On Episode 35 of the Writer’s Way, I chat with aspiring author Nathan Bateman about his plan to published journey! Come back next week for part 2!
Joining me for the first time? Start at the beginning HERE!
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RESOURCES We Talk About!
Link to the FREE Sucky or Stupendous Course
Link to the Profitable Picture Books: 30 Day Action Plan
Nervous Yet Excited to Get Started!
Announcer: Welcome to The Writer’s Way podcast, where we celebrate writers who have completed their books and inspire writers who haven’t. Join Laurie and her guests as they talk about writing, books, and life in between chapters.
Laurie: Hey everybody, welcome to this super exciting episode of the Writer’s Way Podcast. I’m Laurie Wright, and I’m here with Nathan Bateman. Welcome Nathan.
Nathan: Hey, how’s it going? Thanks for having me.
Laurie: You’re welcome. I’m super excited about this because Nathan has agreed to be a bit of a guinea pig with me. Here’s what I’ve been thinking lately. Lately I’ve been thinking that we need to watch someone’s journey from idea to published so that all of you out there who watch and who listen can see that it is doable, it is viable, and that there’s other people out there who think just like you. They’re worried, they’re nervous, is the idea good? Where do you start? How do you get an illustrator? All that stuff. So we’re going to walk through the process with Nathan. We’re gonna check in with him about once a week and share what he’s doing with you. So he’s agreed to do this, all the ups, all the downs, all the emotions for good, for bad, for worse. And I’m super excited about it ’cause I think it will really help people out there, Nathan. So thank you, thank you.
Nathan: No prob, I’m really excited. Yeah, all of what you said is true. It’s a little overwhelming, a little nerve wracking, but it’s exciting and I’m excited to start doing this, so.
Laurie: Cool, thank you. I’m curious how long the whole thing will take. We’ll see.
Nathan: Yeah, hopefully fast.
A Little Bit About Nathan
Laurie: Hopefully fast, yeah. Okay, so let’s start with you just introducing yourself. Tell us who you are, what you do, all that kind of stuff about you.
Nathan: Sounds good, okay. So my name is Nathan Bateman. I’m married, father of three. Currently right now I am a youth and family support worker. So I work a lot with foster children and with their parents and supervising meetings, trying to make plans to help children get back to their families, and yeah, work with them to create safe environments it’s fun, I enjoy it. A little background about me, I haven’t always worked in that industry. I first started in construction for a long time. So did construction for a few years and then had some cancer so I needed to take a break from doing construction work. And then after that my wife and I sat down and we started talking about directions that we could go for a career. And so I’ve always enjoyed working with children. I volunteer quite a bit through Cubs and through church programs, and so I’ve always been around children. I enjoy interacting with them. I enjoy talking with them. Their level of humor and communication suits me perfectly. So that’s good in that regard. And so when we were talking about work, this family support and youth support work came up, and it was a really good idea and it was a good job and I’m still currently doing it and still enjoy it. And then my oldest son was, or he is on a soccer team, and that’s where I met Laurie. And we started talking, and actually my wife was talking with Laurie and found out about her being an author and how she had learned to self publish and do all the hard work on her own. And then she, Rory was talking to Laurie about, you know, I have ideas, I’d always wanted to write a book. I tell the children lots of stories, they’re always laughing, so, with that I talked to Laurie as well. And I know talking with you has helped me say, “You know what, I would like to write a book.” And that’s kind of paved the way for where we are now. I’ve got ideas in my head but I don’t have anything concrete and I don’t even know where to begin and how to do it.
Were you always creative?
Laurie: Perfect. You’re the perfect guinea pig. Now you’ve always loved kids, you love hanging out with them. You share a similar sense of humor . Were you always a creative person? Like, even though you were working construction and that, did you always feel you were creative? Like are you somebody with journals full of stories? Or not so much?
Nathan: Not so much in my adult life. As a kid I remember writing stories that were good. And I remember a couple of my teachers would want them published in the school newspaper. They’d always put out something, and this was in elementary school. I’ve always had a love of stories and reading and I feel like my imagination is pretty good. I can read and imagine things in my mind. And I think by using that imagination and kind of putting it down to a children’s level has really helped me. I feel like I understand kids really well. I connect with them. We have a lot of fun. And so my adult imagination, bring it down to a children’s level, and then all of us can have fun at the same level.
Laurie: I love it.
Is this a bucket list item?
Laurie: And so the idea of writing the book sort of started when you met me. So you’re not somebody who’s been years sort of bucket list item you would say?
