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The Different Ways Indie Authors Can Make Money: March 2018 AskALLi Advanced Self-Publishing Salon With Joanna Penn And Orna Ross

The Different Ways Indie Authors Can Make Money: March 2018 AskALLi Advanced Self-Publishing Salon with Joanna Penn and Orna Ross

askalli-podcast-squares3-2In this month’s Advanced Self-Publishing Salon from the Alliance of Independent Authors, Orna Ross and Joanna Penn are talking about the London Book Fair and the different ways to make money in self-publishing.

About the Hosts

Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author, as well as writing non-fiction for authors. She is also a professional speaker and entrepreneur, voted as one of The Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013. She spent 13 years as a business IT consultant in large corporations across the globe before becoming a full-time author-entrepreneur in September 2011. For more information about Joanna, visit her website: http://thecreativepenn.com

Orna Ross launched the Alliance of Independent Authors at the London Book Fair in 2012. Her work for ALLi has seen her named as one of The Bookseller’s “100 top people in publishing”. She also publishes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and is greatly excited by the democratising, empowering potential of author-publishing. For more information about Orna, visit her website: http://www.ornaross.com

Topics discussed this week include:

  • An update on Joanna’s and Orna’s personal writing projects.
  • The Alliance of Independent Authors will be at the London Book Fair, providing resources to authors.
  • Top 10 e-books in the Kindle U.S. store are Amazon imprint titles.
  • There are very different ways in which indie authors can make money.
  • Amazon’s imprints are becoming more dominant in some genres. * Rights licensing is a wider publishing model.
  • Nonfiction authors can earn more money through speaking and consulting.
  • A podcast can be part of your body of work.
  • Membership-site model can also be successful for some authors.
  • Paid sponsorships for podcasts can also be rewarding.

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Watch the AskALLi Advanced Self-Publishing Salon Video

Read the AskALLi Advanced Self-Publishing Salon Transcript

Joanna Penn: Hi, everyone. I’m Joanna Penn and I’m here with Orna Ross, and we’re doing the Alliance of Independent Authors Advanced Self-Publishing Salon for March 2018. Hi, Orna.

Orna Ross: Hi, Jo. Hi, everyone.

Joanna Penn: Our theme today is how authors make a living, but we’re going to do a bit of a personal update upfront on our writing because, as ever, Orna and I are writers first and it’s important to keep each other accountable on what the hell we’re doing. So Orna, you’ve had quite a big month. Haven’t you? Tell us. What is the big news for Orna?

Orna Ross: Oh, big news is my Go Creative has gone to the editor, Part One, yeah. And Part One’s the hardest. It’s the first of a series and I’m writing further on in the series as well. But this has been going on. I mean, our listeners are sick of hearing me talking about, it’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming. Well, now it’s gone to the editors, so almost there. I’m really thrilled.

Joanna Penn: Just to put in into perspective, really, how long have you been working on this book?

Orna Ross: All my life, a very long time. It began as a big academic kind of treatise, really five or six years ago. And then it changed into more of a self-helpy thing and finally it has morphed into a book about running a creative business the creative way. I’m really happy with it now. I wish I had known that’s what I was writing that in the first place, because that would have been a heck of a lot easier. But, anyway, I had to live it and go through it. It’s non-fiction, but for me as a non-fiction book it’s been a stretch. I do more with this than just straight writing, so, yeah. Here we go.

Joanna Penn: Well, I think it’s really interesting. I’ve been thinking about this too, because I’ve been looking back at some of my older non-fiction books and also reading some of my journals from 2006, 2007, when I wrote my first non-fiction book and realizing that half of the changes that we put into our books, you can’t step in the same river twice and all that, is we change. I was looking at my book on Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives and Other Introverts. That was actually put out in 2014, and I’m rereading it now thinking I would update it, but I’m such a different person, I’m actually not going to update it, whereas I have updated like How to Market a Book.

Orna Ross: So it’s interesting how the aspect of memoir comes into non-fiction. It’s something I’m really thinking of at the moment.

