Stephen lives in New Zealand, but has traveled the world when he was younger. His experience allows him a unique perspective in his art and books.
His earlier experience in screenwriting – including Jules Verne Mysterious Island – allowed him to realize he wanted to write.
Here is a couple short films that Stephen has made:
Some links may be affiliate links.
[00:00:55] stephen: All right. Well, Stephen, thank you for joining me today. I’m glad you took some time out to talk with me [00:01:00] for the podcast.
[00:01:01] Batt: Oh, I’m very, uh, pleased and honored that you asked me to do it.
[00:01:07] stephen: That’s great. And I look forward to finding out more about your book. Uh, but before we do that, tell me a little bit about who you are, where you’re from your background.
[00:01:16] Batt: Okay. Um, I’m Steven bet. I’m from Auckland, New Zealand. Um, this is where I grew up. I was actually born down in donating. Um, although, uh, and I live in Oakland now, or I have spent quite a few years living in different countries around the world with there’s a thing in. In New Zealand, that’s kind of called doing your OAE, which has, uh, your overseas experience.
It’s kind of a, a Rite of passage for, for, uh, New Zealand kids. When they, um, either finished school or finished university is to go and spend a year or two traveling. And that mostly involves kind of going to London. Living there doing some kind of job to scrape together a few pennies and, [00:02:00] uh, and do a few tours around continental Europe and, and having a general look before coming home.
And, um, I don’t know, being sensible, getting a job or something, but I, uh, I spend a few more years than, than was necessary or wise, in fact, I started on the way over there. I, I, I worked for a year and, uh, at Whistler mountain in Canada, uh, operating chairlifts and stuff. Uh, then I did do my couple of years in London, uh, driving trucks and delivery fans, um, end up found some guys who, I dunno if they did a TV show called R V design pit strike you.
[00:02:43] stephen: no, no. That don’t ring a bell. I got,
[00:02:46] Batt: well, it’s an English TV show. I don’t know. I know it’s probably wouldn’t have made it to the states
[00:02:50] stephen: because it’s, I’ve seen the young ones in money Python, so, right,
[00:02:54] Batt: right. So I have, it is, that was a bit of a, a comedy [00:03:00] and it was based around a bunch of, um, you know, young English.
Guys who have worked on building sites. So this was quite a well-known thing. Uh, in Germany, you could go over and get paid quite a lot of money in Germany just for working, you know, cash in hand. And they made the TV show out of it. And it was very popular in Britain and very popular here too. So, um, and it was just quite funny though, the life of, you know, going over there and, um, and actually, you know, being paid good money comparatively.
So, so I pretended to be a bricklayer for quite a few years over there, uh, whilst whilst friends covered for me. So that utter and, you know, I mean, I, I got reasonably competent in the, but. A few of us, um, uh, started a punk rock band there, which once again, wasn’t very good at that either, but we had, we had a lot of fun doing it.
So eventually I came back to New Zealand. There was about, uh, I think I spent about nine years away in all doing, doing that sort of [00:04:00] stuff. And I came back and wondered what the hell to do with myself. So initially I got a job selling cars and, uh, and, um, Then I ended up deciding it was her, uh, deciding that I’d like to have a crack at.
I’d always kind of thought through, I was going to be a writer. It’s always been in the back of my mind. I don’t know if this happens to other people, but it’s always sort of always been in the back that I thought I was either going to be a novelist or a journalist. But the thing that happened when I, when I got back and I hadn’t been yet.
Uh, to the movies very much, but I went and saw for the first movie for ages and it was just sort of purely by chance. I was in Auckland city in the afternoon without really much to do. And I noticed, uh, Terminator two was playing at the movie. So. I’ll go and have a look at this. And, um, and you know, if you hadn’t been to the movies for a while, and then you, then I sat down in the afternoon and watch that, and it just blew my mind.
It was, [00:05:00] I just thought, wow, that is that’s intense. I think I want to be a movie writer. So I, um, so I learned, you know, I found the books and, uh, and got to work on studying what you have to do to do that. Um, And, uh, you know, after quite a while and, and getting into what I did manage to start getting work, being a screenwriter, um, which, um, you know, it was, was really good for awhile.
[00:05:32] stephen: anything we might’ve heard of, uh,
[00:05:35] Batt: No. Um, well, there was the first job. I was the first thing that I got. Uh, the sort of the staff writer gig on was a, um, an edit patient. It was actually, uh, a Canadian co production company, um, making, uh, a version of a Jules Verne’s in called mysterious island. Oh, [00:06:00] yeah, it was, it was terrible.
It was, it was, well, it was not a great shot. Yeah. It was a pretty, it was a pretty ordinary effort, but it was, you know, it was a good for, it was, yeah. I loved working on it and the, uh, the producer on it, you know, I got on well with them and, and we had a lot of fun doing it and, uh, and. Yeah. And we realized that, you know, under the constraints of what we’re working with, we had to just try and, um, you know, make the best we could of it, knowing that it was never going to help me.
[00:06:32] stephen: I got to go look that up because I’d done. I love cheesy like B and C rated movies and stuff. It’s my jam.
[00:06:42] Batt: It’s pretty much like that, you know, crawling along a rock face that you could tell is made of cardboard.
[00:06:48] stephen: Come on. I used to, I grew up with star Trek, so okay.
