The Writing Sparrow Episode 20 | 2021 Goals and January-March Goals

A Sparrow in my reader group suggested I do these updates as podcast episodes, so here you go – this is the first one 🙂

If you want to know what I’m working on, these are a good way to get caught up on my WIPs! I’ll be doing these instead of the previous monthly goals and updates.

Listen to the Episode

Read the Transcript

Sarina Langer  00:08

Hello, and welcome to the Writing Sparrow podcast. I’m Sarina Langer, and this podcast is all about writing, publishing and marketing your book. You can find transcripts on my website at sarinalanger.com. Let’s get started!

Sarina Langer  00:27

Surprise and welcome back friends and sparrows. I bet you didn’t think you’d see me again so soon. It’s the 26th of January, this is Episode 20, and today just so happens to be my birthday. And I really hope I’m not jinxing this because I’m recording this back in December, but I’ve debated when to do this episode. It includes my goals for this year, so it made sense to me originally to do it on January the first, but by the time I thought of doing this episode, I’d already recorded the interviews of Elisha and Briana and I didn’t want to mess with the date tag in each episode. And then I realised that if I do it on my birthday, I can have Episode 20, a milestone of a kind, on my birthday. And that also has a nice ring to it. So here we are. Surprise!

Sarina Langer  01:16

As you might know, Elisha and I talked about how to set goals and make things happen at the beginning of this month. So it only seemed right to me to do an episode with my goals. Feel free to join in, let me know what your goals are this year, and maybe we can hold each other accountable. I think I need this especially because, as I think you’re about to see, I tend to set too many goals, and I get really carried away when I’m excited. So I have a feeling that I’ve once again taken on a little bit too much this year. But we’ll see. Maybe if you let me know here and there that I’m doing all right or just check in to see if I have completely buried myself under everything I’m trying to do. I don’t know, it might be helpful.

Sarina Langer  02:03

But let’s start with my plans for this podcast this year. I definitely want to have more guests on because I really, really love those chats. I mean, so much more than I thought I would because I’m really very introverted. But I’m learning so much from all the guests that I’ve had on and it’s so much fun talking to everyone. And I hope that it’s also really helpful for you as the listeners to hear all these different viewpoints and all these different experiences. I’ve also had some very specific episodes requested, for example, how to create an audiobook and also quarterly writing updates, which this is the first one.

Sarina Langer  02:45

So I will be doing an episode like this one once every quarter, and this is going to be instead of doing the monthly writing updates and goal setting on my author blog, which I’ve done for pretty much the entire… well, all of last year. And I realised sometime in December that I don’t actually enjoy blogging all that much anymore. I’ve thought about how often I might be able to do it instead, I’ve asking my reader group on Facebook and one of my sparrows there, Rhianne – hi! – suggested that I do them as podcasts instead. So here we are. You will now get quarterly writing updates from me four times a year.

Sarina Langer  03:29

Speaking of writing updates, all my writing plans for this year… there’s a few of you. Starting with Blood Wisp – that’s the whole trilogy, not just the first book, although I would really like to just publish the first book because I’ve been on it for so long. If you listen to my look back over 2020 in December, I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve been on this trilogy for two or three years now. I think it was in early 2019 that I got the third cover. So I got the first covers for the series even in 2018. So I’ve sat on them for a little while now. And it would be really nice if I could finally share them, I’m not gonna lie. I’ve, I’m nearly done writing the second book, the first book is proofing. I’m hoping to get to it and start editing that properly very soon. And then the second book right now is at 20… 62,500 words. So that’s not too bad going for a first draft. I’m nearly done with it, I have roughly three scenes left to right. And then I can go into Book Three. This is the first time I’ve tried to write the entire trilogy before publishing or even just properly editing the first book, by the way, and I’m not sure I’m liking it, but I’ll do, I don’t know, maybe I’ll do another episodes on that at some point. I can compare how it’s gone with my previous approach and maybe what I’ll do going forward because this has been quite tiring, I think.

