Yesterday I made an astonishing discovery: if you go to the Amazon UK website and just type “money laundering” (without inverted commas) in the Search box, one of my piggy books is the very first listed item! (Amazon is the ultimate in fickleness so it probably won’t work today, but honestly, it was there.) Some of you may remember the start of my piggy adventures – when I wrote my first book on anti-money laundering, decided to self-publish it (after being shown the door by various trade bodies, on the basis that “no-one wants to buy AML books”), and discovered the best cover designer in the world, who created the piggy for me. He quickly became known as Ned (the piggy, that is, not the cover designer), as the first book was for non-exec directors (NEDs). Taking advantage of the speed of self-publishing, and my own inexplicable love of adapting text to different circumstances and keeping track of what I’ve said where (it’s infuriating but deeply satisfying) I soon created a whole sty-full of piggies, for NEDs and staff, working in different sectors, and living in several jurisdictions. And I did once promise you that I would update you on how the piggies are faring.
For that first title – “Anti-Money Laundering for the Non-Executive Director” – I created five versions: UK, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey and International. Since publication about four years ago (and across several updated editions – the beauty of print-on-demand self-publishing is that whenever the law or guidance changes, I can simply update the text and upload a new file and voilà! the latest edition is launched), by far the best-selling version is the Guernsey one, with 138 sold (more than twice as many as the next most popular). The runt of the litter – understandably, as it is by necessity more vague than the others – is the International one, with only 14 sales.
The more extensive set of books is for staff, called “Anti-Money Laundering: What You Need to Know”, and here I did four jurisdictions (UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey and Jersey) and four sectors in each (choosing from accountancy, banking, fiduciary, insurance and investment), giving a total of sixteen different versions. And again we have a runaway winner: over two years, the UK banking piggy has gone to an astonishing 489 different homes. Coming second is the UK accountancy piggy at 43, then the Guernsey fiduciary piggy at 42 and the Guernsey banking piggy at 38. (The four Gibraltar piggies had a catapulted start, as they were bought in their dozens by the local compliance association and given out to members, but since then they’ve been rather lazy, lying about in the sty and not bothering to sell themselves.)
Just as I enjoy keeping up with all these books – that’s twenty-one piggies to keep tabs on – I also methodically track their sales, as you can tell, but quite what to do with this information, I’m not sure. Common sense suggests that it’s not worth keeping some of them going, and that they’d do better as bacon sarnies, but for now, they can stay.