An interesting development arrived for authors recently and not soon enough if you ask me. Amazon and others, decided to go after the fake review frauds on their websites. What happens is that an entire underground market started with reviews being written, not by a customer or reader, but someone paid by the seller or author to do so. It is a damn mess to be honest and every author is exposed to such shenanigans.
You are contacted by the “reviewers” and even magazines. For a fee they will write a new review and post it...you know what, you can even write it yourself and they will post it for you! It is with the magazines, nothing but advertisement disguised as “news or interviews” and they hope the reader is too stupid to realize what is happening. Unfortunately it is happening on every website including the biggest ones stating it is not, hear me, it is.
The reverse also happens. You get emails from people, Pakistanis & Nigerians mostly if I look at their English, worse than mine, threatening to write bad reviews if you will not pay them to write good reviews. My answer to both is to take a hike, I do not pay people to write reviews, good or bad. I don’t care what people write in reviews, if they have a problem with the books, they can approach me directly.
Now there is nothing wrong with reviews in principle. Let us be clear on the principle and I support it as it does show the new reader that he may be on to something before he parts with his hard earned cash to try a new writer. So reviews are important enough to become an industry and a very dark one at that, it is sad that it ended in this debacle it is now. Such things do not help you, the reader or the author trying to make a living.
I don’t read reviews by the way. If someone is kind enough to email me directly (the email details are available in the books and website) and authorize me to quote him (anonymously), I do so. At the end of the day it is for you, my readers, to decide if you want to read the next GMJ Book or not. I cannot force you and I will not betray that what started the GMJ Series. Why should I? Money is not important to me. This reminds me, I am asked why so many books? Well, I have no life really. I write a full length GMJ Book every month because I have the time to do so. Also I like writing them and for some reason I do not suffer from “writer’s block” either - frankly I don’t think it even exists and so it is easy for me. I simply type away and the story writes itself and I never expected to be at book 15 now. Nah, that surprised even me.
Each book can be read separately and consequently I have to rewrite the historical background of the story in every book. Yes, it is annoying to me also to repeat myself but we have to think of the new reader, the one that did not (yet, I hope) followed the saga and he needs to know what happened. That is the most difficult part, to keep the historical repeats interesting. I mean, you can only tell the same story so much but I am working on it.
Extraordinarily, I can see from the download statistics and emails that most readers are female and not twenty year's old either. They like the idea of a super smart, attractive and damn dangerous woman like Angelique Dawson winning every time. She is also in her late thirties at the earliest stage of us meeting her and she is “otherwise” in the extreme driving her future soul and husband, Foxtrot, nuts. But she has a heart of gold behind her antics and she is better than the men who are pretty special themselves. How else can it be? Such men will not respect a lesser, she has to be better.
The other question I am often asked, we blogged (what a word) about it before, is the truth behind the stories or how far is what you read pure fiction. I love such questions…it shows I am convincing the reader there is more behind the story than what I am telling. The answer is like always, whatever the characters say or make statements on is the truth. If they say a South African Type 209 submarine, the SAS Manthatisi, “sunk” in exercises an entire NATO squadron, you can bet your ass that took place. The books are all base on reality. Like in the new forthcoming book, Code Name Blue Tang (GMJ Book 15, now at page 90) we look at something which took place in 2009 at the Overberg Missile Test Range in South Africa. Yep, that happened and was a closely guarded secret up to now but you can read it yourself. Book 14, Code Name Cadillac, by the way, is with the editors, it will be available in a few days. So to answer your question - you will learn astonishing things in the GMJ Books about the world of espionage, military history and I hope romance as the entire Series is written to honour my late wife. It is a love story first and probably why the women readers love the books so much.
Reviews are important though, Make no mistake, it can break an author but it will never break or even make me – why? Simply, I already achieved what I set out to do. In one year, GMJ wrote more far more than a million words to honour his departed soul. That will never be taken away from them. As you also know, there are codes in the books for her, and she gets them. Even the book’s name, like Code Name Blue Tang, that is a code. And the people knowing the codes are less than ten in the world. And yes, I am proud of my books and stories. Having said this, none of them are worth her life. I will trade all of them for five minutes with her.
George M James is a pseudo name for the author and used for security reasons. He is an expert on counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations in sub Saharan Africa, a military and war historian and published author of 43 books. His late wife was an American Patriot that served with the U.S. Navy. His books are widely read among military veterans of many nations.