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Jim Cox Report: March 2017
Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:
I want to begin by advising every author and publisher who is publishing an ebook edition of their book to read my daughter's February 2017 column, the "Beth Cox Report". It will provide invaluable and practical information on protecting your work. You'll find it at: http://www.midwestbookreview.com/bethcox/feb_17.htm
One of the perks of my job as the editor-in-chief of the Midwest Book Review is to respond to 'nuts & bolts' questions about writing, publishing, and reviewing. Here are some examples:
In a message dated 2/15/2016 11:38:05 A.M. Central Standard Time, Fred Baue writes:
I have a self-pub operation called Pergola Press. (www.pergolapress.com). On your website I came across the following under "Seven Deadly Sins."
If you have no distribution (are not in Baker & Taylor and/or Ingram), then they will be completely uninterested in your book. Why? The title will have no national distribution, so why should they tell booksellers and librarians nationally about it?
It seems to me that this defeats the whole purpose of self-publishing, which is to bypass the whole ancient cumbersome system, which involves printing large amounts of books on spec, sending them to bookstores where they will sit for a short time before being returned as unsold merchandise, then consigned to the remainders bin.
Can't I just say that the book is available from Amazon.com or my own website?
Thank you very much.
Yes. You can just say on your own web site that the book is available from Amazon.com. I would suggest that you make a link on your web site to the book on Amazon's web site to make it as easy as possible for your web site visitor to buy your book.
Midwest Book Review
In a message dated 2/6/2016 8:00:08 A.M. Central Standard Time, Karen Chutsky writes:
Working on a review of the biography of Frank Baum-author of the Wizard of OZ for March issue. Fascinating stuff.
I had a question. What if I syndicate my reviews. Can I then sell one to many different outlets? How do I do that? By just saying I'm syndicated.
Thanks for your help!
Being "syndicated" means that you've been picked up and are distributed by a syndicate company such as the ones that provide local newspapers with comic strips.
With respect to your reviews that run in our Midwest Book Review publications, you as the reviewer retain total ownership and may have them appear any where else -- especially if that is a paying outlet.
About 1/3 of our volunteers use the Midwest Book Review as a secondary format to the own blogg, newspaper column, or Amazon/Barnes & Noble web site postings for the purpose of expanding their readership beyond their primary outlet.
I would recommend that you obtain a copy of "The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing" by Mayra Calvani. It's the best "how to" book on becoming a professional (and paid) book reviewer that I've ever seen. It will prove to be very useful with your question on selling to many different outlets.
Midwest Book Review
In a message dated 5/3/2016 7:50:43 A.M. Central Daylight Time, Ryan writes:
Excellent work and I bought a book off of your review (The Tao…). I have a question, maybe you would answer in a future newsletter:
If an author wanted to self-publish a special “library edition” are there ways it might helpfully differ from a standard edition? Would the answer differ for fiction vs children’s vs various forms of adult nonfiction?
Don’t feel you need answer me personally. I respect your time and offer it only if useful to you as a future topic fitting to your vantage point.
The words "library edition" refer to the quality and/or sturdiness of the binding, as well as the kind of paper being used (acid free, for example) that would lengthen the shelf life of a book given it being handled by a great many people over an extended period of time beyond what would be expected of an ordinary hardcover edition of that same book.
Library Editions are usually more expensive to produce than ordinary editions and typically (as the name implies) intended for the library market be they public, corporate, governmental, or academic libraries.
The term Library Edition applies regardless of the category of book being published is an adult or juvenile title.
Beyond my own some 40 years of experience in this business, one of the places that I find useful in addressing questions like yours is the Wikipedia where I like to look up publishing terms just for the fun of it. This is what it has to say in defining the word "Edition":
The bibliographical definition of an edition includes all copies of a book printed “from substantially the same setting of type,” including all minor typographical variants.
The numbering of book editions is a special case of the wider field of revision control. The traditional conventions for numbering book editions evolved spontaneously for several centuries before any greater applied science of revision control became important to humanity, which did not occur until the era of widespread computing had arrived (when software and electronic publishing came into existence). The old and new aspects of book edition numbering (from before and since the advent of computing) are discussed below.