Joanna Penn: Yeah. It’s so interesting, ’cause I’ve started writing a book, How to Write Non-Fiction, and I was boring myself. I was looking at the draft going, ‘The reason I haven’t written this before is because I’m so bored with the topic.’ And then I realized what was missing was the personal anecdote, was the personal realisation of what writing non-fiction and reading non-fiction meant to me as an individual. And I was listening to Brené Brown, one of her audio books, and she said something around the how-to is not enough anymore, we need to look at the reasons why people aren’t doing things or the reasons that are stopping people doing stuff. And that kind of changed the whole thing for me, so now I’m actually doing a survey to The Creative Penn on what people’s questions are around non-fiction and including my own anecdotes and quotes and things.

And that’s actually what brought alive The Healthy Writer, it’s what I did in The Successful Author Mindset, it’s how I have written non-fiction. It’s just hilarious how I didn’t think about doing that with a how-to book on non-fiction. So it’s a real reminder that prescriptive, pure how-to almost is not, it’s not not worth it, but it’s not engaging any more.

Orna Ross: I think it’s one of the ways in which writing is really upping its game. It used to be the exceptional book that did this sort of thing, but now because, also, you can draw on your community and bring their experience and both your surveys but also your observations from watching loads of people across … It’s the same for me with the Go Creative books looking at lots and lots of authors an ALLi and lots of creators in the Creativist Club allows you to do things at a different level. And the way in which you write it then, it’s much, much richer and much more multilayered than the old how-to. So, the how-to’s gotta be there, I think, obviously, still, we’re not writing pure memoir, that’s not what these books are. They’re very much about … The end game is to help people do something that they want to do. But personal testimony, I suppose in academia you call it qualitative research, where you get stories from the case studies on the real people who have been there. It has huge value.

Joanna Penn: Yeah, definitely. And the other thing that’s happened for me, actually, only this week, sadly the map shop just down the road from me, it’s just closed. And people who don’t know what my journey since I moved to Bath, I write my fiction very much with a sense of place, and I couldn’t really settle in Bath until I’d written a book about it in the same way in London I wrote the London Psychic books. And I wrote a book, Map of Shadows, that centered around this map shop, and it’s closed down. And it was so weird this week, I’ve just felt the number of stories that, if I hadn’t have moved at the time I moved, would I have had that idea? And if I hadn’t had that idea, would someone else have had that idea? And if I hadn’t written it down then, would I have noticed it, because that shop is now closing?

And it just really gave me this thing about, I guess the passing of time, but also snatching on to these stories when we get them, and writing them. Obviously we can’t write every idea we get, because we get so many, but it just became … I almost had a bit of a sad moment. It was like capture those ideas before they go, and that I need to get on with that series, because will that lessen the memory in my mind? You know what I mean?

Okay, so I think that’s us, isn’t it? So, let’s talk about the Alliance. What is the news there? We’ve got London Book Fair coming up.

Orna Ross: Yes, we’ve London Book Fair coming up and for the first year, I think, no, I’m pretty sure now, the Alliance is actually going to have its own dedicated space at the-

Joanna Penn: Woohoo!

Orna Ross: … London Book Fair, which is a first for us. Yeah, woohoo. And so it will allow us to do lots of things that we haven’t been able to do before, and we’ll be able to display some of our members’ books, some of them are going to be able to have a launch, but we’re also going to have one-to-ones so there will be for the first time ever, at a major publishing fair, self publishing one-to-ones. It’s something that we have proposed to every book fair in the planet and nobody has said, “Yes, please, we’ll take up your very kind offer and actually make that something.” No, they keep lots of publisher one-to-ones and lots of agent one-to-ones but never self publishing one-to-ones, which I just could never understand.

