Mon, 8 December 2014
This podcast includes a roundtable discussion with Mark Lefebvre, Director of Kobo Writing Life as well as three other Kobo employees (Bessie, Camille and Shayna) who participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2014.
The round table discussion includes the following:
- · Camille talks about the fact that during last year’s attempt, she wrote about 25,000 words and that this year she wrote the entire 50,000 words. This year she took on a completely new project (rather than attempting the same one she attempted in 2013. Camille says she felt she got trapped in the wrong direction with last year’s project, and that might have been what prevented her from completing the novel. This year, she prepared a synopsis in advance, and that is what she felt helped her.
- · This was Shayna’s first attempt at NaNoWriMo – though she has written novels before – and she wasn’t sure, going in, how she would do with the 30 day deadline involved. Though she completed the 50,000 word limit, she is still, in no way finished the book she is working on. (She estimates the book’s length will be in the realm of 100,000 words)
- · Bessie, a self-confessed math nerd, admits this is the first time she has attempted writing of this nature. The whole experience was new to her and when it first started she was quite excited and wrote quite a bit, but then the “fun” aspect fell away, and so, too, did the writing. Her feeling was that the pressure of the deadline pushed her in the opposite direction – now that November and the NaNoWriMo deadline is out of the way, the writing has become fun for her again.
- · Mark got to 50,000 words at the “11th hour” cranking out close to 18,000 words in the final two days, so did complete the goal, but is still several thousand words away from the conclusion of his novel.
- · Shayna found that the deadline worked for her, despite her initial thoughts that it wouldn’t be a good experience for her.
- · The group discussed the question about pre-planning and reveal who was a “pantser” and who was a “plotter” – who went just from notes and who created a chapter by chapter outline
- · How the roadmap of the chapter by chapter outline helped Camille, even though she didn’t follow it precisely the entire time.
- · The fun that can happen when your characters make their own decisions and take you to places or situations that you hadn’t originally intended or planned.
- · How Shayna doesn’t always have her characters completely fleshed out in advance and how they discover their own voice as the story rolls out.
- · There is a discussion regarding whether or not they approached writing their novels in a linear fashion (ie, from the beginning of the novel to the end of the novel in the manner it would be read), or if they skipped around and wrote a number of scenes to be pieced into order for the final draft later.
- · Conventions of inserting notes into the manuscript in order to keep writing, such as Mark’s use of inserting square brackets [with a note like this] inside the text for spots in which he might need to do research later on and fill in gaps, or Shayna’s use of the letters TK as inserted into the text to denote spots that required filling in later (based on the principle that this is a very uncommon letter combination – thus, searching the document text later for ‘TK’ returns those spots you need to find and fill later.
- · The importance of avoiding the research rabbit-hole that can happen to a writer, but with an example of how one of those rabbit holes actually helped inspire Mark with an entire scene (based just on looking at a particular area of Toronto using Google Maps)
- · A discussion of what’s next for these particular book projects now that NaNoWriMo is over.
- · Is it harder to write serious literary fiction as opposed to some of the other more “fun” genres
- · The answer to the question: What was one thing that you learned from NaNoWriMo that you’re going to take forward in your writing?
Mark then discusses the concept of “winning” or “losing” NaNoWriMo, with a thought that, ANYTHING you wrote during NaNoWriMo, regardless of your final word count, means that you are a winner. Drawing from his own personal experience of having “not won” NaNoWriMo in 2006, yet managed to take the project he had started more than half a dozen years ago and work it into a novel that will be coming out in 2015, means the effort he put into it back then was part of the process of getting that novel done, and well worth it.
Shayna's KWL article entitled "Dear Writing: I Hate You!"
The KWL article Shayna wrote about the importance of daydeaming
Mark's appearance on The Writing Show podcast (in 2006) in which he did NOT win NaNoWroMo
Direct download: KWL_025_PostNaNoWriMoDiscussion.mp3
-- posted at: 12:38pm PDT
Thu, 6 November 2014
This podcast includes the full and unabridged audio feed of the Kobo in Conversation interview with Kathy Reichs conducted by Bob Ramsay and hosted by Kobo's Senior Director of Communications Tracy Nesdoly.
