Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Barry Finlay. He is a Kindle bestselling author and Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal recipient.
Barry Finlay Author
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Barry Finlay is the author of three award-winning books: the inspirational Kilimanjaro and Beyond, the mystery/thriller, The Vanishing Wife and the humorous travel memoir and bestseller, I Guess We Missed The Boat. He had an extensive career in financial management before retiring in 2004, after thirty two years with the Canadian federal government. He is a Chartered Accountant (CA) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA) who dabbles in the arts as he is also an award winning decorative wood carver. Since retiring, he has divided his time between being an author, working as a consultant on financial policy matters, travel, playing golf, climbing mountains, philanthropy and enjoying his three grandchildren.
Barry has always tried to stay active but working at a desk for so many years eventually catches up. A visit to the family doctor, along with a number of other converging events, encouraged him to take hold of his life and gave him the motivation to climb a mountain. The desire to pursue philanthropy was spawned while growing up on the family farm in Rapid City, Manitoba, Canada and was nurtured by the experience of meeting the African children who would directly benefit from his fundraising.
In 2013, Barry was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his philanthropic work in Tanzania.
On Becoming an Author:
Barry’s interest in becoming an author grew throughout his career while his skills were being honed by authoring countless financial policies. While Barry’s family always encouraged him to inject his dry sense of humour into his financial policies, it just didn’t seem appropriate somehow. Now that time is a little more readily available, he has taken the opportunity to put his skills and his sense of humour to good use. The experience of climbing Africa’s highest mountain at age 60 with one of his sons, and discovering the satisfaction of reaching a goal and giving others the opportunity to achieve theirs, was a book waiting to be written. Kilimanjaro and Beyond, written with his son Chris, is Barry’s first novel. He has now followed that up with two more books, the humorous travel memoir and Amazon Kindle Bestseller, I Guess We Missed The Boat and the mystery/thriller, The Vanishing Wife. His newest crime novel, A Perilous Question, was released May 15.
He publishes independently under his banner of Keep On Climbing. You can read more about his philanthropic work with Plan Canada and Wounded Warriors Canada at
In the meantime, please become familiar with his books and leave a comment. If you do read and enjoy one or all of his books, please take the time to leave a short review on some of the retail sites.
Barry lives with his wife, Evelyn, in Ottawa, Canada.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your book: A Perilous Question. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
Thank you! I’m pleased with the interest in A Perilous Question so far. My new book is percolating and in the Outline stage. I can tell you that it will originate in Asia and revolve around cyber crime. Marcie Kane, who was introduced in The Vanishing Wife and continued in A Perilous Question, will once again be featured. My readers seem to be able to relate to her on different levels so I’m happy to continue with her story and send her into harm’s way again. How, or even if, she comes out of it, remains to be seen.
You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?
It has taken awhile to build a following and it is kind of an eclectic group. Because I have written non-fiction and fiction and do fundraising, I tweet about various things and have built the following that way. I’m focusing on my fiction writing now and tried to tweet about writing every Tuesday. I’m not as regular about doing that now as I was but will still tweet about it periodically. My social media relationships have been extremely important in getting the word out about my books and events. I have “met” some great authors and readers. Writing the book is only half the battle, if that. You have to draw people’s attention to it and that’s where social media comes in.
Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, getting the book to your readers and the relationship with your readers and fans?
I don’t think it has changed anything in my writing, but it has changed my marketing approach. The bulk of my on line sales by a wide margin come from e-books, so that is where I focus my attention. My sales of paperbacks come primarily from personal contact through book signings at book stores
You do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances. When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I just finished three signings at book stores and my next round as mentioned above is at craft shows in my home town of Ottawa, Canada. Book stores, at least in Canada, have become much more amenable to bringing in indie authors and in highlighting our books. Craft shows at Christmas are a lucrative market as people are looking for gifts. I try to keep my event calendar up to date on my FB page at Barry Finlay – Author and my web site at
You have great covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
I provide the vision and the designer comes up with the design. I have a little focus group to run the cover by before final approval.
Besides the Crime Writers of Canada, what other writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
I belong to the Authors Social Media Support Group (ASMSG) and the Indie Author Retweet Group (IARTG) as well as a number of groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. They are all helpful as authors can benefit from the experience of others. There is always something coming up that an author can apply to their own situation.
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
I never saw the value initially until I ran a few hours free through Genius Media for The Vanishing Wife. The results were beyond my wildest expectations and it translated into sales. It has to be done right and, in my opinion, a number of different sites, such as Ereader News Today, Freebooksy, Book Gorilla, etc. have to be used at once. Authors can find them with a little research. It costs some money, but if the book is well written, well edited and with a good cover, it will pay off. The benefit is obviously increased visibility and that leads to people buying your next book and the all-important review. I didn’t run into any obstacles, although I know some have felt they didn’t get the results they were expecting.
