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Jim Cox Report: February 2019
Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:
The good news is that after my major surgery experience of a couple of weeks ago I'm still here! Even after spending 3 1/2 hours on the operating table I was able to enjoy an uncomplicated and steady recovery. So much so that I'm currently able to spend an hour or two in the office -- with each day feeling a little stronger and able to work just a bit longer at my desk and computer.
I sincerely want to thank every one (and there were a whole lot of you!) who sent me emails wishing me well and praying on my behalf.
Now, on to the Jim Cox Report for February 2019!
Here are reviews of new books with particular relevance and interest for authors and publishers:
The Writing/Publishing Shelf
The History of British and American Author-Publishers
Anaphora Literary Press
1898 Athens Street, Brownsville, TX 78520
9781681143736, $20.00, PB, 370pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The mainstream publishing industry has popularized the stereotype that “self-published” books are inferior to “traditional” ones because the author does not receive an advance and the services provided are less professional. The reality is that the Big Four publishers attained their enormous market share by at least initially relying on author subsidies.
"The History of British and American Author-Publishers" by Anna Faktorovich describes the road some of the world’s top authors took to self-publication.
Charles Dickens self-published A Tale of Two Cities in his periodical, All the Year Round.
Sir Walter Scott published most of his fiction and poetry with Constantine and Ballantyne, who publishers in which he was heavily invested. Scott’s self-publications included his best-selling Waverley series, which established the historical novel genre with Ballantyne.
The Liberal only survived for a few issues, and yet its founders, Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, published outstanding radical works in its pages: “The Vision of Judgment” and “Lines to a Critic.”
Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press published nearly all of Virginia’s writings; these works are still used by feminists and birthed the stream of consciousness movement (a style that was too unique for “mainstream” publishers).
Edgar Allan Poe spent a lifetime working to create his own independent journal, only succeeding in a brief ownership of the Broadway Journal, a power he used to speak out against plagiarism with pieces such as, “Voluminous History of the Little Longfellow War.”
Herman Melville paid Harper $29,571 for 350 copies of Clarel.
Mark Twain spent $1.3 million (in today’s money) to print Old Times on the Mississippi with J. R. Osgood.
Henry Luce and Briton Hadden started Time Inc. and Time because they were frustrated reporters seeking more power and independence.
Dudley Randall founded the Broadside Press in part to publish his own books like Cities Burning.
Alice Walker published an introduction to The Spirit Journey after founding a press with her lover, Wild Trees Press, and might have kept it going longer if major publishers did not start snatching up all of her own innovative full-length works.
Without author-publishers: the sun would still revolve around the earth (Galileo) and book printing would lack exquisite artistic details (Rembrandt). And Americans would still be living in the colonies of the United Kingdom (Benjamin Franklin).
Critique: An extraordinary and unique history of self-publishing that is impressively detailed, exceptionally informative, and ultimately inspiring, "The History of British and American Author-Publishers" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Writing/Publishing collections, and is an inherently fascinating read from beginning to end. Simply stated, "The History of British and American Author-Publishers" should be on the personal reading list of every practicing or aspiring self-published author.
Editorial Note: Anna Faktorovich is the Director and Founder of the Anaphora Literary Press. Previously, she taught for four years at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and the Middle Georgia State College. She has a Ph.D. in English Literature and Criticism. She published two academic books with McFarland: Rebellion as Genre in the Novels of Scott, Dickens and Stevenson (2013) and The Formulas of Popular Fiction: Elements of Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Religious and Mystery Novels (2014). She edits and writes for the Pennsylvania Literary Journal and the Cinematic Codes Review. She won the MLA Bibliography, Kentucky Historical Society and Brown University Military Collection fellowships.
Research Writing About Cultural Artifacts
Anaphora Literary Press
1898 Athens Street, Brownsville, TX 78520
9781681144375, $30.00, HC, 106pp, www.amazon.com
"Research Writing About Cultural Artifacts" by Anna Faktorovich is essential an instructional textbook that combines the rigor of a Research Writing class with the imaginative and culturally significant realm of Cultural Studies. Concepts that are typically discussed in Research Writing textbooks, like close reading, thesis statement, and cliches, are covered in full. Complex rhetorical concepts are explained simply and fully. Additionally, the elements of a proper argument are not only digested for students, but are also assisted with discussions of political, economic, social and other types of cultural concepts such as communism or feminism. Classroom teachers who are looking for ideas to inspire their plans for students will find assignments they can easily incorporate into their instruction. Of special note is the commentary on 'Concepts Involved in a Review'. "Research Writing About Cultural Artifacts" is deliberately short, succinct, and meant to be inexpensive so that it can be utilized as a quick reference guide and idea book for cultural studies related topics (if not as the primary textbook for a course that entirely combines Research Writing with Cultural Studies). Exceptionally well written, thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Research Writing About Cultural Artifacts" is an ideal 'how to' reference for aspiring writers seeking to engage in research writing for any subject, in any genre, and for any publishing project.
