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Your backstage pass to the world’s most prolific authors

What does it take to succeed as a writer? Hosts J.D. Barker, J. Thorn, and Zach Bohannon 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!

Tess Gerritsen has spent decades refining her craft. From handwritten first drafts to listening to her characters, she follows the Muse on her creative journey. Tess wasn’t sure she’d write another Rizzoli & Isles book until she became excited about the possibilities of another installment in the hugely successful series. Whether it’s tending to her vegetable garden or her archive of handwritten manuscripts, Tess does so with care and creativity. Her characters are beloved worldwide, a testament to her enduring ability to master the craft of writing while being a keen observer of the world around her.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 146 – Following the Muse with NYT Bestseller Tess Gerritsen”

After decades of consistent, high-quality work, Christopher Golden continues to appreciate every day as a professional writer. From movie-tie ins to his own novels, Golden continues to do the work necessary to stay afloat in the business. Whether it’s Bram Stoker Award-winning novels, graphic novels, anthologies, or video games, he is a successful and prolific creative, by any standard.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 140 – Perseverance and Professionalism with NYT Bestseller Christopher Golden”

Q&A Episode – May 2022

In this monthly q & a session, the guys answer listener questions.

J.K. Rowling was nearly homeless when she wrote the first Harry Potter book. Stephen King penned CARRIE on a small desk wedged between a washer and dryer. James Patterson worked in advertising and famously wrote the Toys “R” Us theme song long before becoming an author. 

Join New York Times best-seller, J.D. Barker, and indie powerhouses J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon as they pull back the curtain on some of the world’s most prolific authors. Where did they start? What is their process? The biggest names in publishing all have origin stories, all have a process, all have tips and secrets… What does it take to consistently top the bestseller lists? Get your notepad out. School’s in session. This, is Writers, Ink.

Questions asked:

  • This is a difficult question – I’ve been pondering this for some time. I suspect you might be unable to answer this. There are a series of TV films starring Tom Selleck based on Robert B Parker novels called the Jesse Stone series. If you could use one word to describe the atmosphere in the films it would be melancholy. It’s mostly achieved by music photography and Tom Selleck’s slow drawl dialogue. How can one achieve this melancholy feeling in writing?
  • How do you reconcile multiple streams of income (in multiple author services) and the simplicity of offering ONE thing on your website for clients? I know that in order to build clientele, we need to focus our efforts, time, and attention (and maybe even marketing) on one service so as not to overwhelm the potential client with too many options. But, I receive (small amounts of) income from various author services I perform–editing, coaching, audiobook narration. How can I keep my website, newsletters, and “elevator pitches” simple enough and still allow clients to know what they can hire me to do? For instance, I thought of putting up my signature offer on a featured website page, and then list “other author services” with a link to a different page so it doesn’t clutter up the featured page.
  • If you could go back in time and change one decision you made in your writing career what would it be and why? If you wouldn’t change a thing…why not
  • I’m appreciating more and more the benefits of hybrid publishing through traditional and self. While I start my query process, I’m curious to best practices. How many agents should you submit queries to at one time? If you have two novels in different genres, should you submit both and see which one is picked up or focus on one? Also, where are the best places to meet agents? I write in the fantasy and superhero fiction genres. Where would I find agents that represent my genres? Does a personal meeting help the process of query acceptance?
  • Sounds like JD has “won” the treadmill that most authors hit in terms of making enough money to retire on without having to work with all his investments.  What keeps him writing?
  • I think Steven King said that 1 million words published is an achievement to make you a great writer. Do you think that number is correct? if not what is the number?  Or does it mean you need to have an editor and ensure you have deliberate practice in order for the million words to count?
Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 137 – Question and Answer Episode – May 2022”

Stephen King called Don Winslow, “one of America’s greatest storytellers,” and for good reason. For decades, Winslow has consistently produced international bestselling works. His newest release, “City on Fire,” is no exception. Don writes daily, sometimes reading poetry for inspiration. “City on Fire” is the first book of a new trilogy that will probably be Don’s last.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 135 – Poetry and Persistence with NYT Bestseller Don Winslow”

Gillian Flynn never expected GONE GIRL to become an international bestseller, or for the movie directed by David Fincher to become a Hollywood blockbuster. Instead of chasing trends or trying to anticipate the market, Flynn wrote the kind of story she wanted to read. It wasn’t supposed to work. And yet it did. Gillian writes with a cinematic flair, which translates well to adaptations. She fuels her passion for movies inherited from her father, and now passed along to her son. She’s going to need a bigger boat.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 127 – Lifelong Dedication and the Pursuit of Craft with #1 NYT Bestseller Gillian Flynn”

