To quote myself: I'm a bit snively, but otherwise everything is fine. It's nothing serious and it isn't affecting my work."
A day later:
Murphy… must you be so efficient? T-T
It took me about a week for unbearable stomach cramps to pass so I can once again get out of bed. And then after that, it took me several days to take care of piled up house chores, bills, and other things I had to solve asap.
With the flu saga over, and immediate issues solved, I was ready to turn another leaf of my life and finally sit down to write.
But then, when I opened my mailbox, I noticed among the mails that I missed, a notification that my hosting is about to expire. And when I said "about to expire", what I really meant was will expire in 48 hours.
And thus the hosting saga began.
I wasn't quite satisfied with my current host and intended to change it for a while now. I wanted optimized servers with great performance so you guys would be able to have great loading times and a better reading experience. (assuming you actually had new episodes to read… OTL)
And as my current hosting was about to expire I had to figure out where to move in a rush.
It took me about a day of research until I decided where to move. And then I started moving over my wordpress installation.
I had intended this switch to be seamless, you guys wouldn't even notice what happened and there would be no downtime.
Unfortunately, it seems that nothing is going my way recently. Did someone throw a curse at me or something? XD Like, "I curse that author for not releasing any chapters for a while"
Wait a sec… (≖_≖)
Admit it guys, was it one of you?
Ahem, anyway, instead of a seamless transfer like I had intended, wordpress suddenly manifested a weird bug where only the homepage and backend was working and everything else was inaccessible. Since the site wasn't working I didn't change my DNS in time to the new server, which caused it to still point to the old server by the time my old hosting expired. And voila, what happened was that the site went down for about 12 hours.
And then after that, even when it went back up, it wasn't quite functional yet.
Customer support wasn't quite supportive, and my stress levels were so high that I couldn't concentrate on editing that one chapter that I should have released a while back.
Thanks to Seru, (he is one of my most supportive mythril tier patrons), the issue is now resolved and the site is up and running as usual. I still haven't implemented all the speed upgrades on the site that I've intended but it should be done in the near future.
And so, with the hosting saga over, we've reached a new era. There are several issues that I want to address here, bear with me.
1. New Episode(s)
To start off the new era, here is the link to a new episode: http://aethernea.com/episodes/episode-147/
In the following days, I won't be keeping to a regular release schedule. I'll be releasing new episodes as soon as I finish them. My intention is to release an episode every three days or so. Of course, it might not go as expected, but long delays shouldn't happen again (or at least they should be really rare).
2. A new Aethernea art piece for patron Tiers 3+
While I couldn’t concentrate on writing/editing due to the stress of Aethernea site being down, I took the time to finish an art piece I started working on back in October.
There is a story to this, you can read it and see the image here: http://aethernea.com/art-elaru-wade-divided/
3. Discord chat channel
As many of you might already know, Mythril tier patrons have had access to a private, VIP discord chat channel where they could chat with me and distract me from writing. :P
For a while now I was thinking that it would be nice if I opened up an Aethernea chat channel where all fans and readers could come visit and chat about Aethernea, me, or anything else. A place where people could pop in and ask questions like "wtf, where did Cloe disappear to again?" and "when is the next episode coming?". A place where people could discuss the plot and all their theories about what is really going on.
But at the same time, I didn't want the point of a VIP channel to be lost. I also wanted patrons to have more benefits than other readers.
And thus, after deliberation, I decided to open up my VIP discord channel to the public.
Now, instead of the entire channel being VIP only, Mythril tier patrons will have access to a VIP only subchannel where I am a frequent visitor. Patrons will also have access to several patron-only subchannels. The entire discord channel is now integrated with Patreon so when you enter, you'll be assigned a user role depending on your pledge.
Feel free to invite your friends to the channel, patron or not, anyone is free to join.
The channel is still in the process of me setting it up, so expect some minor changes in the future, such as adding new channels.
4. Patreon-Aethernea Integration
Up to now, you guys had to pledge, send me a pm, and then wait for me to update your user privileges on Aethernea.com to access patron-only content. This was both an inconvenience for me and for you guys and for months I've wanted to change this.
Finally, the change has been implemented and is live.
Now, you will be able to log in with Patreon to access patron stuff on Aethernea.com
If you don't have already have an account on Aethernea.com, logging in with Patreon will create an account for you. If you already have an account, your aethernea.com account will be linked to your Patreon account.
You need not wait to access the content, nor do you need to contact me. It's all automatic. Pledge and gain access in seconds.
