What’s going on everyone?

Another month has passed and it is time to update you all on what’s been going on with A.R. Dragonfly, From Ashe, and everything else in between. There is a lot to talk about in this update so let’s just hop right into it.

A.R. Dragonfly Progress

As of the time of this writing, Volume 11 has been compiled in InDesign and is publish-ready! All that is left is Volume 12. Right now, Alex is working on the artwork for that series. I do have to read the bonus chapter and make final edits to it. Outside of that, it just needs the artwork and I can load that into InDesign and get that squared away!

It’s still surreal to me that I just wrote a 12-volume light novel series and published the entire thing in the span of two years. It’s even more mind-blowing that volumes 6-12 have and will be published in just 2020 alone. I remember challenging myself to publish two or even three volumes in a single year but here we are on the precipice of publishing SIX volumes in less than a year! Volume 6 came out in February and Volume 12 is scheduled for October. That’s an 8-month span!

Needless to say, I worked hard to achieve that and I appreciate everyone that has been on this journey with me but it is a journey that is far from over!

Also as of this update, I have begun writing A.R. Dragonfly Origins! I am currently working on the first chapter of Episode Amber and I already know that I’m going to have some edits to it as I’m not completely satisfied with what I have put down onto digital paper thus far but, then again, that’s they way I am with everything that I’ve written so it’s nothing new to me. Trust me when I say that I will get it right!

So yeah, that’s pretty much it on the A.R. Dragonfly front. As we get closer and closer to the end of the series, there’s just less and less stuff to talk about. I guess that’s a good thing, though! For me, it’s just sitting back and watching the world enjoy my work! I keep getting nothing but positive feedback on A.R. Dragonfly which makes me incredibly happy because it means that I am doing something right that’s bringing entertainment to people.

I won’t lie that all of the positive feedback has put a bit of pressure on me with From Ashe. Going into A.R. Dragonfly, there was no pressure. I was coming off of my “testing the waters” series of Final Hope, I had a story that I wanted to tell, I had everything laid out and I didn’t know what to expect. While I do have a story to tell with From Ashe, now that people have gotten to know me through A.R. Dragonfly, those fears of “what if this story isn’t as good as A.R.?” pop into my head.

I guess that just comes with the job of being an author.

Speaking of being an author, one of the things I always love reading are reviews of my books. They keep coming in and I appreciate everyone’s honest thoughts on them. Of course, if you haven’t jumped into the series yet and want to check it out, PDF review copies are available if you are a member of the press or a site blogger. Just contact me through the form on the site with your email address and which site you write for and I’ll gladly send over a digital copy to you!

From Ashe Progress

If you’ve been following me on Twitter and/or Facebook, you would have noticed that I have been going on a bit of a naming spree as of late! I simply unveiled the names to you before but now I’m going to give you a quick little synopsis of each character! Yes… that’s right, I specifically withheld that information so that I could have some new material here in my update, haha!

Saraya Riley
Saraya was Ashe’s best friend in high school. Despite school being over for the two of them, Saraya and Ashe constantly hang out either at each other’s homes, at the mall, or various other places. Unlike Ashe, Saraya is not as outgoing but she’s not shy or timid, either. She’s just kind of normal and acts like the balance to Ashe whenever they are together.

Aubrey Campbell
While Saraya is Ashe’s friend from high school, Aubrey is Ashe’s only close friend from her job at In/Source. Aubrey is a bit like Ashe but she’s toned down in comparison. The two of them often get into mischief together on and off the clock. Sometimes the two of them are with Saraya and she ends up pulling double duty keeping the two of them in line.

Jase Gray
Jase is another friend from Ashe’s job at In/Source. Let’s just say that Jase has a bit of a crush on Ashe and this ends up causing a reaction within Renji.

Kyle Channing
An old acquaintance from high school. While Kyle and Ashe never really interacted all that much, Kyle had a bit of a crush on Ashe. When he looks her up out of curiosity after they graduated, he tries to enter her life but there’s just something about Kyle that Ashe doesn’t like.

Noah Allen
Noah is going to be a rival of Ashe’s during a writing competition. Noah is soft-spoken, very polite, and ends up encouraging Ashe. The two of them actually become friends but since Noah already has a girlfriend, he doesn’t have any romantic interest in Ashe.

Mineko Hoshikawa
Noah’s girlfriend. Minor character.

Jessica Cunningham
Another writing competition rival; however, she’s uptight and full of herself. She looks down at Ashe and thinks that she is nothing more than an amateur. Jessica claims to be a classically trained writer although her writing really isn’t better than anyone else’s

Sebastian Graham
Ah yes, what would one of my stories be without a character named Sebastian in it? He was the main character in Two Futures, the custodian of time in Final Hope, and Amber’s boss and best friend in A.R. Dragonfly. What is Sebastian in From Ashe? He’s going to be Ashe’s editor later on in the series when she decides to get serious about becoming a published author!

That’s where I’m at right now with From Ashe. I did tweak the ending to Volume 1 because I realized that I am rushing into Renji and Ashe’s backstory and I’m just not ready to tell it. Like A.R. Dragonfly, I want this to be a slow burn and by diving into it with Volume 2, I realize that I am pretty much destroying the type of character I want Renji to be out of the gate. I know some people wished to know Amber’s backstory right away so I tried to fix that with From Ashe and it just wasn’t clicking with me so, I’m sorry to say that you all are going to have to wait again, haha.

Author Copies

This is probably going to be a bit of a touchy subject so I want you guys to at least hear me out on it.

When COVID hit and Florida shut down, my job decided to scale back my hours to 32 per week. Thankfully, that only lasted a month and I was back to normal pretty quickly. Still, having that reduced pay caused me to do something with my books and that is accept pre-orders for autographed copies. I would then order only the amount of books for people that pre-ordered and paid.

