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Extras for Writers


In March 2020, just before the pandemic was starting to shut down gatherings, I was a panelist at the Self Publishing Show Live conference in London. It’s an offshoot of the Self-Publishing Formula, co-founded by indie bestseller Mark Dawson and broadcaster-turned-author James Blatch. That invitation led to a guest appearance in September 2021 on their online Self-Publishing Show in which I talk about my non-traditional career, both in my journey from journalist to traditional author to hybrid to becoming a fully independent author/publisher. And my “discovery writing” style that’s also known as “pantsing” (as opposed to plotting).podcast Patricia McLinn Discovery Writing pantser or plotter writing life author career independent indie publishing Mark Dawson James Blatch podcast interview guest

Here’s just a few topics we covered: Learning to write characters that readers care about; starting a book by eavesdropping on characters in conversation; discovery writing in the extreme; and what new writers should focus on.

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In July 2020, I joined Jami Albright and Sara Rosett on their Wish I’d Known Then . . .For Writers podcast to discuss the pros and cons of traditional and indie publishing, how I write my books without outlining, and my tips for BookBub ads. (Look for episodes with both Jami and Sara on my Authors Love Readers podcast later that year!)

In the podcast episode, you’ll discover:

* How I learned to trust myself and my writing process instead of trying to write like you’re “supposed to”
* Why learning that we are not our audience is essential to marketing
* Advice on how to get rights back from traditional publishers
* Myths around traditional publishing
* Why it’s key to find readers who are looking for new authors

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In 2021, I was a guest on Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn podcast, discussing discovery writing (a.k.a. pantsing), how write a novel with structure if you don’t plot in advance, and building a writing career for the long-term. Many thanks to Joanna for inviting me, I loved our chat!

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This October, I was once again a guest on Joanna Penn’s The Creative Pen podcast. We discussed  the evolution of self-publishing, industry changes, and challenges with having a big backlist of books and a mature indie author business.


Fellow author and buddy Laura Resnick’s resource page for writers is fantastic. Instead of duplicating what she’s put together, I’m sharing it with you.

But if it’s a little too complete for you to start, here’s my streamlined approach – aimed at indie publishing, because that’s what I know now — with my recommended go-to resources:


Joanna Penn/The Creative Penn:
Start with her free Author 2.0 Blueprint. Then explore the archives of her podcast.

David Gaughran:
Start on his website



The Elements of Style (Fourth Edition)
by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White

Websters New World College Dictionary (Fourth Edition)
(includes rules of punctuation)

Online Dictionary & Thesaurus

Paul Brians
Emeritus Professor of English, Washington State University

Associated Press Stylebook
Can buy print book or Online subscription (but can see Ask the Editor for free)

Chicago Manual of Style
(Not my personal favorite, but widely used)

Internet Public Library

Reverse Dictionary

How to Dig Like a Journalist (article)

10 Tips for Finding Out What You Need to Know (article)


My very favorite writing book is actually a script-fixing book – Making a Good Script Great, by Linda Seger.

Authors who are also good teachers:



  • Writer Beware – there are lots of people trying to take advantage of authors, so be careful out there



  • Novelists, Inc. – for multipublished authors of popular fiction; membership requirements
  • BookBub – the marketers share insights and tips on their blog

NOTE: The links to books are Amazon affiliate links (if you click my link and buy, I’ll get a tiny payment.) These books are also available on Apple Books, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and most other ebook retailers.