Audiobooks, Author Earnings, Global Focus And More. 2014 RoundUp With Hugh McGuire

In today’s show, I talk to publishing expert Hugh McGuire about some of the biggest stories of 2014 and how they affect indie authors. We go through the state of audio, exclusivity and subscription models, discoverability and publishing startups, print on demand, Author Earnings and global development. Exciting times!

99designs-logo-750x200pxThis podcast episode is sponsored by 99 Designs, where you can get all kinds of designs for your author business including book covers, merchandising, branding and business cards, illustrations and artwork and much more. You can get a Powerpack upgrade which gives your project more chance of getting noticed by going to:

hugh mcguireHugh McGuire is an author, professional speaker and publishing expert, the founder of PressBooks, an online book publishing platform built on WordPress, and of, the largest library of free, public domain audiobooks in the world as well as lots of other things!

Audio has been a big shift in 2014, with ACX opening up to UK authors and a big growth in the audio market. We discuss the popularity of audio and why it might be growing. Hugh mentions how the success of his company Iambik was in the genre fiction categories, which is the same with ebooks. It’s still a niche market but worth looking at to extend your rights. As with any content, marketing is still really important to make a dent, although I point out that discoverability might be easier in audio, because there are fewer titles. The more channels you’re in, the more formats you’re in, the more likely you are to build a long-term business.

“It’s perfectly fine to have a writing career that isn’t a business, but don’t complain when you don’t make any money at it.” Hugh McGuire, Pressbooks

  •  We discuss exclusivity, Kindle Unlimited and subscription models. Authors have to decide what makes business sense in the short term as well as the long term. It makes sense for new authors to use exclusivity to get some movement, but if you have a longer term business model, a wider base of distribution is better. Subscription models are not designed to make money from one individual book, it’s more of a way to grow the amount people are reading altogether. These models are growing. You will always be better off growing your own email list so you can always reach people directly.
  • Discoverability and how some of the publishing startups looked like a great idea, but haven’t worked out quite yet! Hugh talks about how the self-containment of the e-reading eco-systems have stopped discoverability. We talk about Readmill, which focused on social reading and was bought by Dropbox and shut down. We both liked Small Demons, which looked at the cultural milieu around books e.g. what music is referenced within certain books and discovering other books that also mention that song. Unfortunately, they also went out of business. [Side note: I did ask them at a conference why they didn’t open up to indie authors so we could create content for them, but they only wanted to work with trad pub. I still like the idea!] We also talk about Wattpad, which is a great startup that is thriving, although its user base may be quite different to mainstream publishing at the moment. And of course, we still love Smashwords, and Mark has always focused on indies!
  • Pressbookspressbooks is based on producing beautiful print on demand files easily from your manuscript and the interface is built on WordPress so it’s easy for bloggers to use. There are multiple ebook outputs as well, but it’s focused on the print on demand aspect primarily. We discuss the importance of print to the market but how more print sales will go online over time.
  • Global market expansion. We talk about whether the next big thing will come out of another territory. Hugh mentions that African countries are ‘skipping’ technology e.g. moving directly to cellphones instead of landlines, and to mobile tech instead of desktops or laptops. There’s also fantastic innovation coming out of these other markets. English language authors do have an advantage as we’ve been thinking about this for several years now – compare this to French authors or other places where the digital revolution has barely begun.
  • Author Earnings and how supply is increasing. I talk about how my hope is that the romance authors are just ahead of the curve because they started earlier in digital, and that other genres will catch up in terms of % dominance by indie authors. In thrillers, it’s still dominated by trad pub, but we’re on our way up!
  • We discuss the fact that the ‘bleeding edge’ of publishing is actually here already! The self-publishing big names are becoming small presses, publishing other people as H M Ward has now started doing.

Overall, a positive time for creators!

You can find Hugh and his team at and on Twitter @pressbooks or @hughmcguire

Audiobooks For Indies With Simon Whistler

Have you put your books into audio yet? Today I interview Simon Whistler about his new book, Audiobooks for Indies.

I’m in New Zealand on a family visit! Delirium is now available as an audiobook, you can find it here on Audible or please email me if you’d like a review copy.

This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets kobo writing lifethrough the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.

Kobo’s financial support pays for the hosting and transcription, and if you enjoy the show, you can now support my time on Patreon. Thank you!

simon whistlerSimon Whistler is an author and voice talent/audiobook narrator, as well as a podcaster – he runs the very popular, Rocking Self Publishing Podcast. His new book is Audiobooks for Indies: Unlock the potential of your book.

