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Joanna Joanna Penn is an author, international speaker and entrepreneur based in London, England. She was voted as one of The Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013. She was an IT consultant for 13 years, working in large corporates across Europe and Asia Pacific. In 2011, she became a full-time author/entrepreneur. Her journey and lessons learned are documented in her book "Career Change: Stop hating your job, find out what you really want to do, and start doing it." Joanna's site, www.TheCreativePenn.com helps authors with writing and creative entrepreneurship. She has a popular podcast on iTunes and a YouTube Channel.
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Publetariat Dispatch: The Future Of Books And Publishing

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, author and publishing consultant Joanna Penn looks to the future of books and publishing.

In the last week there have been two great audio interviews on the future of books. I would say it’s not the future but more current, emerging and becoming more mainstream every day. I recommend you listen to them both! They will educate and inspire you and that’s what this blog is all about :)

 

The Future of Books and Publishing at Six Pixels of Separation

There’s one podcast I listen to avidly and that is Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation. It’s primarily a marketing blog and podcast but also talks a lot about new media, publishing and Mitch interviews a lot of authors of business books. It’s not usually aimed at writers but this episode is a definite must-listen podcast for those of you who enjoy audio.

Click here for The Future of Books and Publishing with Mitch Joel and Hugh McGuire

Here are some key points I found interesting:

  • Hugh’s new software PressBooks (currently in beta) is a simple online book production tool. It’s based on WordPress software and produces a print book as well as an ebook but it’s also all online so it can be given away for free as well. This enables all the analytics to be tracked as people join in and share online.
  • How Amazon is a tech company with an amazing amount of analytics on their customers which enables them to compete aggressively. (For us as authors, this is a great thing as it fuels the Amazon algorithms that help sell our books.)
  • The key thing is the connection between readers and authors. You have to control that connection to the customer and Amazon has this. (This is also why we are building online platforms, so we can connect directly to readers)
  • “You have talent on one side and customers on the other and the middle is the engine of marketing.” Mitch Joel. Connecting the two is the key and Amazon has this.
  • Amazon as a publisher has signed Deepak Chopra now, as well as a lot of other authors including Tim Ferriss.
  • A discussion on the value of print books and books in general. The way of reading on the Kindle with sampling and having no time for books that don’t immediately grab you.
  • “It’s the context, not the container.” This underlies everything. What can you do as a writer/publisher to make things better for your reader? This is the important thing.

You can find Mitch Joel at Six Pixels of Separation and on twitter @mitchjoel

You can find Hugh McGuire at HughMcGuire.net and on twitter @hughmcguire

On the future of books: A discussion with Seth Godin

In an interview with Leo Babauta on Zen Habits, thought leader and marketing guru Seth Godin talks about:

  • How the current changes in publishing are scary for those people who want someone to pick them and just write but fantastically exciting for those writers who can embrace the change and pick themselves
  • There is an abundance of shelf-space online. It’s not about shelf space, it’s about finding a tribe and developing relationships and selling to those people. Your job is to connect and create your own community around your work. Then you have the power to market to them. It’s not about the table by the cash register at Borders, it’s your ability to attract a passionate tribe and then fulfil the needs of those people.
  • Really think about what needs to go into a physical book form and whether your ideas could be disseminated in other ways. Seth mentions how books will become 99c or $1.99 ebooks that people devour like popcorn (the John Locke model) and then a few very specific books that will be hardback or collector’s items and many more that will need to be sold to the tribe e.g. idea type books like his own.

There’s much more in this interview and one of my takeaways is that I feel I’m in the right place for the publishing shift. When I started this blog, there was a huge stigma against self-publishing but that lessens everyday and these two interviews on such high profile blogs prove that this model is not going away.

Click here to download the interview with Seth Godin on the future of books

Read the blog on The Domino Project, Seth’s (very successful) experiment in publishing here

Leo’s blog Zen Habits is also brilliant and focuses on minimalism if that’s something you’re interested in.

