Craig Martelle is an international bestselling author who writes in various genres but is probably best known for his science fiction books. He also writes the Ian Bragg thrillers. The fourth book in that series, A FATAL BRAGG, was published on November 26th.

Craig retired from the Marine Corps, spending time both as enlisted and as an officer. After retiring from the military, he went to law school and went into business consulting, which kept him way from home too much, so he retired from that at age 52. That’s when he started writing full time and he hasn’t looked back since.

He his well known in the indie author-publisher community for the 20Booksto50k® group — 55K+ members in the Facebook Group he runs alongside with its founder Michael Anderle and the 20Books Conference that Craig puts on every year in Las Vegas. It’s one of the best writer’s conference out there. I’ve attended three conferences, including the one this year and am planning to be there in 2022.

During the interview we talked about Craig’s background, his writing career — writing thrillers and other genres, including non-fiction, about the 20Books Conference, and a lot more.

Connect with Craig Martelle

Craig Martelle’s Latest Thriller Book

More Books by Craig Martelle

Craig’s Non-Fiction Books for Writers

Show Notes and Resources

The 20Books Conference info here, especially if you’re intrested in joining. Tickets for the 2022 conference in November open up on  January 8, 2022 and they have sold out in the past.

Cool video about the 20Books Conference which we talked about during the interview. This is from the 2018 conference. The conference is now held on the Strip vs. Sam’s Town, which I prefer.

Transcript for Craig Martelle Interview

Please note transcript is provided by an automated program called HappyScribe which claims to have 80% accuracy rate. I only did a light edit, so there might be errors in the transcript or it might read wonky here and there.

[00:00:00.130] – Alan Petersen
You are listening to Meet the Thriller Author, the podcast where I interview writers of mysteries, thrillers and suspense books. I am your host, Alan Petersen, and this is episode number 180. In this episode of the podcast, we’ll be meeting Craig Martelle, who is an international best selling author who writes in several different genres. But it’s probably best known for his science fiction books. But he also writes The Ian Bragg Thrillers and the fourth book in that series A Fatal Bragg was published on November 26. But before we get to the interview with Craig, you’ll hear us talking about the 20 books conference that Craig puts together every year down in Las Vegas. I’ve attended three of those conferences and I’m planning to be there next year and so highly recommend you check it out and to attend. If you can work that out, it’s a great conference. You can go to 20BooksVegas.com for all the details. Registration will be open on January 8, 2022 for the conference that will be held in November of that year. Tickets have sold out in the past, especially now, I think, with everyone being eager to venture out after a year plus of lockdowns so you can go over to 20BooksVegas.com for the details and check that out. But anyway, I just wanted to give you a heads up on that. It’s a great conference. And if you do go, let me know and we’ll chat in Vegas. All right. Here is my interview with Craig Martelle.

I’m really excited to have on the podcast today. Craig Martelle, welcome to the podcast. Craig.

[00:01:36.270] – Craig Martelle
Hey, thanks for having me on, Alan. I really appreciate it.

[00:01:38.840] – Alan Petersen
Yes, no problem. Thanks so much for coming on here. Well, before we get into the nitty gritty of talking about books and all that good stuff, can you tell us a little bit about your background before you became an author?

[00:01:49.940] – Craig Martelle
Oh, Holy cow. That’s a lot of years. I didn’t become an author until I was in my 50s. I enlisted in the Marine Corps and spent an entire Marine Corps career 21 years in the intelligence community as a Russian linguist. When I wasn’t listed. And then when I got my Commission as an officer, I served in all the intelligence disciplines. And then when I got out, the Marines always say about what do I need to do? What am I going to do when I grow up? So after I retired, I went and got a law degree and then went into business consulting and leadership coaching. So I did that for about seven years. I was working on the North Slope of Alaska, which is inside the Arctic Circle, and I was gone over half the month. And the temperatures are just brutally extreme up there because it’s 500 miles from the North Pole. So I looked at it and said, I’m just not going to do this anymore. I’m getting too old for this. So I retired. I left myself on fire trying to clean up my yard. So I decided that I couldn’t do that kind of stuff either. And I needed to just write that book. I always wanted to write, and I started writing, and that was 2015, and I haven’t stopped since.

