The holidays are upon us as well as the last few weeks of 2020!
We take a quick look back to see how well we did with the goals we outlined a year ago and talk about where Am Writing Fantasy and the podcast is headed in the brand new year.
Plus, Happy Holidays to all of our listeners and Patreon supporters. We love having you share this time with us!
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You're listening to the M writing fantasy podcast in today's publishing landscape. You can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need an literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them now on to the show with your hosts, Auden, Bert, and Gasper.
Hello, I'm Jesper
and I'm Autumn.
This is episode 104 of the am. Riding fences, you podcast. And we are right before Christmas Episode releases. So first of all, Merry Christmas, everyone. Yes. Happy holidays.
Hey, it is also the winter solstice. So that's kinda cool. Yeah. And th this episode might be slightly different from most probably shorter as well, but we'll see how that goes. We're notorious for our 40 minutes. So maybe now you never know. We'll see. But we wanted for one to talk about the year that passed and also the year to come for the am writing fantasy podcast, but above all, we wanted to thank you for listening.
Jesper (1m 24s):
And also say that we hope that you will have a wonderful Christmas. Are you feeling the Christmas mood yet?
Autumn (1m 33s):
Oh, well, I didn't expect you to play Christmas music. So I guess that's adorable.
Jesper (1m 41s):
Very, yeah, I was, I was actually playing the jingle there just to see if I could do something to get into the mood myself. Well you're yeah. I mean, you've had such a busy week. I mean, looking back with this as a recorded, who knows you're going to have your entire new apartment, like completely set up, but right now you're sitting on boxes and the darks. Oh yeah, yeah. And of course, we're also recording this a couple of weeks before Christmas. So while you might live well, when this release is it's going to be the 21st of December, but we actually recording it a few weeks in advance. So yeah, I'm not really in the mood at the moment, as you say, I've just been through over the last week, moving from the house to an apartment.
Jesper (2m 27s):
So it's, it's so messy and stressful. I do not feel very Christmas like at the moment. Oh, you'll get there. You'll get there. There'll be, especially with the two boys. You'll, you'll have lots to celebrate and it's a celebration and your first one in a new place, it's exciting new journey, a new stage of your guys's life. So you'll have a lot to celebrate. I'm sure it'll be fine. Yeah, that is true. Yeah. And I actually didn't open the computer once for about a week. Isn't that crazy? I don't know if that has ever happened before my computer would think that the world had ended. If I didn't touch it for a full say so, Oh, that's amazing.
Jesper (3m 7s):
That's going to feel very, Yeah, it, yeah. And I, every muscle in my body is like aching from moving. And, but we managed to cram an entire house into an apartment apart from the few things that we had, we put into a small storage room. But other than that, it's just like boxes. Yeah. Yeah. Do you think you'll get everything to fit or you think a few things, more things will go back to the storage unit? Well, the story's unit is full, so there's no. So it's staying in the apartment or it's being sold. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I don't know. I hope, I hope we'll, we'll manage to find places for everything.
Jesper (3m 48s):
I mean, we did of course throw out a lot of things from the house that we just never used. And then we put in those things that we didn't want to throw out into the storage room. So I hope everything you will find its place. I mean, part of the problem at the moment is also that we sold some of the old furniture to the new owners of the house, because then we didn't have to move it. And it didn't quite fit in here style-wise either. So, so that was actually nice. But then we also had to go and buy a bunch of new stuff to replace it. So yesterday I was putting Ikea furniture together for, from, I got up in the morning to after dinner time in the evening.
Jesper (4m 32s):
And, and until all of that is put together, we don't have places to put, you know, so it's like cabinets and drawers and all kinds of stuff. So you need to put it together before we can start putting things in it. Right. So that's part of the problem right now as well. I actually have a confession. I really wish we were on the same land mass in Cottonelle because I absolutely adore putting together Ikea furniture. I don't know why the Alan keys and the instructions and seeing something take shape from a bunch of boards is actually like, I just, I volunteer whenever I see someone who has like Ikea, Oh, let me do it. So I wish I was there helping you feed me toasted money.
Jesper (5m 17s):
I would happily put together your furniture for you. So it's very unfortunate that there's this like pandemic. And I can't just hop on a plane because that would be a blast. Yeah. It's not, I wouldn't say that. I mind putting Ikea furniture together that much either. It's, it's not that I mind, but the problem for us at the moment is still does so much of it that it takes forever. I mean, I think we spent like two and a half thousand dollars on lucky furniture. So it's like The leather furniture from Ikea. Oh yeah. And especially that you can't really, especially, you're already in a crammed apartment with other people and boxes and you have to find a place to lay out all this stuff, build it and then build something else and move it around.
