Welcome to the first official episode of the Rebel Author Podcast. Today, I talk to Adam Croft about all things indie author mindset, wide marketing and a sprinkling of banter.
In The Introduction
In the introduction, I talk about three things, first up a poetry book by Atticus called The Truth About Magic, you can get a copy here. I also talk about a book I’m listening to on audible called Playing Big by Tara Mohr, that gave me a bit of an epiphany about fear and the different type, grab a copy here. Last, I get all excited about a new animated version of The Addams Family coming to a cinema near you for Halloween.
If you’d like to listen to each episode before anyone else, you can support the show on Patreon here.
Here’s more about today’s guest.
Onto the show…
Sacha Black 0:03
Hello and welcome to the rebel author podcast. Today we are with Adam Croft. Adam is a proud indie author psychological thrillers crime novels and more recently nonfiction books for writers. With almost 2 million books sold to date, Adam is one of the most successful independently published authors in the world, and one of the biggest selling authors of the past few years, having sold books in over 120 different countries. His 2015 worldwide bestseller her last tomorrow became one of the best selling books of the year, reaching the top 10 in the overall amazon kindle chart and peaking at number 12 in the combined paperback fiction and nonfiction chart, his night and call the house crime thriller series has seen huge popularity worldwide. His Kempston Hardwick mystery books being adapted as audio plays starring somebody the biggest names in British TV. Adam lives lives in Bedfordshire with his wife and toddler welcome, Adam.
Adam Croft 1:07
Thank you, it must have the aforementioned toddler you can probably hear crying in the background that was gonna say must have pains you to have to say nice things about me.
Sacha Black 1:15
Yeah. So for everyone listening Adam and I have been friends at can we call each other friends Yeah, friends–
Adam Croft 1:25
I wouldn’t use friends–
Sacha Black 1:27
–who mostly throw banter and abuse of each other for a while now. So being being kind hurts deep. But I just to apologize for everybody. I’m a bit hoarse today. I had to have some emergency dental work yesterday. So my voice is a bit crackly. So I apologize in advance for that. But Adam, welcome. Thank you. Also, hands up. This is the second time we’re recording this interview. I managed to totally fuck up on the first one and recorded using the wrong mic. So lesson learned.
Adam Croft 2:03
You’ve admitted a mistake. So those those two drugs must be good.
Sacha Black 2:08
Yes. Yeah. Never again, I’ll never admit to another mistake. And yeah, thank you. I appreciate how busy you are. I know how busy you are. And so I am very grateful that you have come back to re record this again. Yes, yes. Thank you. Um, so you’ve written a book on mindset for indie authors. Broadly speaking, you break mindset down into three categories. Can you tell me about each of those categories? And what they mean, for authors? Yeah,
Adam Croft 2:42
well, I mean, this is kind of something that just came about in the writing of it really, I realized that mindset can be broken into these these three interconnected parts there, there’s a bit of overlap between each of them. And they’re all completely vital to the process, really. But in short, three times, all the professional visionary and the business mindset. And our professional mindset, essentially says that, as an indie author, you need to take this seriously, it’s not a hobby, it’s not something you do in your spare time, it’s you’ve got to sit down and get the work done as you would with any other job and have a professional attitude towards it. It covers productivity, it covers self belief, all of these sorts of things. The second aspect is the visionary mindset, which isn’t quite as kind of crystal ball as it sounds, it’s, it’s more about looking to the future. And in terms of your long term thinking, it’s about ownership of your rights. It’s about residuals, and importance of those. Building your your mailing list, basically laying the foundation for the future, and all these long term things which are going to help you in years to come rather than kind of trying to build on shaky ground. And the third aspects is the business mindset, which is all about getting creative people into that business frame of mind, because you do need to have those two hands there. Obviously, we are creative people. But as an indie author, you are also the publisher, you are a small business owner, and you need to have a business mindset about it, too. So it’s about demystifying numbers, for wordsmiths, basically, and looking at how how to make data work for you as a creatively minded person.
Sacha Black 4:38
Yeah, and I, you know, hands up for the second time in this podcast, I am not a numbers person. And however, I appreciate how important data is for Indies, because I think that’s we know one of the key things that separate somebody who’s basically fannying around trying to do that they said, you know, but not seeing success, and somebody who sees success, because you cannot replicate good sales promotions, unless you know, what caused them. And you can’t know that unless you look at the data and you analyze the data, and you are able to implement new strategies based on the on the results. So yeah, I completely agree. I think that’s not to say I’m doing it well.
