Home > NewsRelease > In Conversation With Marty Essen Whose Recent Book Hits, Heathens, and Hippos: Stories from an Agent, Activist, and Adventurer Has Just Been Published
In Conversation With Marty Essen Whose Recent Book Hits, Heathens, and Hippos: Stories from an Agent, Activist, and Adventurer Has Just Been Published
Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Saturday, August 21, 2021


Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest Marty Essen whose latest book, Hits, Heathens andHippos has recently been published.

Marty Essen began writingprofessionally in the 1990s as a features writer for Gig Magazine. 

His first book, CoolCreatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents, wonseveral national awards, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribunenamed it a “Top Ten Green Book.”

Marty's second book,Endangered Edens: Exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,Costa Rica, the Everglades, and Puerto Rico, won four nationalawards.

His novels, Time IsIrreverent, Time Is Irreverent 2: Jesus Christ, Not Again! and TimeIs Irreverent 3: Gone for 16 Seconds are all Amazon #1Best-Sellers in Political Humor. Hits, Heathens, and Hippos isMarty's sixth book, and like all of his books, it reflects his valuesof protecting human rights and the environment—and does so with awry sense of humor.

Marty is also a popularcollege speaker, who has performed the stage-show version of CoolCreatures, Hot Planet on hundreds of college campuses.

Good day Marty and thanksfor taking part in our interview.

Norm: What has beenyour greatest challenge (professionally) that you’ve overcome ingetting to where you’re at today?

Marty: I’m not the kindof author that can write for the market and crank out thrillers orromance novels. Instead, I write to change the world. Or, morerealistically, change a small corner of the world.

Since my values includeprotecting the environment and human rights, I sometimes rub certainpeople the wrong way.

Where I am, in the UnitedStates, I have to be careful to whom I market my books to. If Imarket too broadly, I will get angry one-star reviews fromTrump-supporters and conservative Christians for putting my politicsinto “their book.”

And this happens despiteme openly warning potential readers that I’m a liberal author, andthat if they find such values offensive they should seek outsomething else to read. To overcome that challenge, I’ve really hadto hone my book-marketing skills.

Norm: At one time youwere a music talent agent. What does a music talent agent do and howdo you become one?

Marty: I was both an agentand a manager. As an agent, I would get the bands I represented gigsin nightclubs, fairs, festivals, and concert venues. As a manager, Iwould handle their entire careers, from their visual image tochoreographing their shows to their press and publicity.

As for how to become anagent or a manager: Some colleges offer talent agent/managementdegrees.

But In my case, I wasworking as Minnesota’s youngest DJ, at KQDS-FM in Duluth, and thegeneral manager there had previously been the manager for Tommy Jamesand the Shondells and the U.S. agent for The Who.

We became friends, andwhen he got fired from the radio station, I talked him into taking meon as a partner and opening a new, Minneapolis-based, talentmanagement agency. Essentially, I was able to learn on-the-job fromone of the best in the business.

Norm: Where did youdiscover ‘new’ artists for your roster?

Marty: I used to hit thenightclubs, looking for talent. Also, after my business partner and Isplit up, I formed my own agency, and became known in the industry.At that point musicians and bands would seek me out—usually with ademo in the mail.

Norm:  How muchimpact can a bands online profile (social media, website, etc) haveon the success of a tour?

Marty: It’s been a whilesince I was in the music business, but as a lifelong music lover, Iknow that the bands I listen to and see in concert are very strong onsocial media.

Norm: When talking withpromoters, what sort of ‘news’ (ie album release, award, presspiece, etc) helps you get them interested?

Marty: Albums, awards, andpress all help, but mainly promoters are interested in one thing:“Will the act fill the house?”

Norm: How has theInternet, if any, changed the business of a music talent agent?

Marty: I think it’s agood news/bad news situation. The good news is that the internet hasmade worldwide communications much easier. The bad news is thatdigital downloads and streaming take a huge bite out of album sales,which, of course, a manager gets a cut of.

Now live shows are morethan important than ever.

