The Art & Business of Writing

Chris Jones teaches authors to think like publishers and promote like marketers. Each week, he highlights a different facet of the writing and self-publishing business. His goal: to equip authors and writers with the tools they need to get the recognition they deserve. Past guests have included Joanna Penn, John David Mann, Toby Neal, JV Crum III, Nathan Chan, and Mark Minard.
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The Art & Business of Writing






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Jul 30, 2021
John David Mann is an award-winning author whose books have sold more than 3 million copies in 3 dozen languages, including the bestselling classic THE GO-GIVER with Bob Burg, the New York Times bestselling memoir THE RED CIRCLE with former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb, and the New York Times bestselling parable THE LATTE FACTOR with personal finance legend David Bach. As a teenager, John started his own high school and was an award-winning composer and cellist before turning to careers as an entrepreneur and author. His book TAKE THE LEAD (with former White House staffer Betsy Myers) was named by Tom Peters and the Washington Post “Best Leadership Book of 2011.” His first novel, STEEL FEAR, will be released in August 2021; iconic author Lee Child has called it “sensationally good—an instant classic, maybe an instant legend.”
My journey as a writer, and especially my two current books: "How to Write Good (Or At Least, Gooder)"—released March 1 as an ebook exclusive; and "Steel Fear," released July 13.
In this episode, you'll learn:
  • Why he wrote "How to Write Good, or At Least Gooder"
  • What makes a good story in any genre
  • How we identify with story and the human nature of storytelling
  • Knowing you're a writer and living it out
  • The anatomy of a good story
  • Your writing life as story
  • How he developed diverse writing styles (John writes fiction, nonfiction, and parable)
  • The writing of Steel Fear and the value of accurate research in writing
Jul 23, 2021
Alicia R. Riley, who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fine Arts and a Master’s in Business Administration-Marketing, is the author of The Power of Events and The Virtual Event Planner. She is a professional event producer and an educator who began studying the field in 1996—an era when the profession was foreign to many, and educational or training options were limited. Riley believes any goal is possible if you commit yourself to work for it, and she reaches every professional goal she sets, based on her list of lessons that are critical to an event planner’s success.
In 2002, the Glendale, Arizona native launched a business and amazed clients with her event planning knowledge and expertise. This led to a teaching position and service as a professional speaker in the event planning industry. Her motivational speech, “The Power of Events,” educates audiences about special events and life planning. 
She refuses to be content and is committed to staying current in her profession. In 2020, Riley earned digital event strategist certification, which allows her to help companies transition in-person events to a digital platform. Her recently published book, The Virtual Event Planner, provides a detailed, personal guide to all aspects of virtual event planning, which will be an inspirational and indispensable resource for anyone already involved with event planning or anyone who may be considering a career in the profession.
In this episode, you'll learn:
  • How COVID changed event planning and what that means to you today
  • How to embrace changes and move forward with grace
  • Setting up virtual events
  • Keys to successful events
  • Why hybrid events may become be the norm and how you can host them
  • Setting your fee structure
  • How long virtual and hybrid events should be
  • How to choose the right speakers for virtual and hybrid events
Jul 19, 2021
Known as the Evangelist of Authenticity (#authenticityevangelist), David is also an Ordained Minister & Evangelist with the Christian Church.  With 24+ years of ministry experience, David has had the privilege of leading within seven different congregations.  He was also instrumental in establishing three additional Church plantings.
David’s background has been in helping organizations with both Transitional Leadership and Leadership Development.  He is passionate about the development of every organization’s greatest resource: its people.  He has taught and trained on every platform from mentoring to workshops and Executive Coaching.
In this episode, you'll learn:
  • What the winning edge is for speaking and why it matters
  • What confident speakers know and how you can learn it
  • How to use public speaking techniques to sell more books at festivals and cons
  • Why introverts are among the best public speakers
  • What makes a great speaker
  • The value of listening
  • The power of the pause
  • Why learning to code-switch can make you more effective in sales
Jun 18, 2021

On this episode, Joy O'Toole teaches us how to start a local or regional writer's conference from the ground up. We cover how to find a venue, locate authors to speak, get attendees excited, build contact lists, ways to promote a conference, and more. 

