Show cover of Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Perspectives and reflections on the writing and publishing life. Mark Leslie Lefebvre, a writer, bookseller, digital publishing advocate, professional speaker, and publishing consultant explores inclusive and collaborative opportunities for writers and book publishing professionals via interviews, discussions, and reflections about the industry. (Mark's personal website is www.markleslie.ca)

Tracks

EP 367 - Amazing Stories, Fanzines, and Community with Lloyd Penney
Mark interviews Lloyd Penney, the editor of Amazing Stories magazine about his work on Amazing Stories, his forty years of engagement with the fanzine community, and more. Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, a personal update, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise. In the interview Mark and Lloyd talk about: Meeting Robert J. Sawyer when they both attended Ryerson University in Toronto Lloyd's first and only published science fiction story (which Rob was responsible for) Getting involved in science fiction fanzines Forty years of experience being engaged with fanzines from Canada, the United States and all over the world The definition of what a fanzine is How the common community ends up talking about almost anything else once they've established their commonalities in related to things they are fans of How the production of fanzines have changed over the years, from mimeographs, to photocopies, to digital Starting off his experience in engaging with fanzines by writing a letter of comment The letter column being the heart of a fanzine Social media having replaced the fanzine in a lot of ways, but how that has reduced the more nuanced, well-thought out responses and behavior The "reaction" of social media verses the "responses" in fanzines An example of a recent fanzine that Lloyd recently received The first issue of Amazing Stories coming out in 1927 A fan, Steve Davidson, who, about 2008, wondered what happened to the copyright on the name Amazing Stories, found it was available and secured them How Spielberg needing to purchase the rights to the name for a TV show helped pay for the production of the first few issues of the new version of the magazine How Lloyd got involved with Amazing Stories in 2018 and then became the editor in chief of the magazine The magazine being (at the time) an online magazine, with no current print issues available The Patreon and merchandise that's available to help support the magazine's operation Running two Kickstarters - one of which funded, and the other, which didn't fund And more...   After the interview Mark reflects on the value of getting involved with such a prestigious magazine brand as Amazing Stories, as well as the strong sense of connection and engagement with readers that can happen within the fanzine community.   Links of Interest: Amazing Stories Website Store (Includes Amazing Selects imprint of books) Submissions efanzines.com EP 366 - Bolts of Fiction EP 365 - An Interview That's A Hug With Gail Carriger DropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising Writers Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City Only Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Lloyd Penney is a Canadian science fiction writer, science fiction convention organizer and a dedicated fan who took his long time science fiction interest and turned it into a career recently - as the editor-in-chief of Amazing Stories one of science fictions longest running magazines. He had previously written extensively for science fiction fanzines.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
55:06 6/21/24
EP 366 - Bolts of Fiction with Daniel Willcocks and Samantha Frost
Mark interviews Daniel Willcocks and Samantha Frost about their flash fiction anthology BOLTS OF FICTION and the unique engagement they created and managed through the month of February 2023 to inspire the writing community throughout the entire month. In February 2023, the Activated Authors community embarked on an ambitious project: to respond to daily prompts and produce a flash fiction story by the next day. The result was an outpouring of over 500 unique and imaginative pieces, from which the very best were meticulously curated for their anthology. From heart-wrenching tales of love and loss to whimsical adventures in fantastical worlds, each story promises to transport you, even if just for a moment, into a different reality. Whether you have a minute or an hour, you'll find stories that will intrigue, inspire, and leave you yearning for more. Featuring stories from: Quenntis Ashby, Ara Bell, Amy Bulauski, Tracey Byrnes, S.F. Claymore, Cassi Emerson, Geoff Emberlyn, B.A. Ferguson, Michelle L.M. Gale, Renée Gallant, Megan L. Garner, Robert Gelik, Debbie Gravett, Karla Hailer, R.P. Howley, Jacqueline James, Claire Ladds, Arin Laney, Mark Leslie, Daisy Lythe, S.W. Millar, Kiz Moncrieff, Andrew Murray, Laura Nettles, Kymba Nijuck, Carolyn O'Brien, Leila Murton Poole, Karin Redclift, C.M. Simpson, K.T. Tate, and Karen Wicks. In this interview, Mark, Dan, and Sam talk about: June 15th being National Flash Fiction Day What flash fiction is The inspiration for this project The tight deadlines involved Creating daily prompts to inspire writers The blind submission/reading process And more . . . Links of Interest: Bolts of Fiction Devil's Rock Publishing Dan's Website Sam's Website DropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising Writers Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City Only Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Daniel Willcocks is an international bestselling author, award-winning podcaster, author coach, and speaker. Dan writes non-fiction for authors and creatives, as well as dark fiction for the twisted reader, spanning the genres of horror, post-apocalyptic, and sci-fi. Sam Frost a.k.a. "Mastress of None," is a video-editor, poet, writer, painter, actor and creator. Based in the south of England (but not born there, that's an important distinction), Sam is passionate about helping creatives while battling the will of a medium sized human and the "affectionate" sneezes of a smaller sized pug.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
27:29 6/15/24
EP 365 - An Interview That's A Hug with Gail Carriger
Mark interviews Gail Carriger about her writing life, her journey through publishing, analytics, the careful curation of her author brand, being a hybrid author and so much more. Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, a personal update, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise. In the interview Mark and Gail talk about:- How honored Mark is to learn that Gail listens to the Stark Reflections Podcast Gail's branding phrase of "Gail Carriger writes books that are hugs" and the various experiments she's done with that over the years Always being a person who wrote, or had a passion for writing Reading The Lord of the Rings as a child and deciding to craft her OWN ending for the story Growing up in a "commune" environment with a bunch of poets Gail's career as an academic when her first traditionally published book (Soulless) came out and took off The challenge/dare to herself of wanting to write a genre-blending/cross-genre tale of something that she would enjoy as a reader Negotiations taking a long time because Gail dug in her heels on specific contract clauses Her agent investigating a back-door deal with another publisher who offered her 3X the deal the first was looking at and was willing to adjust the right of first refusal clause The vision that the publishers had that Soulless was the beginning of a series (despite Gail believing, when she first wrote it, that it was a stand-alone) Having a two-book contract and then writing a cliffhanger at the end of the 2nd book in order to grease the wheels of a contract for other books Gail's love-affair with spreadsheets and the fact she reads all 56 pages of her royalty reports One of the main reasons she became an indie author was her ability to have direct access to data about her sales and her readers Gail's cautionary note to authors that with a "right of first refusal" a publisher is allowed to take their time with that offer, which can significantly delay an author's forward-movement plans The possible "rights grab" that a publisher might do even if it's not something within their regular publishing plans How growing up Gen-X and being a non-native to computers and the internet has resulted in an abundance of caution about digital, computers, the world wide web, how she is presented on the internet, etc. Gail's recommendation to test the waters in self-publishing with short stories first Nerding out with Mark about the "old days" of self-publishing and podcasting Being a social scientist by training and loving analytics and spreadsheets Pinging her rabid fan base and testing things all the time Gail's A/B testing on whether it's better to put a newsletter signup link at the front of a book or the end of the book, or both Ensuring that her author brand is not diluted with author business stuff that she's known for from other authors and industry insiders Talking to her readers constantly to continue to stay in the loop on insights The importance, when communicating to your readers to use the same language that they're used to Learning that her readers tend to not have a distinction between libraries and bookstores - that many of them see them under the same umbrella of a place they go to see what books are on display Confirming the reports that "word of mouth" is, by a landslide, the way that most readers find out about new books and new authors to read The value of a recommendation from another author in a newsletter or on social media The challenges of book blurbs A podcast that Gail recommends: Reading Glasses - and that authors should subscribe and listen to it in order to understand the language that readers use The deliberate curation and creation of the Gail Carriger persona, including her love of wearing retro outfits The side benefit of being able to be a fan at conventions, etc when "out of uniform" and how she's rarely recognized when not sporting that specific "look" A little bit about Gail's book THE HEROINE'S JOURNEY The next book for writers that Gail is working on called GOING HYBRID, structured to help established and existing traditionally published authors to learn the indie publishing landscape And more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on several different topics that came up in the conversation, including contract clauses, being incognito, and Gails's suggesting for testing the self-publishing waters.   Links of Interest: Gail Carriger Website ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) DropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising Writers Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City Only Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Gail Carriger writes books that are hugs, mostly comedies of manners mixed with steampunk, urban fantasy, and sci-fi (plus cozy queer joy as G. L. Carriger). These include the Parasol Protectorate, Custard Protocol, Tinkered Stars, and San Andreas Shifter series for adults, and the Finishing School and Tinkered Starsong series for young adults. Also nonfiction: The Heroine’s Journey. She is published in many languages, has over a million books in print, over a dozen New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, and starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, and Romantic Times.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
79:57 6/14/24
EP 364 - 40 Years of Rubes® Cartoons with Leigh Rubin
Mark interviews Leigh Rubin about 40 years of his Rubes® cartoons and his latest book THINK LIKE A CARTOONIST. Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise. In the interview Mark and Leigh talk about: The fact that in 2024 Leigh is celebrating 40 years of producing Rubes® cartoons Some of the things that have changed since Leigh first started writing the cartoons - such as the way he delivers the daily cartoons The tools that haven't changed over the years, such as the drawing instruments he uses How far in advance the daily cartoons need to be sent in for syndication The fact that Leigh rarely ever takes a day off from drawing something new for the cartoon Leigh's book THINK LIKE A CARTOONIST and the story behind it The various types of essays that appear in this book Leigh's Cartoonist Pledge (inspired by the Boy Scout pledge) The ease of sharing cartoons on social media without any compensation given to the artist What a "workaround" is for cartooning The challenges of when humor doesn't age well because of changing sensitivities Testing the cartoons and deciding not to use certain ones that don't hit just right - (and the big stack of un-used cartoons that Leigh never submitted because they weren't funny enough) And more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on the idea of what Leigh calls a "workaround" and how a similar thing might apply to writers in general as well as the idea of testing cartoons and not publishing them unless the hit right.   Links of Interest: Leigh Rubins Website / Rubes Cartoons Think Like a Cartoonist (RIT Press Website) EP 152 - Drawing Inspiration with Cartoonist Leigh Rubin Dramatic Exit (YouTube Short Inspired by one of Leigh's cartoons) EP 316 - Free Your Inner Non-Fiction Writer with Johanna Rothman ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) DropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising Writers Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City Only Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Leigh Rubin is an accomplished author and cartoonist. He has written more than 20 books. 2024 will mark the 40th anniversary of Leigh's internationally syndicated cartoon, Rubes®, which is distributed by Creators Syndicate to hundreds of newspapers and media outlets worldwide. His work has been featured in film, television, and advertising. Leigh also enjoys a busy schedule giving thought-provoking and entertaining presentations on art and creativity at conferences, as well as professional organizations all around the country. In 2018 Leigh began serving at Rochester Institute of Technology as the college's first Cartoonist-in-Residence.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
59:01 6/6/24
EP 363 - Greatness Together with Sarah McVanel
