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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Aug 21, 2020

In this episode Mark interviews Russell Nohelty about writing scripts, comics, novels, editing, publishing, and his work optimizing Kickstarter campaigns to raise revenue and connect with fans.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a word about this episode's sponsor, Findaway Voices.

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

Mark then shares comments from recent episodes and a personal update.


In their conversation, Mark and Russell talk about:

  • How Russell got into writing because he was never told he couldn't pursue the things he was interested in doing
  • Russell's high school work in theatre, writing and working on plays; taking broadcast journalism in college, and his experiences writing and shooting his own short films
  • How getting into a car accident and being unable to do the full film production tasks (except for writing), that funneled Russell into focusing on writing - one of the only things he could do while recovering
  • Being re-introduced to comics after a long hiatus of not reading them
  • How writing and creating comics led to novels and Russell's production company
  • The difference between writing a movie script and a comic script
  • The difference between writing comics and writing novels
  • How comic writers and comic artists connect and collaborate
  • The significant cost involved in indie comic publishing (especially when compared to indie novel publishing)
  • The long term sales Russell has seen selling indie comics - ie, with strong and ongoing backlist sales
  • How Russell's production company started because he wasn't impressed with some of the other companies he'd been working with
  • The origin of the name Wannabe Press
  • Two of the main "norms" in indie comic publishing: Doing Comic-Cons and doing Kickstaters
  • How it's a lot easier to make the couple of thousand dollars needed to ensure a novel pays off on Kickstarter (with the average spend being between $25 and $30 for about 100 people) - which leads to $3000. As opposed to having to sell 1000 copies of a low priced eBook to earn the same amount.
  • One of the great things about Kickstarter is the access you have, after a campaign funds, to the community that supported you
  • How, in a little over 6 months, Russell has raised over $50,000 from three different Kickstarter campaigns with no advertising spend
  • Messaging daily about his Kickstarter campaigns, and how Russell has never received complaints from people who are actually supporting him and buying his books - he only receives complaints from those who AREN'T buying.
  • The importance of building and leveraging a community before you launch a Kickstarter campaign
  • The fact that many thousands of people buy Russell's books, but a much smaller number of people actually help him create those books in the first place
  • How, on Kickstarter, people aren't just buying your book, they are investing in you as a creator and artist they believe in
  • The most common and blatant errors that people make on Kickstarter
  • The importance of starting with the WHY in your Kickstarter campaigns
  • Why you should always have something that people can download immediately
  • The value of always having something that people can offer just a single dollar
  • And more . . .

After the interview, Mark reflects on Russell's comment that earning $500 on a Kickstarter might look like a failure, but it's actually a huge success, especially when compared to the typical results of the average book selling on the major retail platforms.

Links of Interest:


Russell Nohelty is a USA Today Bestselling author and publisher at Wannabe Press. He’s written comic books like Katrina Hates the Dead, Ichabod Jones: Monster Hunter, and Pixie Dust, along with more than a dozen novels, including his Godsverse Chronicles. He also edits the Cthulhu is Hard to Spell anthology series. He has raised over $180,000 on Kickstarter across 12 projects, and has a very entertaining newsletter, which you can join at and get a few of his books for free. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and dogs.

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