Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
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Jim Cox Report: September 2020
Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:
Back in the late 70s I lived in Monroe, Wisconsin, a small town in the south of the Badger state that had a modest but very nice public library. At that time I was also very highly engaged in reading everything by Robert E. Howard (the creator of the Conan books and the man who basically launched the fantasy subgenera known as Sword & Sorcery) that I could get my hands on. It seems that Howard had published a small book of his poetry called "Songs from an Iron Harp) back in the 1930s. The original print run was something like 300 copies and the book was exceedingly rare.
When I asked the Monroe librarian how I might be able to get my hands on a copy she introduced me to something called the Interlibrary Loan System. She put in a request for that rare book for me and about a month later the search turned up a copy in the collection of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Those good folk wouldn't send me the book itself, but made a photocopy of the entire book, cover and all, and sent me that telling me that I could keep it. I still have that photo copy to this very day.
The Interlibrary Loan Service (sometimes called interloan, interlending, document delivery, document supply, or interlibrary service) is a service whereby a patron of one library can borrow books, DVDs, music, etc. and/or receive photocopies of documents that are owned by another library. The user makes a request with their home library; which, acting as an intermediary, identifies libraries with the desired item, places the request, receives the item, makes it available to the user, as well as arranges for its return. The lending library usually sets a due date and overdue fees of the material borrowed. Although books and journal articles are the most frequently requested items, some libraries will lend audio recordings, video recordings, maps, sheet music, and microforms of all kinds. In some cases, nominal fees accompany the interlibrary loan services. (Wikipedia)
Public and academic libraries have established voluntary associations, often on a regional basis, to provide an online union catalog of all the items held by all member libraries. Whenever a library adds a new title to its catalog, a copy of the record is also added to the union list. This allows librarians to quickly determine which of the other libraries hold an item. Software then facilitates the request and supply tasks. In the U.S., Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) is used by public and academic libraries. Formerly, another network RLIN (Research Libraries Information Network) was used primarily by academic libraries but merged with OCLC on October 1, 2007. (Wikipedia)
Online requests are usually submitted via OCLC's WorldCat or FirstSearch in the United States. Libraries without access to either can participate in interlibrary loan by submitting requests by postal mail, fax, email, or telephone call. These are referred to as manual requests. Manual requests can be submitted in the United States through the American Library Association. Individual libraries can agree to reciprocal arrangements between each other. (Wikipedia)
For those who might be curious, here is a link showing what an ALA Interlibrary Loan Service request form looks like:
I have archived on the Midwest Book Review website every review that I have ever done on 'how to' books for authors and publishers -- covering every aspect of the publishing process from writing an manuscript to marketing the published book. You will find them at:
Almost all of them (and there are hundreds of titles) can be obtained, for free, by aspiring writers, publishers, publicists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in writing and publishing from their local community library through that same InterLibrary Loan Service that I was introduced to so long ago and have used for other titles from time to time ever since.
Now here are reviews of books that are of particular and special interest to writers and publishers:
Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers
Modern History Press
c/o Loving Healing Press
5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
9781615995257, $24.95, HC, 56pp
Synopsis: In "Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers: The Ultimate Frugal Reference Guide for Avoiding Word Trippers and Crafting Gatekeeper-Perfect Copy", book publicist, journalist, marketer, editor, and retailer, Carolyn Howard-Johnson picks the trip-you-up words that her clients struggle with and puts them in a quick reference guide light enough and small enough to be used as an quickie gift that the recipient can tuck into a glove compartment or purse to keep their homonym skills fresh and explains why following grammar rules assiduously isn't always the best choice for writers.
Critique: An absolute 'must' for aspiring authors seeking publication for their work, and having substantial value for even the more experienced writer, "Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers: The Ultimate Frugal Reference Guide for Avoiding Word Trippers and Crafting Gatekeeper-Perfect Copy" is the ideal DIY instructional guide and 'how to' reference directly addressing the most common failing that authors (especially self-published authors) have -- an insufficient editing of their work.
Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers: The Ultimate Frugal Reference Guide for Avoiding Word Trippers and Crafting Gatekeeper-Perfect Copy" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Writing/Publishing collections. It should be noted that it is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781450507653, $6.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
You Talkin' To Me?: How To Write Great Dialogue
Linda Seger & John Rainey
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615933136, $19.99, PB, 251pp
Synopsis: Unlike the chitchat of everyday life, dialogue in stories must express character, advance the story, suggest a theme, and include a few memorable lines that audiences will be quoting for decades to come.
The best stories have dialogue that sparkles, but it's easy for inexperienced writers to fall into common pitfalls like creating dialogue that's wooden or too on the nose. Other writers end up with exposition awkwardly inserted into conversations, actors tripping over unnatural phrases, or characters who all speak exactly the same way.
