Sunday, April 19, 2009

Huntington News Reviews The Shut Mouth Society

action suspense thriller

"One of the bad guys -- and there are plenty -- in James D. Best's The Shut Mouth Society sneeringly calls Greg Evarts a "city policeman," making it clear that he thinks the Santa Barbara, CA police detective is an easily handled lightweight.

What a mistake! Evarts is a veteran of a top secret army unit, an expert in decoding ciphers and a good friend of multimillionaire Abraham Douglass, a descendant of black anti-slavery pioneer Frederick Douglass. Abraham Douglass is a collector of Lincoln and Civil War documents and wants Evarts and UCLA Lincoln expert Professor Patricia Baldwin to authenticate an Abraham Lincoln document in his possession.

At stake is nothing less than the balance of power in present-day North America. After the murder, Greg and Patricia travel the country, driving to New York City, Boston, Des Moines, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska where more violence reveals the impact of The Shut Mouth Society on present-day events. The plot reminds me of Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," which has a similar pairing of an academic -- a male in Brown's novel -- and a female French police officer. The secret society in Brown's novel is matched by one that's even more brutal in "The Shut Mouth Society."

The Shut Mouth Society is a fast-moving, well-written novel that is of particular interest in this bicentennial year of Abe Lincoln's birth."

By David M. Kinchen Book Critic

Read full review

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How do you sell books?

"Even Einstein couldn't get far if 300 treatises of higher physics were published each year"
Raymond Chandler, 1945

Selling books is hard. The best sales come from word-of-mouth, but how do you get critical volume so word-of-mouth does any good? Whether you're published by the traditional press or you self-publish you need to hawk your own goods. Promotional budgets for mid-list authors barely buy a local NPR ad to promote your book signing.

Worse, most writers don't like promotional hoopla and would rather retreat to their favorite quiet place to write their next book. My recommendation: allocate a specific amount of time each day to promote previous books and reward yourself with the remainder of the day for writing your next opus. Personally, I try for between one and two hours a day to handle email, update my blog and websites, and promote my books.