You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher, watch the interview on YouTube here Part 1 and Part 2, or read the notes and links below.

  • Simon talks a bit about his background, with a degree in business, then working in Sri Lanka before moving to Prague. He started narrating audiobooks and working with indie authors, and then started his podcast, Rocking Self Publishing, before deciding to write a book about audiobooks to help authors get their books out there. We talk about the creative hub that Prague is turning into … We discuss entrepreneurship and audiobooks for indiesthe mindset shift from writing a book to running a business as an author.
  • Why the audiobook market is growing so fast. Basically because Amazon is behind it, plus the advance of digital technology. People can consume while they do other things, and it’s on demand now through wireless technology. It can also help you stand out as there are far fewer books available in audio, plus Whispersync means people can combine editions on their Kindle.
  • Best practices for working with a voice talent. We talk about adaptation, interpretation and respecting creative expression – as well as balancing it with how you want the book to be.
  • On fiction and non-fiction audiobooks. Often listeners want to hear the author read non-fiction, so if you can, narrate it yourself. For fiction, you need to do voices and things, so it’s best to get a professional. Simon talks about using basic equipment for audiobook narration – you don’t need to complicate things and it will only cost you a couple hundred $ to get started. Before you do anything, read your book out loud and see how you feel.
  • Getting over your voice. We talk about becoming a narrator and how it can become another income stream, on when to take royalty split deals, and more. I am considering getting further into narration in 2015, only for non-fiction though.
  • On podcasting and when authors should consider it. We talk about the commitment in time per episode as well as how long it takes to get some traction with an audience. Like writing, it’s a long term game! We also talk a bit about video and YouTube – the most important thing is regular content. Most successful vloggers are doing videos several times a week. We also mention Skype Translator – which translates as you speak – only in beginning stages, but wow! It’s like Star Trek!

You can find Simon at and on twitter @RSPPodcast. You can get Audiobooks for Indies: Unlock the potential of your book, here on Amazon.

Commonalities Of Successful Indie Authors Plus A New Way To Find An Editor

The fast-growing self-publishing environment is attracting all kinds of start-ups and companies that intend to serve authors.

editingHowever, most of them seem to aim at the periphery of what authors really need, which in my opinion, is primarily editors and cover designers.

Then I met Ricardo Fayet at a number of events, and discovered that his start-up, Reedsy, is aimed at connecting indie authors with editors and other professionals. The providers on the site are curated so you can trust that they offer a quality service.

Reedsy itself is a partner member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, which also gives it another level of trust, in my opinion. Here’s a piece on the company in TechCrunch.

I asked Ricardo a few questions about what he sees in successful indie authors and what Reedsy can do for them.

You go to a lot of author events. What are the commonalities you see in successful indie authors?

First, and this is something that has always struck me, I’m amazed at how indies are all such positive and energetic people. Or at least this is what they all appear to be (I know you have repeatedly said you have a dark side – I can’t imagine it, but I’ll take your word for it).

I think this kind of positive energy is absolutely key for indie authors today: you have got to believe that you can make it and persevere in your work with that belief until things begin to pick up. The process is slow and tedious and it’s easy to get discouraged after you’ve put the first couple of books out there and see they’re not selling themselves…

I also see a willingness to experiment. Distribution models have changed, and so have marketing ones. Thinking outside the traditional box usually pays off, but that requires a lot of trying new things and techniques, failing, and “iterating” (to use the start-up jargon).

Finally, I see union and an incredible willingness to help each other. All successful indie authors have become successful partly thanks to other authors. Bella Andre and Tina Folsom have been working together (literally) for years now. You have been interviewing authors for years too. The Alliance of Independent Authors was born out of this belief that indies don’t compete for space on the Kindle Store, they grow stronger together.

You’re a businessman and an entrepreneur with a start-up. What can indie authors learn from entrepreneurs?

All three points I mentioned in the previous questions! I think this is why we get on well together.

As an entrepreneur, you also have to “build your team.” Once you do, entrepreneurs are faced with the same problem indies have once your product or your book is up and running: it doesn’t sell itself…

The difference is that entrepreneurs are often a little more educated about all the major challenges on the road from the start of their journey, whereas some starting authors go into self-publishing unprepared, or believing it will be relatively easy.