"You Talkin' to Me?: How to Write Great Dialogue", successful authors Linda Seger and John Winston Rainey are here to help the aspiring writer to deal successfully with any kind or category of dialogue problems. In each chapter, they explore dialogue from a different angle and discuss examples of great dialogue from films and novels.
To cap it all off, each chapter ends with examples of poor dialogue, which are annotated by Linda and then rewritten by John, so readers don't just learn how to recognize when it's done well -- they also learn how to make dialogue better.
Whether writing fiction or nonfiction, for the screen or for the page, "You Talkin' to Me?: How to Write Great Dialogue" show how to will get characters talking!
Critique: A complete and throughly 'user friendly' course of instruction, "You Talkin' to Me?: How to Write Great Dialogue" is a core addition to both community and college/university library Writing/Publishing collections. Essential reading for every aspiring author seeking publication of their work, it should be noted for personal reading lists that You Talkin' to Me?: How to Write Great Dialogue" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.71) and as a complete and unabridged audio book deftly narrated by George Newbern (Dreamscape Media, 9781662032288, $22.99, CD, 5 discs, 5 hours 18 minutes).
The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615933150, $29.95, PB, 510pp
Synopsis: Celebrating twenty-five years since it's first edition was published, "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers" by Christoper Vogler is now released by Michael Wiese Productions in a newly updated and expanded fourth edition.
Originally an influential memo Vogler wrote for Walt Disney Animation executives
regarding The Lion King, "The Writer's Journey" details a twelve-stage, myth-inspired
method that has galvanized Hollywood's treatment of cinematic storytelling.
A format that once seldom deviated beyond a traditional three-act blueprint, Vogler's
comprehensive theory of story structure and character development has met with
universal acclaim, and is detailed herein using examples from myths, fairy tales, and classic movies.
As an instructional guide and manual, "The Writer's Journey" has changed the face of screenwriting worldwide over the last 25 years, and continues to do so to this very day.
Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "The Writer's Journey - 25th Anniversary Edition: Mythic Structure for Writers" must be considered essential reading for all aspiring script writers and storytellers. It should be noted for community and college/university library Writing/Publishing collections that "The Writer's Journey - 25th Anniversary Edition: Mythic Structure for Writers" is also available in a library hardcover edition (9781615933235, $39.95).
Your Turn: Ways to Celebrate Life Through Storytelling
She Writes Press
9781631524561, $16.95, PB, 168pp
Synopsis: Creative expression through writing helps us uncover gems of hope and serenity, enabling us to navigate difficult times. Sharing stories with one another fills the space between us, inspires us, helps us forge stronger relationships, and teaches us that we're more alike than different.
In "Your Turn: Ways to Celebrate Life Through Storytelling", writer and educator Tyra Manning offers examples of stories from her own life, followed by an invitation for readers to delve onto their own emotional histories, with plenty of room to explore on the page with writing prompts and tools.
Basically, "Your Turn" is an instructional guidebook and DIY manual for transformation through self-expression, sparking the reader's creative thought and offers a space to document their own self-reflection -- helping them overcome challenges and move forward.
Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "Your Turn: Ways to Celebrate Life Through Storytelling" is an ideal choice for any DIY 'how to' guide for aspiring writers wanting to utilize the power of the written word to analyze themselves or take advantage of the cathartic effects of a personalized memoir or autobiography. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Writing/Publishing collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Your Turn: Ways to Celebrate Life Through Storytelling" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).
Editorial Note; Dr. Tyra Manning overcame personal struggles with substance abuse and mental illness and went on to become one of America's top educators. As Superintendent of River Forest District 90 in Illinois, she presided for twelve years over high-performing public-school districts, where her students often reached the highest levels of academic achievement. Her debut book, "Where the Water Meets the Sand", was awarded the Independent Book Publisher's (IBPA) 2017 Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for Best Memoir and the Texas Association of Authors Award for Best Autobiography. She blogs twice per week at her website: www.tyramanning.com
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:
C. V. Shaw -- "The Spell"
Robby Kautz -- "The Riven Tree"
Dan Lawton -- "The Green House"
Lisa Anna-Langston -- "Gobbledy"
Jim Hartung -- "Rational Tax Reform"
Robert J. Sainiscalchi - "Butterfly Lake"
Don Siegelman -- "Stealing Our Democracy"
Bryan J. Stanley -- "The Driftless Rivers National Park"
Susanne Schuenke -- "Echo of the Unconscious in Painting"
William T. Packwood -- "Two Revolutionary War Privateers"
Level 4 Ventures, Inc.
Barbra Lena -- Brattle Publishing
David Parker -- Darwin Bay 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!
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James A. Cox
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