[00:03:05.000] – Alan Petersen
Wow. So even before, when you were in the Marine Corps and everything, were you always dreaming about writing a book. Or it’s just a goal that you had?

[00:03:13.580] – Craig Martelle
Always stories. One thing that in the intelligence community in order to analyze, you have to ask a lot of what ifs what if it’s this? What if it’s that what if they have this capability that we don’t see? And if we don’t see it, then how can we look to find it? What assets can we task? And all of that comes together. Constant novel fodder just inundates you over 20 years. And plus, some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen were in high stress situations in the Marine Corps. So I’ve got enough of those for a lifetime worth of stories, too.

[00:03:52.430] – Alan Petersen
What was the first book that you wrote and published?

[00:03:55.980] – Craig Martelle
The first book was it was called It’s Not Enough To Just Exist, which was a post apocalyptic survivalist book. And that was a good book to get my feet wet in regards to writing, because I live here in Alaska, and survivalist is kind of one thing you have to do. You have to have that mentality. So in case you lose power for a month or something like that, do you have enough to eat? Can you survive what’s it going to take? So while I was preparing for that kind of mindset and approach to living here in Alaska, and I live in the interior, so conditions are kind of harsh. Yeah. I live in the interior of Alaska complaining about the harsh conditions of the North Slope as it was like -30 Fahrenheit last week. But I digress. And that book, it didn’t sell really well, except it was a good story and a traditional publishing house picked it up. So my very first book I ever wrote turned into a four book series called End Times Alaska. And that one did really well for them because they had to retitle it. They edited it and put new covers on it. And then it sold really well. After that, the third book I ever wrote, and I wrote all these in a matter of, like, four months. Third book I ever wrote was People Raged and the sky was on Fire. That one was a thriller based that talked about the intelligence community and the dysfunction within Washington, DC and cross agency cooperations. So I wrote that thriller. And right now, on my screen, right behind my super cool phone, I’ve got the sequel to that book that I wrote five years ago.

[00:05:42.390] – Alan Petersen
Are you still planning on putting that out eventually.

[00:05:45.930] – Craig Martelle
I’ll have it done by the end of this month. I got it on pre order for March, and I’ll probably early that up to maybe the first week in February.

[00:05:54.050] – Alan Petersen
Yes, I think that’s cool, because I remember I’m familiar with your background, obviously. But your first book, I believe you said it took you a little bit longer, and then you got better and better come down to, like, a science. Can you tell us a little bit about that process for you?

[00:06:10.470] – Craig Martelle
When I worked as a business consultant, we did process improvement. And so I saw writing as a process, getting the cover during the editing, writing and production. How do we maximize our production? How do we make sure that all the stars are in alignment each day to generate the words and tell the story? How do we make sure the story flows? I saw that as a production line in my mind, so I put it together that way, and I’d finish one book, shoot it to the editor, and then immediately start the next book. And when I finished the book, shooting it to the editor, the first time I tried to get an editor, they were like, okay, I have an opening in three months. I’m like, yeah, but the book is done now. He said, I have an opening in three months. So I didn’t like that at all. But I liked the editor. So I said, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to put you on retainer and pay you a set amount on the first of each month. And then when I give you a book, you edit it, you move it to the front or whatever else you’re doing, edit it and shoot it back. And that arrangement worked great for, like, three years. And then now, since I’m doing more preorders and stuff like that, I don’t need that turnaround. Within a week there I was doing no preorders. I was publishing a book a month, and as soon as they were done, get them edited, get it through the proofread team and then publish it. And from when I Typed the end, it was about one week until it was published. So maintaining that toward pace. But I wasn’t doing anything else Besides writing. I was writing, like, 12 hours a day, so there’s no excuse not to be able to maintain that kind of pace. And then I got involved with 20 books to 50K Michael Anderlle and decided that sometimes you have enough money and I had enough. My author earnings are simply a barometer of how I’m doing. So of course I want to sell more and more books. But still, my calling seem to be more philanthropy for authors and helping other authors find their best way up the mountain that they determine for their success.

[00:08:18.380] – Alan Petersen
You do so much for the Indie community with the 20 books to 50K group. What is that now, like, 55,000. Plus, I believe members.

