Lia Fairchild is a native Californian who loves reading, writing, movies, and anything else related to the arts. She holds a B.A. degree in Journalism and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She says her most enjoyable moments are spent with her family, traveling, spending time outdoors, or simply laughing and being together.
Lia, thanks for joining my blog today. Can you tell us about your history in writing?
Creativity has always been a part of my life. Growing up I loved to read, write, draw, paint, and just come up with different ideas for whatever I was doing. But, I always followed the traditional path when it came to jobs. Then, I turned forty and realized that I needed to do something that was just for me before I looked back on my life and regretted not doing it. So, I set out to write my first novel, In Search of Lucy. It was one of those situations you hear where an author says the story just came to them. I always had ideas for books and movies swirling around in my head. But when this one came along, I knew I had to write it. I call it a romantic drama.
What was your path to publication?
Everything happened so fast that I didn’t have time to seek out traditional options. When my book first appeared on Amazon, B&N, etc., I quickly learned I had some serious catching up to do. I knew nothing about the business of marketing and selling books and it hit me hard that my book was just sitting there waiting.
It’s hard when we realize the books aren’t going to sell themselves. What books do you have out there now?
In Search of Lucy was made available in February of 2011. Then, I immediately started work on a second novel. One of the first things you learn is to keep writing. But, while writing that second novel, an idea came to me that I just couldn’t ignore. I decided I wanted to do something a bit more fun and mysterious. I always loved old fashioned mysteries and wanted to create something like an Alfred Hitchcock miniseries. The result was a series of short stories called A Hint of Murder. There are two so far that can be read as stand alones but feature reoccurring characters. (I’m actually running a promo right now for a free download of that story…see my blog for details!) All of my works are available as ebooks on various sites, but In Search of Lucy is available in paperback as well.
What has your experience been like on the publishing side of things?
Most platforms are very easy to use once you get the basic idea. Amazon is especially easy to navigate and the representatives are quick to respond. Things at Barnes and Noble seem to run a bit slower and issues take a while to get addressed. Smashwords has been great for discounts, freebies and review copies, but tough to reach the average reader.
You’ve obviously caught up on the business side now. How do you handle marketing?
The first thing I did when “Lucy” came out was start joining Facebook groups and create a Twitter account. I learned quickly that forming relationships online was the key to getting your book noticed. I started doing interviews, seeking reviews, participating in discussions and building an online presence. The more places you are, the more people you meet, the more you can make your work visible. Currently I contribute to three blogs (2 are mine), have three fanpages, a main website, a twitter account, and participate in at least one dozen Facebook groups for readers and writers. In addition I’m a Goodreads member along with a few other member sites I’m just getting started on. As you can see, I have a little trouble saying “no.”
What kind of advice can you give for someone starting down the indie path?
Two pieces of advice. First, start your marketing and online presence while you are writing. The journey should be a marathon, not a race. But, once your book is out there you will feel the pressure fast and try to catch up with the masses. If you get a head start now, then announcing your book will be more fun than stressful. You’ll already have an audience to share with. Second, I learned the hard way to let things go. There are some bitter people out there that don’t mind lashing out at Indie Authors. Let them fall by the wayside and move on to better things.
Thanks so much for the information today! Any other pearls of wisdom before you go?
Be very careful about choosing your price. It was tough for me because I felt so strongly that my full-length novel deserved a higher price. You pour your heart and soul into something and you want proper compensation. But authors are very tempted to lower and even go to 99 cents just to get noticed. I’m not saying any certain price is better. Just make sure you do some research and maybe test it out before you pick a price and then stick with it for a while.