Joanna Penn is a prosperous writer.
Discussed in Episode 84 with Joanna Penn
- Masters degree in theology from Oxford. Then went into business consulting. Worked in accounts payable.
- “I got to the point where I was crying at my job.” On starting off NOT as a writer.
- Needed to change. Set affirmations. Took two years to be able to say (below) out loud.
- “I am Creative. I am an author.” On setting intentions.
- “I was never going to give up the money.” On changing careers.
- “What is your definition of success?” On deciding between traditional & self-publishing.
- “I measure my life by what I create.” On deciding what matters.
- You have to decide whether or not you’re going to make money as a creator.
- As a writer she thinks first about the reader. Perhaps in contrast to literary fiction that is often more inwardly focused.
- “Literary fiction is a genre.” On categories of writing.
- “You have to write more than one book.” On making money by writing.
- Write a lot and write a lot of different books. You get more potential audiences and you become a better writer.
- Done with “book as baby” metaphor. Onto “book as employee” metaphor. The more books you have, the more readers & customers they can bring in.
- “You have to consume in order to produce.” On ideas and inspiration.
- Consume with the mindset of taking in ideas for your own work. Take notes. Write things down.
- Capture ideas continuously on the fly with Evernote or Pinterest.
- Book recommendation: Big Magic
- Book recommendation: State of Wonder
- “Don’t feel guilty about what you’re interested in.” On genre versus literary fiction.
- Very hard to make a living on book sales alone.
- When she left her non-writing job she had four books, blog, affiliate income, speaking gigs, courses, events.
- “I was not relying on one book or even four books.” On having multiple streams of income.
- “Writing in a series is almost critical if you want to make a living.” On satisfying binge readers.
- Having books in multiple formats – ebook, paper and audio – and in both fiction and non-fiction, doesn’t cannibalize readers. The audiences are different.
- Don’t forget to think globally. If you own your ip rights, you can publish all over the world.
- AI translation is probably coming to non-fiction in the next five years. Literary and poetry translation will likely remain small and artisanal.
- English-speaking and reading markets are huge in countries like India & China. Larger even than market in UK.
- Think about book length. If you primarily sell ebooks, traditional book length – determined by physical shelf presence – is irrelevant. You can write shorter.
- 25,000 words is fine. 90,000 words is not needed.
- Deciding that you are a successful author causes you to focus on things that will help make that happen.
- “The people who are ready to hear the message will hear it.” On making the leap.
- “Everyone in the world should write a book.”
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