Adam Croft 5:30
It is much simpler than it sounds when you throw away, throw out words like strategy and implementation and data and things like that. But you know, it, it doesn’t need to be as confusing as it sounds is, as you say, just a case of saying, okay, on this date, I did that. And the result was this. It’s seeing what happens as a result of actions that you you take, it’s about tracking your sales. Otherwise, it’s actually very difficult, to see what’s going on, you can get a kind of an overall impression. But without diving deep into the numbers, it’s almost impossible to know what works and what doesn’t. And, you know, in this industry, and if you do more of what does work, and less of what doesn’t work. And it’s not even a case of just being able to ask somebody else what works and what doesn’t, because more often than not, it’s different for different people things, and even at work for others.
Sacha Black 6:24
Yeah. And even within your you know, you’ve got multiple genres. And the same things don’t necessarily work across those different genres.
Adam Croft 6:33
No, yeah, I’m well known for having a lot of success with Facebook ads. And that has worked very well for a couple of my psychological thrillers. For my crime books, and Facebook ads don’t work at all, I just end up throwing money down a well, and even for some of my other psychological thrillers, it doesn’t work. So yeah, even you know, one of your main strategies might not work for something else that you do, or another type of book or it might stop working six months down the line. So it’s my keeping on top of those things.
Sacha Black 7:02
And having a an experimental mindset, I suppose, you know, it is about continuing to trial and test and not take for granted that an ad has started to work and will therefore work forever.
Adam Croft 7:18
Yeah. I mean, that’s again, that’s why I kind of look at the long term side of things as well, because you’re giving advice on short term stuff like advertising and different marketing venues. A, as you say, they change all the time. The success of that for you can change rapidly and regularly. And it’s it’s not necessarily advice that applies to all people, it it’s all quite kind of vague and wishy washy, really. So I tend to try to focus on things that apply to all or most authors, and things that are sensible, long term practical things that people can do to boost their chances rather than, you know, looking at you know, what’s hot right now, and might not be by the time I finished that book or that interview.
Sacha Black 8:04
Look at you what an excellent segue. In my opinion, one of the most important takeaways from your mindset book is about being long term focus, which is something that settles well with me because I like to look at the big picture, I kind of always have my eye on the prize, so to speak, and looking down the line. But I think that the long term focus can be split into lots of different aspects. So I’ll split it into two and ask you to talk about a residual first of all. What is it? And why is it so important to indies?
Adam Croft 8:47
What residuals are vital, really, there things are often overlooked, it’s.. I think the easiest way to put it is imagine for example, I’ve got a book that makes me six pounds a day, roughly or $6 a day. It’s a book that I wrote, say eight years ago. So six pounds a day, you might think, okay, you’re not gonna make much money out of that. But over the course of a month, that’s £180 pounds, hundred dollars, whichever currency we’re looking at, for this mythical book, which means over the course of a year, that’s $2,000, that that book is earning. So that’s not an insignificant sum, for those few pounds a day, or a few dollars a day.
Sacha Black 9:35
No, it’s a lovely holiday.
Adam Croft 9:36
It is free all of the every year. And if I multiply that by the number of years that books been out, we’re talking almost $20,000 for what a couple of months worth of work. So even though you might launch a book, and not a lot happens, and you sell a few pounds worth here and there, over the course of the coming months, in the coming years, that’s what will continue to sell, continue to earn your money and the longer is on sale for the more money is going to earn you, despite the fact that you’re not doing any more work on it. So we get quite obsessed over launches. Still, in this industry, in particular, in the indie side of the industry, people talking about, you know, the next book launch, and that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The launch process is something which is still ingrained from the old trad pub days, when the only place that books were sold was through bricks and mortar book shops, and you had you know, maybe a couple of weeks in order to make a big splash and start shifting copies, or your books would be off the shelf and someone else’s will come in, and your books would disappear off the shelf at some point regardless. But that doesn’t happen anymore. Majority of books are sold digitally or online at least. And those books are always available. They’re always there, they’re always visible. And through advertising and marketing, you can make them more visible. So books don’t have a shelf life of still a book selling each day, which are 10 years old, nearly. So there’s, there’s no need to worry about big launches, big splashes going all in for the first week. I mean, there are some advantages to that in terms of kicking algorithms into play. But you know, this is kind of advanced stuff. And there’s really no need for most authors to worry about it. I say Don’t worry about it and build up to big launches or anything like that, to try and get as many week one sales as possible for me, you know, I want to be doing this for years to come. I’m not really bothered about what happens next week or next month. I’m looking 5-10 years into the future.
