Episode 71 – A Buffet of Writing Advice with Patricia McLinn

In this episode, Mark interviews USA Today bestselling author Patricia McLinn about her three decades of experience in writing and publishing and the more than 50 books she has published.

Just SOME of Patricia’s novels . . .

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a word from the episode’s sponsor, Findaway Voices . . .

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

In the personal update section Mark shares the following:

  • A reminder about the Public Lending Right (PLR) Program for Canadian authors (and authors from UK, AU, NZ)
  • An article he recently wrote for Hamilton Magazine (including a bit about the TV show The Hilarious House of Frightenstein)
  • An interview he did with the guys from the Phantom Faction Podcast in Harriston, Ontario in a haunted theatre
  • His forthcoming visit to Book Expo America in New York
  • An update on the prize offered for commenters on Episode 70
  • The deadline to comment on Episode 70 has been extended to the end of April
  • A new StoryBundle called the Write Stuff 2019 Spring Bundle that is available until early May. A steal for $5 for 4 books or 15 for all 12 books plus a $50 online lecture. Listeners will have a chance to win this bundle by commenting on this episode

In their chat, Mark and Patricia talk about:

The Write Stuff Spring 2019 Bundle
  • The original publishers Patricia worked with when she had a few different series traditionally published
  • How hearing a talk at NINC given by Chris Anderson (who coined the concept of “The Long Tail” in his book of the same name) inspired Patricia to take a fresh look at the publishing industry and to consider indie publishing opportunities
  • The “A Writer’s Work” website Patricia created in 2009 as “insurance” in case the publishing industry went a little bonkers
  • Getting the rights back for all of her previously released works (except for one German edition of a title)
  • CONTROL being one of the main differences between traditional publishing and indie or self-publishing
  • The difference in timeframes and how publishers will sometimes sit on a manuscript for a year
  • The reality of the “16 days” you had on the bookstore shelves with titles published in the Harlquin Silhouette imprint
  • What clauses and types of contracts would have to have for Patricia to consider signing one again

Of course, mid-way through the interview, Patricia turns the table and starts asking Mark questions. After a brief section of talking about things publishers do well, and things they don’t do so well, Mark realizes what Patricia has done (she is a great podcast host and asks great questions), and turns the tables back on her. They then talk about:

  • vWhat dried wallpaper paste has to do with helping Patricia make the move towards writing and publishing
  • The one letter Patricia got back from an editor earlier in her career that said: “It’s clear that you know nothing about the publishing industry” but which also praised her writing style and offered fantastic advice
  • The various elements of romance and mystery that Patricia likes to include in her writing
  • How Patricia feels that writing 3 to 5 books a year still isn’t enough to keep up with the characters and ideas floating through her mind
  • The reasons why Patricia started the Authors Love Readers Podcast and how she wanted to model over a simple conversation with a writer where readers could eavestrough
  • Patricia’s recent non-fiction book for writers called Survival Kit for Writers Who Don’t Write Right
  • How authors have approached Patricia with tears in their eyes after she delivered a presentation on this same topic because they thought they were the only ones who wrote in a more “pantsing” type of style
  • The reason why Patricia has the book for sale for 99 cents on her own website
  • Patricia’s number one piece of advice for writers – that writing advice is a buffet. You can try a bit of this, a bit of that, go back for seconds of something else. YOU control the buffet

After the interview Mark reflects on the concept of writing advice being a buffet that authors can selectively pick and choose from.

Links of Interest

USA Today bestselling author Patricia McLinn spent more than 20 years as an editor at the Washington Post after newspaper stints in Rockford, Ill., and Charlotte, N.C. She received BA and MSJ degrees from Northwestern University.

Now living in Northern Kentucky, McLinn loves to hear from readers through her website, Facebook and Twitter.

McLinn is the author of more than 47 published novels, which are cited by readers and reviewers for wit and vivid characterization. Her books include mysteries, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, historical romance and women’s fiction. They have topped bestseller lists and won numerous awards.

11 thoughts on “Episode 71 – A Buffet of Writing Advice with Patricia McLinn”

  1. My favorite writing book is Chris Fox’s Plot Gardening. I am still new to the journey but I re-read it every 6 months or so and pull something new or different from it.

    1. Thanks, Chad. I’ve added that to my “to read” list. (And added you in to the draw)

      1. Congrats, Chad. You’re a winner. Email me (mark AT markleslie DOT ca) so I can purchase a gift code to you via your email address.

  2. Excellent episode from both of your perspectives and I’ve also added a new podcast which I love about writing! Thanks! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Pranathi. And, just to be fun about the giveaway, you’re a winner, too. Email me (mark AT markleslie DOT ca) so I can purchase a gift code to you via your email address.

      1. Thanks Mark! But, please re-gift the prize to another deserving listener! I’m not big on ebooks and I already have a bunch of Dean WesleySmith courses to consume after I get through my nonfiction books production this summer…Thanks again for your generosity! 🙂

      2. Thanks, Pranath! Very generous of you! I suppose that means it’s open for another commenter! (Hurry – the bundle closes in 3 days) 🙂

  3. Great episode, Mark. I am really bad at reading books on writing and should read many more, however I am finding The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi useful at the moment as I edit by WIP so I will say that one at the moment.

    1. Thanks, Georgia. You’re a winner. Email me (mark AT markleslie DOT ca) so I can purchase a gift code to you via your email address.

  4. Great conversation, Mark! My favorite writing book at the moment is by Margaret Atwood: Negotiating with the Dead. But there are so many fantastic books out there, it’s hard to choose.

    1. You’re a winner. Email me (mark AT markleslie DOT ca) so I can purchase a gift code to you via your email address.

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