[00:06:53] Batt: And I was, Patrick was good. Um, so anyway, but now mostly now [00:07:00] I wouldn’t think that, uh, any of the other things that I was working on here would, would have made it out either a few of them would have made it to Australia.
Um, but yeah, not, not beyond that. So, um, yeah. But my, my sleep, mostly, uh, stuff for TV drama. Um, I did manage to win for a one-off drama. I did win the award for best TV, drama of the year for the, you know, when there are our equivalent of, um, which one was it? The Emmys as the TV one? Yeah. Uh,
[00:07:37] stephen: yeah, I think so.
I don’t follow them a whole lot. That’s cool. Yeah. So you mentioned, uh, going overseas, your overseas experience here in the states, uh, we’ve got the Amish community and their kids have something called Rumspringa where they do kind of the same thing. They leave the Amish community for a year, uh, when they become adults and they experience the [00:08:00] world and then they decide, you know, do I want to go back?
Or if I want to stay out, um, most do it seems right. You know what I see, but, but, uh, my, my wife, when we were dating, she lived real close to Amish country. And I’ll tell you, man, I’d go into these little convenience stores and there’d be a 16 year old Amish kid buying 2 24 packs of beer. I’m like, okay, well, you know, and then.
Uh, we went to the local library and all the women were like getting all the erotica books and the kids were picking out DVDs and I’m like, okay, there’s another branch that does have electricity and stuff. So it might’ve been that other branch, but it was just a little weird for me.
[00:08:48] Batt: Yeah, well, and, you know, cause so my first instinct hearing that was saying, um, you know, who would go back, it’d be almost like escaping from Scientology or something, but [00:09:00] in fact, Th, if you brought up in such a sheltered way, you go out and have a look at the outside world and you go, God, this is too crazy for me out here.
You know, let me go backwards, safe. Hey,
[00:09:11] stephen: I can see the appeal. I mean, I’m a big computer guy and I like the electronics and stuff, but every now and then I get that little thing of man. You know, it wouldn’t be a bad life to live on a farm and, you know, wake up with the animals and. That kind of life or, oh, you
[00:09:28] Batt: know, I’ve, I’ve, um, I’ve spent a bit of time, uh, sort of living that way.
There’s a, there’s a very beautiful island, just north of Auckland here called cow Ireland, which, um, You have to grab a theory or a, or a water taxi across to it. It’s about, you know, 40 minutes across and it’s got this beautiful inlet Harbor thing. There’s one of the bays. Some people have cars there, but the road and he goes about a mile it’s just to get.
From the GT up to their house kind of thing. And it’s all [00:10:00] letters, there’s no interconnecting. And, and, uh, I used to be very good friends with a guy who had a, um, a house over there. And I lived there for quite a while. Um, while he was living, he was actually a screenwriter in the, in the states and. So while he was living back over in America, I would, uh, quite often live in his house on, uh, on a cow.
And it, and it was a place that Ted, you know, the ferry would come into the end of the Wharf and you’d walk up from the Wolf to the house. And that was it. And it was in its own little bay. And, and there was, yeah, there was the only time you ever saw people was, you know, rowing past and a little boat or, um, or, you know, getting well, and nobody’s really getting on and off the ferry because the war.
Only feed one other house, which was, you know, just up and out of sight a little bit. Um, and yeah, living there, but you know, the, the being cutoff thing, fortunately it did have internet. Um, but, um, Living Neil. It’s just wonderful. The silence and the peace in the [00:11:00] morning. It’s like, it’s just so glorious.
It’s it’s it’s amazing.
[00:11:05] stephen: Yeah. I, I miss that from my camping days when I used to do backpacking and stuff, waking up on the side of a mountain and
[00:11:12] Batt: things. It’s, it’s pretty special.
[00:11:16] stephen: Yeah. A lot of people don’t get that because they’ve never experienced it, unfortunately. Um, so now, besides writing, what are some of your other hobbies, things you like to
[00:11:25] Batt: do?
Um, well I do a bit of painting, um, and I, um, I’m going to still noodle around on a guitar, but, but once again, still, still didn’t get any good at it. Um, I could entertain myself, but that’s, as far as it goes, um, and. Well, I, I walk my stays and that’s kind of how I do my reading now, because I think the internet has kind of killed my attention span for sitting down reading a book.
Um, but I, but I’ve always got a book on the, um, you [00:12:00] know, on my phone so I can walk around with my, you know, listening to books, uh, and till I try and walk for an hour every day, while I listened to a book, um, which is, yeah, it kills two birds and a very enjoyable, um, Bingeing on a good TV series or something.
I enjoy immensely. And if you can find good ones.
[00:12:21] stephen: Yeah. Well, I, I know my wife and I w we, I find ones that we both enjoy. So we have something to watch together.
[00:12:30] Batt: Yeah, I’m currently living on my own, but I used to get the situation when I was, when I was married. Not that long ago where we’d get you get to the point where you’d start to watch a series and your wife would fall asleep and you go, oh, damn, I’m going to have to watch this again
[00:12:46] stephen: tomorrow, right?
Yeah. My wife doesn’t actually watch things. She likes to flip around. She’ll like, look all the previews and read about them and she’ll do that for 10 or 15 minute. And then she’ll put something on and fall asleep before [00:13:00] the, you
[00:13:01] Batt: know, yeah. Watching TV is pretty much a solo experience. If you want to do it properly, you get into it.