Sacha Black 11:33
Yeah, absolutely. And still thinking about the future. Next question. Shout out to Tom, who is a supporter on Patreon. Thank you very much for your support. He wanted me to talk to you about KU and their exclusivity versus being wide. So you’re quite vocal about your dislike of K use exclusivity policy, not necessarily KU as a concept, but the exclusivity and you are huge proponent of being wide. Can you can you talk about why that is?
Adam Croft 12:39
Well, again, I think it’s about looking at things long term and not being narrow minded in your approach to things. The KU model in itself is not a bad one, the subscription model works very well you look at Netflix, you look at Spotify, different forms of multimedia consumption worldwide, well on the on the subscription model, and I think it would work very well for books too. But the main problem is the exclusivity that Amazon demands. In exchange for being KU. Netflix doesn’t say to Steven Spielberg, you know, you can’t have your new film out in movie theaters, you can’t release it on DVD, it’s got to be Netflix only, or you know, we’re not having it. Spotify don’t demand that Ed Sheeran only has his new records out there and doesn’t do any tours or gigs or anything like that, it would be mad if they did. But because this is Amazon, they get away with it. And as soon as that changes, I’ll be the first person to recommend being in KU. But for me, at the moment, the biggest drawbacks are the autonomy factor. Which basically means if you’ve got all of your eggs in Amazon’s basket, you’re, you’re going to have some serious worries, because there have been times when people have had their KDP account shut down for no reason at all. They’ve been unwittingly dragged into book stuffing. Things where other authors have been creating sort of junk box sets and trying to cram as many KU reads as they can to scam the system. And in order to kind of make that look more natural. I read other authors books as well. And if yours is one of those, and you have any association with that, that spammer and you’re going to be probably checked out soon, that’s happened a few times over the last couple of years. And for me, I would rather not have my entire career and business at the behest of, of Amazon. You know, nothing against them, per se, but I’d rather not have everything in one basket, regardless of what the basket was called. And it’s also quite narrow minded in the short sighted because there is a huge world out there.
Sacha Black 14:55
Be honest, wow.
Adam Croft 14:58
Amazon is only number one in the US and UK really. There are 190 something countries in the world. So to focus only on two of them is is pretty mad, really. You won’t if you’re going all in with Amazon, you won’t be selling any books on any of the other venues because you won’t be allowed to. On Kobo alone, I’ve sold books in more than 120 different countries. And that’s in English language only as well. So, you know, there’s, there’s a big wide world out there. So its focus only on the US and UK. A) means you’re ignoring most of the rest of the world, which, you know, in most countries, Amazon doesn’t even have a presence. And, you know, you’re you’re potentially doing yourself out of a lot of sales, there will be millions of readers who will never see your books, lots of people don’t have Kindles, lots of people don’t shop at amazon in Canada, Kobo is the biggest player second in the UK is growing massively Australia and South Africa, New Zealand. We’re looking at some markets, for example, where some of the lower priced Android devices do very well. So you looking at India, for example, where Google Play is growing as a big, big retailer. So there are lots of reasons in my mind not to do it. And they are all linked into the exclusivity. As soon as that goes. Going into Kindle unlimited will be an absolute no brainer. But it’s the way the world is changing at the moment. And the way these other markets and these non Amazon territories are all growing so hugely at the moment, it just doesn’t make sense to lock yourself into just Amazon,
Sacha Black 16:46
I think, I think there’s a couple of things there. For me, the the one that’s most important, or the one that feels most important to me, is about not having all of your eggs in one basket. And that was… I spent, I think to nearly two years under threat of redundancy. So I was four consecutive occasions, I was under threat of redundancy when I was employed. And that is horrifying. Because if I if I hadn’t been made redundant, that would have been it, I’d have lost my house, my job my income, because I didn’t have any other form of income. And this is kind of this is the thing that concerns me most about KU. And, you know, you mentioned some of those examples where people have just had their account shut down. And, you know, that’s terrifying for me that could end your career if you are exclusive. Now, to balance that out. There are occasions where KU does make sense. So for example, a new author, excuse me can gain some traction by being in KU. And somebody, there are genres, for example, that it is much, much harder to sell wide than it is in KU. And it does come down to your goal, I suppose. Are you after quick cash injection? Well, okay, maybe KU for a short period of time might be worth it. Of course, you have to bear in mind, you are then damaging your chances of doing well wide because it takes time to build up your wide sales. But you know, there are times and occasions where KU make sense, albeit a huge risk both to your long term sales and and your financial stability. And,
Adam Croft 18:40
well, I think there are two aspects to that. I mean, I understand why some people say if you’re a new author go into KU, because you’ve only got to worry about Amazon, then there’s a lot to learn. Before you start looking at other retailers, I totally understand that. But that is also very short sighted for two reasons. First of all, you’re building up an audience of readers who in the future won’t be able to buy any more of your books. Because you’re you know, you’re cultivating KU readers. And some people only read books in KU. And they’re not people who want to part with money for books, which a aren’t readers, you’d really going to want anyway. And be I’m going to be able to get hold of your books in the future, when you go wide, you’re also going to have that drop off when you do go wide. And that’s going to make it more difficult for you to consider doing so in the future because you might want to lose that KU income. So for me, yes, fair enough. only focus on Amazon at the start if you want to just learn how to publish books and how to build an audience. And I think you can constrain yourself with KU is it really a good idea, I think the audience you want to be building on Amazon is the audience which is actually going to pay some money for your books, and it’s actually going to help you build a career. So by all means focus only on Amazon at first. But that doesn’t mean you have to go into KU, you can be only on Amazon and not be anywhere else. And still not take that KDP select box, because that then gives you the full autonomy and ability to when you feel comfortable with that. Okay, you know what, I’m comfortable with Amazon. Now, I’m going to also upload to Kobo or you know, add a different retailer on or go through D2D or publish drive or or wherever. So I think for me, yes, only focus on Amazon at the start if you’re completely new to this. But that doesn’t mean going into KDP select and having a books in KU, you can focus only on Amazon first without, without tying yourself in there.
