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Jim Cox Report: October 2021

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

In terms of a medical update for those interested, My first surgery on September 8th was a success. No complications and a steady recovery. Just in time for my second (and hopefully last!) surgery now scheduled for October 22nd. I feel blessed to have so many excellent nurses and doctors -- and a hospital (UW Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin) with cutting edge medical resources.

As I've mentioned many times before, one of the major perks of being so well known in the publishing industry is that folks send me interesting and useful articles with respect to the publishing and marketing process. And every once in a while provide examples of successful shoestring/no-string marketing 'tips, tricks & techniques'. The latest one to cross my desk is from author Russell Irving. While advertising costs money, a great many publicity projects do not. Here (with Russell's permission) is how he wrote an informative article and managed to deftly promote his book at the same time:

Nature’s Cure for the Covid Blues

Chances are you are reading this article in a state of Covid enforced lockdown. Even if you aren’t in lockdown, you are no doubt having to vigilantly avoid others every time you step outside and might be feeling increasingly anxious and isolated.

These are unnatural times, and this is an unnatural way of being for our socially orientated species. The severe impact the pandemic is having on our mental health is escalating. It is both alleviated and compounded by our pre-existing overreliance on social media and technology to entertain and distract us. It helps us stay connected to others, yet feel isolated by it as well.

If you doubt this, take a moment to try this little exercise. Put this article aside for 5 minutes. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and try to focus your mind on your breath. Can you stay calm, relaxed, and focus on your breath for five minutes? How long before you feel fidgety, reach for your mobile or another device?

This can be a particularly revealing exercise. If you feel too busy to try this exercise, even more revealing. I know, I have a regular personal struggle with mobile phone addiction. The need to keep it close by, to check for incoming SMS and email messages can be overwhelming. On good days I can switch it off or leave it behind to walk the dogs, do some yoga or meditation, and feel a lot calmer as a result. On bad days it rarely leaves my side and I’m checking far too regularly.

As human beings, we instinctively know and feel we are a part of nature and intuitively feel the benefit from this connection. Whether it’s the energizing breath of a salt-laden sea breeze or the relaxing tranquility from sitting in the garden or beside a pot plant in the corner of the room.

There is no more urgent a time to be reminded of this and the good news is nature’s remedy is all around us, easily accessible and free!

I am a children’s and young adult author and illustrator with a passion for inspiring people to care for and connect with themselves through nature. My author website,, contains links to an array of organisations and resources to help on this journey as well as a growing list of free activities for kids which are based on my books.

My new book, ‘The Rhythm of the Beach’, is suited to older readers. It is a reminder that when one slows down enough to notice, the natural patterns of life are palpable. On one sandy Australian beach, spring marks the return of the hooded plover from its winter home. The book reveals the beauty in the natural progression of time, and lives, through the seasons and moods experienced at the beach. Readers are encouraged to take some time to find this beauty in nature. To step back and determine who they truly are and what is important to them, even if there is no immediate answer (evoking the ancient wisdom of Dadirri, an Aboriginal practice from the Malak Malak people of the Daly River in the Northern Territory).

‘The Adventures of Jessica Jones & Sox and Grandpa’ is a wildlife adventure suited to 7 to 11 year olds. It follows the antics and adventures of two Jack Russell terriers as they meet some of the unique animals and plants that live in the forests of northern NSW in Australia. The book was inspired by an encounter with a Yellow Monday Cicada, a reminder of the beautiful and mysterious creatures that we are surrounded by. Apart from the deafening noise they make, most people know very little about cicadas and yet they live in most countries of the world and are as strange and fantastical as anything a sci-fi illustrator could create.

Taking some time to slow down and bearing witness to the natural wonders surrounding us provides a reassuring reminder we are not alone in this world. I wish you all well on your journey in finding personal solace through connecting with the natural world around you.


Russell Irving

My advice to all aspiring authors, whether traditionally published or self-published, is to use the above promotional article as an effective template to emulate.

Now here for your personal and professional Writing/Publishing collection is a very special 'insider based' instructive DIY reference and manual that should be brought to the attention of every aspiring writer seeking to have their work published in today's volatile publishing industry:

Tips to Writers from a Book Publisher
John Schmidt
Path Publishing
9781891774959, $9.99, PB, 143pp

Synopsis: "Tips to Writers from a Book Publisher" by John Schmidt is a compact, helpful, practical, informative, 'real world' guide that opens up the world of book publishing seen through the eyes of a book publisher who is also an author. Packed from cover to cover hundreds of practical tips drawn from Schmidt's fifty years of experience in the publishing industry, "Tips to Writers from a Book Publisher" is extraordinarily well written, organized and presented.

Critique: Simply stated, "Tips to Writers from a Book Publisher" should be considered essential reading by any and all aspiring writers wanting to be published. Comprehensive and thoroughly 'user friendly', "Tips to Writers from a Book Publisher" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections.

"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:

G. Shields
Lance W Lee
Kas Sobey-Knabb
Meredith Ann Blau
Barbara Gaughen-Muller
Judy G. Walters -- "Pulse"
Carrie Rubin -- "The Bone Hunger"
R. A. Simpson -- "The Truth in Hope"
Patricia A. Cozzi -- "My Friend Scarlet"
Ruth Thompson -- "Quickwater Chronicles"
S. R. Zalesny -- "The Red and Purple Murder Mystery"
Michael Kimmel -- "Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men"
Federica Saini Fasanotti -- "Vincere"
The PR Freelancer, Inc.
Mimi Schroeder -- Max Communicatios
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Barbara C. Wall -- The Barrett Company, LLC

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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