The interview covers the following:
- The “Big Bang Break” that happens in an investigation – that one moment when realization explodes and the search hurdles forward on the right trajectory.
- The new YA writing she is doing in collaboration with her son
- How, even though she has sold millions of copies of her novels around the world, has a television series based on her popular recurring character Temperance Brennan, she is still on tour and treats every new book with the same enthusiasm as her first book
- Kathy’s perspective on the book publishing business and the promotion and sale of books in the next five years, with respect to the fact that recent UK stats of Kathy’s books show print sales up 30% and the electronic sales are up 68%
- The importance of a presence on social media and the fact that Kathy does all her own Twitter
- The difference between the book “Tempe” and the TV “Tempe” – and how on the TV show Teperance Brennan is a writer who writes a series about a fictional anthropologist named Kathy Reichs (a little tongue-in-cheek inside joke for her readers)
- The electronic-only “Viral” series of stories that feature the Tempe’s great niece (Tory Brennan) and is about kids using science to solve cold cases.
- How Bones Never Lie is Kathy’s second book about a female serial killer.
- Behind the scenes on the inspiration for Kathy’s novel Monday Mourning, based on Kathy’s real-life experience involving the eerie discovery of bones in a cellar.
- The terrible occupational hazard that comes with cases in which the victims are truly innocent.
- The forensic work that Kathy has done in places such as Iraq, the World Trade Centre and an interesting trip in which Kathy and a group of other authors took a Black Hawk helicopter to thank front-line troups in Afghanistan.
- What Kathy’s next book is going to be about and how it is drawn from intrigue and mystery from the Carolina Mountains.
- How and when storytelling came into this scientist’s life, including “The Mystery in the Old House” a hand-written “novel” Kathy had written when she was 9 years old.
- How a forensic examiner has to learn how to be objective and separate themselves from the personal in order to properly investigate and properly represent the victim.
- Thoughts about the “Holy Grail” of forensic mysteries.
- How Kathy writes “good old fashioned” murder mysteries, but where the key element in solving the mystery is science.
KWL Director Mark Lefebvre talks a bit about the concept of “write what you know” based on Kathy’s experience, the experience of author Melissa Yi and for writers who don't have first hand knowledge. The key, of course, is research. Mark references a great article by KWL’s Shayna Krishnasamy called “I’d Rather Not Be Talking to You but I’m Writing This Book: How a Shy Writer Tackles Research” in which she outlines research options for writers and Mark also draws from his own personal experience doing research for non-fiction (Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores & Libraries) as well as fiction.
Kathy Reichs website
Bob Ramsay website
Kathy's books at Kobo
Direct download: KWL_024_KathyReichs.mp3
-- posted at: 3:02pm PDT
Tue, 16 September 2014
Listen in as KWL Director Mark Lefebvre interviews nonfiction author Michael Rank, whose titles include HISTORY'S WORST DICTATORS and FROM MUHAMMED TO BURJ KHALIFA: A Crash Course in 2,000 Years of Middle East History. Mark and Michael discuss Michael's podcast, History in Five Minutes, self-publishing from a nonfiction author's perspective, and the challenges and rewards of translating self-published titles. Michael shares his thoughts about:
- His History in Five Minutes podcast, where Michael works to share stories about things that challenge our assumptions about the past, and the people who "shouldn't be there" in a moment of history, according to our idea of that era of history.
- Utilizing the podcast to develop a readership, connect with fans, and promote his books.
- "Think global, act local." There are many opportunities for independent authors to go broad and deep: broad, by reaching a global audience through online sales and translations; and deep, by cultivating relationships with niche and local readers.
- Michael recommends trying Babelcube for their translation services.
- Through Babelcube, translators earn a share of royalties, so they are invested in your success. Michael has worked with translators to get help with foreign marketing, for example, through translating reviews, Facebook posts, or tweets.
- It is important to educate yourself about writing and self-publishing, but mistakes and failures are inevitable as you work through the process of publishing. Accept and learn from these failures, and find the opportunities that work best for you. The podcast worked well for Michael, but he tried many other things along the way that did not.
- Similarly, find a writing schedule that works for your life and goals. As a PhD candidate, Michael knows that he can realistically only write for one to two hours per day.