[00:08:27.020] – Craig Martelle
Yeah, it’s over 55,000. But the good thing is because of our conferences and I started those just because I got mad at a different conference that was overpriced and underserved. So we started our own conferences. And now it’s not just Andy’s. We have a huge number of traditionally published authors who are contemplating doing indie publishing as well as just happy with traditionally being traditionally published, but want to establish a relationship with other authors who are doing similar things. So it’s not just Indies anymore. It’s all authors, and that is going really well. We have a great community. And at the conference of Success, we had David Webber come to the show, and he does have a few indie published titles, but he’s mostly traditionally published.

[00:09:20.850] – Alan Petersen
Yeah, that’s a great conference. I’ve been to three of them. I missed one because it’s my wife’s 50th birthday in 2018. So I decided I’d better sit that one out. Wonderful conferences. I just was there and the one in November. It was so nice after the Pandemic is the first big outing that I’ve had the Pandemic started.

[00:09:41.000] – Craig Martelle
I think that was most people. It was time to get out, no matter what. It was time to go.

[00:09:45.660] – Alan Petersen
Yes, I was curious about that. Do you have experience putting these together? Because now you’re like it’s one of the best riding conferences out there, in my opinion. Did you have experience putting shows like this together before?

[00:09:56.640] – Craig Martelle
I had done a few shows when I was in the historical miniature gaming community, I had done a few shows, and plus, I had done a few Marine Corps balls. So there’s a lot of overlap in preparing for a large event, whether it’s a meal in a series of presentations or a bunch of games that people need to sign up for. So it all worked out to help me best understand what we needed to do to manage the project. That is 20K 20 Books Vegas as well as all the other events we hold around the world. Like next year, 20 Books Madrid will be in Madrid, Spain, in June.

[00:10:35.230] – Alan Petersen
What’s your favorite part of being involved with the group and putting on these conferences in Las Vegas and Madrid and everywhere changing lives.

[00:10:42.380] – Craig Martelle
When people say you changed my life, I was able to leave my crappy job. I was divorced and had nothing, and now I’m able to provide for myself. There are so many of those stories. It’s really heartwarming. And that’s why we do what we do to help people realize a better life for themselves, even if they love their full time job. But that little bit extra they can earn from their writing as well as give them a plan for when they retire because most people don’t know what they’re going to do after they retire. Oh, I’m just going to sit on the beach. Yeah, that gets old after about two days so what else are you going to do? And people find that they can write and tell stories. And I’m sure you’ve heard some kind of statistics, like one out of every 100 authors make it and make any money at this gig. And most don’t even make enough to cover the cost. But I think because of groups like 20 books and 50K and the support structure we have, we have a greater percentage of successful authors in our group and other groups because we’re not in it to take money from them. We’re in it to help them make more money for themselves.

[00:11:53.730] – Alan Petersen
Yeah, because your conference. I mean, the pricing is, like, compared to other conferences is very cheap and you don’t take sponsorships. It’s just incredible how you put everything together like that to help the writers out there.

[00:12:08.460] – Craig Martelle
No, thank you. And this last year, we had over 100 scholarships. We had what, over 100 people come to the show on somebody else’s dime?

[00:12:18.460] – Alan Petersen
Yes, it really is a great community. It helps take the stigma out of because I think a lot of people writers are like, oh, business, advertising, bad. But you guys can take the stigma out of that and say that it’s necessary. Even if you’re traditionally published, you still have to. Unless you have a big boat advance or something, you’re going to have to do a lot of the work yourself.

[00:12:38.140] – Craig Martelle
That’s right. You need to market no matter what. And if you’re smart enough to write a book, you’re smart enough to do all the other stuff. There’s no mysteries there. You don’t have to sacrifice goats at midnight on the solstice. It’s just some basic steps that you have to take and you can do it anonymously, like, from behind your computer. You don’t have to get up in front of the world wearing a sandwich board to buy my book. That’s bad marketing. And we don’t encourage that.

[00:13:08.090] – Alan Petersen
So you’ve had a lot of success in several different genres. You’re probably best known for your Sci-Fi books, but thrillers are out now. Really great thrillers. A lot of action. Were you always a fan of thrillers as a reader? What prompted you to give the Ian Bragg series a go?

