Business for Authors and Creatives: a Conversation with Joanna Penn

What are the biggest challenges facing creatives who start out in business for themselves?

Should you quit your day job or start building your creative enterprise in your spare time?

How are your creative and business challenges likely to change over time?

How do the massive changes in the publishing industry in recent years affect writers’ career prospects?

With so much competition, how can a new author get people to pay attention to their book?

How can you exploit the intellectual property in your work, to create more income (without working extra hours)?

Are writers better off looking for a publishing deal or publishing their books themselves?

Joanna Penn photoThese are some of the questions I asked Joanna Penn, best-selling author, speaker and creative entrepreneur, in this interview.

No matter what your creative field, if you aspire to build a thriving business around your creative work, you’ll find plenty of useful advice from Joanna in the interview.

And if you’re a writer, the ideas in the interview – and Joanna’s new book Business for Authors – could be career-changing for you.

Joanna is one of my own inner circle of advisors – when I have a burning question about publishing or marketing my own books, she is one of the first people I turn to. So as soon as she told me Business for Authors was on the horizon, I knew it would be a must-read for many Lateral Action readers.

Business for Authors coverThe book goes much further than how to sell books (important as that is!). It covers topics such as creative business models, intellectual property, managing money, and assembling and managing a team of collaborators and assistants.

There’s nothing else quite like it for writers, in terms of creativity, strategy and cutting-edge knowledge of the current state of publishing.

Joanna was generous with her expertise in our conversation, and she has kindly provided a transcript that you can download here.

You can watch the video of the interview here on the blog (you may need to click through if you’re reading via email) or on YouTube; or listen to the audio on SoundCloud.

And you can pick up a copy of Business for Authors either direct from Joanna’s website or from online booksellers via this page.

Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling thriller author. She also writes, podcasts and speaks about entrepreneurship for authors via The Creative Penn.

How Your Creativity Can Save You in a Crisis

Torch with beam shining in darkness

Image by nikkytok via BigStock

As Gregory Sampson awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found his bed transformed into a gigantic slab of stone.

He couldn’t see the change – the room was pitch-black, so opening his eyes or closing them made no difference at all. But he could feel it. The bed was rock-hard. And cold. There were no sheets. His pillow had vanished.

Lying there on the cold stone in darkness, he could hear nothing but the sound of his own breathing and his heart thumping in his chest. Reaching out on one side and then the other, he felt nothing but stone. Rolling over, at full stretch, he felt the edge of the slab dropping away on his right. And the same on his left.

Gregory had the uncomfortable thought he was lying on a stone altar. The kind used for sacrifices.

[Read more…]

Travel the World as a Suitcase Entrepreneur: a Conversation with Natalie Sisson

Natalie with her suitcase and laptop, relaxing in the woods

In recent years the term ‘digital nomad’ has become a buzzword for a new way of living and working – travelling the globe with a laptop and living in a succession of exotic countries, all the while running a business from the road.

Plenty of hype and myths have grown up around the subject. One suspects there may even be a few armchair nomads. But there are people out there walking (and flying) the walk – and Natalie Sisson is one of them.

I ‘met’ Natalie online several years ago via our blogs. Whenever I hear from her it’s rarely from the same place twice: Buenos Aires, Paris, Tokyo. Even cycling across Africa. The one constant is Natalie’s enthusiasm – for travel, entrepreneurship and life.

And I’ve seen her reputation and business grow, as she inspires and helps others take to the sky through her speaking, coaching, training and products. She shares her journey, and the lessons learned along the way, in her Amazon No.1 best selling book, The Suitcase Entrepreneur.

Last week we finally met up in person, over coffee in London. I took the opportunity to ask her some questions on your behalf, about the opportunities and pitfalls of life as a Suitcase Entrepreneur.

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Video: Public Speaking for Introverted Creatives

If you want to succeed as a creative professional, sooner or later you’re going to have to stand up in front of an audience and persuade them of the value of your work.

If you’re a writer you’ll be invited to give readings and talks.

If you’re an artist you’ll be asked to talk about your work at salons and exhibitions.

If you’re an agency creative, you’ll have to pitch ideas to your colleagues and clients.

If you’re an entrepreneur you’ll need to tell investors and potential buyers about your company and products.

If you’re a consultant, you’ll need to persuade clients and conference audiences of the value of your ideas.

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Unlock Your Creativity (and Win Pitches) by Starting at the Finish Line

Start and finish line on athletics track

Image by digitalista via BigStock

When I teach my workshop on ‘Fundraising for Artists,’ we play this game: I give the class an imaginary check for $10,000 and I ask an artist to come to the front of the room and describe her project.

Participants have to decide if and when they’re willing to give the artist the check and if not, what questions they want answered. Suddenly, the attendees who walked into the room as unsure artists transform into savvy philanthropists with smart questions about the artist’s project and vision.

[Read more…]