Start-up entrepreneurs are pushed by their investors to sell, so they market their product before it’s live, they beta-test it before releasing it, they continually improve it afterwards, etc. This pressure makes us more creative in our marketing efforts, and I think indie authors could get a lot of ideas by following the start-ups in their industry, reading their newsletters and observing their marketing efforts.

In way, it’s very difficult to remain oblivious to these challenges as an entrepreneur – there’s no temptation to develop a product in an ivory tower because it’s not an option.

reedsyOne of the biggest problems for indie authors is finding professionals to work with. How does Reedsy help with this issue?

There’s all kinds of problems with finding good editors, designers, basically any variety of professional. Reedsy makes it easy to find and work with the best professionals – emphasis on both ‘easy’ and ‘best.’

Take editors as an example. First of all, there’s the challenge of finding them – Google is awesome, but if you search for ‘freelance editors’ you’re not being shown the best editors, but rather the editors who are best at SEO. Basically, there’s not much of a connection between visibility and quality.

Eventually you make your shortlist, and start exploring working together – maybe making a spreadsheet along the way of prices, of terms, sending out samples for editing, comparing what you get back… All which is this process you have to micromanage by designing a custom email folder hierarchy…

And that doesn’t even get into what’s involved in tracking drafts and the evolution of a manuscript across multiple rounds of editing. It’s exhausting.


Example of Reedsy editor search with some of the freelancers available

So, Reedsy is an easy solution to all of this hassle. We have a growing network of great freelancers – respectful of their clients, established, experienced, skilled. You’ll be able to manage messaging freelancers, sending  and comparing sample edits, receiving quotes, and negotiating terms from one website. And when you start working together you’ll be able to track the history of the entire collaboration, from the very beginning, through our upcoming gorgeous editor.

The best thing about Reedsy is we make things easier for indie authors without taking away control. We make it an easy process, without taking it out of the author’s hands. That’s really important.

How can an author evaluate whether an editor or designer is the right one for them?

There’s all kinds of things authors need to think about when choosing who they want to work with. Looking at previous projects is an important one – not just whether the work is in a similar genre to your own work, but how you feel about the work that came out of the collaboration, whether you like the text after editing or like the cover design.

Authors should be totally honest about what they’re looking for from the freelancer. Not just because it’s important to make sure that expectations are clear all around, but to see how the freelancer responds. Collaborating with someone creatively can be intense, and it’s difficult to know how it’s going to go. Jumping in and being upfront about what you what (if you know what you want), or admitting your ignorance (if you don’t know what you need help with), can lead to a productive conversation. The earlier this happens, the better.

What else will Reedsy have coming up for authors?

Reedsy has a very specific purpose – to support independent authors. We’re building Reedsy like a toolbox. We’re starting with making something that can help with finding editors and designers. Naturally, we’ll add other professions over time – right now we’re planning to include publicists, narrators and translators.

But there are other tools we want to build for authors. The first of these is a text editor designed to support the process of creating book-length works, as well as making it more natural to share that work with your editor. We basically want to be more than a simple marketplace, and add value to the collaborations. This is why we’ll release the first set of project management tools in a few weeks only…

Would you consider having translators there too?

This should come in a month or two, yes. We’ll start with translators “into English” (not from), as we know many foreign authors wish to enter the US and UK markets but are unsure where to start… And also because translating is actually that: just a start! The book then needs to be copy-edited and/or proofread (in English), the cover needs to be modified (or redesigned), and the launch has to be accompanied by a marketing effort (in English).

On Reedsy, we already have all these resources (US/UK editors and designers), so foreign authors would access the full suite of services they need to really penetrate a new market. We’re going to be like Ellis Island for foreign authors arriving to the English-speaking market.

How can people find out more about Reedsy?

Our homepage – – would be a great start! If you’re an author, it’s free to sign up to the site and take a look around at who we have on the marketplace. If you’re a freelancer, it’s both free and very easy to build a profile and wait to be approached by authors. Reedsy is currently free during this beta stage, so there’s no reason not to take a look!

The other way of learning more is by asking us. We love the way the indie community supports itself, and we’re a part of that community. If you want a hand with anything, or want to know more, let us know and we’ll do what we can to help.

If you have any questions for Ricardo or thoughts on what other things indie authors need, please do leave a comment below.

Top image: Flickr Creative Commons edit on the go by fensterbme

Final Chance To Get My Courses For Authors. 25% Off. Limited Time Offer.

Would you like to learn more about book marketing, becoming a pro writer, writing a novel or writing fight scenes?

