200 episodes

Information, inspiration and interviews on writing, self-publishing, book marketing and making a living with your writing.

If you need help with writing your book, or you want to learn how to navigate the new world of publishing and book marketing, then join Joanna Penn and her guests every Monday. Also covers the business of being a writer and how to make money with your books.

The Creative Penn Podcast For Writers Joanna Penn

    • Books
    • 4.9, 90 Ratings

Information, inspiration and interviews on writing, self-publishing, book marketing and making a living with your writing.

If you need help with writing your book, or you want to learn how to navigate the new world of publishing and book marketing, then join Joanna Penn and her guests every Monday. Also covers the business of being a writer and how to make money with your books.

    How To Write Memoir With Marion Roach Smith

    How To Write Memoir With Marion Roach Smith

    “Write something universal as illustrated by a deeply personal tale.” This advice is true regardless of the genre we write, and in this interview, Marion Roach Smith explains how we can dig deep into our truth and experience to write memoir, plus how she has created a business around a book, and a podcast around curiosity.



    In the introduction, I talk about how the pandemic impacts our energy levels and how online business is changing, and how that might impact us as authors. Business Insider reports that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai, Apple's Tim Cook, and Amazon's Jeff Bezos will all testify before Congress in an antitrust hearing in late July. What are the potential impacts for authors?

    Publisher Rocket now has a useful feature for discovering categories for your books. Dave Chesson talks about the new functionality and more on the Writers Ink Podcast last week.

    Plus, join me and Nick Stephenson for a webinar on how to grow your book sales to $1000 a month — or add to your existing sales. We'll be going through how to build your email list and convert that traffic into sales, plus tips for revisiting the basics of your author platform + some more advanced tips for taking sales to the next level. Thurs 16 July at 3 pm US Eastern / 8 pm UK. Click here to register for your free place and also receive the replay if you can't join us live.



    Today's show is sponsored by Draft2Digital, where you can get free ebook formatting, free distribution to multiple stores, and a host of other benefits. Get your free Author Marketing Guide at www.draft2digital.com/penn



    Marion Roach Smith is an author, memoir coach, and teacher of memoir writing. She has online courses on writing memoir. Her books include The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life.

    You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.

    Show Notes



    * The difference between memoir and autobiography

    * Why memoir is an argument-driven genre

    * Where to draw the line between therapy and memoir

    * Tips for skillfully writing about other people

    * How memory works in memoir

    * What does research look like for memoir?

    * How to we ensure people care about our memoir?

    * Being brave when marketing books

    * Why podcasting is so powerful



    You can find Marion Roach Smith at MarionRoach.com and on Twitter @mroachsmith. You can check out her QWERTY Podcast on your favorite podcast a...

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Building A Creative Business For The Long Term With Natalie Sisson

    Building A Creative Business For The Long Term With Natalie Sisson

    Writing is a life-long practice, and for many of us, a long-term career. But how can you continue to thrive in a creative business while still changing over time? In this interview, I talk to entrepreneur Natalie Sisson about how she pivoted her brand after a change in lifestyle and how books play just one part in her non-fiction business.



    In the intro, the latest Audio Publishers Association report on 8 years of double-digit audiobook growth, plus insights from Bookwire's audiobook conference [Publishing Perspectives] and an AI lead in a $70m sci-fi movie [Fast Company].

    Plus, join me and Nick Stephenson for a webinar on how to grow your book sales to $1000 a month — or add to your existing sales. We'll be going through how to build your email list and convert that traffic into sales, plus tips for revisiting the basics of your author platform + some more advanced tips for taking sales to the next level. Thurs 16 July at 3 pm US Eastern / 8 pm UK. Click here to register for your free place and also receive the replay if you can't join us live.



    Today's show is sponsored by Your Author Business Plan, my mini-course on how to reboot your author career. One student, Rachel, says, “Just completed Your Author Business Plan. I literally *gasped* as I wrote my business summary. So many aha moments. The course helped me understand where I am now as an author and where I want to be.” Just US$99. Click here to learn more.



    Natalie Sisson is a New Zealand entrepreneur, author, speaker, host of the Untapped Podcast, and triathlete. Her books include The Suitcase Entrepreneur and The Freedom Plan: Redesign Your Business to Work Less, Earn More and Be Free.

    You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript below.

    Show Notes



    * Knowing when to go from blog posts to book

    * Writing from scratch, even with blog content available

    * Books as part of a business ecosystem, but not the whole thing

    * Making sure our revenue streams align with one another

    * Is the blogging movement dead?

    * Streamlining and doing more of what you love

    * The importance of ‘massive clarity’

    * Will there be shifts in how we do business as we come out of the pandemic?

