Last week may have marked a signal event for Industry, Cyberspace, and the Literary World

Last week may have marked a signal event for Industry, Cyberspace, and the Literary World. Amazon’s stock price soared last Friday.The best part for me was when our son announced why this happened. His theory is that this was the day my new novel, Soft Target, went live on Amazon. We raised our glasses and toasted success!

softtargetTMBI’ve decided to set a tradition. The Freedom Writers blog exists to discuss truth in novels and reality, not to promote my books. But here is what I have decided to do. Once a year, I have a new novel, usually in the fall. Soft Target is my third Thriller. Next year, it will be Raven’s Run.

Here is what I propose: When my new novel comes out, I will announce it here. Most likely, I’ll have a contest for reactions, with prizes.

What kind of a contest, and why? Like most authors, I want to know what fans think of my novels. Like many “Indies,” I ask readers who like my book to post reviews on the website where they have purchased it. That request is on my author’s website and is also now explicit in the back of my books.

A positive review can be as short as one minute and 20 words. These are VERY helpful, but I also seek to know what you think about my novels at a deeper level. I love to do book signings and talk with fans.

What I know, or suspect, so far:

  • People do “judge the book by its cover,” and, in fact, by its overall appearance.

First rate novels do NOT have typos or “interior design errors.” Fans love my covers and my cover artist’s creativity. I am grateful for my critical readers and layout team.

God’s House won The da Vinci Eye award for its cover. I personally think that the cover for Soft Target is the best yet. I am hopeful for another award.

  • The key thing for a novel is, of course, the writing. My books are winning awards for their content.

Award images are up on If you click on them, you will get to details about the organizations that sponsored the contests I won, about other winners, the intent and history of those awards, etc.

Here’s what stands out for me. Privacy Wars won “USA Best Books finalist,” which is good, but better is the category in which it won: Cross Genre.

Conclusion: My books are Thrillers, but have an unusual appeal to those who don’t normally read Thrillers. For example, I’m a member of RWA, the Romance Writers of America; this is unusual for a Thriller guy.

Soft Target was also a Finalist for the Montaigne Medal, given to the most thought-provoking book(s).  Competing against all genres, it was a Finalist for the prestigious Eric Hoffer Award for Independent Publishing. Other professional reviews and comments posted on my Author’s site say things like:

“This is a smart new novel for a thinking audience.”

US Review of Books

 “John writes big books with a lot happening.”

William Kenower, Editor-in-Chief, Author Magazine

Anyway, after you’ve read Soft Target, I want your comments. I’m going to offer a Prize.  Please enjoy Chapter One:

Warning Label: I know this will astonish you, but not everyone likes my books. It puts me in good company. Not everyone liked Harry Potter or The Bible.

I have a few spiteful Trolls on Amazon who are cyber stalking me. They say hateful things, including that I offer “bribes” to my readers, that the organizations that give me Awards are phonies; the awards themselves are scams, etc.

To me, this is the price of success. “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

Some Trolls are, no doubt, sincere. Some have personal problems or political agendas. Others are just liars and bullies. In any case, prepare to be “bribed.”

I’ve had mouse pads made up with images of the cover for Soft Target. I plan to award three, for the most insightful comments posted here or on any public review forum.

This offer is good until January 1, 2014. After you’ve read Soft Target, please comment here or just let me know where you have posted a review. I’ll hope that a mouse pad will not overly compromise anyone’s integrity, and thank you all for your interest and support.

I also welcome opinions about if you think occasional posts like this for my novels are appropriate. Should I continue this tradition next year?



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