Jesper (6m 3s):
And you're yeah. You probably feel like you're building the walls of a labyrinth around you. Yeah. That's Pretty accurate. You think I've moved before. That's crazy. But I know you have Well for entire different reasons, but you've had a very busy week. Yeah. I did a kind of didn't think about it, which I'm glad November was a fantastic month. I joined nano I, I got my 50,000 words and I would not change that for a bit. But coming out of that, I suddenly realized that we're about to launch not one, not two but three new courses. And I had wanted to rebuild the course website for probably a year and a half, two years.
Jesper (6m 48s):
And I was going to do it this January. But if you're going to release courses, you're gonna have new people signing up. And one of them is free. So we're probably going to have a lot of people picking that one up. I realize that I officially, we started with just three days, but then we did rearrange some things. And you gave me a full week, which was exciting to rebuild a website of over 300 pages and featuring six courses, plus a free starter kit and some downloads. And it was, I will say though, I mean, this is hardly my first rodeo with a website, but this was the first time that I actually, every time I had an exclamation, it was not a curse word.
Jesper (7m 34s):
I almost found myself going, yes, I love you. I love this theme. I love what I'm doing. I love the help that's available. I was so excited. I mean, I think my husband, well, he knows I'm crazy cause he married a writer. So he knows there's a little touched, but I was just, I actually had a lot of fun when I was learning a few things. I didn't know. And then finding code written to solve problems that don't even realize it's going to have before I started doing this, I was just like, this is amazing. This is absolutely amazing. I think the website came out beautifully. I'm thrilled. I need a day off. And that's, I want to spend a whole day writing and just staring off at the clouds, the squirrels chasing each other through the woods.
Jesper (8m 22s):
Can't blame you. But, but, and I, especially like the, the add in that you found all the plugin, Which, which helps students to track Their progress. So it has like a program, Which I really like. I know I did find one thing. I've got to tweak on it in a couple of pages, but it's very, very minor, but there's internal navigation and there's like this progress tracker for students and it checks off a box on the menu that tells them they did that module. And it's just so awesome. I'm I'm really, like I said, I'm thrilled. It's better for the students. It's it's better. It looks better. It functions better from a coding standpoint.
Jesper (9m 4s):
So it's all, Oh, wins. Even if it might've grown another gray hair or two during the last week and maybe fried a brain cell, Oh, we go on the internet with the yam writing fantasy podcast. So I just noticed this morning that we had to Richard dropped back into the am, riding fences, who Facebook for the first time in a long while. And he shared how he, he should pick a list of, Of all the groups that he's a member and then check marks against all those that he actually posts into. Make sure he covers all of them. But the richest post just made me think about how it tied in pretty well with today's topic in the sense of cleaning up before the end of the year.
Jesper (9m 52s):
Tell me how many Facebook groups are you a member of autumn? Do you know? I don't want to know what I have to admit. I'm really bad because I rarely go on Facebook. And my mom's constantly didn't you see that photo? I posted a link. No, I only go to my group, so I don't want to know, but you're right. I, how many should I be a member of probably five. How many am I a member of? Probably over a hundred. Okay. Yeah. This probably happens to a lot of, you know, that they, a member of all kinds of groups that seemed interesting at the time and then they completely forgot about it. So yeah, I don't know this morning, I actually did a bit of cleanup and I'm down to something like, I think five groups that I'm a member of now, myself and nothing more.
Jesper (10m 40s):
I deleted all the other stuff that I'd never go and check anyway. Oh, excellent. That is exciting. And maybe, you know, I do like, I don't like to wait for new year's resolutions to make changes, but I do like the reminder of now's a good time to clean house and check my book manuscripts and do things along those lines. So I'm sure I have some Facebook groups I could whittle out myself. So that's a good idea. And I'm glad Richard found his way back to us and that hopefully he'll be popping back in more often. Yeah. And if It definitely, and if you're listening, Richard, thank you for stopping by. But of course in general, DM writing fences to Facebook group is normally quite active.
Jesper (11m 25s):
So if you're not a member yet just search for M writing fences in the group section of Facebook and then you can apply to become a member. And one of us we'll let you in, or maybe one of our moderators will. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. We were actually just in there before we started recording this. And what did I found that one post that had like 191 comments, there were a little active, just, just tat it's a great place to be. Yeah, absolutely. And there, there's a couple of thousand fantasy authors in there already, so it's actually a pretty good community. And if you know, if you have any questions or anything, you want some fellow authors to share some thoughts about, then that's a great place to post your stuff And to today's topic.
Jesper (12m 16s):
You know what I did, autumn, I've actually managed while I was in Facebook earlier today, I actually managed to dig out a Facebook post that I wrote on December 23rd, 2019. So like a year ago. Excellent. Yeah, because it was a post in which I summarized our goals for 2020. So how did we do, Oh, that's how I thought it would be a good workplace. Start here too. I could read out aloud that post and then we can just discuss how we think we did against those goals. That sounds perfect. I love this setup.
