Thursday, May 27, 2021

⭐A Bookish Conversation with 'The Pilate Scroll' M.B. Lewis⭐ #pumpupyourbook #interview

M.B. Lewis is an Amazon #1 International Bestselling Author, and his books have also been on the Bestseller lists on Barnes and Noble Nook and Kobo platforms. The author of the award-winning Jason Conrad Thriller series has been on numerous author panels at writer’s conferences such as Thrillerfest, The Louisiana Book Festival, The Pensacola Book and Writers Festival, and Killer Nashville.

A 25-year Air Force pilot, he has flown special operations combat missions in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan in the AC-130U Spooky Gunship. Michael is currently a pilot for a major U.S. airline.

A proud Christian active in his community, Michael has mentored college students on leadership development and team-building and is a facilitator for an international leadership training program. He has participated as a buddy for the Tim Tebow Foundation’s “Night to Shine” and in his church’s Military Ministry program. Michael has also teamed with the Air Commando Foundation, which supports Air Commando’s and their families’ unmet needs during critical times.

While his adventures have led to travels all around the world, Michael lives in Florida with his wife Kim.

His latest book is The Pilate Scroll.

You can visit his website at

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I knew part of the back-story would contain the Emperor Constantine, so I read a biography on him, and did plenty of internet searches as well. I’ve been reading the Bible daily, or mostly daily, for the last thirteen years. I also researched ancient puzzles, the development of paper, and other intricacies.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I went the indie route. We have our own publishing company that we published my Jason Conrad Thriller series under. I did pitch to one agent, and him only, but he wasn’t interested at the time. That’s okay, he gave me some great pointers that made the manuscript better. I like going the indie route because I can establish the timeline for my book release.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the eBook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?

I formatted the book myself. I use an iMac and the software program Vellum. I made the switch from Windows a couple of years ago and the time-saving has been amazing. What used to take me a week to do, hand-jamming into MS Word (which I still use to write on my Mac), I now do in a couple of hours.

If self-published, how did you determine the price?

It’s determined by the comparative market out there. The quality of my books are as good as traditionally published books in the marketplace, so they’re priced to match. Of course, since I’m an indie, I can adjust it how I see fit. Sometimes you have to bend and flex to reach your goals. Also, this is the first time I’ve printed a hardback. Because it is outsourced by another printer, you’ve got to price it high enough to return just a little (very little) profit when sold online.

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

Not really. The Pilate Scroll was completed for six months before it was released. Again, a benefit of being an indie; sometimes, life gets in the way. I pushed the launch back to April of 2021 for my own convenience and I’m glad I did. It also gave me more time to look at the book two or three “last” times.

How did you choose your cover?

I used Damonza, the same cover artist I use for all my books. The first two samples he gave me weren’t quite in the vein of the story. But when he sent the third, he nailed it. The cover tells you there’s an adventure inside, just waiting to happen!

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I write straight through the first draft without any revision. I heard Brad Thor explain this years ago and I made total sense. He said, “Never be afraid to let yourself write a bad first draft.” His point was, if you’re constantly revising the book during the first draft, you’ll never finish. Keep pushing through the first draft and fix it in the re-write. I actually love the re-write process. I’ve rearranged paragraphs as well as chapters. Its where you fix the story so that it makes sense. I think new authors tend to revise while they write—I know I did on my first book. Part of that was because I was teaching myself the process. It took five years to write my first draft of my first book. But I wasn’t working on it full time, I went to three different aircraft schools, two different military educational schools, and finished my master’s degree during this time. Like I said earlier, life gets in the way.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?  

I did! Quite by accident, I found these tiny scrolls with Bible verses on them! They are quite cool. I sent them with the hardcover book that I sent to the people who helped me with the book. I keep buying as many of them as I can, so I can give them out once I start having book signings.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

No, I make my own book trailers using iMovie on my Mac. You can see them all here:

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

It’s a necessity. It’s a very competitive world out there. As an indie author, you’ve got to get your book in front of readers. Fortunately, the digital age makes it not only easy, but affordable for the indie author to do this. It’s best to create what’s called a ‘Reader Magnet’. Something you can give away for free but is used to draw the reader to the rest of your books. Of course, the downside of giving away something for free, is that it usually sits in the e-reader longer or sometimes forever, because people are going to read what they pay for first.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

  1. Find a good editor.
  2. Find a good proofreader.
  3. Find Beta Readers who will be honest with you.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

  1. Start writing the next book.
  2. Keep pushing the book into the marketplace. Indie authors don’t have the advantage of big budget advertising. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  3. Network, network, network.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

I redesigned my website and set up pre-sale links to all the major retailers. I had a cover reveal; first on my newsletter-then on my group page & author page. I got as many endorsements as I could as soon as possible. All of my social media pages were updated with the pending release date and pre-sale information. As the date got closer, I experimented with some pre-sale advertising on BookBub and Facebook, but not much. I also set up a lot of Amazon advertising, which has been running continuously for about four months. Two months out, I set up an eBook giveaway on Goodreads and I also had a newsletter signup where I gave away a Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible.

Do you have a long-term plan with your book?

