After the publishing of book 4 of my The Ascension Legacy series 100% independently, I decided that my future releases would published similarly unless a good deal came my way. This also meant that as my publishing agreements with Newman Spring Publishing for my first three books expired that I would be converting them from NSP controlled publications to independent publications.
Books 1 and Book 3 both had contracts that expired with NSP this year. I started the process of converting Book 1 to an Indie published book several months ago but ran into a number of expected obstacles. I knew I had to get new ISBN numbers, update cover art files, update interior content to reflect new publishing details, and provided updated files to the printer in the correct formats. Having done this for Book 4 just a few months prior left me feeling confident that my cover artist and I could produce the necessary content with relative ease.
Boy, was I wrong!
We started the process around February/March of 2023 but I didn't get to order a proof copy from the printer until September. It took us nearly 6 months to get everything to align. Part of it was the cover art and part of it was the actual book file I generated.
The book file, which I prepped, was just mainly stupid oversights on my end. I might miss a page size setting, an indent, or some other parameter that I don't often use for the types of documents that I typically use creating detailed IT doc for my day job. These missed parameters caused the page counts to be wonky, for the print previews to be chopped off in inappropriate places, and all kinds of other less than desirable outputs for what the book interior would look like. It took me a few different iterations to find my errors and remember that I didn't need to "print" the file to PDF but simply save as PDF. It seems that "printing" a file to PDF doesn't keep the same border sizes and whatnot whereas saving it as PDF will.
And of course all of these revisions on the content file impacted the cover art. In the months between printing Book 4 and converting Book 1, the printer changed their requirements for cover art. Instead of creating our own cover art files, the printer supplied pre-built template files based on book size parameters, including interior page counts. I would generate a template for my artist to use only to find that there was an issue with the interior file. With each iteration of the interior file, I had to generate a new cover art template for my artist. And each template file meant more work he had to do to copy the various artistic elements from one template to another.
Combine that fun with my health concerns throughout the year and my artist's hectic work schedule and it all meant that the changes were slow to be incorporated into any of the files in question. In fact, we went nearly 2 months between updates to the cover art and nearly a month between updates to the interior file. Neither of us found ourselves with loads of free time to work on anything.
During all of this time, Book 3's contract with NSP expired. Neither my artist or I have had time to address converting Book 3 to my new standards for publishing but the hope is to still have that done by year's end but with each passing day I question that feasibility more and more. I think I will be able to get the interior file converted but I'm not sure about the cover art. With the dependency on the cover template on the interior file and my artist's crazy schedule these days I just don't know that we will be able to get it all to come together at the height of the holiday season that quickly approaches.
Time will tell though. All I can do is hope and do what I can to make that reality happen.
And if that wasn't enough, Book 5 is ready to go to the printer but the cover art isn't ready. My artist has a concept that we've worked on together but now I'm just waiting on the final art files to send to the printer. The goal was have it completed by the end of September but if I'm writing this in October then obviously that didn't happen. The art for Book 5 is close but my artist just hasn't had the time to finish it up. He's moved to a new house while working 10-12 hours a day 6 days a week which leaves him exhausted even on his days off. I don't fault him for not wanting to work on this stuff on his 1 day off a week or whatever. He knows its there and that I'm waiting on it. But he also knows that I'm not going to browbeat him about because I understand his situation and that our friendship and his health is more important than a book cover.
Sure, I want to maintain my release schedule of 1 book a year but I'm going to push him on it given his other responsibilities that actually pay his bills.My writing has to take a backseat to my day job too. Having published books is cool but my sales don't pay my bills, my job does. I will not jeopardize my family's stability by shirking my duties at my day job to write and likewise, I won't ask my friend to jeopardize his financial income and mental health to produce me a cover art file when I know he's super busy with work.
Book 2's contract with NSP should expire next year. I hope by then to have everything else caught up and complete so he and I can focus on getting 1 book done rather than trying to do 3 at the same time like we find ourselves doing this year. But if all goes to plan, not only will next year see Book 2's conversion to Indie but the release of the series' final book, likely towards the end of the year I suspect.
Once I finish releasing all of the books from The Ascension Legacy series, I can focus on releasing some of my other works. Right now, I have 3 sci-fi books written that need serious editing and whatnot done before they can be released but I've hesitated putting much more effort into those so I can keep my time and resources available to making sure this series sees a full release first.