And that’s kind of, it’s almost like why, uh, why, again? You know, guide to the movies. I don’t go to movie theaters anymore. Cause I just find the people to the annoying. It’s just rustling of papers. And I don’t like the smell of my phones now, the fines now the fines
[00:13:27] stephen: just absurd, but. The, this whole virus is killing off movie theaters.
So, and they’re doing more streaming of everything. So I don’t think
[00:13:37] Batt: it’s necessarily a good thing because I think the whole mystique around the movies and the movie theater, it’s a wonderful thing. And you know, when I’ve gone to, you know, event movies, you know, on the opening weekend kind of thing, I’ve, I’ve got a real buzz out of that.
That is a really good thing when it’s a one of those things. But, but if it’s just. I dunno if it’s not a special occasion, I’d far prefer to watch it on
[00:13:58] stephen: my own. And [00:14:00] honestly, some of these series that they stream now, I think the eight or 10 episode series are better than some movies. I’ve seen
[00:14:08] Batt: Nicki heck here.
I mean, I’ve, um, I don’t know if we, if the, I mean the good ones I’ve been watching recently, like Ozark and you know, better call Saul and get shorter.
[00:14:20] stephen: No, I haven’t seen good. Shorty. You see the movie of get shorty yes. Long ago. Of course. Did you like that? Yes, absolutely.
[00:14:28] Batt: Yeah. So the, the TV series is just as good.
It’s quite different. And, um, but you know, definitely get into that. It’s crazy.
[00:14:38] stephen: Ozark has been on my list. My, my last binge TV show that I got turned on to was sons of anarchy and something I never thought I would like, and I totally fell in love with it. I
[00:14:48] Batt: cleaned the same thing happened to me. I thought there’s no chance.
I’ll like this, you know, who I’m not interested in bikeys and the sort of stuff that they were all, you know, not completely true, but, um, but [00:15:00] no, I didn’t expect to like that at all, but I really did. It was.
[00:15:03] stephen: And everything I’ve been finding, talking to authors is a quite high majority of authors being creatives, play music also.
So I find that interesting, um, that it’s almost a secondary thing that they like to do a lot
[00:15:16] Batt: of. Yeah. Well, um, yeah, I suppose it just goes with that part of your brain that likes to be activated.
[00:15:24] stephen: Right. And, and painting, you mentioned paying the, I know a lot about paint too, or our illustrators on top of writing.
So you have these various jobs you’ve done in the past, and you always thought about writing. What, what made you finally go? Okay. I’m going to sit down and write.
[00:15:43] Batt: Um, well, I think it was, I think it was seeing, uh, well, I’d had an, uh, a bit of a. Uh, think about it one time when, when I was still doing the brick laying in Germany and me and one buddy, we, we took off for a couple of weeks and went down to Taloos.
We thought that’d be quite a [00:16:00] romantic place to sit in cafes and, uh, and write a novel. And he was thinking along similar lines. So we thought we’d just hit down there to do it together. I don’t think either of us wrote a word. Um, but no, it was really after it was really after watching Terminator two that I thought I wanna, I want to write movies.
And so, and that’s what got me into that, but then it was, I guess it was getting out of there from then into writing, you know, pros or, or novel type things that was really, really difficult because that’s such a, that’s such a different format. Um, I don’t know if you’ve ever read scripts or.
[00:16:37] stephen: I I’ve looked at them.
I don’t think I’ve read a full script. Exactly.
[00:16:40] Batt: See, cause that’s such a different format that if you’re trying, if you give somebody a script, as I read this, it’s pretty good. Yeah. I’m not talking about one of your own ones or whatever, but just here, this is a good script and people would just go, I can’t really read that because it’s, it’s just such a forum thing.
But when, when you get in the habit of being able to read them, [00:17:00] you know, because the only thing that’s allowed to be in a script is what you can see on the screen. And what, you know, what’s actually happening either the visual picture and not too much of that, either very brief description, the action that’s happening on the screen and the words that come out of the character’s mouth and that’s it, you know, you’re not allowed to say, ah, and that made John think about what, you know, Cyril had said the week before.
You know, there’s no place for that in the movie script. Um, it’s
[00:17:29] stephen: very much allows the, uh, uh, director and the actors. Bring it to life and make it enjoyable. Yeah.
[00:17:38] Batt: Well, it is. It’s just, it’s just a blueprint of the, this is, these are the things that need to be there for the story to be told now, work with it.
And I think that’s right, you know, in terms of, you know, leave it, if you, if you write something like, and John, you know, thought about what he’d said last week, you see the way you could do that as put it in a flashback. As soon as you start putting a [00:18:00] flashback in a script, you’re starting to dictate to the director.
This is a kind of movie that’s going to have flashbacks in it. And they don’t like that sort of thing to be directed to them. You know, they can make that decision to do a movie with flashbacks, but they don’t want to see it on the first draft. Is it, am I getting too much into the detail at spring
[00:18:18] stephen: place?
Oh no, this is great because I know I talked to a lot of authors who have been looking into screenwriting as either a secondary or, you know, instead of novels. So it’s, and with there’s so many stations and so many shows, everybody’s kind of like, Hey, you know, maybe I can get myself. Uh, you know, options for a show.
So yeah, this is great. Yeah. Well,
[00:18:43] Batt: it’s, it’s and it’s, and it’s quite different. The, you see the situation here is there’s only two TV networks and, and, you know, big production companies as well. You know, there’s a big, you know, Peter, Jackson’s got a big production company, but that’s, [00:19:00] that’s not really sort of open to local writers.