Sounds fair, right? The issue was I had close friends and family members that were receiving copies of my books for free because I wanted to be generous. Well, they almost didn’t get Volume 8 because of it and it was only due to my hours going back up that I was able to order more copies and send them out. This is why some people got their Vol. 8 copies later than others.

But, during that it was a nice measuring tool to see just how much interest was out there for my books. I discovered people wanting autographed copies that I didn’t even know were reading my series!

I started to think about it and I came to a decision.

Starting with From Ashe, I will be only ordering copies of books for people who had pre-ordered and paid for them. I won’t be doing free copy giveaways.

While that is jarring to read, the reasoning behind it is that I’ve been losing too much money on free copies to the point where I’m constantly in the red each and every release. As I am getting more sales, I’m starting to believe that I can actually start turning a profit and making SOME money off of book sales. It is no secret that being an author is something I would love to do for a living and I will never achieve that if I’m losing more money than I’m making off of them.

That’s why I will still be doing autographed copies but they will be done on a pre-order basis.

Also, I learned that with writing bigger books, it increases the printing cost. As you noticed, Pre-orders for A.R. Dragonfly went up from $15 to $20. At the $20 mark, I’m making about $2-$3 (give or take) on each book. It’s about $8.50 per book (of 300 pages or so) to print and have Amazon ship it to me. Then, depending on location in the U.S. it can cost as low at $7.50, or as high as $9.50 to ship a book from my house to you. Doing simple math, you can see that $20 just about covers that and keeps me, slightly, in the green.

That’s why I also decided that pre-order prices will go to $25 with From Ashe. A.R. Dragonfly will remain the same at $20 because that’s what has been expected of the series and I don’t want to change that for the final three volumes. Origins, I don’t believe, will require an increase because those books aren’t going to be as long as Volumes 5-12. They will probably be more like Volume 1-4 size. They are going to be quick reads and more or less a companion to the main series.

Of course, I know not many people have $25 to blow on an indie author so if an autograph isn’t that big of a deal to you, Amazon will be the best way to go if you’re looking for the best price.

I hope you understand where I’m coming from with this but it’s not just the printing and shipping costs, it’s also the costs of having art created for the books. Art doesn’t come cheap and I need to pay out of pocket for that as well. To recoup as much of those costs as possible would be a great help to me. That’s partly why I was toying with the idea of setting up a Patreon but I realized that I’m not at that stage just yet.

Another thing I’m doing to help alleviate the costs is scaling back on the artwork with From Ashe. I only really need cover art and a few key scenes per book. Obviously, I will need art for each new character but outside of that, I don’t really need anything else. By eliminating the art for each chapter title page, that’s going to save a lot of money right then and there.

I guess I’m just trying to be smarter with my next series from a financial standpoint. I learned a lot of stuff from Final Hope that I applied to A.R. Dragonfly and now I’ve learned a lot of stuff from A.R. that I’m applying to From Ashe. It’s just a constant cycle of learning and getting better at things.

Podcasts

One of the things I’ve been trying to do to help promote and market A.R. Dragonfly is go onto a few podcasts. So far, I have been on three of them: The Firestorm Podcast, the WLNM Podcast, and The Orion Podcast.

If you want to check them out, here are links to my appearances:

The FireStorm Podcast
The WLNM Podcast
The Orion Podcast

I’ve been doing my own podcasts for years. Whether it was uW Live or efed Guerrillas during my time in eWrestling, Wrestling News Live, Culture Shock Radio, Pulse!n Radio, or the myriad of podcasts I’ve done at The Outerhaven, podcasting has just come so natural to me and I enjoy going onto shows and just talking.

It doesn’t even have to be a complete and total shill fest. I’m happy just to come on, talk anime, manga, geek culture, and all of that. So, if there is anyone out there who has a podcast that wouldn’t mind having me as a guest, feel free to let me know and let’s set something up!

Community

I recently ran a poll on Facebook and Twitter asking if people would be interested in coming on a Discord to talk about my light novels along with other things such as anime, manga, games, etc. Both polls had nothing but positive results, therefore, I decided to convert my personal Discord into one that others could join and just rant and talk about whatever they wanted.

In addition to Twitter and Facebook, I will post updates about my series to Discord but I may only save some select updates for Discord only.

You can also come in there and ask me any sorts of questions you would like… whether it is about my books, my writing process, things I’m interested in, what my favorite anime is, what I thought about a certain series, etc. etc.

While I am doing this, I don’t want to give out the link publicly as I don’t want to run the risk of random people coming in and disrupting the atmosphere; however, if you are interested in joining, simply send me a DM on Twitter (@JJPiedraOELN), a message on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/joshuajpiedra), or send me an email (joshpiedra@gmail.com).

Artwork

As I mentioned, artwork for Volume 12 has begun; however, you’re not going to see a lot of it because the bulk of the art pieces are major spoilers. Despite that, I have one art piece to show you and it is the cover for the final volume of A.R. Dragonfly which features a 32-year old Amber Ryann!

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The cover features a small snippet of the previous eleven covers with Amber in the very same pose that she graced the cover of Volume 1 with… only this time, she’s all grown up. So, why is Amber 32 here?

Because (slight spoiler), there is a 10-year time skip during the epilogue chapter! What happens in that time skip, well… that is something you all are doing to have to read for yourselves!

Final Words

That’s going to wrap things up this month! Again, thank you for all of the support you guys have been giving me as I truly appreciate it!

Remember to check out the Discord and if you love any of my books, help spread the word!

Until next time,

Ja ne!

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