[00:13:28.690] – Craig Martelle
I love Tom Clancy. I love his books back in the 70s. I’m sorry. Back in the 80s, when I was a watch officer looking at Soviet Naval Pacific, naval fleet movements, ship movements. I read Hunt for October, and I’m like, oh, my God. We have top secret clearances and all this stuff. Here it is. They’re saying the names. They’re saying the code words, oh, my God. And just the way he wrote the book, the way he put it together with the multiple tendrils of simultaneous actions and then winding it together like braiding it until it comes to a conclusion. I love that approach. So I read Tom Clancy books, of course, some Patterson books right now. I’m reading something by Robert De Guni all excellent authors telling great stories and my experience with the government. I’m like, I can do all this stuff. I know this stuff without having to try to dig into the Senate archives and congressional testimony. Which is one thing that Clancy had to do was dig into congressional testimony and find those where they slipped and set a code word or where they discussed a program that wasn’t necessarily public but was on public record. It is a shortcut, and I think it allowed me to write a compelling book with the first ribbanic, and now the second one. I have to do a little more research because I’m talking about things that I didn’t do, which is energy infrastructure.

[00:15:08.730] – Alan Petersen
So Fatal Brag is the latest one that came on November 26. Can you tell us a little bit about that one?

[00:15:13.650] – Craig Martelle
That one was the sequel to the first three. I wrote the first three fairly quickly, one after the other in order to establish that series. And it was always my intent that those three would be the prequel, the background, and then that book four, a Fatal Brag would be a standalone that would then launch the series and the separate books so that one hit. And it has done very well. The premise behind that one is how they get contracts, because I always wanted them to have government contracts, but be a wet work contractor not associated with the CIA or anything else doing work that the government needed done. But the shortcuts made it easy. So we put Ian Bragg on the job. And then also, since I already had Rick Bannock and the time periods overlapped, I’m like, let’s do a crossover. So Rick Manick does appear in A Fatal Brag, so both those series will be mutually supporting without having to read either one before the other.

[00:16:24.200] – Alan Petersen
I’m quite curious about your writing process, too. Now, especially when you’re blending these two different worlds in your books. Do you outline your books or do you write the seat of your pants? What’s your process? Like?

[00:16:34.130] – Craig Martelle
I outlined it in my head. I generally write the first chapter and the last chapter and then fill everything else out in between.

[00:16:40.760] – Alan Petersen
Cool. That’s a good strategy to have. So you know where it’s the start and the end, then you flesh it out.

[00:16:47.220] – Craig Martelle
Yes. If you know where it’s going to end and then also the word count, that’s how many side plots I keep active, just all depending on the word count that I’m looking for.

[00:16:59.110] – Alan Petersen
And are you writing, like, multiple projects in different genres at the same time? Or do you have to focus on one and then go to the other one other series?

[00:17:06.550] – Craig Martelle
Sometimes if I get stuck writing because you don’t have writer’s block if you have a production schedule like I have, so sometimes the words don’t flow as well on one thing as they do on something else. So I will switch to a second series. That like the next book. After I finished Rick Banning Two, I’ll jump into that one and start making notes and highlight some interactions. Some scenes might even write a scene or two, and that helps break it free. So when I go back to my main work, I focus primarily on one. But if I run into any problems and I’ll dive into another, get those words. And that gets me way ahead. For when I do start that next book.

[00:17:47.030] – Alan Petersen
I’m always curious about what my guests used to write their book to use Word, Scripture or something else.

[00:17:52.640] – Craig Martelle
I write in Word old military. I mean, I grew up with Word and Microsoft products. I used WordStar when I had MSDOS 3.1, but as soon as we had Windows and Word came out, I’ve been using Word ever since.

[00:18:08.640] – Alan Petersen
Yeah, I remember the blue screen. Yeah, that’s a blast of the past. You have so many irons in the fire with everything you do. I’m just kind of curious what a writing day looks like for you. Do you have set hours? Do you have word count goals that you try to meet every day?