That’s a big, basically an overseas company, you know, in terms of what gets made. And so it gets very difficult here. I mean, that’s part of the reason that I gave up in the end, because even though, uh, you know, I’d managed to make a living out of it for about 20 years. Um, it, um, every time something finished like a fewer, a few more, you know, you’re writing on it.
Cop show and it gets picked up for the next season. You go, okay, well, next year I’m going to live reasonably well and, um, and enjoy myself and I’ve got work and all that. If it doesn’t get picked up, you’re right back to square one, you’ve got nothing on you’re unemployed. And there aren’t really any openings coming up because it has such a small business here.
There are so few shows and things being made. So you have to go back to the, you know, writing spec scripts to, and, you know, having coffee meetings with producers and all that sort of stuff. And you’d just get sick of going back to the beginning, all that. [00:20:00] Um, now it’s a similar situation in the states, but of course, as you mentioned before, it’s because there are now so many production companies and so, you know, your chances, there’s also a lot more people going for it.
But I think for those people, you know, in the states, if you’ve got a career, if you’re established as a writer, you can. Basically, you know, you’ve got the Liberty of, of getting a mortgage because you’re pretty sure that you’re going to be making money for the next few years, which is not the sort of thing you can do in New Zealand as a screenwriter.
So you do not know if you’re going to make any money next year. Um,
[00:20:35] stephen: basically screenwriting seems really good now, as long as you live in the right part of the world.
[00:20:40] Batt: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and, and you know, and it’s, and it pays well when you’re working. It doesn’t pay at all when you’re not. Um, and so I had a bit of a go, I mean, I, I did, um, I spent a bit of time going back and forth to LA.
I spent quite a, quite a lot of time in LA trying to get something to happen. I had an [00:21:00] agent in Los Angeles, um, and you know, did quite a lot of meetings with, you know, at the studios with executives and things like that. But there’s the other thing, I mean, for people thinking about getting in. I guess one of the reasons that I decided I’d rather write and publish, just put books on Amazon is that way, at least there’s an opportunity for a lot of people to read them.
Whereas when you write a screenplay, you know, we’ll put it in the Los Angeles context. So you can have a meeting, you know, Paramount with a junior executive and you’d leave the meeting and leave them with the screenplay and that give it to one of their assistants and how the process works as a. You know, that assistant would read it.
And if they thought it was good that pass it to their boss and they’d pass it to the boss and, and every studio there are probably about, uh, maybe 12 steps before it gets to the person who has the power to say yes. [00:22:00] Now, every single one of those people on the 12 steps up has the power to say yes, But only the one at the very end has the power to say yes.
And so in all of Hollywood, you’ve got, you know, the five major studios and then some more sort of many majors and now a few more with, you know, your, your HBO’s and things like that. So this, but there’s probably only about 30 people. With the power to say yes. And there are all these hundreds of people with the power to say no.
And your script has to get through all of those nos to get to the final. Yes. So that’s something to bear in mind for people that are getting into it. It’s what makes it very difficult. Um, because as I say, let’s say like 99% or something of, of scripts that get written never again. Right. And, and that’s you see, that’s the disappointing pack.
I’ve got a bunch of, uh, scripts, you know, and have a dual drawers or whatever. Then it probably only ever been read by two. [00:23:00] And you sort of think that’s a hell of a lot of work for nobody to even read it.
[00:23:06] stephen: Right. But you get that one or two that make it and you know, it makes up for the one you miss.
[00:23:15] Batt: Oh, for sure.
It does. You know, and I know it’s like, I mean, it’s like a lottery. If you, if you can score the big win, um, yeah. One, one winner can set you up for that. So, um, but that’s yeah, that’s the game you either win or lose.
[00:23:30] stephen: So, uh, you’re the books you have out right now. Um, I believe you have to have them. If I remember I saw, uh, tell us about those.
[00:23:39] Batt: No, I’ve well, I’ve, I’ve written one, one little one was, was just something that, uh, It’s just a little, you know, how to give up smoking book, which is not really a, it’s just something that I, that when I gave up smoking, I sort of had a bit think about. What my thought process was to go through it and I thought this might [00:24:00] be useful to someone else.
So I wrote it down and it’s just a, basically a little pamphlet kind of book, but, um, but you know, a couple of people’s read it and seem to think that it’s all right. Um, but that’s um, yeah, maybe, maybe helpful. Um, but this, no, the, um, The look that, uh, is just being published right now. It’s just 10 things about people and cars is, uh, I started off.
I mean, it’s sort of funny because I know quite a lot about the rules of screenwriting and what you can write and what you can’t write and things like that. Cause there’s a thing. I mean, there’s another interesting thing to look about. If you go to a meeting with one of these executives and you’ve got a script with you.
They can pick up the script and look at it. And if it’s not the right thickness, you know, it’s not about 110 pages and you can flip through it, you know, you can fan it and have, it’s not the right shade of gray by which, I mean, if this, if it’s too dark, if there’s too many [00:25:00] words on the page, that’s too much description.
If it’s too light, it means it’s all dialogue and not enough description. And there’s, there’s a, the right balance. And this is kind of, it’s a strange thing, but it’s, if you write a script, Outside those bounds. If you write a 200 page script, they’re gonna throw it in the bin. They’re not gonna read it. Um, and just like, if you’re at a 50 page, they say, well, what’s this, this isn’t a movie.
