Your backstage pass to the world’s most prolific authors

JD Barker
Christine Daigle
Kevin Tumlinson
Jena Brown

What does it take to succeed as a writer? Join hosts J.D. Barker, Christine Daigle, Kevin Tumlinson and Jena Brown as they pull back the curtain and gain rare insight from the household names found on bookshelves worldwide.

Want to ask your favorite author a question? Click here!

A Pivot on Pursuing a Traditional Publishing Deal with J. Thorn

Although just beginning the process, the guys introduce a pivot on pursuing a traditional publishing deal. J.D. looked through THE LAST TOWER and realized that the manuscript could be improved, but not without significant work to get it to the point where agents and editors would pay attention. Faced with a difficult decision, J. decides to table the manuscript for now and head in a different direction.

Whether you’re traditionally published or indie, writing a good book is only the first step in becoming a successful author. The days of just turning a manuscript into your editor and walking away are gone. If you want to succeed in today’s publishing world, you need to understand every aspect of the business – editing, formatting, marketing, contracts. It all starts with a good book, then the real work begins.

Join international bestselling author J.D. Barker and indie powerhouse, J. Thorn, as they gain unique insight and valuable advice from the most prolific and accomplished authors in the business.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • Why THE LAST TOWER wasn’t J.’s best option at the moment
  • How passive voice and showing (vs. telling) can be problematic
  • Why you must start your story with a great hook that gets a reader’s attention
  • The ways in which J.D. has “broken the rules” in chapter 1
  • How Hugh Howey’s WOOL is the gold standard for grabbing a reader from the start
  • Why J. doesn’t fret over words
  • The problem with chasing trends when pursuing a traditional publishing deal
  • What New York editors are chasing at the moment
  • Why so many thrillers now have the word “girl” in the title
  • The importance of vetting book ideas with someone you trust
  • What the latest K-lytics’ report says about the horror genre
  • How J.D. keeps his story ideas organized
  • Why combining two story ideas might create something unique
  • Why J.D. starts a story with a plane crash (hypothetical, of course)


K-lytics – 

J. D. Barker –

J. Thorn –

Music by Nicorus – 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley –

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – and recorded at Mill Pond Studio –

Contact us –

*Full disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links.


  1. Kev Partner

    5 years ago  

    Great episode. Good on you for having the balls to change course. Also a fascinating conversation and brilliant point by JD about Wool which is one of my favourite sci-fi novels of recent years. I’m just re-reading the opening, paying attention to what JD is saying and marvelling at how Howie manages to weave so much world building while keeping me reading feverishly – and all because of the first sentence.
    Thanks so much for this new podcast series. Absolute gold-dust.

    1. J. Thorn

      5 years ago  

      Thanks, Kev. If I want to be a model for my students and authors I serve, I have to be willing to take my own medicine 😉

      Glad you’re finding value in the podcast.

  2. Stephen Schneider

    4 years ago  

    Love this, J. I love how you are handling the interviews and the discussion between you and JD. Look forward to more episodes.

    1. J. Thorn

      4 years ago  

      Thanks, Stephen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *