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How to Make a Living with Your Writing: Books, Blogging and More

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  950 ratings  ·  203 reviews
Would you like to make a living with your writing?

This book will show you how.

I spent 13 years working as a cubicle slave in the corporate world. I was miserable in my job and my creativity was stunted by the crushing daily grind.

Then I started writing books and blogging, using my words to create products and attract readers. In September 2011, I left my corporate job to
Kindle Edition, 126 pages
Published June 22nd 2015 (first published June 1st 2015)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Kristen Kieffer
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is an excellent beginner's guide to making money as a writer.

I was a bit disappointed to find that it didn't go more in-depth than it did. Joanna covered the basics of many different income streams, providing writers without career direction a look into the possibilities of their work.

And while I was hoping for a book that dove deeper than most of the material I've read thus far on this topic, I can't deny that Joanna Penn did an amazing job of laying out the basics for those who are
Sep 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing-books
I hate to give this three stars because I love Joanna Penn's podcast and website. I love what she does for indies and her can-do attitude. Unfortunately, I found most of this book not very useful for those of us who are already self-published. There's also a lot of "link" content instead of tips--click here to find out about this, click here to read about that. I know Penn probably wanted to keep things focused but it reads more like a PDF tip sheet than a book.

That said, there are a few tips
J.A. Kahn
This is a brilliant read. Very honest & focused, it is written in a friendly, conversational style as though the author is talking directly to you. The book is full of essential information that every author, especially self-published ones need.
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love Joanna's blog and decided to check out her other writing advice in her books! Listened to the audiobook while I was at work and it's filled with a lot of great ideas. Definitely recommend if you're in the beginning of your writing career and looking how to further diversify your income streams.
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing, business
How to Make a Living with Your Writing is the best book I've read in the last few months concerning making an income from writing. This book is about the business of being an independent author (not vanity self publishing), but it also includes other avenues in writing where money can be earned such as professional blogging, podcasts, freelance writing, consulting, creative your own online classes, public speaking, marketing, and more.

The first portion of the book talks about all the elements
Allan Walsh
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
As the title suggests, this non-fiction book is for writers who want to make a living from their writing.

The Bad Stuff: If you have read other books by Joanna Penn or follow her blog, you will find a fair bit of information you have already come across.

The Good Stuff: The great thing about this book is it is, at time of writing this review, available for free on Amazon. The book is packed with information that is valuable to writers of all levels. In addition to the info Joanna provides, there
How to Make a Living with Your Writint by Joanna Penn is a slim volume with clear, pratical tips and big impact. Penn outlines practical approach to making a living through (Indie) publishing - including multiple streams of income. So far, I've gone through the book twice, and will probably revisit it. I guess the proof in the pudding will be in a few years time ...
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
In this book Joanna tells her success story. She suggests all of the different ways of making money through writing.
I find this book understandable and helpful. Written in a clear language and achievable manner.
C.L. Cannon
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a solid book for beginning writers, but not very helpful for anyone who has been publishing for a while. It does set out some of the statistics which are good for authors to hear to give them a realistic take on the publishing world.
Savanna Roberts
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Short, authentic, and full of helpful hints! Cant wait to try out some of the new marketing strategies Ive learned from this book! ...more
Kylie Day
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Below follows a snippet of the review I originally published on my blog (

This book is split onto two major parts:
Part 1 How to make money from books
Part 2 How to make money online in other ways

In Part 1, Penn goes into the world of publishing. She writes about both traditional publishing and self-publishing. There is more information about self-publishing, which isnt strange since Penn has much experience in self-publishing.

Here she also writes about
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Everybody wants to be a writer. Until they try to become one.

In short, writing itself is a lot of work, and trying to make any money off of it can be like shouting into a void. But that doesn't stop many of us from dreaming. Joanna Penn is one of the few who has turned the dream into a reality, and has written a series of books, as well as her blog and podcasts, full of tips and tricks on how she did so and how you can too.

Of course, the savvy reader can't help but notice that a lot of her
Sally Olson
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
In this book of Joanna Penn's, she emphasizes HOW TO MAKE A LIVING with your writing. In other words, she strives to teach the value of building a scalable writing business. Therefore, you'll find very little information about how to write a book or how to market a book. But, she's a savvy author-preneur and has those topics neatly packed into her other books.

