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 become a full-time author and creative entrepreneur and since then I've grown my business year on year "" all based on my writing. More importantly, I'm finally living the happy life I always wanted.
I'm not a Kindle or blogging millionaire and this is not a get rich quick scheme. But I will share with you how I make a six-figure income from writing books, blogging and marketing in an ethical manner.
We're living in the best time ever to make a living with your writing! Read on to learn more.
The book includes:
Overview of how I make a living and income split
Tips on writing and productivity
Tips on mindset
Part 1: How to make money from books
It's not just one book
Your publishing options: Traditional publishing
Changes in the publishing industry
Your publishing options: Becoming an indie author
How to self-publish an ebook
How to self-publish a print book
How to self-publish an audiobook
Part 2: How to make money online in other ways
A business powered by content marketing
Consulting or coaching
Advertising and sponsorship
Tips for content marketing
The transition and your next steps
Plus/ Companion Workbook so you can answer the questions in the book for yourself.
If you'd like to make a living with your writing, this book will help you take the next steps.
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, TheCreativePenn.com is regularly voted one of the top 10 sites for writers and self-publishers.
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 just beginning their side hustles as writers. Definitely recommend if you're ready to begin working towards a career in writing but just don't know where to begin.
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 here that I highlighted and will use for future use. Useful, but not essential.
J'avais déjà croisé le nom de Joanna Penn en surfant dans les milieux des auteurs indés mais je ne l'avais jamais lue. Merci à Cyril Godefroy pour son travail de traduction, je pense que j'aurais mis plus longtemps à la retrouver sans cet heureux hasard. Le livre est bourré d'informations intéressantes, de liens vers des articles pertinents et surtout de "pep talks", ces discours de motivation à l'américaine qui donnent l'impression d'avoir pris 15 cafés par intraveineuse. C'est une lecture qui fait du bien et qui pousse à se dépasser. À recommander !
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.
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.
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 of becoming an indie author, useful information on how to produce ebooks, paperbacks, and audio books. There is a wealth of information in this short guide. I purchased the ebook which has many useful links to websites (including the author's) and blogs elaborating on what Joanna Penn provides in her own words.
I hope to read all of Joanna Penn's nonfiction books on becoming an author-entrepreneur to help me in my journey in that direction. I look at her YouTube channel sometimes, and she has a warm personality. At the end of this book she even offers her email address for assistance to aspiring indie authors-entrepreneurs.
Joanna Penn's Facebook, Twitter, websites, and YouTube pages:
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 are also a number of useful links. And did I mention it's free? For the price I would recommend all writers grab a copy and have a read, even if you only take one thing away from it, it will have been worth it.
Overall, even though this book repeats information I've already sourced, I enjoyed the book and its contents. It provides valuable information and is easy to read and understand. Based on a combination of its monetary and content value, I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 golden bookmarks.
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 ...
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.
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.
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 isn’t strange since Penn has much experience in self-publishing.
Here she also writes about turning one manuscript into several editions — ebook, print book, and audiobook — and multiplying them by the number of countries and territories, as well as languages, you can publish in to maximize your income. She also shares how to self-publish ebooks, print books, and audiobooks, which are three chapters filled with great tips and advice.
In Part 2, Penn shares how to make money online, in ways such as product sales, affiliate income, sponsorship, professional speaking, and more. Once again she gives you great tips and advice.
Also, at the beginning of the book there is a link to a workbook you can download in which the questions from the book are compiled. This workbook is a great resource where (if you print it out) you can write down your answers to the questions and really think about where you want to go with your writing. I believe using this workbook helps you identify what you want and need to do, what your goals are, and what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals.
How to Make a Living with your Writing is short, tightly focused, and filled with great tips and advice (just the kind of non-fiction book I love). Penn has an upbeat and inspiring written voice, which is great when you, as a reader, feel that the topic of the book is quite daunting (I think all beginners in this industry feels that publishing your work and trying to make a living from it is daunting). But I wouldn’t expect any less from Penn since all of her non-fiction books have this kind of friendly and inspiring voices.
I believe that one of the best things about this book is that it really makes you think about what you want to achieve with your writing and what kind of future you want. Some may believe it’s unnecessary to think about dreams and goals when you should be writing. But if you don’t have concrete goals on how to achieve the life you want to have in a couple of years or so, I don’t think you will get there any time soon.
