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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Apr 13, 2018

Stark Reflections Episode 16 – Crowd-Funding and Audience Engagement with Natasha Bajema

Mark interviews Natasha Bajema, a fiction author who lives in Washington, D.C. and has been an expert on national security issues for over 18 years, specializing in weapons of mass destruction (WMD), nuclear proliferation, terrorism and emerging technologies.

In the introduction, Mark performs a Terrible Tongue Twister, sponsored by Findaway Voices and also goes off on a rant about how much time and energy authors waste worrying about Amazon’s latest “scandal.”

In the interview, Mark and Natasha discuss:

  • Natasha’s background working for the United States Department of Defence in National Security for 18 years, specializing in Weapons of Mass Destruction and how recent research into emerging technologies has inspired some of the concepts in her new trilogy
  • The original nuclear conspiracy trilogy she had originally been working on before she followed a whim to pursue the ideas behind the novel Bionic Bug
  • The challenge that a new writer faces when attempting to build up their audience and how Natasha faced that fear of “publishing to crickets” by engaging in crowd funding
  • Nanowrimo and the roll it has played in her life as a writer
  • The conversation Natasha had with Mark at the Smarter Artist Summit in Austin in the spring of 2017, and how that chat played a role in the turning point she was stuck at
  • The Kickstarter Project that Natasha launched and her reasoning behind it
  • The decision behind various rewards offered, including the “uber” limited edition idea Natasha was inspired about from listening to Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn podcast
  • Where in her life as a full-time employee she finds/makes the time to write (which works out to about 10 hours per week)
  • The book launch party at Wicked Bloom (an actual setting from a scene early in BIONIC BUG) taking place on April 18th and how she is dealing with that as an introvert
  • Why Natasha is publishing the book, as part of a soft launch strategy, only on Kobo and the five-star reviews the book has already received there
  • Why Natasha is going to wait much longer before releasing the books on Amazon
  • The difficulty putting aside a huge passion project Natasha had been investing in (at least emotionally) since 2010 in order to pursue the BIONIC BUG trilogy
  • The importance of patience and discipline in Natasha’s long-term strategy as an author, and the family traits that she believes she inherited
  • Natasha’s passion with the intersection of what is technologically possible and what society will accept and adopt (such as wondering whether or not Americans will ever accept a technology like self-driving cars)
  • The love Natasha has for the works of Michael Crichton and similar styled techno-thrillers that rely on speculation about near real-time science and technology
  • Natasha’s new podcast where she will be talking about emerging technologies similar to the things that she likes to write about and then include an excerpt from her novel as well as insights into the inspiration behind the writing of that chapter

After the interview, Mark reflects on the importance of the investment that Natasha made into every single decision as she gathered information for her publishing journey and the choices she made related to not looking for short-term gain, but, instead, with a focus on the long-term strategy. He reflects on how this speaks directly to advice he admires from an author friend, James A. Owen, and shares a short audio clip from James’ Drawing Out The Dragons book that further illustrates this point.

Mark speculates that Natasha’s diligence and patience are going to lead to a greater long term success as an author and applauds her for taking this important and difficult long-term view.



Links of Interest:

Natasha’s website

Natasha’s WICKED BLOOM Podcast

James A Owen’s website

James A Owen’s Drawing Out the Dragons

Findaway Voices