Orna Ross: So, anyway, we’re gonna do it ourselves. You have very kindly volunteered some of your time and we have lots of other experts who have volunteered their time as well, and lots of authors just being there holding the table so that new and aspiring self publishers and indeed experienced self publishers can get together in a real sort of a way. So, very much [inaudible 00:07:40] that. Of course a tiny little bit of space for a ridiculous amount of money, but, it’s enough space for us to do our thing, I hope. We’ll see how it goes. Like everything we do, it’s done in the spirit of experiment and exploration and we’ll evaluate afterwards and see how it went. But we’ll have a good time anyway, and we’re also of course planning the ALLi party, which, for those who are going to be in London and are going to around, that’s on the Thursday evening of the 12th, and we have a number of seminars and things that we’re going to be talking about and we’ll be launching our Blockchain for Books by paper. So it’ll big quite a busy fair for us this year.

Joanna Penn: Yeah. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve made a video at every London Book Fair, and I made a video, do you remember, at the launch of the Alliance in 2012. And it’s so funny, I actually really like that. I’ve actually made a playlist on YouTube now for the books for the London Book Fair, because it really marks points in time. Like that one fair, and your hair was really short, and then Hugh Howie and Bella Andre were there that year, and you can really see the passing of time. Kobo were huge one year where they sponsored everything, so I actually really like going back to the fair every year. In the same way we’re talking about time passing with our fiction or non-fiction, we also see that with the acceptance of indie and the movement in the publishing industry.

Talking about the movement in the publishing industry, in a very subtle shift into the news, there was thenewpublishingstandard.com, which we really like is a much more of an international focus, is talking this week about eight out of the top 10 e-books on the Kindle U.S. store are Amazon imprint titles. And this is part of a bigger story about Amazon publishing coming to dominate the charts in so many ways, and I see it in the UK right now on the Kindle they’re advertising like 60 books for a pound and the vast majority of those books are A-pub, Amazon Publishing. So, what do you think about the impact of Amazon bestsellers and of course Amazon is a big publisher now.

Orna Ross: Yes, absolutely. For those who don’t perhaps understand the distinction, when we’re talking about Amazon Publishing, we’re talking about their trade publishing wing, which is curated and treated very much like a traditional publishing model. Except they have the fantastic advantage of being able to cherry pick those writers who are already selling well and that gives them just an enormous advantage. And, yes, the story is by Mark Williams on his great magazine. Mark’s a fantastic commentator on the indie scene. He always has his finger on the pulse, and, yeah, I think it’s definitely obvious, we had a very interesting piece from Jane Steen a while back who is one of our members and she writes historical fiction, and she did a pretty in-depth analysis of her own genre and looking at the various books that were there. I think she found out really there was nothing in terms of the bestsellers in her category that wasn’t published by Amazon.

So, yeah, it’s great for the authors who were picked up, but for KDP authors, it’s definitely a slightly worrying trend within Amazon, and I think it feeds into, without sounding like broken record every month, it feeds into what we’re going to be talking about as our main theme of today, which is about the very different ways in which indie authors can make money. I think it fits into this idea of if you have all your eggs in one basket then that is slightly worrying. And so it’s, I guess, another reason to think about diversification and spreading your wings a little wider. What are your thoughts? How’s your genre for Amazon Publishing? Is it tough?

Joanna Penn: Well, it’s interesting. Obviously, I’m in a number of genres, even just within one name, within J.F. Penn, I mean action adventure genre is still pretty dominated by traditional publishing. A lot of thriller writers are, there’s a lot of traditionally published authors. But also Thomas & Mercer, which is one of Amazon Publishing’s imprints, is becoming more and more dominant.

And, actually, I’m working with International Thriller Writers at the moment, looking at some of the books around the awards, and the sheer volume of books that Amazon Publishing is submitting to the awards is huge, far outweighing the number of books from other publishers. So that’s interesting too. I mean, it’s very interesting like, just on the general Amazon’s ambition, Jeff Bezos said, “I wanna win an Oscar,” and they won an Oscar, and the kind of, the going after these different things is fascinating, but it does definitely tie into the wider topic. So let’s move into that, which is how authors make a living from writing.