Mark interviews Sarah McVanel, a recognition expert, professional speaker, coach, author, recovering perfectionist, and movement maker about her books, speaking, and her the new podcast she co-hosts with her daughter. Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise. In the interview Mark and Sarah talk about: What Sarah has been up to since Mark last had her on the podcast How Sarah is an expert-based author rather than a "traditional" author The difference between writing for a keynote as a speaker and writing a book The various books that Sarah has previously written and how she went about putting them together, including FLIPSIDE OF FAILING The research and legwork done in order to send hand-signed copies and hand-written notes to medical/health-care leaders for Sarah's book ROCKSTAR: Magnify Your Greatness in Times of Change for Healthcare Leaders Providing space in the back of a specially printed edition of her book ROCKSTAR: Magnify Your Greatness in Times of Change for Women Leaders for conference organizers to put their own messaging in The needless bloating in some non-fiction books; something which Sarah strives to not do Satisfaction that's felt when you finish reading a book How companies, publishers, and authors often bundle products together and how it might affect the reader How we earn the right to be read as authors Participating in physical bundles with other speakers as part of a conference The way the most special readers deserve something special The new podcast (The Greatness Together Podcast) that Sarah has started with her daughter and which runs every other week Various topics related to the human dimension that mother and daughter Sarah and Simonne talk through And more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on Sarah's perspective on the author needing to ensure that they deliver on their promise and that after earning the reader's attention, they need to keep it by delivering on that promise in the content. He also reflects on the incredible value Sarah brings as a greatness recognition expert.   Links of Interest: Sarah's Website The Greatness Together Podcast EP 76 - Recognizing Success in Failure with Sarah McVanel EP 109 - 12 Takeaways From CAPS Convention 2019 EP 361 - The Author Wheel with Greta Boris and Megan Haskell ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) DropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising Writers Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City Only Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Sarah McVanel is a recognition expert, professional speaker, coach, author, recovering perfectionist, and movement maker. She created F.R.O.G. Forever Recognize Others’ GreatnessTM to invigorate companies so they can see their people as exceptional and, together, create a scrumptious, thriving culture where everyone belongs. Sarah has 25+ years of experience training, coaching, and leading teams. From her senior leadership role, she founded her boutique firm Greatness Magnified. Proclaimed as the “Frog Lady,” she can be found freaking out perfect strangers (in a good way) by handing out squishy frogs and asking them, “Have you been frogged lately?” and then acknowledging their greatness. She’s a Certified Senior Organizational Development Professional (CSODP), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL). She is one of 700 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) worldwide. She has a BA in Psychology, MSc in Family Relations, and Diplomas in Human Resources and Healthcare Administration. You can catch her kayaking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter with her husband, or cooking a feast (while listening to an audiobook on double speed). She’s a die-hard carb-ivour, amateur hip hopper, and TikTok embarrasser to her two kids.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
66:33 5/30/24
EP 362 - The Book To Read Before Giving Up On Your Writing Dreams with Todd Fahnestock
Mark interviews author Todd Fahnestock about his latest book for writers: Falling to Fly: The Book To Read Before Giving Up On Your Writing Dreams. This episode is sponsored by the Patrons and Coffee Buddies of the Stark Reflections Podcast.   Patreon for Stark Reflections Podcast Buy Mark a Coffee   In the interview Mark and Todd talk about: Who Todd is and the edge of the seat epic fantasy he writes A little bit about Todd's memoir of hiking the Colorado Trail with his 15-year-old son The pitch for Summer of the Fetch, one of his one-off books Todd's latest book FALLING TO FLY: The Book to Read Before Giving Up on Your Writing Dreams How the book includes several completely frank episodes where Todd fell flat on his face and failed, and yet picked himself up one more time The idea of failure being the classroom and success being the diploma Being bored with a story where there's no challenge, or struggle, or flaws in the main character How fantasy books saved Todd's life when he was young and the fact he wanted to do the same thing for someone else The "writer dream" interviews that Todd is doing on social media The chapter called "The Little Rebel" and what that particular voice does for Todd The nightmare that inspired the idea for the title FALLING TO FLY And more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on how great a storyteller Todd is, how much he enjoyed Todd's latest book, and the value when someone paints an authentic picture of the actual stark realities of the writing life.   Links of Interest: Todd Fahnestock's Website EP 340 - Personality, Passion, Presentation, and Persistence with Todd Fahnestock ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) DropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising Writers Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City Only Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Todd Fahnestock is an award-winning, #1 bestselling author of fantasy for all ages and winner of the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age Award. Threadweavers and The Whisper Prince Trilogy are two of his bestselling epic fantasy series. He is a founder of Eldros Legacy—a multi-author, shared-world mega-epic fantasy series—three-time winner of the Colorado Authors League Award for Writing Excellence, and two-time finalist for the Colorado Book Award for Tower of the Four: The Champions Academy (2021) and Khyven the Unkillable (2022).   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0  
50:00 5/29/24
EP 361 - The Author Wheel with Greta Boris and Megan Haskell
Mark interviews Greta Boris and Megan Haskell of The Author Wheel. Prior to the interview Mark shares a brief personal update and a word from this episode's sponsor. Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from recent episodes, shares a personal update, and a word about this episode’s sponsor. This episode is sponsored by ScribeCount (affiliate link). Spend less time logging in to multiple platforms and crunching numbers, and more time writing and marketing your books thanks to ScribeCount’s handy all-in-one interface. In the interview Mark, Greta, and Megan talk about: How Megan started writing as a creative outlet when she was working for a major accounting firm The writing done on the train on the way in to work in Los Angeles and the blogs she had written Continuing writing after having her daughter in 2012 and then publishing her first book before her second child was born Greta's magazine background (her father was an editor and publisher of some major magazines back in the day) The writing she did for a number of magazines over the years and the various genres and topics she took on Being inspired by interviewing a bunch of fiction authors, including Joanna Penn How Greta got her first publisher doing a Twitter pitch Twitter pitches being really good for writing log lines Megan and Greta's "meet cute" at the Southern California Writer's Conference in 2014 Pitching a course to that conference at a later date so they could attend it again without having to pay which got turned into a book (Publish: Take Charge of Your Author Career) How they started The Author Wheel courses, podcast, and other resources The metaphors for The Author Wheel The way they try to break topics down into the smallest bits possible to simplify people Why it's helpful to recognize that authors are all at different places and there are so many different paths and choices an author can make Their course Trope Stacking and Other Genre Magic which is a companion to a quick-guide Understanding Your Genre Greta's pioneering with writing a book she felt was a "Cozy Horror" novel Strategies for mixing and layering in genres that are complimentary to one another while creating something unique How writing to an outline made Megan feel like her creativity was being stifled The way that Megan and Greta collaborate in their writing, the podcast, the social media, and the courses And more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on the idea of the "Twitter pitch" and the benefit of having to craft writing that has tight restrictions as well as the importance of understanding that there's no one-size-fits-all solution, and that there's no single right way for authors to do things.   Links of Interest: The Author Wheel Podcast Courses: 7 Days To Clarity Self Publish or Get an Agent Finish Your Novel Faster Layering Your Story World Trope Stacking and Other Genre Magic Megan Haskell's Website Greta Boris's Website Mark's Interview on The Author Wheel Podcast: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Mastering Book Marketing with Mark Leslie Lefebvre ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) DropCap Marketplace  Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising Writers Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City Only Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard     Greta Boris is a USA Today Bestselling mystery and thriller author. Megan Haskell is an award-winning fantasy adventure author. Together, they founded The Author Wheel, publishers of books, courses, and a podcast to help writers overcome roadblocks and keep their stories rolling.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
60:48 5/23/24
EP 360 - Foreign Rights Licensing with Roseanne Cheng of DropCap
Mark interviews Roseanne Cheng, an award-winning author, ghostwriter, and book marketer who is passionate about educating authors and publishers about the power and opportunity of having their books elevated to the international market. They talk about her writing life, her author mentoring life, and about how DropCap Marketplace is a great bridge between indie authors and the licensing foreign language rights through traditional agencies and book scouts. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise.   In their interview Mark and Roseanne talk about: Roseanne's background and passion for helping writers The first book Roseanne published (The Take Back of Lincoln Junior High) back in 2013 when she was teaching full-time and how it will always have a special place in her heart Working with Wise Ink Creative Publishing and the great respect that Roseanne has for the women who run that business The various lessons learned with writing and publishing a book and how you can turn the things that you learned (via various mistakes you've made) into positives by helping others on their own journeys Taking on the role of Marketing Director at Wise Ink by leveraging her own experiences to help shepherd other writers through the process of releasing a new book Working with authors to create their own custom marketing plans based on their goals Meeting and connecting with a dear friend, Josie, and teaching one another things they were each good at Creating an online school with Josie called Evergreen Authors in about 2019 How the pandemic ended up helping these courses and various other online teaching and Roseanne's ghostwriting business to really take off The genesis of her first book, The Take Back of Lincoln Junior High Reading the novel after taking a long break (focusing on the endless work and much sleeplessness of raising small children) and recognizing that it was really good How Roseanne's role as a teacher helped prepare her for the work she does in helping authors The co-authored book BUZZ: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BOOK MARKETING Roseanne's books THE EVERYGREEN AUTHOR: MASTER THE ART OF BOOK MARKETING and PORTABLE MAGIC The importance of asking your readers: "Where do you buy books?" The WIDE FOR THE WIN message of being in as many places as possibly and opening as many doors as possible and how it really resonated with Roseanne Getting involved in the "Rights" side of publishing and the entire distribution network that she had not yet been tapped into A story about the first time Roseanne received an email from a foreign publisher who reached out because they were interested in the foreign language rights to her work The creation of DropCap Marketplace as a match-making service between indie authors/small publishers and agents and book scouts The various other marketing resources available for authors on the DropCap site How DropCap marries technology with relationship resources within the industry The special coupon code for Stark Reflections listeners. STARK20 - to get 20% off the listing at DropCap marketplace And more . . .   After the interview, Mark reflections on Roseanne's passion for helping writers and the importance for indie authors of recognizing where they can DIY and where they might be better off leveraging experts in a particular area of publishing.   Links of Interest: Roseanne Cheng's Website Roseanne's Books Evergreen Authors Website DropCap Marketplace Use coupon STARK20 to get 20% off Cruising Writers Stark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins Agency ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City Only Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard     Roseanne Cheng is an award-winning author, ghostwriter, book marketer, and Director of Business Development DropCap Rights Agency. A lifelong reader and writer, she began her work in book publishing as a Marketing Director for an indie publishing house based in Minneapolis and eventually co-founded Evergreen Authors, an online school teaching authors the business of writing and marketing their creative work. In her current role with DropCap, she has the unique pleasure of matching global rights buyers with titles that have the potential to positively impact their communities. She is passionate about educating authors and publishers about the power and opportunity of having their books elevated to the international market.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
49:00 5/17/24
EP 359 - Capturing the Flow with Aaron Palmer
