Tag Archives: Kristin Battestella

Biggest Mistakes New Writers Make #5 Giving up too soon

This is the last post on “Biggest Mistakes, and I think it is the most important.  Take a deep breath, and read slowly and carefully.

At a recent NJ Author’s talk on “Getting Published” (scroll down below for the list of authors), the authors discussed the biggest mistakes they think new writers make.

This is really important, because the temptation to take the “easy road” is there, blinking and coaxing every day.

Don’t throw your novel out to self-publishing if you are not ready.

I’m going to say it again.

Don’t throw your novel out to self-publishing if you are not ready. 

Say that line over a few times.  Make it stick in your head, then continue…

I have a friend who actually did “go through the motions”  They put their novel out there, and were getting rejections.  They then decided it might be a good idea to get some beta readers. (Okay, they did that part in the wrong order, but at least they realized what they did)  After about ten or so beta reads, they came across me.

“The barracuda” attacked with reckless abandon.  (As nice as I could possibly be, of course) I knew EXACTLY why this wonderful, elaborate very imaginative story was not being published… I explained over and over in great detail.  They revised, but only slightly.  They did not want to ruin their “artistic integrity”.

That book is now self-published… with exactly the same beginning that I ripped to heck and back.  I feel horrible about it.  It is not selling.  Now… that is not to say that I’m always right.  I can be wrong.  This time, I wish I was.

Remember:  Most e-book channels let you read the first few pages just like if you are in a bookstore.  The first few pages of this novel are BORING.

Is it a great story?  YES.  Is it original?  YES.  Did the author make all the mistakes noted in the “biggest mistakes”?  Unfortunately, YES.  (Sorry BK)  I dearly, dearly hope I am wrong, because this is a great story, and they put a lot of work into their baby.  Right now, my heart is sinking over it.

If one person tells you something you do not want to hear.  Consider it.  If two people say something, think hard about it.  If three or more people say the same thing, suck it up and admit you are wrong.

Try to get a publisher first, and try long and hard.  Don’t put out something sub-standard just because you are in a rush or afraid of the process, or don’t agree with the feedback.  That first novel can haunt you for the rest of your life… and you never know, you just might end up with a “Gold Mine Manuscript” rejection that will change your outlook completely, if you are open enough to their suggestions.

Is self-publishing okay?  Sure.  For some authors.

Just Please Please Please make sure you are ready.  I have read quite a few self-published novels that were not ready.  It’s a shame, because I would be hesitant to take a chance on another novel by any of these authors.

If you do self-publish, AND YOU HAVE TAKEN THE STEPS TO BE SURE YOU ARE READY, check out Daniel Ottalini’s blog for a great checklist to make sure you follow through to give your novel a chance.

Jonathan Maberry: www.Jonathanmaberry.com

Mike McPhail: www.mcp-concepts.com

Danielle Ackley-McPhail: www.sidhenadaire.com

Jon Gibbs: www.acatofninetales.com

Jennifer R. Hubbard: www.jenniferhubbard.com

Kristin Battestella: www.jsnouff.com/kristin


Guest Post: Writing Inspiration and Creativity By Kristin Battestella

Writing is youth.  It isn’t outside the box.  Stop thinking about all that advice that says break the rules, twist the genre, create something no one has ever created before!  Get rid of all those ultimatums in your head and actually do it.  Open that Toy Box!

Writing in many ways is play-acting.  You are creating an imaginative world. Even if you describe a real world setting that you know intimately,  one must put a spin on the senses, invoke feelings, and let strangers reading your books know what it is like to be here or there ten, fifty, one hundred years from now.  How can you do that if you simply sit at your desk, K-cups, internet and all? Even when writing a completely serious decidedly non-childlike manuscript, you should behave in a child like manner during the initial writing composition.  Return to your youthful memories, sense of wonder, and life altering experiences to make your paper world come to life.

Does your character hate au gratin potatoes and fish sticks because you yourself had horrible experiences with gross cheese clumps and limp, pasty fish?  Write it down!  It’s not dumb.  Never think anything you write is too dumb.  So long as it says something important about the character’s mind and personality or motivations in your text, any quirk or mannerism that creates a fully developed person and reader embodiment is a good thing!

And speaking of embodiment, how can you expect readers to inhabit your work if you don’t do so yourself?  I’m not saying you have to kill someone for your horror or sleep with many people for your erotica, but finding ways to experience the times, places, thoughts, and feelings of your characters and manuscript environment should be paramount.  How do you know if your character hates corsets unless you try one on yourself?  Maybe she-or he!- actually finds them quite comfortable because you went to a fancy lingerie store and got fitted yourself.  And hey, check out those adult shops to spice up that erotica or use Weird NJ as your roadmap to creepy or notorious places.  And what do you do with all these newfound experiences of yours? Write them down!

It’s all fine and dandy to write with a quill on antique paper as your players may have done. Dress up like them before the pc, even!  Don’t scoff. Just ask yourself, ‘Why not?’ Try wearing a wig in your character’s style to the grocery store and see what happens.  Do your neighbors already think you’re a whirlwind of fun? Or will you surprise someone, maybe even yourself?

Use the physical freedoms and whimsy already about you to free your mind and imagination.  After a seemingly drastic character embodiment experiment, it becomes easier to find your story sources in everyday things.  Can you fit in your kitchen in a hoop skirt? Would your glamorous blonde ever do the laundry?  Open yourself to creative foreplay and experiences for a magical writing experience!