Following the podcast interview, KWL US Manager Christine Munroe shares an exciting update: for the second year in a row, KWL is sponsoring NaNoWriMo! Starting November 1, hundreds of thousands of writers will endeavour to write 50,000 words within one month. Several KWL and Kobo staff members are participating this year, carrying on our KoBoWriMo tradition. We'll keep the KWL blog updated with the trials and tribulations of our fearless WriMos, the great prizes we are offering this year, and more. Stay tuned!
Direct download: 23_KWL_EP_023_-_Michael_Rank.mp3
-- posted at: 10:13am PDT
Fri, 5 September 2014
Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks met in person for the first time at Kobo’s home office in Toronto in May 2014 and were interviewed by Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre about their individual works as well as the forthcoming collaborative graphic novel they are creating together and which will be coming from First Second books in 2016.
The interview includes the following:
- · How these two “Twitter bro’s” just met a few minutes before the interview (at Kobo’s home office in Toronto in May 2014)
- · How Landline was a return to writing adult novels for Rainbow
- · The manner by which some of the travel, airport scenes and long distance phone calls to a family while traveling were somewhat predictive in Rainbow’s journey as a touring author (and what she called “having a ‘Landline’ moment.”
- · The speculative fiction element of Landline and Rainbow’s love of reading science-fiction and the “geeky time travel” elements of the novel which features a “magic phone.”
- · How Rainbow wrote the novel Fangirl during NaNoWriMo and how both that novel and Landline were the fastest books that Rainbow wrote
- · Faith Erin Hicks sharing the fact that she is a giant library nerd
- · The ARC of Fangirl that Faith rec’d from a colleague who knew that she would like it (and that it was the first book of Rainbow’s that Faith had read)
- · The cross-over in writing between the two women and Faith Erin Hicks’ The Adventures of Superhero Girl comic
- · Faith’s use of Canada in this 2014 Will Eisner Award winning comic – (professing to a lack of supervillains in Canada)
- · The “geekiness” factor in The Adventures of Superhero Girl and the fact that Faith wrote it with a reader like her in mind (to fill a gap that she saw in the industry)
- · The cameo appearance of Faith’s local neighbourhood comic book store (Strange Adventures)
- · Faith’s Mom recognizing Faith as Superhero Girl and her real life “golden brother”
- · Faith’s hilarious copyright notice for her work posted online and her belief that she wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for making her work available online for free
- · The way that Rainbow and Faith first connected via Twitter
- · The Twitter connection to First Second Books and how Rainbow and Faith’s collaborative book project came together (in a very “When Harry Met Sally” way)
- · How collaboration between two creators can be like a weird marriage
- · The “Sherlock” tangent that Rainbow and Faith can often follow
- · The importance of giving yourself permission to do something new and, importantly, the permission to try something and fail
- · The fact that there will definitely be kissing in their collaborative book (because Rainbow likes to write “kissing” and Faith wants to draw “kissing”)
- · The great fan art that exists for Rainbow’s previous novels from artists such as Simini Blocker
- · The mutual admiration the two have for The X-Men (particularly the “blue” characters for Rainbow)
- · Faith’s adoration of the character of Marrow from The X-Men (the least popular character of all time, according to polls)
- · The addictive nature and magic that happens when collaborations work really well
- · How someone at Groundwood Books tweeted (well before this project was conceived) that Rainbow and Faith we work well together
- · How KWL will continue to follow the progress of their collaboration (due to come out in 2016)
Mark then talks about what can happen when writers are open, social and collaborative in nature, reflecting on how Rainbow and Faith were mutual fans of one another, had connected in an online community. Mark shares his own experiences from a recent conference in which he connected with other writers, editors, publishers, librarians and booksellers, and explains the beautiful serendipity that can happen when writers take advantage of the connections and opportunities that can arise from engaging with the community.
Rainbow on Twitter
Rainbow on Tumbler
Rainbow's Books at Kobo
Faith on Twitter
Faith on Tumblr
Faith's Books at Kobo
Direct download: KWL_022_RainbowRowell_FaithErinHicks.mp3
-- posted at: 2:39pm PDT
Thu, 21 August 2014
In the latest episode of the Kobo Writing Life Podcast, we welcome NYT and USA Today bestselling author Diane Capri. KWL Content Manager Christina Potter and US Manager Christine Munroe speak with Diane - who offered jokingly to change her name to Christine for the purposes of this episode - about her daily writing life, the benefits of collaboration and mentorship, strategies for selling well on Kobo, and more. Tune in to hear about:
- The value of being part of writing organizations. Diane has been a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and others, for many years. Diane talks about how she joined many groups when she began writing and how these groups of allowed her to receive feedback on writing and upcoming projects. They are also a great place to connect with new writers and share information.
