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Jim Cox Report: September 2022

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

One of the distressing aspects of the publishing industry for authors, photographers, magazine editorial staffs, and bookstores is the decline of print magazine publishing over the last five decades. Here are eight informative articles drawing several insightful and fact-founded perspectives on this subject that I would highly recommended to the attention of authors, publishers, and bibliophiles:

1. Reasons for the Decline of the Print Magazine Business

2. Magazine Publishing: The Decline Of Print Doesn't Mean The End

3. Challenges Facing The Magazine Publishing Industry

4. Magazine Publishing Market

5. 2021 in print: Newspapers’ decline continues, but for magazines -- it’s complicated

6. Magazine Ad Revenue Continues Decline Despite Some Audience Growth

7. Five Publishers Who Abandoned Print For Digital-Only Magazines

8. U.S. Magazine Industry: Statistics & Facts

Hank Luttrell owns and operates 20th Century Books in Madison, Wisconsin. He and I have been friends for going on 50 years now. Historically, a significant part of his bookstore experience has been with magazines and periodicals. When I was discussing with him the decline of the magazine publishing industry for this issue of the Jim Cox Report he added this observation:

"Yeah, magazine publishing has been affected by the same forces as mass market paperbacks. Though really, it might be hard to decide if the decline of interest in paperbacks and magazines has affected distribution and retail, or if the decline in availability has affected publishing. Really, I'm sure it has worked in both directions.

One factor that people outside the business might not be aware of is how the "Independent Distributor" has changed. There used to be many hundreds of these, one in each population center, placing magazines and paperbacks on newsstands, in drug and grocery stores, all over. Each of these ID's had a territory in which they operated, and a gentlemen's agreement, shall we say, protected these territories.

Legend has it that many of the ID's were mobbed up, and used for money laundering, among other things. I think it was in the late 90s that a Federal mandate came down, ordering the ID's that their agreements were anti-competitive. So the ID's begin to compete, and the big guys soon muscled the small ones out of existence. Now there are only a few newsstand distributors."

Now here are reviews of books that will be of special relevance to writers and publishers:

Good Naked, revised and expanded edition
Joni B. Cole
University of New Mexico Press
1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131-0001
9780826364364, $19.95, PB, 248pp

Synopsis: From veteran creative writing teacher and acclaimed author Joni B. Cole comes the revised and expanded edition of her popular writing guide "Good Naked: How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier. Revised and Expanded Edition".

Once again, Cole's humor and wisdom shine through as she debunks long-held misconceptions of how we're supposed to write, replacing them with advice that works. Feeling overwhelmed? Having trouble getting started or staying motivated? In this edition, Cole offers more stories, strategies, tips on craft, and exercises to serve new and seasoned writers from the first draft to the final edit. Writers will even find help making peace with rejection.

Admirers as well as newcomers to Cole's work will appreciate her uniquely cheerful approach, time tested to foster creativity and productivity. This generous and essential guide will provide a jump start to inspiration and a daily reminder of the meaning, humor, and happiness that can be discovered in a life devoted to writing life.

Critique: With a great deal of practical value for aspiring writers and seasoned authors alike, "Good Naked: How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier. Revised and Expanded Edition" is a complete course of instruction under one cover and is the next best thing to sitting front row in one of Joni Cole's creative writing workshops. Thoroughly 'writer friendly' in organization and presentation, "Good Naked: How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier. Revised and Expanded Edition" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing collections. An excellent textbook for Creative Writing classes, it should be note that "Good Naked: How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier. Revised and Expanded Edition" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Joni B. Cole teaches creative writing at her own Writer's Center in Vermont and as an independent workshop facilitator at Dartmouth College. She is a frequent teacher and speaker at academic programs, conferences, and social-service organizations across the country. Cole is the author of six books and a contributor to The Writer as well as the host of the podcast Author, Can I Ask You? She has a dedicated website at

Insider Secrets to Hit Songwriting in the Digital Age
Molly Leikin
Permuted Press
9781637582183, $17.99, PB, 224pp

Synopsis: Whether you are an aspiring (or already practicing) lyricist, songwriter, or band, "Insider Secrets to Hit Songwriting in the Digital Age" by Molly Leikin is a powerful and inspiring combination of instructional guide and 'how to' manual covering the essentials of contemporary the craft of song writing -- guiding you from good to great, then taking you through marketing, promotion, finding the right publisher, placing your song with an artist, getting signed, and providing the foundation for a successful writing career.

This is an indispensable guide for song writers featuring exclusive and highly informative interviews with insiders across multiple genres, including Tim Wipperman, “the publisher’s publisher” in Nashville, Grammy-nominee J.P. Saxe (“If the World Was Ending”) and Grammy-winner Debbie Hupp (“You Decorated My Life”), R&B mega-producers/writers for Rihanna, Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers, Grammy-winner and composer of instrumental music Art Munson, jingle writer Jim Andron, and Grammy- and Emmy-winning children’s songwriters Michael Silversher and Patty Silversher.

Critique: A complete and 'real world practical' course of instruction under one cover, "Insider Secrets to Hit Songwriting in the Digital Age" should be considered essential reading for anyone one who wants to create the kind of songs that will succeed in an increasingly volatile and fiercely competitive music entertainment business. Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Insider Secrets to Hit Songwriting in the Digital Age" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Music Business collections in general, and Song Writing/Lyrics reading lists in particular. It should be noted that "Insider Secrets to Hit Songwriting in the Digital Age" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Molly Leikin started as a staff writer at Almo Music (A&M Records), and over the next ten years, Molly had her songs recorded by almost every pop and country artist on the Billboard charts. Now she has a house full of gold and platinum records and an Emmy nomination. She also wrote themes and songs for over six dozen TV shows and movies, including Violet, which won an Oscar. The author of five books on songwriting, Molly also created Songwriting Consultants, Ltd., the international song consulting firm, where she’s mentored two generations of Grammy winners and nominees. Her custom speechwriting company for CEOs, CFOs, and UFOs, is Anything with Words. She has a dedicated website at

"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:

Paul Adams
Irena Marinko
Ronald Christoffel
Roger & Katherine Nye
Kyle MacLean -- "Book of Flowers"
Gayle Rosengren -- "MacKenzie's Last Run"
Diane Campbell Green - "Becky Chalmers Beautified"
Tracy L. Smoak -- "Living Water To Refresh Your Soul"
LJ Sellers -- "Silence of the Dead: A Jackson & Dallas Thriller"
Bob Freeman -- "Landon Connors: Occult Detective: Volume One"
Kyle Ball -- "Altared: A Tale of Renovating a Medieval Church in Tuscany"
Joe Rothstein -- "The Moment of Menace: The Future Looks Glorious...Unless We All Die First"
Remmert Studios Inc.
All About Kids Publishing
Nan Wishered -- Cable Publishing
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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