Sarina Langer  05:00

And the next work in progress I’m hoping to be working on is The Silence of Magic. It’s one of the first books where I’ve had the title really early, I normally really struggle to name things that’s, you know, whether that’s books or characters, especially surnames, who do characters need surnames names. Anyway, um, yeah, it’s going okay. I’m hoping to get the first draft of that done this year, but we will see. It’s, it’s kind of this book that I’ve been wanting to write for quite a long time, I suddenly had the blurb and the first sentence and title and an idea for the cover just very quickly, all in one go one Christmas, not 2020 Christmas or even 2019 Christmas, this has been coming for a little while, it’s been sitting for a little while. So I’d really like to get a move on with that, and actually really immerse myself in this world because I’m really excited about that.

Sarina Langer  05:56

And then there is Dreamer, which is a temporary title, I haven’t named it yet, so don’t get too attached to that, it’s not very good as a title, obviously, which is part of why I’m not keeping it. But I have a feeling it’ll end up being pretty different. I’ve written the first draft of that during NaNoWriMo 2019. That sounds right. So it’s sat for about a year. And then last month in December 2020, not to get confused with all these dates, I decided to come back to it because I really needed a break from writing the Blood Wisp trilogy.

Sarina Langer  05:59

As I said, I’ve been on it for a little while. And just looking again at the first draft of Dreamer I’ve felt excited to work on that. And I thought it could be quite a nice thing to do, whereas I’ve just felt a little bit tired of spending all this time for the Blood Wisp characters. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, I love them, but it’s a lot of time to just spend with the same people and Dreamer has, it’s a bit different for me. Because I normally write dark epic fantasy. So I’ll make up my own worlds and, and the magic system and all that. And it’s normally in third person, or normally have more than one point of view character. And in Dreamer, it’s, well it’s mostly set in our world, but to be honest, I’m still changing all of the names. So as opposed to you could read it as an urban fantasy, if you want. Really that’s what it is. But it could equally, could equally read it as an epic fantasy, if you like, I suppose, because I’m changing all the names. And it’s only got one point of view, which is quite different.

Sarina Langer  07:35

It’s the strongest… no that’s not right. It’s the character in it is the most based on me of any characters that I’ve written and her best friend is the most based on my best friend. So I feel like I’ve put the most of myself into this book. But I’m not sure yet if I’ll publish it, so it could be wasting your time talking about it. But um, yeah, I’ve revisited it in December, I’ve done a quick first edit on it, I’ve sent it off to my editor to do just a quick manuscript critique and really just to see if she thinks that it’s got a potential future at all. I’m half expecting her to get back to me and say, Sarina, no, this is rubbish, burn it, no one must ever see this. And if she tells me to burn it I’ll burn it, but by the time this episode goes live on my birthday, I should know, and hopefully, it’s not anything quite as bad as that. But let’s see what she comes up with.

Sarina Langer  08:30

And then there’s also is based off of my Relics of Ar’Zac trilogy. And that’s, that’s very, it’s very early days, I’ve pitched the idea to my editor on Instagram, and she’s really into it. And I mean, I’m really into and I think you might be really into it, but it’s really, really early days. I haven’t done any plotting on this. I have no idea if it’s got any future at all to be honest, it could be absolute rubbish. But… let’s see, To be honest, the main reason I’m recording this episode right now, still on the last few hours of December is because I really want to start plotting it. I have a few– well actually, no, that’s a lie. I have no ideas at all for it apart from some really fun things. And ,but I want to, I feel like I can’t start plotting it while I still have the Episode Notes for what I’m doing right now saying that I want to plot it if that makes sense. Although it’s just occurred to me talking myself through it that I could just have changed the notes. Oh, well. So this is how organised I am at the end of the longest year in history. But yeah, let’s move on from that.