Joanna Penn: So let’s just take the elephant in the room, which we have kind of started to talk about. We’ll talk about it again, which is the Amazon only KDP Select fast production, actually, it doesn’t even need to be fast production, putting out, well, I say not fast, between one month and three months, so up to 90 days, so four times a year, which many would say is fast production but some people are doing one a month. And purely KDP Select, usually supplemented by Amazon Ads, so AMS advertising and with no real need for anything else. So this is mostly a model based on page reads, so borrows, those writers may not see the sales. They actually might just see borrows, they may also see print and audiobook sales off the back of that, but the main model there is Amazon.

Now, I would say upfront, there was a cadre of authors who were doing this, but I don’t think it’s very big. I’ve been thinking about this. I don’t actually think that is a very big group, but it is a pervasive model, because there’s almost, not a gold rush mentality, but there is evidence that you can make very good money this way if you tap into a vein of rabid authors and put out regular content.

So, let’s talk about the next one, which still focuses on books only, or books primarily, and this is where more traditionally published authors come in as well as people like you and me although we have later ones, which is coming. But this is the wider publishing model that also has money from rights licensing. So, Dean Wesley Smith, for example, had a bit of a bit of a go at Author Earnings for saying it’s not author earnings it’s only reporting amazon.com sales, which actually most authors make far more money from all these different types of book sales including, obviously, print stuff or traditional rights licensing or foreign rights, or money that’s come in from a magazine for a short story or all these different things also publishing wide, so doing Kobo, iBooks, even selling direct like you and I both do now. So this wider model, but still primarily books, has that become more common now?

Orna Ross: I think it is more common now, and I think that there is a sort of perception that people are not doing well on this. And I actually had a meeting with PublishDrive during the week about this and they are hunting out, as we speak, some superstars from this model so we can actually begin to talk a bit more about that, because I think the problem always, with all these different models is when an author succeeds with their model, they assume that that’s the model, that it’s the only way or it’s the best way. And what we’re trying to do here is say there are loads of different ways, and certainly I think this is a growing model and we will see it grow more the future, I think.

I think we need more support from some of the actual platforms to ensure that we reach … The difference between Amazon and everybody else is a very significant difference, and that is that Amazon will sell the customer the books the customer most wants to buy, whereas other suppliers have what’s known as co-op, where they will actually take some money to promote certain books from trade publishing generally speaking or sometimes from indie authors but with deep pockets as well. And the co-op model kind of distorts the market a little bit, and David Gaughran has argued he worked for Google and watched Google beat Yahoo! out of it because they did the same, Google just gave the searcher what they wanted and he would argue, and I think it’s a strong argument, that Amazon will win this game if the other platforms and retailers don’t think a little bit more about giving the reader what the reader is looking for: cheaper books.

Joanna Penn: Yeah absolutely, but you and I want a wider community, and it’s funny since I went to a conference recently, I’m actually pulling the books I did have in KDP Select off KDP Select because I now almost feel like I want to have everything wide, including my sweet romance pen name, Penny Appleton, because I just feel like I want to have that wider audience and I want to reach people at all these different places. Also, I always feel like as you go more into this, and I think this is the other reason about the different voices, the more you’re established, the longer your back list, the bigger the number of books you have, the more you’re almost set and forgetting things, so, you know I’m at 27 books now and it’s a right pain in the neck to be doing all this stuff over and over again, and I want everything there, all the links, everything’s done, buy them if you like and move on to the next project. So I think that when you become a bit more secure, perhaps, in your income you don’t have to shout about it so much.

Orna Ross: Yeah. I think that’s a really good point, and I think another point that’s worth bearing in mind is that on outlets like Apple and Kobo, you can actually charge more. The readers who are there are willing to pay more for books. Amazon is predicated on being extremely competitive price wise and that attracts a certain kind of reader, but not every reader feels that way, so, yeah.

Orna Ross: So we’re offering all of these models anyway so people to think about it and use the one that’s right for them right now.