As this feature has just been implemented, let me know if you have any technical issues so I can solve them. Loading patron only content has a significant delay due to the site checking with Patreon whether you should be able to access the content. Just sit tight and wait for the page to fully load. I'll try to decrease this wait time in the near future. If even after half a minute it doesn't load, refresh the page, it should be much quicker the second time.
5. Lack of Communication
With the exciting things down from the list of news, let us bring up a less exciting, but more important matter:
This lack of communication from me has to stop.
While I was lying sick in bed, unable to do anything else but think, I thought about many things.
One of which was how to fix this lack of communication. And thus I did a lot of introspection to find the root of the issue and how to solve it.
Here are my conclusions:
When I'm busy or sick, often times I don't even move my laptop to a table nor turn it on for the entire day or even multiple days, meaning that I don't write, respond to messages, or do anything else communication related.
Solution: I can still do these things on my phone. I installed Patreon and Discord mobile app. However, this brings us to the...
I avoid responding to any messages via my phone because it is inconvenient and error-prone to type on a small virtual keyboard. The speed at which I type on a phone frustrates me and often times I can't type out my thoughts fast enough. Not to mention that I had no spell checking on my phone so mistakes were not highlighted. The thought of posting a message filled with typos horrifies me.
In efforts to mitigate this problem, I've installed a SwipeKeyboard (it is working relatively nicely) and after a google search, turned on spell checking on my Android phone. (God only knows why this wasn't turned on by default)
I delay responding thinking that I shall finish a new episode, and *then* respond. That way, with a new episode out, I'll feel less guilty when responding. Unfortunately, it often turns out that the episode isn't done for days for various reasons, and thus, day after day, I keep saying "I'll respond tomorrow, when I finish that episode". And then, that *tomorrow* ends up taking weeks.
I guess the root of this issue is that I always feel guilt stricken about not writing as much as I am supposed to and giving you guys what you deserve. I feel like I'm always apologizing and that my apologies are worthless. And then when I think about communication, it becomes a big heavy rock crushing my shoulders.
And so, I religiously avoid visiting patreon, discord, wattpad, and gmail for the time being, to avoid feeling worse about the whole matter.
But it doesn't help. It only builds up and makes me feel worse and worse, and you guys aren't benefiting from the lack of communication either. On the contrary, it is frustrating and unfair for you.
I'm not quite sure how to solve this issue. I don't think I'll be able to stop feeling guilty unless I am finally able to deliver everything to you guys that I should be delivering. However, while I might not be able to change my personal feelings on the matter, I can change the way I deal with my feelings so that I don't stop communicating because of it.
Opening my private discord channel to the public is a big step towards the right direction but isn't the only thing I intend to change. I intend to start writing status updates in other places as well. Which brings us to the question of...
Issue 4: How often do you want to receive news / status updates?
One of the reasons why I don't update as often as I should is because I feel like you guys would be bothered to receive a bunch of small status updates. I feel that what you really want is content, not a bunch of small messages saying "No episode today. Doing xyz."
But thinking upon this, I think that the issue is that I am not used to communication in general. I don't post status updates on facebook. I don't take selfies. I don't talk about my day with anyone. In my relationships, I had always been a good listener but not a good talker. At least not when it comes to talking about myself. I can easily talk about anything, but when people ask me about myself, I don't know what to say. I feel like nothing worthy of talk is going on in my life, which leads to me not talking about it at all, or posting any status updates.
However, perhaps it is time for me to change this. And I am opening the choice of how to change this to you guys.
What would you like me to do about it in the future? How often would you like me to post status updates on Patreon? Would you like it if I posted daily status updates on twitter?
And most importantly, what would you like me to post about?
Are you only interested in Aethernea related stuff or would you like to get to know me as a person and a writer better?
6. Sorry and Thank you
Everyone, thank you so much for supporting me even though I keep making all kinds of mistakes. I am grateful for every and each one of you, and I feel that I haven't been deserving of your trust.
The last couple of months there had been close to zero new episodes and almost no communication from my part.
I am very, very sorry.
But no amount of saying sorry will be sufficient to make up for it. It doesn't matter how regretful I feel about it nor how much I apologize. I cannot change the past, nor can I erase all the disappointment and frustration I've caused you.
All I can do is take responsibility for my wrongs and sincerely exercise effort to become a person worthy of your trust in the future.
I am willing to refund the pledges you guys have paid in the last three months.
If you want your pledge refunded, please send me a PM on Patreon and tell me for which month(s).
You don't need to provide any explanations nor will I take it against you.
I will not discriminate against you because of it and if you decide to support me again in the future I will be very honored and happy about it.