THE SELF PUBLISHING SHOW LIVE! in London - 28th & 29th JUNE - Grab Your Ticket Here

SPS-316: How to Stay Passionate and Productive – with Sarah Noffke

Being a prolific author doesn’t involve magic tricks or superhuman strength. Sara Noffke shares that, for her, writing 12 books a year (or more) takes discipline, focus, and passion for the stories being told.

Show Notes

  • Some results from James’ TikTok experiments
  • On working collaboratively with Michael Anderle
  • The learned skill of balancing tension in a story
  • The wisdom of writing what we know
  • From single mom to full-time author
  • Feeding a hungry audience of readers
  • How writing a book in two weeks works
  • Is there value is setting a word count goal each day?
  • Using the pomodoro method of writing sprints to get the writing done

Resources mentioned in this episode:

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

SPS LIVE 2022: Get on the waitlist for tickets to Self-Publishing Show Live in London in June

MERCH: Are you a ligneous beetle or a yawning hippopotamus? Get your SPF hoodies and t-shirts in the SPF Store.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

SPS-316: How to Stay Passionate and Productive - with Sarah Noffke
Speaker 1: On this edition of The Self-Publishing Show: Sarah Noffke: I think it's that we put too big of goals in front of us when we're writers, and we're like, "We have to write a book," and it's like, "No, no. Today, you just have to write a chapter. Tomorrow, you have to write another one, make it manageable, and then, all of a sudden, before you know it, you're at 80 books or something."

Speaker 1: Publishing is changing. No more gatekeepers, no more barriers, no one standing between you and your readers. Do you want to make a living from your writing?

Join indie bestseller, Mark Dawson, and first-time author James Blatch, as they shine a light on the secrets of self-publishing success. This is The Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Hello. It is Friday, which means it is The Self-Publishing Show with me, James Blatch.

Mark Dawson: And me, Mark Dawson.

James Blatch: Welcome, Mark Dawson. We have a couple of things to get through before we have a great interview today with a prolific author. We're talking about somebody who writes a novel every be two weeks.

Mark Dawson: That's prolific. I think if you looked up prolific in the dictionary, you'd have a picture of Sarah Noffke. That's very impressive.

James Blatch: It is. But we talked to her a bit about how not to burn out, how to organise yourself to do that sort of thing, how to collaborate. She's a very collaborative writer who writes with Michael Anderle's team over there in LBNNABCG, whatever his company's called. Who knows? Nobody knows, apart from him.

Mark Dawson: LMBPN, I think, isn't it?

James Blatch: Well done. You've memorised it. Okay. But before then, let's talk about The Self-Publishing Show live.

We have finally confirmed the dates. I think we may have previewed this last week, but the dates are for sure going to be June the 28th and 29th, 2022. That is a Tuesday and a Wednesday in London. I think there's some friends in the States already talking about coming in early, so there may be some stuff to do over the weekend informally, and on the Monday, we will have the conference itself during the day on those two days as Tuesday and Wednesday.

We will have a separate ticketed event in the evening, which obviously will be open to people attending the conference. We're hoping that we'll also get in some people who can't attend the conference during the day, but want to come and network in the evening. That will just be drinks and a band, details to be worked out, or will take place in the South Bank Centre in the heart of London on the river Thames.

And in June, Mark. Because it was cold, wasn't it, last we did it.

Mark Dawson: Was it?

James Blatch: Yes. Do you remember?

Mark Dawson: Oh, well. Actually, yes. It was. It was freezing. I remember queuing up for about 20 minutes and it was absolutely chilly. Yeah.

James Blatch: You had to queue?

Mark Dawson: Well, I think we were waiting for ... Even I can't walk on water, James, and the boat had to turn up and come along for us. I actually walked past the South Bank Centre yesterday. I was in London for the first time, second time, in two years yesterday for a meeting with my publisher and walked from Waterloo up to Mortimer Street. So I walked over Hanover Bridge and passed the South Bank Centre, and I did think to myself, "Wouldn't it be great to have another conference there?" And so, we will. Have we signed the contracts?

James Blatch: We haven't.

Mark Dawson: You still haven't done that. I asked you that last week and we still haven't done that yet.

James Blatch: I know. They seem to want more and more information from us to put into the contract, exactly what time the event's starting and finishing, which is understandable because that will be part of the contract, but it's reserved and we are ready to pay the hefty deposit and we will look at selling tickets. So can we announce the ticket price that we've decided, haven't we, the ticket price-

Mark Dawson: No.

James Blatch: No? We haven't.

Mark Dawson: We haven't completely decided yet.

James Blatch: Okay. All right.

Mark Dawson: 500 pounds.

James Blatch: It will not be 500 pounds. You need to be a member of our Facebook community group and you need to be on our mailing list to be made aware of when tickets are going to go on sale, to make sure that you are in the right place.

Mark Dawson: Let me explain that a little bit better. So we have a separate list for people, kind of like, as you say, a waiting list. So if you join the separate list, those people, and I think there must be nearly 2000 people on that list, now they will get the first emails, and the first chance to buy tickets, so you need to sign up. I don't know the URL of that, James.

James Blatch: I do. It's selfpublishingformula.com/spslive: Sierra Papa Sierra live.

Mark Dawson: Because we've done this before now, we've had lots of unhappy punters, shall we say, in different parts of the world, because we had people from all over the world coming last year, from Australia, from the states, and across Europe. What we don't want to do is to disadvantage people based on the time zones. We think this will sell very quickly. It did last time. I don't any reason why it won't be the same.

So what we'll probably do is ... we'll have to sit down and work this out .... but we'll split the tickets into three, I think, and then we'll offer them at different times of the day so our Aussie friends will get the chance to buy tickets at a time that's convenient to them, not four in the morning, which would've been what it was last time.

We'll have a 12:00 UK time, which will allow Europeans to get involved, and we'll find something similarly convenient for friends in the states and Canada and places like that. So we will try and be equitable as possible because I would be quite surprised if this doesn't sell out quite fast. So we will see. We'll do our best.

James Blatch: We will. Yeah. More information on that in the Facebook group. Once you are on the mailing list, you'll be sent a link to join a special Facebook group, just about SPS live.

Mark Dawson: Actually, yeah. That's right. You're right. You can join that now. I can't remember what ... I think if you search Facebook for self publishing formula or self show live 2022, or just a combination of those, you'll see that, and anyone can join. You can just jump in and it is quite quiet at the moment, but it'll get busy later.

James Blatch: Yeah. It will. Very exciting. Our actual main Facebook group's been busy with a little grammar discussion this week. I don't know if you've been dipping in and out of that: "angrier"?

Mark Dawson: No. I haven't seen that.