Joanna Penn: Yeah. Exactly, and you can change over time.

So the next one is a mainly non-fiction model, although some fiction authors are doing his, too, which is books plus speaking, consulting, I would say the sort of live stuff: teaching, I guess you’ve put teaching separately and I’m referring to an article on the selfpublishingadvice.org site, the Alliance site, where Orna outlines seven different models. So I’m kind of putting together the speaking, consulting, teaching, where you are teaching things live, I guess, which, again, non-fiction works very well to do this and in fact most speakers, most professional speakers who on a business card would put speaker first, they might put speaker, author, is because they make the majority of their income with speaking, teaching, workshops, that kind of thing. And you and I both do this to a smaller extent, although for me, last year, speaking was something like 1.5% of my income, so I’m just taking it off now. But you’re doing more, aren’t you?

Orna Ross: Yeah. I’m doing workshops more, but, again, it’s not my main source of income or anything like that. I do it really as a way of what we were talking about earlier on for my non-fiction of making sure that I’m in touch with what are mediums to try and get these concepts across and see people’s faces as you try to teach them, that feeds back into the books very much and then it’s part of just supplementing. A book is a blunt instrument in terms of trying, I mean, what we’re all really trying to do as writers is get inside people’s brains and change their minds about something or have an effect, and a book is one way of doing that, but speaking and teaching is another.

I separate the two out just because I think of the third one, the book and the speaking as being, as you said, primarily a non-fiction, but books and teaching has also been a very time honored fiction model through university literature courses and creative writing courses. And I think both of these, number three and number four, it’s fantastic now to see authors actually getting the income directly and setting up courses online, particularly, but in other places, too. And one of the ways you can supplement your income now is to teach this stuff that we know about, which is how to self publish a book, and people are very hungry for that knowledge and if you’d like to teach that, that is actually a very good place to go.

But of course the content of your book can give all sorts of potential for teaching and for speaking and so on as well, so I think teaching and writing have gone together time immemorial and I think they always will.

Joanna Penn: Yeah. And of course now you can do the online with services like Teachable, and I don’t particularly see any difference between the online teaching model and the offline, except you get the community. But I see no reason why people criticize teaching courses online when it’s completely valid part of being a professional. Lots of different professions teach stuff, so completely accepted, go do a course. And what’s so nice is that you can teach the same stuff as somebody else, but because you’re teaching it, like your book, it’s your voice, so people like to learn from different people. So I think that’s a really important point.

Orna Ross: As writers, it does benefit also to try and make the income scalable as well, and the problem with freelancing is that you can actually find yourself back with a day job very quickly, and one that doesn’t pay that well generally speaking. Author services, publishing services, is not what you call a lucrative arena. Freelance writing, yes, if you can get the right clients, but a lot about it is drying up as well, newspapers are not paying what they used to, magazines are not paying what … all of that.

So, you have to be very careful, whichever model you pick, that whatever you pick to supplement your book writing, that it feeds it, that it isn’t something that drains it, and it takes a little bit of trial and error sometimes, so we can be quite excited about certain activities and find after a while, ‘Actually, I can’t do this. It just doesn’t work for me.’ I was like that with journalism, when I started to write fiction I had to quit. I just couldn’t write non-fiction journalism and write fiction simultaneously at that time. I possibly could now, but I couldn’t then. So, you need to look quite closely at that and watch the freelancing. Charge more, every single one of you. None of you are charging enough. I know it.

Joanna Penn: That’s true, and in fact, you bring up a good point, which is what we should have said up front is most authors have a day job. So the day job and you’ve got books plus sponsorship or patronage. Now, you could say that the day job is a patron for your art, and I was listening to Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, which is a fantastic book, and she actually says that. She took vows with creativity when she was a teenager in this lovely way and kind of said, “I will always support you. You don’t have to support me.” Luckily, she had Eat, Pray, Love but, only when she hit big with Eat, Pray, Love did she give up the day job. But it’s quite interesting that day job can be a real benefit, and most literary authors, I guess, will have day jobs because it might take years and years to write a book or, as you have with the patronage here, arts council, sponsor, spouse, you know, there are lots of ways in which you can take the word patronage. I always think, well, I even think now, older writers who are coming into this in the later third of their life, for example, the money that you’ve put aside in your pension could be considered a patron for your arts. And I say this to my mum who’s just started writing at 70. You’re your own patron.