Whereas. So I thought there’ll be more freedom and writing pros and I, the first thing I ended up writing was, uh, a collection of short stories. And I seen lamps that Nath there’s no map.
And I sort of, you know, my internal theory was because everyone’s attention spans are getting shorter. As my own. Yeah. And I mean, I’m, I’m a reader, uh, from way back, but, um, but I’ve been reading less and less lately know, which is not something I’m proud of, but it’s just seems to be something happening.
So I thought that, um, [00:26:00] I thought that short stories would. I think that would be popular, but apparently that is just not the case. So I, um, do you know, read Z if you come across reading? Um, I contacted once again because I mean, my experience back with writing screenplays was, uh, you know, you can get friends and family to read things, but it’s a bit pointless, really.
You know, though, they’re not, they’re not experts. And if they give you a little ego massage, well, it might feel nice for a minute or two, but it’s okay. Not worth anything. Um, uh, so yeah, there’s not much point in even asking them to do that. So, um, So I, uh, I got an editor from Reedsy to have a look at it and, uh, he made the suggestion.
He said, well sort, you know, there’s a lot of commonality in the stories they need to be, they need to have something to tie them together. And so a few things. So I came up with the idea of, um, right. We’ll make, uh, uh, a, uh, [00:27:00] If it’s a new character that wasn’t even in the thing or a couple of new characters and sort of say, so the premise of the book now is that an FBI agent has been murdered in San Diego and his partner is I’m now going to try and figure out who murdered him and why now what has the first chap Larry Grimes?
Agent, he had the strange habit of taking all these bits of actual evidence and, um, and weaving them into stories for his own amusement and also to help him with the thought process of trying to fix things. So the. His partner. Who’s now trying to figure this thing out has now got these stories in front of him.
And he’s trying to figure out which parts of them are actual genuine evidence. And which part of them has just been made up by us. So it doesn’t help them. It doesn’t make the job any easier. And all of the stories are connected in some way. There are, there are connections [00:28:00] between all the characters will pop up from one story to the next and they end the.
The links between the maybe coincidental or they may be significant. And at this point there’s no real way to tell. And so the links of the first series of books, they’re all stories to do with people and cars. And so we’ll go into a little bit with, um, what the, um, uh, a bit about the car and what sort of a characters.
What the interaction of the people is with it. And then the story, you know, that it appears in, and what’s its connection with the other stories. That’s kind of a complicated sort of thing, but you get a little. It’s it’s sort of strikes me as a sort of thing. You can actually treat it almost a bit like a binge TV series.
You know, you can watch one episode and you can, you can do two or three in a row or you can put it down and then do a couple tomorrow kind of thing. And that should all work and it’s, and it’s actually made it a lot more fun for me now, [00:29:00] because now that I’m working on the second book of the series, which is, uh, going to be 10 things about people and food, um, Um, there’ll also be a couple of the stories in there with the main detective characters and, and how they fit in with the whole thing.
And it’s, um, It’s actually re kitty three, quite a lot of fun to write, getting all the giving the connections to work and stuff. So it’s, it’s good at a project I’m quite pleased with.
[00:29:28] stephen: And I think that’s great. Cause I’ve kind of had some of the same idea with some short stories, kind of connecting them, putting them into a novel.
And I know clear back when there a lot that’s been done before, uh, very successfully. So I think it’s great. Thought to do something like that. Um, are you traditionally published or are you independent?
[00:29:52] Batt: No. Independent. I did. Um, I did, uh, sort of think about, um, [00:30:00] uh, you know, trying to get an agent or a publisher and stuff, and then you realize it’s hang on.
That’s, that’s the same treadmill that you were just trying to get out of, you know, um, the idea that, you know, it’s got a once again, appeal to. Possibly four or five people in a line at a publisher to, to get them to consider publishing it. And so I thought, nah, I think it’ll just be a hell of a lot easier to just cause you can put it on Amazon.
Bang and it’s there and it’s available for people to see. And then when it’s just sitting there, then you can try and publicize it and whatever way you can, but at least it’s there and it’s available. So if anybody says, oh, what about you? What you say? You can go and get it there. You can get it on Amazon and it’s, and it’s, you know, it’s cheapest chips.
It’s um, I can’t even remember it. It’s honey, a dollar, something or other at the moment, um, you know, on Kendall. So hopefully you can, um, build an audience, you know, that. That’s my plan.
[00:30:56] stephen: So have you, uh, be getting a feedback? Uh, [00:31:00] what are people saying about it? Yeah, well, I
[00:31:02] Batt: did. Um, so from our, so, you know, the Reedsy thing, I also, uh, I also put it into a.
Uh, thing called Reedsy discovery. And, um, and I got the first review back from that, which was at, uh, I, I had to do a double take on it cause it was it’s so complimentary. It was so positive that I sort of thought this. Yeah. If I just taking the Mickey or something. Cause it was, um, yeah, it was, it was just like, this is brilliant and wonderful.
Yeah, it was so, uh, and that, that review is now on, cause the reviewer also published that on Amazon. So, so that reviewers, uh, available to read up on Amazon and I’d went to one other place, a place called, um, uh, read his favorite. Um, you familiar with that one?
[00:31:55] stephen: Uh, it sounds familiar, but I know a discovery better.
