An update on the absence of updates

Or — Whatever happened to Minigrooves Volume 2?

I have been so busy on various fronts that I didn’t realise my last update was published five months ago. Despite the silence, the Minigrooves project, and the work on the second volume of short stories, have been going on behind the scenes. But yes, there has been an unexpectedly huge delay in publishing the second book.

In part it’s because other creative projects have kept me busy: Vantage Point looks small on the outside — a compact magazine with a few articles and an episode of my serialised sci-fi novel Low Fidelity in every issue. But then I’ve launched a new series of short stories, which I publish in Vantage Point’s Single Specials. This series is centred on the character of Ian Charles Winterman, a consultant detective with a unique gift, a sort of heightened perceptiveness that allows him to have special insights and intuitions, and help the police force specifically in cases of abductions and missing persons. I’ve written two stories so far, and am working on the third. Planning the ‘adventures’ of this particular detective, and the intricate world and plot of Low Fidelity take considerable time and energy, probably more than what I expected.

These past months I’ve also had to deal with more translation work, and I tend to feel quite overwhelmed when things start overlapping. It’s a bit of a short circuit that hampers my creativity. It’s the clash of two opposing factors: my inability to multitask and my inability to compartmentalise. When I have multiple things to work on, I have to do them one at a time, and I can’t really divide my days into discrete sections like “carry on the translation assignment every morning, then work on the novel in the afternoon, then write tech-oriented articles on my main website at night”, etc. Sometimes I manage to make it work, but some other times inspiration may be so strong I have to work on one thing for an entire day.

But there’s another, more important reason behind the delayed appearance of Minigrooves Vol. 2, and it’s more technical in nature.

I started assembling Volume 2 in a new iBooks Author project, and at first — for consistency’s sake — I basically copied the template of Volume 1 with the intention of producing an iBook that visually looked and felt the same as the first volume of stories. But then I realised I was being myopic: since I plan to also release Volume 1 and Volume 2 on the Kindle platform, and given that now iBooks Author lets me create an ebook in ePub format directly, I started considering a different approach to this whole project that may be a little more future-proof, but it’s costing me more time in the present. My reasoning: if I publish Volume 2 as an ePub (and not an .iba file) on the iBooks Store, with a simplified, more practical layout, and I also update Volume 1 and publish it as an ePub with that same simplified layout, then I could more easily publish both books on the Kindle platform shortly after.

So, what’s been happening behind the scenes hasn’t just been the preparation of Minigrooves Vol. 2:

  • I’ve been reworking Volume 1, which will be re-published as a version 1.5 update;
  • I’ve been re-reading and editing the 24 stories that make up Volume 2;
  • I’ve been trying different layouts for both books, creating samples and exporting them to my iPad, to test navigation and user interaction;
  • And I plan to do a similar thing on a Kindle device, to see if I can save some headaches in the future.

Again, the idea is to make a step backwards at the moment, rethinking the layout of the first volume of stories, to hopefully make two steps forward later, and have two books in ePub format that can be published both on the iBooks Store and the Kindle Store without much hassle. I really apologise for the delay and for the silence. I’ve had another idea to make it up to you, so stay tuned and keep an eye on this space — something new is coming, and that should really be soon.