Joy O'Toole is an adult services programmer at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She helped start and facilitate the Rappahannock Writers Conference.
One of her roles is to create and maintain a partnership between the library and the local writers and poets in its area.
Joy has worked for the library for almost ten years and loves every aspect of her work. She has the privilege of writing for the library website in addition to her other duties.
In her free time, she reads, maintains her personal blog, teaches women's Bible studies, and is working on a book project of her own.
Jun 4, 2021
This week we're talking audiobook narration with voice-over artist Lillian Rachel.

A native Brit, after 9 transatlantic moves, Lillian is now at home in Washington DC. She discovered the joy of audiobooks while homeschooling 2 children, and has developed her passion for learning into well rounded audio narration career. Connecting with each character in a project, she brings her heart along with a mix of proper British class or east coast attitude to every project.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How Lillian got started in voiceover work
  • What she does to keep her voice healthy
  • How she got started in recording audiobooks
  • The growing popularity of audiobooks
  • The types of audiobooks she narrates (fiction, nonfiction)
  • Narrating in character
  • Why should authors make an audiobook version of their work
  • Should authors who want to create audio versions of their books write with audio in mind?
  • Should authors hire narrators or narrate their own books 
  • Her production process making an audiobook
  • How long it takes to complete a recording
  • Outtakes and funny recording stories. 
  • How an author can find voiceover talent for their audiobook


Want to contact Lillian?

May 28, 2021
Aubrey Kosa has developed a passion for storytelling: helping others communicate clearly. In pursuit of that passion, she has provided freelance editing services for nonfiction authors since 2016. Her goal is to help authors create a polished final manuscript and navigate the publishing process so they can spend less time on the details and more time focusing on their big-picture message. In this episode. Aubrey breaks down the different types of editing, which you need, and why you need editors before you publish.
May 7, 2021

As writers, we're told to silence, ignore, or drown out the voice of our inner critic...but is that the right advice? On today's episode, I share an excerpt from the book "Unleash the Writer Within" by Cec Murphey that could change the way you relate to your inner voice. 

"Unleash the Writer Within" is available on Amazon.

Apr 9, 2021
James Noll is the author of dozens of short stories and a handful of novels. He recently began adapting his stories into films.
In this episode, James discusses:
  1. How he got started as a writer
  2. How he chose his genre
  3. Pivoting into authorship
  4. The evolution of self-publishing (2013 to present)
  5. The need for authors to be fearless and to try new ways to expose audiences to their books
  6. Turning a story into a short film
  7. How he found his director and crew
  8. Challenges and triumphs of the process
  9. Why you should try converting your stories to short films
Connect with James:
Amazon Author Page
Apr 2, 2021

When you want to make it easy for bloggers, editors, journalists, show producers, and podcast hosts to give you guest posting/contribution opportunities, write a story about you, or interview you, what’s your best resource for getting their attention? A press kit, of course. In this episode, I show you nine elements of an attention-grabbing press kit to get your book more attention and score you more interviews.

Mar 26, 2021

My first foray into minimalism started when I read Walden many years ago. Next came Tim Ferriss in the 4-Hour Work Week when he quoted William of Occam, who said, " It is vain to do with more what can be done with fewer." Then I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up back in 2017 on a whim. 

All the pieces came together this year when I read Atomic Habits by James Clear. When he talked about how environment was one key to ensuring successful habits stick, it all fell into place.

Since doing these eight things, and I have felt my energy go up, my drive and focus increase, my productivity heighten, my ability to start and finish tasks more rapidly improve, and this has been since the end of January. Here they are. (Get the full explanation on the show)

  • Deleted Unnecessary Software.
  • Organized, Optimized, and Decluttered Digital Files. 
  • Made a One Notebook, One Sketchbook, One Book, One Magazine, and One of Each Type of Writing Utensil Rule. 
  • Had a Shred Party. 
  • Got Rid of Cord Clutter. 
  • Inbox Zero.
  • I Continue to Write in Scrivener as My Main Vehicle.

What are some ways minimalism has made you a more productive writer?