So [00:32:00] w w what’s that
[00:32:01] Batt: one about? Well, that’s another one where you can, um, yeah, you pay them. I don’t know. I can’t remember what it is. A hundred bucks or something, and it goes into their pool and, um, they can. You know, the, the readers can decide a bit like the Reedsy discovery. They can decide if they are interested, you know, from the pricey or whatever, they can decide if they want to read it and review it or not.
And so, um, you know, you’re paying for it to go into a pool of reviewers and, um, and then be the review comes out and, uh, and I think it’s on the same basis as kind of Kirkus does where, um, It’s up to you, your choice, whether you will publish the review or whether you’d just rather pretend that it never happened to me, but I got it.
Yeah. Once again, I got a couple of very good reviews from that five star review and a four star review from that. And so, uh, so that was, that was really good. So that is, uh, that’s and that’s the only, um, uh, feedback I’ve had yet. It and Tony, I [00:33:00] mean, the last time I looked at it on an Amazon a couple of days ago, I think it’s.
Probably only sold two copies or something that
[00:33:09] stephen: sounds normal. So you mentioned the marketing promoting, what are you doing to market or promote?
[00:33:18] Batt: Well, I was, that’s where I was hoping that the reads, the discovery thing would come in and, and lead to people, coming to it. Um, and. And then, oh, you have also gone to a place, uh, called uh, books, go social.
Have you heard of them? Oh, no, that one
[00:33:35] stephen: I
[00:33:36] Batt: haven’t heard of that. Well, it’s based in Ireland. And so they do a couple of, um, they do a couple of things where they will, uh, I mean, they’ve got their own, you know, like tweeting out to their own set of followers, which I think is probably not very effective. Uh, but they’ve also got their own newsletters that they send out and they will.
I don’t have a, a, um, [00:34:00] a Facebook account. So they’ll be doing some, um, uh, ads for Facebook. Uh, I think 75 backs with the Facebook ads. I don’t know what that gets you. Um, and also, uh, it also a month on Nikki. You know, NetGalley yeah, I know NetGalley yes. I think it’s currently on NetGalley it’s been on there for a couple of weeks, so it’s on Nick Kelly.
If people want to go there for it and grab a free copy for review purposes. Um, and that’s that’s as far as it’s gone so far, so. Now they reach, well, we’ll not be broad at the moment, but, um, I don’t know. What are you, what do you suggest?
[00:34:43] stephen: Uh, no, that’s pretty much the same path that most of the alternates I’ve talked to have taken, um, with offering, uh, you know, this is an idea.
You’ve got 10 stories in the one book 10 and another offering one. [00:35:00] Or two stories out of the book for free as a lead in to the whole book. Uh, that’s something I know a lot of people are successful with that. That’s something I’ve heard a lot of people doing. Um, Yeah, it sounds like you’re doing some of the same stuff everybody else does.
Have, have you tried, uh, Facebook or Amazon ads curious?
[00:35:22] Batt: Um, Amazon ads. Yes. And, um, well, I’ve got, I’ve actually got a couple of other books that, uh, on Amazon that have, uh, but. Nonfiction and under a different name and they’ve sold a few more copies and they’ve sort of done. Okay. Um, and so I run a run a as sort of an ongoing Amazon ads with those, but I think it’s working out on average at the moment.
Like, uh, it costs me about 200 bucks a month and the sales are about 170. So unless that picks up,
[00:35:57] stephen: it’s
[00:35:57] Batt: not going in the right direction. [00:36:00] Um, But I’ll, I’ll investigate that more. Um, you know, soon it’s, it’s the hardest thing out with this, because I think what I really want to be doing is spending all my time, writing the next book, you know, the next part of it, but you sort of thing, but if you don’t, you know, if you lit the first one, just die on the vine, um, what’s the point it’s, I mean, it’s a pain in the neck, really?
You really, you really do want some staff to do the marketing for you.
[00:36:32] stephen: Yeah. I just said the same thing last weekend, uh, to a couple other friends, uh, that I’ve been, I just got done with book two of my current series. I’ve got a couple short stories to go with it. So now I’m having to put everything up, get all the keywords and the descriptions and make sure everything, you know, and setting up some promo price.
I’m like, all I’m doing is admin stuff right now. And they’re like, no, you got to do that. I’m like, I know, but I have so many things in my head. I want to get [00:37:00] down.
[00:37:00] Batt: Yeah. And the cysts, and it’s just all that, all that, you know, the admin of making sure your page is looking right. And you go back and say, oh, hang on.
It’s the layouts all gone or SKU worth. And, and, and you just gotta have, and it’s just stuff you don’t even, you’re not interested in doing in the first place, right? Yeah. It’s
[00:37:22] stephen: annoying. But between the writing and, uh, two different books and, um, the marketing that, what are some things that you’ve learned that you’re maybe doing different for book two?
Uh, or what would you do different if you went back.
[00:37:39] Batt: Uh, I don’t see, I don’t, I don’t know because, um, I mean the book, the book, you know, from, you know, from now knowing how much the stories have got to be interlinked and, and thrusting it very much more towards, you know, a full cohesive novel in the end, [00:38:00] which will be after I think, you know, five, you know, five chunks.
Basically. So it might be 10 things about people in food, or it might be, you know, eight things about people and travel or, you know, whatever, but there’ll be kind of five, five volumes we’ll make up the whole novel. Um, so now I’ve got, I’ve got far more focus on that and watch neat and what needs to be in each story.