Mark interviews author, songwriter, musician, and podcaster Aaron Palmer. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise.   In their interview Mark and Aaron talk about:   Aaron being tested at an early age and it being determined that he had perfect pitch Picking up a guitar for the first time around 6th grade The first big concert he saw when he was in 5th grade was Van Halen - and he was convinced he wanted to do that A time in life when ambitions outweighed abilities How playing the guitar came pretty naturally to Aaron Being a pretty avid reader when he was growing up, consuming almost anything he could get his hands on The writing of Michael Crichton and the very cinematic way he had of writing prose Being in college and having a professor suggest he change his major to English Beginning to write short fiction shortly after that Aaron's podcast Native Tongues and the theme for the show Dealing with ADHD and also regularly multi-tasking How Aaron works through writing down log lines and concepts that are streaming through his mind to return to later to flesh out Finding out that Dave Grohl does something similar The initial concept of the podcast first coming out about five years ago, then beginning to develop the ideas for it in about August of 203 for a January 2024 launch Starting off with a concept or idea and then later fleshing out the characters and character development The idea of spending more time developing characters once you fully understand the world that they're in Reaching to the darker, more speculative or fantastical elements in storytelling out of a relatively mundane, safe, and normal existence Not taking himself very seriously as a writer or creative person Gravitating toward 12-year-old Bacoo rum Loving live music in multiple venues and forms How Aaron's podcast is helping to tie multiple creative aspects together And more . . . After the interview Mark reflects on capturing the endless flow of ideas that can come to a creative person and the value of putting a creative work out into the world instead of just holding onto it.   Links of Interest: Native Tongues Podcast Apple Podbean Spotify Native Tongues Instagram EP 358 - The Way of the Parable Writer with Donn King EP 353 - Tao Wong on the Toronto Indie Author Conference EP 349 - Edward Willett of Shadowpaw Press Cruising Writers Stark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins Agency ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City Only Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard     Aaron Palmer has been described as this generation's Ernest Hemingway. Not because he can write majestic prose, but because he equally loves to drink lots of rum. Aaron enjoys writing screenplays in the horror and thriller genres in which he has an encyclopedic knowledge of. He hosts the podcast Native Tongues, where he talks to writers and musicians about where they came from and how that influenced their voice. He also plays guitar, is into fitness, travel and loves to read. Oh, and he's got a wife and kids he likes.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0    
72:10 5/9/24
EP 358 - The Way of the Parable Writer with Donn King
Mark interviews professor, pastor, speaker, and author Donn King about writing, his podcast, and his books THE WAY OF THE THREE-YEAR-OLD WHY and MEDIUM WELL. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise.   In their interview Mark and Donn talk about: Donn's gradual evolution into becoming a writer with starting work at a newspaper when he was 14 years old An experience in sixth grade discovering science fiction novels in the library and realizing reading could be fun when you weren't being forced to do it The first sci-fi novel Donn remembers reading: Robert A. Heinlein's HAVE SPACESUIT WILL TRAVEL Donn's first foray into writing short fiction in a 3-ring binder with a pencil Learning about his non-fiction writing from Bob Burg, co-author of THE GO-GIVER a bestselling business parable book How elements from writing good fiction apply when writing a parable Drawing upon autobiographical elements even when fictionalizing a parable The difference between Writer's Block and The Well Going Dry Donn's podcast, The Alignment Show The Great Realignment and pausing to step back and consider what really brings value to you Donn's book MEDIUM WELL: The Journey From Believing to Believing In The beautifully inquisitive nature of 3-Year-Olds in Donn's THE WAY OF THE THREE-YEAR-OLD WHY Principal Five - Without emotion, there is no motion The challenges of booking live speaking events when caring for family members who require that additional compassion and care The reality that none of us have any certainty - we merely live with the illusion of certainty The concept of connection before content And more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on a few of the topics that came up in their conversation.   Links of Interest: Donn King's Website Donn King's Books The Confidence Cultivators Podcast Mark's Guest Spot on Episode 54 YouTube Video of Episode 54 EP 357 - 50 Years of Short Stories with Kevin J. Anderson Kevin's Short Story Kickstarter EP 356 - The Midlist Indie Author Mindset with T. Thorn Coyle Thorn's Patreon Site Writers of the Future - Blog Post Announcing Mark as a Judge Stark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins Agency ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City Only Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Donn King is "The Confidence Cultivator," a professor, pastor, speaker, and author who lives in the mountains of East Tennessee. He also hosts "The Alignment Show," a podcast to support listeners in living their values so they can value their life. His book, "The Way of the Three-Year-Old Why," the first in the Sparklight Chronicles, came out in 2023, with "Medium Well," the second in the series, came out in early 2024     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
54:49 5/2/24
EP 357 - 50 Years of Short Stories with Kevin J. Anderson
In this episode, Mark interviews Kevin J. Anderson about his writing and the new approach he is taking to incorporate Kickstarter into the launch strategies for some of his indie-published titles. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Learn more about this self-publishing/WIDE-publishing focused cruise.   In their interview Mark and Kevin talk about: How Kickstarter has completely upended (in a good way), Kevin's book release strategies Kevin's first novel coming out in 1988 and all the various publishers he has worked with over the years The "Perfect Storm" that was brewing in the book industry when indie publishing became a realistic and viable option Starting to publish his own books (mostly backlist titles he got the rights back to) in 2009 after founding WordFire Press with his wife Rebecca Moesta Kevin's belief that this is the best time to be a writer How Kevin does a little bit of everything. He has a New York literary agent, he works with several major publishers, he indie publishes, and he continues to explore new opportunities that digital publishing offer The way that Kickstarter didn't just open a new door, it completely blew it down, along with a few walls too Dean Wesley Smith's perspective that helped to change Kevin's mind about what Kickstarter was all about Kevin's "Adams Family meets The Naked Gun" series of Dan Shamble Zombie PI novels, and the history of how it started off as a series with a major publisher, flopped, then Kevin got the rights back and did something truly stunning with it once he applied Kickstarter Kevin's first Dan Shamble Kickstarter which brought in 23 times the intial amount he was asking for, and that it paid him more than 6 times the advance he'd rec'd from a major publisher for the last Dan Shamble book he'd done with them The Dragon Business (The Princess Bride meets Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) Kickstarter that brought in 20 times what he'd been asking for The Persephone Kickstarter that Kevin did with Writer/Director Jeffrey Morris Kevin's latest Kickstarter which is a 7 Volume Set of over 130 of his published short stories published over 50 years Writing his first short story when he was 8 years old Publishing his very first short story when he was 14 The personal introductions that he wrote for every one of the stories in this 7 book collection The various levels and Kickstarter rewards he is planning for this Kickstarter The remarkable fact that, despite having published 180 novels with 58 of them being international bestsellers, no publisher would ever even consider publishing a 7 volume hardcover set of Kevin's complete short stories. That he can do this via Kickstarter is a significant paradigm shift How Kickstarter can replace the old "advance" model from traditional publishing The special thing Kevin is doing for all the backers of this latest Kickstarter The Kickstarter will be going live on April 30th for 3 weeks and 2 days And more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on Kevin's use of short, effective and very clear log lines to describe two of his series.   Links of Interest: Kevin J. Anderson's Website Kevin's Short Story Kickstarter EP 130 - Grace Under Pressure with Kevin J. Anderson Mentions of Kevin in other podcast episodes EP 356 - The Midlist Indie Author Mindset with T. Thorn Coyle Thorn's Patreon Site EP 355 - Scribbling Pen Publishing with Melanie Gilbert and Heather Karn Writers of the Future - Blog Post Announcing Mark as a Judge Stark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins Agency ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City Only Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Kevin J. Anderson has published more than 180 books, 58 of which have been national or international bestsellers. He has written numerous novels in the Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune universes, as well as the unique Clockwork Angels steampunk trilogy with legendary Rush drummer Neil Peart. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series, the Wake the Dragon and Terra Incognita fantasy trilogies, and humorous Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. series and The Dragon Business series. He has edited numerous anthologies, written comics and games, and the lyrics to two rock CDs. Anderson is the director of the graduate program in Publishing at Western Colorado University, and he and his wife Rebecca Moesta are the publishers or WordFire Press. He worked on the recent films Dune Part One and Part Two from Legendary Entertainment, as well as the forthcoming Dune TV series from MAX, and other films in development, including Persephone and Karousel. He has 24 million copies in print in 34 languages. His most recent novels are Bats in the Belfry, Skeleton in the Closet, Persephone, and Princess of Dune (with Brian Herbert).     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
49:40 4/26/24
EP 356 - The Midlist Indie Author Mindset with T. Thorn Coyle
  Mark interviews T Thorn Coyle about writing, community, and their new book The Midlist Indie Author Mindset. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update and a word from this episode's sponsor. Cruising Writers - 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise - Feb 22 to Mar 1, 2025 Featured Guest Speakers: Erin Wright and Mark Leslie Lefebvre More details at: Cruising Writers   In the interview, Mark and Thorn talk about: Getting into writing when they were 5 years old - and the variety of types of writing they did Thorn jokingly torturing fiction and deciding to write non-fiction until a few characters showed up and knocked on their door Writing mostly fantasy-tinged fiction How most of Thorn's non-fiction guides have been about spiritual practice, but that this latest one is their first non-fiction business of writing book Thorn's author tagline: "Magic is real. And justice is worth fighting for." The way that Portland is such a fascinating city and how Thorn can find magic anywhere An appreciation of Charles de Lint Thorn's forthcoming book: The Midlist Author Mindset The massive mindset shift that comes from being curious about business the way one is curious about writing Value that came with learning what worked for Thorn, as opposed to things that work for other writers The numerous streams of income that Thorn has been developing over the years Looking at long-term sustainability by thinking of it like cultivating a garden instead of seeking out short-term dramatic spikes Some of the roadblocks that Thorn encountered on the way to establishing the Midlist Author Mindset Understanding that for Thorn marketing was about connection with readers How asking "Does social media sell books?" is the wrong question to ask The Kickstarter for the book and related materials and exclusive content that runs April 16, 2024 to May 7, 2024 A little bit about Thorn's fiction series books Thoughts and current approach to audiobooks Thorn's final words of advice that they would want to leave with writers And more . . .   After the interview, Mark reflects on the concepts of sustainable, long-term, and burn-out as well as the important question of what is practical for you and your life and goals.   Links of Interest: T. Thorn Coyle's Website Kickstarter for The Midlist Indie Author Mindset Fiction Titles Non-Fiction Titles Thorn's Patreon Site Writers of the Future - Blog Post Announcing Mark as a Judge Stark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins Agency ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City Only Monsters in the Building The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   T. Thorn Coyle worked in many strange and diverse occupations before settling in to write full time. Buy them a cup of tea and perhaps they’ll tell you about it. Author of The Witches of Portland, the Seashell Cove Paranormal Cozy Mysteries, the Pride Street Paranormal Cozy Mysteries, The Steel Clan Saga, and The Panther Chronicles, Thorn’s multiple non-fiction books include Sigil Magic for Writers, Artists & Other Creatives, Crafting a Daily Practice, Kissing the Limitless, and Evolutionary Witchcraft. Thorn's work also appears in many anthologies, magazines, and collections. An interloper to the Pacific Northwest U.S., they pay proper tribute to all the neighborhood cats, and talk to crows, squirrels, and trees. You can find them at thorncoyle.com.     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
49:50 4/18/24
EP 355 - Scribbling Pen Publishing with Melanie Gilbert and Heather Karn
Mark interviews Melanie Gilbert and Heather Karn about their work writing and publishing together under the Scribbling Pen Publishing brand. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor. Cruising Writers - 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise - Feb 22 to Mar 1, 2025 Featured Guest Speakers: Erin Wright and Mark Leslie Lefebvre More details at: Cruising Writers   In the interview, Mark, Melanie, and Heather talk about: How Heather got started in writing before Melanie, who started a year later Writing independently for a while before they got into mutual support and collaboration The two books they've published by doing round-robin style writing a couple of paragraphs at a time The plotting VS pantsing struggle that they would sometimes find themselves in The thrill of writing a book without knowing who the bad guy was the entire time until the idea of who it was struck both of them at the same time The process they use when writing, editing, and re-writing How the two of them think of the reader experience when the writer (as related to the Disney Customer Experience training) Leveraging the cats that they made to draw people in which is a great ice-breaker getting them to the books Thinking about the "writing companions" for the books Leveraging crafted book bags in the same way to generate interest - ie "Where did you get that cool book bag?" Determing what scented candle or wax melt varieties would go well with the different books Something special they did to celebrate the "12 Days of Christmas" that they could provide to all of their fans - cover reveals, sample chapters, recipes, music, other books, etc The benefit of personal touches in the newsletter including the fun that started with Griffin the furry manager How their cats and dogs are the ones explaining what's going on in their writer newsletters and their website store How their main goal isn't to sell books but to ensure that the people who visit their table are having a good time And more . . .   After the interview, Mark reflects on the way the sisters leverage conversational items to draw people to their in person table, their focus on creating a genuinely memorable and entertaining experience (rather than focusing on selling books), and providing intriguing entertainment in their newsletter leveraging their pets' perspectives.   Links of Interest: Scribbling Pen Publishing Scribbling Pen Publishing - Instagram Cruising Writers Feb/Mar 2025 Cruise - Focus on Self Publishing The Uncollected Anthology Website Uncollected Anthology Live Author Chat (April 10, 2024 - YouTube) There Ain't No Cure For The Winter Wolf Blues 2024 The Write Stuff StoryBundle (Limited Time Offer) WMG Anthology Workshop August 2024 Stark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins Agency ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Melanie Gilbert and Heather Karn in their own words: We grew up in the lovely state of Michigan. We lived in a small town in the country, one of those towns where everyone knows everyone. When we graduated from high school, we went to the same college along with our triplet sister. Our younger sister joined us a couple years later. We’re all really close and that has influenced how we write characters who are siblings. Somehow, we both ended up in Wisconsin a few miles from each other (and even our triplet sister). We now live together and it’s a blast! Wisconsin isn’t too different from where we grew up, so it hasn’t been a big change to live here instead of in Michigan. The only down side to being here is the large lake between us and our family (and Melanie’s in-laws). Going around the lake makes traveling longer, but at least we’re not states away from family. Family is really important to us. Scribbling Pen Publishing was originally Melanie’s idea. Like Melanie’s other idea about writing a co-written book, it took Heather some time to warm up to the idea. Heather is more of a “think it over” personality while Melanie is a “sounds good, let’s do it” personality. Together, we balance each other out. Working together has been amazing. We each have strengths where the other has a weakness. Together we accomplish more than we did apart. Our brands are so similar, it only made sense to combine the work to share our love of books with the world.     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
61:51 4/11/24
EP 354 - Lydia and David Sherrer on Power Couple Publishing
Mark interviews Lydia and David Sherrer about their company Chenoweth Press and the books and games they produce and publish collaboratively. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update and a word about this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by the awesome supporters of this podcast who provide their supprt via Patreon and Buy Me A Coffee. With special thanks to Nikki Guerlain for the recent huge BUY ME A COFFEE donation. In the interview, Mark talks to Lydia and David about: How Lydia's role as a writing is part of a biological imperitive Growing up reading everything in sight and also being into Lord of the Rings by the time she was five years old Always telling herself stories and writing some of them down over the years Finding out that what she studied in college wasn't a good career fit and then following her father's example of being an entrepreneur Publishing her first two books around 2012/2013 Lydia and David setting a ten-year plan that by then David would be able to quit his full-time job David enjoying playing Magic The Gathering card game when he was young Getting invited to a gaming store that was in his town and becoming enamored with it Opening up his own gaming store when he graduated from highschool The technical engineering background that David had and how he applied those skills to ads and marketing Getting frustrated with his job at about the time that Lydia was starting to earn good money from her writing Deciding that he wanted to turn his gaming hobby into a career by starting with a spreadsheet How playing cards are one of the easiest and most flexible mediums to make a game in The game Cat Magic taking roughly twenty minutes of calculations and figuring to get the first draft of the game started The catch-phrase for Love, Lies, and Magic Book 8 in that series releasing March 1, 2024 How Cat Magic the novel was the best of Lydia's books that had an existing audience for creating the first game of David's game design career David's role in being an alpha reader and providing Lydia with early feedback on her writing The Kickstarter campaign they ran to get the Cat Magic game off the ground The important Give 90% of the time, ask 10% of the time rule with communities you are engaged in The years of behind the scenes hard work and constantly giving and sharing with the community that built up the success seen in recent Kickstarters 80% of their sales coming from direct sales versus sales from retailers Storing 15,000 copies of Lydia's books in their basement Hiring a college student to help with some of the menial tasks like packaging up books for direct sale orders The various logistics of their shipping operation Hiring a nanny to keep their kids close and at home, but allowing them the freedom to get their work done during the day Their five-year-old discovering capitalism, entrepreneurship, and wanting to become a part of their business Advice that David and Lydia would offer to other couples interested in running a business like this And more . . .   After the interview, Mark reflects on the concept of building the kind of life that you want as well as the community-giving focus as an authentic way to connect and offer something of value.   Links of Interest: Lydia Sherrer's Website Chenoweth Press Lydia Sherrer's Store EP 312 - The Dialogue Doctor Will See You Now EP 266 - "Let's Talk Dialogue with Jeff Elkins," He Said Reflectively EP 157 - A Conversation with Jeff Elkins The Dialogue Doctor The Uncollected Anthology Website Uncollected Anthology Live Author Chat (April 10, 2024 - YouTube) There Ain't No Cure For The Winter Wolf Blues 2024 The Write Stuff StoryBundle (Limited Time Offer) WMG Anthology Workshop August 2024 Stark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins Agency ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Lydia Sherrer is an award-winning and USA Today-bestselling author of snark-filled adventures creating stories you love to love, and hate to leave. She is the author of the bestselling urban fantasy Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus universe of books featuring several series, which have sold over half a million copies world-wide. Most recently she has released the TransDimensional Hunter series with NYT bestselling author John Ringo. Lydia subsists on liberal amounts of dark chocolate and tea, and hates sleep because it keeps her from writing (though she needs it because she has kids to wrangle). Due to the tireless efforts of her game-designer husband and her fuzzy overlords—i.e. cats—she remains sane and even occasionally remembers to leave the house. David Sherrer is a born storyteller and has been an obsessive gamer ever since he was seduced by Magic the Gathering at the tender age of fourteen. He has alternately owned a gaming store, street performed for a living, and survived eleven years in the soul crushing world of telecommunications. He lucked out by marrying a force of nature who was determined to making living off writing, and has since escaped his 9-5 to become the Marketing Director and Lead Game Designer of Chenoweth Press. His most fond achievements include being Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2006—there’s a story there, just ask him—and that time he made his entire DnD party cry at the end of a campaign. In addition to his work, he wrangles his growing family and a herd of feline supervisors, while secretly plotting how to add to the mountain of board games that he swears to his wife he actually plays.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
58:29 4/5/24
EP 353 - Tao Wong on the Toronto Indie Author Conference
Mark interviews Tao Wong about his writing, LitRPG, entrepreneurship, and the Toronto Indie Author Conference that is coming in May 2024. Prior to the interview, Mark forgoes the usual brief personal update, or comments, and skips right to this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by the Toronto Indie Author Conference.   The Toronto Indie Author Conference is a two-day event tailored exclusively for Canadian independent authors. Do you dream of transforming your passion for writing into a thriving author business? Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of Canadian indie publishing’s first author business conference. www.torontoindieauthorcon.com In their interview, Mark and Tao talk about: How Tao has always been writing and telling stories, and how luck played a bit part in it Starting off writing LitRPG when he was living in the Yukon when it was night/dark all the time Writing a few novels and stories for fun, but then discovering Kristine Kathryn Rusch's blog about the business of publishing and how authors were beginning to leverage digital publishing to do it themselves Learning about indie publishing industry, but not being in a place where he thought he would pursue traditional publishing Beginning to put his LitRPG titles up on Amazon in 2017 at a time when it was just starting to become hot (He caught the 2nd wave of Western LitRPG authors) Not having to do any marketing in those early days because he was still working a full-time job running a business, but still bringing in a hearty income from his self-published books Tao's experience doing marketing in selling board games online Flipping between the two hats he wears. 1) The writer hat of getting the book done and 2) the marketer hat of having to sell the things that are written Realizing he was a "scenic route" author, according to Becca Syme's author structure talks and courses Getting to a point where he started to hire staff to help him with some of the tasks Being burnt out from the constant churn in hiring and training staff and them leaving within about two years Joking that being an indy author is the "easy mode" of being an entrepreneur because the cost and minimum setup is a lot less than what he had to do for his business before Laughing at the cost of a $200 cover design bill because not that long ago, he had a single bill from Canada Post that was over $100,000 Working with about 5 active co-authors but realizing that he didn't want to be a publisher Starting the Toronto Indie Author Conference initially out of spite and to bring something useful to Canadian authors who might not be able to afford to travel so far to several US based conferences The importance of not having only 6-figure authors doing the presentations at the Toronto Indie Author Conference Some of the speakers who will be at the Toronto Indie Author Confernce and the various topics they'll be covering The significant amount of time and energy Tao had to invest into this conference The Kobo sponsorship of an accessibility fund for the conference where they'll be giving out 10 to 15 pre-paid seats A discount code STARK10 that members can use to get $10 off their ticket registration for the conference And more . . . After the interview Mark reflects on the importance of those people who see gaps and step up to make a difference. It's a common theme from the past several interview episodes. He also reflects on just how easy it can be for authors as entrepreneurs when you factor in just how little an author has to invest when it comes to money, to get started, particularly in a world that has so many great free resources. Links of Interest: Tao Wong's Author Website Tao Wong's Publisher Website Toronto Indie Author Conference Stark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins Agency StoryGarden Summit (Virtual) - March 2024 ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Tao Wong is a full-time author in the scifi and fantasy genres, writing predominantly in the LitRPG and xianxia sub-genres. A multiple times international Amazon bestseller, he is best known for the System Apocalypse and A Thousand Li universes, with over 40 full-length novels and numerous shorter works published. Tao was a finalist for the Kindle Storyteller UK Award in 2021.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
39:21 3/29/24
EP 352 - Being The Hero of Your Own Story With No Margins Agency