Jesper (12m 55s):
Let's go for it. Okay. So let, this is then me reading the post. First of all, allow autumn and myself to extend our blessings and love for all you wonderful writers. It's been a very busy year for us and 2020 is going to be no different last week. We agreed what we want to achieve in 2020. Number one, complete the world building course and release it. Number two, complete the self-publishing success course and release it. Number three, publish our short guide on story ideas. Number four, publish our step-by-step step system for plotting number five, publish a workbook for plotting number six, complete and release a brand new course on email marketing and number seven, redesign the am writing fantasy website.
Jesper (13m 51s):
And then it goes on to say, as you can see, that's quite a lot. Once all of that has been completed, we're going to focus entirely on new fiction series. If all goes well, we will write three to four books in 2021. We hope you are heading into a productive year writing and a huge thank you for being part of our community. We wish you a Merry Christmas and happy new years Ormond Yesper. That's a very good post. Yeah, I thought, and I thought it was so such a good starting point because actually if I'm looking down that list of items we wanted to do, I think we will.
Jesper (14m 30s):
They I'm writing fantasy website site is not quite done yet, but as we are recording a bit ahead of time here, it's probably going to be done before we hit new years. And if so, we can basically Mark all of these complete that's what I, with your listing them, I'm letting go. This is going to be something we haven't done. And we're like, world-building building course. Nope. Did that self publishing success? Nope. Did one. The books, All three of them, for least and were all bestsellers in August of bailing course. That is we haven't released it yet because we haven't decided when to, but it is, it is there, it is ready. I could release it tomorrow. And so, yeah, it's just the I'm writing fantasy website, which that won't take too long.
Jesper (15m 14s):
Hopefully by the time we're recording this, versus when we release it, maybe that'll be done. I don't think I've ever actually hit every single one of my goals, especially goals that big and ambitious and we haven't done more than we listed there. So that's just, we did the character building course. What's not even on the list. Yeah we, so that was your doing, you came up On the fly there in the middle of the year, In the middle of a pandemic. And so everyone was doing courses on a discount to help out keep people entertained and educated and optimistic. And we asked the people in the am writing fantasy, Facebook group, what would you like?
Jesper (15m 55s):
And they said a character development course. And we did it in like two weeks. Yeah, no, but actually, I mean, because one, one thing one could say when you review like a, to do list and say, okay, you tick off everything. One thing one could say would be, well, if it's just an easy list, then of course you can get all of it done. But actually this list has some huge items on them. You know, there are several full full courses here, the world-building course. Well that probably took us two and a half year to develop. And that was not done during 2020. That was a two and two years project and just finished up in 2020.
Jesper (16m 36s):
But there was a lot of very heavy items on this list that yes, some of it has been in the works since 2019, but just to get all of it finished up and released in 2020, I think, I don't think this is an ambitious list that we created at the end of 2019, to be honest. No, it was, I think a very ambitious list, but we had, we knew we had all of these things on the, on the burner and some of them had been cooking away more than long enough. And it was finally, this is the year. This is the year we're going to make it happen and we're going to get them done. And by doing that in the saying it, we, we really did it and it certainly didn't happen by sitting back saying, I hope it happens.
Jesper (17m 19s):
We've been working our butts off to make it happen. And he decided, you know, you sold a house and moved as well. So it's been really, and I have switched from a department to a cabin in the woods. So there's been even lots of moving, going on in our personal lives. Yeah. That's actually true. Yeah, yeah. Crazy year. Yeah, it has been, but I don't know if there's, is there more about 2020 or should we do a bit of forward-looking? I don't think so. I mean, we knew when we came into that, we had said basically from the get-go it was going to be a platform building year. We were going to finish up a lot of our projects so that we could look ahead and that's where we're at is 2021.
Jesper (18m 0s):
We're looking ahead. And I don't think our plans or our goals has changed much from what we posted in 2019. No, not really. It's pretty much on track with that. And I would also say from the perspective of this podcast, I don't think that much, I mean, we don't have any plans as such to change anything. We'd probably just going to keep going with the same, let's say frequency, but also the same format that, that listeners know today. I don't think we don't. We, well, we don't really have any plans listed of things.
Jesper (18m 42s):
We want to change with the podcast as such either. No, but I think this would be a good chance for listeners once, you know, you get over your holiday cheer and, and have a moment to reflect. If there's anything you would like to see in 2021, if you would like any topics you would want us to cover people. You want us to interview that you think would be cool. Do you drop it into the comments and let us know? And we would love to see what your ideas are, but I think, I mean, I'm really happy. We hit a hundred episodes in 2020, and I'm looking forward to 2021 and watching that number increase in watching the number of listeners increase. I mean, every, the stats go up every week.
