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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Sep 17, 2021

Mark interviews Marty Essen, the author of several non-fiction and fiction titles, and a much sought after public speaker.

Prior to the main content, Mark thanks Patrons to the podcast, shares comments from recent episodes, a personal update, and a word about this episode's sponsor.

This episode is sponsored by Findaway Voices.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

In their conversation, Mark and Marty talk about:

  • How Marty's first book tour experience evolved into compelling storytelling rather than dry readings from his book
  • Differences involved in moving from writing short articles for newspapers and magazines to writing a book
  • The eye opening experience of working with an editor
  • Winning an award at Book Expo America in NYC
  • Marty's experience working at radio stations
  • The newspaper interview that resulted in being invited to write an article about his Amazon Rainforest exploration
  • How Marty's show is a pre-scripted show that is exactly the same. Why he does that and how he keeps himself motivated repeatedly delivering the same content
  • The research Marty does in terms of researching colleges to pitch to for his talks
  • How this work resulted in Marty representing other talents through his company/agency (Encante Entertainment)
  • A tip Marty has used to combat stage fright
  • Doing virtual talks during the pandemic and the pros and cons of that
  • How Marty found his first editor and deciding to self-publish
  • The two different covers on one of his books
  • Setting up distribution through Midpoint Trade
  • The huge number of print copies that Marty has sold in print
  • Doing full color printing for a recent book that required using a printer in China to keep the costs down
  • How a common theme in all of Marty's books are about protecting the environment and protecting human rights
  • Marty's experience at writing and releasing three novels (satirical science-fiction/political)
  • An idea Marty has for a Kickstarter style project
  • And more...
After the interview, Mark reflects on the idea of turning a weakness into a strength, and the idea of authenticity in scripted/rehearsed performance.

Links of Interest:

Marty Essen began writing professionally in the 1990s as a features writer for Gig Magazine. His first book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents, won six national awards, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune named it a "Top Ten Green Book."

His second book, Endangered Edens: Exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica, the Everglades, and Puerto Rico, won four national awards.

His novels, Time Is Irreverent, Time Is Irreverent 2: Jesus Christ, Not Again! and Time Is Irreverent 3: Gone for 16 Seconds, have all received rave reviews.

Hits, Heathens, and Hippos is Marty's sixth book, and like all of his books, it reflects his values of protecting human rights and the environment—and does so with a wry sense of humor.

Marty is also a popular college speaker, who has performed the stage-show version of Cool Creatures, Hot Planet on hundreds of campuses in forty-five states.


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0