Mark interviews Katie Nelson, Mari Dietz, and Brandon Winn about No Margins Agency, which offers stock photography of underrepresented and marginalized people. Prior to the interview, Mark shares a brief personal update, and then plays a few words about this episode's sponsor. No Margins Agency offers stock photography of underrepresented and marginalized people, because everyone deserves to be the hero of their own story. In the interview, Mark, Katie, Mari, and Brandon talk about: Katie's background writing when young, then getting back into writing science fiction with queer characters later in life shortly after reading a traditionally published book that disappointed her Meeting Mari at a conference in Fort Collins, Colorado and being introduced to Superstars Writing Seminars a little later How Mari has wanted to write her whole life, and the way her mom used to type out her poems when she was very young and post them on cupboards and elsewhere in the house Stopping writing for a while, but then picking it up again in 2011, with a focus on writing fiction that featured plus-size people Brandon feeling isolated during the pandemic along with feeling like his voice and wanting to see characters that were more representative of his own experiences Being aghast at what was available in typical stock image sites when searching for "plus size" models for example The often overlooked value of having to meet people where they're at, rather than assuming everyone is in the same place. A rising tide can only float all boats if people are in boats to begin with How not everyone has a visible marginalization or disability Getting in contact with them via hello@nomarginsagency.com Allowing models to bring and wear things that they are comfortable with and to be free with who they are The unofficial mantra of the company being "take up as much space as you want" How the galleries on their website is broken down One of the biggest challenges is convincing people that they don't have to have the confidence or "look" of a "model" in order to model for No Margins Agency Scheduling a photoshoot when they're together in Colorado Springs in Feb 2024 at Superstars Writing Seminars How they are starting to do reviews of books by more diverse and marginalized authors The way they are managing the overhead costs by doing things like scheduling only a single photo shoot per month The value and importance of finding the right community that can be there for you and support you And more . . .   After the interview Mark shares a reflection about how this type of supportive community inspires him. He also makes an offer to listeners of the podcast (thanks to the help of those who support this podcast at patreon.com/starkreflections) with some of the services that No Margins Agency provides.   Links of Interest: No Margins Agency Facebook Blog Stark Publishing Support for Authors Via Margins Agency StoryGarden Summit (Virtual) - March 2024 ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries Smashwords Link  (eBook 57% Off until end of Feb 2024) The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   No Margins Agency is a company dedicated to helping marginalized people reach their audience, tell their stories, and drive sales.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
55:24 3/22/24
EP 351 - Feverish Sore Throat Reflections
In this brief solo episode Mark reflections on the importance of maintaining a streak - which is something he has done since first launching this podcast in January 2017.   Links of Interest: ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries Smashwords Link  (eBook 57% Off until end of Feb 2024) The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
16:53 3/15/24
EP 350 - Infinite Resources with Jeff Krehmer
Mark interviews engineer and author Jeff Krehmer about his new book Infinite Resources: How to Sustainably Develop the Arctic, by Supplying Green Hydrogen, Fresh Water, and Healthy Food to the World. Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from recent episodes, shares a personal update, and a word about this episode's sponsor. Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #InspireInclusion. Learn more about International Women's Day and find resources at: InternationalWomensDay.com   In the interview, Mark and Jeff talk about: Jeff's background in various disciplines, including mechanical engineering, project management, software, computer sales Sitting on the vision for this current book project for more than ten years, and how having a heart attack two years ago prompted the idea that he should get that work out into the world The basic premise of the book in that the arctic can create a sustainable solution if we leverage it in the right way "If global warming is the problem, then shouldn't we be maximizing global cooling?" The boiling temperature of different liquids, such as propane Some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded on earth How the book has numerous possible target audience readers, depending on which of the world's problems they are looking to solve (or the economics they want to reap benefits from) What people can do to help And more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on the fact that, in the same way that humans have had an impact on the world, and Jeff is reminding us of the positive impact we can have if we learn and we act, we have an impact on one another. This is a reminder to authors of the powerful impact that they can have with the words they write and share.   Links of Interest: Infinite Resources Website Jeff Krehmer on LinkedIn International Women's Day ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries Smashwords Link  (eBook 57% Off until end of Feb 2024) The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Jeff Krehmer is a professional mechanical engineer and the author of “Infinite Resources.” He is president and chief engineer at Big Time Engineering Corp. During his engineering career, Jeff has worked as a salesperson, technical support technician, estimator, project manager, product designer and engineering manager. He has more than a decade of experience designing equipment for the oil and gas sector and is a Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP). Jeff has volunteered with and received awards for his volunteer work with the Canadian Ski Patrol System, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and APEGA, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta.     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
40:40 3/8/24
EP 349 - Edward Willett of Shadow Paw Press
Mark interviews author, podcaster, and publisher Edward Willett about his writing, his podcast, Kickstarter campaigns, and some bold new ventures he is pursuing with his publishing company Shadow Paw Press. Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from recent episodes, shares a personal update, and a word about this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by ScribeCount (affiliate link). Spend less time logging in to multiple platforms and crunching numbers, and more time writing and marketing your books thanks to ScribeCount's handy all-in-one interface. In the interview, Mark and Edward talk about: The very first short story Edward wrote at the age of 11, "Caster Glaz, Hyper Ship Test Pilot" Working as a newspaper reporter for about eight years while he continued to write - Selling his first short story Making reference to Canadian historical figures like John Diefenbaker and The Arrogant Worms, which non-Canadians might not understand. (Thank goodness for Google) Publishing a science fiction short story "Strange Harvest" in an agricultural magazine based on his reporting of oddly shaped plants. And how that story was adapted into a nationally broadcast CBC Radio drama and might just beward's most popular short story Becoming a full-time freelance writer more than thirty years ago The twelve novels that Edward has released with Daw Books The radio broadcast work that he did for seventeen years as a freelancer Why Edward started the Worldshapers Podcast The anthologies Edward released that tie in with the novel as well as the Kickstarters Edward has run for them The evolution and growth of Edward's Shadow Paw Press How in 2024 Edward is taking on a huge number of new and innovative products, including books by notable Canadian authors like Dave Duncan and Robert J. Sawyer Working with an actual sales force and distribution network like LitDistCo The ins and outs of grant writing and investments involved in trying to get real distribution Helping other authors with their self-publishing needs Advice Edward has for authors thinking about being a publisher as well as for writers in general And more.... Mark then reflects on the value of a publisher with actual distribution and the difference between that and what any indie author can do in digital publishing.   Links of Interest: Edward Willett (Website) Shadow Paw Press The Worldshapers Podcast Endless Sky Books Crowdfundr For Shadow Paw Press ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) EP 348 - Amanda Byrd on Direct Sales and AuthorsGoDirect Coast to Coast AM with George Noory (Mark featured guest on March 1, 2024/March 2, 2024) Mark's Past Appearances on Coast to Coast AM Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries Smashwords Link  (eBook 57% Off until end of Feb 2024) The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Edward Willett is an award-winning author of more than sixty books science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction for both children and adults. He's also host of the Aurora Award-winning podcast The Worldshapers: "Conversations with science fiction and fantasy authors about the creative process." (http://www.theworldshapers.com). He successfully Kickstarted and edited a new anthology, Shapers of Worlds, featuring authors who were guests during the first year of the podcast.  Among his novels are twelve published by DAW Books, one of the premier publishers of science fiction and fantasy publishers: Lost in Translation, Marseguro (which won the 2009 Aurora Award for best English-language science fiction or fantasy book by a Canadian author), and its sequel Terra Insegura (a finalist for the 2010 Aurora Award); Magebane (written as Lee Arthur Chane); the Masks of Aygrima fantasy trilogy for DAW Books, written as E.C. Blake; the stand-alone science fiction novel The Cityborn. His Worldshapers series began with Worldshaper ("a rollicking contemporary fantasy," Publishers' Weekly said in a starred review), and continued with Master of the World and The Moonlit World. His latest is The Tangled Stars, a humorous far-future space-opera adventure. Willett is also the author of The Shards of Excalibur modern-day YA fantasy series for Coteau Books, I Tumble Through the Diamond Dust, a collection of science fiction and fantasy poetry published by Your Nickel's Worth Publishing, and Paths to the Stars, a collection of his short fiction; Blue Fire a YA fantasy written as E.C. Blake, and Star Song, a YA science fiction novel that was a finalist for the Aurora Award for Best Canadian YA Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel, all published by Shadowpaw Press   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
56:26 3/1/24
EP 348 - Amanda Byrd on Direct Sales and AuthorsGoDirect
Mark interviews Amanda Byrd about her writing, direct sales, and the new platform she has launched called AuthorsGoDirect. Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from recent episodes, welcomes new patrons Rob Johnson, Jennifer Brinn, and Rasana Atreya and then shares a word about this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by ScribeCount (affiliate link). Spend less time logging in to multiple platforms and crunching numbers, and more time writing and marketing your books thanks to ScribeCount's handy all-in-one interface. In the interview, Mark and Amanda talk about: How Amanda started writing non-fiction as a kind of joke back in 2015 Writing in car journals since she'd spent much of her life around cars Amanda's flagship female serial killer novels The new series that'll feature taking different historic female public figures and turning them into serial killers - starting with Amelia Earheart Describing her fiction as "Dexter meets American Psycho, but female" Recognizing a hole in the industry related to author newsletters Coming up with BooksGoDirect.com as a direct-sales only newsletter where the author provides the coupon code and the link The importance of owning all the data related to your readers/customers The ability for indie authors to add all kinds of bonus materials and direct-purchase swag related to their books How BooksGoDirect is currently a weekly newsletter that will eventually evolve into a daily send to readers The concern related to what happens with your writing when you spent so much time focusing on a tool that's helpful to writers Advice Amanda would offer to authors interested in learning more about selling direct And more . . . After the interview Mark reflects on authors who see a gap in the market or a hole that needs to be filled and, instead of sitting back, they step up and do something about it. He also reflects on a few other things that he can't remember as he's typing up these show notes. But that happens sometimes. He can't even remember what he had for breakfast earlier today. (Does anyone even read these shownotes anyway?) Links of Interest: Amanda Byrd BooksGoDirect.com IndieAudioBookDeals.com ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) EP 347 - Library Advocacy Support with John Chrastka of EveryLibrary Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries Smashwords Link  (eBook 57% Off until end of Feb 2024) The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Amanda Byrd is obsessed with fictional serial killers. From Patrick Bateman to Dr. Hannibal Lecter to Dexter Morgan and every butcher in between, Amanda loves figuring out what drives fiction’s deadliest monsters. When she’s not busy writing, Amanda can be found reading, playing video games, or watching shows and movies like Mindhunter, Hannibal, and Dexter. She lives in Florida with her bloodthirsty, flesh-eating cat. BooksGoDirect is a new paid promo (think Free/Bargainbooksy or BookBub) for authors and their direct stores to reach readers who want/enjoy buying direct. Retailer links are not allowed and affiliate marketing is nonexistent. I put out all costs up-front and use the fees from authors for advertising/cost recoup (does this part matter so much? I wonder now that I put that in here lol) Readers never pay to sign up. Currently there are 6 available genres and 3 spots per genre that send out once weekly (with a resend to non-openers later in the week.) There's also a page on BooksGoDirect.com where This Week's Books can be found.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0  
44:33 2/22/24
EP 347 - Library Advocacy Support with John Chrastka of EveryLibrary