Norm: What do you thinkis the future of reading/writing?

Marty: I think the majorpublishing companies will get even less creative than they are nowand pretty much cater exclusively to celebrity clients. As a result,more and more talented and creative writers will publishindependently.

Norm: Do you thinkabout your reading public when you write? Do you imagine a specificreader when you write?

Marty: I don’t imagine aspecific reader when I write, but I certainly think about readers ingeneral. “Will this make them laugh? Will this make them angry?Will this make them cry? Will this make them care?” That sort ofthing.

Norm: Do you write moreby logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Pleasesummarize your writing process. 

Marty: I write bothnonfiction and fiction, so it depends on what kind of book I’mwriting at the time. Nonfiction is easier, because I’m writingabout something that has already happened.

Fiction is harder, becauseI’m writing about something that only happens in my brain. Otherthan having a general idea of where I want the story to go, I don’tplot out my novels ahead of time.

Sometimes I feel as if mycharacters take over my fingers and type the story for me. Forinstance, in my first time travel novel, Time Is Irreverent, Iplanned for snarky lesbian Nellie Dixon to die in a timeline change,but my characters wouldn’t let her go—she was just too much fun.Somehow they figured out how to save her without a deus ex machina,and Nellie is now the lead female protagonist in the series.

Norm What do you thinkmost characterizes your writing?

Marty: Passionate beliefin what I am creating.

Norm: Could you tellour readers something about your most recent book, Hits, Heathensand Hippos: Stories from an Agent, Activist, and Adventurer?

Marty: With my latestbook, I’ve returned to nonfiction. People often tell me that I’velived an unusual life, and that they wish they could do what I havedone, so I wrote a book that reflects that—with both stories andadvice.

Norm: Where did thetitle come from?

Marty: In addition tobeing a talent manager, I was also a mediocre baseball player and theowner of an amateur baseball league. The word “hits” comes fromboth the music business and baseball. “Heathens” comes from mygrowing up with an over-the-top Christian father, who unwittinglypushed me in the opposite direction.

Hippos” comes from mywife and me being among the few people to survive a hippo attack. Thehippo bit through the middle of our canoe and lifted us six feet intothe air! “Agent, Activist, and Adventurer” further describe mylife.

Norm: How did youbecome involved with the subject or theme of your book?

Marty: It’s about mylife—so I lived it.

Norm: What were yourgoals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel youachieved them? 

Marty: I’m not a majortelevision celebrity, so I had to work harder than most to write amemoir that people would enjoy.

I think my major goalswere to make people laugh at my stories, ooh and aah at theadventures, and when they finished reading, realize just how muchthey learned.

And by learning, I meannot only about my life, but also how to run businesses, write books,and, in general, be successful at whatever they want to do.

Norm: What was the mostdifficult part of writing this book and what did you enjoy most aboutwriting this book?  

Marty: The most difficultpart was sharing personal events and private thoughts that weren’talways flattering. The most enjoyable part was all the memories thatcame flooding back as I wrote.

Norm: Where can ourreaders find out more about you and Hits, Heathens and Hippos?

Marty: Since Hits,Heathens, and Hippos is a memoir, it’s naturally a great placeto learn about me. That, and my WEBSITE,

All of my books, whetherin paperback, e-book, or audiobook formats, are available onvirtually every internet bookseller website.

Local bookstores can alsoeasily order the paperbacks, if they don’t already have them instock.

Norm:  As thisinterview comes to an end, if you could change one thing about theworld what would it be? How would it change you?

Marty: My novel TimeIs Irreverent reflects exactly how I would change the world—if timetravel existed. Since time travel doesn’t exist, if I could changethe world in some other way, I’d make it so everyone based theirlives and their politics on actual facts.

As for how that wouldchange me: I would no longer be frustrated with the damage to theenvironment and human rights caused by ideologies devoid of facts.Conversely, if that happened, I’d have much less to write about.

Norm: Thanks once againand good luck with all of your future endeavors.

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Norm Goldman
Title: Book Reviewer
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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