Writing Mystery And The Indie Entrepreneurial Spirit With Adam Croft

The publishing industry continues to change at an incredible pace, and many of us are exhilarated by the ride. In my interview today, British crime author Adam Croft gets excited about the possibilities and discusses how he sold over 130,000 books without a publisher.

This is Episode #124 of The Creative Penn podcast. You can find the backlist here.

In the introduction, I talk about my trip to Australia and New Zealand and how creating intellectual property assets can change your life. I’ve altered my routine to incorporate aspects of this, and after a week, I’m feeling significantly more positive about my creative output. I also mention the Department of Justice law suit, the London Book Fair and the upcoming launch of the Alliance of Independent Authors. All up, it’s a crazy, exciting time!

Adam Croft is an independent British author, best known for the Knight & Culverhouse series of crime thrillers which have been Amazon bestsellers. His latest novel, Exit Stage Left has just been turned into an audio production. Video interview at the bottom of the page or listen to the audio above.

In the interview, we discuss:

  • How Adam started writing seriously about four years ago and decided to indie publish his first novel. He just wanted some feedback on it but it went on to sell 90,000 copies and by the end of 2011, all his books had sold over 140,000 copies. Adam has never pitched his books to agents/publishers and is very happy as an indie, retaining control over what he is doing. He is now a full-time author-entrepreneur.
  • Adam writes in the crime genre. The first two are in the gritty Knight-Culverhouse series. Kempston Hardwick is more Agatha Christie/ Midsomer Murders vein so less gritty and more mystery. On the violence of crime vs mystery and how the genres compare with gender buying. Adam loves the traditional end of mystery and the old style whodunit. It’s also a challenging type of book to write.


  • On writing a mystery. Plotting vs pantsing and what emerges as you write. The planning needed for traditional mystery writing and learning by reading and doing.
  • Being independent is a fantastic opportunity. You can push the boundaries and embrace change. So don’t be pigeon-holed.
  • Exit Stage Left has been produced as an audio dramatization. Adam set up a company with an actor and now has a studio set up to produce this and other audiobooks in the future. This is a truly entrepreneurial spirit!
  • On selling rights and the possibilities for indie authors that are currently only available for traditional authors. We discuss translation rights and how Brazil is opening up (their economy is better than the UK!)
  • Comparing the US and UK market and the types of books that are popular within each market. How the different stores have different reviews.
  • The benefits of KDP Select and whether Kobo will expand to a self-publishing platform soon.
  • On selling 130,000+ books. The key is marketing your books and your brand. It is a business and you need to be proactive. Social media is a part of that. Anybody can do this now. There are no barriers. But you still need a great book in a category that sells. How crime seems to be a popular genre in the UK and the top sellers are often crime. [I’ll be interviewing some more of these authors on the podcast in coming episodes.]
  • On the entrepreneurial mindset. It’s essential for indies and Adam has always run his own companies so it is natural to him. The internet does make it easy for everyone and there’s a lot of training on how to make the most of it all. You used to be held back by physical stores but now every reader can find every writer.
  • On the excitement of being an indie at the moment and how times will continue to change over the next few years. More online reading, more portability e.g. audiobooks, more ebooks and more devices, as well as more books and more tools for marketing. It’s hard to say what will happen but for people like us, it’s only going to get better. Why Adam wouldn’t sign with a publisher.

You can find Adam at AdamCroft.net and his books are on Amazon and other ebook stores. His latest book Exit Stage Left is also available as an audiobook soon.

You can also find Adam on Facebook and on twitter @adamcroft


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  1. says

    Thanks for sharing your insights Adam :-) What a great idea to have an audio dramatization of your books! Love what you said about pushing boundaries and embracing change…so true. That’s what I’ve tried to do with my 1st novel. Thanks for sharing your insights Joanna and Adam…really appreciate all your thoughts:)

  2. says

    A very great insight indeed! It gives me idea and I find it very interesting. I must say, every writer should really be open to any changes. I love reading your articles. Thanks for this!^^


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