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Jim Cox Report: November 2015
Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:
Harriet Klausner was a prolific reviewer and one of the major volunteer reviewers for the Midwest Book Review for more than twenty years. She passed away on October 15th. She will be missed.
Harriet was also the most prolific and controversial reviewer Amazon ever had. The November 2015 issue of our monthly book review publication "Reviewer's Bookwatch" is running what will be her last book review column for us. For those curious as to the quality, nature, and quantity of her work, here is the link to her last and now posthumously published, monthly book review column "Klausner's Bookshelf":
For anyone who would like to become a volunteer reviewer for the Midwest Book Review here are our guidelines:
All of our reviewers are volunteers who retain all rights to their reviews.
Reviews are submitted by email (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Just type the review (or "copy & paste" it) into the body of an email message. Never send it as an email attachment.
Reviewers submitting one review in a given month are clustered together in the column "Reviewer's Choice".
Reviewers submitting two or more reviews in a given month are provided their own bylined column (e.g. "Paul's Bookshelf", "Cindy's Bookshelf", "Taylor's Bookshelf", etc.)
Reviewers are notified by email when their reviews are published in one of our monthly book review magazines.
The following should be a part of every review submitted:
Publisher Website Address (if they have one)
Publisher Email Address (if they have one)
Here are some guidelines that may be of help in creating an engaging review:
1. Why did you select this particular book for review? Perhaps it relates to your work, hobby, avocation, a particular area of interest, your expertise, or just for fun.
2. How well does the author write, use language, illustrate his/her points, develops characters, clarity of instruction, aptness of examples? Use brief quotations from the book itself to illustrate your observations, opinions, and comments. When doing poetry reviews include a poem, with cookbooks include a recipe.
3. Who is the book intended for? Scholarly reference, non-specialist general reader, devotees of the genre, wide ranging readership, specialized audience, age range, economic or political orientation, etc.
4. Does the book succeed in what the author is trying to accomplish? Entertain, instruct, persuade, inform, train, teach, alarm, etc. Are there suggestions you'd offer the author for his/her next time around in print?
5. What is the author's background or credentials? What other titles does the author have?
6. Are there related or relevant titles that a reader might be interested in?
7. Type your reviews in single spaced paragraphs with double spacing between the paragraphs. The review can be a few paragraphs or a few pages -- take as much space as you feel is necessary to say whatever you want to say.
8. Above all else, have a good time putting your thoughts and opinions down. The best reviews are those that you yourself would like to listen to while driving along in your car or chatting with friends over lunch. If a book is badly written or not worth while -- don't bother with it. Select another one that you think deserves the publicity that your review as showcased by the Midwest Book Review would afford it.
Now, on to reviews of some exceptional titles about writing and publishing:
The Writing/Publishing Shelf
Writer's Market: Deluxe Edition 2016
Robert Lee Brewer, editor
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
10151 Carver Road, Suite 200, Blue Ash, OH 45242
9781599639420, $49.99, www.amazon.com
The "Writer's Market Deluxe Edition 2016" is an 896 page compendium that focuses upon where aspiring writers can sell what they write. It should be noted that a special features is the inclusion of a one-year subscription to www.WritersMarket.com. With it, aspiring writers will gain instant access to more than 7,500 listings for book publishers, magazines, contests, literary agents, and more -- complete with daily updates. Beyond the listings, aspiring writers will find all-new material devoted to the business and promotion of writing, including tips from six-figure freelancers, ideas on how to create a productive home office, and apps that make freelance writing easier. Plus, novice writers will learn how to build relationships in the publishing business, use video to promote their work, and remove inevitable obstacles from their path to freelance writing success. This new edition includes: a pay-rate chart; a book publisher subject index; a lists of professional writing organizations; sample query letters; exclusive access to the webinar "How to Build an Audience and Business With Your Writing" from Robert Lee Brewer, editor of Writer's Market. Thoroughly 'user friendly' throughout, the "Writer's Market: Deluxe Edition 2016" should be considered an essential addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing reference collections. In full disclosure it must be noted that the a guaranteed review by the Midwest Book Review is part of the Writer's Digest Books first place award package in their annual writing contest divisions and has been for a number of years now.
The Write Prescription
601 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001
9781941729038, $17.95, 320pp, www.amazon.com
Judith Hannan is the author of "Motherhood Exaggerated" (CavanKerry Press, 9781933880273, $21.00 PB, $9.99 Kindle), her memoir of discovery and transformation during her daughter's cancer treatment and her transition into survival. In "The Write Prescription: Telling Your Story to Live With and Beyond Illness" Hannan draws upon her personal and professional experience to provide the reader with an impressively written, organized and presented instructional guide and manual for setting down in a publishable format their own experiences when dealing with a serious illness or life-threatening injury afflicting themselves or a loved one. "The Write Prescription" is deftly arranged in three major sections: Getting Started; Parting the Curtains, Setting the Scene; Inside the System. Enhanced with the inclusion of an informative Introduction and 'How To Use This Book" commentary; "The Write Prescription" is further enhanced for the non-specialist general reader with Quick Prompts; An Ending and a Beginning: Where are You Now?; After the First Draft; and a Bibliography. Thoroughly informed, informative, and completely 'user friendly' from beginning to end, "The Write Prescription" is very highly recommended for community and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "The Write Prescription" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).