Nathan: No, definitely not a bucket list item. I think that I’ve had stories in my head. I’ve actually written some adult stories, not complete. I’ve had outlines and stuff that I’ve done and just kind of talked to my wife about it, and sometimes she’ll laugh at them. Sometimes she loves them. But I’d say the creative portion is mostly when I sit down with my kids, and they’re in a funny mood, I’m in a funny mood, and so I come up with a story off the top of my head, and it ends up being a funny story and the kids are always like, “No, tell another one, tell another one.” And I’m like, “I don’t have any other ones, “I just made that up.”
Laurie: And I don’t even remember what I said.
Nathan: Exactly, sometimes I can’t. They tell me, oh yeah, you need to write that down. When are you making a book? And I’ve never really thought about it. It’s never been on my mind. It’s never been on my radar until I started talking with you, and then I’ve researched your books a lot, I’ve researched other people’s books a lot, and as I’ve delved into it and started to see it, then I’ve been like, you know what? This is actually kinda fun. It’s kind of exciting, and it would be cool to write a book, publish a book, and have my kids read it, have my parents read it, have my siblings read it, and just say, you know what, it’s a fun thing to do.
“Get a notebook and a pen and sit down with your kids.”
Laurie: Absolutely. I was just talking to somebody yesterday, and they asked me the question, “What’s the one thing you would tell people “to get started on this journey today?” and I said, “Get a notebook and a pen and sit down with your kids.” Because they have brilliant ideas that are wacky and wonderful. It’s not stuff that as adults, most of us anyway, would really think about. So I’ve gotten a ton of ideas from my kids. So I love it you say that, and that’s what sort of has sparked this whole thing. Talk to everybody a little bit about how you’re feeling. So right now, like we’re not faking it. You don’t have a book. It’s not ready to press publish. I don’t even know if you started writing it down or anything. But, so you can , so right, we’re all legit? So how are you feeling? So you know me, I’m gonna help you. We’re gonna walk through the process. So you have more help than a lot of people do. But, still I imagine there’s some nerves or hesitations.
Starting at Ground Zero
Nathan: For sure, so just so everybody else knows, I’m at, probably what I would consider ground zero. I have literally nothing concrete done at all. So everything that I have is right here in my head. I’ve got a few notes on my phone, and they’re bullet points. So you know, and I was thinking about this the other day and was talking with my wife Rory, and we were discussing you writing a book. And it’s just like, you have to do all the hard work. Trial and error on your own, listen to people, find resources, dig and dig and dig, and I’m sure it took a very long time. I am not very good at that, and I get really sidetracked when I’ve got to do all the legwork plus write the story. So that gets very overwhelming to me. I’m almost, not overwhelmed, but I find it very nerve wracking to say that I’m going to write a story even when I have a fully laid out program and somebody who’s basically tutoring me how to do it. I just have to come up with the story. So at that regard I am like, I feel unprepared. I feel I have nothing concrete. I don’t have anything written down. I need a plan. I need something to do. And my wife’s bought me a notebook and it’s sat in my bag for a little while. I’m not a big writer down, so I have lots of ideas in my head. I think about it at night. I think about it at work. And develop a small plan in my head, and then I’ve just kind of gotta go from there and get the next steps, so.
“Write for the garbage!”
Laurie: Okay, so is that where we should start? You wanna know, where do I start?
Nathan: Yes, exactly, what do I do with the ideas floating in my head?
Laurie: You know, you talked about they’re all in your head and you’re not really a notebook person. I’m a notebook person. I have like a hundred surrounding me right now in my high rise office. It’s not, it’s the mud room. But, so, what I tell a lot of people is if that’s not your style there’s, you get an app on your phone that will do voice to text translation and talk to your phone. But I think the first step, and you know, Stephen King writes this in his book for writers, the first step is to write your first draft. And I think tons of people, that’s their heart stop. They sit down and as soon as you sit down to get something done, nothing comes out. And that can be really hard for a lot of people. So anybody following along and you wanna work with Nathan and work along with it, your first step is write your first draft. And so Stephen King’s the one who says, write for the garbage, you know? So in other words expect it to be crap. A lot of people talk about, I think maybe it’s a quote from somebody, I don’t know who, but you can’t edit a blank page. So you can’t improve if you don’t actually write anything down. So the first step is to get something written down. Doesn’t matter if it’s bullet points or what. It’s just to get something written that’s story like. And then the next step will be doing the second draft and doing some editing and things like that.
