Any project that takes years to complete will suffer setbacks. Publishing a book series is no different, and I am now confronting several setbacks that I'll have to solve.
With the release of The Huntsman and the Vampire less than a month away, I've turned my attention to Book 3 in the Hunter's Rose series. I've contacted all the artists, editors, and creators I've worked with for the first two books in the series to inquire about their availability. Sadly, some will likely not be available.
The artist I used for the landscapes and architectural designs in my first book is no longer able to produce. I covered that in the past, but there's been no change, unfortunately. I really liked his style and his promptness, but in the end, he won't be returning. I'll be very interested to hear what people think of the art produced by his replacement in Book 2.
Also, the editor I used for The Huntsman and the Vampire has left the industry. This was a particularly hard blow for me since I admire her work both in the editing field and the writing field. She's the author of Unanchored, a pirate-historical fiction novel that I personally think is quite enjoyable.
In addition to that, the folks who have done the cover and interior for my first two books have gone radio silent. They haven't posted to their social media since August and are no longer returning my emails and PM's. I do know that they have suffered some serious health issues lately, and I sincerely hope that there has not been a relapse or sudden change for the worse.
I want to be clear that I'm not disappointed in any of these people. Real Life comes up all the time. Family, illness, burnout, whatever can all change a person's course in life very quickly. I'm nobody special. They don't owe me anything, and if they aren't able to do the work, I wouldn't want to pressure them into it.
But this illustrates one of the challenges, maybe the biggest challenge, of being an independently published author: you must rely on other independent people to make your project happen.
The great thing about being independent is you get to decide everything for yourself. There are no schedules, no commitments beyond what you're willing to make. But that's a two-edged sword when outsourcing elements of your book. All the other independent artists get to make decisions for themselves too, and if they can't or don't want to work with you anymore, then there's no real recourse. Author's writing for a publishing company don't have to worry about such things.
Perhaps it was naive of me to think I'd get to work with the same people for the entire series.
Thankfully, I have plenty of time to sort this out. I'm a person who prefers to plan ahead and make sure doubly sure before I set out to do something. Now that I know that certain contractors won't be available, I don't have select someone in a hurry. I can take my time to evaluate and choose new ones based on their track record.
Anyway, I'm just keeping you in the loop and warning you about one of the potential pitfalls of indie publishing. Take care of each other out there.