- How to find a writing schedule that works for you. Diane's advice? Try everything- it is the best way to refine your process.
- The importance of working closely with retailers and taking advantage of different programs that they offer. She specifically discusses Kobo's First Free in Series page as a strategy to find new readers. She also highlights that making her titles available through all retailers has been key to her success, and that exclusive programs have not worked for her. By their nature they exclude potential readers who find eBooks through other platforms.
- Diane talks about collaboration and her author collective, The Twelve. This group worked together and released the incredibly successful DEADLY DOZEN boxed set. She discusses the process of putting the boxed set together, highlighting pricing strategy and PR efforts to ensure the book was accessible to as many readers as possible. The ultimate goal of the group: do things that haven't been done before. Read Joanna Penn's blog post about DEADLY DOZEN's success here!
- There has never been a better time to be a reader and writer. One of things Diane enjoys the most is that readers who may not have been able to find her books in print can easily purchase them around the world as an eBook.
- Diane's relationship with her fans. Connecting with them is one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of being an author.
- A sneak peek of what Diane is working on next.
Thu, 14 August 2014
In our latest podcast, KWL US Manager Christine Munroe interviews bestselling author and self-publishing expert Pamela Fagan Hutchins. Pamela has written the book on self-publishing, WHAT KIND OF LOSER INDIE PUBLISHES, AND HOW CAN I BE ONE, TOO? In the summer of 2013, she embarked on a 60-cities-in-60-days book tour, which she organized herself (with the help of her supportive family), so she has plenty of insights and advice for working successfully with bookstores.
Listen in to Episode 020 as Pamela shares her thoughts on:
- Her mission to serve as an exemplary self-published author, in particular when working with bookstores, so they will open the door to fellow writers.
- Stories from the road during her 60-cities-in-60-days book tour, including the day when a book club showed up to her Boston reading… despite tornado warnings!
- Keeping it in the family - her husband, the five children between them, and her mom all joined her on the road to help support her work.
- Looking at self-promotion with a long-term perspective. "I'm hoping for a 10-year return," she says. Pamela recommends focusing on how to build your email list of people who welcome hearing what is next. Also, don't abuse that list - send a maximum of 2-3 updates per year.
- Promotion is 1/3 of the game in terms of your success. The other elements? Writing, of course, and giving back to the author community.
- Pamela's free strategy: giving away books is an amazing way to get those crucial reviews. Pricing the first book in your series for free is a great way to get started. Read her blog post on this topic here.
- What she wishes she would have known when she started, including thoughts on exclusive programs, and why moving books in and out of various platforms hurt her more than the benefits of exclusive helped her.
- Pseudonyms. Pamela believes, “I don’t want to make it hard for someone who discovers me, to discover other things about my writing that they might like.” However, that might not apply for writers who work in vastly different and contradictory genres, like erotica vs children’s picture books.
- Hints about what's to come in Pamela's forthcoming novels.
Direct download: 20_Kobo_Writing_Life_Podcast_-_Episode_020.mp3
-- posted at: 12:20pm PDT
Sun, 22 June 2014
At a recent visit to Kobo's home office in Toronto, Hugh Howey was interviewed by KWL Director Mark Lefebvre in front of an audience of about 150 people (60 of which were local Kobo Writing Life authors) for a Kobo in Conversation video. Here are some highlights from the discussion.
