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 to get creative work done in an "always on" world

Productivity for Creative People

Mark McGuinness' latest book Productivity for Creative People is a is a collection of insights, tips, and techniques to help you carve out time for your most important work – amid the demands and distractions of 21st century life.

β€œOf all the writers I know, I have learned the most about how to be a productive creative person from Mark. His tips are always realistic, accessible, and sticky. It’s not just talk, this is productivity advice that will change your life.”

Jocelyn Glei, author and Founding Editor, 99U

More about Productivity for Creative People. >>

Responses to this Post


  1. Marvelous seeing two of my favorite people together. And THANK YOU for the transcript. I just can’t learn from audio or video; I’m a reader, and as fun as it is to watch y’all chat, I need those written words.

  2. Going to get this book! Need it! Thanks for head’s up about it. Saw her excellent presentation on self-publishing & then wrote my book #InArk & published it! Please come to my book launch if you are free Nov. 8th!

  3. Amazing interview, really inspired me to finally publish my little travel book… THANK YOU