James Blatch: Someone posted it three days ago, a really simple little thing saying, "Well, my proof reader wants me to say angrier instead of more angry in a sentence," and now I'm counting 200 comments and more.

Mark Dawson: Oh, my god.

James Blatch: And some of them are angry, the comments.

Mark Dawson: Oh, dear.

James Blatch: No, not too bad. Someone self-deleted, I think, a couple. But it's one of those things, isn't it, as writers, everyone has an opinion and I think there's always this polarising thing on the internet instead of people saying, "I would prefer this," they say, "That's definitely wrong. That's definitely right." So there's a bit of that going on as well.

Mark Dawson: Dogma is not a good idea, and also, things, especially when it comes to the language, it changes all the time. I'm a pedant when it comes to punctuation and things, but even I-

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: I saw, slightly off topic but not really, my daughter is learning about apostrophes at the moment, and I did a little bit of looking around to help her understand it. There's a guy in Bristol called the apostrophizer, and he goes ... So it does annoy me if you go to a shop frontage- Yes. That's true. Actually, Harrods is a good one. Yeah.

James Blatch: No. Carrots, I was saying.

Mark Dawson: Oh.

James Blatch: Yeah. The carrots is the classic grossest apostrophe, isn't it? It doesn't need an apostrophe. It's not possession, but people put a sign on their-

Mark Dawson: Oh, I see. No, I thought you said Harrods. That's absolutely obvious. Carrots is a plural. Harrods, I thought you said, would be interesting because it is Mr. Harrod, his store. I don't know whether Harrods ... I'm sure, because they're very old fashioned and correct, it probably is Harrod apostrophe S.

But the apostrophizer in Bristol goes around and has a little apostrophe stencil and he adds apostrophes to words that require apostrophes. I basically am all for that. I think I might introduce it to Salisbury.

James Blatch: Yeah. There's a very sleazy bar in Huntingdon, which is the home of Oliver Cromwell Huntingdon, and it's called Cromwells, and it doesn't have an apostrophe.

Mark Dawson: Oh, right. Yes.

James Blatch: I refuse to go in it for many reasons, but that's one of them, unless of course the bar is dedicated to Thomas Cromwell, Richard Cromwell, and Oliver Cromwell.

Mark Dawson: All the Cromwells. Yeah, exactly. Well, in that case, it should be Cromwells' apostrophe s.

James Blatch: Yes. Anyway, most people have responded in this thread saying what you've just said, basically, is how does it feel to you as a writer?

Mark Dawson: Mm.

James Blatch: Both are probably okay and you don't need to be pedantic about it.

Mark Dawson: We got an email once, to rant about punctuation and grammar, about I think we said something like, instead of, "James and I will be going to the conference," it was ... It wasn't, "James and me," but it was me or, "Me and James," or something along those lines, and he came back and said, "As a writer, I am disgusted with your ..." I'm like, "F off." I mean, that was something. Honestly. That kind of thing is just, as you say, how does it sound in your ear? Is that how people speak? And it often is. It's much less formal.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: So there are some things I will take stand against, but others, I really won't, and that would be one of them.

James Blatch: It is the joy of being in a writer's Facebook group. Join in the SPS community group, should you wish.

Mark Dawson: I'll avoid that. One thing I did see yesterday was someone, I think well-meaning, asked how a woman would describe themselves if they saw themselves in the mirror.

James Blatch: Oh.

Mark Dawson: Lucy, my wife, spotted that and it is quite a fun little conversation. Someone, I think, described how a man would be described if it was written in the way that men write about women.

James Blatch: Yes.

Mark Dawson: So he looks in the mirror, and notices his his pert buttocks. Anyway, we'll leave that there. It can get quite unpleasant.

James Blatch: Yes. I don't think I do look in mirrors. I think it's an old male thing. I don't don't look actually at myself. Now, I've got a little bit of my book of news, because I often get emails from Amazon because we run Fuse Books saying that this book's being selected for a Kindle daily deal, a Kindle monthly deal, and you put them forward and Prime and the rest of it. I actually got an email from Amazon about my book.

Mark Dawson: Oh.

James Blatch: It's going to be a Kindle monthly deal and I'm excited about it.

Mark Dawson: Well, I don't want to piss on your chips but I'd turn that down.

James Blatch: Oh. Hm.

Mark Dawson: From Kindle daily deals, I would always say yes because it's only a day, and generally ... I have a few every month, and I had one on the weekend, and it was really good. Sold another 200 or 300 copies of that book.

Kindle monthly deals can be good, but in my experience, they tend to be a bit of a damp squib, and you might find the price is reduced as well.

James Blatch: Well, the price is reduced, to .99.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. If you said yes, it'd be too late. We could get it-

James Blatch: Oh, I'm saying yes anyway, because, remember, I'm not aiming to make a profit out this book. I'm aiming to in the front as many eyes as possible, and this is a different way of doing it, and I'm going to run some ad campaigns saying, "99 P for a short time, only in the UK for the whole of February," but don't ... I'm going to battle away your piss.

Mark Dawson: Well, just as advice to others, I would think twice about KMDs, but would be to accept KDDs automatically.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: That's what I would do, anyway.

Mark Dawson: Speaking of other news, there's my kids' book, which I'm holding up now, for those who are listening, not watching, is out now and has done quite well. I did a little email to my list and there's a pile of about 250 books over there that asked for dedications to their children, which is actually really lovely. People saying my daughter struggles to find the interest to read; it would really help if you could include a motivational message in the book. So actually that's quite nice, because if out of those 250, a couple suddenly kindle a love of reading, then that's a good thing.

James Blatch: Yeah, absolutely.

Mark Dawson: That's gone quite well. Sales are now through my store; I've registered with Nielsen, so they all count towards the charts, and I think I had several hundred sales just through my own mailing list. We're also running Facebook ads right now and they're working quite well, too. So it's been good. It's been good, and good fun, so much so that Will Beck, who I saw yesterday, won another three.

James Blatch: Wow.

Mark Dawson: We've commissioned three and we're probably going to do six. So that's been fun.

James Blatch: Excellent. Good work. You're opening up another front in your writing.

Mark Dawson: Yes. Yeah.

James Blatch: A lot going on.

Mark Dawson: Well, me and it's Alan Burroughs. I work with a writer on that series. So Alan and I work on that together and he's really great. I think Alan's had quite a lot of fun just working on this with me. I've had fun working on it with him. So we are looking forward to pushing all of that.

James Blatch: One more bit of book marketing news: last week's interview with the Peckham sisters or Peckham/Valenti sisters. We talked a lot about TikTok and we have been talking about TikTok recently, and they credit TikTok with getting them to number one in the overall Amazon store. We are obviously working on a course, but I've been working on TikTok, as well.

