Fairbanks author Craig Martelle merges business sense and creativity to self-publish bestselling books

Martelle utilized his business experience to streamline his publishing. (Ramzi Abou...
Martelle utilized his business experience to streamline his publishing. (Ramzi Abou Ghalioum/KTVF/Craig Martelle) (KTVF)
Published: Feb. 20, 2020 at 3:34 PM AKST
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It would have been hard to tell, looking at his first two careers, how Craig Martelle would pivot at age 52 and begin writing science-fiction action novels.

“I retired from the Marine Corps then I decided I needed to grow up and do something with my life,” says Martelle, grinning. “So I went into law school, earned my law degree, then I went into business consulting as a lawyer and worked with Fortune 100 Companies for 7 years but I was gone for half my life.”

“And then I retired from that and decided it was time to write that book I always wanted to write,” he concludes.

“It took me 61 days to write that first book, and after that it took 28 days, and then generally about a month because that’s all I was doing,” Martelle says, explaining that he likes to write material that is easier to read, flows quickly, and contains a lot of action.

He also likes to write quickly. “I shoot for 2,700 [words per day],” Martelle shares. “I have to say, the last ten days I’ve been trying to get this one book done and I’ve averaged 3,200 word a day.”

Martelle explains that this streamlined approach to writing actually comes from his previous work in the business world. “When I worked business consulting, process improvement was one of the major things that we did,” he says.

Martelle explains that this involved examining a production process and figuring out how to streamline it for efficiency. “So, I looked at it from the creative side and also the business side and I saw [writing] as the perfect culmination to all of my careers.”

“I was always gonna publish online,” Martelle says, responding to the challenges of publishing out of Fairbanks, Alaska. He shares a story about receiving rejection letters from a number of publishers for a book he wrote when he was thirteen. “52 years old, guess what? I’m not gonna get any more rejection letters, I was gonna self-publish.”

Martelle decided to self-publish using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service. He describes the process which involved commissioning cover art for the book, writing a blurb, and coming up with key words. “Less than a month ago was my 4 year anniversary of publishing my first book.”

Now, Martelle has written hundreds of books, many of which have ended up on bestseller lists. Currently, his passion for writing runs parallel to another of his passions: philanthropy. “I run a group called 20BooksTo50K all about the business of being a self-published author,” says Martelle. “It’s mostly about removing those obstacles that keep most artistic types away,” he explains. “The business part isn’t that hard.”

The group holds conferences and is meeting in Las Vegas this week.

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