Book bans, terrorist plots, and topping the New York Times Bestseller lists. Brad Meltzer has seen it all. His newest book, “The Lightning Rod” explodes onto the page with thrilling action and complex characters, exactly what readers of the Zig and Nola Escape Artist series expect. Meltzer goes deep on his research, lending an unmistakable authenticity to his novels. In addition, Brad’s work for the History Channel has turned up artifacts believed to be lost forever. Get “The Lightning Rod” now from the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 126 – History, Thrillers, and the Secret Underground with #1 NYT Bestseller Brad Meltzer”

Special Episode: WOOL Update with NYT Bestseller Hugh Howey

Join returning guest Hugh Howey in this special episode as he shares an update on the WOOL adaptation from bestselling serial to streaming sensation.

Hugh is a NYT bestselling author who has published his work in over 40 countries and has won critical acclaim for his three serialized works: Wool, Silo, and Sand. For news on the Wool show, visit Hugh’s website using the link below.

From Amazon.com:

Hugh Howey is the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde saga and the New York Times and USA Today bestselling WOOL series. The WOOL OMNIBUS won Kindle Book Review’s 2012 Indie Book of the Year Award — it has been as high as #1 on Amazon — and 40 countries have picked up the work for translation. Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian are adapting the work for 20th Century Fox.

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 powerhouses, J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon, as they gain unique insight and valuable advice from the most prolific and accomplished authors in the business.

Links:

J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Zach Bohannon – https://zachbohannon.com/

Hugh Howey – https://hughhowey.com/

Story Rubric – http://storyrubric.com  

Nonfic Rubric – http://nonficrubric.com  

Proudly sponsored by Kobo Writing Life – https://kobowritinglife.com/

Music by Nicorus – https://cctrax.com/nicorus/dust-to-dust-ep 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com and recorded at Mill Pond Studio – http://www.millpondstudio.com

Contact – https://writersinkpodcast.com/dev/contact/ 

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

Necessary Sacrifices with #1 NY Times Bestseller, Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks has become one of the most prolific and successful authors of our generation. Beginning with The Notebook, Sparks has had multiple New York Times Bestsellers and countless film adaptations. He has generated legions of adoring fans who delight in his version of the modern love story, which he discusses in this bonus episode of Writers, Ink.

From Amazon.com:

Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 105 million copies sold worldwide, in more than 50 languages, including over 75 million copies in the United States alone.

Sparks wrote one of his best-known stories, The Notebook, over a period of six months at age 28. It was published in 1996 and he followed with the novels Message in a Bottle (1998), A Walk to Remember (1999), The Rescue (2000), A Bend in the Road (2001), Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian (2003), The Wedding (2003), True Believer (2005) and its sequel, At First Sight (2005), Dear John (2006), The Choice (2007), The Lucky One (2008), The Last Song (2009), Safe Haven (2010), The Best of Me (2011), The Longest Ride (2013), See Me (2015), Two by Two (2016), Every Breath (2018) and The Return (2020) as well as the 2004 non-fiction memoir Three Weeks With My Brother, co-written with his brother Micah. His twenty-second novel, The Wish, was published on September 28, 2021.

Film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels, including The Choice, The Longest Ride, The Best of Me, Safe Haven (on all of which he served as a producer), The Lucky One, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John and The Last Song, have had a cumulative worldwide gross of over three-quarters of a billion dollars. The Notebook is also being adapted into a musical, featuring music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson.

Sparks lives in North Carolina. He contributes to a variety of local and national charities, and is a major contributor to the Creative Writing Program (MFA) at the University of Notre Dame, where he provides scholarships, internships, and a fellowship annually. He co-founded The Epiphany School in New Bern, North Carolina in 2006. As a former full scholarship athlete (he still holds a track and field record at the University of Notre Dame) he also spent four years coaching track and field athletes at the local public high school. In 2009, the team he coached at New Bern High School set a World Junior Indoor Record in the 4×400 meter, in New York. The record still stands.

The Nicholas Sparks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to improving cultural and international understanding through global education experiences for students of all ages was launched in 2011. Between the foundation, and the personal gifts of the Sparks family, more than $15 million dollars have been distributed to deserving charities, scholarship programs, and projects. Because the Sparks family covers all operational expenses of the foundation, 100% of donations are devoted to programs.

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 powerhouses, J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon, as they gain unique insight and valuable advice from the most prolific and accomplished authors in the business.