Mark interviews John Chrastka, the executive director of EveryLibrary, the first nationwide political action committee for libraries, and the EveryLibrary Institute, a nonprofit research and training organization focused on the future of library funding.  Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, reads comments from recent episodes, and says a word about this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries and Bookstores. You can get the book online, order it through your local bookstore, or ask for it as your local library. Universal Book Link Smashwords Link (Coupon Discount for Feb/March 2024) In the interview, Mark and John talk about: John starting off his career in publishing as a bookseller in a small neighborhood Chicago community bookstore, and how that led to becoming a publishing sales rep Migrating over to the Ed-Tech realm as the internet came around Moving on over to The American Library Association from there What EveryLibrary is: a 501(c)(4) organization that is a political action committee for libraries How it's more of a network than a membership that is about 330,000 people strong Telling stories about how libraries are solutions to problems for people and librarians as enactors of those solutions In about 37 states, public libraries actually have to go to election days to get their funding secured The four different ways that voters stratify: Believers - People who love the library and have a relationship with their library (25%) Questioners Suspicious Voters Never Gonna Vote for you Never (22 to 25%) The answer for people who question the value of a local library because they "don't do books" How the library as a source for reading grew from 19% to 24% during the pandemic and the way that percentage is continue to hold in 2024 The way that the isolating of society is not just a library issue but a public health issue The popularity of book banning in the United States in recent years and the fact that it's easier to censor a book than it is to attack a person or a population How this censorship and book banning isn't merely a matter of freedom of speech issue, but a matter of human rights The pernicious nature of using the term "obscenity" and "obscene" to criminalize particular pupulations and to help skirt around First Amendment rights How libraries are an affordable way to put tax dollars to good use in the way they provide so much to their local communities The multiple pathways they have to help people move from "aware" to "active" And more . . . After the interview Mark reflects on how books are being banned and censored as an underhanded way to strike at specific demographics and populations, and the value in focusing on the "Suspicious Voters" as a brilliant strategy. Links of Interest: EveryLibrary fightforthefirst.org Canadian Federation of Library Associations Canadian Library Association Ontario Library Association Canadian Urban Libraries Council Superstars Writing Seminars Author, Author (Indie Bookseller - Laura Hayden) EP 167 - Author, Author, Give Me The News: Bookseller Insights with Laura Hayden Fantasy Island (TV Show) An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries Smashwords Link (eBook 57% Off until end of Feb 2024) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds Superstars Writing Seminars How to Write a Howling Good Story Smashwords link Patron Coupon for 75% off The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   John Chrastka is the executive director of EveryLibrary, the first nationwide political action committee for libraries, and the EveryLibrary Institute, a nonprofit research and training organization focused on the future of library funding. Since 2012, EveryLibrary has helped 133 library communities with ballot measures for funding, operations and buildings, winning over 80% and securing over $2.8 billion in funding on Election Days. Through its digital platforms, EveryLibrary provides advocacy support to state library associations for legislative issues and direct actions in support of school library program budgets. The EveryLibrary Institute supports the library funding ecosystem through its research, training, publishing, and programmatic agendas. Mr. Chrastka is the co-author of Winning Elections and Influencing Politicians for Library Funding and Before the Ballot: Building Political Support for Library Funding with Patrick “PC” Sweeney (ALA / Neal Schuman). He has contributed chapters to Planning our future libraries: Blueprints for 2025 (2014), and Re-envisioning the MLS: Perspectives on the Future of Library and Information Science Education (2018). In 2015, he delivered the McKusker Memorial Lecture, “The Accidental Candidate: Updating Voter Nostalgia about Librarians and Libraries on the Campaign Trail” for Dominican University and has written for numerous trade publications and journals, including Library Journal and Library Quarterly. In 2018 he delivered the keynote “Advocacy and Activism” for CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, in Brighton, England, and in 2020 he was invited by EKZ Group in Hamburg, Germany to present a colloquy on advocacy for their members and the profession. He is a frequent keynoter and speaker at state and national library conferences in the United States and abroad, is a sought-after trainer for state libraries, and is a regular guest lecturer for MLS / MLIS programs where he speaks on the topic of "political literacy". Prior to his work on EveryLibrary, Mr. Chrastka was a partner in AssociaDirect, a Chicago-based consultancy focused on supporting associations in membership recruitment, conference, and governance activities. He was Director for Membership Development at the American Library Association (ALA), was a principal in the education technology start-up ClassMap, and was the founder of the virtual publishers’ sales rep group ReviewCopy, which focused on textbook adoption in the higher education market. In 2014 he was named a Mover & Shaker by Library Journal for his work with EveryLibrary. He was recognized by the Chicago Tribune in 2022 as a Chicagoan of the Year and by Publishers Weekly in 2023 as a Notable for his work opposing book bans and censorship.     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
56:27 2/16/24
EP 346 - 4 More Publishing Pitfalls for Authors
A solo episode where Mark shares an excerpt from four elements from his book PUBLISHING PITFALLS FOR AUTHORS. PAST PATRIARCHY PAUSE PAYING   The main content (those four points) are read by Mark's AI voice via Eleven Labs.   Links of Interest: EP 246 - Four of The Pitfalls of Publishing An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries Smashwords Link (eBook 57% Off until end of Feb 2024) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds Superstars Writing Seminars How to Write a Howling Good Story Smashwords link Patron Coupon for 75% off The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
28:05 2/9/24
EP 345 - The Art of Libromancy with Josh Cook
Mark interviews Josh Cook, Josh Cook, an author, bookseller and the co-owner at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he has worked since 2004 about his writing, his book The Art of Libromancy and his life as a reader and writer. Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from recent episodes, welcomes new patron Jennifer Brinn, thanks Buy Mark a Coffee patron Nikki Guerlain, shares a personal update, and a word about this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by the books The Art of Libromancy and An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries and Bookstores. Ask for these books via your local indie-owned bookstore or via your local community library. In the interview, Mark and Josh talk about: Josh's earliest days really getting into reading and how he had wanted to be a writer since about the age of 16 After post-secondary education, landing in Boston and deciding that working in a bookstore would be a good place for a writer to work Discovering the "coming soon" and "help wanted" sign on a neighborhood bookstore: Porter Square Books Continuing to build a freelance writing career, crafting articles, reviews, fiction, and poetry Getting his first manuscript into the hands of a publisher that he knew well from his role in bookselling, which was the novel AN EXAGGERATED MURDER The path, via roles such as Online Presence Manager (website and social media) and Marketing Director that led to eventually becoming a co-owner of Porter Square Books The challenge of the most qualified people to take over owning and running a bookstore, the booksellers, often don't have the necessary money, funding, and resources to do so The model that has become a bit more common recently that enables employees the option of becoming a vested co-owner or interest sharing participant in a bookstore The genesis of the book THE ART OF LIBROMANCY The major reckoning that many people had in 2016 when Donald Trump got elected at trying to understand their place in a world that would allow something like that to happen The concept of how the book industry (publishing, bookselling) would continue to empower and legitimize the voices of misogyny, white supremacy, other bigoted ideas How it all clicked after Josh had participated in a virtual event with Biblioasis author Jorge Carrion for the book AGAINST AMAZON AND OTHER ESSAYS Pitching the book to Biblioasis and how the existing relationship and in-depth knowledge Josh had of their publishing house (and their editor's knowledge of Josh himself) led to an instant acceptance of his book proposal The importance of relationships and recommendations from people that you already know, like, and trust - and how that plays a significant role in book projects Elements of human curation that can happen in person within a community, particularly as something that Amazon can't do The idea of a bookstore as a "third place" that is neither home nor work where someone can go and be a human being with other human beings A few of the challenges, both expected and unexpected, that happened when Porter Square Books had to adapt into an online and curb-side order facility during the pandemic How the learned skills of booksellers being able to absorb information and insights about books from publishers, colleagues, and customers, even if they haven't read them, is such an important aspect of a bookseller's role ARCs (Advance Review Copies) as one of the primary ways Josh has of knowing what is on the way Christopher Morley's THE HAUNTED BOOKSHOP and the Melville House edition that Josh first discovered which is a love letter to the art of bookselling How books are great ways to be safely uncomfortable The paradox of tolerance, as expressed by Karl Popper in THE OPEN SOCIETY AND ITS ENEMIES: If you tolerate the intolerable, your space will eventually become intolerant A bookseller's role within that paradox of allowing tolerance for voices that seek fresh voices, but prevent those voices whose mandate is to shut-down or not allow diverse voices the ability to be expressed Josh's perspective of how publishers, authors, bookstores and others within the industry involved in this process are all teammates working together to get books to readers Strategies authors can use to establish genuine relationships with their local community bookstores And more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on walking away from fascinating conversations with a list of books to read, some of the parallels between Josh's journey into bookselling and his own, and how the employee-to-owner situation also parallels the change-of-ownerships of Words Worth Books, a local indie bookstore in Waterloo that Mark adores.   Links of Interest: Josh Cook on Social Media: BlueSky Social Instagram The Art of Libromancy (Biblioasis) An Exaggerated Murder Porter Square Books (Cambridge and Boston) Words Worth Books (Waterloo, ON) Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad An Author's Guide to Working With Bookstores and Libraries Smashwords Link (eBook 57% Off until end of Feb 2024) Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds Superstars Writing Seminars How to Write a Howling Good Story Smashwords link Patron Coupon for 75% off The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Josh Cook is a bookseller and co-owner at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he has worked since 2004. He is also author of the critically acclaimed postmodern detective novel An Exaggerated Murder and his fiction, criticism, and poetry have appeared in numerous leading literary publications. He grew up in Lewiston, Maine and lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
73:42 2/2/24
EP 344 - Eric T. Knight on Fair Pay with StoryFair
Mark interviews author Eric T. Knight about his writing and about the origin of StoryFair. net a platform that seeks to pay authors the highest royalty of any other third party platform for their audiobook sales. Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from recent episodes, welcomes new patron Rob Johnson, and shares a word about this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by ScribeCount (affiliate link). Spend less time logging in to multiple platforms and crunching numbers, and more time writing and marketing your books thanks to ScribeCount's handy all-in-one interface. In the interview, Mark and Eric talk about: Eric's youth being way off the grid and in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do, which made reading an important aspect How reading became a gateway for access and connection to the rest of the world Understanding that if he were to keep working at it, that he really could make it in writing some day The long and arduous road of submissions of writing to publishers, finding an agent, and pursuing traditional publishing The fantasy series that Erik had worked on starting back in the 80s Deciding to put one of his fantasy novels up on Kindle just for fun and how that led to a colleague's wife discovering the book and loving it Eric's mindset not changing until the year he decided to submit to a total of 50 agents The power of being able to write the series exactly the way he wanted to A bit about The Chaos Legacy universe and the various different linked series that take place within those books The experience of getting his books into audio and beginning to understand some of the barriers that existed within that realm for authors Beta launching StoryFair in the summer of 2023 and then making the site live in November 2023 How the payment to authors process at StoryFair works Plans for an affiliate program for authors to send readers to this platform The challenge of having to scale up their infrastructure so early in the process due to huge interest from some major players How the StoryFair app is currently only available in the United States (at least for now until some of the legal stuff can be sorted out) How to set up an account, load your book, and when the monthly payments to authors come in The way that a good narrator can bring characters and stories to life in ways that you might not be able to imagine And more... After the interview Mark reflects on that pioneering indie author spirit that leads to providing the market with elements that were previously missing but needed, as well as the value that a library brings to a community. Links of Interest: StoryFair.net EricTKnight.com Eric's books at Amazon ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) The Author Wheel Podcast - Season 5 Episode 3 - Overcoming Self-Doubt and Mastering Book Marketing with Mark Leslie Lefebvre Feisty Familiars Anthology Draft2Digital Self-Publishing Insiders with Jeaniene Frost (Jan 25, 2024) Matty Dalrymple (Episode Links) EP 116 - Taking the Short Tack EP 216 - Podcasting for Authors EP 236 - Reflective Round Table Feb 2022 EP 245 - Reflective Round Table March 2022 EP 258 - Reflective Hangout Highights - June 2022 EP 300 - Celebrating 300 Episodes with Guest Reflections Episode that mentions license plate and skeleton thief: EP 330 - Book Indexing Made Simple with Stephen Ullstrum How to Write a Howling Good Story Smashwords link Patron Coupon for 75% off Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds Best Book Ever Podcast Lovers Moon Podcast The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Eric T. Knight grew up on a working cattle ranch in the desert thirty miles from Wickenburg, Arizona, which at that time was exactly the middle of nowhere. Work, cactus and heat were plentiful, forms of recreation were not. The TV got two channels when it wanted to, and only in the evening after someone hand cranked the balky diesel generator to life. All of which meant that his primary form of escape was reading. At 18 he escaped to Tucson where he attended the University of Arizona. A number of fruitless attempts at productive majors followed, none of which stuck. Discovering he liked writing, the author tried journalism two separate times, but had to drop it when he realized that he had no intention of conducting interviews with actual people but preferred simply making them up. StoryFair is a platform with a mission: Put an end to author exploitation in the audiobook industry There’s a problem in the audiobook business. A MAJOR problem. Did you know that when you purchase an audiobook on Audible, Amazon keeps as much as 75% of the cover price of the book? The average price of a major publisher/new release audiobook is in the $24 range. That means Amazon keeps at least $18.00… after fees, it’s actually a little bit more. That leaves very little for the publisher, authors, and narrators to divvy up, and ultimately, it means that readers are by and large paying exorbitant audiobook prices to do one thing above all else… pad Amazon’s pockets.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
56:46 1/26/24
EP 343 - Self-Publishing Lesbian Fiction (or Something Equally Non-Threatening) with Elizabeth Andre
Mark interviews Elizabeth Andre (AKA Karen and Victoria) about her/their journey through writing, collaboration, and the new book SELF-PUBLISHING LESBIAN FICTION. Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from recent episodes and shares a word about this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by ScribeCount (affiliate link). Spend less time logging in to multiple platforms and crunching numbers, and more time writing and marketing your books thanks to ScribeCount's handy all-in-one interface. In their conversation, Karen, Victoria, and Mark talk about: The background of how Karen and Victoria got started as writers, and then about how they met and why they started writing together Karen's earliest memories coming up with playtime stories with her younger brother that took on a "soap opera" and "serialized" format The concept of how to earn money that came down to one of two things: Sell drugs, or write porn Researching the writing of gay male porn by getting magazines and reading through them Coming up with numerous ephamisms for the male sex organ appendage How Victoria comes from a long list of writers, including her father and how she wanted to be anything BUT a writer The two of them each discovering the joy and the magical allure that is journalism Being one of the many writers who was "Sherry Lovelace" for the UK edition of Penthouse Magazine Meeting at a Gay Journalist Convention and clicking, but not really having that much in common Discovering that, despite the "common wisdom" from traditional publishing, money could be made from writing lesbian fiction. That shift, of course, came from the rise of self-publishing Who the readers of gay male fiction and lesbian fiction are The origin of the pen name Elizabeth Andre Some of the logistics of how the two write together Who the book Self-Publishing Lesbian Fiction is for, with an analogy of an off-the-rack suit and a tailored suit The tally of the $35 and $45 dollars owed from various publishers and platforms The term and use of "Sapphic Fiction" and how it is more inclusive of lesbian, bi-sexual, trans, and non-binary Some of the barriers that arise when writing lesbian fiction How self-publishing can overcome so many of the barriers within traditional publishing And more...   After the interview, Mark reflects on a couple of topics brought up, specifically "serialized playtime stories" and the "tailored" work of writers.   Links of Interest: https://www.tiktok.com/@elizabethandrelesfic https://www.instagram.com/elizabethandreauthor/ https://www.facebook.com/elizabethandreauthor https://twitter.com/Elizalesbian https://substack.com/@elizabethandre ScribeCount (Mark's Affiliate Link) How to Write a Howling Good Story Smashwords link Patron Coupon for 75% off EP 290 - Thanks for the Inspiration, Jim Turcott Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections How to Access Patreon RSS Feeds Best Book Ever Podcast Lovers Moon Podcast The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Elizabeth Andre has been self-publishing lesbian fiction since 2014. She writes cozy paranormal mystery, lesbian romance, science fiction, and young adult stories. Before turning her hand to fiction, she was a newspaper reporter for many years, and she has the paper cuts to prove it. She has won many writing awards including a Goldie from the Golden Crown Literary Society for fiction and a Peter Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club for journalism. Elizabeth Andre is actually two people, a married interracial same-sex couple (Karen and Victoria) living in the Midwest.   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
56:17 1/19/24
EP 342 - Publishing Trend Reflections for 2024
In this special bonus solo episode, Mark shares some reflections about recent publishing trends. Prior to the main content, Mark welcomes new patron Donn King, and shares a word about this episode's sponsor, the patrons of the Stark Reflections Podcast. Links of Interest: Written Word Media Publishing Trends Posts 2024 2023 2022 2020 How to Write a Howling Good Story Smashwords link Patron Coupon for 75% off EP 340 - Personality, Passion, Presentation, and Persistence with Todd Fahnestock EP 011 - The Power of Free With Musician and Composer Kevin MacLeod Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections Best Book Ever Podcast Lovers Moon Podcast The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
25:37 1/16/24
EP 341 - Howling It Forward With Wulf Moon
Mark interviews bestselling writer, editor, and writing instructor, Wulf Moon, who won the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards at the age of fifteen, and followed that with winning the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Contest, and Writers of the Future. He leads the Wulf Pack Writers group and is the author of The Illustrated Super Secrets of Writing and How to Write a Howling Good Story.  Prior to the interview, Mark reads comments from previous episodes, shares a personal update, and then says a word about this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by the Stark Publishing book How to Write a Howling Good Story by Wulf Moon. The book is 25% off at the Smashwords store until the end of Jan 2024. Patrons of the Stark Reflections Podcast can get the book for 75% off until the end of Feb 2024. In their conversation Mark and Moon talk about: How Wulf Moon might not have been the name that he was born with and how the name "Moon" which he has been called most of his life came from his Ojibwe grandmother Moonbeam Road, a local road his father named after him when he was growing up Not having a father who was supportive of his writing, and even having to run away from home when he was younger Finding an important positive voice as a youngster in a teacher The additional lengths this one teacher went to support and encourage Moon in his writing Winning the Scholastic Art and Writing Award at the age of 15, among so many other awards that this teacher helped him find Getting beat up so often in high school that the only thing he could do was look down as he walked in the hallways - but how he found his power in writing The importance of finding a way to be who you are and to not allow others to repress you from that Starting up Wulf Moon's Super Secrets Writing Workshop right after winning Writers of the Future - and offering all this support to other writers for free The repeated authors who have gone through Moon's teachings and then ended up winning Writers of the Future The Wulf Pack Writers group that Moon manages Following the concept of "how can I help you with what I know" How writers don't understand proper Manuscript Format The high ranking sales that HOW TO WRITE A HOWLING GOOD STORY has hit since its release in November 2023 Moon's concept of Heart's Desire as the most important principle in a story Caring that happens in the heart of the reader, which can create the Reader/Hero bond Getting to a point in his life that was so low that he took risks and was burning bridges behind him and not writing for 10 years Realizing that he couldn't be happy and couldn't be fulfilled not being a writer Moon's experience meeting Dean Wesley Smith at the Nebula Awards in Eugene Oregon The importance of having both the fundamenals of writing and the belief in yourself The mantra "belief determins reality" that Moon instructs his students to write down The dedication in Moon's HOW TO WRITE A HOWLING GOOD STORY Meeting other people "like me" at writer conferences, etc and the incredible value that can bring Advice Moon would offer to newer writers And more... After the interview, Mark reflects on the importance of not denying who you are and not denying the things that bring you pleasure. He also reflects on the concept of finding your people, your Tribe, and the positive impact we can have on one another if we just take the time to listen, to reach out, to others.   Links of Interest: Wulf Moon's Website How to Write a Howling Good Story Smashwords link Patron Coupon for 75% off EP 340 - Personality, Passion, Presentation, and Persistence with Todd Fahnestock Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections Best Book Ever Podcast Lovers Moon Podcast The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Wulf Moon is a bestselling writer, editor, and writing instructor. At fifteen, Moon won the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and followed that with winning the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Contest, and Writers of the Future. He leads the Wulf Pack Writers group. He’s won both Best Author and Best Writers Workshop four years running in the Critters Readers’ Choice Awards, and is the author of The Illustrated Super Secrets of Writing and How to Write a Howling Good Story. www.thesupersecrets.com     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
63:03 1/12/24
EP 340 - Personality, Passion, Presentation, and Persistence with Todd Fahnestock
Mark interviews award-winning, #1 bestselling fantasy author Todd Fahnestock about his journey through both traditional publishing and indie-publishing, focusing on the moments for learning, growth, and applying passion and persistence. Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, a personal update, and a word about this episode's sponsor. Check out the WIDE FOR THE WIN community and resources. In their conversation, Mark and Todd talk about: Todd's first venture into writing back when he was 17 and in senior high school through a year-long IS (Independent Study) program Thoughts about how it has only been the past six years or so where Todd has really taken his writing seriously, and how things might have been different if he'd done that back in 2003 when signing his first traditional publishing contract How Todd had two big traditional publishing deals that turned into fantastic proven failures but how he attributes those flops into future successes The Heartstone Trilogy that was first published with big fanfare in 2003 from Harper Collins Parting amicably from being represented by Donald Maas  Selling The Wishing World to Tom Dohorty of Tor Books being one of the highlights of Todd's career Todd's pitch to the publisher that included being able to travel to 50 schools in order to promote this middle grade trilogy Managing to hit a Colorado best-seller list by visiting 52 different schools in the state of Colorado in the promotion of this book The concept that "success is the diploma, but failure is the classroom" How subjective many of the measurements and opportunities in publishing can be What isn't random is that readers that love what you do love what you do The various layers that writers need to break-through in terms of getting a book published The idea of thinking that just making a great product is our job as a writer, but recognizing that it isn't just a product - it's an entire experience The opportunity that authors have to make their product synonymous with their "personality" and "presentation" Going full-time as a writer in 2017 and hearing about the 20Booksto50K wave of rapid-release author success, but not being able to get on that wave The sad reality of earning $1400 in that first year, when his plans were to earn $25,000 in that first 12 months How Todd's incredibly supportive wife said something to him when he was haunted by the demons of this failed plan that helped turn things around for him The experience of changing his attitude when it came to being stuck at a table with other Christmas craft vendors and making the best of it How it is a ton of work, but the joy of knowing that it's something that is in his hands More than 90% of Todd's sales being from in person bookselling rather than online sales  due to leveraging his persona as a storyteller Todd's experience in 2021 of getting a double booth at Salt Lake City Comic Con Hitting $5000 in sales at 3 different cons in 2023 The approach of always talking about BOOK ONE by default when doing his sales pitch at the table A bit of a background on The Eldros Legacy The pitch Todd uses for The Eldros Legacy The "ten more pumps" water pump analogy from Jim Butcher Advice Todd would offer to other writers And more . . . After the interview, Mark reflects on a few specific points that came up in the conversation.   Links of Interest: Todd Fahnestock Website Eldros Legacy Episode 339 - Romancing The Writing Life With Bobby Hutchinson Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections Best Book Ever Podcast Lovers Moon Podcast The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Todd Fahnestock is an award-winning, #1 bestselling author of fantasy for all ages and winner of the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age Award. He is a founder of Eldros Legacy—a multi-author, shared-world epic fantasy series—two-time winner of the Colorado Authors League Award for Writing Excellence, and four-time finalist for the Colorado Book Award for Tower of the Four: The Champions Academy (2021), Khyven the Unkillable (2022), Lorelle of the Dark (2023), and Tower of the Four: The Dragon’s War (2023). His passions are great stories and his quirky, fun-loving family. Visit Todd at toddfahnestock.com.     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