The Craft of Scene Writing
Quill Driver Books
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721
9781610353304, $18.95, PB, 336pp, www.amazon.com
Jim Mercurio is a successful and established writer, author, screenwriter and filmmaker. He has directed or produced five feature films and has helped countless writers as a teacher, story analyst and script doctor. In "The Craft of Scene Writing: Beat by Beat to a Better Script" he points out that no one comes out of a movie talking about structure. What audiences love and remember about a movie are great scenes. Marlon Brando in the back seat in On the Waterfront giving his "I could'a been a contender" speech. Meg Ryan's fake orgasm in Katz's Deli in When Harry Met Sally with the climactic punch line: "I'll have what she's having." Great scenes will elevate a script from ho-hum to extraordinary -- and from the slush pile to sellable. In "The Craft of Scene Writing", Mercurio analyzes and systematizes the beats, conflicts, character moments, action, dialogue, and structure that create powerful scenes. Citing examples from scripts old and new, "The Craft of Scene Writing" breaks down how great scenes reveal character, advance the story, and emotionally connect with audiences, plus demonstrates how to use these techniques in your own scripts. This incredibly detailed exploration of screenwriting technique will help beginning writers to write great scripts and experienced writers to gain a more complete mastery of their craft. Suitable as a screenplay writing workshop curriculum textbook, "The Craft of Scene Writing" is deftly written, organized and presented, making it a 'must have' instructional reference and resource. While very highly recommended for community and academic library Writing/Publishing collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Craft of Scene Writing" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).
Creating A Cookbook
9781720009412, $19.95, PB, 84pp, www.amazon.com
In "Creating a Cookbook: How to Write, Publish, and Promote Your Culinary Philosophy", cookbook author Amy Riolo completely demystifies the cookbook creation process for both novice and accomplished authors. Whether wanting to preserve family recipes for personal use or creating a best-selling cookbook for the general culinary public, "Creating a Cookbook" will be a valued and comprehensive guide to every step of the process. Herself an award-winning author of four very popular and successful cookbooks, Amy Riolo reveals all of the tips, strategies, and techniques needed to set up for success as a cookbook author. In addition to writing and compiling recipes, aspiring cookbook authors will learn to find their particular niche in food writing, build an author platform, write and submit a cookbook proposal, the differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing, and how to promote a cookbook, as well as expert advice on agents, contracts, and copyrights. It is of special interest to note that "Creating a Cookbook" also includes conversations with: Nancy Baggett, Ale Gambini, Jane Graf, Keith Ogorek, Clare Pelino, and Rossella Rago. Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Creating a Cookbook" is unreservedly recommended as an essential and complete guide to successfully writing and marketing a cookbook in today's volatile, evolving and competitive publishing industry. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Creating a Cookbook" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Writing for Bliss: A Journal
Loving Healing Press
5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
9781615993246, $34.95, HC, 238pp, www.amazon.com
Diana Raab is a memoirist, poet, blogger, workshop facilitator, thought provoker, and an award-winning author of seven books and over a thousand articles and poems, as well as the editor of two anthologies. In "Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life" she draws upon her years of experience and expertise to provide fundamental commentaries about reflection, truth, and freedom. With techniques and prompts for both the seasoned and novice writer, Writing for Bliss" will help them to tap into their creativity through storytelling and poetry, examine how life-changing experiences can inspire writing, pursue self-examination and self-discovery through the written word, and utlimately understand how published writers have been transformed by the act and consequences of writing. While very highly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1615993239, $21.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.95). Also of immense value and now available in Diana Raab's "Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal" (9781615994274, $19.95, PB, 184pp) which was developed for the seasoned storyteller as well as the emerging author as an interactive journal is designed to be used alone as a self-discovery workbook, or in conjunction with "Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life".
Finally, "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:
Rosemary Showell -- "Lanshoud"
Ross Fruen -- "Boys of the Brule"
Jevan Pradas -- "The Awakened Ape"
John C. Witzel -- "Saving Vengeance"
Christine Meeusen -- The Accidental Nun"
Dallas Woodburn -- "Woman, Running Late, in a Dress"
Goodman Beck -- Goodman Beck Publishing
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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