Links:

J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Zach Bohannon – https://zachbohannon.com/

Nicholas Sparks – https://nicholassparks.com/

The Wish – https://books2read.com/u/mgEnLX

Story Rubric – http://storyrubric.com  

Nonfic Rubric – http://nonficrubric.com  

Proudly sponsored by Kobo Writing Life – https://kobowritinglife.com/

Music by Nicorus – https://cctrax.com/nicorus/dust-to-dust-ep 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com and recorded at Mill Pond Studio – http://www.millpondstudio.com

Contact – https://writersinkpodcast.com/dev/contact/ 

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

Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 54 – #audiblegate with Susan May

SPECIAL EPISODE: J.D. and J. are live with author Susan May to discuss #audiblegate, a breaking news story about the ongoing controversy surrounding Audible’s audio book return policy.

The Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/fairdealwithaudible

Susan May’s blog post – https://www.susanmaywriter.net/single-post/audiblegate-the-incredible-story-of-missing-sales

From the Authors Guild – https://www.authorsguild.org/industry-advocacy/sign-our-letter-and-tell-audible-to-stop-charging-authors-for-returns/

From the Alliance of Independent Authors – https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/media-releases/

Links:

J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Proudly sponsored by Kobo Writing Life – https://kobowritinglife.com/

Music by Nicorus – https://cctrax.com/nicorus/dust-to-dust-ep 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com and recorded at Mill Pond Studio – http://www.millpondstudio.com

Contact – https://writersinkpodcast.com/dev/contact/ 

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

Taking Advantage of Opportunity with Meg Gardiner

Meg Gardiner knows how to take advantage of opportunity. After reading Stephen King’s column in Entertainment Weekly, Meg saw her name in his recommendation and her career has soared since but not without hard work and strong writing. Gardiner’s newest book in the UNSUB series has been acquired by Amazon and she is attached as a producer. Her latest book in the series, The Dark Corners of the Night, is out now and it is the story that will be created for Amazon’s streaming service.

From Amazon.com:

Meg Gardiner is the author of fifteen thrillers. Her latest is The Dark Corners of the Night, the third novel in the UNSUB series featuring FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix. Stephen King says, “Don’t miss it. This is a great one.” It’s been bought by Amazon Studios for development as a television series. The first novel in the series, UNSUB, won the 2018 Barry Award for Best Thriller.

Meg was born in Oklahoma and raised in Santa Barbara, California. A graduate of Stanford Law School, she practiced law in Los Angeles and taught writing at the University of California Santa Barbara. She’s also a three-time Jeopardy! champion. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Meg is the author of the Evan Delaney series, the Jo Beckett novels, and several stand alones. China Lake won the 2009 Edgar award for Best Paperback Original. The Nightmare Thief won the 2012 Audie Award for Thriller/Suspense audiobook of the year. Phantom Instinct was one of O, the Oprah magazine’s “Best Books of Summer.”

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 persistence pays off
  • How to be ready when opportunity arises
  • Why there are many paths to publication

Links:

J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Meg Gardiner – http://meggardiner.com/ 

Dark Corners of the Night by Meg Gardiner – https://books2read.com/darkcorners 

Music by Nicorus – https://cctrax.com/nicorus/dust-to-dust-ep 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com and recorded at Mill Pond Studio – http://www.millpondstudio.com

Contact – https://writersinkpodcast.com/dev/contact/ 

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

Traditional and Independent Publishing with Hugh Howey

Few authors have had as much success in both the traditional and independent publishing world as Hugh Howey. Since the launch of WOOL, Howey is an innovator with a unique voice. He is a brilliant fiction writer who, with the help of his agent, has negotiated publishing deals that were previously thought impossible. Hugh lives on a 50-foot catamaran while he sails around the world and this interview comes to you from the shores of Tahiti.

From Amazon.com:

Hugh Howey is the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde saga and the New York Times and USA Today bestselling WOOL series. The WOOL OMNIBUS won Kindle Book Review’s 2012 Indie Book of the Year Award — it has been as high as #1 on Amazon — and 40 countries have picked up the work for translation. Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian are adapting the work for 20th Century Fox.

