How To Get Published, With NY Times Bestselling Author CJ Lyons

2015 – Sorry – these courses have been discontinued after several years of happy customers! You can find much of the information in my books for authors here.

Do you want a traditional book deal for your novel with a New York publisher?

Do you want to know the secrets of success so you can speed up the process and maximize your chances of success?

Even with the benefits and ease of self-publishing these days, many of us still want the traditional book deal. We still want to understand what it takes to make it into New York or London publishing as a successful writer. I’m personally interested in how a hybrid career can be created, with the benefits of both traditional and self-publishing.

CJ Lyons and Joanna Penn

So I’ve teamed up with CJ Lyons, pediatric ER doctor turned New York Times Bestselling author to produce this ProWriter course in which I mine her for all the information you need to learn the secrets of traditional publishing success.

CJ is the author of 16 novels, described as Thrillers with Heart. She has 2 series of medical thrillers, 2 books with environmental activist Erin Brockovitch and a number of stand-alone thrillers. CJ combines both traditional publishing deals with indie publishing to create a successful hybrid career. In 2011, her novel Blind Faith hit #2 on the NY Times bestseller list, #4 on the USA Today list and sold 240,000 copies in 2 months.

CJ knows what she’s talking about and I wanted to learn everything I could from her as we prepared this course together.

The world of traditional publishing has a great deal of mystique surrounding it.

There are myths that persist and so often new authors are blinded by possibility and forget the practicalities of the business that is publishing. So in this course, I interview CJ about everything to do with traditional publishing and she shares her knowledge openly and frankly.

This material is gold. Seriously.

I have learned so much from it myself and now I want to share it with you. Here’s CJ in her own words.

“Let’s face it, publishing has never been an easy career path…

According to the New York Times, 81% of Americans want to write a book but less than 1% actually see their work ever published.

My own career began with what can only be described as a disaster. My first novel sold to a major New York publisher in a hard-cover pre-empt deal, which means they loved it enough to pay us extra to keep us from showing the novel to other publishers. A dozen New York Times bestsellers praised it, including Sandra Brown who called it “a perfect blend of romance and suspense.” I was living every writer’s dream.

When the publisher offered a second contract, I even quit my medical practice to write full time. My partners thought I was crazy, but I assured them my leap of faith would pay off.

Ninety days before the novel, my dream debut, was scheduled to be published, it was cancelled. My publisher pulled it for reasons beyond my control. My dream debut was gone. Just like that. Vanished. For the first time since I was fifteen, I found myself unemployed. No book, no job, no publisher, no agent, no writing career.

You know what? It was the best thing that could have happened to me.

Having my first publisher destroy my dream debut made me realize that I had to take control of my career. I couldn’t leave it in the hands of a publisher interested in only his bottom line. I had to find my readers and connect with them in ways that no publisher ever could. And I had to learn how to be CEO of Me, Incorporated.

That’s what being a professional writer means: you are a CEO, a small businessperson, and you need to learn not only how to write a great book but how to reach out to your customers whether they’re agents, editors, reviewers, or readers. You need to take charge of your career.

What is #1 Secret to success?

Writers write. Successful writers keep writing.

That’s what saved my career. After that disastrous start, while I was scrambling to find a new agent, wondering how I’d pay the bills, and desperately fighting to get my rights back from my old publisher, I kept writing.

CJ’s novel Blind Faith on the NY Times Bestseller List

The book I wrote during that time? BLIND FAITH. A book I eventually self-published and that debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list and hit #4 on the USA Today list. I could have never turned disaster into a #2 New York Times bestselling success without learning how to treat my writing career like a professional.

It took me five years to go from debut disaster to New York Times Bestseller, selling 240,000 copies of one title in two months. Talk about living the dream

You can live that dream as well. And, with our help, it won’t take you five years to learn how to be a ProWriter. Because Joanna Penn and I will show you the way and give you the tools you need.”

CJ and I are partnering to create a series of Pro-Writer courses. There are 4 modules covering Traditional Publishing (this course), Independent Publishing, Marketing and Managing Your Creative Life. The first two modules are available now, with the final two available by July 2012. There is a discount available for buying the first two modules together.