So it makes it kind of easier to, to plan the thing and to figure out what stories should be in there. Um, I mean, that’s just from the writing point of view, it’s, it’s getting better as far as the marketing and doing the wrist at point of view. I, I just don’t know cause I haven’t, um, I haven’t cracked it yet, so that’s right.
I can’t really offer any advice on that part of it.
[00:38:51] stephen: I don’t think you’re a, in any unique situation there and that’s a pretty common, I think everybody’s still trying to figure a lot of it out,
[00:38:58] Batt: right. I [00:39:00] mean, in terms of, in terms of actual writing, I think if there’s, uh, you know, cause even though I’m a new writer from, in terms of, you know, prose book, a novel, um, you know, I have done quite a bit of writing before and I just think that the most important tip for actual writing that I can think of, that’s quite simple for people to do is as you know, writing obviously requires lots and lots of rewriting, you know, just you write draft after draft.
T to make things good. That’s just how it works. Nobody can write it perfectly the first time. And I think the most important part of that is when you’re doing the rewriting is reading it aloud. And cause when you read something aloud, if it flows, if it’s easy to read aloud and it flows and sounds now.
It’ll read well for a reader on the page. And I think that’s, you know, that’s a simple thing to remember and to end to get you around things to read well.
[00:39:52] stephen: Yeah, no, that’s great. Um, cause I think a lot of people don’t think of doing something like that. So Steven, [00:40:00] um, off the actual writing part of, for yourself, what are some of your favorite books and favorite authors?
[00:40:07] Batt: Um, it goes back. It goes back quite a way. Um, I think when I first sort of got into it, it was probably about maybe halfway through high school and then into university when I started to get a bit keen on reading and, and at that stage, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Just loved Vonnegut desk, you know? Read all of his stuff more than once catch 22 is probably my favorite book of all time, Joseph Heller.
Um, that’s absolutely wonderful. Um, and you know, you go back to that, of that old stuff. Some of the, you know, some of the real classic, like. George Orwell, uh, you know, you can’t go pass that sort of stuff. It’s just simple and brilliant. And, um, and, and, you know, Steinbeck and, um, you know, and things [00:41:00] like that.
Lord of the flies, you know, wonderful sort of things. Um, and there’s a few of those, I mean, more recently, uh, been, uh, I like like Margaret Atwood. I really liked it. Uh, Bel Canto and pet. Um, uh, George Saunders has short stories, tents. Nice little collection, really
[00:41:22] stephen: good. Some, some people can get short stories marketed.
[00:41:26] Batt: Well, yeah, but you see, I think even though he got it marketed well and got great reviews and things for that, um, it probably still hasn’t sold great quantities. I don’t know.
[00:41:38] stephen: Probably not, uh, you know, I always think of Stephen King, you know, like every decade he comes out with one collection of short stories and of course, you know, the word Stephen King is bigger than the title of the book because nobody cares what it’s called.
They just see Stephen King and, you know, so, and I think a lot of authors say, well, Stephen King can do it, which is true, but [00:42:00] that’s because people are buying the brand, you know, And, you know, I, I do enjoy his short stories. So I can’t say that it’s like, they’re horrible and it’s only selling because it’s his name.
[00:42:13] Batt: I mean, God he’s so he’s so prolific, isn’t it? You mean, man, he’s a writing machine. Um, and, and, you know, in terms of that tips to his, his book on writing is well worth reading for all writers. Yeah. I love that book. Yeah. Um, Anyway. Yeah. Oh, I guess I sort of more recently, um, I’ve, you know, Jonathan France and then, um, Donna Tartt of the Goldfinch I really enjoyed from here.
And then, and then just because I’ve got into now, uh, because the, you know, what I’m working on at the moment has established into the. Crime and the tick, the sort of genres I’ve been starting to read people like Cal HIAs and [00:43:00] then red parks and, um, and John Grisham, which, um, you know, it’s all good fun.
It’s, you know, uh, oh, you know, I enjoyed the, you know, when, when that was all the fashion a few years ago, the girl with the dragon tattoo series of, you know
[00:43:16] stephen: yeah. Yeah. I read that first one. I haven’t read the rest of them. Yeah.
[00:43:22] Batt: And it, so it’s, you know, that’s, you know, there are also, there’s also a lot of nonfiction.
That’s great to read. I mean, one, the one that, uh, probably almost, it sort of feels like it spans the thing is, is, uh, uh, Eric Glasson, um, work, uh, you know, the devil in the white city. It’s
[00:43:43] stephen: I haven’t read it, but I know of it.
[00:43:45] Batt: Oh, it’s fabulous. It’s it’s it’s so good. And then you get other people that sort of span it a little bit like Truman Capote, Garvin are once again, we’re going back to the old sort of things and Tom Wolf.
Um, [00:44:00] and yeah, thinking about, as you can tell him every little bit of a look at Elizabeth, she warned me about what she might ask. Um, it goes back a little bit to what you were saying about, um, Yeah. Sons of anarchy. And I was saying, oh yeah, I didn’t think I was very interested in the bikeys, but of course, one of the books that I really, really enjoyed when I was a lot younger was, uh, hunter Thompson’s hell’s angels, which was, uh, yeah.