I think I mentioned last week, I had some higher viewing figures for some posts of my old BBC days flying in harrier jets, and so on, about 40,000 on one of the views. So I then sat and thought, "Well, okay. I need to do a post about my book now to see what happens."

I thought long and hard about how to do it and I did do a very TikTok-y style, put myself out there a little bit, bit of lip syncing, and held my book up in frame, and on that day, saw a double spike. I don't sell a lot of these books; I sort of break even. I sell 250 to 300 a month equivalent, if you look at the Kindle reads as well, but it doubled on that day, and I'm starting to see some reads going up as well. I haven't changed my marketing.

Mark Dawson: No. Clearly that's the cause of it. Yeah.

James Blatch: Yeah. We're having a few people in the group who are quite cynical about it. I understand, and someone said, "Does anyone really sell a book on TikTok?" And that thread has had lots of replies from people saying, "Um, yes. Since I joined TikTok, it's put me in the chart," all the rest of it.

These things come and go, we know, but we do think TikTok at the moment, for the time being, is a platform that you should be taking seriously, and looking at the people who are selling books on it, and seeing how they're doing it, and, of course, TikTok for Authors, the module, as part of Ads for Authors, is going to be out very soon, probably end of this month, beginning of next month.

Right. That's our announcements; that's our discussions. I think we've covered everything we need to cover, Mark. It's time to hear from Sarah Noffke. I really enjoyed this chat. She's really fun person to talk to and a writer at the other end of the scale for me, in terms of timing. I'm a book-a-year man, hopefully. She is a book every fortnight. Can you believe? We talked to her about various things about the writing process and also about writing in collaboration with Michael Anthony and his company. So here's Sarah.

Sarah Noffke, welcome to The Self-Publishing Show. How lovely to have you with us.

Sarah Noffke: Thank you. It's such an honour to be here, really. It is so cool.

James Blatch: It's our pleasure. And. Of course, because I'm British, we inevitably chatted about the weather: this bright, glaring sunshine coming in behind you because you're in Southern California and that's why there's so much light there and it's miserable and dark here, but that's partly a function of the way the earth turns rather than the weather. But nonetheless.

Sarah Noffke: I don't control that. I don't control the weather, but it's dark there.

James Blatch: I know some of you fantasy/sci-fi authors, I reckon there's a bit of control going on. But, anyway, we'll move on to that when we get there.

Okay. Look, we want to talk about writing, about the success you've had, about your process. We'll talk a bit about not overloading yourself and all the rest of it, then some good tips I think you're going to bring us.

We will start if you don't mind, Sarah, with a bit of your background and your writing history.

Sarah Noffke: Awesome. Okay. Well, I am an urban fantasy writer. I started in science fiction, young adult, and I've stayed there for the most part. I've gravitated, I've made mistakes by doing a space opera.

James Blatch: A mistake because it moved you out of your lane and, and you didn't have the audience for it, not a mistake because space opera is a mistake.

Sarah Noffke: I'm glad you clarified that because I don't know science and you kind of need to. No. I love science and physics was a hobby of mine, not that I understand any of it, but I think you really have to be passionate about what you're writing and space opera, but I'm not real good with the science. I'm great with magic, and so, I love magic science, magic tech, magic science and stuff like that. Anyways.

So that's the genres. I just started my 88th book this week. So I have quite the back list. I think I have 13 or 14 series and they have progressive really gotten longer, which I hope means that we know what we're doing better, because you can't have a long series unless somebody's going to read it and you're going to get the buys.

I started my publishing career in about 2014 and I now work with LMBPN almost exclusively. Michael and I just collaborate very well together and we've stumbled upon a universe that the readers are really hungry for. It's called the Beaufont world. So that's where we are now. It's just really fun.

I love what I do and I took a three month break recently. It's the first break I think I've taken since I was 17 from working. I can't tell you how hungry I was to get back to writing. I was kicking people out of the house. I was like, "You're done. Get back to school."

James Blatch: I'm really interested in talking to you about the writing process as well, especially somebody like me who had a good day today and managed to get to 800 words. I might operate in a slightly different world from you, but I want to talk a little bit about that history.

So when you say LMNBNBN ... I can never remember the initials ... that's Michael Anderle's publishing universe. There you go; you've got the t-shirt. I've told him so many times this is not a great name for a publishing company, because no one can remember it, but he ignores me, quite rightly, probably.

But that's his publishing empire, and he started off with collaborative writing, and, effectively, that's still how his publishing business works for the main. It's collaboration. So his name is on the book and he takes over ... It's not just the marketing, is it? I think you talk about outlining and how the universe is going to work and he organises who's going to write into that universe.

Explain how that operates.

Sarah Noffke: Absolutely. Yes. So LMBPN, weird name. I think I stumbled over it a thousand times, but one of the reasons that I love it is I was doing this all on my own for about the first 18 books, the first five series, and I'm not a good marketer. I just don't belong in it. I've taken Mark's classes on ads and I've lost lots and lots of money. Not because Mark wasn't doing a great job. It's just sometimes you have a knack for it, but my knack is in writing. So LMBPN allows me to do that. I literally churn out the books, then I turn them over to an excellent team of editors, marketers, operations people.

But Mike and I, our role is that we really brainstorm a lot together and he's helped me to push the envelope of my novels from something that was safe, which is what I think I probably did for the first 20 something books, definitely, maybe even the more like the first 40, because something that I've released as a secret this year is it took me about 40 books to make it, which means a lot of mistakes. My goal recently has been, "Let me tell authors how to avoid writing 40 books before you make it. Let's try to do that maybe on the first or second one."

But sometimes it's a learning process. So we collaborate really. He pushes the envelope. As far as my writing goes. He also has taught me a lot of the tropes, the things that work. Because I think in the beginning, we as writers, at least I wanted to write what I wanted to write, but we've got to find that happy medium with right to market. So we do a lot of the outlining together. He reads through; he flags things, and then we progress. It's just always this whole organic process. But I do write the books for the most part and it's really fun.

James Blatch: So you quipped '40 books before you got it right'.

What are those first books like now compared to the books you write today? What's been the big change?

Sarah Noffke: That's a great question. I've always played with the idea of going back and fixing them. But I think that we always need to be progressing forward and that's probably where my efforts are better served. I think that I had too much angst in there and Michael has taught me a really cool thing that I never realised, and it was, create that tension, and then ease off, and create it, and ease.

Even in a fight scene, the heroine and her sidekick will be hanging from a cliff and lava is pouring down and they'll look at each other and go, "Did you remember to turn on off the coffee pot?"

James Blatch: Yeah.