Sacha Black 20:34
But what about genres?
Adam Croft 20:36
some genres do do better. In KU, there’s no no denying it, some of my genres do better in KU. And then for me, the weights falls more heavily on the on the autonomy argument and not putting all your eggs in that basket. You know, you don’t know when Amazon can close your account down, that can happen very easily. And you mentioned the redundancy, worries that you had them and you’d be at permanent risk of what happens if you’re completely in Amazon. And, and that there are political arguments as well, some people just don’t like Amazon, some people don’t want to be tied in to them. And you’ve also got some look at the ethics of feeding that beast. And I think more people who are in KU and who are feeding that KU model, the stronger it’s going to get, the more power it’s going to give to Amazon and the less power it’s going to give to readers and to authors. So from from that standpoint, I think if you say, Well, you know what, I could make a few extra quid a month by by doing this. Fair enough, I completely understand that. But I think there is a wider viewpoint to be considered that actually, by doing that you’re potentially making things worse in the long run for yourself. And for everybody else.
Sacha Black 21:51
Are all of your books wide?
Adam Croft 21:54
Sacha Black 21:56
wasn’t sure if I was gonna catch you out there.
Adam Croft 22:01
I think I think there’s one that still remains a short story with an Amazon publishing imprint, I think, which I think might still be in there. Because they, you know, it’s it’s basically owned by them anyway. So it’s not a whole lot I can do about that. But But now I won’t even be my nonfiction, which does, you know, a lot better. nonfiction in general does a lot better in KU that would do wide. I still have wide, it’s, you know that it’s such a multi pronged thing for me, there are many reasons not to do it that, you know, when I look at it and go, yes, okay, maybe this book, or this series could make more money in KU. And there’s still that that long term argument that actually it’s not a good thing for the industry as it stands. So it’s not something that I want to be a part of, I want to, I want this industry to be a big, wide open one, that anybody can enter, anybody can publish books, anybody can read. And for that to remain for years to come, I don’t think having the industry owned by by one company is going to be a good thing for anybody, it’s not something that I morally feel comfortable being a part of.
Sacha Black 23:08
Okay, so that’s okay, when you’re when you have lots of books, and you’re making, you know, enough money across all of those books to be able to take that moralistic standpoint, but talk to a new author, or even a new author, but somebody who doesn’t have, you know, 20 books or whatever. And being wide is hard, it’s really fucking hard, I am wide. And there, you know, I’m not even close to 5050. Amazon is the vast majority of my income. Yet for all of those moralistic and idealistic reasons, I am wide, but it’s hard. So what can an author like me or authors listening who want to be wide for those reasons? What can they do to help grow their sales?
