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!

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


Manuscript formatting – 

Autocrit – 

J. D. Barker –

J. Thorn –

Music by Nicorus – 

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

Contact us –

Full disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links.


  1. Amy Tasukada

    5 years ago  

    I never heard of autocrit. Will have to start using it now. thanks!

  2. J. Thorn

    5 years ago  

    You’re welcome! Let us know what you think…

  3. Wallace

    5 years ago  

    Hi J, I’ve followed you’re other podcasts and thought give this one a try. You mentioned here or another podcast that you had a lot of work to do on on this manuscript based on JD’s feedback. My impression on this podcast was the feedback was a run through Autocrit. Is that right?
    You mentioned that JD was a hybrid author, but when I checked his five titles all appeared to be with traditional publishing houses. Does he publish under pen name independently?
    I’m a little confused by the discussion on passive voice. Are saying that “He had read the book yesterday” is passive voice?

    1. J. Thorn

      5 years ago  

      Thanks, Wallace!

      Autocrit was not the only feedback. J.D. and I had been working on the first chapter for several rounds. He also read other parts of the manuscript.

      J.D. self-published Forsaken. It’s in Kindle Unlimited if want to read it.

      And yes, the perfect past tense is technically passive voice.

      1. Wallace

        5 years ago  

        Thanks for clarifying the feedback, J.

        On Forsaken’s Amazon site, the book was published by Hampton Creek Press and on the publisher’s site, it states that they’ve been in business since ’71, so it wasn’t clear to me how he could’ve self-published it unless he’s much older than he appears.

        Well, technically perfect past tense means an action completed prior to another action. Passive voice occurs when you make the object of an action into the subject of a sentence. If you choose not to use perfect past for whatever reason, fine, but it’s not passive voice technically or otherwise.

        1. J. Thorn

          5 years ago  

          I’m not sure, Wallace. I’ll ask J.D. for clarification.

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