Happy New Year 2023!
I am more excited than ever this year about the books I want to write and publish.
I've had a difficult few years (haven't we all?!) but now I'm ready to create at full throttle in 2023, aided by the incredible AI-powered tools emerging for writers.
Here's an overview of my 2023 goals:
- J.F. Penn — Pilgrimage (and my first Kickstarter); Catacomb book, ARKANE 13, and some short stories
- Joanna Penn — The Shadow Book (and maybe another Kickstarter), The Creator Economy for Authors, and maybe The AI-Assisted Author
- Continue The Creative Penn Podcast
- Experiment with futurist technologies and share what I learn with you along the way
- More digital, more physical. Focus on optimizing my health, and do more in-person travel and events.
- Financial goals
As ever, I am a full-time author-entrepreneur and this is my job, so I have a lot of goals. If your goals are simpler — like finishing your book, or publishing for the first time, or selling 1000 copies, then fantastic! You don’t have to have such extensive goals as me.
Please share your goals in the comments so we can keep each other accountable.
J.F. Penn — Kickstarter for Pilgrimage with a special signed hardback edition
I have finished Pilgrimage and am currently narrating the audiobook as well as formatting the print edition.
It's a very personal book, and so I want to do a special signed hardback edition that won't be available anywhere else.
The best way to do that is to know how many people want to buy it, so I can order the books, have them shipped here, sign them, and then send them out myself.
So I'm (finally) going to do a Kickstarter!
You'll be notified of the campaign when it launches on 23 Jan, 2023.
The Kickstarter will also have the ebook and audiobook (narrated by me), as well as the special edition hardback (signed and unsigned available), a special edition paperback edition (POD, not signed) and a Pilgrimage workbook, with guided prompts so you can plan your own pilgrimage.
My plan is to sell direct through the Kickstarter, and then put the books in all formats (except for the special edition hardback) up on my store, www.CreativePennBooks.com and available everywhere wide a month later.
J.F. Penn — Write and publish the ‘catacomb' book, ARKANE #13, and some short stories — and maybe other fiction
The catacomb book is a stand-alone story I have had on my mind for a while, and I want to get it out of my head and onto the page. I'm not sure if it's a novel or a novella yet.
At the end of Tomb of Relics, ARKANE #12, I left Morgan and Jake heading to Vienna for the next adventure, but until recently, I didn't know what they would find there.
But now I know — and the plan is to go to Vienna sometime in 2023 — so I will be able to write the story.
I've also got some short story ideas that I'd like to finish and publish. My goal is to do a short story anthology in 2024, so I can print a book, so I need more stories for that. I love writing short stories, but they take a lot more time than you expect!
Joanna Penn — Write and publish The Creator Economy and The AI-Assisted Author
I have courses on both topics, and since I think these are two of the biggest trends for authors, I'd like to expand them both into short non-fiction books. I already have drafts based on the course transcripts.
The AI-Assisted Author will be a follow-up to my 2020 book, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Virtual Worlds: The Impact of Converging Technologies on Authors and the Publishing Industry, much of which is now starting to happen. I am always early, lol!
Joanna Penn — Write and publish ‘The Shadow Book'
I've been talking about this for years and I have many thousands of words in a Scrivener project, but in 2023, I will overcome resistance and (finally) write this book.
I'm also planning to launch it as a Kickstarter, and one of the reasons for doing the Pilgrimage Kickstarter is as practice for this one.
I'm not sure yet whether this will go out under Joanna Penn or J.F. Penn, but the basic concept is about writing from your darker side, and about integrating your shadow into your creative work, rather than trying to bury it or sublimate it.
I studied Jungian psychology as part of my degree in Theology, specializing in the psychology of religion, and I also have a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. Morgan Sierra in my ARKANE thriller series is a psychologist, and I have brought my interest into my fiction over the years. Now it's time to turn it into a book that you might be able to use for your creative process.
I will continue to experiment with future technology and share what I learn with you
Regular readers and listeners to the show know that I have been commentating on the AI space since Alpha Go beat Lee Sodol at the game of Go in 2016.
In 2019, I posted 9 Ways That Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Disrupt Authors And The Publishing Industry, and I'm planning to do an update of that later in the year.
In 2020, I published my short book, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and Virtual Worlds: The Impact of Converging Technologies On Authors and the Publishing Industry.
In 2021, I produced a course, The AI-Assisted Author.
In 2022, generative AI went mainstream, and now many creatives are using Midjourney/Stable Diffusion/DALL-E 2 for images and ChatGPT (along with Sudowrite or Jasper based on GPT3) to write and rewrite text, ideate and outline stories and articles, write ad copy, and more.