[00:18:27.460] – Craig Martelle
I do have word count goals right now. The word count goal is $3,000. Let me plug into my spreadsheet today’s numbers and let’s see what we’ve got. I track my words every single day. It’s 115 for me, and I have 1001 7000 hundred words today. I’m averaging 2300 words a day is all in the story, and I need to get that up to about 2500. My target is 3000. So I need to jam extra words today before as soon as we get off. But I do a lot of other things. I publish books. I have my own publishing company, so marketing. I have one had two books published this week and one published Monday and one published Tuesday, so maintaining marketing activity on those and plussing up encouraging readers to leave reviews those kinds of engagements 20 books to 50K. I do a five minute focus every day like a training video, professionalism kind of engagement there. And in order to cover for a story next year, as well as three other covers for a series that I am contemplating writing for next year. So every day this is every day I have those things. Future books, past books that I’m pushing now, current book that I’m working on and other things relation, especially when it comes to 20 books to 50K. Sometimes it’s nice being me other times it’s busy because like the head of Blackstone Publishing, Blackstone Audio contacted me this morning looking to have a conversation about what they can do for 20 books. Vegas next year. And I have the same kind of messages from podium, from Tantor, from Dreamscape and Audible. I’m thinking Amazon will break free their travel ban and they’ll be in place next year. So the benefit is I get to talk to all of these people. The heads of all these organizations who support authors and Indie authors. And sometimes I get good deals. Like, I think Podium is looking to pick up one or two of my series, and that will be nice, get them made into audio without me having to pay up front. Ian Bragg, I own those in entirety. I hired the narrator. I get the audio down and it’s consistent as well as the German translations. I have Ian Bragg translated into German too.

[00:21:13.130] – Alan Petersen
How’s that going with the German market? Obviously, I heard a lot about the conference that’s such a hot market has been experienced so far with that?

[00:21:24.670] – Craig Martelle
The sales are good. I think the sales are every bit as comparable with the United States. But my thrillers aren’t as thrilling as Germans are used to. So initially I got bad reviews. People are like, this is boring. This is dull. I fell asleep like, what the hell? That’s a good book, but it’s the market. You have to work with the market. So I shifted all the marketing to action adventure instead of thriller, even though the series is Ian bright thriller. So I can’t do anything about that. Not now anyway. But I targeted action adventure and the reviews all came up. The sales came up and it was a better fit for that market.

[00:22:07.830] – Alan Petersen
That’s fascinating. It’s just like a little tweak, basically, and you can kind of change the flow of things. That’s fascinating.

[00:22:14.980] – Craig Martelle
Well, one thing I accept because I have a great insider team for readers of varying demographics as well as nationalities and genders. Just to make sure I cover all my bases and they make sure that I don’t put out anything. That’s not a good book. So I know the books are good. I just need to target the right readers for the particular books. And once I started targeting action adventure with Ian Bragg, it’s doing better. It was doing fine before, but it was getting bad reviews, and I didn’t like that.

[00:22:48.780] – Alan Petersen
Yeah, several different genres and subgenres. Do you think that in the end, the story is really the most important and popular genre and all that, of course. But the story really is what trumps everything. And I like how you always say that when you post on the groups and stuff.

[00:23:11.170] – Craig Martelle
The characters will drive the plot forward. So the plot, when you’re writing a book, your CGI and your special effects are not going to be able to carry the day. And you look at something like Star Wars that had the cutting edge special effects. But it was still a hero’s journey, and people fell in love with the characters and the characters moved those stories forward. And even though the special effects are dated, the character acting wasn’t as great as it could have been because everybody was young. Still, the story holds solid Star Wars now, number four. Back then, it was number one. So Star Wars is a great example of the characters, the characters drove that plot forward, even though they also had cutting edge CGI. And nowadays you see a lot of movies with even better CGI and special effects, but their characters aren’t relatable, and they aren’t moving the plot forward.

[00:24:07.300] – Alan Petersen
Yeah, there hasn’t something where they spent. I don’t know how many hundreds of millions on CGI effects, but the story wasn’t good, and so this movie flopped.

[00:24:19.190] – Craig Martelle
One movie I saw it was on yesterday, and as soon as it came up, I’m like, oh, I don’t like this version. Midway, the modern version. It’s a bunch of disjointed battles, and they weren’t even using good tactics. But the CGI was incredible. It looks like you’re right in the middle of the battle. But the movie itself was just so bad because there was no story. There was no character you can relate to that you wanted to follow throughout. So sorry, Midway. I like the original version because those characters you can embrace.

