To say the world of publishing has changed in the last 10 years would be an understatement. Laughable, almost. The biggest change being, of course, the state of self-publishing. That term used to come with disdain from "real" writers and the traditional publishing world. It was vanity publishing, really---what you did if you couldn't secure a book deal with a real publisher. Now, self-publishing, better known as indie publishing, has grown into a thriving business where authors have more control and are making more money than ever before. Want proof? See the latest report from Author Earnings. At the forefront of this rise of the indies is Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn. In this interview she shares tips for indie writers and wisdom from her own career.
Also known as thriller writer J.F. Penn, Joanna Penn has been one of the positive and uplifting voices in the indie community, always on the cutting edge of trends. Her podcast, The Creative Penn, is on its way toward 300 episodes and she has sold almost half a million books in 74 countries... as an indie author.
The Creative Penn (Sign up to get your Author 2.0 Blueprint FREE!)
"The most important thing for anyone-- regardless of whether they're an author-- is to decide what is their definition of success."
The Question We Need to Ask: What is going to leave a lasting legacy? Our tweets, Facebook, and podcasts will disappear. But books can make us money for the rest of our lives, plus 70 years past when we die. What can I do today that is going to have a lasting impact?
In this short episode of Create if Writing, I want you to really think about your life. Are you doing what you LOVE?
No, really. Are you doing what you love?
If not, I hope you stop and consider how you can pursue your passion in life.
In episode 18 I got to talk with Darren Rowse of Problogger and this week I'm talking with Demain Farnworth of Copyblogger. I loved this conversation where we talk about being introverts, what unique things we can bring to the table when there ISN'T anything really new, and what drives us crazy about the world we're in right now. You can find Demian at the Rough Draft podcast, The Lede podcast, writing on Copyblogger, writing on his blog The Copybot, and on Twitter.
Here are some of my favorite posts/episodes from Demian:
"I think the internet is particularly built for introverts." <- AGREE!!
Quiet by Susan Cain
How to Move Your Audience from Infatuation to Love - The Lede Podcast
Why Introverts Make Good Writers
Are you an introvert or extrovert? How does that impact (or does it?) your creativity and your work?
How many email subscribers EXACTLY do you need to get a publisher to take notice? Are all traditional publishers at odds with self- and indie- publishers?
In this conversation with Chad R. Allen, we talk traditional vs self-publishing, what numbers matter, and why you should just DO YOUR ART. Chad has been in publishing for over sixteen years and with Baker Books for over thirteen. His site is an incredible resource with posts like:
6 Things for Writers to Remember When an Editor or Agent Says No
Is This Blocking Your Creativity?
8 Essential Tips for Marketing Your Book on Facebook
The Basics of Building a Platform
He also started the Book Proposal Academy, which walks writers through the steps of writing a killer proposal. While he shoots it straight about what publishers are looking for in terms of numbers, he also offers so much hope and has such a passion for urging on creatives in their work. His book, Do Your Art, is a prime example of this. This interview will hopefully give you some concrete goals to work toward and the inspiration to do so!
You can find more great content on his blog and find him on Twitter and Facebook.
At a Glance
The constant in publishing is great content.
Traditional publishers tend to be agnostic about whether books sold are ebooks or physical books.
Traditional publishers tend to not be as threatened by self-publishing because self-publishing provides a viable option for those publishers turn down and can also be a way to grow enough readers to secure a traditional deal.
Platform is more accessible today than ever before.
The "magic number" of email subscribers that will make a publisher interested (in non-fiction) is 10,000.
Email list is the key metric more than Twitter or Facebook or other social media because the email list is a digital asset you own.
Offering your content online through blogs or a free ebook is a way to use your content to grow your list.
A warm list is one that is interactive and interested. Think of those unsubscribes as simply paring down your list to make it warmer.
To find balance in writing and growing your platform, you need to make specific goals and find a plan that is sustainable.
Realize that YOU have things to offer and people are longing for what is uniquely yours.
Why Traditional Publishing Should Kiss Self-Publishing's Feet
Jane Friedman's The Future of Reading and Writing
101 Jon Acuff Quotes from Kevin Kaiser (for inspiration!!)
41 Tips That Put Over 10,000 People on My Email List from Blog Tyrant
My Big Takeaway
I loved the idea of thinking of my list as growing warmer as I have people unsubscribe. Chad's ideas on how to use my current content to grow a warm list also got me thinking about repurposing things that I already have and working on new things. I'm currently trying to find a balance that is sustainable. So far I haven't figured this out, so let me know if you have!!
What I Want to Know from YOU
What are your current goals? And what content might you currently have to offer for free in order to find and grow your audience?
Talking to yourself in an empty room can feel a little odd. Talking to yourself when you are in an empty room knowing that you will be putting a recording of yourself talking feels TOTALLY awkward and strange! In this inaugural episode I am talking about creativity, writing, and the origin of this site and podcast. I am a little weird in that I get excited about writing, but I also LOVE social media and the idea of connecting with people. (That's how I try to think of platform---connecting with people with mutual interests.) Maybe creativity looks like baking. Maybe it looks like coming up with activities for your kids. Maybe it looks like content creation in the blog world or the professional one. Maybe it looks like writing a novel or a song or a devotional book. Whatever your avenue is, I hope this episode encourages you to embrace it!
At a Glance: Confessions & Creativity
What energizes your creativity?
Do you get more excited about the creative side of art-making or the platform-building side?
Sometimes as adults we need validation that creativity and following your dreams is not just okay, but HEALTHY.
We are created to be creative. Whether from the Genesis narrative or not, do you agree?
Resource List (my ever-growing list of helpful links!)
Ted Talks on Creativity
What I Want to Know From YOU
I’m nosy. I want to know all of these things in the comments and I want to know them NOW.
-Whether it's a job, hobby, or something in between, what do you like to create?
-When do you feel most whole and fulfilled in your life?