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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Writing to a Niche Audience: Author Interview with Mary C. Findley

I am amazed by all the books you have published over the years. What’s truly outstanding is that your book series have been written in four quite different genres. What's genre intrigued you to write the first book? 
Thanks! My first genre was historical fiction, and I wrote the Benny and the Bank Robber series for boys around ten, inspired by my oldest son. He turned out not to care much for reading, but the Benny series has grown with Benny, from age ten to nineteen so far, and it’s been our best selling book. It’s a special favorite with grandmothers looking for family-friendly, as well as exciting books to read to their grandchildren.

A sizable number of your books are co-written with your husband. How does that work?
My husband Michael and I co-write our non-fiction books. We have a book that breaks down into a series detailing the history of America’s unique form of government. Go back in time to Nimrod and the Tower of Babel and see the founding of Secular Humanism. A ruler had a high priest direct the people to worship the god on earth. In our homeschool series, with teacher and student editions, from Creation forward, history, science, and literature all try to direct attention away from the true God and His Word.
Your books are independently published under Findley Family Videos. Do you and Michael do all the non-writing stuff as well or do you hire it out? 
I do most of the editing, formatting, book and cover design, and I also upload and maintain the books on all online book sales sites. Until recently Michael was an over the road truck driver with no time for the day-to-day marketing maintenance.
What’s the hardest part for you in publishing and marketing your own books?
The hardest part of publishing is successfully marketing. Still working on that, but I know live events where you meet people and talk to them about yourself and your books really seem to get people interested.
What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
Starting is probably the most difficult part. I have an idea and an ending, usually. What I think is the beginning isn’t always where the story starts. My focus is on the characters and their conversations. Scenes come later, after they have told their tales. I don’t “talk to them,” as some writers put it, but I get to know them. They grow and the story grows around them.
What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
Reviews that say things like, “Knowing some of Findley's background for teaching and evangelizing the message of the Gospel, I can see wonderful teaching moments while still making it very entertaining without being preachy. Youth love being taught when it is fun, so she has a wonderful platform here for this.”

Marketing is the biggest key to getting sales. What is the best marketing source you've used that has produces more sales rather than just clicks?
Since I have little money to spend on ads, I rely on both live events and consistently showing up in groups for readers. I talk to people, be genuine, friendly, and attentive to what they say, and present my works as offering excitement, mystery, and unforgettable characters that honor God and His Word. 

What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
I really wish, still, that I knew more about targeting the right kind of readers who are interested in what I write. It’s a niche audience, yes, but there are more who would read our books out there, I’m sure.
What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Be sure you have the skills necessary to write well, the self-discipline to finish and polish, and it doesn’t hurt to be “multi-talented” or skilled so you can do as much of the self-publishing process yourself as possible.
Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
People generally talk about how much they love my characters and keep reading to discover what happens to them. So I suggest you may not need as much detailed world-building or “setting the scene” as you do strong, solid, relatable characters that people can get invested in, cheer for, and fall in love with.
What’s next on the horizon for your writing?
Right now we are trying to focus on creating alternate media versions of our works – game-like visual novels and videos. Outcome Unknown, a Sci-fi story about a husband and wife team creating balloon ships for mining the outer planets in the near future of our solar system. They face government interference from their own Space Empire government and fragmentary Earth empires seeking to restrict freedom and profit from the hard work they have done.
That's all for today's interview. If you'd like to learn more about Mary's different genres and fiction and non-fiction works, here's how to get started.

FREE eBook - First book in each of these series is free.
Benny and the Bank Robber (YA historical Adventure series)
The Great Thirst Boxed Set (Christian suspense adventure and archaeological mysteries - includes 7 short novels)
Antidisestablishmentarianism – 5 book non-fiction series. A study of Secular Humanism and how it shapes religion, values, and science.

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