Mike Faricy is the award winning author of mystery suspense thrillers woven together with a rich strain of humor and even some romance. He and his wife live in Saint Paul, Minnesota and Dublin, Ireland.
His entertaining tales are populated with the sort of quirky, oddball characters we’d all like to know more about, but wisely prefer to keep at a distance. They serve not so much as examples as they do warnings to the rest of us. None of his characters will be saving the world from terrorism, international banking conspiracies or coups to topple the government. Rather, they’re individuals inhabiting a world just below the surface of polite society. The difficulties they find themselves in are usually due to their own bad decisions, but then, bad decisions make for interesting tales.
All of his books are stand alone, read them in any order you wish. Russian Roulette introduces the bizarrely devilish Devlin Haskell as a PI with a foot on both sides of the law. Dev’s adventures continue in Mr. Softee and the soon to be released Bite Me. Mike is currently working on his latest top secret project. He graduated High School from St. Thomas Academy and earned a BA in history from St. Norbert College.
His latest book is the crime fiction, Bombshell.
Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz, Mike. Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?
Thanks for having me, it’s a pleasure to finally sit down and chat with you. Bombshell is my tenth book, the fourth book in my Dev Haskell series. Dev is a well intentioned, back slapping, wise cracking, bumbling Private Investigator. He is not going to save the world from terrorists, international bank conspiracies or government coups. Dev’s world is the muck that rests below the pool of polite society. The situations his clients face are due to their own bad decisions, but then bad decisions make for interesting tales.
At base Bombshell is a tale of petty jealousy that gets way out of hand. The tale is set in the world of roller derby. Dev has been hired to provide security for a team of gorgeous English roller derby stars. When he gets hired, he envisions himself standing guard in the shower room. Amazingly, things don’t quite go according to plan and he ends up under arrest and found guilty before he’s even been charged. He has an attorney who drinks too much, a gorgeous friend with a bad attitude, a feisty team of females ready to kill him… and no answers.
What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?
As I mentioned Bombshell is the fourth book in my Dev Haskell series, but it’s my tenth book. I’ve learned that promotion is a long range undertaking. I’m indie published so I do not have a publisher network to deal with. When a book is released the initial reaction is to contact everyone you know, flood all the social sites, tweet the western world that the book will be available at midnight and on and on. My experience has been that all of that can really be a waste of time and in fact might work just the opposite and turn a lot of people off. Once my book is available the first thing I do is send copies to people who will write a review. There are two major points to this, first I ask for an honest review, I don’t ask for a positive review. Secondly, everyone has a life. As much as I would like it to happen, people can’t put their lives on hold, sit down, read my book over night and write a review. I allow six to eight weeks, and then I email a gentle reminder. I’ve just described two months since the book release. When a review is posted I mention it on face book, I may send the review to some other sites. What I don’t do is post something fifteen times a day and then remind everyone for the next three weeks.
After that, what happened?
For me slow and steady wins the race. As reviews are posted you can sense a bit of a swell occurring. Suddenly I receive eight or ten face book friend requests every day. My e-mail box has half-a-dozen messages from people who’ve read the book. All of this tells me that things are working. I don’t know what the exact formula is, but for every e-mail I receive that represents a number of people who read the book and didn’t e-mail. Of course maybe everyone else just hated it, but hopefully not. Promotion is a constant, on going project fraught with the danger of over-kill. I have a lot of correspondence with fans on a daily basis which is great. People are reading my books and then contacting me to tell me about it. That’s the right kind of ‘problem’ to have.
What did your publisher do to promote your book?
I’m indie published by choice, so I don’t have a publisher. That said I have a lot of acquaintances who have gone the traditional route. While all are excellent writers they have not had the good fortune to become a Vince Flynn, John Sanford or Elmore Leonard. So the promotion is on their nickel. A few of them have received a modest promotional budget, say one thousand dollars. At first blink that may sound like a lot but think about it, there is usually a requirement to attend a book fair or conference or something so when you add airfare and two nights stay in a hotel eating baloney sandwiches you are just about out of money. After that the promotion is on your dime, just like me.
What’s your opinion on blogging? Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?
Blogging definitely helps me with book sales, but not my blogging. What seems to be most effective are things like my interview posted on someone’s blog, a review of my book on a blog, reader’s comments. I could write all day long about how absolutely wonderful my latest book is. Who cares? But read the same thing on a blog that you follow, maybe contribute to and it makes all the difference in the world because the information is credible to the reader.
I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool. Do you find it is or isn’t?
I find social networks to be a very effective marketing tool. The danger is that you can easily overdo the promotion. No one needs that and in fact you can quickly loose credibility. Who wants to be bombarded by a message on Face Book that if only you purchase in the next twenty-four hours you can save a dollar? In the case of social networks I’ve found that less is really more. The other thing I’m wary of is having anything on my social network that someone may view as offensive, I don’t post political or sexual messages, and I’m careful with humorous things as well. Why risk offending someone who would otherwise enjoy my books?
Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?
I’m a big fan of sending signed copies of ink on paper books with a personal note to reviewers or fans who contact me. I never miss an opportunity to send a book to someone, whether it’s an e-book I gift to them or an ink on paper book. When I’m introduced to someone by a friend it’s always followed up with a statement along the lines of “Mike writes books”. The individual is more or less forced to inquire what kind of books and off we go. I always get a name and address or an email address and send a book to them. It’s sort of Sales 101, you have to get the customer, the reader in this case, to sample the product, my book. I think the most difficult aspect of promotion is actually getting people to find out about your book, that it even exists. If they read it and don’t want to read another that’s okay, my books aren’t for everyone, I get that. But if they read it I have at least a 50/50 shot they’ll enjoy the book and want to get another one. It’s one fan at a time, building that base of readers. It seems that the sort of people I appeal to, crime fiction readers, inhale authors, a lot of authors. Then they wait for your next release, that’s just great. In the meantime they like to spread the word to their reading friends which for me is the absolute best type of promotion.
If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?
The most effective tool has been building a list of individuals who will read my book and post a review. They usually post on a number of sites like Amazon or Good Reads plus a number of blogs. It’s not just adding one or two more sites; it’s the multiplication factor of two, four, eight. These individuals also post on Face Book and Twitter. I had one fan, she’s really been helpful and she wrote on her Face Book site that she’d just had a lavender bubble bath and now she was going to go to bed with Mike Faricy, meaning one of my books. My wife lives in Dublin, Ireland and her sense of American geography leaves something to be desired. She rifled off a blistering text message to me wondering what’s going on and how far is Minnesota from Marietta, Georgia?
What are your experiences with offline promotions such as book signings?
They can work and they can be a disaster. I’ve done a couple where it was really fun and we had a great bunch of folks in attendance. I’ve done a couple, one in particular where it was the last nice day in fall and folks decided they would rather go for a walk or finish outside chores or whatever rather than come and deal with me. I was sitting behind a stack of books and not a soul around for three hours. It’s luck of the draw. I’ve done a couple of readings, that’s been fun. I think, at least for me, the key is to introduce people to my writing, meet them, and have an enjoyable time. If I sell some books that’s great but it’s not the primary objective, that will happen in time.
Thank you for this interview, Mike! We wish you much success!
Thanks for chatting with me. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Bombshell and all my books are available on Amazon. (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_12?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=bombshell+mike+faricy&sprefix=bombshell+mi%2Cstripbooks%2C725)
Please take a moment to check them out. All the best to everyone and please have me back, I’ve really enjoyed this.
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