Sarah Noffke: "Shit. No. I didn't turn off the coffee." So we relieve that tension and then it goes back to now we're getting hit with gunfire and things like that. So I think I just had too much stress in my novels, and now I've learned that very fine balancing act. Those are the tips that I learned from Michael because he knows his craft.

James Blatch: That's really good advice. I think that's getting that kind of tone is hard when you're a writer, particularly if you have a story you want to tell and you're a writer, you feel self-conscious, you are writing a novel and you hear all this stuff about pace and texture and you don't really know what the hell it all means when you first start writing. Right?

I'm a bit like you. I write to find out. But I think I rewrote the same book over 10 years before I published it. So probably published a book a little bit further down from where it sounds like you may have first published, but you do have to go through that process.

Sarah Noffke: You do. What I recognised was I don't like fight scenes. When I was a kid, when the fight scene came on, I would close my eyes and cover my face, and I did the exact same thing when I became a writer. I could never stay in that scene and, actually, breaking up the tension means almost staying in that scene-

James Blatch: So you covered your face because you were scared or you didn't like the violence, or you were just bored of fight scenes that just didn't interest you?

Sarah Noffke: No. It was a tension. The tension was too much for me. It made me stressed out. And so, then I go into writing and I'm writing these scenes that are stressing people out. So then you become what it is that you needed. I needed people that were writing things that made me feel a little stressed and then relieved and stressed and then relieved.

James Blatch: Okay.

Sarah Noffke: It's a balancing act.

James Blatch: It's a bit like Night and Day, that film with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, where they have a lot of comedic interchange during the ... It was a bit of a feature of that film, but it actually doesn't detract from the fact it's quite tense film with a story to follow. But I quite like that.

Michael's great for that. I don't know how he juggles everything that he does. I feel I've got enough in my life going on in my life. When I look at Michael's publishing empire and how he wakes up in the day with any kind of sense of order, I don't know. But he does all this stuff. He has these conversations with you.

Does anybody else write into this universe? Beaufont.

Sarah Noffke: Yeah. The Beaufont. No. It's solely my universe and it's going to remain that way. We've found something that really works for us and we know that the readership is there, so we're going to stay it for as long as we can.

James Blatch: And Michael does all the marketing?

Sarah Noffke: Yes. We just had a meeting yesterday because we're launching a new series in February, and that just takes the relief off me, because I can either write a bunch of words, which is what I do, or I can divide my efforts, and it just hasn't been practical in the past to divide my efforts.

James Blatch: Yeah. Okay. Well, people can check out the Beaufont series and what's the new series going to be in February? Or you cannot announce that yet?

Sarah Noffke: Oh, it's on pre-order.

James Blatch: Oh, okay.

Sarah Noffke: So it's a continuation, and that's the thing is we have different entry points for this. This started with the Unstoppable Liv Beaufont series, which was our breakout, in 2019. I finished it the day before we left for Bali, where you guys were, and then this one is called the Unconventional Agent Beaufont. So we are staying in the urban fantasy.

James Blatch: Okay. Right. So let's talk about writing then, which I really want chat you about. You went through this process in your early days, and I guess you were simply writing in your own cocoon at that stage. You weren't collaborating with anybody.

Did you have any sort of coaching or development work? How did you write and publish books? Completely by yourself?

Sarah Noffke: Completely by myself. My background has always been in the humanities, writing education, but I had an infant and I just decided that I always loved to read, so I started writing, but I really didn't have any knowledge. This was about 2012. So it's about at the cusp of when indie publishing has gotten real hot and there's some people that are really coming in and knocking out of the park, and then, I started at about 2014, but I didn't really know what I was doing.

So I am dividing all my efforts. I'm taking Dawson's courses and I'm taking Nick's courses and I'm learning. Somebody said, "You need a newsletter," and I was like, "News what?"

James Blatch: Yeah.

Sarah Noffke: Now, I talk to authors that came up to me at 20Books and they're like, "I've just finished my first book and I've already created a platform and I have a newsletter," and they're all together, and I was just not in that mindset. So I figured it out as I went along. That's why I made a lot of mistakes.

James Blatch: Yes. But the writing itself, how did you develop that? Your first book, your first couple of books, where did they come from and how much did you know about the structure of a novel at that stage?

Sarah Noffke: I really didn't. I was a pantser, and people ask me now, they're like, "Do you plot?" Plotting, to me, just really is ... That's going to be in my security blanket, my insurance, every single day. So I had to rewrite that novel several times and I made a lot of mistakes that I wouldn't make now. But I remember I was just sitting there with my daughter and she was an infant.

I think I was sleep deprived. That would make the most sense. And so, I'm thinking about dreams and I'm thinking, what if dreams are real? What if whenever you go to sleep, you have this lucid thing where anywhere you go in your dreams, you really go and you can experience and you can meet with anybody you want?

That became the universe that I created, which was called the Dream Travellers. I went on with that for five series. It's a good universe, but it's a hard one, too, because it's almost like time travel. Whenever you mess with something like that, you have a lot of complications and perplexities.

James Blatch: Your early endeavours, marketing-wise, I know you worked out that it wasn't going to be for you to do both of those things.

When you started working with Michael, what stage was that? How many books in were you when you started working with LMNBNBNL?

Sarah Noffke: We just say it different every time, and then that'll just be the joke. So that was when I had five series out. So I had about 18 books and I had moved out of LA and then I had moved back. I really didn't want to go back into education, which is my background. I was a college administrator and I worked at universities for a long time. That was great work.

When my daughter was an infant, I was writing books, I was teaching part-time college courses online, so it was great flexibility, but it was ... don't tell my students ... soul-sucking. I just didn't feel fulfilled. I think that a lot of us writers, that's what gets us into writing.

A friend of mine had said, "Hey, I hear there's this guy named Mike Anderle and he's launching a new universe." At the time, Martha Carr, who writes with him and is very prolific, was launching the Oriceran universe, and that was fantasy and that was something that I could get behind, and that's about 2017. And so, I started with her in that universe, and since then I have gravitated out of there and I just work with Michael because that's really what works. I've worked with Craig Martell. We did Space Opera. Then we found this universe that kind of was our niche.

James Blatch: How did you find it? Wait; did come to you in a dream?

Sarah Noffke: I know, right? What's really interesting is I was just having this conversation with a fellow author. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a dream, and Twilight was a dream. So don't discount your dreams. They really can bring you lots of money.

James Blatch: I'm going to go to bed with a new sense of very excitement tonight. That sounded weird.

Sarah Noffke: And also a notebook. Have a notebook cause you want to write it down. So Michael and I, at this point that we come up with the Beaufont universe, which is 2018, on the cusp of 2019, I was at my last dollar. I'd been doing this writing thing for a while.