72:33 1/5/24
EP 339 - Romancing the Writing Life with Bobby Hutchinson
In this episode Mark interviews bestselling author Bobby Hutchinson about her unique journey through traditional publishing and self-publishing. Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, a personal update, welcomes new Patron Skye MacKinnon and a word about this episode's sponsor. This episode is sponsored by patrons of the Stark Reflections Podcast. Learn more at:  https://www.patreon.com/starkreflections In their conversation, Mark and Bobby talk about: What prompted Bobby to start writing in 1980 at the age of 40 Leveraging her training for the Vancouver Marathon in order to use that time in her head to decide what to do Her experience winning a Chatelaine short story writing contest Researching which books were selling by purchasing and reading 100 Harlequin novels before sending her first manuscript in which sold right away Selling 17 more of her books after those first two Signing with a New York agent who was recommended to her by her agent Writing and selling 40 more novels to Harlequin, and realizing that since she already had the relationship with them prior to signing with her agent, all her agent was doing for her was taking 10% of her cut of those sales Realizing that her agent was more interested in selling myself than selling Bobby's novels Giving up writing for a while to start a Bed and Breakfast in Vancouver - which led to a book she ended up writing called How Not to Run a B&B Hiring a vanity publisher prior to exploring the possibility of DIY self-publishing Getting the rights back to many of the novels she was written for Harlequin and self-publishing those books directly to Amazon The importance of writing the stories that she was super-involved in and passionate about writing "Going Wide" with her publishing through Smashwords in the beginning, but then being drawn into the world of Kindle Unlimited Accidentally getting screwed over by Amazon and having all of her books taken down from the platform because of a lone title that was still published in some obscure country Reading Mark's book WIDE FOR THE WIN about a year or so ago, at about the time her Amazon sales were starting to go down Bobby's recommendation to not take all your books down from KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited overnight Realizing that at an older age (Bobby is now 83), a person doesn't need nearly as much money as they used to The Public Lending Right registration (for Canadian authors) that Bobby has registered for The question, when re-publishing older books, on whether or not an author should update them to include more modern setting, such as adding cell phones, etc into them Being excited about Artificial Intelligence as a marvelous tool that authors can use How it's really hard to properly predict what is going to happen with a book when it is published The way that Harlequin was a fantastic training ground for Bobby Writing a book about living and traveling in a van (How Not to Vanagon) Discovering her love of camping and the new memoir (Me and Calamity Jane) Advice Bobby would offer to authors who want to get started The value of pretending to be a famous writer in whatever genre you're writing Why Bobby thinks that writing fast can make you a better writer And more . . .   After the interview Mark reflects on a few things that came up in the conversation with Bobby.   Links of Interest: Bobby Hutchinson's Website Episode 155 - Rebel Reflections with Guest Host Sacha Black Episode 336 - Coming Out of the Writer Closet with Bradley Charbonneau Episode 338 - An Amazing F*cking Pivot Into Sh*t-Tons of Money with James Fell Special Patron Coupon for getting Stark Publishing Solutions books for $0.99 Stark Publishing Solutions Books - 50% off in the Smashwords End of Year Sale Special Patron Only offer of $0.99 each for those books Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections Best Book Ever Podcast Lovers Moon Podcast The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard   Best-selling writer Bobby Hutchinson writes stories about almost everything, as long as everything involves romance, quirky people, outrageous kids, deafness, time travel, or medicine, most of which she's familiar with. (Well, maybe not time travel. But who knows?) She started writing by making up a short story while training for the Vancouver marathon and reading a book called How To Write Short Stories. She was celebrating being 50. Chatelaine magazine was having a contest for the best short fiction in Canada, and she won first prize, $5000 for a 5000-word story called "Pheidippides Was Not A Family Man." She then wrote a romance for Harlequin Superromance, sold it and went on to write about 60 more. With no real qualifications, she taught night school classes in Romance and Creativity at Okanagan College and a correspondence course at the University of Saskatchewan. Bored with writing only for Harlequin, she wrote three long romantic comedies and sold them to Dorchester Publishing. She also sold romantic time travel to Avon. In 2014, she began self-publishing, at first using a ridiculously expensive vanity service and then learning about Amazon. If there’s a mistake to be made in writing and publishing, Bobby has made it. She published wide with Smashwords, and when KU started, she withdrew her wide books and became exclusive, accidentally leaving one solitary book up in maybe Angola. Amazon took all her books down. A begging letter to Jeff Bezos got them reinstated. She should have stopped while she was ahead and gone wide again. A year ago, she came to her senses after reading Wide For The Win, took everything off of KU and began the tedious process of putting 50+ books up everywhere else. She lives alone in a funky little cottage in Cranbrook, B.C., a small city in the Canadian Rockies. In the summer, she hauls her very small travel trailer, Calamity Jane, to campgrounds. In the winter, she hibernates. She faints at the sight of blood, although her best-selling medical romance series, Emergency, does have the occasional scene involving bodily fluids. These days, she still writes mostly romance, with a few short stories and memoirs tossed in for fun. How Not To Run A B&B, a memoir set in Vancouver, was chosen by the Kootenay Library Association as Best Book of the Year, and is now being made into a film. Slowly. She lives in the land of possibility. And she's writing faster than ever because at 83, who knows when she'll head off to seek the Great Perhaps? She needs to finish that last book on the last day; as any writer knows, that deadline’s tricky!     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
60:32 12/28/23
EP 338 - An Amazing F*cking Pivot into Sh!t-Tons of Money with James Fell
Mark interviews James Fell, the Sweary Historian, and bestselling author of ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY SH!T WENT DOWN. Prior to the interview Mark warns listeners of the adult language used in this episode, reads comments from recent episodes, and shares a word about this episode's sponsor. Mark's Stark Publishing Solutions books are 50% off in the Smashwords End of Year Sale. (Ends at the end of day Dec 31, 2023). Patrons will be getting a special coupon to get the titles for only $0.99. Offer good until Jan 31, 2024. In the interview, Mark and James talk about: How James is an author who "can't make up his F-ing mind" Advice James was given regarding how hard it was to make it as a writer and that most science-fiction authors also had other jobs Starting off writing health and fitness articles and getting columns at the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune as well as a few magazines The idea of SERVICE vs PRODUCT income Having the delusions of grandeur that he might one day have one of those books that would "blow up" The initial Random House deal he got for one book, then, a few years later, a US deal from St Martins Press How the publishers were interested in James' own platform for helping to sell the book The way James was crestfallen with the sales results of his first two traditionally published books Beginning to start a public speaking career just as Covid-19 hit the world James' background in University studying history The bike-riding epiphany that first popped into his head (a la the way he describes it in his book THE HOLY SH!T MOMENT) and the daily story about Mae West that was extremely popular and led to an even bigger "holy shit moment!" Ensuring that he did not miss a single day in posting a well-researched and funny post for two years straight James hiring a good copyeditor and also hiring Mark to help with his distribution strategy The more than a million views of his column of articles How most of the sales came from free daily stories on Facebook - and not really any other PR James' Substack experience and how he was able to leverage that via paid subscription The book sales taking off way beyond his expectations How 90% of the sales of the two versions of ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY SH!T WENT DOWN have been in print rather than eBook Receiving a respectable offer from a good mid-sized publisher about 14 months after the first volume was available for sale His agent being able to leverage that offer to pitch the book to a number of larger publishers The proposal that James wrote for this that was in the voice he used in the book (instead of in the standard recommended proposal format) The unexpected bonus of the publisher who bought the rights allowing James to keep the existing books live for almost a full year before their version of the book came out How James' career took off when he stopped giving a shit about "what the market wanted" Hearing "the voice is a triumph" from his New York Publisher Editor before she then "ripped the shit out of it" The pull quotes that were mostly selected from the interior book designer The fact that James sold more than 52,000 print copies of the book in print when it was entirely self-published The special arrangement that James had (and still has) with Calgary Indie Bookstore Owl's Nest for the procurement of signed copies A powerful story about solidarity among writers The 3 Rules of Marketing for Authors And more . . . After the interview Mark reflects on the unique method by which James gave away two of his books entirely for free, but in an inventive "self-promotional" way that was blatantly salesy, but also provided incredible entertainment and value. Links of Interest: James Fell's Website Facebook Substack Episode 060 - The Holy Sh!t Moment with James Fell Episode 190 - The Episode Where Sh!t Went Down with James Fell, Sweary Historian Episode 316 - Free Your Inner Non-Fiction Writer with Johanna Rothman Episodes with Editors as Guests Episodes with or that mention Robert J. Sawyer Stark Publishing Solutions Books - 50% off in the Smashwords End of Year Sale Special Patron Only offer of $0.99 each for those books YouTube Video - Anatomy of an "Author Branding" Photo Mark's YouTube Channel Buy Mark a Coffee Patreon for Stark Reflections Best Book Ever Podcast Lovers Moon Podcast The Relaxed Author Buy eBook Direct Buy Audiobook Direct Publishing Pitfalls for Authors An Author's Guide to Working with Libraries & Bookstores Wide for the Win Mark's Canadian Werewolf Books This Time Around (Short Story) A Canadian Werewolf in New York Stowe Away (Novella) Fear and Longing in Los Angeles Fright Nights, Big City Lover's Moon Hex and the City The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf*cker: A Trivia Guide to Die Hard     My name is James Fell and I say “fuck” a lot. Historically, I didn’t write the word fuck that much, because the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, where I authored columns for several years, tend to frown upon such language. I also didn’t swear in my 1996 history master’s thesis, titled Rebellion and the Quest for Social Revolution in Latin America. In that academic work I did manage to get the message across that the CIA are fucking dicks without actually using the words “fucking dicks.” Anyway, in the spring of 2020, a year I refer to as a fucktacular shitnado of ass, I said what the fuck and began authoring a column titled “On This Day in History Shit Went Down.” To my immense pleasure and no small amount of surprise it’s proven quite popular, with several million readers each month. These columns were turned into two self-published volumes of the same name: On This Day in History Sh!t Went Down, and they sold so many copies that Bantam Books gave me an assload of money for the rights to republished them. The new and Big-Publishing-Company-improved version of Volume I is on sale now. You can read free samples of my sweary history stories on my Facebook, and you should also subscribe to my Substack. You can get a free subscription or a paid one. I like it when people subscribe to the paid one. I’m also on Twitter (blarf), and my TikTok channel is called Sweary Historian. In a previous life I wrote about fitness and motivation. The cool and science-based kind of fitness writing, not the bullshit and/or fat shaming sort. Find my earlier published books here.     The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0  
89:52 12/22/23