Author Spotlight: Barry Finlay

See full issue for 2016 06-13

If you had a writing motto what would it be?
Write for yourself first.

Where do you draw your inspiration?
Inspiration is all around us. I'm particularly inspired by people with physical disabilities who do incredible things. My daily life motto is, "Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep on climbing" and it applies to everything, including writing. If we want something badly enough, we just have to keep working at it. Even if we aren't successful in the end, we can take some satisfaction from having given it our all.

What is one interesting fact about you?
I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, at age 60 with my son.

Have you learned anything from the self publishing process and would you do anything differently next time?
I'm always learning from the indie publishing process. The biggest eye opener for me was the competition for space in the marketplace and just how difficult it is to be noticed. At first I used a shotgun approach to marketing because I didn't know any better and it was tremendously time consuming. Now I try to be more selective. I have a better feel for which advertising sites work and which don't, but, don't ever kid yourself - it's still time consuming.

What has been your most successful marketing strategy?
As noted above, I have become more selective with my marketing strategy. Authors have to build a following through social media and developing mailing lists of people who like their books. But for me, the real payback comes by kick-starting sales through discounted book advertising sites. We have to spend a bit of money to make a bit of money and a track record of sales begets more sales. I price my e-books fairly high initially so that I can show a deep discount when I advertise. I also spend a lot of time doing book signings at retail books stores, Christmas craft sales and the like. The stores, at least locally, seem to be more amenable to self published authors now than they used to be. Finally, it is important to have some positive reviews and, if possible, literary awards.

What is the best kept secret you have found in regard to indie publishing?
I went into indie publishing knowing that there would be a learning curve, but I was surprised at how steep it was when it came to promoting the book. There are a myriad of sites offering indie authors all kinds of things and one can easily be drawn in. An author can save a bit of time, and potentially money, by going to sites that rank promotional sites that work. There is no point in writing a good book that no-one knows about but be prepared for the time and effort required to raise the awareness.

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