Orna Ross: It’s a great way to think about it, and I’m really glad you brought up that thing about Elizabeth Gilbert, ’cause I loved that book as well and it was a passage that stood out for me because so many authors are the other way round. They think they’re going to write one book and be able to retire. They think about the book, the passion project, they think about their passion projects and it’s not the thing to do with, I don’t know, what we need to do in order to fuel all the very hard work that you have to do in order to get to write a book the first place maybe, and maybe but we fool ourselves. We actually put all our hopes and our financial hopes go into the book as well as our creative hopes. And I think that’s so refreshing. “I will look after you, my creative side, I will provide for you.” Instead, most authors are starting off saying, “I’m gonna write a book and I’m gonna get rich from writing a book,” and they put that money earning thing on their passion projects, on their creative work.

In order to do that, you have to go through a very stepped approach. It’s so unlikely, it’s a complete gamble and very, very unlikely that your passion project is going to pay you for a very, very long time. You need to build that up, and I think we need to get real around that.

Joanna Penn: Yeah. And then just sticking on the patronage, I have a Patreon for my podcast, and what’s interesting, and I used to think that the podcast was marketing in some way and connection and self growth and that kind of thing, but I can’t remember who I heard it from, I think it was Tara Gentile, who said that the podcast is part of your body of work. Actually you can help people through a podcast in the same way that you can help people through a non-fiction book or a fiction book or a talk. There are ways in which your podcast is a body of work. And the conversation that we have here adds to the blog post you wrote that some people may not even go read. So that’s what’s so interesting.

So the Patreon, even though my Patreon is for my podcast, I still think that it’s part of my ecosystem as a writer to do the podcast, because I learn from the conversations that that goes into my writing, it gives me new ideas. So I guess I kind of put it all into one. But there are some authors who are using Patreon for their writing only. I support N.K. Jemisin who is a writer of color who wanted to go full time, and I was like, I really love what she’s doing, so I wanted to support her and that’s purely on her fiction. Other writers doing short stories. Lots of exciting things there. And you’re doing Patreon now as well, right?

Orna Ross: Haven’t done Patreon yet. Have done crowdfunding, and I think that falls under this category as well, and I like crowdfunding for specific certain kinds of projects, and I certainly not in any way averse to Patreon, just haven’t got round to it. So many things, so many different ways.

My own model that I think works very well and I see a lot more people using very successfully now and that used to be, traditionally was very much a non-fiction model, but now I see people using it in fiction as well is the membership site model. So your close fans and followers who would actually pay a premium to get closer to your work or to get extra work that you’re not circulating elsewhere, or to get special editions or just to get a meeting with you once a month, or you decide what you would like to provide and you put it out there and if there are enough people who are interested in it, then they join up.

And that can be a very, very, again, what you’re talking about there, it’s part, too, of the body of work, the communities that we are building around ourselves are very much feeding the work as well as feeding off at a financial. It becomes harder and harder the more you do, separate out the creative and the commercial. You can start off doing something, as you say, from a commercial perspective, doing this as marketing, and suddenly find, ‘Oh, heavens, this is core, this is really, I didn’t realize this is one of the most creative things I do.’ You can start off with a very creative kind of idea and end up just keeping it on because it earns you money long after the creative buzz is gone from that activity, but it’s become lucrative for you. So, it changes over time, I think that’s one of the things to realize. Constantly experimenting and seeing how we feel and in the very lucky position of being able to adapt and change as things change for us. And the more we change, the better, I think, in that regard.