What you will learn in this course:

  • How traditional publishing works including the steps from acceptance to book launch and why things take longer with big publishers
  • The pros and cons of traditional publishing and why you should still consider it in an age where self-publishing is becoming more popular
  • Why having a print book deal is still a great way to reach readers
  • The benefits of editorial improvement for your writing
  • How to move from being a new novelist to being a ProWriter, CEO of You Inc
  • Why you don’t damage your chances of a book deal if you self-publish first
  • How to find the right agent for you
  • How to write queries that work, including a worked example from CJ’s own successful novel
  • How to write a synopsis that sells your book, including a worked example from CJ’s own successful novel
  • What agents hate and how to be a professional and work as a team
  • The biggest mistakes people make in the query process
  • The practicalities of contracts and which clauses you need to watch out for in your contract when you are offered one. This advice may save you thousands of dollars and a lot of heartache.
  • The different types of rejections and why you shouldn’t get too depressed about them
  • How the money works – advances, royalties, agent commission and more
  • All about rights,  movie deals and what you should negotiate
  • How book launches work in traditional publishing and what you should be doing in the meantime

and so much more…

We will also continue to add to this material over time, either as things change or we answer your questions with new videos and information. If you join us now, you will always have access to the new material as it is added.

How does the course work?

The course is a self-study series of videos, audios and text-based information that you work through at your own pace. The videos are interviews with CJ Lyons where we delve into the details of traditional publishing. After your payment is processed, you will download a PDF document with the secret member’s page and password where you can download the material or watch the videos online.

You will receive:

Lesson 1: What is traditional publishing anyway?

  • How to get Published – CJ Lyons guides you through the process in a succinct 8 page PDF
  • 4 videos on What is Traditional Publishing anyway? [ approx 1 hour in total] including the reality of publishing, what actually happens with your book, how you feel as an author in this process, the pros and cons of traditional publishing as well as how a writer’s career can develop
  • mp3 audio of Lesson 1 so you can listen instead of watch

Lesson 2: Where to start

  • 3 videos on Where to Start  [ approx 1 hour in total] including querying, finding an agent, author platform, practicalities of contracts, rejections, the biggest mistakes people make and more
  • mp3 audio of Lesson 2 so you can listen instead of watch
  • Breakdown of a query example audio and slides with CJ Lyons [17 mins with slides]


  • PDF Article on how to survive your pitch


Lesson 3: After the call

  • 3 videos  [approx 1 hr 10 mins in total] on how the process works once you have an agent and publisher. Details on how the financials work including advances and royalties, important clauses in contracts, rights information and the book launch
  • mp3 audio of Lesson 3 so you can listen instead of watch

Bonus Material

  • Writer’s Toolkit PDF including links to agents and publishing information online
  • Newbie Notes. 6 pages of key information from the videos in bullet-point form
  • Secrets of a synopsis that will sell your book. 11 page PDF from CJ Lyons breaking down the synopsis.

In total, this is over 3.5 hours of video, over 4 hours of audio and nearly 50 pages of text information. Plus, CJ will answer any additional questions from participants in the course.

There is 100% money back guarantee if you are not happy with the material, or if you decide it is not useful to you. It is very important to us that you get value for money so I absolutely stand by this guarantee.

Once you click the Add to Cart button, you will be directed to payment through Paypal which is a trusted, secure internet sales provider. After payment, you will be directed to download a PDF Welcome page which includes the logon details for the online materials so you can get started straight away.

Please also email me with any questions or problems:

 What others have said about CJ and Joanna’s courses and teaching

“CJ goes the extra mile with her willingness to help struggling writers, like myself.” Judith Gilbert

Joanna Penn’s knowledge on writing, publishing and marketing is mind boggling. She is so generous to share this hard-earned knowledge with others – a real inspiration.” Benison Anne O’Reilly, author of ‘Happily Ever After’,

“Tremendously helpful. CJ is a fine teacher, with the patience of a saint.” Award-winning author Corrina Lavitts

“Joanna is in the business of turning dreams into reality. With her practical advice and extensive knowledge, you can’t go wrong.” Tammie Day

CJ Lyons is a master teacher! She made my transition into Indy self-publishing and taking charge of my career a breeze!” National Bestseller Debra Webb

“CJ Lyons is known for her fast-paced thrillers, but she should also be known for her amazing teaching skills. I learned so much! I highly recommend her classes.” Lynn Franklin

Read more testimonials for Joanna Penn here.