Featured Interview: Joanna from TheCreativePenn

Dear readers, Today I am very excited to share Orangecopper’s Latest interview with the Joanna Penn – author, blogger, speaker and business consultant based in Australia who is been featured in OC webmaster community . Hope you enjoy the interview below.


Please introduce yourself to our readers and how you started blogging

I’m Joanna Penn, author and blogger at The Creative Penn – Adventures in Writing, Publishing and Book marketing. I started blogging a few years ago after I wrote my first book “How to Enjoy Your Job”. I went through the writing and publishing process and then I realized I had no one to buy the book. I had no market!

This happens to a lot of authors whose careers may stall if they don’t get into the marketing aspect of the business. So I started to learn about marketing and I did a number of courses and read  a lot of books before I discovered blogging as a way to build an author platform. I studied the internet marketing gurus and decided to bring those methods into the author/writer niche where most people are not very technical. I started The Creative Penn as a way to share the information I found out and also my lessons learned along the way. My aim is to save fellow writers time, money and heartache in their own journey to publication and sales of their books.

Please tell us more about TheCreativePenn.com

The Creative Penn has articles, audios, downloads and videos all about writing, publishing and book marketing. It is aimed at people who love writing, who want to write a book or who have a book and don’t know much about marketing it. There is a podcast with over 70 interviews with writers, publishers and marketers. It’s available on iTunes here

I love multi-media so I try to incorporate it into the blog as much as possible. I am also expanding into more regular videos at my channel

There is also the free Author 2.0 Blueprint: Using web 2.0 to write, publish, sell and promote your book here

You can find a lot more resources here if you are interested in this topic here

How do you keep your business focus – Based on your experiences, what advice would you give to an Internet Entrepreneur starting their first business today?

It’s important to decide what you want with your life as well as your blog. At the beginning, you may want to jump at every opportunity but if you keep blogging, many new opportunities will come your way and you need to know what to refuse, and what to accept.

For example, I’m an author first. I want to focus on developing my own writing career with thriller novels (my first novel ‘Pentecost’ is due out in Feb 2011). So although I get a lot of people who want to hire me to market their books and coach them, I say no because I focus on other things with my time. I have training programs, Blogging for Authors and Writers and Author 2.0 for people who can learn on their own but I don’t spend time coaching. So be very clear what you want to do with your life and your blog. Do you want to make all your money from product sales in which case you need to focus on a niche audience, product build and launch process vs. income from advertising where you want higher traffic volume. For some people it is about branding, reputation and profile building e.g. professional speakers, authors, comedians.

Some of these answers will come with time but you do need to understand your priorities at the outset. Blogging is a slow burn business and if you are not clear, you may get disheartened too early if you are not fulfilling your goals.

What would you say is the biggest single reason for your success?

I love what I do! I’m passionate about writing, publishing and marketing books so my blog and my business is a natural extension of my passion. It doesn’t matter that I currently don’t make a fulltime income from the blog right now because I am on a journey. As my online audience grows and I write more books, I’m sure I will transition to a fulltime income from writing and blogging/product sales, but for now I am very happy to share what I learn, give to the community and try to be useful.

Blogging for me is intrinsically rewarding i.e. it is satisfying beyond any financial return. I would continue with The Creative Penn if I won the lottery! That passion has enabled me to persist in blogging every 2 days for nearly 2 years and that is the main reason bloggers are successful – they find a niche they love and they stick at it for the long term.

How do you market yourself online?

Primarily, I produce great content on TheCreativePenn every 2 days, including text, audio and video posts so I get a broad spectrum of interest. These blog posts get me great search engine traffic as they are on a niche topic and also are linked to by others and shared on social networks. In terms of my own social networks, I am very active on Twitter and Facebook.

My podcast and YouTube channel also bring me more traffic. Relationship building is also key and I mainly socialize on Twitter and then invite people onto my podcast if they fit in the niche. Giving to other bloggers means good blog karma! I also take every chance to do posts and interviews like this, as well as guest podcasts, articles and webinars. Basically, I try to do something every day for marketing purposes.

If you were to start again, what might you do differently?

I spent too long trying to do it myself and learning from disparate sources. After I paid for a course to learn how to do things faster, I leaped ahead. I did Yaro Starak’s Blog Mastermind course to learn more about blogging specifically. You can check out Yaro’s blog at  Entrepreneurs Journey . If I was doing it again, I would have spent more time reading other blogs and finding out what I wanted to model in my own business before jumping in. I would probably have got into video earlier too as I am racing to catch up now!

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Blogging is about giving to others and building a network. You share the traffic within your niche. It’s not a competition. If people like one blog in a niche, they are likely to read another blog that is related. So network with bloggers, link to blog posts of others and network. Sharing lets us all grow together and makes life a real pleasure!

Also, blog about your passion, not what you think will make money. This is a long term effort and there is a lot of time spent for little reward at first. It grows, but it takes some time so you need passion to sustain you.

What would be your advice to budding writers or aspirants who would love to write the way you do!

In terms of writing advice, my big learning has been to just get into it. First drafts of anything are usually pretty bad but great writing is rewriting (said by Michael Crichton as well as many others). Stop reading books on writing and actually do some writing. I found Write or Die software very useful for uninterrupted writing. Then immerse yourself into the books that you want to model and learn the genre you want to write. Remember you will improve over time but you have to start somewhere.
Also, don’t be intimidated by other books and authors. You don’t have to write a prize winning literary fiction novel, or a NY Times bestseller with your first book. Readers devour books in many genres and your story will touch someone. In an era of digital publishing and ebooks, your book can reach a global market, so just get out there.

Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?

I have my first thriller novel, Pentecost, out in Feb 2011 on Amazon.com and the Kindle Store. It is kind of Dan Brown meets Indiana Jones J It is the first in a series so I am starting the next book, Prophecy, soon. I will be taking the book to Thrillerfest in New York next July in order to pitch it to publishers. In terms of the blog, I will continue to share everything I learn on the way so follow along if you are a writer. I will also be launching a few new courses including Author Entrepreneur and Social Networking for Authors and Writers in 2011 as well as a new video blog for Mystery and Thriller readers and writers.

Joanna: Thanks for having me on the blog! Please come and connect with me on Twitter @thecreativepenn and also on Facebook/thecreativepenn

Take Home: If you want complete insight on how to write, publish and market your book – then TheCreativePenn is your place – check out the website that has loads of useful information.

9 Comments

  1. Joanna November 20, 2010
    • orangecopper November 20, 2010
  2. Steven November 20, 2010
  3. Amit Shah November 20, 2010
    • orangecopper November 20, 2010
  4. Lenn November 20, 2010
  5. Stephen Ron November 23, 2010
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    • admin December 22, 2010