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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

May 30, 2019

In this episode Mark chats with New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch about writing with chronic health issues, contract negotiations with publishers, mistakes that authors are making, and so much more.

Prior to the interview, Mark does a little house-keeping regarding winners of Danny Bell's first novel from Episode 70, reads new comments, thanks Patrons who support the show, and talks about being in New York this week for Book Expo America.

Mark also shares a recent presentation that Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Kobo, presented to the BISG (Book Industry Study Group) in late April.

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 Kris and Mark talk about:

  • Kris's recent move and the discoveries made in relation to a book she recently released called WRITING WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS
  • How Kris's entire life has revolved around exercise and writing and that likely made a positive difference for her despite huge health challenges that she faced, and potentially is what might have kept her alive
  • The realization that Kris made only recently that she had never learned how to rest
  • The way she utilizes running and walking to benefit her writing
  • How Kris's training in radio automatically activates her "critical voice"
  • The rotating playlists Kris uses when running (often ones that have to have a really good beat)
  • The move from 5000 square feet (with offices across the house from one another) to 1600 square feet (and a shared office) and how Kris and her husband Dean manage their own unique writing spaces
  • The value for writers in understanding the way that different editors approach a piece of writing
  • Breaking down the myth that there's a single book (or story) out there that everyone will love
  • What "reader cookies" are and how they can play upon an editor's personal preferences
  • A look at "anti-reader cookies" - element or content in a story that an editor hates or will refuse to read
  • How Ray Bradbury practiced writing a short story a day
  • The concept of "writing into the dark" when creating your first draft and how that plays into the fact we have been consuming stories since we were pre-verbal
  • How, with so many tasks, deadlines and balls in the air, Kris decides what writing project to work on next
  • The importance of growing as a writer by writing about things that stretch or challenge her
  • How Kris's book DEALBREAKERS helped Mark negotiate a much better contract with his publisher
  • The choice of "walking" which writers always have when being presented with a publishing contract
  • The three big things that Kris sees that indie authors are not doing correctly: Following Trends, Burning Out and Neglecting their Personal Lives/Families/Health, Following the Scams (that promise seemingly impossible results)
  • The free content that Kris shares (both fiction and non-fiction) on her website on a regular basis, and the origin for both
  • The value of networking and personal connections made during in-person workshops (both the craft workshops as well as the business workshops)
  • The "no politics" and "no religion" rules that Kris and Dean operate within for their workshops (which allows writers to bond regardless of their political or religious biases


After the interview, Mark reflects upon one of the things Kris said regarding taking a workshop when it's in town as opposed to removing yourself from your regular schedule/life, and why the travel/removal of one's self from day to day life for such a learning/bonding experience can be valuable.


Links of Interest


Kristine Kathryn Rusch is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Kris writes in almost every genre and her novels have made bestseller lists around the world and her short fiction has appeared in more than twenty best of the year collections. She has won more than twenty-five awards for her fiction, including the Hugo, Le Prix Imaginales, the Asimov’s Readers Choice award, and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Choice Award.

Kris also has an extensive history in publishing and editing, having been the editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction as well as co-publishing the original Puuse Magazine with her husband, Dean Wesley Smith. The two now run WMG Publishing, which publish a revised version of Pulphouse, the Fiction River anthology series and many other projects, along with running publishing workshops both online and in person.