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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Dec 3, 2021

In this episode Mark interviews author Paulette Stout about her new novel Love, Only Better.

Prior to the main content, Mark shares a recent comment, a personal update, thanks new patron Jo-Ann Carson, and shares a word and update about this episode's sponsor.

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 Paulette talk about:

  • Why Paulette chose to fictionalize the taboo subject matter of the novel
  • How this novel can help some women realize that they're not alone in this experience
  • Taking a really difficult topic and making it a beach read
  • The importance of approaching a deeply personal and emotionally difficult topic with humor
  • The process of deciding to write this novel
  • Reaching out to agents with queries for this book
  • Learning about indie publishing and how it suited this book with what many publishers saw as a taboo topic
  • Scribbling at the alter of Joanna Penn
  • Writing a prequel as an author newsletter giveaway
  • Getting a BookBub Feature New Release on her first time asking for one
  • Using NetGalley and getting more than 300 downloads for the book while it was up for preorder
  • How initially positioning the book as romance rather than women's fiction resulted in a few mis-matches on reader expectations
  • Deciding to change a great cover for a different great cover based on those reader expectations
  • Paulette's desire to "up" the level of intimacy within women's fiction
  • Sales so far of the book in print and eBook
  • Segmenting her list into two groups: people who open and people who don't open her newsletters
  • Working on Book 2 for NaNoWriMo 2021 so she can get it to editors in December for a spring 2022 release
  • Advice Paulette would offer to beginning writers or writers who want to write a book about a more taboo topic
  • And more...

After the conversation Mark reflects on the business decision Paulette made to re-do her covers (see below) and also on how (and why) authors are so hard on and so down on themselves.

Links of Interest:


Paula Stout is the fearless author of Love, Only Better, a contemporary novel and bedroom rallying cry for women everywhere.

Born in Manhattan, Paulette is the gold-star wordsmith and owner of her content marketing agency, Media Goddess Inc., where she crafts content for her list of global clients. Prior to MGI, Paulette led content and design teams at several tech companies, and one educational publisher where her elimination of the Oxford comma caused a near riot.

Paulette’s prior career as a media buyer/planner in New York earned her three industry awards, including a MediaWeek All-Star.

She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Cornell University and her MBA in Marketing from the Lubin School of Business, Pace University.

You can usually find Paulette rearranging words into pleasing patterns while wearing grammar t-shirts.


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