I have first heard of Joanna Penn through Twitter, then found her podcast on a list of podcasts for writers. From there, it wasn’t long before her non-fiction books caught my attention. Two weeks ago, ready to take my writing career more seriously, I finally bought How to Make a Living with Your Writing: Books, Blogging and More.
Joanna Penn is an independent author claiming to make a multi-six-figure income, and considering she makes almost 20k a year just on Patreon, I have no doubt she’s telling the truth.
The book is written in a tight, conversational language, which I always like in non-fiction books. In the introduction, Joanna Penn briefly explains how she became a full-time author. I identified with her a little, despite our different personalities, and was motivated by her success story. A few years ago, getting a book published seemed next to impossible to me, let alone making any money with it; now, even making a living with it seems possible.
In part 1, she discusses traditional publishing, self-publishing and independent publishing. That changed my point of view on both traditional and independent publishing: I have stopped idealizing traditional publishing and now see indie publishing as an equally good option, depending on the book and my goals for it. There is also valuable information on what to look for when reviewing a traditional book deal.
In part 2, she talks more about her other streams of income, for you see: only 50% of her income comes from actual books sales. The rest comes from affiliate commissions, course sales, professional speaking, consulting and podcast sponsorship. There is also some information on marketing.
The last part of the book gives pointers to plan your writing career and make your first few bucks with your writing. That was my favourite part because it made me feel able to create a solid career plan – I’m getting on it as soon as this post is published. There is a separate paper-only companion workbook. I’ll tell you all about it later: I should get my own copy in about two weeks.
I wish the book had been longer and more detailed. However, all through the book, there are links to additional information (mostly free), which I’m sure will be useful. There are also multiple book recommendations.
Another thing I loooved is how this book teaches by example: it provides great value for the reader while also promoting all of the writer’s other products! It sounds like a good marketing strategy to me!
If you’d like to know what you can expect before you purchase anything, I recommend downloading a free sample through your favourite ebook retailer or signing up to her mailing list to get her free book Author 2.0 Blueprint. I am currently reading it myself and I find it very interesting. The author also has a free thriller for sale through her fiction website.
Who would I recommend this to? Every writer who wants to make it pro, especially if they’re considering the indie path. It’s short and fairly inexpensive and offers great value.