Big Sale If you’ve been following my annual author-entrepreneur reports about my income split, you’ll note that I have been reducing my online course sales and ramping up my fiction, effectively swapping income streams over time.

I started out with a business model of education through video courses, but now I focus more on books and sales through other online platforms.

Well, now I’m biting the bullet and pulling down my courses. And it just so happens to coincide with Cyber Monday :)

There’s a law change in the EU which means I will have to do a ton more compliance paperwork if I keep selling direct from 1 Jan 2015, and because my intention was to stop doing these over time, this has just accelerated the change.

So this really is your last chance to get these great courses!

This is not one of those fake sales, it’s actually the end! And you can get 25% off by using the voucher code: PENN when you check out. 

The 25% code is valid until 12 noon UK time 31 Dec. If you purchase, there’s a money back guarantee if you aren’t happy, plus the courses will be available to view online for another 6 months as well as being downloadable so you can keep a copy for yourself. Please email me with any questions: joanna AT

TheCreativePenn_Course Buttons3Secrets of Successful Book Marketing

Learn everything we know about book marketing – produced in video, audio and text material with CJ Lyons, who has sold over 1 million indie books. Goes into everything from branding and author websites, to book covers, pricing and online sales pages, to PR and online marketing, plus launches and lots more.

Was US$149 => Now $111.75. Save $37. Click here for more details.

TheCreativePenn_Course Buttons4Secrets of an Author Entrepreneur

This goes into the detail of how to become a professional author, and tackles managing your creative self and mindset, productivity and managing your business. Produced in video, audio and text material with CJ Lyons, who has sold over 1 million indie books.

Was US$69 => Now $51.75. Save $17.25 Click here for more details.

TheCreativePenn_Course Buttons5How to Write a Novel

From idea to first draft, lessons learned from writing a first novel and from first draft to finished novel. Produced in video, audio and text material with Roz Morris from Nail Your Novel.

Was US$99 => Now $74.25. Save $24.75 Click here for more details.

TheCreativePenn_Course Buttons6How to Write a Fight Scene

Everything you need to write action and combat scenes, with author and martial artist, Alan Baxter. Produced in video, audio and text material.

Was US$20 => Now $15. Save $5. Click here for more details. 

business audiobookBusiness for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur Audiobook with ebook in multiple formats

I will be putting this on Audible *at some point*, but for now, I will be withdrawing the audio from direct sales. It’s 6 hours of me narrating the book plus some little extras when I explain in more detail.

Was $24.99 => Now $18.75  Save $6.25  Click here for more details.

Remember, you get 25% off by using the voucher code: PENN when you check out for any of these products.

Once again, this is a final sale and Dec 31st is a hard end date because of the law change.

If you have any questions about the EU VAT issue, please read this article. If you have any questions about the courses, please email me directly or leave a comment below.

I hope you find the courses useful for your 2015 writing adventure!

Reinvention And Lessons From The Journey. Special Podcast Episode 200

It’s a big day!

champagneThis is episode 200 of the podcast! The first show went out in March 2009, so this also marks over 4.5 years of podcasting every couple of weeks. That has to be a milestone worth celebrating!

In the extended intro, I reflect on the last 100 episodes and how things have changed for me, and then I have an interview with Alexis Grant, who I met online when we both first started nearly 6 years ago. All the show notes are below.

*Indie Author Power Pack** SUPER DEAL! Get the best in writing, self-publishing and book marketing advice with The Indie Author Power Pack***

Out now for just 99c limited time deal! Features the updated How to Market a Book, Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran and Write, Publish, Repeat by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt.

amazon-iconKobo_Icon-150x150ibooks iconnook-icon

This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets kobo writing lifethrough the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.

Kobo’s financial support pays for the hosting and transcription, and if you enjoy the show, you can now support my time on Patreon. Thank you!

Reflection on the last 100 podcast episodes: How my life has changed

Episode 100 was a reflection on the first one hundred episodes, so this is a reflection on episodes 101 – 199.

joanna penn pentecost

The first iteration of Pentecost when I still published fiction under Joanna Penn

When I interviewed David Wood about writing action adventure thrillers in August 2011, my first novel Pentecost was out and I had sold 7500 copies. I also had my original batch of 3 non-fiction books, none of which are available anymore. As I’ve mentioned before, fiction doesn’t age but non-fiction needs updating or retiring!