Slay the Dragon: Writing Great Video Games
Robert Denton Bryant & Keith Giglio
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111
Studio City, CA 91604
9781615932290 $24.95 www.mwp.com
Slay the Dragon: Writing Great Video Games is a practical, user-friendly guide to a specialized type of writing - storytelling in the constantly evolving art form of video games. Unlike traditional novel writers, video game writers must collaborate with a potential multitude of programmers, designers, and artists, adapting their interactive story to suit the overall needs of the game while delivering an immersive experience that "pulls in" the game player. Chapters discuss "The No-Act-Fits-All Structure of Video Games", "Writing a Great Playable Character", "Building Your World with the Narrative Design Toolbox", "We Can't All Be Batman: On MMO's and Multiplayer", and much more. Thoroughly accessible to writers of all backgrounds, Slay the Dragon: Writing Great Video Games is an absolute "must-have" for any potential writer in the game industry - from independent game creators to mobile game writers to those seeking opportunities to contribute to triple-A, big-budget console and computer game titles. Highly recommended!
Stop Talking & Start Selling Your Book
PO Box 4881, Greensboro, NC 27404
9780990765332, $12.95, 140pp, www.amazon.com
Terrance Zepke is an award-winning and best-selling author of twenty-eight fiction and nonfiction books of. In "Stop Talking & Start Selling Your Book" nicely distills with wit and wisdom what he has learned for his own experience and expertise a series of invaluable 'tips, tricks and techniques" about successfully selling what a self-published author has to offer in a very highly volatile and competitive marketplace. Self-published authors and novice small press publishers will learn twenty-five different ways to increase sales on Amazon.com; fifteen various places for selling a book; utilizing fringe markets; the use of paid promotions, getting media interviews; 'The Real Deal with Book Reviews'; author platforms; acquiring and exploiting free publicity; and a great deal more. Simply stated, "Stop Talking & Start Selling Your Book" (also available in a Kindle edition for $4.99) should be a part of every author's personal instructional reference collection -- even the authors being published by the big New York houses of the publishing world! Full disclosure: there is a positive listing of the Midwest Book Review as a recommended book review resource on page 29.
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
10151 Carver Road, Suite 200
Blue Ash, OH 45242
Three titles from Writer's Digest Books are superb picks for both aspiring and professional authors. Donald Maass' "The Breakout Novelist" (9781582979908, $24.99) is an all-inclusive guide, spiral-bound for ease of reference while working. Maass, an experienced author and literary agent, presents strategies that generations of authors have applied to craft sublime fiction, from core elements (character-building, plot navigation, etc.) to advanced techniques involving point of view, suspense, and the application of voice. Exercises for practicing these techniques round out this excellent resource. Rebecca McClanahan's "Word Painting: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively, Revised Edition" (9781599638683, $18.99) is a specialized guide to mastering the art of evocative writing, from improving one's personal powers of observation to crafting standout metaphors to seamlessly incorporating vivid descriptions into stories, essays, or poems. Enhanced with exercises, Word Painting is a superb self-teaching tool. Chuck Sambuchino's "Get a Literary Agent" (9781599638010, $17.99) focuses on a practical aspect of becoming a successful author - securing an effective literary representative, which is virtually required if one desires the best possible deal with a traditional publisher (particularly in the case of large, established publishing houses). From a step-by-step walkthrough of the submission process and learning how to create polished query letters or book proposals, to forming a solid partnership with one's agent and avoiding common pitfalls, "Get a Literary Agent" is invaluable. All three guides are worthy of the highest recommendation.
225 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024
9780979338472, $20.00, www.glitteratiincorporate.com
If no one knows about it, it might as well not be there. "Publicity: 7 Steps to Publicize Just About Anything" is a guide for would be publicists about getting the knowledge of a product out there the buzz rolling, the most important step in the lifespan of any product. Stating that the secret to publicity is not some secret but common sense and methodology, "Publicity" is a useful guide with plenty of sage advice for getting a product known, not to be missed by any rookie publicist.
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:
Jon Martell -- "Katya"
Reg Down -- "The Alphabet"
E. M. Schorb -- "Words in Passing"
Nanette L. Avery -- "Orphan America"
Julie Holbrook -- "Hierarchy From Love"
Jean Arleen Breed -- "Adirondack Paper Girl"
Lillian Moats -- "Hope: A Myth Reawakened"
James L. Dickerson -- "What Does God Look Like?"
Rhonda Dooley -- "Heaven's Consciousness A Near-Death Experience"
David G. Carriere -- "Publicity: 7 Steps to Publicize Just About Anything"
Leo A. Sielsch -- CartoonBookie.com
Kathy Cabrera -- Five Star Publications
Richie Gerber -- Gerber's Miracle Publishers
Deborah Reece -- BeeBop Books Publishing
Amanda Mulholland -- Royal Firworks Press
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] aol.com
(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 www.midwestbookreview.com/bookbiz/jimcox.htm. 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!
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James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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