What Happened in 2019
If you're one of my readers, I'd like to start this off with the obvious: Ground 33.8 has not been published yet. In fact, I haven't even finished writing it. I'm always honest about how slow of a writer I am, because it truly feels like I kill a part of myself when I write, but a lot of things happened in 2019 that contributed to this late release - I'm so sorry. I don't know if any of you have been waiting for it, but I promise you - it's coming, and it's going to be everything it's meant to be.
To quickly explain what happened in 2019: Life happened. It was my first year post-college grad and it's been immortalized as one of my hardest years yet. Apart from writing books, I am also a full-time book designer, part-time portrait photographer, and part-time co-founder of a wonderful book festival known as Imaginarium. First year out of college, I really struggled in learning how to balance my free time with all the things I did. And as a freelance book designer, I wasn't charging enough for my services to cover my bills. There was even a moment I faced quitting everything—writing included—so that I could go get a "real life job" and use the degree I went to school for. This was an on-and-off battle every single month and it really threw me into a strange bout of depression. Creating art and writing still made me happy and I wanted to do it, but I had no time. I needed money, I needed to pay my bills. I had to ... adult.
Without getting too deep into the logistics of my life, I'm doing okay. My bills are getting paid (for now) and I don't plan on giving up writing. In fact, I'm pretty sure I can't. I've tried to convince myself that I could if I really had to, but I think I'd rather die. 2019 really taught me to slow down and breathe. Like, if I had a motto for what every year has taught me, 2019's would definitely be BREATHE. And 2018's would have been SLOW DOWN. I do a lot at 23 years-old, and I never really notice how much until someone points it out. Otherwise I get caught in a haze of go, go, go.
We're only two months into 2020, but I'm definitely learning to CUT MY LOSSES. When I decided to kickstart Imaginarium, I had to put writing on pause in order to give this event as much of my attention as I could. That meant G338 kept getting set down, even though I knew, possibly, that there are readers somewhere out there waiting for the continuation of the Bionics Saga. That was a loss for me. And in order to pay my bills, I had to study what I was spending most of my money on, which was my books. Between the printing costs, the illustrations, and the cover design, I've been spending over 3k per book and I'm only on book 3. And as an indie author who pays for everything, it was getting harder to afford - especially with the Fandom Kits. I considered not doing the illustrations anymore, but I genuinely love working with Javier Chavarria and seeing scenes of my books drawn to life. Also, the illustrations are a big part of what makes these books so special to me and likely to you, my reader. So, instead, I decided not to do any more Fandom Kits for the time being.
Yet another loss.
This one hurt quite a bit since I love—love, love, love—watching all the unboxing videos and being tagged in all your bookish photos. I love stalking my mailman and waiting for him to pick up the orders I spent the whole night packing and preparing for one of you. But I had to be honest with myself: I was losing more money than I was making. I still plan on doing something similar to the Fandom Kit for the release of Ground 33.8, just on a smaller scale. I'm probably doing it more to console myself in the fact that I have readers out there who enjoy the Kits, but still - it'll be personalized and the book will be just as beautiful as the others.
I'm really writing this blog post for my readers, at the small chance I still have any. If I do, I'd just like to say that you are some of the most patient people in the world and thank you. I'm sorry my life is so messy, and I'm sorry I've made you wait a whole year for it. But I can promise you that I've been happy throughout the entire writing process and I fall more in love with Mathai and the gang with every new word I write. Thank you for reading my words and for finding them good enough to entertain you. I have so much in store for 2020, so many surprises, so I hope you can support me along this incredibly long journey.
G338 is coming!