Having a published book then made it easy for my agent to go to publishers, show them that David Craig was a successful published author and get a publisher for my next book and the next one and the one after that. Though, now the name David Craig was known, all my subsequent books were written by him, rather than by me.
But over the last few years, I’ve been selling fewer books each time one is published and my agent couldn’t get a publisher for my two most recent books. I write non-fiction, investigative journalism books and with the spread of the Internet, people can get so much information free, they have no need to buy my kind of books anymore. The other problem I’ve had is that my books are usually quite topical. But when you sell a book to a traditional publisher, it can take six months or more from the time you deliver the finished typescript to the book appearing in the shops. So, by the time my books appeared, they were almost already out of date.
My agent handles quite a lot of similar non-fiction books and faced with a publishing industry that was buying fewer books and taking too long to publish them, my agent set up his own publishing imprint using CreateSpace to produce the books and sell them through Amazon bypassing bookshops altogether. This meant that my books could now appear on my agent’s imprint a couple of weeks after submitting the completed typescript. The first of my books done this way, DON’T BUY IT! Tricks and Traps Salespeople Use, was out within days of being finished and has sold a couple of thousand copies in Britain. Though what I really want is for an American publisher to take it and adapt it for the, much larger, US market.
My agent having his own imprint also gave me a choice. When I wrote a book that my agent didn’t want to do, I could just do it myself through CreateSpace.
In 2014, I wrote a book, THE GREAT CHARITY SCANDAL, exposing massive waste and dishonesty in the charity industry and used CreateSpace to publish the paperback version. CreateSpace is so easy to use, that the whole book cost me just over $10 to produce. The $10 was to buy a photo for the cover. Again CreateSpace is so easy to work with that I did all the cover design myself. It’s not very beautiful, as you’ll see at http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Great-Charity-Scandal-billions-ebook/dp/B00PNPOQGG. But it does the job.
Though publishing a book is now easier than it ever has been, you still have the problem of selling a few copies once your book is published. I use three main methods. First my agent tries to interest a newspaper in doing an article based on the book. This is obviously easier for topical non-fiction than for fiction. This gets sales moving and can earn a useful $4,000 or so.
The other things I do is to promote my books on my website, where I write a daily political blog. And more recently, I’ve found that, using websites like guru.com or peopleperhour.com, I can find freelancers who can produce short (3-4 minutes) YouTube videos based on my books for about $300 each.
When I did my first self-publish, RIP-OFF!, I had to take quite a risk spending thousands to produce, print and stock the book. But now with CreateSpace publishing any book is pretty much free. And it’s a lot of fun.