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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Jun 3, 2021

Mark interviews author Malorie Cooper about her writing and the "Help! I'm An Author" that Mal writes with her wife Jill Cooper.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update and a word from this episode's sponsor.

This episode is sponsored by Findaway Voices.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

In their conversation, Mal and Mark talk about:

  • How long it has been since they saw one another at a conference (November 2019), and how long it has been since in person writer gatherings
  • The fact that Malorie is an extrovert by nature and enjoys hanging out with other authors, whether in person (when possible) or via virtual hangouts
  • The daily five hour springs that Malorie hosts (23 minute springs and 7 minute breaks) which usually involves about 15 authors
  • The music playlist that Malorie has defaulted to most recently
  • The fact that your writing speed and process doesn't necessarily follow a linear path
  • How Malorie deals with continuity in different books/series
  • Tips for how to keep track of details when writing a long series - which includes NOT being too specific about many details, like eye color, etc.
  • What inspired Malorie and her wife Jill to start writing the HELP! books for writers
  • How Facebook ad procedures have changed over the years
  • Some of the other titles in the Help! I'm An Author series
  • The fact that Malorie was a CTO in a previous career and how that impacted the SEO involved in deciding the book titles
  • Multiple experiments Malorie did with various rapid-release models
  • Why consistency is far more important that a rapid release schedule
  • How Malorie works on different co-authored projects
  • The major burn-out and much needed break from writing back in 2019 that Malorie had to take
  • That one month (August 2018) where Malorie wrote 200,000 words despite taking a week-long vacation at Disney
  • How Malorie does her best work and fastest work at the last minute
  • Deciding to not release the Help! My Marketing Plan Sucks book at the beginning of the pandemic and how that ended up splitting off into multiple more specific platform marketing titles
  • How Malorie invests her time when attending a writer's conference
  • The video content that Mal and Jill are working on creating
  • And more...

After the interview Mark reflects on the powerful energy that Mal gives off, which he finds inspiring, as well as the mention of getting the best work done quickly and at the last minute.



Malorie Cooper likes to think of herself as a dreamer and a wanderer, yet her feet are firmly grounded in reality.

A twenty-year software development veteran, Malorie eventually climbed the ladder to the position of software architect and CTO, where she gained a wealth of experience managing complex systems and large groups of people. Her experiences there translated well into the realm of science fiction, and when her novels took off, she was primed and ready to make the jump into a career as a full-time author. Since then, she has sold nearly a million books. In addition to writing her bestselling science fiction series, she has written a book entitled “Help! My Facebook Ads Suck” and regularly presents on advertising and productivity at author conventions.

She shares her home with a brilliant young girl, her wonderful wife (who also writes), a cat that chirps at birds, a never-ending list of things she would like to build, and ideas…


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0