Keep marketing the book, reaching new readers and expanding the audience. At some point, I may take the eBook exclusively to Kindle, but that remains to be seen. There are too many readers on those platforms right now to stop that lifeline. I’ll look into making an audiobook soon and people have talked to me about translating the story into a film. Like I said earlier, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. This book has such depth and breadth, there’s a lot of audience out there that are looking for a book like this, we’ve just got to get it in front of them.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

The Pilate Scroll came out several weeks ago and the reviews have been fantastic! There’s nothing else out there like it. This is the kind of book that parents can read with their kids and actually have a conversation about what took place. As one reviewer said, “Fun read! My kid is at the level where he's ready for more exciting and mature topics, but the mom in me sides away from graphic or too 'adult' themes. This book was perfect! An engaging thriller that he really got into, and I enjoyed as well. (In fact, I had a hard time putting it down.) We're hoping Mike Lewis has another one in progress!” Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.


Inside the Book


A quest to save the world . . . a secret that could change it. Forever.

Kadie Jenkins is a survivor. Now part of an elite group of scholars and scientists, their mission is to stop an impending global terrorist threat. But when a colleague is murdered in Egypt, Kadie finds herself pitted against a foe more terrifying than the one they were trying to stop. Teaming up with a renegade pilot and her younger brother, they find themselves in a race against time, greed, and certain death. Can they uncover a 2000-year-old legend to save themselves and possibly the rest of the world?


“WARNING: Sleep deprivation likely. This Christian thriller is a page-turner; more like a page burner. Think Indiana Jones meets God’s Not Dead! M.B. Lewis decided to “take a risk” and write a Christian thriller and he has hit a walk-off homerun with The Pilate Scroll. From the opening page, you’re captivated by the action, intensity and intrigue, and especially the emotional connections, good and bad, among the characters. Along the way, the gospel of Jesus Christ is wonderfully-woven into the story, without being preachy but also theologically-sound. The “fictional historical” and the factual references throughout the book are so well presented it’s hard to determine which is which. It’ll have you doing extra research! Mike has written a gem. I can’t wait to see this on the big screen; it is worthy of being made into a movie. “

– David Jeffers is the Amazon Best-Selling Author of Man Up! What the Bible Says About Being A Man, Losing Evangelicals: How Christians Are Leaving Jesusland, and the Eavesdropping on God devotional series. David has appeared on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, Christian Television Network’s Homekeepers with Arthelene Rippy, and numerous radio interviews.

“If you took The Da Vinci Code and tossed it toward Raiders of the Lost Ark, you’d have this book! The Pilate Scroll is an exciting adventure from the very first page. It has everything—a strong heroine, a sweet younger brother, a true hero, and pesky villains who show up and wreak havoc. But it also has a strong faith thread that brings it all together. Katie, Brian and Duke are forced to search for a possible declaration from Pontius Pilate that could change history. I won’t give away the details, but it sure touched me! I highly recommend this book!”

– Lenora Worth, New York Times Best-Selling Author

“World-altering stakes meet sacrificial love in a story that lifts both the soul and the heart rate. M.B. Lewis handles a tough subject with sensitivity and grace while keeping the pages flying with realism only a been-there-done-that combat veteran can offer.” 

– James R. Hannibal, Award-Winning Author of The Gryphon Heist

“The many years that the author, Michael Lewis, has spent as a military and civilian pilot, flying internationally into fascinating cities and cultures all over the world, properly prepared him to write such an action-packed novel as The Pilate Scroll. If you love drama, mystery, and surprise, you will love this new book.  Amid all of the normal things that you would anticipate from this excellent author who is continuing to grow in popularity, Lewis adds a new spiritual dimension to this book. In sharing the drama of a team on a passionate mission, Lewis weaves into the story a spiritual dimension that is filled with the author’s excellent knowledge of the Bible, his deep understandings of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the virtues of Christianity found in forgiveness, redemption, transformation, and healing. He also exhibits a deep knowledge of the sacred sites so familiar in the life of Jesus, as well as keen insights regarding the teachings of church fathers through the centuries.”   

– Dr. Karl K. Stegall, Pastor Emeritus
First United Methodist Church
Montgomery, Alabama

“Lewis courageously steps away from the mainstream to answer a higher call to deliver this epic Christian thriller. Well done!”

– Gary Westfal, Life Coach and Best-Selling Author, Goal Mind

“The Pilate Scroll is an emotional rollercoaster that includes everything; from good guys with hyper-spiritual awareness and faith to bad guys with questionable ethics or lack thereof… and the perfect combination of action and moments that pull at your heartstrings. Indiana Jonesmeets Ted Dekker in this fun, realistic portrayal of a tale that, if it were true – the world might be better off not knowing it ever happened. But the best part is, the author leaves that for the reader to decide. Without ruining the ending, let me just say there haven’t been many action novels that moved me to tears. This one did. God bless those that read it. And the author that wrote it. A highly recommended novel for believers and nonbelievers alike.”

– Jason E. Fort is the creator and author of Fortress Books 

“M.B. Lewis has created a heart-stopping suspense novel with faith at the heart of its main character, Kadie. The plot is original and genuinely intriguing, and so are the characters, especially Kadie, who is strong yet vulnerable. I like the way Lewis has crafted this character to be flawed and relatable, not a super-Christian without problems. This woman hasn’t felt her faith in a long time, but the events that occur in her life shake her. As you read, you feel for her vulnerable position, and really become invested in the mystery and intrigue crafted by the author. I also like the relationship between Kadie and her special-needs younger brother, Brian. You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy this story of forgiveness and healing, but it is brimming with biblical themes and knee-deep in history and culture. The Pilate Scroll by M.B. Lewis is a must-read for those craving a top-tier faith-based suspense novel. Fans of Dan Brown will love this book.”

-Tammy Ruggles – Readers’ Favorite


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