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 storytelling is meant to be a collaborative process
  • What it means to be at liberty with language
  • How an agent can have a tremendous impact on your career
  • Why self-publishing and traditional publishing can complement each other
  • The importance of self-publishing before pursuing the traditional path
  • Why you should ignore the stigma of being independent
  • Why experienced and accomplished writers need to help beginners

Links:

Hugh Howey – http://www.hughhowey.com/

J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Music by Nicorus – https://cctrax.com/nicorus/dust-to-dust-ep 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com and recorded at Mill Pond Studio – http://www.millpondstudio.com

Contact us – https://writersinkpodcast.com/dev/contact/

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

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)

Links:

K-lytics – http://k-lytics.com/ 

J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Music by Nicorus – https://cctrax.com/nicorus/dust-to-dust-ep 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com and recorded at Mill Pond Studio – http://www.millpondstudio.com

Contact us – https://writersinkpodcast.com/dev/contact/

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

Pursuing a Traditional Publishing Deal with J. Thorn

J. Thorn has published more than two million words of fiction and is an official member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, and the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. Thorn is a full-time writer, part-time professor at John Carroll University, co-owner of Molten Universe Media, podcaster, FM radio DJ, musician, and a certified Story Grid nerd.

In episode 2 of Writers, Ink, the tables are turned as J.D. interviews J. about his desire to secure a traditional publishing deal for his manuscript, THE LAST TOWER. J.D. drops knowledge bombs in this conversation which is sure to enlighten authors at any stage of their journey.

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:

  • The exciting, new, unplanned segment of Writers, Ink.
  • How J. became the show’s guinea pig
  • Why after 10 years as an indie, why J. wants to pursue a traditional deal
  • What J. did when he stopped getting rejections from agents
  • Why THE LAST TOWER is the manuscript J. wants to query
  • J.D.’s position on indie vs. traditional
  • How J.D. kept Barnes & Noble honest
  • When J.D. reads paper and when he reads on his Kindle
  • The leverage Hugh Howey used to get a traditional publishing deal
  • What J. did to prepare for Pitchfest at Thrillerfest
  • Things that turn agents off in the querying process
  • What Stepen King taught J.D. about point of view
  • Tools J.D. uses to improve his manuscripts

Links:

Manuscript formatting – https://www.scribophile.com/academy/how-to-format-a-novel-manuscript 

Autocrit – http://autocrit.com 

J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Music by Nicorus – https://cctrax.com/nicorus/dust-to-dust-ep 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com and recorded at Mill Pond Studio – http://www.millpondstudio.com

Contact us – https://writersinkpodcast.com/dev/contact/

Full disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links.

What it Takes to be an International Bestselling Author with J.D. Barker

J.D. Barker (Jonathan Dylan Barker) is an international bestselling American author whose work has been broadly described as suspense thrillers, often incorporating elements of horror, crime, mystery, science fiction, and the supernatural.

In episode 1 of Writers, Ink, J. interviews J.D. about what it takes to become an international bestselling author. The two writers discuss the pursuit of traditional publishing and how to become an independent author.

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:

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • How J.D. can write two different books at the same time
  • When J.D. writes his 3,000 words a day
  • Advice J.D. implemented from Dean Koontz and James Patterson
  • How writing with James Patterson has changed J.D.’s mind on outlines
  • What J.D. says to new writers he mentors
  • The only two books on writing J.D. uses on a regular basis
  • How J.D. helped Dacre Stoker turn the corner on Dracul
  • Why J.D. hired professional cover designers, editors, and proofreaders for his self-published books
  • Why J.D. talks to his agent, Kristin Nelson, as much as his wife
  • What traditional publishers can do that independents can’t
  • How J.D. approaches the business of writing
  • What J.D. still does day-to-day
  • What J.D. thinks is on the near horizon for the publishing industry

Links:

Nelson Literacy Agency – https://nelsonagency.com/

The Fourth Monkeyhttps://books2read.com/fourthmonkey 

Dracul https://books2read.com/draculnovel 

J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Music by Nicorus – https://cctrax.com/nicorus/dust-to-dust-ep 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com and recorded at Mill Pond Studio – http://www.millpondstudio.com

Contact us – https://writersinkpodcast.com/dev/contact/ 

A New Podcast for Writers

J.D. and J. met at Thrillerfest in New York City and developed an instant connection around the love of dark fiction, podcasting, introversion, and helping other authors navigate the business of writing.

Both Barker and Thorn have an extensive background in author education and mentoring, therefore a new podcast seemed like the perfect venture in which to join forces and help struggling writers become career authors.

Welcome to the show!

Links:

J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Music by Nicorus – https://cctrax.com/nicorus/dust-to-dust-ep 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com and recorded at Mill Pond Studio – http://www.millpondstudio.com

Contact us – https://writersinkpodcast.com/dev/contact/