Adam Croft 23:59
being in KU is hard as well, it’s not the Y is hard, and one is easy. You know, being wide is not really, any harder than being KU is just different. I think the point that, you know, it’s easy if somebody who sells lots of books to go wide, and, you know, potentially take that hit, I mean, again, two points to that, first of all, I didn’t take a hit actually. So more wide than either, KU. And secondly, it’s actually a bigger risk for for an author that’s there with 20 old books to suddenly shift them all, from KU to wide, which is another reason why I advocate going wide, or at least being non exclusive. From the start, because it’s a much bigger, much more difficult things to do when you got twenty odd books are something you’ve done from the beginning. You know, if you’re a new author, you’ve got one book out, and you’re perhaps earning, you know, two, three figures a month, you’ve not got a whole lot to lose, really, by by going wide at that point. Whereas you know, if you’re doing 10 $20,000, you know, dropping half of that overnight is, is a big, big thing. So I think actually, probably the reverse is true. In terms of trying to build sales wide. It’s it’s getting out of the Amazon mindset. The other retailers just talked to them, email them, and ask them how to build more sales. They’re asking what promotions they can do, most of the time, they’ll respond to you, and they’ll help you they want you to sell more books. You know, a lot of us are in this mindset of how Amazon has treated its authors, which is, you know, largely ignoring emails or sending templates and responses just directing us to the hell pages. The other retailers aren’t like that, there’s a much more personable approach, you will speak to an actual human being who will want to help you who will want you to sell more books, whether it’s in their best interest that you do. For Amazon, Kindle and ebooks is a very small part of their business, it’s not really something they’re they’re massively focused on. Bookbub ads, for example, work a lot better if you’re wide, mainly because everybody’s chasing the Amazon traffic, which ends up becoming hugely expensive. And you can pick up quite a lot of cheap clicks and a new readers on those other platforms using that. Kobo has its in house promotions dashboard, as well as you can email them and ask them to unlock if you don’t already have access to that. It’s, it’s much it’s much more of a personable approach really, you know, you can you can speak to the vendors and these retailers, and they will they will want to help you it’s it’s a different approach altogether. It’s just much more friendly and much more usable.
Sacha Black 26:45
Hmm. Okay, I’m trying to think if I have a follow up question, because I hear what you’re saying about it being a risk for authors who have lots of books. But if you’re going to move from one to the other, it’s probably sensible to do it series at a time rather than just dumping all of your books one way or the other. So that’s kind of what I meant, rather than doing the whole whole load at once. And
Adam Croft 27:18
understand that, yeah, there are arguments for that, as you say, it makes the transition much easier and smoother. And I think on, you know, the the other consideration to have there is the potential of confusing or upsetting readers, if some of your books are available in some places and not elsewhere. I mean, don’t forget, you know, as authors, we all know, the the wide versus exclusive argument, we all know what KU is, we all know that they demand exclusivity, the vast majority readers just don’t. I mean, I get emails all the time from readers saying, why aren’t your books in KU, you should put them in KU. And I explained that actually, Amazon demands that, if I do, I don’t have them for sale anywhere else. And most of the time, the response from readers is that’s outrageous, I never knew that I’m going to be more careful about buying books and getting from KU in future. So you know, we sometimes we have to put yourself in the mind of the reader. Rather than that the author, sometimes we can’t see the wood for the trees.
Sacha Black 28:20
Just some other quick tips that I’ve picked up over the last few weeks one is around using currency converters. So places like Canada and Australia, it’s not about necessarily pricing your books identically in those regions, you can look at price sensitivity. So do some research on your retailers to look at what comparative novels are priced at. And then price them at a similar price range. And always remember to do your point 99 or your point four, nine, so that you don’t have, you know, three pounds 26 or something in some obscure country because it’s lazy, and it looks lazy to readers. So that is one quick tip.
Adam Croft 29:10
Yeah, I was talking to Amazon actually that this is actually another kind of small favor of going wide is that UK in the US are very price sensitive when it comes to books, that is largely down down to Amazon, which is you know, it’s a discount retailer and isn’t everything, you know, it’s the quickest, easiest and cheapest way of doing things. So that appeals there in Canada, for example, their Kobo is bigger, and Canada has large amounts of French influence. And in France, books, launch with a retail price. And it’s actually illegal to discount those books, it has to be the same price everywhere. And those prices are normally higher, you can’t discount books over there. So that kind of leaks over into Canada and you can get away with pricing your books more expensively there and earning a high royalty, and in Australia as well, because of its geography. Most things are more expensive in Australia because you got to get them there. And that that applies to books too. So generally speaking in those territories, the expectation is that books are more expensive. And just so happens as well, they are two territories where retailers like Kobo and Apple books are already growing.
Sacha Black 30:28
Yeah. And you if you are trying to work out how to do targeted country advertising, Facebook has the ability to target by country as well BookBub, you can target by retailer so if you only want to target Kobo readers on BookBub, then you can do that. So there are ways and means of you know, getting very what’s the word pin precise *inaudible*
Adam Croft 30:57
Yeah, very you can get very granular even more so than that you can you can just target Kobo readers and Australia and Apple readers in India or, or Canada if you wanted to. You can you can be really quite specific and granular within us. And that’s another thing that I love about Bookbub ads.
