Speaking as a teacher, there is nothing more satisfying than finding out that your students have used your material to materially improve their lives in some way, be that as simple as getting better at swordsmanship, or as complex as re-evaluating the entire course of their life. I believe in giving credit where it’s due, and this post is my way of letting someone who has influenced and helped me know about it.
One of the key habits that has lead to my producing so much stuff is that when I hear a good idea, I tend to act on it immediately. Another key habit is I actively look for good ideas to act on, and in the last few years, one of the most rewarding sources of these ideas has been the inestimable Joanna Penn, thriller writer and self-publishing guru. It started when I bought her book How to Market a Book which does exactly what it says on the tin. From the book, I arrived at her podcast, one of half a dozen I listen to regularly. This is an amazing resource for any self-publishing writer, and indeed writers of any kind. There’s something there for everyone. But to the specifics:
By following her advice in How to Market a Book about making friends with influential people, I actually ended up on her podcast talking about swords! This was a nerve-wracking experience for me, being well outside my comfort zone, but has lead to several other opportunities to get my name and work in front of a wider audience. Also, the rest of the advice in that book has been really useful in increasing my book sales directly.
Last year I got the idea to write a series of non-fiction shorts, which became The Swordsman's Quick Guide, which is now at 7 episodes and counting. I can’t find the podcast episode that planted that seed, but it was definitely one of Joanna’s.
Thanks to several episodes about or mentioning virtual assistants, I’ve hired one myself, Kate Tilton, who is bringing order to my virtual galaxy.
Thanks to a webinar she did with Nick Stephenson, I have grown my mailing list from about 1200 to over 6000. Specific tactics included making volume one of The Swordsman's Quick Guide free, and including an ad in it for volume 2, also free if you sign up. That by itself added 500 people in a month. Also thanks to Nick, I’ve switched from Mailchimp to Convertkit, and am actually making use of my mailing list.
So if you have any aspirations to write for a living, or you just want a lot of good ideas in one convenient place, go buy all her non-fiction stuff, and go listen to all 220+ episodes of her podcast. That should keep you busy!
And if you’ve enjoyed any of the things I’ve done thanks to Joanna putting the idea in my head, give credit where it’s due!