Posted on 07/19/2018 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Crime-fiction writer Mike Faricy may not have committed to writing a full novel until well into adulthood, but the groundwork for his future career was laid early.
His father worked in the city attorney’s office, so a young Faricy spent his Saturday mornings watching judges hear Friday-night arrest cases.
And he also enjoyed hearing from — or eavesdropping on — his father’s friends on the police force.
Combine that with the double-whammy of time spent in college and the Army during the late 1960s and early 1970s, and you’ll understand why his one of his mystery series opens with “Bad decisions make for interesting tales.”
Faricy has put all of those experiences to good use, receiving a 2016 Indie Author Crime Masters Silver Award for Best Mystery Author, landing number-one spots in Kindle stores worldwide, and impressing a fellow author enough that she suggested we interview him.
SADYE: You spent most of your life writing, and, in your words, you told yourself one day to “either finish a book or stop wasting your time.” What prompted that command?
MIKE: A thousand years ago, I was at my dining room table. It was sometime after midnight on a Friday morning, and I had just finished writing what I knew was another award-winning first chapter.
I literally wrote it, in longhand, on a yellow legal tablet. I placed the tablet on a stack of maybe a dozen or so yellow legal tablets that each contained an award-winning first chapter and went to bed. ...
My wife was dishing up breakfast (the next morning) when I came down dressed for work. She mentioned we were having friends over Saturday night and that we needed the dining room table cleared off.
Then she said, “How’s the book coming?”
I replied with something like, “Great, I wrote the first chapter last night.”
She gave me a hard stare and said, “Again?”
It led to a day of reflection, at the end of which I tossed all the first chapters, started over and wrote the never-to-be-released work of genius, Candy Kane.
SADYE: After you finished it, you went to lunch with an established crime-fiction author, who told you that every author has a first work that should be kept under the bed. What other good advice did he give?
MIKE: Most importantly, he told me to write every day, even if it was just a page.
Write every day, and at the beginning of the next day’s session, to read your previous days work out loud, make corrections, and move on to the next page.
He advised me to work from an outline and not to be afraid to adjust, add, or delete items in the outline as I progressed.
It may sound basic to your readers, but at the time it was earth-shaking to me.
SADYE: You’re a full-time writer now. With hindsight 20/20, would you have tried to finish a novel earlier than you did?
MIKE: Yes, I would have loved to have started earlier, but that said, it was a different world.
Ebooks weren’t on the horizon, and the industry was controlled by what we now refer to as traditional publishing.
I wrote six books over the first few years and dutifully sent off query letters on each book to maybe sixty or seventy publishers. ...
Eventually, on the sixth book, I sent out the usual sixty or seventy query letters and began receiving my rejections. Then one of my query letters was returned.
It had been addressed to one of the big New York publishers. The envelope had a purple stamp across the front that read “RETURN TO SENDER.”
On the back of the envelope was a handwritten note that said, “This does not fit our needs at this time.” They had never read my query letter.
It really opened my eyes to the fact that Mike Faricy, from St. Paul, Minnesota, does not have a snowball’s chance with these people.
But the internet was starting up, and lo and behold, ebooks suddenly offered a side gate onto the playground.
SADYE: You did an interview a while back in which you emphasized that for you, your time is best spent on writing, not on maintaining a website or social media. Has that changed?
MIKE: My website still isn’t a huge priority. Do I have a website? Yes, and it is absolutely necessary for business.
It’s kept current with a list of all my books, and if you respond to the offer in every one of my books for two free titles, you are directed to my website to sign up for my mailing list.
That said, I’m of the opinion that most people might visit my website once. But then they’re going to go to Amazon to order my books. ...
Rather than blog or tell you what I had for dinner, I work at writing a dozen new pages in my next book and attempt to make it better than the one before.
My time has been better spent placing ads with The Fussy Librarian and other sites where I can reach more people who have never, ever heard of me.
SADYE: What prompted you to move away from standalone novels to a series?
MIKE: As much as I enjoyed the standalone novels, the truth, at least for me, was that it’s a narrow market.
If I was Elmore Leonard or another big name, maybe that would be different, but I’m not.
From what I can tell, in today’s market, a series works better than a half dozen standalone books. Get your reader hooked, write the next one in the series and hopefully make it even better.
I constantly receive emails asking when the next Dev Haskell, Corridor Man, Jack Dillon, or Hotshot title is coming out, and that becomes a huge incentive to keep tapping the keyboard.
I’m lucky to have something that I love to work at, and I work seven days a week, usually eighty to ninety hours a week. But I love it, so it’s not really work.
It probably does make me the most boring guy in town, but I love it and know I’m very lucky.
SADYE: What has been most critical to your success, overall?
MIKE: Probably being too dumb to just throw up my hands and walk away. Like I said before, I really work at writing and I’m lucky to love what I work at.
That said, the other thing, and it still amazes me, is the help and advice I receive from people who essentially are my competitors.
There are legions of other writers who are always more than willing to tell me about a shortcut they learned of.
They help me with marketing advice, different ways to do things, questions about Amazon, and everything else.
The industry is constantly changing, and what worked last year or even last month may not work so well now because everyone is suddenly doing whatever “it” was.
* * *
Know an author you'd like to see featured? Email us with a recommendation!
Categories: Author Interview