Sacha Black 31:14
Okay, um, business business. Okay, let’s let’s go back to business. Yeah.
Adam Croft 31:23
We’re getting too serious before.
Sacha Black 31:24
I know, God, you were ranting *inaudible*… I honestly, I agree with all of the things that you are saying, I suppose I have kind of a residual frustration, because I find the wide marketing really hard. I do sell more on Amazon than I do wide. And I am trying very hard to sell wide. But it’s it takes a lot of time. And I am not the world’s most patient person.
Well, yeah, I mean, I say being in KU is hard. It’s not a case that you go into KU, and you’re going to sell loads of books. So you’ve got to do the marketing not there is more to do. But I think as with most things in in business, and in life, I think, you know, the, the harder things, do you have the higher potential rewards, and I think,
So what you’re saying is suck it up, Princess.
Adam Croft 32:22
Yeah, that is exactly what I’m saying
Sacha Black 32:24
Yeah, cheers, cheers, mate. Okay, let’s move on back to business, and talk to a new author, or, or even to yourself before you started, what do you wish you’d known? Or what do you think are a couple of really key things that new authors can do to set their businesses up for success in the long term?
Adam Croft 32:47
I think Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. You don’t need to be successful with everything, you don’t need to get everything right. You can get it right 10% of the time. Can these are some some pretty big successes. So don’t be afraid to experiment, don’t be afraid to get things wrong, find out what works for you and what doesn’t. Not everything has to be perfect from the start. And you know, you can go back and you can change things in once a book is out, you can go back and edit and you know republish and what have you. So don’t worry too much about stressing and getting things right from the start, I think, be yourself build a bit of a brand about you know, nothing comes deliberate or fabricated. But I think just being yourself and talking as you use your readers is something that they will really like as well. I think it’s, it’s just a case of kind of getting organized as well. And realizing that you are running a small business and realizing that you are going to try and make some money from this, I think being realistic about that as well. You’re a lot of authors who kind of pop up and Facebook groups and forums and what have you and say, Well, you know, I can’t afford spends, you know, a few hundred dollars on a cover or, or an editor and he’s been making some money out of this. And the fact is that you are going to have to spend some money to earn some money, you’re running a business, if you open the shoe shop, you wouldn’t be able to open that by having painted the sign on the front of the shop yourself by having you know, built, all of the racking and everything you know, you are going to have to pay for some advertising, you’re going to have to get a shop fitter to set the shop up for you there, you know, you have to rely on the professionals to do the things that they do best. Because if you try and do it all yourself or try cutting corners and doing it cheaply, that shop is going to look pretty shit and no one’s going to go in there to buy their shoes.
Same kind of goes to your books as well. There are a lot of cheap self published books out there, which you know, look like people have done the covers themselves. They’re not edited properly. And, you know, put yourself in the reader shoes. Are you going to buy that one? Are you going to buy the next Stephen King? You know, try and get a quality product out there? Except that yes, it may take some investment, yes, you’re gonna have to spend some money, and you’re gonna have to have some pride in what you do. I know, people say, Oh, it’s very easy for you to say that because you know, you’ve got some money. But it’s something that I’ve always done from the start right from my very first book coming out when I had less than no money, I had about minus 25,000 pounds. At that point, I still knew that I had to have a product which was comparable to what the big traditional publishers were putting out. And if we wanted our model to replace what was already there, then we had to at least be equal to them if not better, because otherwise, why would anybody bother coming over and reading the indie books. And I think that still is part of that long term mindset that, you know, you have to have that pride in your books. And to have them set up for a reader. It doesn’t matter whether you like the cover of book covers of some of my books I really don’t like but the fact is, they look good to a reader, they fit the genre, and they make people want to buy the books. And that’s what matters. It’s not what I like it’s, you know, what is best for the market? what is best for the readers, and what is best for long term success of your business.
Sacha Black 36:18
Yeah, and I’m kind of giggling back here, because I think it’s hilarious that we you know, these are our stories, they are our pride and joy and we pour our soul into them. And it actually it’s not really about us at all.
Adam Croft 36:33
You once you’ve written the no longer your book is no longer your story. And you have to let go at that point. And so actually, this is now a product that has to go on sale. At that point you you’ve got to pull that plug and say, yeah, my my input creatively on that front is now over and you have to move on to the next one. And that’s when your business mind kicks in.
Sacha Black 36:56
Just whilst we’ve been talking. I’ve just seen some messages between some of my friends about the whimsies ease and the fancies of KU / KDP.