Mar 19, 2021
Welcome back to the Art & Business of Writing podcast. I am your host Chris Jones, and I am ... BACK! It's been nearly three full years (March 30, 2018) since my last podcast episode so, before we get rocking and rolling and picking up where we left off, let's play some catch up, because my writing life has been an exciting adventure.
Roman poet Ovid once said, "Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." And I can say for sure that after three years—and a few false starts when I wanted to bring the show back and was prohibited by life and COVID fallout (i.e. helping manage the family, teach my kids, and balance work)—I'm teeming with good ideas and a fresh outlook.
So, after pausing the show in 2018, here's what I managed to get myself into:
  • I've ghostwritten a couple of books with some fantastic authors.
  • I've collaborated with another author to produce an inspiring work.
  • I've done a bit of developmental editing as well as general book editing.
  • I've been working with Morgan James Publishing as an acquisitions editor. I'm in the market now for business books and memoirs, so if that's you, be sure to reach out to me. I'm excited about one in particular called Fundraising Is by Patrick Belcher. That's coming this fall.
  • I've coached a number of new authors and taken a few through my synopsis course and others all the way through to self-publishing on Ingram Spark and Amazon.
  • I've continued to be a mainstay in the magazine world where I function like an off-site managing editor for a couple of magazines and health website called SpineNation.
  • I've also written quite a bit over the past few years for publications.
In the midst of that, COVID-19 struck and, gratefully, no one in my family was affected by the virus itself, but we all felt the change.  I took on a broader role with my family and helped the kids with virtual learning.
In January, I went into my annual eye exam where I spoke to my optometrist about some distorted vision in my right eye. After watching me bomb on the eye exam and then reading m scans, he had me see an ophthalmologist across town who diagnosed me with a detached retina and had me go into surgery at a retina specialist's office over an hour and 15 minutes away. If you've never had your retina worked on, it's fascinating.  The ophthalmologist puts a gas bubble into your eye, and you spend the next several days with your head down to allow the bubble to press your retina back into place, so it can reattach itself. Then you walk face down and sleep face down for another week to 10 days. Unfortunately for me, after three weeks, more retinal damage was discovered, and I endured a second surgery a month later. So here we are. I'm three weeks post-op, but everything looks good. I can work, I can do cardio (no weights), and it's probably 6 or so months before I'll be able to drive again.
Now that we're all caught up, be sure to email me or find me on Instagram and tell me how your writing life has been and what you've accomplished since we last spoke. I'll be back next week and until then ... write on.
Mar 30, 2018

This week, I'm introducing a 15-week podcast boot camp on how to write your book from start to finish. Here are the topics we will cover.

  • Episode 074: The Writer's Mindset & Daily Habits
  • Episode 075: Who is Your Avatar?
  • Episode 076: Developing Your Book Idea
  • Episode 077: Tools of the Trade
  • Episode 078: Writing Your Book Synopsis
  • Episode 079: Developing Your Book Outline
  • Episode 080: Ways to Get the Writing Done
  • Episode 081: How to Start & Build Your Email List
  • Episode 082: Choosing the Best Social Media Platform/s
  • Episode 083: Building Your Author Website
  • Episode 084: Book Editors & Editing Styles
  • Episode 085: Book Designers & Why Looks Matter
  • Episode 086: Choosing & Working with Beta Readers
  • Episode 087: The All-Important ISBN
  • Episode 088: Uploading on Amazon, KDP & IngramSpark
  • Episode 089: Launch Parties

Some of the episodes will have links to downloads in the show notes that you can use between episodes as homework to help you get closer to building your book. I'm looking forward to helping you on this journey. 

Mar 23, 2018

In this rebroadcast episode, I talk with children's book author Tasha Fuller about how authors can be successful at book festivals. I chose to do this episode as a replay since we are entering spring and many cities and regions are beginning to launch their annual book festivals. If you're planning on attending a book festival this year, you'll want to hear these marketing tips that will help you to sell more books.

Mar 16, 2018

If you're about to write a book, are writing a book, or about to publish a book, Candy Zulkosky is going to tell you how book launches work and why they need to start from the moment you have a concept for your book. She talks about the timeline for a book launch, from getting a cover to getting testimonials from your audience.

