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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Sep 23, 2021

Mark and Joanna Penn talk about collaborating on the writing and release of their co-authored book THE RELAXED AUTHOR: Take the Pressure Off Your Art and Enjoy the Creative Journey.

Prior to the main content, Mark shares comments from a recent episode, thanks Patrons and offers a few words about 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, Mark and Joanna talk about:

  • How pretty and beautifully designed the book turned out to be
  • Where the idea for this book came from and why they decided to write it
  • Knowing one another both personally and professionally for so long and the inherent trust and understanding they had getting into this project
  • How to determine that a potential opportunity is with the right partner
  • The contract that Joanna and Mark signed as part of this agreement/collaborative publishing
  • The logistics behind publishing the book under Curl Up Press, Joanna's imprint
  • How they divided up the responsibilities for the overall book project
  • Use of Draft2Digital's payment splitting for the eBook and the other ways the book is being published in different formats as well as available to purchase direct from Joanna
  • Their different approaches to outlining and writing a non-fiction book
  • How each chapter of the book includes both of Joanna and Mark's voice in answer to specific topic areas
  • The different tools that each of them enjoy using, such as Google spreadsheets, Dropbox, Scrivener, ScribeCount
  • Creating the original draft of the book in audio first via a series of conversations
  • Some of the challenges and frustrations of the re-writing and editing of the work in a collaborative manner that they encountered
  • The relaxed approach Joanna and Mark are both taking in the launch of the book
  • Why they both admitted to not always being relaxed as an important thing to include in the book
  • How the practices that Mark and Joanna talk about help prepare them for the long-term author journey
  • The way that the things they shared in this book aren't all that different than the things they've shared in their previous books for authors, but that the focus is "the relaxed author" so it's more of a concise and narrowed down focus on that topic
  • The inclusive way that their suggestions for being a relaxed author include "do X, or don't"
  • How an author's writing should be where they can turn to for solice and comfort, not for stress
  • And more...

After the conversation Mark reflects on just how lucky he is that he got to work on a collaborative project like this with Joanna. He then asks listeners to reflect on their own experience around being, or trying to be a relaxed author.


Links of Interest:


Joanna Penis an award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers under J.F.Penn and also writes non-fiction for authors. She's an award-winning creative entrepreneur and podcaster. You can learn more about Joanna at


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