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
I do maintain a reader list. I started it by offering eight books by authors I liked plus a signed copy of one of my books in a giveaway. The books were nearly-new from a used book store. There are a number of sites that will advertise your giveaway. I ended up with about 1200 on my mailing list. Some dropped off as soon as the giveaway was over but after sending out emails about my upcoming book, I was able to add some back. I send a newsletter periodically. People can sign up on my website.
You have a great website. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?
The primary goal is just the things you mentioned. I try to keep it up to date, but it’s a challenge. Sometimes I don’t think I do it enough. I think the key is to focus on the most important things you have to say. Otherwise, it’s just overwhelming. As I mentioned earlier, I had to drop my weekly tweets about writing, but I still try to do it when I can. Authors have to realize going in that if they want their book to be noticed, they are going to be spending a lot of time at the computer drawing attention to it. It has to be focused attention. A lot of time can be spent posting about the meal of the day but that doesn’t sell books…unless you are selling a cookbook.
What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?
I have sought reviews from mainstream media, but it’s a challenge. I find the more books you write, the easier it becomes, but the ratio of reviews to books downloaded is pretty low. Offering books for free and getting more out there helps. I always add a sentence at the end of my books asking people to provide a review. There is no easy answer to the question. It’s a matter of trying everything. In the end, the unsolicited reviews from your readers are the ones that are the most satisfying.
Author's Book List
A Perilous Question
Marcie Kane is back!
Strong, independent and divorced Marcie Kane is on a much needed vacation in Tanzania, Africa when her enjoyment of everything the country has to offer is shattered by one simple question posed by a teenage girl: "When are you taking me to America?"
A high octane thriller laced with insightful social commentary...
Harmless as it may seem, Marcie realizes that this question posed to the wrong person could spell disaster for the girl and her friend. Marcie's fears prove to be well founded. When she discovers the girls are victims of an international human trafficking ring in, of all places, her home state of Florida, her attempts to help quickly spiral out of control with terrifying consequences.
Will any of them make it out alive?
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I Guess We Missed the Boat
- A Travel Memoir
When eight intrepid Canadian seniors, brought together by marriage and with retirement in common, sit reminiscing about their travel experiences, the memory banks open and funny events start to spill out. Cowboy Ron, Ed the Negotiator, Joke-a Minute Jim and Practical Carol are part of the motley crew comprising the author's contingent of six in-laws. Each, at one time or another, has a role to play in the humorous events that occur on their travels. Reviewers have termed it “laugh out loud hilarious”, “an exhilarating read” and “definitely a ride worth taking.”
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Barnes and Noble
The Vanishing Wife
- An Action-Packed Crime Thriller
How far will a man go to protect his family? Mason Seaforth is about to find out.
Mason Seaforth, a mild mannered accountant, wakes up the morning of his 20th wedding anniversary to find that his wife, Sami, has disappeared. A search of Sami’s computer uncovers a past she has buried for more than 20 years. Together with their strong-willed friend, Marcie Kane, he leads an investigation that takes them to a casino in Gatineau, Quebec. As the two close-in on Sami’s whereabouts, so do Aaron Marshall and his enforcer, Greg Johnson, AKA “The Force” - deadly serious men willing to kill the entire Seaforth family to protect Sami’s secrets.
Action-packed crime thriller with suspenseful storytelling and a surprising twist.
Mason is thrust into a race against Marshall and Johnson, thrown into a life that is meant for other people. He must put his quiet job on hold and quickly learn how to handle a Glock 17. Each decision he needs to make is deadlier than the last, and a wrong move could result in the death of his family.
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Kilimanjaro and Beyond
- A Life-Changing Journey
It is January 16, 2009, and 60 year-old BARRY FINLAY and his son CHRIS are propped against a rock, struggling to draw a breath on their treacherous climb up Mount Kilimanjaro. Their destination is tantalizingly close, yet the weather and -- more importantly -- their health will determine the end result. Barry's backpack holds a Canadian flag with the names of over 200 donors mobilized by the climbers back home. The donors have contributed to providing classrooms and clean water for desperately deserving school children in Tanzania. For Barry, this is a life-changing physical, mental and spiritual adventure. Follow along as he and his son strive to climb one of the World's Seven Summits, meet the children who will benefit from their fundraising, and come to an understanding that one or two people really can make a difference. It is a journey that leaves the two with the lasting impression that nothing is more satisfying than reaching a goal and giving others the opportunity to achieve theirs.
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Barnes and Noble
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