Welcome to another progress update on all things From Ashe… and A.R. Dragonfly… and Final Hope!
Wait… are we getting a trifecta!?
Yes we are!
If you have been following me on social media, then you are aware that I have been teasing something called “The Project.” Before I get into what that is, I have to say that this was something that I knew that I had to do eventually. It was something that I had put on the back burner and didn’t really know when I would be able to get to it.
Since I switched to a 3-month release schedule, rather than a 6-week release schedule, I found myself with more downtime to relax and recharge… which is a good thing. But, it also made me realize that I had the time to embark on something that I felt was necessary… hence… The Project was born.
So, what is it? Well, enough stalling… let’s get into The Project.
The Project, in short, is the process of relaunching Final Hope and A.R. Dragonfly.
Okay, I know that’s not going to cut it for an explanation as I’m sure you’re probably wondering why I am relaunching my first two series.
Quite simply, I came to this realization when writing A.R. Dragonfly Origins. When it came to formatting my books into an eBook, Amazon released a tool called Kindle Create. If you noticed, both Origins books as well as the first three volumes of From Ashe were formatted quite differently than Final Hope and the 12 original volumes of A.R. Dragonfly. That’s because I either wasn’t aware of Kindle Create or it simply didn’t exist.
Being an inexperienced author in the world of self-publishing, I wasn’t quite sure what the best route was in order to create an eBook. Thanks to my day job of working with print design, paperbacks weren’t even a challenge to figure out once I learned what Amazon’s print guidelines were… but eBooks? Nope.
Until I started using Kindle Create, I was simply using the PDF for the paperback version as my eBook and I realized that was causing a bunch of formatting issues. I knew that it was going to be necessary for me to go back and reformat both series inside of Kindle Create so that every single one of my books would have a proper eBook version.
But… if I ended up just changing the eBooks, why would I call this a relaunch? Why wouldn’t I just say that Final Hope and A.R. Dragonfly have new eBook versions and then call it a day?
Because I also realized that I still had an abundance of errors in both of my series and that both Google Docs spellcheck as well as Grammarly have gone through a copious amount of updates since I’ve done the original editing passes on those books. It was catching stuff that I missed and, quite frankly, what the program’s A.I. missed back in the day.
So, I decided to do another editing pass on all 14 books and cleaned them up… fixed the small errors… reduced the redundancy of the prose by a lot (hell, in one book I lost almost 8 pages after fixing some of the messed up stuff in there).
Did I get all of it?
Probably not. I’m sure there’s probably an odd error here or there but I felt that I got a vast number of them, making each book a better reading experience.
So, I made proper eBooks, cleaned up Final Hope and A.R. Dragonfly, and redid all of my paperback manuscripts.
I didn’t stop there.
When I realized what I wanted to do, I decided to break this project down into four phases. What I just described above was only Phases 2 and 3. Phase 1 and 4 I haven’t touched upon but those two phases are linked to each other.
So, without further adieux, here are the four phases of Project Relaunch (it feels good to say that instead of The Project).
Phase 1 – Break my Contract with Amazon’s Kindle Select
This was, by far, the hardest decision I had to make. This means a few things for me… first… it means no higher royalties on Kindle sales. Second, it means my books will no longer be available on Kindle Unlimited. The only way to read my books on Kindle is to buy them. I knew by ending my contracts, I was going to be hurting myself but it’s going to be a gamble. Every book has an individual 90-day contract. All my books (From Ashe included) are scheduled to not renew with the final book expiring on December 3, 2021.
So, while this does hurt me by limiting my options on Amazon, it also equates to freedom as it opens doors outside of them. We will circle back to this when we talk about Phase 4.
Phase 2 – Reformat Final Hope and A.R. Dragonfly in Kindle Create
As I touched upon above, I wanted to offer a proper eBook so it looked great and read great on Kindle devices. For that, I had to ditch the PDFs and the failed Docx files I tried to pass off as an eBook. Every single one of my books that has an eBook (i.e. all except A.R. Dragonfly Illustrations) has been updated.
The nice thing about Kindle is that if an eBook you bought is updated, it is automatically updated in your Kindle. All of the new eBook versions are live right now so if you own one of my books on Kindle… go back and check it out and let me know what you think! For those who haven’t bought an eBook yet, now would be an excellent time to try it out!
Phase 3 – Update Paperback Manuscripts
With the eBook formatting came another editing pass. Why would I just update the eBooks and leave my paperbacks riddled with errors? This is why I decided to update the paperbacks as well. I did this not expecting people who already own my books to rebuy them. Hell, if you want to do that, I would be forever grateful but I have 0 expectations for you guys to do that.