Adam Croft 37:07
So my my talking was so enlightening and engaging that you’ve actually been browsing Facebook Messenger, I’ve been chatting,
Sacha Black 37:15
No, No, I haven’t. It’s just flashed up on my phone. And I haven’t opened it. So I can’t see the full story. But what I have seen is that they’ve changed the maximum page count for paperbacks, and it’s resulted in Well, I think because I can’t see the rest of message but I think it means one of my friends books, his paperbacks has been taken down, because that was their choice to change the the the page count. So this is what they’ve
Adam Croft 37:41
reduced it. Yeah. So yeah, exactly see on the on a whim overnight, they’ve decided to reduce the number of pages you can have in a paperback and the books been taken down. This is what I mean. It’s
Sacha Black 37:53
anyway, I think that you know, I haven’t read obviously, the whole message of just
Adam Croft 37:57
roll with that. If it’s a narrative. Let’s roll with it. Yeah.
Sacha Black 38:06
Um, yeah, but but but that’s what I mean it, you know, KU as much as I’d like to earn or because I, I did do a three month stint in KU, and I did actually earn more. I don’t, I don’t want to be dictated to particularly.
Yeah, yeah, I was I was in for years as well.
Adam Croft 38:30
And yeah, there’s, it’s, it’s not a, everyone should definitely do this. Everyone should definitely do that. But I think that the way is, you know, once you consider everything, and you know, look at things from a long term point of view for for authors, the readers and for the industry. I think, you know, the thing it comes down quite heavily in favor of being wide.
Sacha Black 38:52
Yeah, so, so you’re definitely exclusive that yeah.
Adam Croft 38:56
Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Sacha Black 38:59
Okay, last few questions. Let’s go back to and be really cyclical and close that close that circle, mindset. What do you what do you say to authors who, who are in a funk or struggling with their mindset, what would you say to them?
Adam Croft 39:20
I think, largely,
Sacha Black 39:23
Suck it up princess?
Adam Croft 39:24
Yeah, yeah, deal with it, really, there’s not a whole lot you can do. No one is waiting for you, you don’t have a whole lot of choice. Really, I think if you are stuck, there are there are two things he got, it can be completely overwhelmed with stuff, which is totally natural. And I still get that on a pretty much daily basis, as you know, the messages that you get from me just ranting.
Sacha Black 39:48
Yeah all the time!
Adam Croft 39:49
So delegate. I mean, delegate things to others, find things that people can do, and then pay them to do it. In the last run, you’re going to be far better off, if you’re going to have more time spent writing, you’re going to have to put better books out there and more quickly, and you’re gonna be able to earn more money from them. So now, feel free to delegate things. And don’t try doing it all yourself. This is why I don’t like calling it self publishing. Because you can’t do it all yourself, and you shouldn’t do it all yourself, you should be independent of publishers. But you shouldn’t be doing it yourself. So I really don’t like that word self publishing. You asked for help and prioritize Don’t waste time on irrelevant stuff. Don’t worry about you know, building your Twitter following or, you know, thinking also do some blogging, and yes, all these things do help. I’m not saying that nobody should do them. I’m just saying, you know, you are a writer, write some fucking books. You know, do get in touch with your mailing list, build, you know, build your fan base that way and engage the readers that you’ve got, prioritize and realize what are the most important things and don’t just try doing everything?
Sacha Black 40:58
Content is king? or Queen
Adam Croft 41:02
It is Yeah, it is. But you know, the most important content is more books, because that’s what you do, you know, you’re not a blogger who writes books, you’re an author blocks. So getting the books done is I mean, that’s, that’s the only thing that’s guaranteed to make some money as well. I mean, all authors have, you know, whatever size and platform, I have got readers, you know, whether that is 100,000 people on your mailing list, or whether that’s your mom and your Uncle Jim, you’ve still got readers. So putting a new book out is guaranteed to at least sell a copy to your Uncle Jim, you know, you’re going to make two or three quid at very least, there’s gonna be some money. Whereas you know, doing other things, focusing on paid advertising, you know, you’ve got the potential to lose money there as well. You know, the only kind of guarantee is going to move you forward and build your back catalogue and build your career is putting more books out there, and you can worry about the rest of it afterwards. And I think Don’t be afraid to take the break, either. You know, you sit there bashing head off a desk and stressing over things and working it, kind of 20% of your mental capacity, but go for a walk, take a break for half an hour or an hour, and you might come back with 80-90% of your mental capacity, and you’d be much more calm down and able to do a hell of a lot more work for the rest of the day. So you know that being refreshed will give you a higher productivity level in the long run.
