OK, so when I last wrote to you lot, I was fighting to make my pre-sales of the paperback books go live on my website, and all I could give you was the ebook pre-sales link.

Since then has been one of those time periods where I really regret knowing enough web design that I just can’t hire someone else to do it, because I’ve already invested so much time in learning all that stuff, that I’m bloody well NOT going to pay someone else to make me a website. If I just honestly didn’t know, I could pay for it to be someone else’s headache. But nooooooo. I must keep this headache all for myself ?

My name’s Raven Belasco, and I’m a dark fantasy writer. These newsletters are about my work and that #authorlife. Updates out bimonthly to subscribers. Feel free to send your friends to my Beehiiv, where they can read the most recent letters and subscribe.

If you don’t want these getting lost in the spam filter, please add ravenbelasco@gmail.com to your email system’s address book or contacts.

I use Square for direct sales of the books. So I wanted to find a way to connect Square with my site (a WordPress site) so that the sales could be directly through my site. Square does not directly integrate with WP, so I needed a plugin. I dully found one that was well-rated, paid for the pro version, installed it … and thus began two weeks of increasing frustration. Finally, I gave up on the plugin, and made a separate webstore, as Square offers that service for free. At the end of a day of setting that up, Square offered me a button-builder for each product … and I realized that if I had known about the button-builder from the start, I wouldn’t have needed to go through ANY of the above kabuki ?‍♀️

But, anyways, it is done, and has been tested, and you can now go pre-order a signed paperback of Blood Ex Libris from me HERE.

Here’s a cozy still life of the book, to make you both hungry and book-hungry ?

Why order the signed paperback, you ask? Well, it’s a win-win. If you buy through Amazon or another webshop, they take 40% of the money. And it’s not lovingly dedicated to you. If you buy through my website, I get 100% of the profit (minus what I pay dear old USPS to ship it to you, but yay media mail for keeping it affordable!) and then, as I’m packing it up, I take the time to dedicate the book to you, and maybe even slip in a surprise swag item… ?‍?

So that’s that, and we are here. And this goes out on the 15th , so pre-ordering from me is practically the same as regular old ordering from me, but let’s all cheer ? for me resolving the problem before launch day! (Special shout-out here to a fellow fan of yours, who is a web-person, and who helped me both with technical stuff and in keeping me from imploding—you know who you are, and you are so appreciated! ?)

Also, huge thanks to the two fans of the series who jumped up to test the sales button on the website, and helped me find an issue that it was really good to get resolved before orders started pouring in ?

At this point, the amount of help I’ve had from friends is just bonkers. This is really a joint effort, here, and you lot are what’s making this thing happen. The learning curve on this has been sooooo steep, that I cannot express how much that has kept me moving forward in hope. I’m not a person who gives up easily, but the process of getting my books back from the publisher through relaunching them into the world would honest daunt pretty much anyone. I’m a much more knowledgeable person, these days, but almost none of that learning has been taking notes in a nice comfy classroom; it’s been done in the self-publishing trenches, which are as muddy and bloody as wartime trenches can be expected to be (in a metaphorical sense of course, but I still may need therapy…)

Tonight I Upload Final Things to Amazon, and then they have a Good Think About It, and then hopefully Amazon sales go live on the 19th , and then This Shit Gets Real ?

If you have extra good vibes to send, spiritually cross your fingers for me for in this coming time. You’d be amazed how many things that look easy in the description turn out to be much more complicated and/or have unforeseen issues as one tries to actually accomplish them ?

Meanwhile, things progress in the background for Books II and III, and I will hopefully be getting you pub dates in the next email. The both still need final proofing, but I have the actual printed proofs in hand, and that is how I will be keeping myself out of trouble once BXL is out in the world again.

Apparently, when people see my partner out at events now, with me nowhere to be seen, they ask, “Is Raven still working too hard on her books to be here today?” And, yeah, I’m back home dealing with one thing or another. So I do look forward to a day when I have enough “spoons” to do this AND to have a social life. (Of course that social life will probably immediately get subsumed by going to an endless round of conventions to sell the books in person, and being on panels talking about vampires and worldbuilding in fantasy, but hey, that’s still better than just being at home on the computer, learning everything I don’t know about indie publishing. At least I’ll get to wear my bat and dragon and hedgehog kigurumis and be nerdy with people!)

Raven in her bat kigurumi at FOGcon

OK, I need to go off and do things, and you are to be commended for reading my always too-long newsletters. I’ll drop a quick newsletter — promise! — once BXL is finally fully out there in the world!

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