- Introduction of Hugh Howey and Mark Lefebvre by Tracy Nesdoly, Senior Director of Communications at Kobo
- Hugh talks about how interesting it is that history re-writes itself to fit the model of what people think happened – his first book was actually signed to a small press before he made the decision to try the self-publishing route
- Hugh also reflects on how, in 2009, he was only concentrating on print books and traditional contracts for the first book, but then noticed his eBook sales were overtaking his print book sales
- How Hugh was pressured by friends and family to get his book out to publishers so they could see it in bookstores
- How Hugh’s Mom had been a great critic, early reader and editor for his work (and Hugh’s joke about how his wife and his mother have spent years telling him about all the mistakes that he makes, which ensures they are perfectly suited for this type of role in his writing)
- The twenty years it took Hugh to complete the first novel (and how it wasn’t the same novel)
- Hugh’s first manuscript, started at age 12, which was, essentially an homage to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
- How Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue, the first novel he completed, was written in a week
- How Hugh acquired “sequelitis” after finishing that first novel, and how, when you keep writing sequels you’re left always promoting your first book
- How Hugh met his wife when he was living the boating life (and how she pulled him ashore and inland)
- The constant daydreaming and stories kept in his head while he worked at various other jobs
- How he used to get in trouble in grammar school for that “writing daydreaming”
- Where the darkness that surrounds the novel WOOL comes from (particularly from a writer whose persona is friendly, outgoing and positive)
- How Hugh felt sick to his stomach when he was out at a fancy restaurant to celebrate signing the contract for his first book because it was something he had worked so hard on and he was now signing it away (despite the fact it was a positive experience because someone was paying him for something he had written – ie, it was “the dream”)
- Even though he still has a physical reaction thinking about that moment, it wasn’t a reflection on the publisher – he still loves them and has a great relationship with them, but he quickly saw how he had too much energy for them and was driving them crazy with all of the things he wanted to do
- Hugh reminds people that, despite it looked like he knew what he was doing all along, he was terrified, clueless and making it up as he went along
- A look at www.authorearnings.com and Hugh’s motivation for always putting the reader and the writer first
- How, bookstores come third on Hugh’s list of priorities – writers first (because without them you couldn’t have readers), then readers second
- Hugh asks the question of why we’re not focusing on the right things, like how to make people love books more – such as these things shaped like books that we give to students in classrooms and inadvertently team them to hate. (If it’s shaped like a book, it better be fun)
- How writers are always looking for excuses not to write, and how Hugh has to channel his fear of what might happen if he stops writing into looking towards working on projects that his readers and editors want
- Hugh’s favourite novel I, Zombie, his most non-commercial work which represents his attempt to write about 911, and his favourite writing, which is the book Peace in Amber (a book he still gets emotional about when he speaks of it)
- The manner by which Hugh took the opposite tack of anything that might seem logical, such as not telling people he was a writer and had a book available
- Hugh’s discomfort at promoting his own work and how he would rather just work on writing the next book
- Social media as being a great place to connect with your existing fans rather than trying to use it to find new ones
- The important role that agents have played in Hugh’s career, particularly since initially, it wasn’t something that he thought he needed. Hugh shares his respect for his agent Kristen Nelson Literary Agency and the amazing agents and partners who have guided his success and earned every penny along the way
- Hugh’s desire to see editors, cover artists, beta readers and all those unsung heroes whose efforts make books better, known and loved and celebrated (Example is an interview Hugh recently did with one of his cover artists, Jason Smith – [link to his blog post])
- How Agencies might, in the future, look like law firms. Imagine Freethy, Andre and Howey.
- The importance to not run from labels, like “self-published author” – Hugh is proud to call himself a self-published author
- How H.M. Ward continues to turn down multiple 7 figure offers from publishers because their marketing plans aren’t offering anything she hasn’t already built for herself
- The role that NaNoWriMo has played in Hugh’s writing (and his thoughts on how an author who writes one novel a year might just be writing that novel in a single month)
As a postscript to the interview, Mark then calls out some of the key points that Hugh made during the conversation; in particular Hugh's take on marketing and how writing your next book or focusing on sharing information ABOUT writing it is far better than trying to push your book in front of everybody's face.
Episode 013 of the KWL Podcast (with Hugh Howey)
Direct download: KWL_EP019_HughHowey.mp3
-- posted at: 8:13am PDT
Tue, 20 May 2014
KWL Director Mark Lefebvre interviews Moses Znaimer, co-founder and former head of CityTV, the first independent television station in Toronto, Canada, the current head of ZoomerMedia (Zoomer Magazine) and the author of The Zoomer Philosophy.