What do you think? Are you excited about what’s happening in the publishing industry?

 

 

This is a reprint from Joanna Penn‘s The Creative Penn.

Publetariat Dispatch: Resources For Young Writers

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, author and consultant Joanna Penn shares some resources for young writers; pass this along to any aspiring Hemingways, Rowlings, or Meyerses you may know.

I have had a number of teenagers email me in the last year and have been so encouraged by their eagerness to write and become authors.

I am also helping my 9 year old niece write her first book at the moment. Even if it’s just for the grandparents, she is learning the process of writing, editing, illustration and book production. It’s amazing to be able to help people at such a young age.

I had that spark at 13 but I lost it over the years and only rediscovered it in my 30s. I don’t want the same thing to happen to these young people, so here are some tips and resources for young people wanting to write and be published.

  • Don’t listen to anyone who says that one type of writing is better than another. This is what killed my young dreams of being a writer! There is a snobbery in the book world that says literary fiction is the best kind, that winning prizes is more important than sales and that genre fiction is somehow less than other types of books. You need to decide a) what you like to read and b) what you like to write. If you like vampire romance, then go ahead, write some yourself. Stephanie Meyer did that with Twilight. If you like war books, or space ships, or explosions, or love stories – or of course, if you like literary fiction books – then write what you enjoy. If you want to earn money from your books, check out what the most highly paid authors have in common here.
  • Not everyone will like your book. Don’t worry about it. But learn about editing. There is a lot of criticism in being a writer, but don’t let it get you down. Not everyone will like your writing. Do you like every book you read? Probably not and that’s ok isn’t it? You don’t need to. So it goes for your book. You will want everyone to love your writing but they won’t. Family can be the most critical and that will hurt a lot. Sometimes it’s best to keep it a secret. There is also a difference between criticism that doesn’t help and constructive criticism which could also be called editing. This is very important for all writers. We all need editors to help us improve. It’s like having a coach at school and we learn that way. An editor will help you to improve what you have. Basically, someone saying your writing is terrible doesn’t help. Someone who says that you need to add some dialogue and improve this character in this specific way is helpful.
  • Try online networking. I personally love twitter for finding like-minded people who are into the same things as me, but I know young people are into different networks. Spend some time on your favourite network finding a group that might suit you. It may be that the best encouragement you can get is from another young person on the other side of the world. I had pen-pals when I was younger (in the days of hand writing letters!). Now you can email someone in another country. Look for someone who you can talk to about being a young writer. Encourage each other and you can always read each others work – but be kind and supportive.
  • Learn about editing, publishing and book marketing as well as more about writing. It’s not just about the initial writing. There is a process in becoming an author and you need to be aware of it all or you will find it much harder when you want to get into publishing. Click on the following links for more information: Writing and Editing, Publishing options and Book marketing. The exciting thing is that as the market changes, there are many more opportunities for all writers either with small independent presses or by publishing yourself onto ebooks or in print. It’s the best time to be a writer right now!

Here are some other resources:

If you are a young writer, do you have tips for other people? If you are a parent/teacher/author, please also leave your tips for young writers in the comments. I would love for this to be a good resource page.

 

This is a reprint from Joanna Penn‘s The Creative Penn.

Publetariat Dispatch: People Don’t Buy Books Based On The Publisher

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, indie author and publishing consultant Joanna Penn asserts that publisher names don’t matter all that much to readers.

Most writers and authors also buy a lot of books. I certainly do, and you probably do too. So what makes you buy a book?

