Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Professional Speaker, Coach & Entrepreneur. She was voted as one of Top 100 creative professionals in 2013 by The Guardian of the UK. She is currently based out of London, England but spent 13 years as a business IT consultant in large corporates across the globe majorly in Australia and New Zealand for 11 years before becoming a full-time author-entrepreneur in September 2011.Her books include the ARKANE conspiracy thriller series, the London Psychic crime thrillers and Risen Gods, a dark fantasy thriller. Joanna’s site helps people achieve their dream of becoming an author, and she is the host of The Creative Penn Podcast.

J F Penn’s (Joanna) latest book Destroyer of Worlds, will be released in April 2016 and is available for Pre Orders now. She has invited listeners particularly from India to read her book.

In this podcast episode, Joanna and I discuss her journey as an author. We also talk about audiobooks, translations, publishing across platforms and international markets. In other words, we cover a variety of topics which are near and dear to MyKitaab Podcast. Joanna also offers her advice to authors who are looking to get their book published.

“Start before you are ready and you will learn along the way”

Discussion Points with Joanna Penn

  • Joanna talks about her career transition from IT to being a full time author-entrepreneur, podcaster , international speaker and coach.
  • Joanna loves to read 3 to 5 books mainly adventure thrillers per week. Her favourite book is The Stand by Stephen King while she loves reading Dan Brown and John Connolly. In the nonfiction genre she reads psychology, self help, entrepreneurship and travel. She is an author of 18 books .
  • She started writing since 2007 while still doing a day time job as a SAP consultant. Joanna wrote in the morning before her day job and she utilized the evening for podcasting or social media marketing. Eventually she started working 4 days a week to concentrate more on writing in 2011.
  • Joanna believes lots of independent authors nowadays are making a good living by selling books. She cites the example of a mega best seller author Lee Child and Indian best selling author Chetan Bhagat who are big names but still many people might not have heard of them.
  • She believes maintaining 2 identities is very difficult. JF Penn the fiction writer in the paranormal and crime thriller genre which is her dark side while Joanna Penn is a non fiction writer who writes self help books, is a podcaster, speaker and coach.
  • Joanna’s first book “Stone of Fire” is based out of Varanasi in India . It is based on few of her tales written in 2004 during her India visit which was later on written as a fiction in 2011 after a gap of 7 years.
  • Her latest book “Destroyer of Worlds” again talks about India especially Mumbai and Goa. She believes that the book is about Dan Brown meets Lara Croft style.
  • She started a weekly podcasting in 2007. Since 2015, she started doing it twice a week where she has included a new section on reading out her tweets, listeners who write mails about what they liked about the show or when they listen etc.
  • Joanna believes that writing fiction book is difficult but it percolates for a long time while in the case of non fiction, readers look for the latest published books. Author Philip Dick’s fiction book The Man in High Castle” is a very popular book with a brilliant story but it did not do well when he was alive.
  • Her books are available in 71 countries and 4 European languages namely German, Spanish, Italian and French. She believes that listing her ebooks through Kobo has given her wider reach as Kindle has stronger presence only in US, UK and Australia.
  • Authors who have 2-3 books and who are just learning can explore a single platform but with multiple titles it is better to protect the income stream by spreading through various platforms.
  • Joanna is keen to get her books published in Hindi and other regional languages. She would like to retain the rights of her English translations but would be keen to give the publishing rights of translations to the Indian Publisher who would self publish her books in Indian languages . She believes that the major challenge with global publishing is difficulty of marketing in a new country. Her books translated in Italian are barely selling as she does not know how to market them.
  • Joanna thinks that penetration of smart phones and streaming of internet has changed people’s opinion about audiobooks and the market is growing exponentially.
  • She is bullish on ebooks and believes that in India it will eventually pick up. She cites the examples of US in 2008 and UK in 2010 when people were mostly reading print books and within 3 years most of them shifted to ebooks and believes similar trend may be seen in India too.
  • Joanna is currently taking a course in screenplay and would be doing the screenplay of her book “One day in Budapest”.

Resources and References mentioned in the podcast

Ways to Contact Joanna

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