Mark and Moses discuss:
- How Moses rarely stops to look back because he is always on to looking at the next thing that he is working on
- The Zoomer Philosophy (his book) and the definition of what a Zoomer is
- How the Zoomer Philosophy fits in with the idea of living longer and better lives
- How the words old, senior, elder and mature provide discomfort and make people squirm
- Znaimer’s examination, through his essays at how Boomers, who sang songs like The Who’s “My Generation” with lyrics like “I hope I die before I get old” have suddenly found themselves at the age they originally mistrusted
- How the first group of people who coined the phrase “don’t trust anybody over 30” are now 60 years old
- How The Zoomer Philosophy was inspired by Hugh Hefner’s The Playboy Philosophy
- The serialization of The Zoomer Philosophy in the print magazine and in eBook format and how Moses is likely to continue writing the serialized essays until he dies
- Demolishing that old “women of a certain age” stereotype
- The appeal that long-standing celebrities who are “of a certain age” in their mastery of the professions they hold and the confidence they exude
- The concept that what was important about the Boomers is NOT that they were young but that they were the largest generation ever made
- The stat that 1000 Canadians turn 65 every day and will continue to do so for the next 20 years (that number is 10 times as large in the US)
- The way that the print articles from the magazine endure and how digital helps bring them back into focus for some readers (by collecting them together in a single, easy to consume delivery system)
- The challenge of trying to find a type of media that Moses hasn’t already been involved in
- How Moses draws inspiration daily from the environment around him
- Advice to writers on how it’s not the mechanics of the medium that makes the difference
- How you don’t learn broadcasting from going to broadcasting school, and the importance of living a life the best you can so that you end up with the type of life that gives you something to say
- The importance of accumulating a wide variety of life experience (reading or traveling – preferably both)
Mark then compares The Zoomer Philosophy to the fact that eBooks are also in their mid-forties and reflects on how we are still at the cusp of the eBook revolution. He applies these thoughts to the concept of writing and publishing being a long-term game.
Direct download: KWL_018_MosesZnaimer.mp3
-- posted at: 5:29am PDT
Mon, 5 May 2014
Camille Mofidi, European Manager for Kobo Writing Life interviews Italian author Vieri Tommasi Candidi about his Who’s Jo Spatacchia? Series and the unique method by which he had released this in two languages with a regular and enhanced version for different audiences.
During the conversation, Camille and Vieri discuss:
- Developing projects along with talented artists
- The concept of Who Joe Spatacchia is and the inspiration and thoughts behind the creation of this character
- How Vieri has mixed the story with drawings and music in this interactive eBook as well as how he chose the music and the drawings to accompany the story
- How music and images could give a choreography and elevated atmosphere to the story allowing people to enjoy it on many levels
- The 7 episodes as well as the scheduled release plans of either 1 episode per month or even, perhaps 2 per month
- The fact that there are two versions per episode – one with music and the other without music (for those devices and eReaders that don’t have a way to play audio)
- The price point of those separate versions are 99 EUR for the version without music and 1.49 EUR for the version with music
- Vieri’s smart move of releasing the eBook in both Italian and English and the international stradegy
- The challenge of getting people to find your work as being something that supersedes the difficulty of actually writing and publishing your book
- A perspective of publishing in Italy being on the pioneering edge
- The managing of the rights for all of the markets this series of books are available in within both languages
- How Vieri has managed the promotion for this series in both Italian and English
- A wonderful compliment that Vieri received regarding his activities that have been moving the face of digital publishing forward
KWL Director Mark Lefebvre then talks about the recently launched Opening Up To Indie Authors campaign and the book launch which took place at the Kobo Booth at London Book Fair 2014.
The Who’s Jo Spatacchia? Series on Kobo
Opening Up To Indie Authors (Kobo Writing Life)
Kobo Listing for Opening up To Indie Authors eBook
The Open Up to Indie Authors Campaign
The Launch – From ALLi’s website
The Speech Orna Ross gave at the launch at the Kobo Booth at LBF 2014
Direct download: KWL_017_Vieri_Tommasi_Candidi.mp3
-- posted at: 7:00pm PDT
Mon, 21 April 2014
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 as Joanna shares insights about:
- 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."
Joanna 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
Direct download: KWL_016_JoannaPenn.mp3
-- posted at: 9:56am PDT