Here, she generously shares her knowledge of publishing (the pros and cons of each option), writing in more than one genre, repurposing
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another tremendous success from Joanna Penn! With excellent narration by Caroline Holroyd (who sounds quite a lot like Joanna). This book is an overview and covers the basics of many topics. But Joanna has many more resources at her website, She must be one of the best podcasters ever for anyone interested in creativity, writing, and self-publishing. Joanna is an inspiration to so many writers, beginning and accomplished. This is extremely helpful guide for both ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-on-writing
Decent advice on the basic ways writers are able to make a living with what they do in the new digital age of publishing. I already knew most of this, so this was more-or-less review for me, but for writers who haven't done a lot of research into this front, this book is a helpful introduction to the subject.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Good).
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very informative and helpful.
Goes through the pros and cons of both traditional and Indie Publishing as well as how to start writing blogs, freelance and podcasts.
Recommend for all new writer's. ♡
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: writing
The first half of this book I thought was useful although I knew a lot of the information already. The second half was more for people who plan to write a book (which I don't) so I skimmed through it.
David Gamble
This was an encouraging and informative little book packed with resources. I read it mostly to encourage myself and it worked. :-)
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Some things I knew, but I really appreciated the questions about the career you want. A great starter book or a refresher for any writer.
Too Blue Scientist
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
What to do when you've already created the content? The book will show you all the practical ways that you can sell it. It's an useful material for indie writers.
Sergey Bir
Feb 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: nervous beginner writers
The business of writing consists of actually writing and all the other stuff like publishing, production, rights management and marketing. Joanna talks about that other stuff. As i've mostly been reading books on the writing process itself this feels quite refreshing to see that some of the problems a writer solves are just regular problems that any other businessman encounters. There is little mystery to these problems and they feel quite solvable. Makes you look at writing as a whole with a ...more
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book for someone considering a career in writing. If youve already made the leap, then one of Joannas other books might be more targeted; this one is for the beginner.

Joanna doesnt just preach how to make money from writing; she lives it. She writes both fiction as J.F. Penn, and non-fiction books like these as Joanna Penn. In a previous life, she was a consultant, and her business background shows through in everything she does to grow her business of writing.

So everything she says is
Amber Morant
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Creative Penn just got better

I've been listening to the Creative Penn for a few months now. She is so positive which is a shock for the books she writes and honestly love her personality. Reading this book it had lots of information and outside resources so we can see her suggestions being used in her own career and points to other resources.
Danielle Donaldson
Sep 28, 2015 rated it liked it
I hate to say it but I didn't learn that much from this book that I haven't already learned from Joanna's podcast. That being said, if you want to learn how to make a living with your writing, BEYOND your books, this book might come in handy for you. If you are interested in content marketing, affiliate programs or doing webinars for people, this might be a good resource.

I'm not interested in that at the moment. Personally, I want to write more books, grow my library and really start making
Don DeBon
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it
While I did find the book useful, it was not as much as I hoped. Much of it felt like a "pep talk" instead of actual instruction. Also some of it could use a bit of an update, but to be fair the landscape of publishing is changing so fast and it is hard for such a book to keep up. Don't get me wrong, there are some real gems of knowledge in there. But it is a bit watered down by all the "pep talk". Some people need that, and if you are one, by all means get this book. Or if you are very new to ...more
Kate M. Colby
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indie-publishing
Joanna Penn has a knack for covering a wide berth of information in clear and concise ways. This book covers the various ways writers can make a living through their craft. If you are new to the idea of making a living through writing or to the writing industry in general, this is a perfect guide for you. However, if you already know your publishing options and other ways to create income streams through writing, reading this book may be a good refresher, but I would advise going straight to ...more
Rasana Atreya
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
When I started to read this book I thought it might not be for me because the author covers a lot of stuff seasoned Indies already know. Part two was where it was completely worth it for me. I loved the author's can-do attitude, I loved that she has so many ideas on how to monetize your skills. If you do even what half of what she suggests, you'll be able to make a pretty good living. Do buy this book. Well worth it for all the practical suggestions she gives you.

Note: I received an advance
Angela Maher
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the best book I've come across so far that discusses how to make money from your writing. It suits someone just starting out, and although not everyone will be interested in everything included, it is a solid, realistic book on what you can do and how you can do it. As with seemingly all books of this kind, there are plenty of references to other books, etc, when it could have included more in-depth advice within this book, but it's a good place to start.
Penfist Penfist
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's short, succinct and packed with ideas. If you're interested in making an income as a self-published author, this one is worth your time. It's geared mostly towards someone who wants several income streams: writing non-fiction, speaking, blogging and podcasting are primary vehicles. If you only want to focus on writing fiction, there are some good ideas here, but the main focus is on diversification in the areas I've mentioned.
S.C. Barrus
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
A fine overview without much depth. I was hoping for a deeper dive into each chapter, but each chapter ends with links to blog posts. While I appreciate the links, one reason I buy books is because I expect them to have all the relevant information on the topics they discuss. This book has many good ideas and resources, but in a vacuum it is not much more than a very long blog post. Time for me to start clicking links.
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Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers writing under the name J.F. Penn. She also writes inspirational non-fiction for authors and is an award-winning creative entrepreneur and international professional speaker. Her site, is regularly voted one of the top 10 sites for writers and self-publishers.

See also Goodreads author's profile as

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