    * Running a global online business that is not US-centric

    • 56 min
    How To Develop Bestselling Story Ideas With JD Barker

    How To Develop Bestselling Story Ideas With JD Barker

    Do you aspire to write better stories? Do you have the ambition to aim for a career that rivals the biggest names in publishing? Today's interview with JD Barker will inspire you and give you some great tips around writing bestselling stories and building a long-term career.



    In the introduction, James Daunt of Waterstones and Barnes & Noble talks about the impact of the pandemic and a possible revival in Nook [The Bookseller], the newly-formed Black Writers Guild calls for sweeping change in UK publishing [The Guardian], Smashwords CEO Mark Coker does a round-up of the impact of the pandemic for indie authors [Smashwords blog], I'm doing a Facebook Live this week, Fri 26 June at 5 pm UK / 12 noon US Eastern on Facebook.com/thecreativepenn. 



    Today's show is sponsored by my patrons, those wonderful people who support the show with a few dollars a month. Knowing that you enjoy the show and still find it useful keeps me coming back to the mic every week after all these years! If you'd like to support the show and get an extra Q&A audio every month (as well as the backlist), go to www.Patreon.com/thecreativepenn



    JD Barker is an award-winning and international bestselling author of thrillers and horror. He is also the co-host of the Writers, Ink Podcast with J. Thorn.

    You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript below.

    Show Notes



    * Starting out working as a book doctor

    * Getting career advice from Dean Koontz and co-writing with James Patterson

    * How to successfully write cross-genre

    * Choosing strong ideas and improving a story before it’s written – Writers Ink episode.

    * On approaching our heroes

    * The current state of the publishing industry

    * On the business of selling books

    * What trad publishers are looking for in book length and how our attention spans are changing

    * The importance of grabbing a reader right off the bat

    * Using new, untested platforms to market books



    You can find JD Barker at JDBarker.com, on Patreon and on Twitter @jdbarker



    Transcript of Interview with JD Barker

    Joanna: JD Barker is an award-winning and international bestselling author of thrillers and horror. He is also the co-host of the Writers, Ink Podcast with J. Thorn. Welcome JD.

    JD: Hey Joanna. How are you doing?

    Joanna: I am good. I'm thrilled to have you on the show.

    Tell us a bit more about you and how you got into writing.

    JD: That's actually a pretty long story. So I'll go back all the way to the beginning.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Writing Tips: How To Self-Edit Your Novel With Kris Spisak

    Writing Tips: How To Self-Edit Your Novel With Kris Spisak

    Writing a first draft is only the initial step in the journey to creating a novel. The next step is editing, and in this interview, Kris Spisak talks about the different kinds of editing, as well as tips for your self-editing process. Plus, I share my insights from my latest edit on Map of the Impossible.



    In the introduction, Apple discontinues iBooks Author [MacRumors] but remember, they have the new Authors.Apple.com, a portal to all things publishing on Apple; #publishingpaidme trended on Twitter and the amounts are listed in this spreadsheet; Written Word Media survey on How Readers Pick What to Read Next; Everything you need to know about pre-orders on the 6-Figure Author Podcast.

    Today's show is sponsored by ProWritingAid, writing and editing software that goes way beyond just grammar and typo checking. With its detailed reports on how to improve your writing and integration with Scrivener, ProWritingAid will help you improve your book before you send it to an editor, agent or publisher. Check it out for free or get 25% off the premium edition at www.ProWritingAid.com/joanna



    Kris Spisak is a nonfiction author, an editor, podcaster, and international speaker. Today, we're talking about The Novel Editing Workbook, 105 Tricks & Tips for Revising Your Fiction Manuscript.

    You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript is below.

    Show Notes



    * What editing really is and the three levels of editing

    * Tips for making sure your story hangs together properly

    * Tools for organizing your story

    * Writing scenes that are page-turners

    * Tips for writing compelling characters

    * Adding sensory detail to pull readers into the book

    * Tips for writing effective dialogue

    * Common writing issues to watch out for

    * The editing an author can do themselves, and when they need professional assistance



    You can find Kris Spisak at Kris-Spisak.com and on Twitter @KrisSpisak

    If you need more help, you can find my list of editors and proofreaders here, and also my tutorial on how to find and work with a professional editor here.



    Transcript of Interview with Kris Spisak

    Joanna: Kris Spisak is a nonfiction author, an editor, podcaster, and international speaker. Today, we're talking about The Novel E...

    • 57 min
    Creativity, Artificial Intelligence, And Time Off With Max Frenzel

    Creativity, Artificial Intelligence, And Time Off With Max Frenzel

    As writers, we use tools every day — from the laptop we write on, to the internet we research with, and the social media sites we use to reach readers. We are used to using digital tools to enhance our author life, but could we really work with artificial intelligence to push our creativity to new levels? I talk to Max Frenzel about AI in today's interview.