I was a single mom. And I was like, "I think I have to give this up." So this was a last ditch effort. We had done Space Opera. We'd done fantasy; we'd done women's literature. He likes it, but it was a book that just put me outside my comfort zone, but I was always willing to try anything. And so, anyways, finally he comes to me and he says, "I've had all of these heroines and heroes that," aren't me, I think, is the spoiler alert.

And he says, "What if you write a series about a short blonde girl in LA that just stands up for the little guy and always goes to bat for justice?" And I was like, "I feel like you're hitting really close to home," and she's sassy and sarcastic and tells really bad jokes and she loves nachos. I'm sitting in this chair behind me and my cat won't let me sit in the chair because he's a jerk, and I tell him that, and he goes, "What if she has a sidekick, and he talks, and he's like really wise, and he's been alive for all of time, but he's like a house cat, so it's kind of this thing?"

Anyways, that's where it bloomed from. My point, to anybody listening, is draw from real life. That's what I knew. When I wrote that, all of a sudden readers go, "I relate to her," when they didn't relate to the first 60 novels that I wrote, or maybe they did, but not on the level that they would later. So I think that there's a lot of merit in writing what you know, and writing who know.

James Blatch: So this series, urban fantasy, I guess you'd describe it. Is it set in recognisable modern day LA, but departs and it has the magical side of it, or does it go off into other realms?

Sarah Noffke: That's where I made mistakes, I think, in Oriceran, whenever I wrote there. Since then, I've learned urban fantasy really has to be rooted in our modern life. And then, you have that escapism that just kind of spins it on its head. So here's a couple of examples.

The Beaufont universe, one of the main locations is on the boardwalk in Santa Monica, which is about 20 minutes from me. You knock at a tiny run down palm-reading store and you open the door and it's a huge mansion with magic everywhere. So we've got something that we could actually see in Santa Monica, but when we open the door, there's something new.

Father Time is a big character in that series and all of the series in the Beaufont universe, and you can find him when you go to a pawn shop. He's behind the counter trying to sell you used merchandise. So we're taking the fantastical and we're putting it in a very mundane, real world kind of thing.

James Blatch: I think the appeal is so huge for that, and it goes back a long way to Bewitched and these series that are set in otherwise normal locations, but there's a magical ... That's of such a massive appeal to people, isn't it? It takes them out of their world, or, I suppose, it invokes the possibility that five doors down, there's a witch living there or something.

That's why that's quite an appeal, isn't it? I can see why urban fantasy does sell in such big numbers.

Sarah Noffke: Absolutely. I think you're right. It makes that possibility, and that's that wonder that children love that I found. We think that Harry Potter isn't for us. I remember I was reading Harry Potter when Harry Potter wasn't cool. My stepmother had given me the book and it was the third book and movies weren't even a thing. And I was like, "This won't be for me," and obviously Harry Potter now is for lots of people, but that's the whole point is what works for children, we find absolutely works for adults. It's just the way we market it to them.

James Blatch: It's interesting, isn't it? It's funny thinking that through. What's the other series? It's Sabrina. You reminded me a little bit of Salem. The cat in Sabrina is also, I guess, quite a wise, sarcastic sooth in that case.

Sarah Noffke: Oh, I love that series.

James Blatch: Yeah. Well, again, it's that appeal, isn't it, of this real world existence with this ... I know Twilight, of course, is high school politics mixed in with vampires. Can't go wrong. Okay, great. It's a big area. You write this area; you're obviously doing well and I can see that. I was just looking at Amazon today.

But it's competitive, as well, in indie circles. I do meet a lot of people writing into this area. So you're obviously getting something right there, Sarah.

Sarah Noffke: Well, thank you. Like I said, it took me a long time to get there. It is really, really competitive, and that's the thing, is I think that one of our advantages is that we do stay productive. By we, I mean me. In 2020, I wrote about 19 books. Nobody was doing anything in 2020, and in 2021, I scaled it back and I think I wrote about 15. I'm really scaling it back in 2022, and I'll write about 10.

But what I'm saying is these readers tend to be really hungry. I think that our speed, our rapid release, absolutely helps whenever we're trying to get that competitive advantage. But also it is knowing of those tropes and it's knowing to get that tension and then take it off and have things that are fantastical.

James Blatch: So you are writing more than a book a month.

Sarah Noffke: Yes. Usually I write a book in about two weeks, about 70,000 words.

James Blatch: Wow. Okay. So it's going to take me a year to bring out book number two, and I'm quite pleased with have done it so quickly. There'll be people who are listening to this podcast who are all over the place; some will take five years and some will be like you and are writing as quickly, but it is almost like you are different species from the rest of us, from those of us who write slowly. So let's talk about that.

How you do you write a fully formed novel in a couple of weeks?

Sarah Noffke: Great question. I think I have to preface this with, I mean, you're writing science fiction, correct?

James Blatch: Military thriller.

Sarah Noffke: Okay. So, again, there's going to be a lot of technicalities that I don't have to deal with. I found that a lot when I was writing science fiction, when I was writing space opera, when I did write military space opera for a little while. I inherited a series from Martell. Those are harder to write in general.

I've got Magitech. I could just be like, "Well, it was magic." So, that becomes a reason that it's a little easier. I will give it that. If I'm running Dan Brown thrillers, I've got to go research a whole lot of history in science.

James Blatch: I'll take your point. Actually, mine's real world. It's historical military, so it's set in the sixties in America, in the UK. I'm very nerdy about it. I love doing the research. There is a bit of that, but I reckon even if it was all in my mind, with no research, I still would not ... I can't envisage writing a book in a couple of weeks.

How does this process work? You said you do plot now.

Sarah Noffke: I plot and my outlines are definitely my insurance. They don't tend to be super long. I had just finished one for the book that I'm going to do, which is about 80,000 words, and the outline with characters and everything is probably 3000 words, but that's going to always give me a place to go. I think that a lot of it comes down to discipline. It's the boring stuff.

For the next two weeks, I've pretty much told everybody in my life, I'm not really available. I have a 10 year old and obviously I'm always available to her. I don't leave her high and dry.

James Blatch: She's not going to go hungry, just to check, because I've got friends in LA I could send over with food if she needs it.

Sarah Noffke: Please do.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Sarah Noffke: Feeding myself is difficult. What I found is doing this time and time again is it's simplifying your life. I can't do a lot of complicated things. Everything is automated in my life. I wear the same thing. I eat the same thing. I know my schedule and I'm very, very diligent about how I use it. So social media has to go away, things like that.

But I know that whenever I sit down, I will write, and that be comes a muscle that over time when you use it before I would stare at the ceiling for hours and it was like, "Where does this come from? Da, da, da, da, da." Now it's like, "No. You just do it." I sit down and write the words. So there's not a lot of magic formula in it, but here's the other thing that really works for me: I'm writing things I love.

