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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Mar 30, 2023

Mark interviews Jo Buer, a gothic suspense and literary fiction author from New Zealand who describes herself as a sucker for the supernatural, time travel, and all things woo-woo. 

Prior to the interview, Mark reminds listeners about sending THEIR reflections for forthcoming Episode 300, provides a personal update and shares a word about this episode's sponsor.


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


In their conversation, Mark and Jo talk about:

  • The many different ways that Jo is "bookish"
  • Being able to go back all the way to when she was five years old, and how Jo fell in love with her school's library
  • Writing about a gift she was given when she was six years old and the belief she had, even then, that her writing was stellar and would capture the attention and praise of her teacher
  • The devastation and determination that early experience left her with as an author
  • Publishing her first book, a collection of short stories in 2020
  • Finding herself in a really dark place with a significantly negative impact on her self esteem, and how that determined voice of herself at 6 years old kicked in
  • Being too hard on herself by trying to measure up to the productivity of a full time author while being a part-time author with another full time job
  • Jo's podcast Alchemy for Authors
  • Her role as a teacher and how that might tie back to her own experience having her enthusiasm squashed as a six year old
  • The challenge of hosting a podcast while being such an introverted person
  • How overthinking and looking for the "perfect" solution can often get in an author's way
  • Jo's experience working at Chapters and Indigo when she lived in Canada
  • One of the most heart-breaking and frustrating things about seeing how bookstores deal with mass market paperback returns
  • Her experience working in a library, including speaking to the various people who came in there
  • How, if you're an introvert, for example, you've sometimes got to "fake it"
  • Advice that Jo would give to her younger self
  • And more...

After the interview, Mark reflects on the "fake it" approach as well as Jo's advice about leveraging a photo of your younger self.

Links of Interest:


Joe Buer is a gothic suspense and literary fiction author living in New Zealand. She is a sucker for the supernatural, time travel, and all things woo-woo. From an early age she came to realize that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

She lives in an ordinary house in an ordinary town with her husband and feline familiars, Atlas, Gaia, Zeus, and Hades. When not doting on her cats, devouring self-help books or gorging on chocolate, she writes slightly dark, sometimes scary, often ghostly stories with a smattering of romance.

Jo is also the host of the Alchemy for Authors podcast - a podcast to transform and supercharge your writing life.


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