I had just moved back from Australia to London after being away for 11 years – I left in 2000 to go traveling and just didn’t come back for a while. I was still working as a business consultant, implementing accounts payable systems into large corporates (deathly boring!)

At that point, the big names in self-publishing were Amanda Hocking, John Locke and JK Rowling had just launched Pottermore – her own company selling ebooks and helping fans create things in her world. Rowling had never sold her ebook rights, and rather than let the publisher sell them, she started Pottermore to sell direct – essentially, the first big name to go indie, although people always seem to forget that fact!

Now, just over 3 years on, I’m a full-time author entrepreneur, happily living in London.

I have 8 fiction books (novels, novellas and short stories) and 4 non-fiction, that are selling in 58 countries, in 4

Some of my action adventure thrillers

languages and in ebook, print and audiobook formats. Right now, I have 39 separate products available from these properties – and the penny has certainly dropped around exploiting multiple rights!

I’m an international speaker, paid to talk to people all over the world, and in Feb 2014, my book, One Day in Budapest, was part of a boxset, the Deadly Dozen, that hit the NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists.

Some memorable episodes that impacted my creative life and business

  • There’s one book that I own in all three major formats – print, ebook and audiobook – and that’s Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield. I re-read it several tiTurning Pro Steven Pressfieldmes a year and it kicks my butt every time. So interviewing Steve about his book, The Lion’s Gate, really made all the years of podcasting and blogging and building a platform worth every second. I was a total fangirl in the interview, but when you meet one of your creative mentors, it’s pretty exciting! I seriously thought about giving up the podcast after that, as I felt it was such a high point in my career!
  • That experience was compounded by interviewing two more veterans of the creative path in the same two weeks – David Morrell (most well known for First Blood/ Rambo) and Bob Mayer, another mentor for me in the indie space. I continue to learn so much from the interviews I do, and these guys can teach us all lessons about longevity in the game, as well as discipline and always learning new things.
  • In terms of my own business development, the interview I did with Orna Ross on rights completed the picture in my head of how rights work. That interview led to others with Jane Friedman and Elizabeth Hyde Stevens on Business for Authors 3Dbusiness, and together they resulted in my move into translations, audiobooks and finally, my book, Business for Authors. There’s no point in interviewing these amazing people unless I take action myself, right! I hope you also get actionable help from the show, however you consume it.

One of the big things I have been working through in the last couple of years is the fear of judgement and how to stop self-censoring.

  • My J.F.Penn side is much darker than the happy, jolly person you see on this show – I am honestly both people – but embracing my shadow side has been a real journey. I talked about this in an

    Brooding thriller author, J.F.Penn!

    interview with Chuck Wendig, who really does let it all hang out!

  • In terms of the writer’s daily word count and work ethic, I continue to be inspired by the boys from the Self Publishing Podcast - Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt and David Wright, all of whom I have interviewed separately on the show. Also, Kerry Wilkinson, UK crime author, typewritertotally floored me with some of his daily word counts. If you want to be as successful as these guys, you have to put in the hours!
  • Talking strategy with Charlie Gilkey was part of the catalyst for making some decisions around my own business model shift into primarily fiction, and taking the hit on other areas, as well as getting a virtual assistant and outsourcing more things, as well as stopping guest posts on the blog, and focusing on sharing my own voice. We all need to have those re-examination moments as we progress on the journey, or one day we lift our heads and wonder where the hell the time went!

I considered making this the last show …

Because podcasting is a huge time commitment and I need more hours on my fiction if I am to grow that side of things faster, BUT/

The fundamentals of why I do this still stand: I learn something from every person I interview and it enriches my own creative life, plus it (hopefully) helps you along your journey. It also helps me to connect with authors and entrepreneurs all over the world, widening my community and network, which I love.

kobo writing lifeAlso, in terms of the financial commitment, I now have two corporate sponsors who pay for the hosting – which goes up every month as I add new episodes and get more traffic. Thanks to Kobo Writing Life and 99 Designs for their support.

99designsI also have many of you supporting me on Patreon/thecreativepenn giving a few dollars per show, which over time will add up. So thank you VERY much if you are supportonpatreonsupporting the show – the list of brilliant patrons is here. You are all superstars!

So, I’m committing to another year – thanks for joining me :) Please do leave a comment at the bottom if you want to give me any feedback on the show.

Interview with Alexis Grant – one of the first people I met online!

Alexis GrantAlexis Grant is an entrepreneurial writer and digital strategist, helping you create the life you want to live. You might know one of her sites, The Write Life, which focuses on helping writers create, connect and earn.