If you’re not ready then have you read
[00:44:26] stephen: that? No, I haven’t. I haven’t didn’t even know about that one,
[00:44:30] Batt: but you’ve probably come across fear and loathing in Las Vegas. Yes. Yes. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, so hell’s angels, it’s a great book. It’s it’s um, he spent, you know, so it was, it was basically an assignment for when he was working back for a rolling stone magazine and, um, and he went in and just hung out with the hell’s angels for a year or two to get a bit of insight into them.
And, um, and that’s, uh, that’s a fascinating book and that, cause that’s written also about the time. Remember when, uh, they ended up [00:45:00] killing that guy at the. Yeah, strange concept. And that’s,
[00:45:06] stephen: I love that you mentioned that brought that up because an author friend of mine that lives in Cleveland has a podcast called consequences of rock.
And the first episode he did cover that. Uh, Ultima and all the things that happened with the hell’s angels and stuff. And then when you said hell’s angels, that episode of his podcast was the first thing that popped into my mind.
[00:45:26] Batt: All right. Well, I’m sure he’ll read that. I’m sure he’ll read that. Well now, you know, and yeah, and I love his writing style at that time was just great because nobody else was kind of writing like him back then.
And, uh, and that was great to read. Um, Yeah,
[00:45:46] stephen: I know, uh, Australia, New Zealand, uh, it’s difficult getting books in. Do you have any bookstores around you that you’d like to go to?
[00:45:57] Batt: Uh, yeah, I mean, I don’t go so much anymore [00:46:00] because of, you know, because I pretty much read on Y phone or listen on my phone, but traditionally I used to go, I used to live in a part of Oakland called Herne bay, which has got a nice little bookstore called dominion books up on Dubois.
Right. Second-hand bookstore because CNN books, as a way to kind of got a bit more feel about them, I think, um, A bit like, uh, uh, well, city lights bookstore in San Francisco is obviously one of the most famous ones in the world. And, you know, it’s just got that lovely feel when you wander around amongst the shelves and stuff.
Um, also, uh, this town just north of Oakland called Marikana, which has got a lovely little bookshop fanatical Medicon of village books and also a really beautiful one in Australia. I used to live in Queensland for awhile. Um, And just inland from a place called Noosa as a, as a little tank called your Monday.
And it’s got a really good little bookshop and it got worse. Not even, it’s [00:47:00] a really good medium-sized book shop there called Berko books, which is, which is really lovely. And they do, you know, they’ve got just one of those bookshops, got the cafe, you know, sort of linked to it next door and they, and they have author readings and all of that sort of stuff.
So it’s really, it’s really nice. Yeah.
[00:47:16] stephen: All right. Well, David stealing my gosh, sorry. I was talking to another guy earlier. I apologize. How could I miss your
[00:47:25] Batt: dad if you like?
[00:47:26] stephen: Yeah. That’s the thing. No one will ever know. Steven. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me today. And like I said, it’s like time travel because you’re at Tuesday.
So it’s like, I’m talking to you. Um, but do you, before we go, do you have any last advice for new authors or anything to pass on to any new authors that are listening to the.
[00:47:52] Batt: Um,
[00:47:54] stephen: I don’t know. We’ve already had a cheap, you’ve already given a bunch of advice.
[00:47:57] Batt: Well, I, yeah. I mean, I think the reading aloud [00:48:00] thing is the most important.
I bet keeping your bum on the seat is probably the, uh, one of the things that you’ve got to really try and remember, because when you’re sitting down to write something, if. If it’s not actually flowing at the moment, you’ll just see, you know, you’ll just see something that needs tidying up in the corner of the room or the, um, the sidetracking and procrastination can get really pretty, pretty wicked if you’re not in the flow.
So yeah, you’ve really got to make sure you just stay seated, stay in front of your machine and. And Mike yourself bang some words. Oh, good.
[00:48:34] stephen: Good advice always. Um, so tell us again, the name of your book and where to find you in the book online.
[00:48:41] Batt: Okay. It’s um, the name of the book is, uh, 10 things about people and cars, and you’ll find that on amazon.com.
So it’s 10 things about people in cars by Steven bet or at M at Amazon, [00:49:00] um, my personal website, but it doesn’t really have much to do with the book. It’s got a whole bunch of my paintings and stuff on it. Um, but you know, that’s just Steven bet.com. Um, and, um, I mean, there’s a link there of, uh, you know, how to get in touch with me if somebody, if anybody wants to do that.
Um, oh, there’s also, um, if anyone wanted to, ah, there’s also a little, uh, video of a short film. I made quite a few years ago. If anyone’s interested in watching that it’s on YouTube, but maybe I’ll just give you the, um, the URL for that to put on, on your page. Cause that’s what
[00:49:37] stephen: I’d love to check that out.
[00:49:39] Batt: Okay. All right. Um, all right,
[00:49:42] stephen: well, Steven, I do appreciate you taking the time, uh, in the future to talk to us that are in the past. And, uh, I, uh, wish you luck on the book. I probably like to find out more about the next. Gotcha. After it comes out. Talk to you again. That’d be great. Well,
[00:49:58] Batt: yeah, I’ll, I’ll um, [00:50:00] I’ll, I’ll drop you a line when it’s, um, when it’s up and when it’s up and ready and, uh, thank you very much for the, for the opportunity to talk about it and to, um, and uh, you know, hopefully it’ll get a couple more readers to, it would be great.
[00:50:15] stephen: That would be nice. Well, thank you very much. Okay. Thanks.