Interview with Heide Goody & Iain Grant, Comic Fantasy Authors: The Business of Writing

It’s time to welcome Heide Goody and Iain Grant back to the blog!

Last week they talked to us about their writing process, Today we’re focusing on the business of writing.

Heide and Iain have co-written fifteen novels in the past six years.

Their debut novel, Clovenhoof, a comedy in which Satan loses his job and has to move to Birmingham, was a bestseller on the Amazon comedy fantasy charts and was optioned by a Hollywood film production company.

They have delivered workshops on different aspects of story-writing at festivals and events across the Midlands and have been guests on BBC Radio numerous times to discuss their work and writing. 

How are you published? Why have you chosen that model?

We are indie published, and enjoying ourselves very much in that space. We chose it from the beginning because it gives us so much control, rather than passively waiting around for other people to do things on our behalf.

We’ve *continued* with self-publishing because we’ve been able to make a success of it. We’ve carved out a fanbase and know that we can generate sales from new things we write.

How did you learn about book publishing?

We learned about practically preparing a manuscript for self-publishing very early on.

It’s much more straighforward to get a book out there now, although there is such an enormous amount of material being self-published that you really must have a solid plan around marketing before you do.

We would advise anyone about to take the plunge to immerse yourself in that world and research how readers find books, and how you might put yours in front of them.

There are lots of ways to connect with readers, but if you launch a book and then think about it afterwards, it’s likely you’ll be disappointed.

How did you get started and was there any specific event that was the trigger to your writing career?

We’ve both been writing for a long time, but the decision to start writing together was what kicked off the “Heide Goody and Iain Grant” brand.

We initially planned to write one novel, but here we are eight years down the line and we’re still working together.

How are your books distributed and where do you find most of your readers?

Most of our sales are ebook sales (and page reads) on Amazon.

We take paperbacks out on the road and hand-sell them from time to time, not to get rich, but to extend our readership and spend time chatting to book lovers.

What forms of marketing do you use to reach and engage with readers?

We run adverts on Facebook and Amazon. We engage with readers online and offline (in groups and meet-ups). We have blog tours: we quite often launch a book with a blog tour.

What marketing has been most successful for you? Why do you think that is?

For sheer numbers sold, Facebook adverts are the most effective tool that we have.

Our main series gets good read-through, so if we can get people to buy the first then it’s great value for us, as there are eight books in the main series, and we have a follow-up series of novellas in diary format that we’re releasing once a month.

How do you keep in touch with your readers? 

We have a newsletter, although we’re not consistent at pushing out updates (nor are we very pushy about getting sign-ups).

We have a Facebook page that is probably a more consistent channel for our updates, and we also blog on our website.

Generally though, we’re chatting with readers in the groups where they are already chatting amongst themselves.

Is there any marketing you’ve done that didn’t work for you?

We took out an advert (with a linked giveaway) in the Big Issue, as its target readers were perfect for a standalone novel of Iain’s that we were selling. It was not effective. Not even a blip.

Do you have any tips on reaching an audience and building an army of fans?

Being nice.

We have realised over the years that we have a “brand” and most of our interactions on social media fit in with the brand that we present to people.

We attend a lot of real-life events as well, and we have some very well-used hooks that we will mention if anyone puts a microphone in front of one of us (did we mention that our main series features Clovenhoof? He’s Satan, made redundant from Hell and sent to live in suburbia.)

Thanks to Heide and Iain for taking the time to tell us about their writing business. To find out more about their writing and to experience all of the interactive resources and other fun, visit their website.

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