Jesper (19m 23s):
So I'm really happy. I think a lot of writers are finding us and liking us and coming back and unless someone is going to comment differently, I'm just going to keep believing in that. Yeah. I was actually looking into some of the stats earlier today because actually we launched this podcast in February, 2019 and it grew really quickly, you know, by the end of the first year. So coming into the beginning of 2020, we had increased the monthly downloads by more than 10 times from where we started. So that was pretty encouraging as we were heading into 2020.
Jesper (20m 6s):
And then I would say from there, the podcast has grown a bit throughout the year, this year as well, but not nearly as close as it did in 2019, which is of course not surprising because that was it's, it's much easier to gain a huge percentage increase once you don't have much from a starting point, right. Zero to 10 is really big. Yeah. Yeah, indeed. So, but it has been growing throughout 2020 as well. So on one hand that's okay. On the other hand, you know, 2020 has been a bit crazy with coronavirus, the U S election and so on and so on.
Jesper (20m 46s):
So I think as we are heading into 2021, now that's also the time where I, at least personally, I would like to start see some more growth in the listenership of this podcast. Yeah. That would be really, I would be excited about that myself too. I think they're out there, but yeah, it's been a year. I mean, most people, I mean, when I listen to podcasts, it's usually while I'm driving or walking or, you know, commuting, things like that. And a lot of us are teleworking. So the commute time is between, you know, the bedroom and the home office is a lot shorter than most people who had to drive before. So I think that's probably impacted things a little bit.
Jesper (21m 26s):
At least I'm hopeful. I certainly know there's been more engagement and I do see some downloads, but I think it's always a good goal to try to increase listeners and see this grow because I, you know, I'm a gardener and ecologist in my blood, so I like to see things grow. Doesn't it's happy. Yeah, absolutely. So if you are the listener one to help us out a bit here, then there's actually a number of things that you can do as a, As a little Christmas gift for Yeah. To put us on the right path for 2021. So number one, if you haven't done so already, please leave a rating and review of the podcast wherever you listen to it, because it actually makes a huge difference in terms of the different podcast aggregators proposing, or suggesting our podcast to new listeners is so they go off the ratings and reviews and if there's a lot of them, then they will suggest our podcast to junior listeners as well.
Jesper (22m 27s):
So that will help. And secondly, if you know, a writer, why not mention this podcast to that person, it's, it's sort of like a win-win situation, right? That, that, that other person will be happy to learn of a new podcast to listen to. And that you've done a good deed and that's pretty much in line with the Christmas spirit. Yeah. That would be the best. I'm a hard person to give Christmas presents to because well, you know, I write and I draw and I, I mean, what can people give me other than time? My laptop's functioning I'm happy. So that would be a fantastic present. I think though, to put into our stockings, if people would go ahead and leave a review and mentioned it to other folks or in other groups, I would so appreciate it.
Jesper (23m 11s):
I know we'd both, so appreciate it and make us feel warm and fuzzy, which is definitely the holiday spirit. Yeah. So I don't know, I'm sort of thinking that this is an episode right before Christmas autumn, and I know people are busy. So I'm almost thinking that I was gonna head into wrapping things up here for, for today's episode. But I don't know if you have anything important to mention before I get into that. No, I think I'm just hopeful 2021 is a crazy Year globally. And I think, you know, unless we get into our personal wishlist and goals for the year that I think as a podcast and as I'm writing fantasy, you know, we're hoping to write some books, get some stuff put together and not have quite a year is going to be our cookie or dessert after a year of flat for the building.
Jesper (24m 7s):
I'm so looking forward to the, working on the books we've been, and again, it's not like we're just going to start from scratch in January. We've been working on the outlines and the plots and the character development in the world building. So I think we're ready to hit 20, 21 I'm running. Yeah. We're looking so much forward to it. And I, we're also looking forward to record a lot more podcast episodes for you in the year to come and thank you for listening during the year that passed. And if you weren't out there, all of you, you know, if we didn't get any support on Patrion, if we didn't get some emails, once in a while, or somebody tweeting us once in a while to let us know that this podcast actually means something to you, then I doubt we would have concluded that we were going to continue for 2021.
Jesper (24m 60s):
So thank you so much for, for all that support out there. We appreciate it. Every comment, every review we read them, we appreciate them. And then when we get a chance, if especially if it's via email, we try to get back to people. So thank you for all of the support and the reviews and the kind words we really, it means so much to us, right? So next Monday West in there, right between Christmas and new year, autumn will have a very interesting interview with the wonderful Brian Cohen for you.
Narrator (25m 36s):
If you like, what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support the am writing fantasy podcast. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Ottoman Yesper on patrion.com/and writing fantasy for as little as a dollar a month, you'll get awesome rewards and keep the M writing fantasy podcast going, stay safe out there and see you next Monday.