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Jax Cassidy & Kristen Painter

Kristen – Hi, Sue! Thanks for having Jax and I over to guest blog today.

Jax – Thanks for inviting us, Sue! We’re excited to be here.

Kristen – I’m going to jump right in and say I believe the number one mistake I see new writers make is moving too fast. They’re so eager to submit their work, they end up making numerous errors that could otherwise be easily avoided. Things like sloppy query letters, poorly polished manuscripts and submitting to agents and editors who don’t necessarily rep the genre they’re submitting.

Jax – To piggyback on that, I’ve noticed new writers can either over edit or under edit their manuscripts. They tend to polish the heck out of the first three chapters and the rest of the pages don’t get the full polish treatment, which leads to an inconsistent manuscript. Another thing I’ve noticed is that some new writers don’t value the advice of seasoned authors. They ask for help but will ignore the critiques outright. They’re wasting the published author’s valuable time when they could be helping others who really want to learn. The end result is that the newbies will do minimal polish because they feel every word they’ve written is gold. In this industry, a willingness to learn and accept constructive criticism can only help the writer grow faster if they open their mind to it.

Kristen – Another area new writers struggle with is being too concerned with is the market. They focus so much on what’s selling that they start to lose the joy of writing. Yes, you should keep an eye on what’s hot and what’s not when you’re first starting out, but not to the point that you’re writing something strictly because you think it will sell. If you don’t enjoy what you’re writing, what makes you think anyone else will? And do you really want a three book contract in a genre you don’t love writing? It only takes one great book in a not-so-hot genre to make that genre popular again. That firestarter book could be yours!

Jax – I’ve seen writers become overly obsessed with getting published or obtaining an agent. Sure it’s wonderful to have one or both, but writers can lose sight of what’s important and often they’ll quit even before things really get started. The demands of the publishing industry are so much more than a writer can imagine. Most new writers come into this with preconceived notions that it’s going to be a cake walk once they get published. Ask any pubbed author you know and they’ll be happy to provide you will some hard realities about their publishing journey. Do you still want to be a writer? Ask yourself if you’re writing because you really want to write or whether you’re in it for the fame and fortune. Sadly, no matter how many books you put out, it doesn’t guarantee financial success for every author…but it does guarantee that if you stay in this business long enough, you will forge strong friendships and find personal success which can be even more invaluable.

Kristen – I want to second the strong friendships part. As you grow as a writer, those friends will grow with you. Sometimes those friends are the best support you’ll have in this business. Many of the people that took me under their wing in the early days have stayed with me and I’m grateful for their guidance. Besides building a support network for yourself, I’d add some other advice to newbies: have patience, don’t take rejection personally and write to entertain yourself.

Jax – My best advice to newbies is to believe in yourself and your writing abilities. It’s great to learn craft and find your voice but the journey is most difficult when you lose your self-confidence along the way. Stay strong and keep writing for the pure love of it. The only one stopping you from success if YOU.

If you’re a published author, what advice would you offer to those just starting out?
What are some first time newbie mistakes you’ve made?

Reminder – 5 randomly chosen commenters will win a free book – winners announced on Sunday — good luck!

Jax Cassidy followed her dreams to Paris, then Hollywood to pursue a film career but managed to fall in love with penning sexy romances and happy endings—finding Mr. Right was just an added bonus. She writes contemporary, paranormal, and multi-ethnic romances and is Co-Founder of Romance Divas, and award winning writer’s website and discussion forum. Jax is also known as one-half of the retired writing team of Cassidy Kent.

When the characters in Kristen Painter’s head started to take over, she decided to exorcise them onto paper and share them with the world. Blood Rights, the first book in her gothic fantasy vampire series, House of Comarré, comes out this October from Orbit Books. She has also been published in non-fiction, poetry and short stories. The former college English teacher can often be found online at Romance Divas, the award-winning writers’ forum she co-founded with Jax Cassidy. A two-time Golden Heart finalist, she’s represented by The Knight Agency.

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