Author Interview: Tara Lynne Groth + 100th Post!

Happy Friday!

Those of you who joined me on What Am I Reading Wednesday will already know, today we're continuing with The Writing Desk Blog Author Interview Series! 

Also, I am thrilled to announce that this is The Writing Desk Blog's 100th POST!!!  

(But we'll talk about that after the interview.)

Author Interview – Tara Lynne Groth:


The Writing Desk: Hi Tara Lynne! Thank you for agreeing to this blog interview with me. When was your latest book, "Magazine Queries That Worked", published?  

Tara Lynne Groth: Thank you for inviting me! It was published on June 22, 2017, a few days before my 7-year full-time freelance-iversary. (Link:


TWD: If you could sum up the purpose of "Magazine Queries That Worked" in one sentence, what would it be? 

TLG: Magazine Queries That Worked is more than a collection of successful queries, it also answers the questions many aspiring freelance journalists have about getting started and building momentum.


TWD: Where do you typically write from? (Home, office, coffee shop, etc.) Is there anywhere you find you're more productive than other places?  

TLG: In regards to client work: Most of the time I write from my home office, which overlooks our woods. Depending on the weather and time of day, I also rotate between the porch and the kitchen table. When I feel a little stir-crazy, my favorite places to work from are Open Eye Cafe in Carrboro, Cup 22 in Saxapahaw, and Honeysuckle Tea House in Chapel Hill (seasonal). These spaces are large enough where I don't have to worry about finding a table, and offer great people-watching and landscapes. Most of the vacations I take are working vacations, so I also work on the plane, in the car (while my husband drives), etc. I find I'm most productive if I have a deadline, then the writing venue does not matter in the least! In regard to creative writing: I love sitting in my rocking chair on the porch. I'm always sad when the seasons change and it gets too cold for the porch. I haven't found an equivalent spot indoors yet! Similarly, with creative writing, as long as I know I have X minutes or X hours to devote to my work, I will use that time as best I can.


TWD: Besides nonfiction, what other genres do you write? 

TLG: Aside from non-fiction books and magazine work, I'm also an SEO (search engine-optimized) content and content marketing writer. Creatively, I write short fiction and poetry.


TWD: Briefly, what led up to this book? Was this a project you always had in mind?  

TLG: As an SEO writer, I'm frequently reviewing site analytics and looking at what interests site users. The successful query letters that I've shared on Write Naked are consistently the most visited posts of all time. I thought I could publish an ebook of the letters, but I'm a big fan of print so I knew I wanted a hard copy. When I share letters individually on the blog I don't just post the letter and say, "Here. Read this." There's a lot more that needs to be understood if one is planning to pitch a magazine article. I explain some back story, pay rates, timeliness of payment, etc. I saved every query letter since I started freelancing in 2009, so I decided to tell the stories behind all of them. I also explain the workflow when writing for publications, questions to ask about rights, clauses to look for in contracts, how to handle late payments, and all those details that start to surface when someone starts freelancing.


TWD: Can you tell us what you're working on now? If so, is it another advice book for writers, or something new? 

TLG: I am writing a short story collection inspired by my family history research. I became interested in genealogy last year. I'm learning about unusual circumstances in my family tree, some involving mental institutions, missing children, war heroes, and more. The family dynamics I'm discovering in my research are fun to link together in fiction through connected stories. 


TWD: As a self-published author, what made you decide to go this route? Was there one particular aspect of the traditional publishing process that influenced your choice, or a combination?  (i.e. - Creative freedom, contracts, etc.) 

TLG: I decided to self-publish for several reasons. I've done it before and was familiar with the process. I have experience in graphic design so I was comfortable developing book cover designs. I didn't want to share proceeds from the book with a publisher. I have a direct connection with my blog readers and writing groups (Triangle Writers and Asheville Writers), so it's easy for me to let subscribers and group members know about a book that can help their writing career. I also teach workshops and speak at conferences, and many of the topics I speak on involve freelance journalism, so controlling the content and timing updates to the book is more attractive to me.


TWD: What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the self-publishing process? 

TLG: The only surprise from this self-publishing experience is that my book was printed without spine lettering, even though it meets the page count requirements and the approved design included spine lettering. It's taking longer than expected to resolve!


TWD: Best piece(s) of writing advice? 

TLG: Find or make a writing schedule that works for you.


TWD: Something personal about you that your readers may be surprised to know? 

TLG: I received my B.A. when I was 19.


I had such fun working on this week's What Am I Reading Wednesday and Author Interview Series posts with Tara Lynne! Don't forget, her new book "Magazine Queries That Worked: Build Income and Authority with Freelance Journalism" is now on a Kindle Countdown Deal, starting at $0.99! 

Can you believe this is The Writing Desk Blog's 100th Post?! 

Honestly, when I started this project in early 2016, I had no idea it would grow to offer the content that it does today. Thank you so much my Writing Desk Readers for sticking with me, whether you were here at the (somewhat rocky) beginning or are newcomers to the blog (welcome!). 

I can't wait to share my upcoming plans both for the blog and my progress as a writer, see you all next week!


  1. Really enjoyed the interview and Tara Lynne's insights into self-publishing and writing in general!

    1. Thank you! She has some excellent knowledge to share. 😊


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