I believe How to Make a Living with your Writing is the perfect book for someone who considers taking the leap into the world of writing and publishing and doesn’t know all too much about this. It’s also a great resource for those who want to take their writing more seriously and want to make it a full-time career. However, if you’ve already progressed some way into your career as a writer — if you know your publishing options and how to create multiple streams of income — you may want to consider reading Penn’s Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur instead (here you can read my review of Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur). How to Make a Living with your Writing may be a great refresher, but I would advice the more seasoned author to read Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur instead.
If you are a beginner in the world of writing and publishing, however, I would recommend that you read How to Make a Living with Your Writing before you read Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur. And if you are a beginner, I really recommend that you read How to Make a Living with your Writing. It’s worth every penny.
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 success as an author seems to be driven by her success at selling self-help books on how to be successful as an author. But that is part of her point: she has, through hard work and excellent marketing and strategizing, created a virtuous circle in which she makes money from writing books about making money from writing books. She found an ever-popular genre and started contributing high-quality products to it that were strategically advertised and linked to each other. (She also writes fiction, which she says in this book creates about 50% of her income). In this book she breaks down some of the basic possibilities and processes for becoming an self-employed author-entrepreneur.
And that's the first of her "First Principles": think of yourself as an entrepreneur who "creates value from ideas." She also has a short but enlightening section on "creating scalable income": that is, things that "you create once and sell over and over again." As she points out, the beauty of creative work like writing is that you put in the time to create something once, and then have the possibility of selling it for as long as you want to keep doing so. These two concepts are extremely useful for authors who want to turn pro.
The book also has helpful ideas on deciding what kind of writing you want to do, how to define what "success" means to you, how to shift from working a regular job to writing, and how to be productive as a writer. It's a bit of a grab-bag of ideas, touching lightly on all the basics, and a great resource for people casting around for inspiration or ideas on how to start writing as well as how to start making money from your writing, although not super in-depth.
I read it after seeing a webinar with Penn, and she is persuasive and encouraging as both a speaker and a writer. Reading or hearing her will make you feel like you CAN do this, and give you a few pointers for how to get started. The book is very easy and quick to read, positive, and has links to plenty of other resources. Many of those resources are Penn's own other publications, which is where some readers might get a little turned off. The book IS well-written, informative, and engaging, and is probably worth the $4.99 price for aspiring professional authors, if nothing else than for the confidence boost it will give you. It's also...what do you call it...content marketing is the term, I believe. It's designed to market Penn's books and services as well as teach you how to create and market your own, making it an immediate example of how to do what she's showing you what to. Like I said, this may put some readers off, but those may be the readers who need the lessons the book has to offer the most. Like it or not, making a living out of writing means treating it like a business. Overall, a helpful, easy-to-read, and inspiring introduction to the topic that will leave you feeling good about yourself and your chances.
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 content, pricing, and the importance of writing a book, and another, and another,...and another. And what about collaborating with other authors? She covers that, too.
She briefly touches on blogging as content marketing and platform building, as well as freelance writing. Joanna shares her insights and tips for both.
What I love about this book is her no-fear attitude toward writing in more than one genre and under more than one name. I also learned something new about print on-demand and the value of selling into as many countries as is feasible.
There's downloadable workbook that accompanies the ebook and is also for sale in hardcopy on Amazon.
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, http://thecreativepenn.com. 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 fiction and nonfiction authors, and it offers already published authors many ways to increase revenue through diverse channels.
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.
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 down to earth sober look and relax a bit.
Obviously this is for writers. Either you are looking to make that novel grand with the help of a publishing house or you figured out that you can control all the aspects through digital print. If the second is your choice, this is the book to read. I won't go into details because this is not a review meant for a huge audience. We are writers and books like these target us. So if you are determined to digitally publish you book, pick this one up for a few dollars. You will learn easier methods to making your dreams come true. Below you will find the topics that stuck out to me.