Sacha Black 42:19
Yeah, I think so, so, so many of us, me included, do not do the self care thing. And it is ultimately in the long run more detrimental because you end up either broken, burnt out or, like buggered, basically. And then you can’t and then you end up having to have a longer break. Because you’re having to repair yourself. So yeah, I get it. Yeah, definitely on the
Adam Croft 42:46
There’s no rush, no rush, you know, you don’t need to worry about getting all these things done. Now. It’s you know, this, this industry is going nowhere. People have been reading books for years. And you know, things take a week or two longer than, you know, in the long run that that really doesn’t matter. So, you know, you dont need to bust a bollock for lunch or anything like that.
Sacha Black 43:07
Just a singular bollock though.
Adam Croft 43:09
Yeah, well, yeah, I’ve seen people try to bust two as well
Sacha Black 43:14
Delightful. Right. This is the rebel author podcast. So tell me about a time you unleash your inner rebel.
Adam Croft 43:25
To be honest with you, I think, even though it might sound like a bit of a cop out. And now I’ve just given you that branch, you’re totally going to call it a cop out?
Sacha Black 43:34
Adam Croft 43:38
I think you know, being an indie author is a fairly rebellious thing to do. Anyway, it’s always has been seen as that I guess, even kind of a couple of centuries ago, you know, people were still independently publishing their work and as always seen as a different way of doing things and challenging an industry which has remained the same for centuries, maybe, you know, the biggest, two biggest things that have happened in the publishing histories entire entire history is that since introduction, the Gutenberg presses the launch of paper that exists, you know, up until ebooks and indie publishing came along, they were just quite happily playing along doing the same things they’ve always done. And I think coming along, and shaking things up, and coming in with a fresh pair of eyes and saying, actually, what’s best for the industry? What’s best for readers? What’s best for authors, not just what’s best for the middle men in the middle who, you know, quite happily take a cup for not doing very much. But what is best for everybody overall and where are we going with things? I think it is an industry that needed shaking up I think it needed some rebellion I think now that the indie publishing industry is you know, somewhere around a decade old in its in its current digital form. I think there are things again, that nice shaking up so you know, the whole KU wide exclusive as the thing that’s going on, there are some sectors of this this industry now that are starting to feel a bit stale, and things are moving on and new innovation is coming in all the time. So I think even now 10 years on, it does still feel quite rebellious to to be an indie author.
Sacha Black 45:23
Total cop out. I’m joking. That’s all I’m getting.
Adam Croft 45:28
What do you expect? At this time in the morning?
Sacha Black 45:31
Yeah, I am definitely insufficiently caffeinated that is for sure. Okay. Tell tell listeners where they can find out more about you, your Facebook group group and importantly, your courses as well. We didn’t mention those.
Adam Croft 45:46
Yeah, well, the brand that I do things on there is the indie author mindset. So there’s an indie author mindset Facebook group, which has one and half thousandish people in their offering free health and advice to each other, these indie authors of all levels really from, you know, people who haven’t, you know, launched one of their books yet or still writing their first one right up to the likes of Mark Dawson. They’re all in there helping and, and offering advice to each other. There’s the website, indie author, mindset.com. I have some mini courses on there too, on specific aspects of being an indie author on marketing and advertising and, and building your career. Rather than having a kind of a big overarching course, which costs hundreds or thousands of dollars, these are kind of one or two hour crash crash course modules. Again, not something to try saying at this time of the morning, which are generally kind of 20/30 $50 just to know for very specific things that you’re looking to learn at that point in time. So you’re not kind of overwhelmed with too much information. You can take things step by step.
Sacha Black 46:59
haven’t taken a couple of them and much as it pains me to say yes, another nice thing. They are actually really good. So I will make sure that the links are in the show notes.
Adam Croft 47:09
Good. Thank you. It was worth doing this afterall.
Sacha Black 47:12
Grumble. And what about your podcast?
Adam Croft 47:17
Yes, that’s for fans of crime fiction, although we don’t actually talk about crime fiction, all that much. I present it with friend of mine, Robert Daws, who’s one of the best selling crime writer and if you’re British, you probably recognize him off the telly as well. We he lives just around the corner from me and we get together once a week and we talk a little bit about crime books that we’ve been reading and TV shows have been watching. And the rest of the episode we talk absolute bollocks. But it’s called partners in crime, and it’s on. All the usual places iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or website is partners in crime down online.
Sacha Black 48:01
Perfect. Well, if you would like to support the show, you can do that and get all of the episodes early on Patreon. So that is www.patreon.com/sachablack. And that is Sacha with a C. SACHA. Thank you very much to everybody listening. Thank you very much, Adam for your time. I really appreciate to your second interview with me. I’m Sacha Black. You are listening to Adam Croft and this was The Rebel Author Podcast.
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