I promised a mid-April progress update, showing off the remaining non-spoiler art for Volume 9 and I am making good on my promise! However, due to recent circumstances, I need to have a talk with all of my readers about what to expect with A.R. Dragonfly in the future.

COVID-19 is affecting us in a lot of different ways. For over two million people, it is impacting their health. For others, it is impacting their income. I am falling into the latter of those two groups.

I am fortunate enough to still have a job and even more fortunate to be able to do that job from home. To be transparent and to be open about myself, I am a Type 2 diabetic that also genetically acquired Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation… aka… an abnormal heartbeat… that runs in my family. My father, mother, and grandfather all had/have this condition. The Afib is not life-threatening but it is considered a heart condition. That means I have 2 pre-existing conditions on the list that where if I were to catch COVID-19, there’s a very high chance that I would become severely ill. My workplace understands that and that’s why I’ve been given the opportunity to work from home during this pandemic.

However, while my company is remaining open, one of our biggest markets is airports. We all know how COVID-19 is affecting airports. Therefore, business is down and we had to layoff some of our team members. I’m happy to say that I dodged that bullet but those who remained had their hours reduced from 40 to 32. For me, this is a 20% cut in pay and while I can still pay my bills, I have far less disposable income on a monthly basis that I can use towards my books.

That’s why I made a couple of decisions that will help me financially without impacting the majority of my readers.

The first is autographed copies. Every time a book releases, I usually order 15-20 copies to sign and either sell or give away. The free copies only go to family and good friends… the rest I sell. Because I do give away free copies to some, I always end up with a loss in profit but I didn’t mind it because I had the extra spending income from 40 hours a week. It wasn’t a huge deal.

Now that I’m staring at far less disposable income, I have decided that if people want an autographed copy, be it friend, family, or reader, that I must have payment for them. I will be taking pre-orders for those who want a copy and I will only be ordering an exact amount based on those pre-orders.

To those who have been receiving them as gifts, I do apologize. The giver in me wants to continue giving you a free signed physical copy but I’m not at a place right now where I can afford to do so.

Secondly, the price of autographed copies will be increasing slightly from $15 to $20. When I wrote Volumes 1-4, they were much smaller in size. Anyone who saw Volumes 5 and beyond noticed how much thicker they were. I wanted to give people more content so I worked hard to expand the story and to expand each chapter to give people more content.

Bigger books mean bigger printing costs. Bigger books also mean higher shipping costs because of the increased weight. Autographed copy prices were $15 because with the smaller-sized books, it covered the printing cost, the shipping cost per unit to me, and the shipping cost from me to you once it was signed and packaged. With the bigger books, I kept it at $15 even though in some cases, I have been losing a buck here and there and/or have been breaking even.

$20 will definitely cover the costs and while I will still get a minimal return on them, I won’t be in the red anymore. Again, if I didn’t lose 8 hours per week, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

The pre-order and new cost for autographed copies will begin with Volume 8 which is due to be released in about 4 weeks in mid-May.

My prices on Amazon will NOT be changing. You will still be able to get a physical copy for $9.99 or a Kindle copy for $4.99. If you can live without an autograph, the cheaper option will always remain there for you.

The next thing I want to talk about is artwork for Volume 10 through 12. This one is still up in the air because Volume 8 comes out mid-May, Volume 9 either last week of June or first week of July, so Volume 10 is being targeted for August. By then, who knows what will happen? Will the pandemic be over or close to ending? Will the country be open again? Will I be back to 40 hours? There are so many uncertain questions that we don’t have the answers to but I still need to plan for the worst-case scenario.

That is why I am planning with Volume 10, to only have the cover art done and a few select scenes/characters done. I usually order about 10-15 art pieces per volume… but now, I am going to be picking the 5 most essential pieces and will be going with that. That does mean a reduction in the art but it also is what I can afford right now. Again, that can change because August is a healthy amount of time away from now but that is the plan as of this moment.

Volumes 8 and 9 had their artwork completed before all of this happened so expect those volumes to have no impact whatsoever.

So, that’s basically it when it comes to A.R. Dragonfly. I still plan on releasing books on schedule. I still plan on editing and completing books during this time. I still plan on working on A.R. Dragonfly Origins and From Ashe. None of that changes because all that costs me is time. It’s just that things will have to be a little different on the publishing side until everything goes back to normal.

Progress

Speaking of, I have been in editing mode and I hoped to have Volume 10 into second draft by this update but I’m about 2 chapters short. 5/7 chapters have been edited and part of that is me changing Rebekah’s story up a little bit. I had to go back and make some adjustments in Volume 10 to reflect that so it is taking a bit longer than usual. I do plan on having it done in the upcoming days. After that, I will run each chapter through Spell Check via Docs and Grammarly to get it into Final Draft phase.

Once Volume 10 is in Final Draft, I will return to Volume 9 to re-read that book for any final corrections. Once done, I will compile all of Volume 9 in InDesign and get it publish-ready! Then it’s off to Volume 11 for editing.

I know, small update on progress compared to the previous section but that’s where I am at right now.

Artwork

So, the main purpose of this update was to show off the rest of Volume 9’s non-spoiler art! So… here we go!

Last update I provided the sketch for Krystle Hunter. Here is her full, completed artwork!
Devin Slater is not a new character. You met him in Volume 4 at the BlazeCON Invitational! He returns in a new minor role once again proving that no matter who you meet in A.R. Dragonfly, there is always that chance you will see them again!
New promotional artwork for Kaito Akihiko
New promotional artwork for Yuujiro Akihiko
New promotional artwork for Akane Akihiko! It’s an Akihiko family update!

With that, it brings us to the end of this update. I just want to say that I appreciate everyone’s support thus far and I hope that support will continue on to the future!

Also, if you are an OELN author, be sure to check out my post about the OELN Database/Free Publicity on The Outerhaven! I want to bring as much awareness to our community as possible but I cannot do it alone! Please help me spread the word on this as it is something I feel the OELN community needs!

Until next time,

Ja ne!

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