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Jim Cox Report: May 2020
Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:
The current pandemic has dramatically impacted the publishing industry, which in turn has dramatically impacted the Midwest Book Review. In order to make sure that we will be able to pay the bills over the coming months, one of our two paid employees has taken himself off the payroll and has converted his activities into that of an unpaid volunteer. Hopefully when this pandemic abates and the publishing industry gets back to a semblance of normality he can come back on the payroll. For the record, both employees were receiving the Wisconsin minimum wage ($7.50 Hour) for a 35 hour work week -- and both of them were routinely donating a few more hours per week than that.
Because I'm 77 with several health issues that include a respiratory condition called Severe Sleep Apnea that requires a C-PAP machine (without it I had stopped breathing in my sleep for an average of 43 times per hour), blood pressure (for which I take medication), one working kidney, and diabetes (for which I've been in medical remission for the past several years), it turns out that I'm one of those 'high risk' people when it comes to Covid 19 -- meaning that if I get that damn virus I'm pretty much done for.
So I've set my affairs in order. If something happens to me, my daughter Bethany (who is currently the Managing Editor and Web Master for the Midwest Book Review) will carry on and replace me as the Editor-in-Chief. That means that with or without me, the Midwest Book Review will carry on with its mission of helping writers to write better, publishers to publish more profitably, librarians to make better informed acquisition selections, and the general public to become acquainted with good books that they might otherwise never be aware of.
Now onto something else that might be of interest to authors and publishers trying to survive in this pandemic in the form of an an email from a Jim Cox Report subscriber and an article I received last week with permission to pass it along to you.
Greetings from your avid reader! I really appreciated the focus on your April report on the pandemic and how authors and publishers are responding to the new reality. I have something innovative that I hope you will want to share with your Cox Report readers in May:
While some people are stitching masks for health workers, donating to food pantries, or shopping for elderly neighbours, a band of authors has found a unique way to help others in the pandemic: John Hunt Publishing decided to marshal the wisdom of or best expert authors and create a series of short books focused on practical, emotional, and psychological skills people need to adapt and survive the pandemic. Not just blog-post stuff, like about social distance, these books focus on the tough stuff required to create genuine resilience: how to plan and adapt in a pandemic, how to handle anxiety, how to connect with nature.
I took charge of this project (as publisher of Changemakers Books, an imprint of JHP) and recruited a total of 10 expert authors to each write 20,000 words in 20 days. Most of them have 30 years experience in their specialty. They all met the deadline. Our production team worked double time, turning manuscripts into final texts ready to send to the printer in 2 weeks. That's five weeks from commission to high-quality, print-ready books that will available in early May (depends on NBN’s turnarond now).
Here are the topics of the completed books, and attached is a draft flier about them:
Adapting and Planning • Aging with Courage • Connecting with Nature • Developing Inner Strength • Handling Anxiety • The Inner Spiritual Journey • Navigating Loss • The Life-Saving Skill of Story • Virtual Communication • Virtual Teams
It’s my best wish to get this included in your May Cox’s Report. I’m looking forward to hearing from you about this soon. Call me if you want more details.
The website for the project is: www.resilence-books.com
Tim Ward, Publisher
American Interest in Books About Investing Grows by 150% Amid Economic Meltdown
Data compiled by Finbold.com shows that Americans' interest in the phrase investment book has grown by about 150% over the past year. The interest is based on queries logged on the search engine Google.
Interest spikes in March
The data shows that the interest steadily spiked in March this year. During the week ending 8th March, the popularity score for the phrase was 37 which later dropped to 26 before rising again to 40 during the week ending March 22. A week later, the popularity increased by about 57% to 63. By the second week of April, the popularity score grew to 71 before attaining the peak popularity of 100 in the week ending April 19th.
Before the March steady growth in the queries, the highest peak popularity was recorded during the second week of December 2019 at 62. Another notable high of 2019, was registered during the weeks ending 2nd June and 11th August when the figure stood at 53. The lowest interest in books on investment was during the week ending 3rd November when the score was 20.
The spike in the queries comes at a time the American economy has been crippled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. According to the report:
“The interest can be attributed to the fact that most people wanted to know where to put their money amid an economic meltdown.”