I buy books primarily based on the following:
  • Recommendations from others mostly found on blogs I read and twitter
  • Browsing Amazon Kindle store in the categories I read, as well as how Amazon uses suggestions on other books I have read. I download lots of samples and then buy the books that take my fancy.
  • Browsing physical book stores, although now I note down titles and then go buy them on my Kindle as they are 1/4 of the price of the physical book
I definitely do not buy books based on the publisher. In fact, most of the time I wouldn’t know who the publisher was anyway and in a brief survey of other book buyers they have a similar experience. This raises a couple of very important questions for authors and writers, and perhaps publishers as well.
  • If book buyers don’t care who the publisher is, why is there a stigma to being self-published? (it’s changing but it is still there). If you have a professionally edited and interesting book, with an eye-catching cover, buyers will not know the difference anyway. I have the same Amazon shelf-space as any other books. What do you think?
  • If book buyers don’t care who the publisher is, why do authors care so much? Do we all want a 10 book deal with Harper Collins because it means more physical distribution to bookstores, potentially world rights and more publicity budget? and is that scenario very likely for most authors. I don’t think so. The reason must be ego and I will freely admit to being one of those authors! I would love a 10 book deal with Harper Collins! But I know that I will still need to do my own publicity and marketing, and I may well make less money than  digital publishing. It is important to identify the why behind what you want for your book and your career as an author. Why do you care who publishes you?
  • If book buyers don’t care who the publisher is, whose brand is associated with the book? In a brilliant audio to the indie publishing industry a few weeks ago, Seth Godin challenged the audience on brand. He basically said that publishers should be aligning with audiences and brands and become the “go to” publisher for that audience e.g. be the publisher for civil war books, or for coeliac disease sufferers. I can think of a couple of publishers who have this right at the moment. O’Reilly Books is for tech books, and Harlequin is for romance, but do the readers go there to spend money? I find branding to be a fascinating topic for authors and the publishing industry and right now, you need to consider your branding in a very crowded marketplace.
[Update: This piece was written a week ago, but I just saw the interview with Mark Coker from Smashwords where he says the same thing:
“Readers typically don’t pay attention to the name of the publisher on the spine of the book. They pay attention to the author and the story.”
Do you buy books based on a publisher? and do you care who publishes your book?

 

This is a cross-posting from Joanna Penn‘s The Creative Penn.

Publetariat Dispatch: The iPad And The Kindle Compared

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, indie author and publishing consultant Joanna Penn compares the iPad to the Kindle.

I’ve had the Kindle for over a year and the iPad for a few months now. Here’s how I am using both devices.

In the video below, I explain:

Reading fiction. Pretty much only on the Kindle device or on the Kindle app on the iPad/iPhone. I am quite loyal to the Amazon.com brand and experience as I have been buying physical books from overseas for years. It is a natural extension to move to the Kindle store, buy books there and read over multiple devices. The iBookstore is not very well populated as yet, and the Kindle app on the iPad is preferable.

Reading blogs. I use the iPad to relax and browse my Google Reader feeds as well as my social networks. I love using Flipboard, a fantastic app that formats the feeds into a magazine style layout with different sizes and pictures. It is addictive to read on Flipboard so that is how I find all the interesting articles that I tweet @thecreativepenn

Reading non-fiction/online course materials generally in PDF format. I do a lot of online courses and learning. Much of that material is formatted in PDF. I use GoodReader app on the iPad for this and love to be in the hammock with the iPad, a notebook and a cup of tea.

Multi-media. I am watching more videos on YouTube on the iPad as part of my surfing. I have also read some ebooks with embedded links to video that are great on the iPad specifically.

Traveling. When I was in Bali, I used the iPad for email, skype phone calls and twitter/facebook while I was away. I didn’t take the Kindle device as it is specialized but I did sync the same books and read them on the Kindle app. Using the iPad for skype saved me lots of money on international phone calls as well as being easy for email so I could work seamlessly while traveling. It’s definitely the device I will use in the future for travel.

Email/social networking/news on a casual basis. This may freak some people out but I often read email/twitter/FB/news while having breakfast! My husband also has an iPad and consumes different media to me. I often read UK and European news and he reads information from New Zealand (our respective countries of origin). Sitting at breakfast with a newspaper is not unusual for many couples, and for us, it is sitting with iPads. I don’t feel like it is work when I can just check a few things on email, reply to a few tweets and catch up on the news.