I'm doing this podcast with you. And then, after that, I want to write about 5,000 to 6,000 words, and I want to spend as much time doing this with you, but then I can't wait to get to the words. What I found is people are always asking me questions about burnout, and they're like, "Well, aren't you afraid you're going to get burned out?" And whenever I was at the 20 Books conference, people kept coming up to me and saying, "I just don't think I can do it the same as you because I don't know that I have that passion." If you don't have the passion, you're not going to get it done.

What I found is most people are so worried about being burned out, that they don't realise they've never been lit. You really have to get that fire. I can't wait for this story to get out, and I feel like that's what's driving me. I pop out of bed in the morning. I want to do it all day long. I love my friends, but I almost would rather spend time with the people in my head.

James Blatch: That's a great jacket quote for you.

The outline, 3000 odd words you write. Is that literally just in words or do you scribble on something and you just write out the story in short form?

Sarah Noffke: Yeah. Michael calls it beats; I feel like he's just avoiding the term outline. But I think that there's about 30 points in here and we'll end up having something like 80, 90 chapters. And so it's just beat by beat what we're going to be doing. I have a lot, for the first novel, a lot of world building, and really that's going to take up about 50% of it.

Right now, we're writing something that's urban fantasy mixed with romance. It's like a fairy godmother that's kind of a rebel goth. She's not your typical fairy godmother. My point is, the romance is supposed to be the dopamine hits, but in our first book we're making it the world building. So that's all in the outline. That's going to be a lot of fun.

James Blatch: Okay. People use these expressions like beats and so on. I did a similar thing, I think, probably wrote about 3,000 or 4,000 words that basically told the story, but without any flesh on it, and that's a similar thing that you do. I'm just asking because I'm going to come into novel three soon and I don't know if there's a better way of doing it.

People use Scrivener and plotting devices and plotting software, but I literally found writing the story out in a word document was my was outline.

Sarah Noffke: I absolutely agree. I've looked at Scrivener, I've looked at all these fancy softwares, and I just don't see the benefit in it for me.

James Blatch: Okay.

Sarah Noffke: But I'm not dissing it for other people. I just sometimes feel as writers, we over-complicate things.

James Blatch: I know a lot of people really love, particularly, Plotter, is a very well used one. It really helps some people. In the early days I did use them, but less so now.

Anyway, so you have your outline and then, in terms of your process for writing, tell us about a typical day. By the sounds of it, you bounce out of bed in the morning and can't wait to start writing.

Sarah Noffke: I'm kicking my kid out the door.

James Blatch: Yeah. I forgot that. Yes. For breakfast. Yeah. "Mummy, I'm hungry."

Sarah Noffke: 10 years old, they're pretty self-sufficient at this point.

James Blatch: Yeah, exactly. She knows where the cereal is.

Sarah Noffke: "Yeah. You can find it. I'll just throw it on the floor." No. I wouldn't. I wouldn't dare. So, for instance, it's wake up early. I think that that's really key is I start early, but I've evolved through the years. I wrote the majority of my novels at night after my child was in bed. Now, she's 10, so things are different. Now, she goes to school. 2020, she wasn't in school at all, so that was really a challenge.

James Blatch: What's early for you?

Sarah Noffke: So this morning I was up at about 6:30.

James Blatch: Okay.

Sarah Noffke: And that's really just to get me ready; get me ready, and, I always say, I set myself up for success. So I do that in the morning. I do that at night. I do that throughout the day. I took her to school and I went and worked out. I always work out and then I get started. I got everything off my desk. My accountant wanted stupid accounting things.

James Blatch: Yeah. I like that.

Sarah Noffke: I get all of that stuff out and then it's just sit down, and I do it in sprints. I used to sprint with other writers, and that was wonderful because we were encouraging each other, but, it's nothing against them, it's just that me touching base with them and going, "Okay. We finished that sprint. Where were you? Great job. Awesome," just became kind of slowing me down. So I will set out for 30 minute sprints with 10 minute breaks in between, and the 10 minute breaks are to eat, to stretch, to go play piano, to stare at the ceiling, respond to somebody, and then I just literally do that all day long on my writing days until I'm done, and then I set myself up for success.

James Blatch: 30 on, 10 off, 30 on, 10 off.

Sarah Noffke: Yes. Usually, on a day that is devoted entirely to writing, that's anywhere from 10 to 15 sprints.

James Blatch: Okay.

Sarah Noffke: But you know what? Yesterday was an off day. My daughter ... I won't have her today. Her father has her. So like I said, I devote those days, but yesterday I picked her up from school. She's doing homework. 30 minute sprints. 30 minutes, then I check in with her, 30 minutes, and I did that until dinner time. So I've just found that it's always about devoting those minutes and getting really, really greedy about how I spend them. When it's writing time, it's writing time.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Sarah Noffke: When it's Lydia time, it's Lydia time.

James Blatch: When you get to the 30 minutes, do you literally stop mid-sentence-type thing? You're not tempted at that point where, "I'm really enjoying this," to carry on, or you're disciplined about, "No. This system works," if it's 30 on, 10 off?

Sarah Noffke: Good question. No. I will find an ending point because it's going to be easier, I believe, to start it back up if I find it natural ending. If I'm in the middle of a sentence or even sometimes I go to the end of the chapter, and then I just push things forward. But that works for me because, otherwise, whenever I found that I was sitting down, I was like, "I have five hours to write." Five hours to write seems so overwhelming.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Sarah Noffke: Just sit down and do 30 minutes. I always have a goal in mind. I want to get to this spot or I want to do 500 words or whatever it is. I think it's that we put too big of goals in front of us when we're writers. We're like, "We have to write a book," and it's like, "No, no. Today, you just have to write a chapter."

James Blatch: Yeah.

Sarah Noffke: "Tomorrow, you have to write another one." Make it manageable, and then, all of a sudden, before you know it, you're at 80 books or something.

James Blatch: Yeah. 80 books, more than 50K. You could start a rival group. Now the word count, you mentioned that, and I do kind of use this. I was starting to get a little ticked off on TikTok. That's funny. I was doing a bit of TikTok this week and I've started an account. I did funny thing about, someone asked me, "Did you hit your word count today?" "Of course I didn't." A good friend said to me, you set your word count, so you're failing your own target. You should set something that's realistic to you.

But, for me, I feel that I do need to set those word counts, even if I fall short of them, because otherwise it's just not going to get done. I'm so colossally busy with everything else in my life. I have to work like that. Is this something you live by?

Is word count part of your target for a day or a week?

