KWL Director Mark Lefebvre and US Manager Christine Munroe were joined by NYT bestselling author, professional speaker, and entrepreneur Joanna Penn. Joanna is an invaluable resource for indie authors through her blog, The Creative Penn, and podcast of the same name. Listen in to Episode 16 as Joanna shares insights about:

London Book Fair 2013, featuring (left to right) - KWL Merchandiser Shayna Krishnasamy, Joanna Penn, and KWL Director Mark Lefebvre.

London Book Fair 2013, featuring (left to right) – KWL Merchandiser Shayna Krishnasamy, Joanna Penn, and KWL Director Mark Lefebvre.

  • How Joanna began her journey as a fiction writer through NaNoWriMo in 2009.
  • Why she defines herself and fellow indie authors as entrepreneurs: “I define an entrepreneur as someone who creates something of value from their own head… these days, if you’re writing fiction and you’re self-publishing, and you are being a businessperson, then you are being an entrepreneur.”
  • Other methods of earning income as an author: audio, print, and translation – and specifically how Joanna produced PENTECOST as an audiobook through ACX.
  • How publishing her eBooks in English through kobo.com helped her reach readers in 30 countries and counting.
  • Joanna’s collaborative “give first” approach: if you give first, others will come back and give to you (which she calls “social karma”). Similarly, if you read others’ books and review them, they will come back and review your books (“reading karma”).
  • Why Pentecost is now permanently free – it is an easy way to draw readers into a funnel. This works best when you have many other books available. Joanna has seen an increase in sales of her other titles and sign-ups to her email list by using this strategy.
  • The breakdown of Joanna’s eBook price strategy for her latest novel, DESECRATION: week one following the release, $2.99. One week later, increased to $4.99. In general, at the moment she prices eBooks at $2.99 for novellas, $4.99 for novels, $0.99 for short stories, and $5.99 for nonfiction.
  • How writing A THOUSAND FIENDISH ANGELS for Kobo (inspired by Dan Brown’s INFERNO) enabled her write darker material and stop self-censoring, which helped her push her boundaries while writing DESECRATION.
  • The distinction between her two brands, J.F. Penn for fiction and Joanna Penn for nonfiction – including her amazing title that every author should read, HOW TO MARKET A BOOK. She only recommends establishing two author brands if it’s necessary, which is true in her case so that she can target to these two distinct audiences.
  • Why she’s a self-described “taphophile” – aka a “cemetery enthusiast.”
  • How reading five books a week, and traveling to the places where her books are set, inspire Joanna’s writing.
  • The best thing Joanna has learned as a writer: “It’s all about the Compound Effect. Little things repeated every day over time are what makes the difference.”

Deadly+DozenJoanna recently became a NYT and USA Today bestselling author with the boxed set DEADLY DOZEN, which features her novella ONE DAY IN BUDAPEST. Learn more about this amazing example of author collaboration on Joanna’s blog post about this experience.



J.F. Penn’s latest novel, Desecration


Fiction: http://jfpenn.com

For Writers: http://www.thecreativepenn.com

Twitter: @thecreativepenn

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/JFPennAuthor  and  http://www.facebook.com/TheCreativePenn


If you enjoy this podcast and would like to automatically capture episodes as they go live (and even before the show notes are posted to the Kobo Writing Life blog, feel free to subscribe to the RSS feed via your favourite pod-capturing platform such as iTunes, etc using the RSS feed link: RSS feed for Kobo Writing Life Podcast


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