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Thursday, March 14, 2024

Going After the Widest Viewers Doable: Q&A with Award-Profitable Creator Jami Fairleigh

Covers of Jami Fairleigh's The Elemental Artist series, in a row. On the left, Book One: Oil and Dust; in the center, Book Two: Graphite and Turbulence; on the right, Book Three: Charcoal and Smoke.

For years now, the Indie Creator Venture has made an effort to search out one of the best self-published books in communities throughout the U.S. and Canada. The undertaking encompasses public libraries, authors, curators, and readers working collectively to attach library patrons with nice self-published work, primarily in fiction.

The Indie Creator Venture not too long ago named their 2023 nationwide contest winner, Jami Fairleigh, of the King County library system in Washington state. Fairleigh is a biracial, Japanese-American author, city planner, and interest collector from Washington. Her writing has been revealed by Terror Home Journal, Horror Tree, Defenestration, and Amsterdam Quarterly.

Fairleigh has revealed three fantasy novels, all a part of the Elemental Artist collection. The primary launched in 2021; the newest launched spring 2023.

I not too long ago emailed inquiries to Fairleigh about her self-publishing journey thus far, and she or he graciously responded.

Jane Friedman: Your collection falls into the humorous fantasy subgenre and off the highest of my head, I can consider one well-known indie creator, Lindsay Buroker, who combines fantasy and humor. However your works appear fairly totally different than hers! Who do you contemplate your comps on both the normal or indie aspect?

Jami Fairleigh: Oh boy. Proper now, my expression have to be very like the cartoon mouse who simply received caught attempting to steal a wedge of cheese. You know the way folks say you must write the guide you want somebody would write? The half they don’t say is possibly nobody has written it as a result of they don’t know the place such a guide would dwell.

I like to explain Oil and Mud as post-apocalyptic fantasy with cozy vibes. Like a magical model of Bob Ross wandering round, making messes, and portray blissful little clouds in Hugh Howey’s Wool or Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven.

Facet observe, I like humorous speculative fiction. I’m an avid reader of novels from Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and Jasper Fforde. I didn’t intend for anybody to contemplate Oil and Mud as humorous fantasy, but it surely’s doable Amazon’s algorithm and I are amused by the identical issues.

Inform me about your path to publication for the Elemental Artist collection. Was self-publishing the plan all alongside? How did you study in regards to the course of when you determined to self-publish?

Earlier than Oil and Mud, I’d began and deserted over fifteen novels. Ending the story stunned me. I despatched it to a printer, then squinted on the field for every week. I didn’t know what to do with it. Fortunately, I knew one skilled creator, so I reached out to Lindsay Sparks to ask why she had chosen to trek the indie route. Her ardour for retaining her artistic freedom and mental property actually began me considering, particularly since I knew it might take 4 books to inform Matthew’s story. Nonetheless, I nonetheless didn’t know if Oil and Mud had legs, so I despatched it to Kim Kessler, a contract developmental editor. The method was improbable. Even higher, it confirmed me it was doable to publish a guide the way in which I needed to by hiring a crew of freelance professionals.

Going the indie route isn’t simple, and it isn’t low cost. For books so long as mine, developmental edits vary from $1,000–$5,000 and duplicate edits are between $2,000–$3,000. That doesn’t embrace prices related to proofreaders, formatting (or formatting software program), ISBNs, covers, teaching, and marketing-related bills.

There’s a lot to study when you go indie. However there are numerous assets that will help you. Take heed to podcasts, learn books, attend on-line programs, be part of writing communities on no matter social media platform you like. You received’t should go it alone—the indie-author group is great and really supportive of different indie authors!

Your collection covers look improbable. Inform me about them.

Aren’t they beautiful?? Andrew Brown at Design for Writers did a fabulous job. My preliminary request was unimaginable (I requested for a canopy in “earth” colours however fairly, with a fantasy vibe, and together with folks silhouettes however no post-apocalyptic landscapes). Someway, Andrew made it occur. As a result of I struggled to determine good comparability titles (see above) I couldn’t use comp guide covers as a beginning place. As an alternative, he despatched me to comb via the highest promoting fantasy and science fiction covers. My activity was to grasp what I did and didn’t reply to. That helped us get particular. It took a few iterations for us to provide you with the idea of Oil and Mud. Afterward, the remainder of the covers fell into place.

In contrast to different indie authors I do know, your books can be found in hardcover in addition to paperback and book. Did you launch all three editions concurrently? If that’s the case, that’s a significant funding upfront! Some authors I do know will simply do book and even wait on doing the paperback.

Sure! I truly launched 4—there’s additionally a large-print paperback model—and since I needed to go vast, that meant separate cowl variations for Amazon and IngramSpark too. It elevated the fee and complexity, however all 4 variations of every guide promote so I really feel like I’m higher assembly my reader’s wants.

Any plans for audiobook editions?

Completely. I needed to launch every audiobook concurrently the opposite variations, however the first narrator I picked had manufacturing points, throwing the timing off. As an audiobook fan myself, having a constant narrator all through the collection is necessary to me. As an alternative of publishing the collection with a number of narrators, I made a decision to attend on the audiobook variations till the collection was finished. Fingers crossed, I’ll publish the final guide of the collection this yr, so we could transfer ahead with audio narration quickly!

The Indie Creator of the 12 months Award is tied to the library group and partly chosen by librarians. Did you study this award via the library or elsewhere?

My native library group (King County Library System) is big, and I didn’t know how one can method them as a brand new, unknown indie creator. Knock on doorways with books in hand? Slide a few copies via the return guide slot? I made a decision to perform a little research as a substitute, and I realized in regards to the Indie Creator Venture. Plot twist, folks on the King County Library System have been those who picked my guide because the winner for the 2022 Indie Creator Venture regional contest (Washington State).

What has labored nicely for you to find new readers to your collection?

I selected to go vast from the beginning, wanting my books accessible to the biggest viewers doable. It was fortunate I did too; Barnes & Noble picked Oil and Mud as one in all their Prime Indie Picks earlier than it got here out. In addition they picked it as their Nook Serial learn in March 2022 proper because the second guide within the collection got here out. A lot of my readers got here from these two alternatives. It didn’t damage that Oil and Mud additionally received twelfth place within the Guide Bloggers Novel of the 12 months contest (2022) and the Indie Creator Venture regional contest. From there, it’s primarily been word-of-mouth suggestions!

Study extra about Jami Fairleigh and her books.

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