Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors #8 – Iain Rob Wright

The previous interviews I conducted in the popular series, 'Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors,' were such a hit with visitors to this site I decided it would be crazy not to continue them. I have got some wickedly good interviews lined up for you over the next month, including VIP guest interviews from best-selling indie authors Iain Rob Wright, Armand Rosamilia, David Moody, Jeremy Bates, Michael Bunker, J. Thorn, Michael Bray, Michael J Sullivan, Ruth Ann Nordin and Michale Thomas. If that wasn't enough, I hope to have a book from the first series of interviews ready for release by the end of August. The book is titled (surprise, surprise!) 'Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors.' It contains all the authors interviewed in the first series (Russell Blake, April M Reign, William Malmborg, Mark Edward Hall, Matt Shaw, Michaelbrent Collings and Matt Drabble). Included in the book is a lengthy analysis of their recommendations for self-published authors and for those thinking of self-publishing, along with useful tips and resources. The book will be available for pre-order early August and is essential reading for those interested in self-publishing. Make sure you subscribe now to get on the mailing list for all updates and new-release information. 


Right, let's get into it. Today's special guest, is best-selling indie author, Iain Rob Wright. Iain is from the English town of Redditch, where he worked for many years as a mobile telephone salesman. After publishing his debut novel, THE FINAL WINTER, in 2011 to great success, he quit his job and became a full time writer. He now has over a dozen novels, and in 2013 he co-wrote a book with bestselling author, J.A.Konrath. The three most important things in his life are his wife, his son, and his fans. His work is currently being adapted for graphic novels, audio books, and foreign audiences. He’s an active member of the Horror Writer’s Association and a massive animal lover. Here's the interview:

Who are you and where do you come from? Do you think that your life experience has gone some way towards making you a successful author in your chosen genre?

I am Iain Rob Wright, a horror author. What has helped make me a successful author is that I am a fan first, writer second. My books are the things, as a horror fan, that I would like to read.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your writing and for the way you brand yourself as an author?

My inspiration comes from the other people in my genre. I read a lot and learned to love horror from enjoying the work of Stephen King, Richard Laymon, James Herbert and many more. I also love movies and television, and get many ideas whenever I watch a particularly original film. After watching Legion, I gained the idea for The Final Winter, my debut novel.

If you could pinpoint one thing in particular that has grabbed readers of your work, what would you say it is? I.e. what is it about your books that keeps your readers coming back for more?

I think readers point out my characters as the part they most enjoy. I reuse characters across multiple books and like to have them change and grow. I also try to be original with my ideas. All of my books are different and I don’t just write about one thing.

Your first book, ‘The Final Winter,’ was very successful – how did you achieve such an impact with your debut novel and have you managed to replicate it since?

I have no idea. I published it and got a few sales, and then those sales kept increasing. What helped me in the early days is gaining a couple of really amazing fans who recommended my work a lot. They helped get my name around very quickly. A writer is nothing without readers, so I was very lucky to get those early fans.

You have enjoyed best-selling status on Amazon and have had your books adapted for Graphic Novels, Audio Books and foreign audiences – is there a particular moment in your career as an author that you realized that you had done something right to get where you are now? Can you pinpoint what it was that spiked your success to date?

When I started earning more from my books than I had been while working a full-time job. When I started earning enough to pay all the bills I realized that writing was my “job” now and not just a dream. Also, when I wrote a book with JA. Konrath, who I had been a fan of before I was a writer, it was pretty amazing.

Did you try to get publishing contracts for your books early on with traditional book publishers? If so, did you have any success there or if not what was it that made you decide to self-publish the majority of your work?

My second book, Animal Kingdom, was published by an American Press. Eventually I bought the rights back and self-published it. I’ll let that speak for itself.

I noticed that many of your kindle titles are published under the imprint of Dead Pixel Productions – is that your own publishing company or a collective? Do you think it is important for self-published authors to establish their own publishing company to publish their works? Do you think that the same results can be achieved by a self-published author without forming a publishing company?

Dead Pixel Publications is something I have just become a part of. It is a collection of authors all working beneath a single banner, dedicated to finding mutual success. It is very important to have allies in this business and far easy to find success with help. I’m always very happy to offer assistance so joining a group such as DPP made sense to me. It’s not vital for an author to start their own publishing group, but it is important to become a brand in their own right. Stephen King is synonymous with horror because his name has become a brand. That’s what an author should aim for.

Once you have decided that self-publishing might be your route, what financial and artistic considerations should you keep in mind before you begin?

Do the best with what you have. In the early days I did my own covers and editing. I made a few sales and put that money into hiring artists and editors. As I earned more money I hired better artists and editors. You can scale your business up, but you will only get back what you put in. It hurts paying $500 to an artist, but the cost will pay for itself when you reap additional sales.

What do you see as your most innovative promotional strategy?

Bookbub is the current number 1 sales promoter, but I have been testing Facebook ads with mixed success. The biggest mistake I made in the last few years was not maintaining an mailing list. It’s a big focus for me now and it’s a big tool being able to email a thousand people each time I have a new release. Trying new things is the key to success. You look at guys like Hugh Howey, J.A.Konrath, and Mark J.Dawson, and you see that they all got rich by being the guy to hit upon something first. Find the opportunities for yourself and you will reap maximum advantage. If you are a follower then you are forever chasing diminishing returns . . .

For more of this fascinating interview, please visit Self-Publishing Successfully for full transcript.



So you wanna be an indie horror writing superstar?

This article outlines the pros and cons of being an indie horror author on Hey, fellow writers! If you’ve got a penchant for wri...