We had a bit of fun yesterday (April 1) but now that the novelty has worn off for the next 364 days, it’s as X says in Mega Man X4 when he’s about to be turned into scrap metal… It’s time to get serious!
From Ashe Vol. 7
We’ve FINALLY launched the book! I haven’t done a 6-month gap between book launches in a hot minute but we got it out there. I know Alex has been going through some personal issues so for him to push through and work the commissions at a pace that worked for him makes me more appreciative of his efforts than I normally am. I honestly do not mind the gap at all as I wanted to make sure Alex was able to take care of the things he needed. I told him that my art was always secondary to his needs and to not worry about it.
He always does incredible work and I’m always excited to see a new piece come in. Besides, while he was working on the art, I was busy doing a lot of other things such as editing MyGF and reworking Final Hope into a web novel format.
But, with Volume 7, we now enter the slight hiatus for From Ashe that I previously discussed. As I mentioned before, Volume 7 is the final volume of the first story arc, and Volume 8 will begin Ashe’s new chapter in life. If I was going to do a hiatus, this was the perfect stopping point. It allows readers to catch up and it allows new readers to discover the series. I still plan on getting Volume 8 out this year, though so the hiatus isn’t going to be long. I just want to focus on getting MyGF out there as well as Final Hope.
That means that even with Volume 8 coming out later, there is still going to be content in between.
Although I have taken a brief pause on the web novel conversion, I am excited to say that the entirety of Volume 1 has been converted to web novel format. In print form, Volume 1 contained 12 chapters but after breaking it up into smaller, web-sized chapters, the total number has increased to 35!
It has been fun going back and re-reading and changing up the work. While the core story will remain the same, I have switched some content around, taken some stuff out, and added some new things. While it’s not going to be a super brand-new story, it will have enough little differences to warrant a second readthrough if you have read it previously.
I just have to do the 9 printed chapters for Volume 2 and this will be ready to go. I still have yet to choose a platform to place this on as of yet and I am even more unsure if I will turn this back into an ebook or printed book. If I did, that would go against my goal of having a free option for people to discover my work.
This is the intention of putting Final Hope onto a free-to-read web novel platform… to serve as a gateway for people to discover A.R. Dragonfly, From Ashe, and MyGF. In other words, it’s a form of marketing and/or advertising.
Now that things are winding down a bit and I’m recharged, I’m looking to finish Final Hope’s rework by the end of April.
Also, I do want to note, MyGF does NOT have to come out first in order to start putting Final Hope out there. I just need to determine if I want to do weekly or bi-weekly updates when it comes to posting chapters. I know some authors like to write and edit as they post but I do not want that. I would much rather have everything ready to go so I can just copy/paste, post, and be done with it.
I may have said this last time but I’ll reiterate it since it’s in my head but I will not be commissioning Alex for artwork since I already have art from Zara… and I can use that to create a cover for the series. Since this is a web novel, a cover is all I really need so that is something I can take care of myself.
Quick update here… Alex has finished four commissions out of fourteen for MyGF! Artwork for Kairi Hayashi, Hina Sawamura, Akari Chitose, and Riku Kobayashi are in!
Alex is going at a pretty good pace so I’m hoping (stressing that I’m NOT promising) to have this book out somewhere around mid to late June. By that time, Final Hope should also be publishing its chapters which means my dedicated readers will be in for a Spring/Summer of double content!
Of course, that doesn’t mean I can sit around and wait for all that to happen. Once Final Hope is situated, I can begin doing the full outline and even start writing From Ashe Vol. 8 so I can get that ready and loaded up into the pipeline.
But one thing at a time. If there is one thing I’m good at, it’s getting ahead of myself. I still need to reformat MyGF and this is going to be a pain in the ass.
What do I mean by that?
Well, when I originally wrote it, I broke my normal formatting preferences and wrote it in actual novel format. In order words, indented paragraphs, no spaces between them, indents on all dialogue, etc. I matched the typical format you would see in a Japanese light novel.
When I posted it to Honeyfeed, their posting system was all like “screw your formatting” and it ended up getting posted in the same format I usually write my books in! Since I did editing on the chapters there, I copied and pasted the edited chapters back into Google Docs and that retained the Honeyfeed formatting.
When I copy and paste into Microsoft Word, it brings back my original formatting, minus the indents. So, now I have to do a side-by-side comparison on every chapter and simply push the Tab button to make an indent where they are needed on all fifteen chapters.