Sarah Noffke: It absolutely is, especially like I have to finish this book that I'm working on right now by the 24th, and today is the 12th, and so, that's not even two weeks, and I need about another 60,000 words. So we have to stay accountable to ourselves. Somebody said that a similar thing to me about the word counts, and they were like, "This is just an arbitrary goal that you've set for yourself." It's like, "If I don't set it, it's not going to get done."

So what I do whenever I'm starting a book is I write down my schedule, knowing there's days that I'm going to have my daughter more, we're going to have piano lessons, or we're going to have activities, and then there's days when I won't have anything going on. I set out how much it should be and it's going to tick up until we get to the deadline date, and that's when we need to be at 80,000.

As I progress, I invariably get behind. It happens every single time for 88 books, always. So those word counts just keep going forward onto the next one. I will tell you, I've had a dozen or more weekends that I've done 30,000 words.

James Blatch: Wow.

Sarah Noffke: The book has to get done.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Sarah Noffke: Excuses can keep it all day long, but, no. Word counts, I think you have to set for yourself.

James Blatch: And when you do those big weekends, when you're up against that deadline, do you still stick with a 30 minute sprint? Do you find that works best for you?

Sarah Noffke: Absolutely. I feel like that those are the reason that I can actually get it done because it's not overwhelming. It's not like I wake up and go, "You have to do 10,000 words today." It's, "You just have to get through these sprints." Once I set it out, it just feels very manageable, and it almost feels fun. It's like, "Do your sprint. You get to go have a cookie." Literally I will go and have a cookie. "Do another sprint. Now you get to go and play on Facebook for five minutes," whatever it is that gets you there. I feel like we really are reward-based.

James Blatch: Yeah. That works with me as well. That's something else someone once said. I can't remember who it was now, said, "Oh, you shouldn't reward yourself with food and stuff." I'm thinking, "Why the hell not?" So I look forward to my snack in the evening, my beer in the evening. I look forward to it all day because I've got some shit done.

Anyway, we all have our ways of doing this. This is fascinating to me. I think the 30 minutes is really interesting because, I don't know how other people feel, but I try and compartmentalise some time during the morning to do my writing, and sometimes that'll suck an hour and a half, two hours, which actually is quite a long time to write unbroken, and I think probably after about 45 minutes, I get a bit antsy, because your fingers get a bit crampy and all the rest of it, and I type.

So doing 30 minutes, having 10 minutes off, then another 30 minutes, might make a much more productive hour for me than stopping and starting around the 45 minute bit and going off and researching. That's really interesting. I'm definitely up for trying something like that.

Sarah Noffke: Good.

James Blatch: It is quite a long time to write right in a row, although I guess some people do sit there and write for two hours nonstop.

Sarah Noffke: I used to, and I've just found ... Again, I think that we evolve and what worked for me when I first started, when I worked in the middle, so on and so forth, isn't always going to work. But when I was talking to the group in 20 Books, Vegas, about productivity, what I found was that our biggest culprit for not being productive is a mental-emotional aspects.

We have so many hurdles and in usually it's just things that we can get rid of by doing little life hacks. Don't write for two hours; write for two 30 minute sprints and give yourself a cookie, like, "Good." Yes. I believe in celebrating every win. You know? I mean, 88 books; guess how many glasses of wine I've gotten to have?

James Blatch: Three or four, I imagine.

I know you mentioned quickly that you work out every day because I think that that's an important part of being a writer. People don't think about it, but having a level of energy during the week, which I've been really bad at since Christmas, but need to get back into and I can already feel that slightly lazy slump coming in. I need to get back out of that.

Working out, is that an important part of your writing?

Sarah Noffke: It absolutely is, for so many different reasons. Here's the thing that I've found myself, especially whenever you want to be lazy, is I have this deadline. I have a huge deadline this time around, and I'm like, "Well, I shouldn't go work out because I need that time," but the workout is actually going to lend to productivity. So it is finding those little life hacks.

When I work out, I do a Pilates workout and it really helps with focus because you have to do a lot of balancing. So I found that later on it mentally lends to it. But, also, writers, we have to sit around for so long, and I do want to get up and have some cookies as my break. You can't sit all day and have cookies and not work out. It's all this balancing act.

And then, like I said, with the 30 minute sprints, one of the reasons I have the 10 minute break is get up, get out of the chair, because if you sit there the entire time, I feel like you do get really tired and sluggish, but the workouts absolutely help, and then my workout allows me to zone out. Today I plotted about six chapters during my workout.

But I think that I used to write my novels on a treadmill. Then I was writing them on the stationary bike and it took a lot of coordination. But when I told a friend about that, they have a background in psychology, and they said, "Actually, do you know, there's a part of your brain that activates whenever you're active versus if you're sitting." So I think that the brain, a lot of people will say, "Writer's block? Go out and take a walk."

James Blatch: Yeah.

Sarah Noffke: That activity is going to be a part of it. It's not just, "Sit down; write a book." You really have to think about all the components of your life and how they relate to being a productive writer.

James Blatch: Yeah. That's brilliant. My daughter keeps going to me about Pilates, so I haven't really got into them, or tried them. I did a lot of yoga once, but what's the difference between just.... This is slightly off kilter.

What's the difference with Pilates and yoga? What are Pilates?

Sarah Noffke: Yoga is fantastic. It's great stretching. You do all the different poses. There's vinyasa and going through the flow and lots of philosophy and things. Pilates, the ones that I do, it uses a reformer machine. It was invented by a guy named Joseph Pilates and it has the resistant bands and things. So you can really stretch to a new level that you couldn't otherwise. You're on this machine that is moving and has all these components. So like I said, there's balance involved. There's lots of core work.

I sound like I'm a very productive person, but I'm really, really lazy, and I'm always about finding like the easiest way to get through things. So I can do 50 minutes of Pilates and it's a full workout. It's great. I just want to be efficient. Let's just get it done and over with. And I don't dread it. If you dread going to the gym ... I'm just not going to do it.

James Blatch: Is Pilates something you can do by watching some YouTube videos and following along, or do you have to go to classes?

Sarah Noffke: There's mat Pilates, so that it wouldn't require one of the reformer machines, which are pretty expensive and very bulky. I go to a studio because, again, talking about life hacking to get to my goal as a writer, I spend the majority of my time in this seat, in this office.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Sarah Noffke: So I took my daughter to school and then I went to the Pilates studio.

James Blatch: Right.

Sarah Noffke: That gets me out and now I'm going to be back here and I'm not going to talk to anybody but you; I'll talk to my boyfriend, but I'm not going to talk to anybody else for the next three days.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Sarah Noffke: And that's fine.

James Blatch: Because you are in your cocoon. This is the book you're working on at the moment. I was just looking at the series now, because I know you've got a Beaufont coming out in January.

Is that the book you're working on now, or is this the new series you've got?