Annotations from Kindle: p.05) 50% fiction and nonfiction book sales, including ebooks, print and audiobooks sold on multiple platforms so I am not dependent on one company for income. p.08) With scalable income, you create once and you sell over and over again. Your time is spent once but the income from time can continue for many years. p.08) I changed the balance over a number of years. In 2007 when I started writing books, my scalable income was 0% because I had a day job. I spent nearly four years writing while I worked at my day job, steadily growing my number of books and products, altering my percentage split over time. p.10) This is not a writing craft book but it’s important to mention productivity-how you actually produce your books-because this is the crux of it. You can’t make a living from your writing if you’re not actually writing. p.10) In my first four years of writing books and blogging, I also had a demanding day job as an IT consultant. Because I was drained by the end of the day, I would get up at 5am and write before going to work and also set aside a bigger chunk of time to write on the weekends. p.15) The other tool I couldn’t do without is Scrivener software. I use it to plot and roughly outline as well as write, organize and manage my books. I also use the Compile option to create ebook files for Kindle and ePub formats. It’s incredibly powerful software. N) Scrivener takes a learning curve to enjoy all the features. But with time it does have almost everything you need for project management of your story. p.16) Understand First Draft Writing VS Editing/Redrafting: Words do not stream from a writer’s fingertips perfectly in order, each word exactly as it will be in the final draft. Writers will usually create a first draft, a splurge of words and ideas that definitely will NOT be seen by others. They will then spend time rewriting, editing and polishing until the manuscript is ready for public consumption. p.18) So many writers get obsessed over their first book, spending years writing, editing and polishing it without moving onto the next. We all have self-doubt, we all suffer from fear of failure, fear of judgment. That never stops, even for most experienced writers. The best thing to do is to write that book, then write another, then another, then another. Work with a professional editor on every book, learning from their experience. Read loads and loads and learn from other writers. Practice technique as you write, focusing on different aspects per book. Also, relax into it and have fun. I used to take myself so seriously, but these days, I try to bring joy into my writing. p.19) No one can give you the exact specifications of how to do everything. You can read this book and many others but at some point you have to just get on with it. It’s also much easier to learn by doing rather than reading. Play around with the publishing sites, with Wordpress, with social media. Don’t take it all so seriously. Don’t be afraid to experiment and take risks. p.27) You can sell ebooks on the biggest stores: Kindle, iBooks, Kobo and Nook. But you can also sell on Smashwords, Oyster, and Scribd, Flipkart and Tolino and lots of other places, with more emerging every day as digital reading spreads. p.28) Your Publishing Options: Traditional Publishing This page and more following provide information on pros and cons of going this route. p.50) The research is part of the game these days: You can research by typing ideas into the Amazon search bar and seeing what the drop down shows. The keywords phrases displayed there are the most popular searches. p.51) Check out her cover artists at thecreativepenn.com/bookcoverdesign p.51) Write your sales description: There are many aspects to a good sales description and one way to get into the mood for writing one is to look at 10-15 top selling books in your genre. Copy out the sales descriptions for each. What do you like? What resonates? What words do they use? Model your own on those. For fiction, check out Libbie Hawker’s book, Gotta read it: 5 simple steps to a fiction pitch that sells. p.52) Format your Book: You need to have a mobi. File for Kindle and an epub. File for the other platforms but don’t let technicalities put you off. There are a number of options for ebook formatting. N) since you are trying to make money, do it yourself. You can do this on Scrivener Compile or even create an epub version on Kindle Create and then convert it using Calibre books management. p.53) Publish Your ebook: Do directly to the retailers: I use Amazon KDP for Kindle, Kobo Writing Life and iTunes Connect for iBooks. Use an aggregator like Smashwords, Draft2Digital or Bookbaby. You can use one of these sites to distribute to all of the stores, which will cut down on the number of platforms you have to monitor and make changes to. I used to use NookPress but it went wrong so often that I now use D2D. p.57) Print on demand: When a book is ordered, one copy is printed and sent directly to the customer. No paying upfront for print copies. No holding stock. No post office runs. This is completely free on Amazon. p.66) How to actually make money with books: Write more books: this might be obvious, but it’s amazing how many authors assume that they can make a good living from just a couple, or even just one book. But look at every other business out there. Does any retailer base their business on a small number of products? Does