This is basic information that all aspiring authors and novice publishers should be aware of. Thank you for the question and I'll run this little exchange of ours in an issue of my monthly "Jim Cox Report" column of advice and commentary for the publishing industry.
Midwest Book Review
In a message dated 4/20/2016 10:53:10 P.M. Central Daylight Time, Abbas writes:
Hello Mr. Jim,
I am just asking if it is possible to get more reviewers so I can get more reviews for my book?
Yes it is. Here is a database of freelance reviewers, book review publications, book review web sites & blogs:
Midwest Book Review
Now on to some more current reviews of new titles that I recommend for authors and/or publishers:
The Writing/Publishing Shelf
Book Marketing: The Funnel Factor
PO Box 6366, Greenville, SC 29606
9780996897273, $19.99, PB, 164pp, www.amazon.com
Every author wants to be featured on TV and in magazines, wants their books to be available in libraries, and wants to have their books read by thousands of people. Though online marketing is a good way to draw attention to books, it's a space that authors have to share with thousands of other authors, which makes "putting the spotlight on your book" harder. In "Book Marketing: The Funnel Factor" author and media expert Gisela Hausmann draws upon her years of experience and expertise to show novice (and even experienced) authors how to get themselves and their books featured on TV, pitch the media, get invited to guest blog at famous well-read blogs, and get their self-published books into public libraries. "Book Marketing: The Funnel Factor" also includes "100 Pitches to Help You Brainstorm" for authors in the genres of: children's books, cookbooks, historic novels, horror, nonfiction, romance, humor/satire, science fiction, self-help, business, health, and sports. Of special note is the chapter on "Two Dozen Websites Every Author Needs to Know," including library websites, plus a list of "Action Steps" authors can follow to achieve results. Impressively informed and informative, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Book Marketing: The Funnel Factor" will prove a practical and invaluable instruction guide and manual, making it unreservedly recommended for self-published or small press author in the process of building an effective and efficient marketing plan for their book.
Writing Without a Parachute
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781785921711, $18.95, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com
"Writing Without a Parachute: The Art of Freefall" by published author and Freefall Writing Workship teacher Barbara Turner-Vesselago shows both beginning and experienced writers how to get the thinking mind to step aside, so that writing becomes truly creative -- a vulnerable and open-hearted engagement with the moment. "Writing Without a Parachute" essentially presents Barbara's methods by which, for almost 30 years, she has helped hundreds of writers to publish fiction, memoir, non-fiction and poetry worldwide. By means of five simple precepts, Barbara leads the aspiring writer step by step into real trust in writing through the art of Freefall: invoking the courage to fall without a parachute into the words as they come. "Writing Without a Parachute" can be used for inspiration, as a reference, or as a sustained, twelve-month course in writing. Very highly recommended as a personal writer's reference, as well as community and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collection, "Writing Without a Parachute" will help all writers to connect with their deepest intention in writing, and to write with greater authority and grace. It should be noted that "Writing Without a Parachute" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).
Writing Hard Stories
24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210
9780807078815, $16.00, PB, 248pp, www.amazon.com
"Writing Hard Stories" by author and educator Melanie Brooks is specifically intended to encourage all aspiring writers of autobiographies and memoirs to be honest and engaging as they craft their personal stories. Featuring some of the country's most admired authors as they describe their own treks through dark memories and breakthrough moments and attest to the healing power of putting words to experience, "Writing Hard Stories" is especially commended as an addition to personal, community, academic Writing/Publishing collections, and professional writing workshop supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted that "Writing Hard Stories" is also available in a Kindle format ($15.99).
An Author Tells All
David L. Workman
David L. Workman, Publisher
9780996230940, $2.99, Kindle, www.workman-inc.com
As much as authors dream of having their books published, many don't realize the bigger picture of what's involved. For an advance preview of the entire process, from choosing a book cover worthy of being judged to finding an audience and reviewers, David L. Workman's book tells it like it is, enlightening his readers on the rest of the process, and should be consulted before a self-publishing thought crosses an author's mind. Loaded with screen shots, examples, and many specifics, An Author Tells All is one of the best books an aspiring writer on the cusp of self-publishing could obtain. It should be required reading for any such audience - its clear path to success and its wise insights will prevent many a marketing error and save much money.
