Howdy readers! For some reason, sitting down to write this post makes me feel like it’s been ages since the last one, but checking my blog tells me that I’m right on track for my monthly check in. As the title has indicated, I’m coming to you today with less of a focused rant and more of a laundry list of shorter topics. Let’s dive on in!

Firstly, I would be remiss to skip my progress update on Volume 5—having left my blog post last month surprisingly brief, I definitely owe you the details! As of today, I have passed the 142,000 word mark in my draft, which puts me quite close to the end of chapter 16. This is just over 20,000 words since my update with you at the end of February, which tracks pretty well with my recent pace of ~10K a month. I’m not pleased with that pace, but I’m happy that it’s at least consistent! The third chunk of the novel is also in the process of being edited (chapters 11-16, for vague reference), so progress on that front continues as well!

While my extremely rough outline changes wildly as progress continues, I have 5 chapters left to write after the current one wraps up. An extremely wide dartboard-style estimate puts the final release date for the book in late summer or early fall based on my current pace and the remaining pinned story beats, but that is NOT a promise and I will NOT stand by that the instant it becomes untrue. You’ve been warned!

Now, a brief detour to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Volume 4’s release! It’s certainly bittersweet for me—I had always held the “one volume per year” ideal as the absolute minimum benchmark in the early stages of this writing journey, but I have come to accept that it isn’t a tenable goal for me and my writing style. This book and all subsequent books in the series will be released when they’re ready, no matter how long that takes. I hope you can accept my progress reports as proof enough that the series isn’t dead, even if it might appear that way from the publishing hiatus!

After one year of publication, Volume 4 is currently sitting at a 4.5 star average on Amazon from a collection of 173 reviews, which I think is a pretty respectable number! That being said, the fact that Amazon never sent out a message to my followers when it was initially published leads me to a secret belief that a lot of fans of my series don’t know it ever came out. Let’s hope the notification comes out correctly for Volume 5, and then people will have two whole books to read at once!

Speaking of reviews, boy howdy has there been some progress on THAT front over the past week! A very strange thing happened on Amazon for both myself and many other authors in this lovely niche of mine: we experienced a ratings EXPLOSION on our first books! Restart Again: Volume 1 was sitting at a very comfortable 661 reviews as of one week ago, gaining three or four ratings/reviews a month, when all of a sudden, the number started climbing. 10 reviews, 20 reviews, 50 reviews, all over the span of a few hours! This insane climb continued for approximately 72 hours, and when the dust settled, the count stabilized at a whopping 951 reviews! Now, keep in mind that this was ONLY ratings that were added: I didn’t receive a single new written review, the readership didn’t spike at all, trending ranks weren’t affected. I chatted with a few authors who write in this genre, and many of them saw this trend to varying degrees over the same period. It seemed somewhat proportional to how many reviews were already on the title when this started, and it only affected either the first book in their series or the first few books in the longer-standing ones. I can’t say I understand what happened, but I’m very happy to accept it! It was nowhere near front of mind to see my book hit the FOUR DIGIT mark in reviews, but after this explosion, it’s actually within reach!

To round out this grab bag, let’s talk about drafts! The long-prophesized draft chapters of Restart Again: Volume 5 have been going live on Royal Road over the past few months (click HERE to read them); as of this blog post, the first half of Chapter 7 is available for your reading pleasure. I’ve been posting the chapters split into two parts, one on Sunday and one on Wednesday, each at 6PM EST. This games the algorithm in my favor a bit (twice the amount of time on the front page to potentially grab new eyes), but also stretches out the time in which I can write new stuff before my drafts dry up and there is a longer wait. It does also leave some rather awkward and unsatisfying cliffhangers in between chapter sections (which will obviously not be present in the final, published work), but that’s the price you’ll have to pay to read these for free!

As previously stated, I’m near the end of Chapter 16 right now, so that’s another 9 weeks of drafts already prepped and ready to go. In those 9 weeks, I hope to finish another 3 chapters or so, and so on and so forth until everything gets posted perfectly on time! Ha ha, ha, ha ha ha. Regardless of all that, I hope you’ve been enjoying the sneak peek! Though it’s been slow going, I’m extremely happy with the work I’ve been doing, and I can’t wait for you all to see the finished product!

With all of that being said, progress is about to slow down quite a bit for the next week or so, because I’m going on my honeymoon! I’ve been having a lot of fun writing the latest chapters, but I’m also looking forward to taking the week away and not thinking about it at all. Hopefully I come back even more refreshed, recharged, and ready to write! Until then, though, stay safe out there, and as always, thanks for reading!


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