Interview with Author Craig Martelle, founder of Independent Alliance of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors
By Adam Messer
The Independent Alliance of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors, IASFA, offers science fiction and fantasy indie authors an infinity premise of professionalism to hone their craft of writing. Author Craig Martelle founded the organization with the goal in mind to share resources and best practices with Indie Authors to help foster professionalism and learn key skills to become self sufficient. The only requirement to join as a member is one must have an Amazon author page. He also started a Facebook group for people to join.
Please talk about why you decided to create IASFA.
Martelle: I wanted a professional organization that helped its members be more professional, as in be self-sufficient as authors. Such an organization didn’t exist. I’ve been a member of a few and they dive deep into certain issues, but one thing they consistently didn’t do, was provide any insight into selling books. My idea of a professional is one who makes money in the business.
What is IASFA’s vision and mission?
Martelle: It’s two-fold. Help authors realize a higher level of professionalism through writing great stories that sell. “Great stories” is a term defined by readers who are willing to pay money for them. This does not mean you have to write what you don’t like (that’s too much like real work), but it does mean finding a target audience where you may have to wicker what you write to meet their desires.
What can authors experience by joining the organization? Who should join?
Martelle: I set the minimum standard to join of having an Amazon author page. If you’ve been able to finish and publish a book/story, then the conversation and discussion is a little more advanced than “How do I write a book?” I want people to have gone through the process of writing and publishing before joining. Also, understand that we already have members who are making mid six-figures a year. So to accommodate all, we will have all levels of discussion and our newsletters and readership will filter out the good from the mediocre. Not everyone gets a career in writing, but everyone can get the same chance.
What would you like to see for IASFA five years from now? Ten? In the year 3,000?
Martelle: In five years, I want to see success stories where part-time authors have fleeted up to full-time, where full-timers expand and grow. I want to see camaraderie of success as defined by happy fans. I don’t want to see drama because that doesn’t sell books. It is inevitably because of egos and envy, which we can minimize because of consistent application of basic principles and our founding principle of No Awards. The big award is the revenue one earns from their writing. In ten? We’ll see what five years brings first. In 3000? I’ll let others prognosticate that.
Please share an anecdote about your favorite childhood memory of what excited you about space and science fiction.
Martelle: Every year, we took our travel trailer from Iowa to Myrtle Beach over Memorial Day. My parents still go every year, some fifty years later. I didn’t much like the beach, so from early on, I’d sit in the trailer and read. When I was 12 or something like that, I wanted a post-apoc story with a man and his dog. I had read Andre Norton’s book called 2250 AD. A compelling book. My story was different, but I wrote one. I kept track because at that time, 30,000 words was the minimum size if one wanted to submit a story to Daw for publication. So that’s what I did. I wrote a book that was more than 30k words. And received my first rejection letters from all the publishing houses of the time 🙂
Who are some of your favorite authors and books?
Martelle: McCaffrey, Clarke, Howard, Norton, Heinlein, Lackey, Weis, and too many other old schoolers. I won’t listen indie authors that I read as I don’t want to be accused of favoritism, but if you watch me, I’ll promote their books when they run a sale. I’m also a huge fan of DC Fontana and her work with Gene Roddenberry to realize his vision for Star Trek (the original series). They did the best job at discussing social issues without preaching. They made it safe to talk about uncomfortable things (I’m a child of the 60s, so that’s my history).
Can you share your experience of some of the best practices you have learned as an author?
Martelle: The single greatest best practice for me is writing every day. You can’t sell what you don’t have. You can’t edit a blank page. You can’t improve your writing if you aren’t writing (or practice makes better).
You have written a series of Indie Author and Publishing books, as well as volunteer your time helping the indie author community. Please talk about the reason why you decided to give back, and how you continue to find new ways to offer help.
Martelle: I served more than twenty years in the Marine Corps through a number of different wars and turbulent times. I did things that no one should have to do. I give back for my own conscience.
Do you have anything else you would like to share?
Martelle: I love me some Sci-Fi 🙂
Adam Messer is a journalist for the Savannah Morning News and was not paid or endorsed for this interview.