You can watch the video version of this interview here on YouTube or check out the notes below. We discuss:

  • How we first met on Twitter in 2009 when we were very new to the online world, and we were both working in corporates, doing our writing/blogging etc on the side. Alexis now runs a company that primarily runs blogs for small businesses. We both left our day jobs in 2011 within months of each other.

Why we are still here when many of the people we started alongside have fallen by the wayside

  • Persistence. Continuing to create every day, to connect with other people and persisting for the long term. Sometimes it’s just about not giving up.
  • Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It is perceived as riskier than a day job, although actually it can provide multiple streams of income and not just being dependent on one. But it is difficult and particularly hard when you’re just starting out, even when it comes down to what you do every day. I mention in Year 1 reflection how hard it was, how defining your own life is a huge adjustment, and how I needed to get out the house for a commute and a coffee etc. We talk about wobbly moments and how we still have them. You’re always going to have self doubt.

On work schedules and whether ‘balance’ ever happens with creative entrepreneurs

  • I definitely don’t have balance and I love it! I talk about my schedule and how everything in my life is related to writing and my business. Even when I am traveling or with my husband, I am finding material for my books in all of my life. Alexis talks about her schedule and how she exercises during the day, and how she does things like bike rides with her husband when other people might be working during those hours.
  • We have both removed email from our phones (Alexis has personal email but I have no email at all!) We talk about making time for creating and ‘doing’ time, and then responding at different times. We both use schedules and to do lists – I have a Filofax and use Things app; Alexis uses Google Calendar and Tasks, as well as Flow for her team, and says that daily exercise is key for her discipline and wellbeing.

On our business models and how they have changed over time

  • We talk about courses and education, which is how we both started with the ‘monetization’ aspect. Alexis has ebooks and email courses on various topics including How to be a Twitter Power User. I am slowly cutting down on my multimedia courses, although I still offer video courses on book marketing, author entrepreneur, how to write a novel and fight scenes, and I am ramping up audio and books in other formats.
  • Alexis’ main income stream is from clients, as she manages a number of blogs. She mentions The Brazen Life as one of the sites she manages and produces content for.
  • As content creators, we both have a small income stream around sponsorship, advertising and affiliate income, but it’s not a major income stream for either of us. I have income from professional speaking and small amounts of consulting. We also talked about using webinars for growing an email list, developing loyal fans and selling affiliate products, but both of us find them too high maintenance so we don’t use them much now.

On writing books and publishing options

  • We talk about books and how I moved from not writing fiction at all, to now having a large chunk of my business income from fiction. When I met Alexis, she was writing a travel memoir about a solo trip in Africa. She put it aside several years ago when traditional publishing didn’t work out and has just picked it back up again. She talks about how that project is progressing.

On reinvention and reframing failure

  • We talk about our various ‘failures’ and how we both actually just consider things as experience and experiments. We both reframe what we’ve done in the past as just part of what we do. Everything is a lesson learned, and ‘failure’ is just a step on the journey.
  • Your attitude and the way you frame experience will influence the way others see you. When entrepreneurs talk about the ‘pivot,’ it’s actually working out what’s not working and then shifting your direction.
  • Discovering what you love to do is part of the journey as well. Deciding what to say no to, is just as important as what to say yes to. You have to actively choose what to focus on and spend your energy on. I mention the sign on my wall, “Write to live. What is living today?” as a way to keep the focus on living and experiencing as well as writing and working.

Going forwards …

  • We discuss the future of content marketing – the more time goes on, the more high quality content is rewarded, so that will continue to be important. We talk about the fact that we both stopped reading so many blogs, and focus more on creating our own things. It doesn’t matter how the technology changes, people will still want information, inspiration and entertainment.

“It’s about executing, rather than thinking about executing.”

  • The ‘content shock’ and the ‘tsunami of content,’ and thoughts on how you stand out in a crowded space. It’s about personality and sharing your take and your experience, as well as developing trust over the long term. People will want to get their information from you, if they care about you as a person.
  • In our experience, most people aren’t willing to put in a) the time b) the work and c) the personality. It’s about persistence and sticking with it. We’ve both done the same things – created good content, networked with peers and created relationships – every day. We talk about the importance of developing friendships with other creative entrepreneurs who care about the same things as we do.

You can find Alexis at and also at and on twitter @alexisgrant

Top image: Flickr Creative Commons John Wardell, typewriter by J E Theriot,