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The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer's Journey

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  618 ratings  ·  148 reviews
Being a writer is not just about typing.

It's also about surviving the roller-coaster of the creative journey.

Self-doubt, fear of failure, the need for validation, perfectionism, writer's block, comparisonitis, overwhelm, and much more. When you're going through these things, it can feel like you're alone. But actually, they are part of the creative process, and every autho
Kindle Edition, 164 pages
Published June 29th 2016 by The Creative Penn Limited
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Emma Sea
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Someone please tell me that I am worth something. "

I needed this book like oxygen last year. Please, Joanna Penn, go back in time and write it in 2014. If you're starting out, read it now and save yourself blood, tears, pain, more tears, frustration, anger, and self-hate.
Kate M. Colby
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indie-publishing
I went into this book thinking that I wouldn't get much out of it. After all, I have been through my tormented "aspiring writer" phase and come out the other side a proud, independently published author. Sure, I'm still plagued by insecurity and doubt, but how much help could a glorified pep talk really be – even from someone I respect as much as Joanna Penn?

Oh, how wrong I was.

The Successful Author Mindset should be required reading material for all writers, no matter the stage in their journey
Amy Norris
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this quickly, all in one sitting. I found it very helpful compared to a lot of writing focused books out there. The author was direct and honest, making point clear and succinctly.

This book does not go into the techniques or structuring of writing but rather the mindset you need to have to be successful. I highly recommend this for anyone interested on the topic.
Feb 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star, writing
January 14, 2021

I just finished my reread and highlighted 99 things. I mean, it's a lot, but next time I only need to read these 99 things. And most of them are quotes, so any time I need motivation, I know where to go for it.

January 12, 2021

No new information for me, but it's nice they are collected in one place. Probably will reread/listen it multiple times in the future.
M.G. Camacho
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Part 1: From The Book Cover

Being a writer is not just about typing. It’s also about surviving the roller-coaster of the creative journey.

Self-doubt, fear of failure, the need for validation, perfectionism, writer’s block, comparisonitis, overwhelm, and much more. When you’re going through these things, it can feel like you’re alone. But actually, they are part of the creative process, and every author goes through t
Gillian Kevern
I'm a big fan of Joanna Penn's, following her Creative Penn podcast and having read most of her author help books. A lot of the advice in this book, I felt like I'd heard before from her--and it was still five stars. It was so exactly what I needed to hear at the time I read the book that it really boosted my mood and productivity, and I'm sure that this will be a resource I return to many, many times.

ETA: How funny! Almost a year later, I reread this and found it just as useful, if not more use
Sophie Gabrielle
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you’re a writer, you should read this and save your goddamn life.
Tara Brabazon
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Penn writes very well, which is appropriate. She explores habits that enable a professional writing career.

Of particular value was her blockages and challenges of confidence. She confirms how debilitating it is to compare yourself as a writer to others.

Short. Pithy. Interesting. Recommended.
Bettina Melher
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a MUST-READ book. If you’re wondering whether you should get it or not, please just do yourself a favour and buy it. You won’t regret it. I bought the paperback version so it’s easier for me to go back and revisit the parts that resonated the most with me (and there’s A LOT). Thank you, Joanna Penn for this excellent book.
I also highly recommend Joanna Penn’s podcast, ‘The Creative Penn’.
Savanna Roberts
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
So satisfying to have that reminder that everything you feel as a creative (not just as a writer!) is validated and felt by every single other creative in the world.
Sep 03, 2020 rated it liked it
The Successful Author Mindset discusses some common author pitfalls, like imposter syndrome, the dip after publication, and self-doubt. This book is part motivational speech, part commiseration. While it seems like it would be reasonably helpful to some people (as the high ratings indicate) I found the 'antidotes' rather shallow. After reading a book like Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living I'm aware of just how deep author's insecurities can run, and I wonder if a two-paragr ...more
Katie Clark
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book as a birthday present and really enjoyed it. There are so many quotes that I feel the need to plaster on the wall with the standout one by the author herself being "We are all complex creatures and our work is merely one aspect of our character at a specific point in time." I would recommend this read if a writer needs a little reassurance or grounding! I feel as if Joanna is writing directly to authors and giving them permission to write, reminding them to push the negativi ...more
Zoe Ashwood
This book is great because it focuses on the psychological aspects of writing and being an author - just what I needed at this point of my journey!
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it

Creative Writing..

This book was short, to the point, helpful and centers around the author, Joanna , and her quest of being a writer.

The story line covers tips on writing as a profession, emotions, genres, and more, making it a helpful and inspiring overall.

Caroline Holroyd did well with the narration.

"This audio book was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review."