Write a Morality Book or a Funny Book?
Nathan: That’s good and I feel like I’m at that stage. Also another thing I wanted to point out for people who are at my stage is that I’ve had a lot of conflicting ideas in my head. So a lot of the stories that I come up with, since they’re at a children’s level, they’re pretty much total nonsense. They are probably poor humor that adults are like, “No, we don’t wanna joke about farts” or whatever. So I have all these ideas and I’m like, you know, I would like, some of my best stories are like that. But I can also see those stories aren’t helpful. They aren’t, they don’t have a moral to the story or anything like that. And so part of me says, you know, I’d like to try and incorporate those funny points with something that actually provides moral for children because just writing a book that has no meaning and no purpose might be funny, but it might also be difficult to sell. And I think that’s another thing that I would like to point out, too, is that I’m not just writing a book just to write a book. I also would like it to be a successful book. And I’m hoping that by following the course that there is an element of success to it. Obviously I like that quote from Stephen King that you said, write for the garbage. I think that’s maybe the step that I’m at is I just need to start putting the pen to the paper, write my ideas down, try and form it into a story, and if it’s total garbage scrap it, improve it, whatever.
The Importance of Marketability
Laurie: Yes, I agree with that. I feel like you’re a little bit different than some people. Some people have the idea and they have to get the idea and they give no thought towards saleability, marketability, whether or not people will like that book. So I don’t remember if I told you about that free course that I have or not, but I’ll share it here in case anybody watching wants to check it out. And in the show notes I’ll also put the link, but on creativewrighter.com, I have a course called Sucky or Stupendous. And the idea is, is your book idea good? And not good like does it have merit? Because I think every idea has merit. I have never heard a book idea that I thought wasn’t good. But you wanna know if people will buy it. And you wanna know will they buy the fart book more or will they buy the book with a moral more. And maybe it’s a combination of both, and maybe you’ll be surprised.
The FREE Course Sucky or Stupendous?
So what I’d love you to do before next time we talk is go through that free course, Sucky or Stupendous, and just make a couple notes for me and write like, try to research a couple of ideas. There’s definitely books about body functions out there. And I don’t know that they have morals. I don’t think they do. But there’s a lot of them, and there’s also a lot of books with morals. So what you need to do is find some comparable books and I walk you through that in that video course. The video course takes, it’s maybe a 10-minute video. And so what I do is I show you Amazon. I show you where to find the rank of the book. I think there’s eight billion books on Amazon right now. So book number one is selling a lot of books a day. Book number eight million is selling no books a day. So you wanna know if the fart book is selling 1,000 or how many. So you look at the rank. And then in that video course I share a tool that gives you an approximation, approximately how many books is this book selling based on the rank? And so I’d love you to come back next time we talk and say, okay, the fart book’s selling 20 a day. So that’s the way to go. Or the moral book is selling 500 a day or what not. So you wanna look for something comparable. So about the age range that you’re looking for and like paperback, hardback, ebook. You want a type, the version that you’re going to be doing. Which for most people is a paperback. And about the same number of pages the typical children’s book, like standard, is 32 pages. So if you’re comparing a book that’s 100 pages, that’s not necessarily gonna be the same as what you’re going to write. So it’s just things to take into consideration. And I think everybody watching, if you’re like Nathan and you have conflicting ideas, first of all write them all down because you might find that they’re all valid, they’re all good, and they will all be marketable and you don’t wanna lose the ideas. So write the ideas down. Get a sense of which one you wanna start with based on what you like and what you wanna write. And as well based on what seems like it will sell well. Does that sound doable?
The Fear of Failure
Nathan: That’s good. For sure. And I think that’s good because in my head I have two concrete ideas for two stories, and so to go along with what you’re saying is that you know, I think maybe myself and other listeners as well as probably one of my biggest fears or concerns is that my book would be just a total failure. You know, that’s scary to say I’m gonna write something that comes from my mind, it comes from probably a bit of your heart and everything, soul is put into a book and it might be totally unmarketable and people might hate it. But in your head you’re like I loved it and no one else likes it, my idea must be stupid. So there’s a bit of fear and hesitation, so part of me says I wanna write a book that follows a mold of morals and sells well and it fits in and it’s status quo and everybody’s happy with it. And part of me wants to say, just embrace your total weirdness and just embrace whatever you like about the story and throw it out there. And so in my mind I’m like, if I write one of each who cares if one’s terrible and one’s really good, and hopefully both of them are not terrible, and hopefully one’s good. So in my mind I’m like I’d like to overcome those, and I think having some marketable researchability is good because then I can say, yeah, I’m on the right track or I need to tweak something or whatever, so, I’m excited to do that, because I mean, I would have no idea if a book is good, if it’s bad, and having a tool to research is gonna be like yeah, okay, we’re on the right track.