You'll also learn:

  • Why a book launch starts before the book is completed 
  • How to get your book cover and what comes next 
  • Building a community for your book launch 
  • Where to focus your social media strategy 
  • Producing a media kit
  • Why it's important to have a separate website for your book 
  • How to co-ordinate a successful launch day 
  • Choosing your launch date
  • What is a good frequency for emailing and posting to your audience 
  • The importance of asking for testimonials 
  • Setting up an Author Central page on Amazon 
  • How long you should keep promoting your book
  • The importance of having people to support you as you write your book
Mar 9, 2018

Today's guest is Hannah Carmack, author of the book "The Seven Sided Spy" (released by NineStar Press in January). Hannah talks about how she went through several rejection letters before a clever 140-character tweet caught the attention of a book publisher who offered her a deal for her book.

Dec 29, 2017

Chris Jones shares the top 5 lessons that he learned in 2017 that helped him to have a better year of writing and creativity.

Dec 22, 2017

Zack Miller is the CEO of Hatch where he helps entrepreneurs to start, build, grow, and thrive in their businesses. Zack is also a television show and podcast host, as well as an author. Today he's going to teach you how to get influencers to say, "Yes!" to contribution to and endorsing your books.

Get the complete show notes at:

Dec 15, 2017

Ajay Prasad is a serial entrepreneur and Founder of GMR Web Team, GMR Transcription and RepuGen.

A former Fortune 10 executive with years of marketing expertise, Ajay has helped small businesses grow to their fullest potential. He continues to craft a name for himself by building online businesses from the ground-up.

Today, Ajay discusses:

  • What makes up the digital landscape
  • Creating a system to filter reviews
  • Reputation management for authors to convert critics to customers
  • Benefits to book landing pages
  • Facebook ads vs Google ads
  • Social media targeting

Get to Know Ajay:

Dec 8, 2017
Today, we’re excited to have prolific fiction author Toby Neal on the show. She’s a writer who made the leap from the corporate world to full-time writing in an inspiring way.
Toby made a name for herself with her 12 book Lei Crime Series, which has now turned into an Amazon Kindle World. 
She’s gone on to co-write a 6 book action/romance series with Emily Kimmelman as well her own series of romance novels and a Lei Crime spin-off series called Paradise Crime. 
Toby joins us to talk about those things, as well as share tips on how to write a long-running series, how to co-write with another author, and what it’s like to have your own Amazon Kindle World.
In this episode, Toby discusses:
  • Writing a long-running fiction series
  • How her former career informs her writing
  • Kindle Worlds
  • Co-writing
Resources Mentioned:
Get to Know Toby:
Dec 1, 2017

Julie C. Gilbert is a multi-genre writer and a high school chemistry teacher. She writes everything from middle grade fantasy (Awakening) to Christian mystery (Heartfelt Cases) to fast-paced mystery/thrillers (Lei Crime Kindle World Shadow Council Series) to nonfiction (5 Steps to Surviving Chemistry and 5 Steps to Better Blurbs. In other news, you can find her taking walks on lovely days, drinking tea, building Legos, or collecting something Star Wars related.

In this episode, Julie discusses:

  • What elements should be included in a good book description (blurb)
  • Where to start in the process of writing a book description (blurb)
  • How long should a book description be?
  • Why authors need to be thoughtful about how they approach writing book descriptions
  • Why keyworking book descriptions for Amazon matters
  • What to look for in a book blurb writer

Resources Mentioned:

Get to Know Julie:

Let’s Hear from You:

  • Leave a comment below
  • Message me on Twitter
  • Join my Facebook Group
  • Share this show on Twitter or Facebook
  • Leave a review on iTunes

Subscribe to The Art & Business of Writing Podcast:


Nov 24, 2017

Joanna Penn is an award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers under J.F.Penn. She also writes inspirational non-fiction for authors and is an award-winning creative entrepreneur and international professional speaker. Her site, is regularly voted one of the top 10 sites for writers and self-publishers.