Sarina Langer  09:44

There’s also my Facebook reader group. I really want to spend more time there. I set it up, well, I think it was last year. I think it wasn’t 2020. I have to check that, but I really want to do better posting there every single day apart from Sunday because we all need a break. I really love my reader group, it’s a really fun place to be, I think we’re having a lot of fun and I’ve been pitching some, you know, some early ideas, I share excerpts of my books, and, but it’s, I don’t know, it’s Facebook. You know what I mean? Facebook is always such an afterthought for me, and I feel bad about that, because it’s my reader group, it shouldn’t matter that it’s on Facebook, it just so happens that Facebook is a great and easy place to do something like that. So I want to spend a lot more time there. And I have some ideas of what I might be able to do there and how we might be able to shake things up a bit and have even more fun.

Sarina Langer  10:36

And then there’s also my mailing list, similar story as to the reader group minus Facebook. I want to, I don’t want to spend more time there, because I’m already emailing my subscribers once a month, which I think is plenty. But I want to do even better delivering what I’ve promised, I’ve got some freebies on there. I’ve got some signup incentives, which I think are really cool. If you don’t know, it’s, I’ve got the prequel novella, to my Relics of Ar’Zac trilogy on there, you can get that on there for free. I have a short story that also relates to the trilogy, which isn’t available anywhere else. So I think that’s quite cool. And, but what I haven’t done as much of is giveaways specific to the mailing list and I haven’t been sharing as many teasers on there either. Mostly because I spend so much time just writing this trilogy that I feel that those things that I could share from Book Two and Book Three would spoil book one. And I really don’t want to spoil things, especially not so early when things could still change so strongly. So I also want to do better with that, I want to spend more time there.

Sarina Langer  11:47

I also want to up my marketing efforts by a lot. I mean, I have a box set out now, I have a perma free series starter, I have two books on KU. So I feel like if I can’t see at least some success of all of those great things then I don’t know. I will be keeping religious track of everything that I’ll be trying this year, I promise you. And if I come across anything that really ends up making a big difference, or anything that works well or is easy to set up, anything at all that, you know, sees some kind of positive results for me, I might do another episode on this as well, to share with you what I’ve done, how it’s worked, maybe why it’s worked. And then maybe you can try it and hopefully it’ll help you see some success as well.

Sarina Langer  12:32

The other thing I might come back to, honestly, it’s very undecided right now, is short stories and submitting them to anthologies. If you remember last year, I’ve done an episode with Beverly Lee about how to write short stories and submit them to anthologies, because she’s done incredibly well with that and she continues to do incredibly well with that. Every time I talk to her about it, I get really excited and I want to do it. But on the other hand, I’m thinking Do I have more, do I have the time for that? Do I want to take on even more? And I mean, short stories are quiet, they are very different to write to full length novels. So I don’t know, it still sounds incredibly fun. And I do really want to do it. But it’s then having the time to set aside for it, you know? And I think we’ve just seen that I’ve got quite a few works in progress on the go already. So I’m not sure if doing any additional writing on top of that is really the right way forward. But then again, if I get a really great idea for a short story, I might write it and then see if it fits into anything. And I don’t know, maybe that’ll be how I approach that. I suppose you’ll hear more about if I’ve done anything at all this quarter in the next quarter in April, we’ll see.

Sarina Langer  13:52

And the final thing is something that I’ve been sitting on sort of coming back to here and moving away from again, is Patreon. I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve seen and I know that it’s worked really well for some authors. And similar to short stories and anthologies, every time I talk to someone about that I get quite excited and I feel like it’s something that I could maybe do quite well. And I’m getting a similar feeling from the idea of doing a Patreon as I did with this podcast. I was really excited about it and I really wanted to try, but I was also dreading it just a bit. As I said, not a people person, so who just sitting in my office talking to myself as I’m stretching my hand right now. It’s a, well, it was very awkward to begin with and I feel like Patreon might also be quite awkward to begin with.

