OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
Here we are again! The year rushes by and we stand at the end wondering what we achieved in the last 12 months!
This is one of the reasons I love blogging – the passing of time is actually trackable. We all change, our goals change, but at least by writing out what we want to achieve and then measuring that, we can keep ourselves heading in the right direction!
Here's what I set out to do this year as documented on 1 Jan 2014, and what I managed to achieve:
I didn't quite create as many new books as I intended, but here's what I did publish in 2014
- Public Speaking for Authors, creatives and other introverts. In ebook and print formats.
- Day of the Vikings. ARKANE #5. In ebook, print and audiobook formats. I'm also giving this away for free on JFPenn.com at the moment if you want to try it.
- Delirium, London Psychic Book 2. In ebook, print and audiobook formats.
- Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur. In ebook, print and audiobook formats.
- Updated Second Edition of How to Market a Book
- I also finished Gates of Hell, it's on pre-order right now, publishing 5 Jan in ebook formats and coming soon in print and audiobook.
I have done quite a bit of research and networking on the screenplay side of things, but I will be leaving that until 2016 as well. I want to write a screenplay but because it's such a new skill, I'll be waiting until I am more settled with my fiction production process.
(1b) Become a better writer
The focus on the craft is ongoing of course, but this year I have done a couple of things to invest in becoming a better writer:
- Masterclass at Thrillerfest with David Morrell – a fantastic full day on thriller writing specifically.
- 4 day STORY conference with Robert McKee
- Courses with Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Rusch on productivity, which has included ‘getting out of my own way.' Necessary for someone who still has problems with self-censorship.
- And I have found the right editor, Jen Blood, who both gets my writing style and kicks my ass when I need it. Jen also happens to write great thrillers 🙂 Working with Jen has enabled me to learn more about effective story structure and improve my craft.
(2) Exploit more rights and focus on global territories
I do now have an agent specifically for foreign rights but this year I went into joint venture deals with translators. You can read all the articles and interviews here.
As part of 50:50% royalty split, I published the following books. Desecration-Verletzung was published by Ullstein-Midnight for digital rights and we retain print and audiobook rights.
- GERMAN: Pentecost, Ein ARKANE thriller in ebook and print; Desecration-Verletzung in ebook and print
- SPANISH: Pentecostés in ebook and print
- ITALIAN: Profanazione in ebook and print
If you read any of these languages and would like a review copy, please contact me 🙂
In terms of audiobook rights, ACX expanded into the UK in April 2014 and so all my fiction is now available in audio format, and I will be getting into the non-fiction in 2015.
This has added a great new income stream to the business, and I urge you to consider audiobooks if you haven't done so already.
So even though I ‘only' wrote 4 new individual books, I actually produced 19 new products for my author business, each bringing in a new income stream. This is the magic of publishing and intellectual property rights, and if the penny hasn't dropped for you on this yet, read this post.
(3) Professional speaking
My aim was to develop my speaking in 2014 and take it further than before. Things have definitely shifted as because of demand, I have had to decline a number of events. I love to help people but events have to serve one of two other purposes now: revenue or expenses paid international travel, and preferably both of these!
In 2014, I have spoken internationally in New York on a Thrillerfest panel, Toronto at Kobo HQ, Stockholm, Sweden for an event on self-publishing, Frankfurt Book Fair and Auckland, New Zealand. I've also spoken at a number of events in the UK, plus I've also run my own full day events on book marketing as well as how to make a living from your writing, which I hope to repeat in 2015.
(4) Focus more on creative entrepreneurship on the blog, podcast and YouTube channel
I've definitely shifted focus this year, posting regularly on the creative entrepreneurship side of things, to go alongside my own development and the writing of Business for Authors book.
You can find a roundup of the entrepreneurial posts here.
I decided to remove guest posts in April, and am really happy with that decision because it focuses the blog on my personal take on the fast-changing indie world, and I continue to share other people's thoughts through the podcast and interviews.
The Creative Penn podcast hit 200 episodes, you can listen to the round-up episode here. I have two corporate sponsors in 99 Designs and Kobo Writing Life, but now you, the listener, can also sponsor the show through Patreon. Thanks to all the patrons of the show, listed here.
In terms of collaboration, I was part of The Twelve, a thriller writer's collective, and in March 2014, we made the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, selling over 100,000 copies of our boxset, Deadly Dozen. Very cool 🙂
I was also in a couple of other box-sets – The Indie PowerPack, Thrill Ride and Dark Trinity – and will continue to look for collaboration opportunities in 2015.
Overall, I feel that 2014 has been a pivotal year in my creative career and I've stepped up a rung on the ladder in terms of my professionalism as an author, and in my maturity as a writer and creative entrepreneur. I am certain this is what I want to do with my life – it's now about developing my craft and developing my business over time. And of course, loving the journey!
I'm ready to step it up again in 2015 – I hope you will join me!