Katja Kaine of The Novel Factory tells us how one can achieve their novel-writing dream.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Katja Kaine: We’re doing well, thank you. We’re lucky enough to have a good outdoor space, and things have become much easier now the kids are back at school! It’s been hard not being able to see grandparents and friends, but we’re grateful not to have lost anyone close to us.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded The Novel Factory.
Katja Kaine: I’ve been a writer myself for many, many years, and when I first started writing novels, I found there was so much data to keep track of using paper notes, and Word documents always left me in a mess. None of the software options out there really did what I wanted – so I decided to make my own. I had already been running a small company that made websites and software for a few years, so I set the team to building novel writing software.
I designed it from scratch myself, including everything I needed as a novelist. I had also started to formalize my own novel-writing process, so I wrote a step-by-step guide of how I did it and integrated that to assist new writers.
Since the launch of our original Desktop version of the Novel Factory over a decade ago, we have had tens of thousands of people using our software. In 2017 we launched the Novel Factory Online version, and the business moved to the next level. We’re currently working on version 3.0 of the software, which will combine online and desktop versions and include a host of exciting new features.
How does The Novel Factory innovate?
Katja Kaine: We are constantly developing new tools to make the process of writing a novel, including drag and drop tools to manage complicated plotting and templates and outlines that follow tried and tested story structure found in bestselling novels and blockbuster movies.
We also support writers by offering a load of free resources, including an in-depth article on writing at our novel-writing blog and videos on our youtube channel, including a complete step-by-step guide to writing a novel.
As mentioned above, we’re also now developing a brand new version of the software, which takes advantage of cutting-edge technology to make writing tools that are even more intuitive and useful.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Katja Kaine: Because of the nature of our business, we actually experienced rapid growth during the lockdown as people stuck at home began to pursue their dreams of writing a novel. As we still support a lot of our website clients, we’ve offered ‘Covid relief’ to those suffering from drops in income due to not being able to trade and reduce their hosting fees until they can continue.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Katja Kaine: We are a very small business, and as mentioned above, we haven’t been adversely affected, so thankfully, we have not had to make any difficult choices in that regard.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Katja Kaine: We offer customer support through a variety of means, including email, communities, manuals, and social media. We do our best to be personal and go beyond expectations in our customer support, and that seems to be paying dividends in the gratitude and support we receive back from our customers!
Your final thoughts?
Katja Kaine: We feel very fortunate to have been in such a good position during this unprecedented time and feel great sympathy for those in more vulnerable positions. The situation has highlighted inequalities across the world, and while it has exacerbated many of them, we hope that with growing awareness, these challenges will bring about positive change.
We support various initiatives which are working on literacy and education, especially for girls in places where they have less access to such things, such as Room to Read, and we encourage others to do the same!