Laurie Evans
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Joanna Penn's nonfiction books. This book was very inspirational. Joanna always has a positive, helpful attitude. Great sections about self-doubt, perfectionism, and beating procrastination. The book is very organized and nicely formatted. It was a pleasure to read. I highly recommend Joanna's nonfiction books for indie writers, especially new indie writers. ...more
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great book for anyone struggling at any stage of their publishing journey.
Scott Allan
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bestselling Author Joanna Penn has written a book that helps writers develop the necessary mindset for becoming successful at their craft. As she discusses in this book, it isn’t the skill of writing that one has to master but dealing with the mental and emotional aspects of the writing business.

Joanna hits on all the right topics that kill a writer’s confidence, break his or her self-esteem, and can hold would-be writers back from achieving success as a published author.

Writer’s go through a lo
Sumi Singh
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A writer is not only a writer in today's times. They must write, edit, design a book cover, write a blurb, market their books, self-publish their books, the list goes on and on. They send their book baby away and await reviews from readers who've never read their work before. If a writer's main aim is to make money out of their writing, they have a long wait!

This book breaks it down on what it takes to be a writer. That means writing every day whether the writer's in the mood or not. Ideas are e
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book — the best of its kind that I’ve ever found. I’ve read a lot of books of this type and they are usually so-so: platitudes and pep-talk. But this one is really different! Penn offers a wealth of very practical strategies to allay fears and misgivings, bolster courage and determination, draw on available resources, and most important, make a commitment to living creatively now. Joanna Penn is also one of the most generous writers I’ve ever come across, sharing everything s ...more
T.H. Hernandez
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is full of helpful advice on how to be a writer, everything from handling self-doubt and rejections to finding your tribe. Peppered with quotes from successful authors as well as the author's own journey, not everything will apply to every writer. I found myself skimming many portions of the book, but I suspect that's the author's intent -- find the pieces that you can relate to and devour them, but move on if it doesn't apply to you. I found much that did apply to me though and I high ...more
Cameron Quinn
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I've had the ebook since it came out and recently purchased the print copy. I flip through it anytime I need a mental boost. Joanna has been clearly been there when it comes to writing. She offers advice, tips, and reminds us why we do what we do. This is a book every writer should have on their bedside table. ...more
Shahd Thani
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved reading this

This was such a kind and compassionate read. It felt like having conversations with your writing mentor. It was realistic without being discouraging. The audio book was really great. I subscribed to the podcast
Nele Nikolaisen
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love Joanna Penns books on pretty much everything related to 'How to author'. It's a good, quick read with a lot of inspiring quotes and helpful real-life-tips. Would recommend! ...more
Kory Shrum
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great book for sorting out your prospective. Half the work of being a writer (perhaps more than half) is getting things sorted in your head first. This helps.
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this via the audiobook edition and look forward now to going back to my ebook edition to read in more detail. Joanna Penn has been a fabulous inspiration and support in my life in thinking about writing and self-publishing. This book on successful author mindset was a refreshing look into what it's actually like to get writing done, the mindset required and the challenges. As I start to work on first drafts of my writing, it was like a balm and helped me realise that the hard work is actu ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is essentially a list of common mindset issues that plague writers at the various stages from just starting to write to getting ready to publish to publishing and moving on to the next book. It's a nice little book, and not necessarily meant to be read linearly, which I kind of appreciated but then also thought it could have been better. What I mean is, it's a nice idea that a writer could just pick this up and flip to whatever mindset issue she is struggling with to get some insight and co ...more
Tracy Stanley
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved The Successful Author Mindset and would recommend it for both experienced and aspiring authors.

She reminded me of how powerful the act of writing is and that authors get better over time. We all get better over time. So create a habit of writing every day and schedule writing time in your diary months in advance.

As authors we should create our assets, i.e. books, e-books, audibles and scale them through translation, film rights and gaming. Books and related products can now be sold in 19
C.J. Darlington
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-how-to
Anymore, I'm realizing so many struggles and challenges we face in life are all in our minds. The writing life is no exception. How we think is so important and can change the course of our lives. How do we gauge our worth? So many writers have this all mixed up, myself included. We think if one of our books hasn't sold X amount, then we've failed. But what if we looked at things differently? Joanna asks us, Do we judge those in the visual arts a failure if their first couple paintings aren't ma ...more
Karen Towle
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: margaret-s-shelf
Margaret asked me to find this book for her - after she read it, she recommended it to me. I was surprised to find it relevant to more than just writing - the mindset discussions were short, clear, and focused...applicable to a broader audience. I appreciated the small bites (vs. lengthy analysis) - this is a book that fits in a purse & fills those moments spent waiting in the car for the kids, etc. I also loved the extensive bibliography - I'd have bought the book just to get the bib!

Margaret h
Braylee Parkinson
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another great offering from Joanna Penn! I love the candid look into her writing journey, and the examples of bestselling authors who still feel doubt even though they are successful writers. No matter how successful an author becomes, someone is not going to like what they're putting out, negative reviews will be posted, and they will have to learn how to deal with criticism. In the end, Ms. Penn encourages writers to write, get a good editor, and publish their work. These seem like straightfor ...more
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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 J.F

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