In this episode, Joanna discusses:

  • How she got started writing
  • The mindset needed for authors and writers to successfully go full-time
  • How to diffuse comparisonitis and turn it into positive, productive energy
  • The importance of writing down goals
  • How to build your audience using the host of tools available to authors and writers
  • The big advantages indie authors have over traditionally published authors
  • What Patreon is and how she uses it to build her publishing empire through her podcast

Resources Mentioned:

Get to Know Joanna:

Let’s Hear from You:

  • Leave a comment below
  • Message me on Twitter
  • Join my Facebook Group
  • Share this show on Twitter or Facebook
  • Leave a review on iTunes

Subscribe to The Art & Business of Writing Podcast:

Nov 17, 2017

Eric Rosenberg is a finance, travel, and technology writer in Ventura, California. When away from the keyboard, Eric he enjoys exploring the world, flying small airplanes, discovering new craft beers, and spending time with his wife and little girl.

On this episode, Eric talks about when and how he started blogging, how it led to him getting bigger writing opportunities, and what he did to to turn up the heat and write himself to a six-figure income.

In this episode, Eric discusses:

  • How he got started with blogging
  • Why blogging is the perfect side hustle
  • How to determine what you should write on your blog
  • Turning your blog into a platform
  • Building social proof
  • How to use guest blogging and PR to stand out from the crowd

Resources Mentioned:

Get to Know Eric:

Let’s Hear from You:

Nov 10, 2017

Gordon Firemark is an expert in matters pertaining to the entertainment industry, particular theatre, film, television and music. Intellectual Property law is his forte'.

On this episode, Gordon will talk about copyright laws writers and authors need to know, what fair use is when quoting sources in your book, how to protect your intellectual property, how to be book publishing contract savvy, what constitutes a legally binding contract, and more.

In this episode, Gordon discusses:

  • Music rights for podcasters
  • What writers and authors need to consider when starting their businesses
  • Copyright, public domain, and fair use laws
  • Permission rights for using excerpts of other people’s work (including religious texts) in your books
  • Legal savvy for freelancers
  • Why you should talk to an attorney before signing a book contract
  • Protecting yourself when writing a memoir
  • Book titles and trademark laws
  • What the law says on writing biographies of famous people


Resources Mentioned:


Get to Know Gordon:

Let’s Hear from You:

  • Leave a comment below
  • Message me on Twitter
  • Join my Facebook Group
  • Share this show on Twitter or Facebook
  • Leave a review on iTunes


Subscribe to The Art & Business of Writing Podcast:


Nov 3, 2017

Danny is a leading online marketing expert who works with home-based entrepreneurs to help them understand and adopt the most effective ways to build their business using social media and the internet. He is passionate about the freedom that home-business and entrepreneurship provides, and is on a mission to help others understand what is possible if they follow their dreams. Doing exactly that he was able to move away from a high-pressured corporate career in 2013 and now works with other entrepreneurs to help them achieve success through his leadership, coaching and mentoring.

In This Episode, Danny Discusses... 

  • Why authors need to be comfortable niching in.
  • The importance of building your author brand around you, not your books
  • How to build relationships that lead to followers and interaction
  • Thinking of your books as products and spin-offs
  • Why sales is NOT a bad word and what’s at stake when you don’t have a call-to-action
  • Choosing the right social networks
  • Low and no-cost brand-building strategies

Resources Mentioned

Get to Know Danny

Let’s Hear From You 

  • Leave a comment below
  • Message me on Twitter
  • Join my Facebook Group
  • Share this show on Twitter or Facebook
  • Leave a review on iTunes
Oct 27, 2017

Lisa Cherry Beaumont is a life purpose coach, workshop leader, and author of bestselling book Life Purpose Alchemy: Discover What Fulfills You and Do What You Love for a Living. Using her unique 6-step system, Lisa helps people who are stuck doing work they don’t love, and those who find themselves hopping from one frustrating business to the next, to understand what’s meaningful to them and create a business that makes them happy and keeps them motivated.

In This Episode, Lisa Discusses...

  • Why authors need more time unplugged and in the natural world
  • How you can design a life that makes you happy
  • Why being a messy writer will make you a happy writer
  • How to stop caring about the opinions of other people
  • How to beat “Comparisonitis”
  • How published and marketed her Amazon bestselling book

Resources Mentioned

Get to Know Lisa

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