Joanna Penn: Yeah, absolutely. And then I should mention, also, things like sponsorship, so I have paid sponsorship for my podcast, and also affiliate income, which is when you link to other services and products for example Vellum. I’m a huge fan of Vellum. I’m an evangelist for Vellum, which is formatting software and is just brilliant. I just recorded a YouTube video showing how to use Vellum and I include a link, and if people buy through my link I get a small percentage. Now what you just mentioned, time, and what’s interesting is both the sponsorship and the affiliate income is based on writing and time, because it would mean nothing if I did a video on Vellum and talked about Vellum without traffic to my website. And that traffic is almost 10 years now of blogging and podcasting and putting written content out there, which brings traffic to my website.

So, I think at the beginning of the journey it can seem completely pointless to think about some of these streams of income. We talk about going wide with 27 books. For some people it’s like, well, that’s ridiculous, but that’s 10 years on from where I started. And we’ve both said, I think, if you’re starting now and you have nothing else, then absolutely KDP Select is a great place to be, but I guess what we’re talking about, is if your plan is, longer term, to make a living, and how authors and writers make a living, then these are things that can change with time.

Orna Ross: Yes, and this is the Advanced Salon, this is not something, I’m sure some people are listening who perhaps only do have one book or perhaps haven’t yet completed their first book and that’s fine. What we are talking here about people who want to make a living from their writing and what, I suppose, the overall message, the main message to get across is it’s possible now. You can do it. You need to understand, though, the demands of business. One of the things you will need to do is to start thinking of yourself as a person who is in business and we can often have mental blocks around that. I see a lot of authors who don’t like the word, it’s one of the reasons I did the Go Creative book, the resistance that comes up around these topics, the confusion, the Industrial Revolution split off creative from commercial for the first time and we bought into a lot of myths around this stuff, which we need to dissolve really quickly if we are serious about wanting to make a living from our writing.

Orna Ross: And for those who are making a living from their writing, whichever model they choose, it is like a dream come true. And there is so much about it that is so fantastic. It’s a very good goal to have. It takes a little time to get there and you need to understand the different demands. You need to begin by putting some attention on the actual business as well as in the business of making the books or making whatever the content is, you need to be thinking about working on the business and also making connections and partnerships and links with people that will take you out so you have traffic in order to get your affiliate income or to attract your sponsor and/or so on and support, but it’s all very doable now.

Joanna Penn: It is, absolutely, and, yeah, I can testify to that. Very happy being a full time author-entrepreneur.

So we are out of time, and we’ll be back next month. Maybe we should focus on those mindset issues you’re talking about because your book will be out, and I’ve written a book on mindset as well, and it’s definitely something that I keep coming back to in myself, let alone trying to help other people with that. So the creative and business mindset that you need, I think would be a great topic for next month.

Orna Ross: Let’s do it.

Joanna Penn: Let’s do it. So we will be back, and in the meantime, I’m Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn.

Orna Ross: And I’m Orna Ross from the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Joanna Penn: And ornaross.com. You’re both-

Orna Ross: And ornaross.com

Joanna Penn: … both hats.

Okay. Well, thanks so much, everybody, and we will see you next month. Happy writing!

Orna Ross: And happy publishing. Bye!

This Post Has One Comment
  1. On the KDP thing – I only have two books out (one novel one novella – who thought writing two series concurrently was a good idea) but I’m going wide from the start, this is both start as you mean to go on, and also that I don’t want to beholden to one outlet and be at their mercy if they change the fees unilaterally.

    I’m aware this may not make the most money in the short term, but its become a point of principal – plus I’m hoping that building readers on the wide outlets from the start will pay dividends long term

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Howard Lovy

Howard Lovy is an editor and writer with more than 30 years of experience in journalism, from newspapers to magazines specializing in business, science, and technology. He has spent the past few years guiding coverage of independent publishing, amplifying voices of the marginalized. Howard is also a book doctor who enjoys working with authors to get their work ready for publication.

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