any publisher base their income on just a couple of books? If you look at the top earning authors in the world, they generally have huge numbers of books. The more books you have, the more you will sell. And, of course, as you write more books, you will also become a better writer. p.78) Author platform: it’s basically a way for you to be able to contact customers, whether by email list, a blog, podcast or subscribers on social media. If you have a website, open it up and look at it as if you arrived for the first time. Is there a way to subscribe to your email list? Is there a clear enticement to do so, using something of value that the customer actually wants? Is there a shop or a books link or a store or a buy button? What do you want the customer to do next? p.101) Understand the WHY behind what you’re doing: Many people will start a blog, a podcast, a video channel or a social media account and later will question how they can “monetize” it. If you start by considering the following questions, it will help you later on: Who do you want to attract? How can you educate/inspire/entertain them? What do you want them to DO next-subscribe to your email list or buy a product? How does this contribute to your making a living or your other definition of success? Is there a point? p.102) Model Others: This is how everyone starts out! Subscribe to blogs/ podcasts/ vids you like, decide what style and topics you like, work out how they engage an audience, how they monetize, and what you like or dislike about what they do. Then figure out how all this fits with what you’re doing. Write your ideas down and let new ideas spark from there. N) This is how the great artist rose back in the day. They worked on mimicking the works of their masters and then they developed something of their own. p.111) Stop Procrastinating and Take Action: I had an email the other day from a lady I met back in Australia. We both did the ‘Year of the Novel’ course at Queensland Library in Brisbane in 2010. I was working on Stone of Fire, titled Pentecost at the time, and she was working on her first novel. In this email, she noted that she was still working on that first book, while I was now working on book number 14. She wondered how I had managed to achieve so much in so little time.
p.111) We Get What We Focus On: The difference is that I want this. I’m driven to become a better writer every day, to put out books that will entertain, educate and inspire. I put words on the page every day and commit to this as my career, my hobby, my passion and my life. If you feel the same way, and you’re willing to put in the time, you CAN make a living with your writing. It’s your turn. Now go write! END
Excellent book for someone considering a career in writing. If you’ve already made the leap, then one of Joanna’s other books might be more targeted; this one is for the beginner.
Joanna doesn’t 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 worth listening to; every author will get something from what she suggests. And the key point about this book is that she is giving you actionable advice, not high-level concepts.
Some of the most important ideas in the book are shared in the Overview at the beginning where Joanna shares her general principles and way of working. I found this fascinating.
In Part 1, she talks about how to publish a book and make money from it; in Part 2, she goes through other ways to enhance your income from your writing, your blogging, your website.
The book is filled with useful links for other great online resources. It’s a short tightly focused book and it’s worth every penny; if you are thinking about making a living from writing books, buy this book.
Disclosure: I was given a review copy of this book
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.
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 money from my fiction. Doing webinars, affiliate marketing, etc feels too much like my old day job of selling stuff. It's not something I'm passionate or even remotely interested in at the moment.
Maybe in a few years, I would feel like doing these things, but by then, this book will probably be outdated. I was a little disappointed because I was hoping to really learn something, but I kinda of breezed through it because I wasn't interested.
Trummipõrin, fanfaarid ja katkematu aplaus. Ma lugesin viimaks ometi läbi esimese e-raamatu! Tegu on raamatuga, mida ma isegi oleksin valmis ostma (kui see tasuta juba kättesaadav poleks) aga kindlasti uurin ma veel täpsemalt, mida Penn pakub ja täitsa võimalik, et toetan teda mõnda muud teost ostes. Miks? Sest see raamat oli lihtsalt nii täppi. Seal oli mitmeid kohti, kus ma noogutasin kaasa "Täpselt nii!" ja mitmeid kohti, mis sundis (mõttelisse) peeglisse vaatama ja nentima, et ma ilmselgelt ei tee piisavalt, et kirjutamisest saakski mu töö. Muidugi on ka see ränk töö, et selleni jõuda aga ei peagi ju kõike kohe ja nüüd tegema hakkama. Mina plaanin sealt valida, mida mul momendil vaja on ja milleks mul momendil ressurssi on. Aga tulevikus... vot tulevikus veel me näeme mida huvitavat tulema hakkab. Ja kunagi ma kavatsengi jõuda sinna, kus vähemalt 50% mu sissetulekust on seotud raamatute ja lugude kirjutamisega. Aga ma igaks juhuks tähtaega ei hakka välja kuulutama.
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 indie publishing. If you have published and have a vague idea what you are doing, there are better resources out there.