ProWriter: How To Find Readers And Market Your Book

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.

Are you frustrated because you have a great book that no one knows about?

TheCreativePenn_Course Buttons3Do you want to know the secrets of book marketing success?

Back in 2008 I self-published my first non-fiction book. I was so excited when the book was available for sale on Amazon and a stack of physical books arrived at my house. I was so proud of my achievement after the months of hard work and years of self-doubt.

But that excitement and pride soon faded as I discovered that selling and marketing books was a completely different process to writing and publishing them.

Joanna Penn print books

My first book arrives … before the disappointment!

At that point I had no website, no online presence and no offline way to sell either. After 6 months, I had only managed to sell around 100 books to friends, family and libraries.

I was devastated.

But I’m not one to quit. So I started learning all about marketing, a completely foreign idea to me at the time.
I spent nine months learning about press releases and traditional media and made it onto national TV, radio and newspapers.


Then I discovered online marketing and started a blog and a podcast. I learned about content marketing and how to use email lists. I learned about social networking and began using twitter to connect with people. I discovered how branding could be used to market as well as how to be authentic online.


Then I learned about using Amazon and the book marketing sites themselves to help sell my books through copywriting and understanding the algorithms.

JPennBooks0813In the last few years, I have released 8 thrillers and 3 non-fiction books, using the marketing strategies and tactics  I have learned over time.

Together, the books have sold over 250,000 copies in 42 countries.

In March 2014, my book, One Day in Budapest, was in a box-set that hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.

I also use this marketing know-how to promote my business, The Creative Penn, and because of it, I’m now a full-time author-entrepreneur.


I make my income online through my books, products, speaking and consulting. This could only have happened through the marketing knowledge I have learned along the way. has been voted one of the Top 10 blogs for writers 3 years running, with thousands of subscribers. The podcast has over 4000 subscribers and nearly 50,000 people follow @thecreativepenn on twitter.

I’ve come a very long way from the devastated author who had books but no way to sell them.


I’ve been sharing my experiences with marketing in the articles, audios and videos on this site for several years now, but I wanted to share my marketing knowledge in an organized and packaged fashion so you can learn quickly and kick-start your own success.


How to sell a million books

I’ve teamed up with CJ Lyons, New York Times Bestselling author, to produce this ProWriter course as CJ has now sold over 1 million books, many of them indie published.

Thriller authors CJ Lyons and J.F.Penn

Joanna Penn with CJ Lyons at Thrillerfest

CJ is the author of 22 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. Her FBI thrillers continue to dominate the Amazon charts, selling tens of thousands monthly.

CJ knows what she’s talking about and I wanted to learn everything I could from her as we prepared this course together, as well as sharing what I have learned along the way.

I have actually learned an amazing amount from CJ during the recording of this course. She specifically helped me with author branding for my fiction site where we decided on a tagline with imagery to match. As part of the course, CJ goes through worked examples of how you too can identify your author brand.

This material is gold.

If you want to get ahead with your author marketing, I guarantee this course will save you time, money and heartache in the long run.


What you will learn in this course:

  • The prerequisites you need to have in place before you start marketing
  • Author brandingWhy authors need to know about marketing, and not leave it to publishers or other professionals
  • Should you start marketing before you have a book ready?
  • The pros and cons of ongoing marketing vs a launch process
  • Why understanding yourself is critical to deciding what marketing tactics to use
  • How to understand where your book fits and how that affects marketing decisions
  • How physical book signings work for marketing
  • How to decide on your author brand and why it’s important, with examples using big name authors
  • What is an author platform anyway?
  • How to start marketing without a ‘platform’
  • How using the right metadata on your book sales pages can affect your sales and ranking
  • Prophecy Joanna Penn next to Lee Child

    Prophecy with Lee Child on the Action Adventure Bestseller List

    How to help your book sell itself through effective copywriting on your Amazon or other booksite page

  • Using pricing as a marketing tool, as well as a case study with KDP Select
  • The importance of book reviews and how to get them
  • Is it worth using paid advertising and which are the best services?
  • Is it worth hiring a publicist?
  • Is traditional media worth pursuing?
  • Author on Channel 9 TV

    Joanna Penn at the Channel 9 studios, Brisbane, Australia

    Tips for radio, TV and press releases

  • What can you learn from Amazon bestsellers who didn’t have an online presence?
  • How to find readers online and connect with them effectively
  • The importance of ‘know, like, trust’ and authenticity for online marketing
  • The most important parts of your author website and how to build it
  • How to use audio and video for book marketing, including book trailers
  • A breakdown of a book launch including timelines and lessons learned
  • How to use Goodreads and giveaways
  • Marketing tips for real-life offline networkinsocial networking for authorsg
  • How to build an email list
  • How to use Twitter effectively
  • How to use blogging for content marketing
  • What’s the most effective use of your time

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. After your payment is processed, you will receive an email and a PDF document with the secret member’s page and password. You can then download the material or watch the videos online.

You will receive:

Lesson 1: The Fundamentals of Marketing

  • Marketing principles and prerequisites – 24 page PDF
  • Lesson 1 Overview Notes, containing highlights from the video interviews  – 7 page PDF
  • 2 videos [42 mins in total] on the fundamentals of marketing, including tips on when to start marketing, understanding yourself and your book as well as launching.
  • Audio for the videos [49 mins] so you can listen instead of watch
  • Branding for authors video with CJ Lyons [45 mins] where CJ talks through the process of deciding on your author brand, as well as working through famous examples and her own branding decision making process. (On a personal note, CJ helped me with my own branding and this material is seriously necessary for authors to work through.)
  • Marketing action sheet – 6 page PDF

Lesson 2: Maximizing the success of your book. No platform needed.

  •  3 videos [ 1 hour 10 mins total] on how to market your book without an author platform by maximizing the book’s sales page, as well as using pricing and book reviews.
  • Lesson 2 Notes featuring the most important points from the videos. 15 page PDF.
  • Audio mp3 of the videos so you can listen instead of watching [1 hour 10 mins]
  • Amazon metadata examples – before and after optimization. 7 page PDF
  • Pricing and direct advertising to readers. 10 page PDF
  • Lessons learned from press releases, TV and radio. 8 page PDF
  • Book marketing tips. Lessons learned from Amazon bestsellers. 2 page PDF

 Lesson 3: Building your author platform and using it effectively

  • 3 videos [ 1 hour 10 mins total] on author platform building including your author website, blogging, social networking, audio and video, book launches and more.
  • Lesson 3 Notes with the most important points covered in the videos. 14 page PDF.
  • MP3 Audio of the videos so you can watch instead of listen [ 1 hour 10 mins total]
  • Building an email list. 3 page PDF
  • How to use Twitter video with Joanna Penn [27 mins]
  • Social networking tips. 6 page PDF
  • Blogging overview slides. 30 page PDF
  • Video on effective blogging with Joanna Penn [55 mins]
  • Launch lessons learned. 9 page PDF
  • How to create a podcast and a book trailer. 5 page PDF

Bonus Material

  • Launch Countdown. 7 page PDF
  • Macmillan Guide to Social Media. 9 page PDF from CJ’s publishers.
  • How to create and edit podcasts and videos with Joanna Penn – 2 videos [31 mins in total]

Plus you are able to ask us questions about the material.

CJ and I are partnering on a series of Pro-Writer courses. There are 4 modules covering Traditional Publishing, Independent Publishing, Marketing (this course) and Secrets of a ProWriter, all available now and all aimed at helping you jump-start your professional writing career.


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 contact me with any questions.

 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.