Overall, the iPad replaces laptop usage rather than Kindle usage. I am shifting consumption of blogs/video/learning onto the iPad whereas I did that with my laptop before. It is much more relaxing to sit with the iPad on the couch than to sit with a laptop. I still use the Kindle device for reading fiction primarily as their are no distractions when using it. The iPad has multiple distractions!

Do you have an iPad? How do you use yours?

 

This is a reprint from Joanna Penn‘s The Creative Penn.

Kindle eBook of the Day: “If you like Indiana Jones action, a Lara Croft style heroine and a mystery steeped in Christian myth and mysticism, then Pentecost is the book for you.” Joanna Penn’s Pentecost: A Thriller – 19 5-Star Reviews – Just 99 cents on Kindle!


Here’s the set-up for Joanna Penn’s Pentecost, just 99 Cents on Kindle:

A powerful secret kept for 2000 years. A brotherhood broken by murder. A woman who stands to lose everything.

When Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, the Apostles took stones from his tomb as a symbol of their brotherhood. At Pentecost, the fire of the Holy Spirit empowered the stones and the Apostles performed miracles in God’s name throughout the Empire. 

Forged in the fire and blood of the Christian martyrs, the Pentecost stones were handed down through generations of Keepers who kept their power and locations secret.

Until now.

The Keepers are being murdered, the stones stolen by those who would use them for evil in a world transformed by religious fundamentalism. Oxford University psychologist Morgan Sierra is forced into the search when her sister and niece are held hostage. She is helped by Jake Timber from the mysterious ARKANE, a British government agency specializing in paranormal and religious experience.

From ancient Christian sites in Spain, Italy and Israel to the far reaches of Iran and Tunisia, Morgan and Jake must track down the stones through the myths of the early church in a race against time before a new Pentecost is summoned, this time powered by the fire of evil.

From the reviewers:

“If you like Indiana Jones action, a Lora Croft style heroine and a mystery steeped in Christian myth and mysticism, then Pentecost is the book for you.Full of fast-paced action this book hits the ground running from the beginning.” –Review by Virginia Ripple

“If you enjoy a fast-paced thriller that brings an intriguing mix of history and fiction, then Pentecost by Joanna Penn should be on your list of must reads”.– Review by CG Lawrence

“This book has elements that will appeal to all thriller fans – there’s a bit of Indiana Jones, a bit of Wilbur Smith, a bit of Dan Brown and a lot of Joanna Penn and I have no hesitation in recommending it. It’s a rollicking good read..”– Review by Alan Baxter

“Penn has a gift for describing the various cathedrals, basilicas, and lands that Morgan and Jake journey to, making the setting vibrant and alive throughout the book. Penn is also a master at weaving in religious information throughout the story that pushes the plot along. The pacing of the story is unparalleled …”– Review by Melanie Hawthorne

“The most awesome book I have read in a long time. A page turner from the beginning to the end. Even the author’s note is interesting.”– Review by Sharon Flood

“I happen to love books with religious themes. I couldn’t put down Dan Brown’s books. I couldn’t put this book down either. A strong woman, a lot of action, and unfamiliar religious history hooked me. I knew nothing about the religious background behind this story and I found it very interesting. If you love action, and esoteric religious history, you will really like this book.”– Review by Janis Friesler

“Joanna Penn hooked me immediately with her understanding of church history, and geography and historical documentation. PENTECOST is more than a fictional pleasure read; it is the stuff that movie producers drool over, keeping them up at night wondering why they hadn’t thought of such an intriguing premise.” –Review by Jeff Bennington

“Intriguing, Dramatic, Suspenseful…these are the first words that come to mind when recalling Joanna’s Pentecost. This book has been compared to Dan Brown and Indiana Jones. However, as I read it I was reminded of two of my favorite authors, Sidney Sheldon and Dean Koontz, despite the different genres they all write in.” –Review by Cynthia Tucker


I’m an author, speaker and business consultant based in Brisbane, Australia although I’m British. I’ve just started writing religious thriller novels and my first one is Pentecost.