[00:24:50.240] – Alan Petersen
Yes, I remember the one from the 60s, and I realized they put another one out.

[00:24:54.040] – Craig Martelle
Yeah, you’re not missing anything then.

[00:24:55.840] – Alan Petersen
Okay. That’s good to know. We touched about how productive you are. You’re such a prolific author, and for listeners who are writers or spring writers and trying to get better at it, I’m always trying to improve the way I write. What advice do you have for the people who are listening or trying to get better at this?

[00:25:14.400] – Craig Martelle
Keep writing. Don’t rewrite the same thing over and over. Write a book and you’ll look at it. You’ll keep going through it and say, this isn’t great. Give it out to people, sell it, put it out for sale. And then as people start giving you feedback, embrace those folks and see if any of them, because if somebody says, hey, the great story, but you lost me here. You lost me there. Embrace that person because they’re doing you a favor. And I said, hey, would you like to read my next book at no cost? I’ll just give it to you at 30,000 words and let me know what you think about the story, and you’ll start getting great feedback. And that’s how you build your insider team. And the only way you can do that is by writing continuous new stuff. If you’re rewriting the same book and say, hey, can you read this again? See how the fix they’re going to get bored with you and stop giving you feedback, especially if you don’t always accept their input. And sometimes their input is good. And other times it’s not. So keep giving them new books and say, this is great. I appreciate this and incorporate what will keep your new readers reading. You don’t want to ever give a reader reason to stop reading. So if it slows down or becomes tired or if a side plot doesn’t work and cut it out, fix it and keep moving forward.

[00:26:34.190] – Alan Petersen
Okay. This year and a half that we’ve had with the Pandemic. Did that change your writing process at all? Your publishing page at all?

[00:26:42.270] – Craig Martelle
No. I wrote, like, six more books last year than I had planned. It didn’t really change anything for me. Keep in mind where I live. I live in the center of Alaska. I have almost no contact with humanity as it is, so not being able to have contact with humanity when I don’t already. All it did was save me a lot of travel and saved a lot of money on travel and allowed me to produce extra books. So. Yeah, last year was a huge, huge year for me from financial perspectiv

[00:27:10.570] – Alan Petersen
I seen the pictures you’ve posted on the Northern Lights, like, right from your driveway, right. It’s just amazing.

[00:27:16.550] – Craig Martelle
Yeah. We live outside the city. We live about 10 miles outside Fairbanks, so we don’t have any light pollution. And when you have a clear sky, sometimes you get great shows.

[00:27:26.370] – Alan Petersen
Is it curious to know the 2021 conference is over? Do you start right away now working already for next year, or do you get a little break at all?

[00:27:39.040] – Craig Martelle
I started last year. You have to reserve a hotel and get things moving. You have to start at least two years early.

[00:27:48.250] – Alan Petersen

[00:27:49.200] – Craig Martelle
So 2023 and 2024. We’ve already locked in the dates. I haven’t signed the contracts yet, but I was assured that we have our dates that we asked for. No, I’ve already started. I already have everything set up for 2022. The registration on January 8, but I already have everything in place. 100% of what we need is in place. And I have a full time employee for next year for nothing but 20Books Vegas to take some of the pressure off me as we come down the home stretch.

[00:28:17.900] – Alan Petersen
Yeah. Because I remember, like, the first one. You were basically almost doing everything on your own that first year. That was kind of crazy.

[00:28:24.650] – Craig Martelle
Yeah, it was all me, and that was tough, but we only had, like, 400 people.

[00:28:30.700] – Alan Petersen
Yeah. How many ended up attending this year?

[00:28:33.900] – Craig Martelle
We had just under 1,400 hundred show up. We had 1750 registered. Not too bad. We didn’t have too many people bail out at the last minute.

[00:28:43.020] – Alan Petersen
Yes, that’s great. That’s awesome. I highly recommend writers to check it out and even the readers because you have the signing event, which is awesome. I didn’t have a table, but I went to check it out and really great the set up and the people that were there

[00:28:58.320] – Craig Martelle
on November 18 we’ll have an author signing event again.

[00:29:02.730] – Alan Petersen
Wow. Yeah. Because that was amazing. People really went all out with their tables and their set up. So. Yeah, it was pretty amazing to see that pretty cool.