Sarina Langer  14:48

But look at me now, look how much fun I’m having with this podcast and all the people I get to talk to and, and I mean some of the awkwardness is totally still there. But I’m also really enjoying it. And I think maybe I could also really enjoy having a Patreon. So I’ve got some ideas for that. But I think it’s something that I need to research a lot more. And maybe, yeah, I don’t know. It’s, it’s another one of those things where I think, Do I really have the time for that? As I’ve just mentioned, I realised last year that I don’t actually enjoy blogging all that much anymore, or ever, I don’t know. And a part of me thinks that Patreon is just going to be another type of blogging. I could be completely wrong about that. Because, as I said, I haven’t done all that much research on it. So who knows? But yeah, it’s something for me to research, that’s for sure. And maybe by the time I do the next one of these quarterly updates, I have a better idea of what I want to do with it.

Sarina Langer  15:53

Oh, and I just remembered another work in progress. Because that’s what I really need. It’s fine, though, it’s already written. I’ve had the cover and formatting redone for Darkened Light last year, so it’s got a really pretty new cover, the formatting now matches the second book, they look more like the duology now that they were supposed to be. So I really should launch that, I’m probably, well actually, by the time this goes live, it might already be live on Amazon. I’m not sure yet. Hopefully, I suppose this could be my first goal for it, couldn’t I. Make sure that the new version of Darkened Light is out by my birthday. Taking a note in just a second, as soon as I hit stop. Yeah, we’ll say keep an eye out. If it’s not out today, by the time you’re hearing this on my podcast, if you can’t find the pretty new version on Amazon, make sure you hit me. Yeah, thank you very much.

Sarina Langer  16:53

So, those, those are my goals for this quarter. Oh, my God, that sounds like so much now. Well, not just for this quarter, because let’s, if we’re just focussing for a second, please, on all the works in progress, then I think we can all admit that that’s going to be way too much for just one quarter, this is going to be more of a yearly thing.

Sarina Langer  17:12

So to sum up, on this podcast, I want to get loads and loads and loads more guests and their knowledge and their experiences. I want to do more requested episodes like how to create an audiobook and also these quarterly writing updates. In terms of works in progress I want to finish the Blood Wisp trilogy, I will finish the Blood Wisp trilogy, and I will publish at least the first book. And I will finish the first draft of The Silence of Magic. I will see what my editor says about Dreamer, which has yet to be named. And I will see where that goes and I will, by the time that you’re hearing this, I will hopefully have made up my mind about what to do about this spinoff of the Relics of Ar’Zac trilogy. I don’t know if you know, but Blood Wisp was actually also a sort of, is already a spin off because that’s set in the same world but with different people, although there may be one or two cameos in that. So yeah, quite excited about that. But um, as I said, I will see where that goes. And if I think that I can do anything at all with this, by the time this episode goes live, I may well have decided that it’s rubbish, and not worth pursuing. But will see.

Sarina Langer  18:27

Then in my Facebook reader group, I want to spend more time there and do better at posting every day. On my mailing list I want to do more giveaways and I want to make sure that I actually share a teaser every month like I promised. One giveaway that we can look forward to right now is I had this idea while I was editing Dreamer, there’s someone in there, I have no idea what to name this person. So I think I will do a giveaway where the winner gets this character named after them. Ta daa. So yeah, if you fancy that, sign up for my mailing list and maybe you will have a future character named after you. Wouldn’t that be neat? I don’t do anything terrible to them, at least not in the first book, so don’t worry about that. Then I want to up my marketing efforts. I might write some short stories and maybe try the anthology thing but no promises at all there. That’s more of an do if you have time thing, I think. And I want to make up my mind about Patreon this quarter, and maybe have an update for you on that by April.

Sarina Langer  19:31

And those are my goals for this year, and partially also for this quarter.

Sarina Langer  19:37

So your action step for today is to, if you haven’t already, sit down, figure out what your goals are, and if you fancy let me know what they are and we can hold each other accountable. Thank you very much for listening. Until next time, bye bye.

Sarina Langer  19:54

If you enjoyed today’s episode, maybe learn something along the way, hit the subscribe button. You can also connect with me on Twitter @sarina_langer, on Instagram and Facebook @sarinalangerwriter, and of course on my website at sarinalanger.com. Until next time! Bye!


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This transcript was done by Sarina.

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