I did that so if someone new decides to pick up a copy of Final Hope or A.R. Dragonfly that it, hopefully, leaves a better impression on you than the previous versions of those books did to others who already bought them.
I did make one controversial decision because I told myself that I wouldn’t change the artwork. I would leave it alone as to not slight the people who already bought the book but there was one instance where I made the tough decision to do so… and that was in Volume 5.
If you remember, I had a wallpaper made depicting the final moments of the Khaine vs Dragonfly fight in that book as a way to commemorate the end of the series. Well, that wallpaper was originally supposed to be in Volume 5. It ended up getting cut because I was in the process of changing artists and I didn’t want to burden my new artist with a task like that right away. So, I inserted that wallpaper as a 2-page spread in the new, updated version of Volume 5. To me, that makes that volume complete and it really did eat away at me that it was never included from the very beginning.
That is the only art change I made
Phase 4 – Expansion
As I said, we were going to circle back to this. Phase 4 is the conversion of the kpf Kindle file into epub files. I found a way to do it… the only thing left to do is.. well… do it! The reason being is that once my final book expires with Amazon on December 3, 2021, I will be putting Final Hope, A.R. Dragonfly, A.R. Dragonfly Origins, and From Ashe on Barnes & Noble as well as Smashwords.
I know that there are other publishing platforms out there but I want to start with those two and see how things go. I want to try and expand out to as many services as possible which means it’s going to be a little more work whenever a book launches but if I can reach more people this way, then I’ll be happy to put that work in!
Still, I have a couple of months before I can actually do this but the thought of being able to digitally sell my books anywhere without getting threatened by a billionaire running a trillion-dollar company sounds really divine!
In reality, I’m not going to get anywhere if I just chain myself down to Amazon. I need to get these books out there into more hands and on different platforms!
So, with the new eBook formatting, the new paperbacks, and the new platforms coming at the end of the year, I think that’s enough material to warrant calling this a Relaunch!
With that all being said, I haven’t done a damn thing again!
With Project Relaunch simply waiting for time to expire before I can go beyond Amazon, I began writing Volume 4 of From Ashe!
As of the time of this writing, I am done with Chapter 1 and about to start on Chapter 2. I don’t really have a set timeframe as to when I will be done with the first draft but I am aiming for the end of October. I am learning to slow down and pace myself, learning to choose my words a bit more carefully, and stop overusing crap like “really,” “actually,” “In fact,” “in order to,” “in order for,” etc. etc. I know those are all redundancies and I’m catching myself going to the well more often than not. I mean, those words aren’t blacklisted or anything and they do have their uses but I REALLY need to learn to limit their usage… like… REALLY.
So, right now, the plan is still the same as last month: To get the draft done by the end of October, to edit the hell out of it throughout the month of November and to have the art commissions in and done by the end of November as well IN ORDER TO get the book launched by my target date of… December 1!
Funny thing is… I almost said January 1 there. Why? I had a really stupid marketing idea.
I thought about pushing back the release of Volume 4 by one month simply because January is the start of the 2022 Winter Anime season. Well, if I’m going by a 3-month release schedule, what also happens every 3 months? A new anime season!
I figured that if I launched a book in January, April, July, and October, I could market my books in such a way where I could say something along the lines of “if there’s a new anime season, you can count on a new volume of From Ashe!”
I don’t know how that would really fly but, at least it was a thought.
Since I mentioned December 1… I think it’s clear that I nixed the idea… unless you guys like it and think I should go for it! If so, let me know and I’ll push it back so that everything lines up!
The Other Projects
Sadly, I still have no updates on Gachapon. Last month, I considered this side venture dead on arrival and it looks to be just that. I was promised that my characters would get introduced into the game on August 11 and here we are on October 1 and they are still nowhere to be found and the owner of the game doesn’t like to communicate or get back to people so… I’m officially washing my hands of it.
As for the other project… I’m still waiting to hear back. Sorry that there aren’t any new updates on that front but as soon as I know something… either good or bad… I will let you all know!
Until Next Time
Depending on how fast I get done with the first draft, I MIGHT have some art updates for you come November 1, but I probably wouldn’t hold my breath.
In good news, I have settled on what the cover of Volume 4 is going to be and thanks to one of my readers, I have picked the color for Volume 4’s logo. I’ll just drop it here and let you check it out!
Until next time,