Frantumaglia: A Writer's Journey
214 West 29th Street, Suite 1003, New York, N.Y. 10001
9781609452926, $24.00, HC, 400pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Elena Ferrante is the author of The Days of Abandonment (Europa, 2005), Troubling Love (Europa, 2006), The Lost Daughter (Europa, 2008) and the Neapolitan Quartet (Europa 2012-2015). She is also the author of a children’s picture book illustrated by Mara Cerri, The Beach at Night.
"Frantumaglia: A Writer's Journey" invites readers into Elena Ferrante’s workshop. It offers a glimpse into the drawers of her writing desk, those drawers from which emerged her three early standalone novels and the four installments of My Brilliant Friend, known in English as the Neapolitan Quartet. Consisting of over 20 years of letters, essays, reflections, and interviews, it is a unique depiction of an author who embodies a consummate passion for writing.
In the pages of "Frantumaglia: A Writer's Journey", Ferrante answers many of her readers’ questions. She addresses her choice to stand aside and let her books live autonomous lives. She discusses her thoughts and concerns as her novels are being adapted into films. She talks about the challenge of finding concise answers to interview questions. She explains the joys and the struggles of writing, the anguish of composing a story only to discover that that story isn’t good enough. She contemplates her relationship with psychoanalysis, with the cities she has lived in, with motherhood, with feminism, and with her childhood as a storehouse for memories, impressions, and fantasies.
Critique: Offering a vibrant, insightful, informative, and intimate self-portrait of a professional and gifted writer at work, "Frantumaglia" will prove to be of immense and special interest to all aspiring authors feeling compelled to write their own versions of the Great American Novel or who seek to draw upon their own life experiences as a source of inspiration in their writing career. While very highly recommended for community and academic library Writing/Publishing collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Frantumaglia" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).
How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book
Eve Heidi Bine-Stock
E & E Publishing
9780983149965, $15.51 (Amazon.com), $8.49 Kindle, 171pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Children's books continues to be a thriving part of the publishing industry and a sector in which self-published authors can succeed, especially by availing themselves of "How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book" by Eve Heidi Bine-Stock.
With this guide, aspiring children's authors will learn how to create a book with Canva, an easy-to-use, inexpensive design tool. They will also learn how to self-publish a children's book with the two major print-on-demand (POD) companies -- CreateSpace and IngramSpark.
No longer do you have to print 1,000 to 5,000 copies of your book at one time, with the enormous cost this entails. Not to mention the cost of warehousing the books, and arranging for distribution. With print-on-demand, the set-up costs are low, and a copy of your book is printed only when someone orders it.
"How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book" explains everything needed in order to successfully self-publish a professional-quality printed children's picture book-even if when authors are not graphic designers.
Step-by-step, "How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book" covers everything from finding an illustrator, to choosing fonts and colors, to design and layout. And, as a bonus, there's even a chapter on how to make an ebook for free to sell on Amazon.com. Of special note are free email updates available by contacting the author at: EveHeidiWrites (at) gmail (dot) com.
Critique: Impressively well written, comprehensive, and practical, "How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation. An absolute 'must' for any and all aspiring authors of children's books from preschool through young adult, fiction or non-fiction, "How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Writing/Publishing collections.
Finally -- 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:
Wendy Garling - ''Stars at Dawn"
John Marciano -- "American War"
John Roche - "Unforeseen Journey"
Dave Droge -- "The Game Changer"
Jerry Labriola -- "The Saga of Hodge"
Diane Carr -- "Freedom's Dragonflight"
Balawant S. Joshi -- "A Life to Remember"
Donald W. Kruse -- "Beebs Goes Camping!"
Hugh G. Earnhart -- "The Forgotten Pumpkin"
Richard Solomon -- "Autism: The Potential Within"
Keith Cohen & Roberta Paul -- "Henry and Lola: A Puppy Love Story"
Atlas Publishing LLC
Red Feather Publishing
Greenskills Associates LLC
Portia Little -- Panntree Press
Lee Jackson -- Snaptail Books
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!
Midwest Book Review
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James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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