Joanna Penn writes non-fiction for authors and is an award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author as J.F.Penn. She's also an award-winning podcaster, creative entrepreneur, and international professional speaker.

How to Make a Living With Your Writing by Joanna Penn

Would you like to make a living with your writing?

This book will show you how.

I spent 13 years working as a cubicle slave in the corporate world. I was miserable in my job and my creativity was stunted by the crushing daily grind.

Then I started writing books and blogging, using my words to create products and attract readers. In September 2011, I left my corporate job to become a full-time author and creative entrepreneur and since then I've grown my business year on year – all based on my writing. More importantly, I'm finally living the happy life I always wanted.

I'm not a Kindle or blogging millionaire and this is not a get rich quick scheme. But I will share with you how I make a six-figure income from writing books, blogging and marketing in an ethical manner.

We're living in the best time ever to make a living with your writing! Read on to learn more.


When JoAnna Penn's How To Make a Living With Your Writing came out, it became one of the most talked about writing books of the year. She explores how she went from "cubicle slave" to making six-figures annually on her writing, and she does so in ways that any writer who wants to can replicate. No guarantee, of course, that you'll earn as much as she does, but your days in the cubicle mines will end if you put fingers to the keys the way that JoAnna did. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch



  • "… gives you the confidence to make the changes in your life needed to build towards a future in writing"

    – Steph, Amazon review
  • "Clear, concise and chocked full of information, this book provides honest insight into what it takes to be an author entrepreneur"

    – James, Amazon review
  • "There's actionable, powerful advice here for writers at all stages of their career"

    – Holly, Amazon review


We're living in the best time ever to make a living with your writing!

The internet makes it possible to sell to a global audience and use your writing as the way to earn money to fund your lifestyle. If you love to create new things in the world, you can now earn decent money doing it. If you're ready to learn different skills and adapt to a changing environment, this can be a new, exciting phase in your life.

In this book, I'm going to explain exactly how I make a living with my own writing and how you can do it too. I'm going to be realistic and practical with the aim of giving you actionable advice that you can implement for yourself. Each chapter will provide ideas that you can use to research each opportunity further. Sometimes it's just about knowing what's out there in order to set you on the right path.

This is not a get rich quick scheme.

I'm not a Kindle or blogging millionaire. But I will share with you how I make a six-figure income from writing books, blogging and marketing in an ethical manner.

But first, some context: here's a little bit about my own journey. I did a Masters degree in Theology at the University of Oxford – not the most useful degree! This led to a job in consulting, and I spent the next 13 years implementing Accounts Payable and Banking into large corporates and small/medium companies across Europe and Asia Pacific. I was a cubicle slave and I certainly didn't start out doing creative work.

There were many times when I wondered how I had ended up doing a job that paid well but left me creatively stunted. I enjoyed the pay check, but every couple of years I would resign and try something new.

I started an online travel itinerary website, then a scuba diving charter boat business, then I tried property investment, as well as just taking time out to travel. None of my ideas worked out and I had to go back to consulting work every time I ran out of money. I became incredibly frustrated by my seeming incapacity to find meaningful work. By 2006, I knew I had to do something to change my life. I started reading self-help books and decided to write my own book about the search for a job I loved.

That first book changed my life – not because it sold any copies – but because it opened up a new world to me. I learned about writing books, self-publishing, online marketing, blogging, podcasting and social media. I started selling books, products and services online. I embarked on a journey that led to me writing both non-fiction and fiction, speaking professionally around the world and finally leaving consulting in September 2011 to become a full-time author entrepreneur. I rewrote that first book as Career Change in 2012 and it contains everything I learned about the steps to change your career direction.

My business, The Creative Penn, started off small and I'll admit to a few wobbly moments in the first year, but it has grown in online reach and influence, income and number of intellectual property assets in the last few years. Through the blog, podcast and speaking, I also get to help others realize their dreams of writing and publishing.

This truly is meaningful work, and I'm so much happier. That's ultimately the most important thing. In the last few months, a number of people in our family and friendship circle have died or been sick. These tragic moments bring home the importance of living every day to its fullness.

What do you want to do with your life?

You need to answer that question for yourself, because life is way too short to spend it doing things you hate or that don't bring you alive. If you love to write, I hope this book will help you to make a living from it.

You can also work through the questions in the book with the downloadable Companion Workbook here. Plus you can get a free video series at