Sarah Noffke: We have a short story that's coming out in January because I took the three months off. When I was talking about urban fantasy readers really wanting something, Mike said, "Hey, what if we just do a short story? Then, that way you can take some breather time." So that is in the Beaufont universe. It's all the familiars. They all got to tell their little short stories, and that's really fun.

The one that comes out that starts the new series, The Unconventional Agent Beaufont, is February 25th. I think that's ... you would know better than me ... but it's about the extraordinary fixer, I think.

James Blatch: I'll take your word for that. I'll take your word for that.

Sarah Noffke: Okay.

James Blatch: I'm just looking through it now. Yeah. Sorry. It's January the 20th I see you've got a book coming out. That's the Sophie Beaufont one.

Sarah Noffke: Yeah. It's a short story. I just thought I would take a break finally. Mike had this idea, and our readers love our familiars. We have the cat.

James Blatch: Yes.

Sarah Noffke: We have a dragon and then we have a squirrel. He's a scientific talking squirrel. Honestly, of all of our characters, they just love the familiars more than anybody.

James Blatch: Yeah. Brilliant. Okay. So my last little section I want to ask you about.

You don't do the marketing, you're not hands on with that, and you don't run your own mailing list, I guess?

Sarah Noffke: Not anymore. I have an assistant that takes care of all of that.

James Blatch: So I was going to ask you, where is your contact with readers? Which is quite an indie thing, is normally to have some sort of direct reach-out to readers. You do still have that?

Sarah Noffke: I do. Social media definitely keeps us connected. The LMBPN has multiple different groups and the fans are very active in there. So I'm always reaching out to them there. I have my own Facebook group. I do respond to emails and things, and I do try to include things of a personal nature in my newsletters and things. I'll hand that off to my assistant.

What she's told me, she manages accounts for many successful authors that are more successful than me, I would say, and she says that from her perspective, that personal nature of saying, "Hey, I'm Sarah Noffke and I took this hike this weekend to the Hollywood sign," literally is the difference between those fans and those super fans.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Sarah Noffke: They love having that interaction. So I try to keep up with it. But, when we're talking about productivity, we really have to be careful. We have to guard that time because it can get away, and then all of a sudden, we're 200 comments deep into a Facebook thread.

James Blatch: Yes. That's good. I do think it's an important part of being an indie author. It does differentiate us from the trad authors who, even if they wanted to, are removed from that sort of retail side of the market. So even though you are going through LMNNBNHS, you are still in touch with your readers, which is great.

Sarah Noffke: And those readers are hardcore. I mean, they will follow Michael and his authors to the end of the earth. They're very involved. Oh, my gosh. They're so sweet. They're always sending things or just doing thoughtful things. They really do take an interest, and you're right. I think that does distinguish us from other authors in a traditional sense, because they do have access to us and they see us as people.

James Blatch: Yes.

Sarah Noffke: I take a lot from it. My readers will send me ideas, and I'm like, "Sure. Yeah. If you send it to me, it's got to be good."

James Blatch: You are young; you've written 88 books. How many books do you think you're going to write in your lifetime?

Sarah Noffke: Oh, my gosh. That's a good question. I plan to live to 120. That's the goal.

James Blatch: Okay.

Sarah Noffke: If we do some math ...

James Blatch: Pilates are good, aren't they?

Sarah Noffke: Yeah. Pilates is great. The thing is that I don't think I'd ever be done and when I wrote my first novel, I really thought it was the only one. Then you write the first series and you go, "Okay. I think ... No, I'm meant to do this." If I got a bazillion dollars tomorrow, I would still write the book that I'm writing right now. I may not write it as fast, but I would still do this. So a thousand books, is that safe? I don't know.

James Blatch: I think it's absolutely entirely possible. You may slow down a bit when you are older. I can imagine in your seventies ... who wants to think about that? ... that you will still be writing because I can feel that's who you are.

Sarah Noffke: Thank you. It's just so fun, and like I said, I took the three months off and I just couldn't wait to get back to it because the creative energy that comes with writing ... I just want to do this and I can't imagine doing anything else. I hope that other people feel the same sort of satisfaction in their careers because I feel like we all should. Or, at least, find it and I'm glad to be here.

James Blatch: Well, I think it's been inspirational listening to you and how you applied yourself and the life hacks. I'm feeling quite energised by it. I needed this chat where I am with my drafting. So, thank you, Sarah, so much indeed, for coming on the show and we'll keep in touch with your career, and at some point I'll go to be BMFLMB headquarters and-

Sarah Noffke: Z.

James Blatch: Yeah. C. Well, yes. I forgot the C, and see you all there.

Sarah Noffke: Awesome. Well, thanks so much for having me. This was so much fun.

James Blatch: There we go. I really enjoyed that chat and well done to Sarah. I think she's a really well-organised person and, clearly, is very adept and very good at what she's doing.

James Blatch: You looking for the dog again?

Mark Dawson: Yeah. Hopefully we'll cut this out, but the dog, in the middle of recording this, decided he is going to bring his breakfast up behind me, so I had to scurry around and tidy up. He's just come back looking a little bit sheepish.

James Blatch: Poor Scout. Come on, Scout. Scout, make an appearance on the show. Come on, Scout. Oh, he's a beautiful dog, Scout.

Mark Dawson: He is.

James Blatch: Can't see him.

Mark Dawson: Hang on. Hold on a minute.

James Blatch: You might be able to see him in your camera. I can't see. Oh, my goodness. You're going to do your back in. Oh, there he is! Scouty. Hello, Scout. He's a gorgeous dog. I do love Scout.

Mark Dawson: Sorry. Get my headphones back in again. I can't hear a thing. There we go. Yes. He's looking a little bit perplexed. His tail is down. So there we go. He's all right.

James Blatch: Okay. Well, I think when we're getting our dogs into the show, it's probably time to wrap up this week, but it's always fun to see Scout.

Thank you very much indeed to the team behind The Self-Publishing Show that make it happen every week and thank you very much, indeed, for listening.

Don't forget those URLs we gave, particularly if you're interested in coming to the live show in London, baby, June 2022. You need to go to selfpublishingformula.com/spslive. That, my friend, Mark, is it, so all that remains is we say is goodbye from him ...

Mark Dawson: And a goodbye from me. Goodbye.

James Blatch: Goodbye.

Speaker 1: Get show notes, the podcast archive, and free resources to boost your writing career at selfpublishingshow.com. Join our thriving Facebook group at selfpublishingshow.com/Facebook, support the show at patreon.com/selfpublishingshow, and join us next week for more help and inspiration so that you can make your mark as a successful indie author.

Speaker 1: Publishing is changing, so get your words into the world and join the revolution with The Self-Publishing Show.

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