[00:29:10.170] – Craig Martelle
And it will be next year as well.

[00:29:12.300] – Alan Petersen
That’s a little bit about advice in writing, but what other advice do you have for aspiring writers out there who are trying to get their act together?

[00:29:20.150] – Craig Martelle
Finish it. Finish the book. If you start one, don’t have a shiny object syndrome and have a bunch of half finished books, you have to finish a book to understand the entire process

[00:29:32.310] – Alan Petersen
And what’s next for you and Ian Bragg.

[00:29:35.830] – Craig Martelle
Actually, I hate to admit it, but I do not have an idea for Ian Bragg five. I hope that comes to me over the next six months, but I’ll probably publish an Ian Bragg book either in the summer or in the fall next year. So it’ll be a while in between the books, but that’s where I need to work on my marketing. Get that first book, get those first four into more people’s hands.

[00:29:58.650] – Alan Petersen
Do you find a lot of difference between writing, like when you’re writing a space opera or scifi versus a thriller. Is it like a different mindset for you or is it the process is the same?

[00:30:07.780] – Craig Martelle
The process is pretty much the same. It’s all about the characters and the character interactions. Once you have the character in mind and their mannerisms and their foibles, then you can put that to action to solve a problem. It’s all about conflict and resolution. Keep the plot moving forward with conflict resolution in each scene, and the conflict doesn’t have to be a fight. It could be anything where there’s an engagement.

[00:30:34.550] – Alan Petersen
All right, for the listener. It’s a great place to learn more about you and learn more about your books. To be at your website, .CraigMartelle.com

[00:30:42.360] – Craig Martelle
It is CraigMartelle.Com

[00:30:44.400] – Alan Petersen
I highly recommend also for the listeners, the aspiring writers or not only aspiring, even if you’ve published just to check out your nonfiction books. Because those are fantastic. Those books that you put out for indie authors.

[00:30:55.270] – Craig Martelle
Oh, you bet. Successful indie authors series.

[00:30:57.740] – Alan Petersen
Do you enjoy writing the non fiction? Is it really different from writing fiction?

[00:31:00.720] – Craig Martelle
Oh, no. I put those books together to save myself time. I got an awful lot of questions, and I found myself answering the same questions over and over. So I wrote the books to help answer those questions, pricing strategies, belief strategies, how to become successful in the author, write compelling fiction. And then the final one is collaborations.

[00:31:23.870] – Alan Petersen
Oh, yeah, because you do a lot of collaborations, and I’ve never done that before. Is that something that is it harder to do or you already have the system down? Can you tell us a little bit about that process?

[00:31:34.880] – Craig Martelle
I have fired over 50 collaborators, so it’s a very challenging process to get right and make sure that you have the right collaborator, the person who’s writing with you, who helps make you better and helps the process be better. And they could still be a new author. But their engagement and the way they approach writing is what matters most. So getting there, having a good plot, having good characters and a synergy. So, yes, I collaborate a fair bit, but very selective. You can’t solicit and say, hey, I want to collaborate with you. That’s not how it works, too. You put in a lot of great anthologies out there, and I know that you go through a very rigorous process to be able to join one of your anthologies. Are those fun to put together?

[00:32:20.910] – Alan Petersen
Do you have an anthologies plan coming up here?

[00:32:23.970] – Craig Martelle
I actually don’t. I might do another the Expanding Universe anthology, science Fiction. And that would be the 8th one in that series. They’re difficult, they’re time consuming to put together. But the reward of who gets in, I think, is worth it because we all get to work together to market, promote, read each other’s work. And I think people get a better look at the wider industry than just writing and marketing their own stuff.

[00:33:02.260] – Alan Petersen
You have a lot of irons in the fire. Very impressed. I get tired just listening to your schedule.

[00:33:08.270] – Craig Martelle
Thanks. It’s not one for normal people or healthy. Don’t do what I do. All right.

[00:33:15.750] – Alan Petersen
Craig, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Really appreciate it.

[00:33:18.740] – Craig Martelle
All right. Thanks a lot. Alan. I really appreciate being on your show.

About the Author
I write thriller and crime fiction novels and host the Meet the Thriller Author podcast where I interview authors of mystery, thriller, and suspense books.

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