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Adam Croft is one of the most successful independent authors in modern times
And the reason he is underneath the radar? It’s because rather than having his books printed by a traditional publisher, Adam sells his books via the internet via his own website and Amazon, so readers download them to read on computers, e-readers and mobile phones.
It meant that at one point, he was earning an incredible £2,000 a day in royalties from his books, making him one of the world’s most successful independently published authors.
Adam’s is an inspiring story for anyone who wants to be a writer but fears that the world of traditional publishing isn’t for them.
“I had all kinds of jobs before I became an author,” he explains. “I was an actor, I worked in a telecoms centre where I had to tell people that they were having their mobile phones cut off; I worked for a company which sold personalised number plates, and I had my own internet marketing company.”
It was particularly nice to be approached by Amazon, as they don’t take submissions from authors, and only approach people who they’re interested in
He published his first book Too Close For Comfort, the first in the Knight and Culverhouse detective series, in 2011, and it perfectly illustrates how self-publishing can work for authors by providing a steady income stream.
“Although it was published six years ago, it still sells copies every day, which makes useful residuals,” Adam explains. “If you sell 50 copies a day of an older book, you’re making extra money without extra work.”
He adds that to publish your work independently, you have to be both author and publisher, and realise that you have to be both creative as a writer plus have the business nous to keep a roof over your head.
“I started to shimmy sideways into full-time writing and publishing from internet marketing when the sales of my first book showed that it would be commercially viable. “
Since then, Adam has published 16 further books, six featuring detectives Knight and Culverhouse, four in the Kempston Hardwick Mystery series (“a tongue-in-cheek look at the golden age of detective fiction”), three volumes of short stories and three standalone books.
One of the latter, Her Last Tomorrow, has a particularly gripping plotline – if your daughter was kidnapped, would you murder your wife to save her?
The book sold an amazing 150,000 copies in just five months, making it a massive financial success for the author, who was approached by Amazon’s publishing arm Thomas & Mercer to publish it as a paperback book as well as an e-book, thus adding to sales .
“It was particularly nice to be approached by Amazon, as they don’t take submissions from authors, and only approach people who they’re interested in.”
Not bad for a book which Adam admits he found difficult to write. “I got it three-quarters done and was struggling with the ending, so I put it in a drawer for six months. But I’m so glad I got it finished,” says the Bedfordshire-based writer.
Self-publishing means that Adam has a special relationship with his readers, who engage with him on social media and post many five-star reviews on Amazon. “I’m always anxious to get the next book out, as readers write and ask when the next one is coming out. I give myself a daily target of 2 – 3,000 words, but that can be as many as 5,000 when I really get going.
“Readers write to me and say which characters they’d like to see more of or find out more about. I also survey my readers once a year – at the moment, they are 80% female – I think women readers like to invest in the characters and worlds I create.
“It’s great for me to have that contact with the readers – and not just because I might sit at home going stir crazy if I didn’t! It’s sensible business practice, too. If Amazon should disappear tomorrow, my career would be gone but because I’ve got that direct contact with readers, I could continue selling to them via my customer base.”
Adam’s success shows just what can be achieved by authors with the drive and business sense to self publish, and is refreshingly direct about the book market. “Ultimately, the market will decide what books they want to buy, rather than publisher A or B.”
* You can buy Adam’s books, including his brand new title, Tell Mer I’m Wrong, from his website at adamcroft.net