act with courage. She’s convinced that books can do the same for you.

In the pages of "Book Girl: A Journey through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life" readers will join Sarah in exploring the reading life as a gift and an adventure, one meant to enrich, broaden, and delight in each season of life as a woman.

In Book Girl, reader's will discover: How reading can strengthen your spiritual life and deepen your faith; Why a journey through classic literature might be just what you need (and where to begin); How stories form your sense of identity; How Sarah’s parents raised her to be a reader -- and can be done to cultivate a love of reading in the growing readers around us; and some 20+ annotated book lists, including some old favorites and many new discoveries.

Whether you’ve long considered yourself a reader or have dreams of becoming one, "Book Girl" will draw you into the life-giving journey of becoming a woman (or a man!) who reads and lives well.

Critique: Although primarily written for female readers as reflected in the title, "Book Girl: A Journey through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life" by author, blogger, and student of theology Sarah Clarkson is an extraordinary read that is very highly recommended to the attention of all dedicated bibliophiles regardless of gender. Rarely has a truer portrait of the joy and influence of a literate life been so well exemplified or showcased.

While "Book Girl" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.44) for the personal reading lists of students and non-specialists general readers with an interest in the subject. Librarians should note that "Book Girl" is also available as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781982558284, $34.95, CD).

And for the record, I have no personal or professional relationship to Sarah Clarkson and wouldn't recognize her if I were to pass her on the street.

Now on to reviews of other new books with particular relevance and interest for authors and publishers:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

How to Revise and Re-Release Your Book
Penny C. Sansevieri
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781723456954, $6.95, PB, 84pp,

Is Your Book Not Selling? Do you feel like you've tried everything to promote your title but nothing is working? If you're struggling to sell more books it's time to stop stressing about it, because it happens to the best of us. The next step is to do something about it. In the pages of "How to Revise and Re-Release Your Book: Simple and Smart Strategies to Sell More Books", book marketing expert Penny C. Sansvieri presents the specialized book marketing strategies of the re-release. With "How to Revise and Re-Release Your Book" even the most inexperience author can come up with a smart and simple plan to revive lackluster sales numbers with minimal effort! "How to Revise and Re-Release Your Book" explains: Why re-releasing a book has become such a lucrative marketing strategy; How to read the telltale signs of a title that's a perfect re-release candidate; How to tell if your cover needs some market-driven updates; How to determine if you need to make content updates; Special considerations for updating fiction and non-fiction; How to make the new version stand out on Amazon; How to upload everything to Amazon the second time around; How to work with Amazon to keep all the reviews from your original version; How to properly price your re-release for maximum exposure; Marketing tips for your re-release. A thoroughly 'user friendly' compendium of expert instruction, advice, commentary, tips, tricks and techniques, "How to Revise and Re-Release Your Book" should be considered mandatory reading by every author and every publisher seeking to maximize sales in general, and exposure to the general reading public in particular. It should be noted that "How to Revise and Re-Release Your Book" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.95).

How to Write a Lot
Paul J. Silvia
APA LifeTools
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433829734, $19.95, PB, 110pp,

Everyone in academics need to write (and get what they write published), but many struggle to finish their dissertations, articles, books, or grant proposals. Writing is hard work and can be difficult to wedge into a frenetic academic schedule. How can academicians write while still having a life? Now in a newly published second edition "How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing", Paul Silvia (who is the Lucy Spinks Keker Excellence Professor, University of North Carolina - Greensboro) offers fresh advice to help anyone overcome barriers to writing and use their time more productively. After addressing some common excuses and bad habits, Professor Silvia provides practical strategies to motivate students, professors, researchers, and other academics to become better and more prolific writers. Professor Silvia draws from his own experience in psychology to explain how to write, submit, and revise academic work, from journal articles to books, all without sacrificing evenings, weekends, and vacations. The tips and strategies in this second edition of "How to Write a Lot" have been fully updated to apply to academic writing in most disciplines. Also new to this edition is a chapter on writing grant and fellowship proposals. Exceptionally well organized and presented, "How to Write a Lot" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing collections. It should be noted for all members of the academic community, as well as anyone aspiring to writing a non-fiction article, study or book that "How to Write a Lot" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.78).