Write the Book Your Child Will Read
Laurie: I love that. I love that you say you feel like a book with a moral is the more standard, typical, more of a sure shot route than just the silly book because there’s really two schools of thought with children’s books, and people argue about this online all the time should a book have a moral or should it just be fun? Should it just encourage the love of reading? Should it just, should it be, which book does your child look for before bed? Is it the fun one? Is it the one with the moral? I think best case scenario is a bit of both. You put it together but they don’t even know what they’re reading or what, but they’re having fun and they’re enjoying it. So I’m excited to hear what you’re going to come back with and I think people will love to hear that as well. And I hope that other people do it along with you. Do that Sucky or Stupendous book idea.
Nathan: I’d like to check that out, yeah. I think that would be really helpful.
A Little Advice From Laurie
Laurie: I hope it will. Let me know what you think. So next time we talk it’ll be the results of that and if you’ve made any progress on writing. So I won’t give you that as actual homework yet, but sometimes it does flow, and anybody else who is listening, if you already have an idea what your book idea is and you’re ready to write, my advice is limit distractions and give yourself an hour, like the timer, if you can. Often the first half hour is sitting staring at the page doing nothing. And then it will just flow out of you. It’ll just come forth. It’ll come forth. Hopefully anyway. And some people have real, real writer’s block when they sit down, so what I also suggest is doing something creative, but nothing that’s gonna take your concentration too much. So like baking, drawing, coloring, stitching, even gardening or something like that. It is a creative process. It doesn’t take all your brain power. And so the thoughts start coming and the ideas start coming and then you might find just naturally you can move from that one creative activity to writing. And if your hands are dirty with dough or something, put your ear thing in and record. Get one of those, there’s lots of free apps that you can do voice to text. So if that’s what works for you, you just have to do what works. Okay, so any parting thoughts? I love this, I’m so excited.
Overcoming Writer’s Block
Nathan: I don’t have any parting thoughts. One of the things that has come to my mind often, and like you’re saying is block out an hour, and sometimes when you block it out you just get total writer’s block and you just sit and stare at a page. You know, for me I’m good at compartmentalizing so I can start telling my story in my head and I can put it on pause and I can carry on with my work and then I can pick up where I was. So for me that’s kind of how I do it. I do like the idea of getting it onto a book. So my wife gave me that notebook. I am gonna sit down. I’m going to write down some of my ideas and just start going with it. I think that’s a little nerve wracking because I have general ideas, but there are lots of gray areas that I’m gonna have to fill in. And I think, you know, that’s sometimes where you can sit and stare at the page. And I think, I don’t know, I’m kind of excited to do that. And just sit there and look at it and be like where do I wanna go? What do I wanna do? What am I looking to accomplish? Where is my humor? Where is my story? What’s, where am I going? So, I’m excited about that.
Laurie: Yeah, okay awesome. Okay, so we’ll sign off and we’ll all look forward to the results of that next week.
Nathan: Sounds good.
Laurie: Okay, bye everyone.
Nathan: See ya.
Comment and Subscribe!
[Laurie] Hey everyone, thanks for listening today. What do you think? Will Nathan’s ideas be sucky or will they be stupendous? And which one will he choose? Which one will be better? The book idea that’s just for fun or the book idea with a message? What would you do?
Leave a comment below to let me know. Then go ahead and subscribe to the channel so you get a message when my next chat with Nathan is ready, as long as he doesn’t get cold feet. Come on back, Nathan. If you’re interested in following along with Nathan and writing your own kids book at the same time this summer, make sure to look on creativewrighter.com for my new and improved course.
The Profitable Picture Book Process: 30 Day Action Plan
Profitable Picture Book Process: the 30 Day Action Plan. I could go on and on about this action plan. I’m so excited. This is the easiest, most straightforward way for you to get your book from plan to published by the time summer’s over.
And the free course that Nathan is doing right now is there, too. It’s called Sucky or Stupendous. It’s hard to miss. So go ahead and take it along with him and then come back next time and see what he decided.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to The Writer’s Way podcast. For show notes, links to guests’ information and to learn more about The Writer’s Way, check out lauriewrightauthor.com. Until next week, enjoy this chapter of your life.