Author Story: John Leifer

1106 Design

June 19, 2019

Book marketing got you down?

Author John Leifer has this advice for first-time indie publishers: Publish for your own gratification, not with the thought of how many books you will sell.

As the author and publisher of the Commander John Hart trilogy, John found book marketing to be by far the most challenging step, despite his books receiving numerous accolades. “Even as a former marketing officer, I found it to be a formidable challenge simply by virtue of the level of competition that now exists within self-published books,” explains John. But when asked if he’d do it again, John responds, “Of course! Writing is like a little demon that one cannot exorcise. Writing is not ‘easy,’ but it’s absorbing and satisfying.”

The three books in the Commander John Hart series promise to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Readers will see the inevitable flaws of humanity in the hero of the trilogy, John Hart. In addition to this compelling character, each book features a villain who, while committing unthinkable acts, also possesses unexpected strengths. John involves his characters in a riveting plot—a powerful formula for memorable stories. When researching and writing his thrillers, John draws upon his experiences with key governmental agencies and scientists, including serving on a presidential panel led by former national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft.

The trilogy begins with Terminal, a heart-pounding tale of bioterrorism, followed by 8 Seconds to Midnight, which involves nuclear espionage. John based the third and final book in the series, Thou Shall Not Kill, on exhaustive research into Israeli military history, Israeli doctrine regarding the use of non-traditional weapons, and the current state of threat posed by Israel’s foes.

While he has previously published two nonfiction books by traditional means (The Myths of Modern Medicine: The Alarming Truth about American Health Care and After You Hear It’s Cancer: A Guide to Navigating the Difficult Journey Ahead), John self-published his Commander John Hart trilogy. “I wanted the ability to control the process and produce the books expeditiously,” explains John. 1106 Design worked with John to publish his trilogy with comprehensive author services, including cover design, page design and layout, proofreading and uploading files to Amazon and IngramSpark. “Their work was consistently on time, on budget and highly professional.” Thanks for the feedback, John!

Back to book marketing. Despite finding book marketing to be a challenge, John took a smart, four-pronged approach. First, he sought out reputable reviews. Second, he leveraged his online presence via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Third, he entered (and won!) several awards. Finally, John says, “I’ve undertaken every other type of shameless promotion I can think of!”

John, we’re pleased to feature you in this month’s Author Story and wish you the best of luck with the Commander John Hart trilogy and your latest book Thou Shall Not Kill.

Accolades for the Commander John Hart trilogy:

8 Seconds to Midnight:

  • 2018 IAN Thriller of the Year (Independent Author Network)
  • 2018 Wishing Shelf Awards Finalist
  • 2019 MIPA (Midwest Independent Publishers Association) Finalist
  • 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist
  • 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews


  • 2019 National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist
  • 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews

Thou Shall Not Kill:

  • 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews

Commander John Hart Thriller Trilogy:

  1. 8 Seconds to Midnight
  2. Terminal
  3. Thou Shall Not Kill

Author: John Leifer


Author website:


Twitter: @johnleiferbooks

Instagram: @ilovethrillers

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