The data also highlights the states with most queries relating to books about an investment where Massachusetts attained a peak popularity score of 100. Connecticut and Minnesota attained a popularity score of 84 while the New York score stood at 82.
Other states with notable search volumes include New Jersey (71), North Carolina (68), Illinois (67), South Carolina (66), California (65), and Maryland (65).
The full story and charts available here:
Now here are reviews of books that are of particular and special interest to writers and publishers:
The Author's Checklist
Elizabeth K. Kracht
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608686629, $15.95, www.newworldlibrary.com
The Author's Checklist: An Agent's Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript is directed to writers in all genres, whether fiction or nonfiction, and regardless of their publishing goals (either self-publishing or working with a publisher), and covers the basics of creating a publishable manuscript. This survey goes beyond editing concerns to address the entire production, from creating an effective acknowledgment section to understanding the basics of better dialogue, pace, and keys to success, such as utilizing lists to help readers retain information and speed up the pace of the story, or creating more effective chapter endings. Authors need this survey, which is more than a checklist, but an outline of better strategies for superior writing results.
You've Got the Time
9780945531135, $15.00, PB, 279pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Ken Wachsberger is an award-winning author/editor/book coach. He is an educator, member of National Speakers Association and National Writers Union, and renowned expert on negotiating book contracts.
Whether writing a book for credibility and back-of-the-room sales, to transform your life, or to simply prove to yourself that you can do it, in his DIY instructional guide and reference manual Ken's "You've Got the Time: How to Write and Publish That Book in You" guides the aspiring writer through a step by step process that will result in a complete book success.
With chapters on how to prepare your writing "space"; finding time in a busy lifestyle; labeling and organizing your digital files; freewriting your way to a table of contents; turning your prose into poetry; choosing your platforms; getting the word out; negotiating your contract; and more.
Critique: One of the most 'user friendly' and comprehensive how-to manuals for writer's seeking publication of their work, "You've Got the Time: How to Write and Publish That Book in You" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Writing/Publishing collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "You've Got the Time: How to Write and Publish That Book in You" is also readily available in an inexpensive digital book format (Kindle, $0.99). Simply stated, if it is your ambition to create the next great American novel and secure your place in literary history (or just to have your own work published and secure as wide a readership as possible for it), then "You've Got the Time: How to Write and Publish That Book in You" should be a part of your personal and professional reference shelf.
Write Through the Crisis
9781733865210, $11.99 paperback, $6.99 Kindle, 138pp, www.amazon.com
Write Through the Crisis comes from a "veteran of living through crises" and provides a powerful approach for unprecedented times, showing readers how they, too, can use the tools of writing to stave off depression, isolation, and ennui. Samantha Shad wasn't broke or quarantined, but she did survive living with a psychopathic mother who committed infanticide and created a life that always teetered on the edge of chaos and crisis after crisis. Shad turned to writing to mitigate the damaging effects of these constant challenges, and here advocates writing as a technique any literate person can use to heal themselves. She notes: "You don’t have to like living in disaster-mode, but you can use it to make your life better. I did. This book tells you how to make the best out of a crisis by using it to write yourself to a richer soul." This approach advocates finding your own healing process and writing 'voice' and demonstrates how to do so by better understanding storytelling options, writing forms, how ideas and dreams are germinated to result in positive goals, and more. Psychology, creative writing tips, and self-help healing skills are woven into an account that should be a blueprint for those facing Covid who want to see and reach towards a light at the end of a challenging tunnel of darkness. As Shad discusses the mechanics of creating characters, plots, and themes, readers will be encouraged to put pen to paper to follow their own dreams. Why not? Those under quarantine now have all the time in the world to write their way to a better perspective, and with the lively, accessible Write Through the Crisis, they now have the tools to do so.
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:
Ruth Lopez Yanez
Holly Trechter -- "Galileo! Galileo!"
Jeff Bond -- "The Pinebox Vendetta"
Dot Gibbens - "TomTom Loves His Hair!"
Sherry Chapman -- "How Much Big Is The Sky"
Avanti Centrae -- "VanOps: The Lost Power"
Mary Dunnewold - "Fine Thanks, Stories from the Cancerland Jungle"
David G. Carriere -- The Carriere Company
Joseph Brient -- Commonwealth Books Publishing
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] 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
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI, 53575
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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