Some are expanding use of AI translation, and many more are using text-to-speech generation for audio, like Google Play Automated Narration or Deep Zen. In the last few weeks, Apple Books introduced AI narration as well.
For years, I have quoted Kevin Kelly from The Inevitable:
“This is not a race against the machines. If we race against them, we lose. This is a race with the machines. You’ll be paid in the future based on how well you work with robots … It is inevitable.“
It feels like 2008 all over again, like the early days of digital when we didn't really know what we were doing, but it was a hell of a lot of fun, and those who embraced the changes built a career on that technology.
I intend to work with the robots (AI tools), and 2023 will bring many more advances. These technologies will transform our industry in the next decade — not just ours, of course, but every industry.
In fact, the more important AI applications are outside of our industry. I am more excited about AI helping to solve climate change, finding treatments and even cures for diseases, and in reforming education to make it accessible for all, and much more.
There are so many opportunities, but as ever with technology, there are also dangers, problems, ethical questions, and much more. It's important that authors and creatives are involved in discussions around copyright, intellectual property, and future business models, rather than trying to ban these tools or avoid them completely. We need our voices to be heard so we can be part of creating the future.
I've previously worked with the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) on submissions for the World Intellectual Property Organization, as well as the UK government on AI and copyright, and I helped with the Ethical AI use guidelines. I will continue to work with ALLi on these aspects and become more active in the AI for Good movement.
In terms of using the tools in my creative process, this year, I will:
- Use ChatGPT and (hopefully) GPT-4 and other generative text tools to help iterate ideas for my books, to write the sales descriptions and ad copy, as well as expand on my words (like an extended thesaurus).
- Use Midjourney, DALL-E and other generative image tools for character and setting ideas, as well as elements of my book covers and marketing
- Mint special NFT editions of my books/stories on blockchain platforms
- Create more AI-narrated audiobooks
- Use text-to-video to get back into video marketing, which I put aside a few years back because the overhead of making video was too great, but that has changed with emerging text-to-video tools
- Use Otter.ai (AI speech-to-text) for the podcast transcription, and also to help me dictate my first drafts more quickly
No doubt there will be other things I don't even know about yet, but I hope to jump in as things emerge. One of the wonderful things about owning and controlling your own intellectual property assets is the ability to take advantage of new things as they arrive without asking permission from anyone.
Continue podcasting at The Creative Penn Podcast
The Creative Penn Podcast is part of my body of creative work, and I reach more people every week through the podcast than I do with my books. It is creative work, it is an important income stream, it is my community, and it is marketing.
I'm committing to another year of The Creative Penn Podcast, and to my patrons with my monthly Q&A.
Many of the topics I have covered as ‘futurist' have now moved into the mainstream conversation, so I will start covering those as part of the normal Monday shows instead of inbetweenisodes.
If you find the podcast useful, please consider supporting the show (and you'll get my extra monthly Q&A episode) at www.Patreon.com/thecreativepenn or you can buy me a coffee (or 3) at BuyMeACoffee.com/thecreativepenn
While my multi-six-figure business revenue has remained approximately the same for the last couple of years, book sales have become a greater part of it again because of selling direct.
In 2023, I have a few overarching goals:
- Double my book sales revenue — which means writing and publishing more books as well as increasing my ad spend and growing my email list.
- Grow the percentage of book sales revenue made from direct sales — through my Shopify store and Kickstarter, which will mean releasing direct first, and direct only for some products.
- Increase foreign rights and subsidiary licensing revenue. I'm working with DropCap, a rights licensing agency in 2023, which will hopefully result in some licensing revenue. I'll share more on the podcast once I have something to show for it!
Travel, speaking, health, and other things
I'll be speaking at Superstars of Writing in February, so I'll be in Colorado Springs, and I'm planning to visit Washington DC as well, since I've never been and I've always wanted to visit the Smithsonian.
I'll be at London Book Fair, and also potentially 20Books Seville in Spain in April.
We're heading back to New Zealand to visit family, and (hopefully) stopping somewhere on the way for a little holiday.
I'm also planning to visit Vienna, and hopefully, have at least another trip in the second half of the year.
Health-wise, I'll keep lifting weights, eating IF, and I have an ultra-marathon walk booked for the summer. Plus, I'd like to do another walking holiday, if Jonathan will join me for it.
Onwards into 2023, Creatives!
What are your creative and business plans for 2023?
Please leave a comment if you’d like to share, or if you have a question, and let’s keep each other accountable for another year. You can also tweet me @thecreativepenn or Contact me here.