It’s a simple task but tedious and annoying. Once the artwork is done and I’m ready to put this book into InDesign for publishing, I’ll handle it then. Thankfully, copy/pasting from Word into InDesign retains ALL formatting! (It doesn’t when pasting from Google Docs into InDesign, though. Adobe… get on that please.)
Upping My Game
Some things might be on the horizon but it all depends on when I can dedicate enough time to do this but… I’m sad to report that my company sustained massive damage in a fire.
Don’t worry. I didn’t lose my job but until they get me set up at our new temporary location (which is about 2 minutes closer to home, YAY!), I am working remotely. To make things easier on myself, I decided to get Adobe Illustrator.
Could I have logged into our company account and just installed it from there? Absolutely, I could have BUT… I kind of wanted Illustrator for myself so I can start doing all of my logos and whatnot in vector format.
As a designer, it drove me nuts not doing it that way and, yes, I understand there are free alternatives out there like Inkscape but I’m stubborn and like staying in the Adobe ecosystem. Besides, I use Illustrator at work all the time so I didn’t want to re-learn another program.
I already pay for Photoshop (9.99) and InDesign (20.99) every month. Adding Illustrator would be another 20.99 bringing the total cost up to 51.97/mo. When I realized that, I said screw it and upgraded to the full package which was 54.99/mo. So for just an extra 3.02/mo, I get access to their entire library of programs.
This includes Premiere and After Effects.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
I’ve already dabbled in Premiere a little bit at work (mainly by turning an image into a video so whenever a customer comes to work, we can put their name up on a television downstairs through a video media server).
But, outside of that, I don’t touch Premiere. This will give me the opportunity to learn it on my own time and that means one thing…
(if you haven’t figured it out yet, that is…)
Future book promotional videos!
Now, I’m not going to produce a promotional video overnight. I still need to learn the program, get familiar with it, try things out, and see what it all can do. Once I get comfortable enough, I’ll write a script and start piecing together a book trailer. We’ll see how that goes and how it turns out.
Being familiar with Adobe products, maybe it won’t take me as much time to learn but we’ll see. Still, I’m excited to now have this and to be in a place where I can afford to have this and since I no longer am limited to work time to learn the programs, I just feel a bigger sense of creative freedom. I really think it was worth the investment to go with the full package.
Plus, I get access to Dimension so now I can do simple 3D models to help Alex out when it comes to describing scenes (particularly all of our characters’ houses). I have used Dimension before and it works very similarly to Autodesk Maya, another 3D program I have experience in (just don’t have it anymore because I’m no longer a student and don’t have access to the free student version). The biggest difference is that Dimension is NOWHERE near the depth and control of Maya. It’s about as barebones as a 3D modeler can get but for concepts, it’s perfect.
As a reminder, I do have a Discord server for people to come, hang out, and chat. While it does have channels for my books, most of the discussion happens in other areas such as the anime, manga, gaming channels. Since I have some fellow light novel authors in there, I also have a section dedicated to writing including resources, discussion, feedback, and more.
Plus, as a perk for being a part of the Discord, you get access to emojis of my characters and you get exclusive looks at any new artwork before they go up on my Instagram… which is on a big delay to retain that exclusive feeling.
I know putting things like that behind a Discord seems like a dick move but I’m trying to grow a tight-knit and respectful community. It has been going well so far with the server hitting 26 members. Not large by any means but it is nice and quaint.
There is no exclusive membership nor are you only allowed to come in by invitation only. Anyone is free to join… just respect my server rules as I have a zero tolerance policy for anyone who wants to cause any sort of issues.
Feel free to join up here if you want another server to hang out in: https://discord.gg/mmCnTYDUhC
Until Next Time
That’s going to wrap up this progress update. A little meatier than normal but that’s a good thing! It means that I have been making a lot of progress and putting in the work!
One thing I just want to touch upon as I don’t think it needed its own section are paid ads. I tried to do a paid ad through Facebook but something glitched and they nuked it for an invalid reason. In a couple of months when I get my bank account replenished (just paid off my medical bills from my lovely hospital stay two years ago), I plan to go full force on advertising.
With the first arc of From Ashe out, this is the perfect time to get new readers. When MyGF drops, expect paid ads for that as well. That’s one of the next steps on my list of things to do and it’s coming soon.
So, look forward to that. Next month, I hope to have more updates on Final Hope and MyGF so look forward to those.