I’m passionate about digital publishing and using the internet to build a platform, market and promote books worldwide. It is an exciting time in publishing! Authors have the chance to get their work out worldwide using new technologies. Brilliant!

I love books, podcasts, self development learning, scuba diving, travel, my cat Shmi, writers festivals, Lindt & Sprungli chocolate, Indian saris made into skirts, funky jewelry and my iPhone.–Joanna Penn
And here, in the comfort of your own browser, is your free sample:


Kindle Nation Daily Free Book Alert, Saturday, February 12: Two Brand New Freebies Top Our List of Over 220 Free Kindle Books, plus … Think “Da Vinci Code meets Indiana Jones” and You’ve Got Joanna Penn’s Pentecost: A Thriller (Today’s Sponsor)

It’s a Winter Weekend, you’ve got your Kindle handy, and you’re ready to set aside a few hours to read! You could scroll down to check out the business books that are this morning’s latest additions to our 220+ Free Book Alert listings…. But first….

But first, a word from … Today’s Sponsor

A power kept secret for 2000 years. A brotherhood broken by murder. A woman who stands to lose everything…

“…A thriller in every sense of the word. If you are looking for action, suspense, drama, and an exciting, intelligent narrative that takes you to exotic locations, this is a book for you.” –Write On!


Pentecost. A Thriller.
by Joanna Penn
4.1 out of 5 stars   21 Reviews
Text-to-Speech: Enabled 
Don’t have a Kindle? Get yours here.

Raiders of the Lost Ark meets the Da Vinci Code!



Here’s the set-up:

When Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, the Apostles took stones from his tomb as a symbol of their brotherhood. At Pentecost, the fire of the Holy Spirit empowered the stones and the Apostles performed miracles in God’s name throughout the Empire. Forged in the fire and blood of the Christian martyrs, the Pentecost stones were handed down through generations of Keepers who kept their power and locations secret.

Until now.

The Keepers are being murdered, the stones stolen by those who would use them for evil in a world transformed by religious fundamentalism. Oxford University psychologist Morgan Sierra is forced into the search when her sister and niece are held hostage. She is helped by Jake Timber from the mysterious ARKANE, a British government agency specializing in paranormal and religious experience.

From ancient Christian sites in Spain, Italy and Israel to the far reaches of Iran and Tunisia, Morgan and Jake must track down the stones through the myths of the early church in a race against time before a new Pentecost is summoned, this time powered by the fire of evil.


What the Reviewers Say
“Pentecost is a cracking read. Joanna Penn has created a novel that is highly entertaining and has a definite “unputdownableness”. There is plenty to keep you entertained with great characters that have oodles of story left in them (more please … Pentecost II?) and a plot that is equally enjoyable and “uncomplicatedly” complicated…  I enjoyed this novel immensely and I highly recommend it.”
–Damian Cox

“The first paragraph of Pentecost grabbed me by the lapels of my jacket and didn’t let go. It is a gripping tale – part thriller, part historical fiction but all good and all of the time intertwined between great characters and narration. Joanna Penn’s descriptions of places are excellent and make the reader feel as if they are actually there. The characters are three-dimensional with very good dialogue that moves the plot forward.”
Joseph L. Giacalone, author

About the Author
I’m an author, speaker and business consultant based in Brisbane, Australia although I’m British. I’ve just started writing religious thriller novels and my first one, Pentecost is available now.

I’m passionate about digital publishing and using the internet to build a platform, market and promote books worldwide. It is an exciting time in publishing! Authors have the chance to get their work out worldwide using new technologies. Brilliant!


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