    In the intro, Bookshop's anti-racist reading list; US bookstores support the protests [Publishers weekly]; and UK initiatives [The Bookseller], Dr. Isioma Okolo's video [Dr. Isi and Rod]; FindawayVoices launches AuthorsDirect; Join the Virtual Thrillerfest if you want to write better thrillers; US Patent Office rules that AI cannot be recognized as an inventor [BBC]; Microsoft lays off human journalists in order to use AI [The Verge]; Natural language model GPT3 released [Venture Beat]; Using AI as a creative tool, Australia won the first AI Eurovision song contest [The Verge];  Race and technology [VentureBeat]; 



    Do you need help with marketing, publicity or advertising? Find a curated list of vetted professionals at the Reedsy marketplace, along with free training on writing, self-publishing and book marketing. Check it out at: www.TheCreativePenn.com/reedsy



    Max Frenzel has a Ph.D. in physics and is now an AI researcher on computational creativity in Japan focusing on the creative applications of AI in art, design, and music, as well as how AI will shape the future of work. He's also an author and his latest co-written book is Time Off: A Practical Guide to Building Your Rest Ethic and Finding Success Without the Stress.

    You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript is below.

    Show Notes



    * What AI is capable of doing right now in writing and creativity

    • 1 hr 6 min
    How To Take Your Author Career To The Next Level With Mark Dawson

    How To Take Your Author Career To The Next Level With Mark Dawson

    Are you ready to take your author career to the next level? In this wide-ranging interview, Mark Dawson gives tips on how to level up your books, your email list, and your advertising.



    In the intro, good news on book sales from New Zealand post-lockdown [The Guardian], why Joe Rogan's podcast deal with Spotify is such a big deal [BBC], and my ad stacking approach for Map of Shadows.



    Today's show is sponsored by Draft2Digital, where you can get free ebook formatting, free distribution to multiple stores, and a host of other benefits. Get your free Author Marketing Guide at www.draft2digital.com/penn



    Mark Dawson is the award-winning internationally best-selling author of the John Milton Thriller Series, with over a million books sold, as well as many other books. He runs training courses for authors at Self Publishing Formula and he's also the co-host of The Self Publishing Show.

    You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.

    Show Notes



    * Publishing strategies for new authors

    * Why advertising is getting easier

    * Mark’s writing process

    * Switching genres and tips for launching in a new genre

    * Why book covers must tell the reader what to expect inside the book

    * The intricacies of autoresponder email sequences

    * Tools to track marketing plans and projects

    * Advertising tips for authors who publish wide

    * How to calculate read-through wth a free first-in-series



    You can find Mark Dawson at MarkJDawson.com and on Twitter @pbackwriter



    Transcript of Interview with Mark Dawson

    Joanna: Mark Dawson is the award-winning, internationally best-selling author of the John Milton Thriller Series, with over a million books sold, as well as many other books. He runs training courses for authors at Self Publishing Formula and he's also the co-host of ‘The Self Publishing Show.' Welcome back, Mark.

    Mark: Hello, Jo. Good to be back. Is this the fourth time?

    Joanna: Oh, I don't even know, you're just a regular. So that was actually my first question. Let's assume it's been a year.

    What is new with you? Any comment on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic?

    Mark: We could do an hour talking about what's new basically. The virus has been challenging for me as it has for everybody really. But then at the same time, because I haven't been able to write quite as much because I've got two little kids, and at least for the last two months…and it's been a bit different this week.

    For the last couple of months, I've been homeschooling with my wife. So that has meant that I've been getting up about 5:00 most days and writing, or working really for a couple of hours until 7:00 or 7:30. And then that's been because I've had to go into...

    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
90 Ratings

90 Ratings

Pastures13 ,

Excellent show!

I have been listening to this for almost two years. It is fantastic resource and I look forward to the episode, even when they are not about my genre. Great guest appearances too. Highly recommended.

Emmadhesi ,

A One-Stop Shop for indies!

I am a huge fan of this podcast and have been listening for about 3 years now. One of my favourite segments is her round up of what's happening in book news. She keeps me informed about what's going on and I really appreciate that.

She has really interesting guests and always finds a new angle from which to explore the publishing world.

She's the person who encouraged me to go indie and through her website and blog has been a very important 'mentor' in my writing life. I highly recommend this podcast become part of your listening week.

Stoic Glint ,

A must listen for new writers

I discovered Joanna’s podcast in January 2019 and have been working my way back through her backlist ever since. As someone who just jumped into the life of a full time writer after 20 years in employment, Joanna provides encouragement, a wealth of information and a vision of things to look out for. She is very generous with her insights and an inspirational writing entrepreneur. Thanks

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