Thanks to breakthroughs in technology, it’s never been easier to publish your own book and have it available for purchase anywhere in the world.
Joanna Penn is a London-based (but location-independent) New York Times best-selling author, speaker, blogger, podcaster and micro-publishing entrepreneur; she has written seven fiction and four non-fiction books that sell in 58 countries around the world providing her with a lot of micro income streams which, in her words, add up over time
Fiction writing aside, Joanna – who blogs and podcasts under the handle The Creative Penn – helps aspiring authors (including subject matter experts and people who are thought leaders in their field) to write, market and publish their own books.
But more than that, Joanna is carving out a reputation as a leading light in the area of creative entrepreneurship.
That she not only successfully produces creative work but is also her own publisher – and she teaches other people to do it as well – elevates her reputation and personal brand. She truly does epitomise what I like to call the digitally savvy ‘new’ thought leader.
In this episode of the Reputation Revolution podcast, Joanna touches on how she made the jump from her corporate gig to today, where she very much lives a “creative life” enabling her to take advantage of the opportunities that come her way as a result not only publishing her own books, but also relentless blogging, podcasting and participation on social networks.
Joanna’s Creative Penn website alone has over 700+ text articles and over 75 hours of audio information, as well as extra downloads and bonus material! Throw in Joanna’s books, speaking and consulting and you can see she’s one very busy, productive (but happy and motivated) woman!
Here are just some of the tips and quotes Joanna (pictured below) provides in this interview:
- “I don’t wait for permission to do anything…mainly I just get out there and do my own thing…and pivot along the way.”
- “I really don’t like the term self-publishing because you don’t do this by yourself if you’re going to do it as a business” (Joanna has 11 contractors she works with, including an editor, cover designer, proofreader, graphic designer, transcriptionist etc).
- “Every single piece of content is a bread crumb that potentially leads people to you and what you are selling.”
- “If you don’t blog or podcast about what you love, it won’t last very long.”
- If you’re going to become a speaker – and being a speaker really helps being known as a thought leader – having a book will help make you an authority. If you’re going to self-publish, do an e-book but also produce a hard-copy version through a service such as Amazon’s CreateSpace so you can do sales at the back of the room after your speaking gig.
- “You just never know what is going to happen … I’ve spoken in Bali … New York and all over the place based on stuff that has happened on Twitter”.
- “Blogging changed my life, it really did.”
- “Once you find the thing you never run out of ideas for, you know you’ve found your thing.”
- If you want to write a big opus (to help position yourself as a thought leader in a particular field), then between 50 -70,000 words is “decent”, but if the aim of your book is to generate income, it’s probably better to write four shorter books coming in at 20,000 words each because you get “more digital shelf space” (example: Steve Scott).
- Writing a book is hard work; read the book The War of Art and Turning Pro by Steve Pressfield.
- Do not print thousands of books unless you’re a speaker with an existing platform from which to sell it from (i.e. the stage).
- If you want to self-publish as a business, you need to write regularly, “as a job”.
An interesting sidebar is a discussion how Joanna manages two public personas (aside from the entrepreneur Joanna ‘The Creative Penn’ Penn, Joanna writes fiction under her, errr pen name, JF Penn).
And lastly, if you’re interested in going down the self-publishing route, Joanna recommends Choosing A Self Publishing Service 2014 by The Alliance of Independent Authors – to help you avoid the scams!
Joanna’s terrific, she’s very generous with her stories and advice. If you’re an inspiring thought leader, if you’ve been toying with the idea of writing a book, I think you’ll find this interview very useful.
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