Writing for College: A No-B.S. Guide
Robert Rubin
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9781476673660, $29.95, PB, 192pp,

Robert Rubin has taught college writing at The George Washington University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Meredith College. He is the author of six books of nonfiction, and presently works as a freelance editor. In the pages of "Writing for College: A No-B.S. Guide" he draws upon his years of experience and expertise to guide first-year students through the do's and don'ts of composition, from such basic questions as "Can I use 'I' in a college essay?" to more advanced points about structure and style. Emphasizing the importance of writing in all majors, "Writing for College: A No-B.S. Guide" encourages students to find their own voice and to express themselves without jargon or "academese". Tips are provided on concision, use of supporting claims, marshaling arguments, researching topics, documenting sources, and revision. Simply stated, "Writing for College: A No-B.S. Guide" should be considered required reading by all college freshmen and a core addition to college and university library collections.

Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents
Jeff Herman
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608685844, $29.95, PB, 544pp,

Now in a fully updated and revised 28th edition, "Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents" unmasks nonsense, clears confusion, and unlocks secret doorways to success for new and veteran writers! A writer's best friend, "Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents" reveals the names, interests, and contact information of hundreds of agents and editors. It presents invaluable information about 245 publishers and imprints, lists independent book editors who can help a writer make their work more publisher friendly, and help those writers to spot ripoff scams. "Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents" shows how to outsmart the gatekeepers, break through the barriers, and decipher the hidden codes to getting a book published. Impressively comprehensive, thoroughly 'real world practical', exceptionally informed and informative, notably detailed and accessibly organized and presented, "Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents" is an unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections.

The Complete Book of Calligraphy & Lettering
Cari Ferraro, et al.
Walter Foster Publishing
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781633225947, $24.95, HC, 240pp,

Synopsis: A comprehensive guide to more than 100 traditional calligraphy and hand-lettering techniques, "The Complete Book of Calligraphy & Lettering" provides expert instruction on the intricacies of traditional lettering techniques, as well as an informative introduction to contemporary hand-lettering formats.

From selecting the appropriate tools, such as pens, nibs, brushes, inks, and papers, to learning optimal hand positioning and understanding the intricacies of lettering angles, heights, spacing, and strokes, "The Complete Book of Calligraphy & Lettering" will help lettering enthusiasts swiftly master their craft.

Step-by-step lessons, practice templates, and a range of stunning alphabets demonstrate the breadth of artistic achievement that comes with practice and dedication. Four professional artists guide you through traditional calligraphy techniques, as well as an introduction to contemporary hand-lettering art forms, such as brush lettering and mixed media, for a well-rounded approach to the craft.

Additionally, a short section on Chinese brush lettering and several mixed media lettering projects inspire creativity and demonstrate how calligraphy and lettering can be used in wider artistic contexts and projects. Including practice templates for several featured alphabets in addition to mixed media "bonus" projects designed to inspire artistic creativity, "The Complete Book of Calligraphy & Lettering" will inspire lettering enthusiasts of all skill levels to strengthen their existing skills and delve into new, lesser-known variations of the trend.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, "The Complete Book of Calligraphy & Lettering" is a complete, comprehensive, and thoroughly 'user friendly' course of instruction for aspiring calligraphers and unreservedly recommended as a core addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Calligraphy instructional reference collections.

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:

Mike Martin
Theodore M. Stram
Neil Hamblin -- "World Leadership"
Darla DeMorrow -- "Organizing Your Home With SORT and Succeed"
Helen Fox -- "George the Orphan Crow and the Creatures of Blossom Valley"
Cactus Valley LLC
Red Feather Publishing
Razor's Edge Multimedia
Barbara C. Wall -- The Barrett Company
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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