Laura Howard: The Future of Publishing with Joanna Penn


The Future of Publishing with Joanna Penn

This week's video is an interview with Joanna Penn, who has been the biggest inspiration in my choice to self-publish. She has self-published two novels and three non-fiction books as well as created various courses and products to help others avoid the mistakes she's made during her time as an author. 

It seems I introduce everyone as my special guest, and that is true because I'm truly honored that my guests give me their time to be interviewed. But, Joanna is extra special to me because essentially everything I do is based on studying her website and podcasts closely. 

What we talked about:

  • Always wanted to be an author, but was blocked by belief you had to be able to write a Pulitzer Prize winning novel to get published
  • Was miserable in her career as an IT consultant, and wrote a non-fiction book titled How To Love Your Job or Find a New One, which she published before the Kindle was big like it is now.
  • Started her blog The Creative Penn to share her experiences with other writers and has now self-published two novels.
  • Is a big believer in the editing process, particularly for first-time authors. Structural editing and Developmental editing help show you what works in the story. Proofreading and Line-editing is more for sentence structure and punctuation.
  • Has two separate businesses- as a fiction author JF Penn, and also as a non-fiction author on The Creative Penn. Sometimes there is crossover, but generally they are separate.
  • Social Media is more for building relationships, not selling books. If you're doing the things that make you happy, you're on the right track. 
  • The future of publishing appears to be a hybrid model where authors are combining the benefits of traditional and independent publishing. 
  • James Scott Bell is traditionally published, but self-publishes novellas in between his novels, which is a great business model.
  • First-time self-publishers need to basically hand-sell their first thousand books before Amazon's algorithm. 
  • Feels that going exclusive with Amazon (KDP Select) is best for second and other subsequent releases.
  • The best way to launch a new release is with sites like Pixel of Ink who have lists of Kindle users.
  • Email lists are huge for authors. If you don't have a blog, make sure you're getting a list of subscribers to send notifications when you release new books.
  • Don't forget to use in-book marketing: have links at the end of your ebook to: 1) Your website where readers can get on your list. 2) A request for a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Joanna is the author of two novels:


And several books and courses for authors:

I read a lot of blog that inspire and teach me about writing and publishing. But The Creative Penn is one that I check every time new content is posted and sometimes when I have general questions I use the search feature on the site. 

I'd like to hear from you! Is there an author out there who inspires you that you keep going back to?


  1. Thanks for having me Laura, I really enjoyed our chat!

  2. Best collections of books, read some of your books and Romantic

  3. Great great information! Self publishing my first book myself and loved learning about all these tips!

    1. Looking forward to it Victoria!! So exciting, thank for stopping by!

  4. We absitively to go through all our cheep followers and analysis if they had a blog. If they had a blog and a column we begin was accompanying to our affair breadth we afresh larboard a accordant comment.

  5. Laura and Joanna, Wonderful podcast! Thank you both!

  6. Great information. Great questions!


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