Episode 001 – New Year, New Reflections

Welcome to the first episode of the Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing Podcast.

If you have questions or topics you’d love me to cover, please feel free to comment or email me at or reach out to me on Twitter @MarkLeslie.

The start of a new year is always a time for reflection. It’s often a look back at the previous year and the goals accomplished during that period. And it usually also involves setting some goals or targets for the year ahead.

I have continued to do that each year. But if you’re like me, then perhaps you also fall prey to one of those other pesky little side effects of that can come when reflecting on your goals – you end up focusing ONLY on the things that you didn’t get to strike off your annual writing “to do” list.

We tend to always do that to ourselves. For example, I didn’t achieve three of the writing goals I had laid out in 2017. Let’s walk through all three so I can illustrate how I manage to make the most out of goals NOT fully achieved.

Those three goals were:

  1. Creating and launching a short story collection
  3. Publishing the audiobook version of A CANADIAN WEREWOLF IN NEW YORK

I didn’t get any of those three things done.

And I could focus on that – OR, I could applaud myself for coming close in achieving each of those tasks, or the work that I have been able to do on them. I walk through each of those and outline what I DID achieve in relation to those goals, demonstrating that while I didn’t hit my targets, I did end up further ahead in each one than when I started off the year.

I also share some information about how my audiobooks sold in 2017, including some unexpected income sources for those audiobooks.

Two main things that I try to illustrate in going through these examples are:

  • You don’t always fully achieve the goals you set out to, but sometimes you make progress, which is good; and other times you end up achieving other things in parallel that you didn’t originally plan. DON’T LOSE SIGHT of those achievements in the process of beating yourself up about the things you didn’t hit.
  • I shared my modest earnings because one of the things that frustrates me to no end is the fact that it seems only the authors earning 6 and 7 figure incomes are publicly sharing their earnings, leading to a significant amount of comparisonitis which can be a truly demoralizing experience.

I also discuss several intriguing collaborative elements of publishing that I have been following, and call out a few specific elements I have been following (Authors on a Train, BundleRabbit, and One More Story Games alog with my belief that there will be even more great collaboration opportunities on the horizon for writers.

Links of Interest:

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

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3 thoughts on “Episode 001 – New Year, New Reflections”

  1. Really encouraging episode, Mark! Thank you. I stumbled here at a perfect time (from Joanna), I’ve been driving myself nuts seeing all those 5+ figure authors who started only a couple of years ago and trying to work out how I could possibly get there as I’m not even close to breaking 3 figures, hah. So thank you for your honesty in where you’re at, and all the great suggestions in here.

    1. That’s exactly why I shared my own numbers, Dan. It can be greatly demoralizing when all you read about are the huge success stories. But I think that most writers, when looking at their own incomes, tend to think they are doing worse that the majority, when they are probably doing better than they initially thought. Glad to hear those reflections were helpful to you. And here’s hoping 2018 is a great year for your writing.

      1. Right back at you, Mark! Hope you have a great year of writing and podcast. I’m excited to see where this new step in your career/life takes you. And good luck with your half marathon! That’s an intense effort.

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