The Writer's Digest Podcast, Episode 2: Business Strategy for Writers — Interview with James Scott Bell

In this episode of the Writer’s Digest Podcast, Gabriela Pereira talks with author and writing instructor James Scott Bell and shares an inside look at the business strategies writers need to succeed. In this interview, they discuss different aspects of the publishing industry, how to market your short fiction to grow your readership, and ways to decreases creative burnout and increase your writing productivity.
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Welcome, welcome, writers! From fiction to nonfiction, whatever your genre persuasion—be it epic adventures of vigilante nuns or tales of an undead attorney determined to take a bite out of crime—the Writer’s Digest podcast is for you.

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing my mentor and friend James Scott Bell on the show!

James Scott Bell is a former trial lawyer turned author and writing instructor. He is a winner of the International Thriller Writers Award, and the author of many popular craft books such as Write Your Novel From the Middle and the #1 bestselling Plot & Structure. He served as fiction columnist for Writer's Digest magazine,has authored several works of short fiction and novels, and even created the “zombie legal thriller” genre.

Listen as he and I dive into the publishing industry in the digital age, discuss the different business strategies needed to succeed as a writer, and how and why you need to diversify your writing portfolio.

This episode of the Writer’s Digest Podcast is brought to you by the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference. For more info about the Writer’s Digest Conference this summer check out And don’t forget to use the coupon code mentioned in the episode to get $25 off your registration!

In this episode James Scott Bell shares:

  • How gaining knowledge of different mediums can inform your writing.
  • Ways to avoid burnout and keep your writing productivity up.
  • The different business strategies of the fiction vs. nonfiction writer.
  • Why you need to diversify your writing portfolio.
  • Using self-publishing and short fiction as a marketing tool to grow your audience.

Listen in to hear Gabriela and James talk about all these things… and more!


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About James Scott Bell

James Scott Bell is a winner of the International Thriller Writers Award and the #1 bestselling author of Plot & Structure. He served as fiction columnist for Writer's Digest magazine and has written many popular craft books, including Conflict & Suspense, Just Write, and Write Your Novel From the Middle. He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied writing with Raymond Carver, and graduated with honors from the University of Southern California law school. A former trial lawyer, he lives and writes in Los Angeles. Check out his website at, and follow him on Twitter @jamesscottbell.

Links and resources

  • Get an insider perspective from James Scott Bell and other thriller writers from the blog mentioned in the episode at
  • Interested in starting your creative hour? Check out Writer Igniter from DIY MFA, a resource mentioned in the episode!
  • Learn even more from James Scott Bell in his interview on DIY MFA Radio.
  • Want to get an even deeper understanding of the publishing process? Here are some DIY MFA interviews that will help. Listen to this episode to learn all about traditional publishing from the NYT bestselling author Jerry Jenkins. If indie or self-publishing is more your speed, check out this interview with Dean Wesley Smith.
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