Posted on March 26th 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category:
This month was a busy, busy month. A lot got done.
Courting the Dragon is officially with the copy editor, and temporarily out of my hands. It will be back soon for the final polish and formatting for eBook and print. I will be putting out the official call for ARC reviewers soon. If you’re interested, please reach out through contact form on my website, or DM me via Facebook or Twitter.
Against my better judgement, I have started drafting Finding the Dragon. It will be my project for Camp NaNoWriMo next month. I’ve joined a fun group of campers from my Twitter social circle, so I’m looking forward to some digital writing camp shenanigans. Writing is always more fun with friends.
I also have a very full line-up for the blog in terms of reviews for April and May. There’s some really great books I can’t wait to share with you all. Here’s a picture of my TBR (to-be-read) pile, just to give you a sneak peek.
In non-writing news, Matt and I have made great progress on my office. It’s still very much a work in progress, but hopefully I’ll be able to do a full sort of “office tour” type post sometime in April. Assuming IKEA ever gets the bookshelves I so desperately want back in stock.
And last but not least, I also have an update on when Courting the Dragon will be available for those who prefer an audio format. I do not have a release date yet, but I have decided to do the narration for this one myself. The plan is to begin recording chapters as they come back from the copy editor. I’m a total noob at this stuff, so recording and editing will likely take me a lot longer than someone who knows what they’re doing. I’m sure I will have some interesting adventures in audio land to share with you all, along with links to some great resources for those who may be interested in audiobook narration.
And that’s it for March. I’d love to hear what y’all have been up to in the comments!
I am pleased to officially announce a release date (for reals this time) for the eBook and paperback editions of Courting the Dragon. It will be available for purchase through Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, Google Books, and Apple iBooks starting Sunday, June 20, 2021. The eBook edition will be priced at $4.99. Paperback will be $12.99. I believe BN.com and BAM’s website will likely also carry the paperback (based on past experience with Saving the Dragon), although I’m not sure it will be available on launch day.
The process of turning CtD into an audiobook has not begun. However, it is my hope that it will also be released to audio as soon as reasonably possible. I do not at this time have any idea who will narrate or what kind of release date we can expect.
I review books, can I get an ARC?
Anyone interested in doing an advanced review should reach out via the Contract screen on my main website. Be sure to include the subject line “Courting the Dragon ARC.” Please include your preferred format in your inquiry (ePub, PDF) and what platforms you post reviews to (Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, personal blog, etc). At this time I am only planning to release digital ARCs.
Will there be any giveaways?
Yes. I am planning to do eBook and paperback giveaways. I am also planning to do at least one bundle giveaway that will include copies of both Courting the Dragon and the updated Saving the Dragon, plus some other goodies. More details will be available as we get closer to release.
Where did you get the cover?
This cover is by GetCovers.com. All three books in the Penelope’s Dragon trilogy will include covers from GetCovers.
Posted on February 26th 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category:
Let’s get non-writing updates out of the way first. We’ve been at a bit of a stand-still with the house reno just because it’s so. freaking. cold. Matt did get the carpet ripped out of the office and we slapped some paint on the walls, so it’s usable. With any luck, I’ll be including some photos in my March Update.
Here are the milestones I accomplished in February:
I re-released an updated version of Saving the Dragon. More details on that can be found here.
I also got involved with a fast-approaching anthology project. I wrote a whole post about that. You can find the pre-order here.
The first revision for Courting the Dragon is done. I am currently waiting on beta reader feedback.
I wrote an unusual amount of short fiction.
A big area of focus for me this past month has been figuring out what I want to do with the blog. As of now, I have a tentative content schedule planned for the next few months that will have me posting once a week on Mondays. I’m thinking of adding Fridays to the rotation.
Along with the blog content, I’m working to revive my stalled attempt at a YouTube channel. I recently posted a review of The Fires of Treason by Michele Quirke to the blog (I filmed a video, but due to technical difficulties have not been able to finish editing it). My goal is to keep that up as much as possible; one review per month. I will be reviewing indie/small press books only for the foreseeable future. Even if I cannot get a video out for some reason there will be one book review blog post each month.
I’ve started doing some preliminary writing for book 3. Mostly so far I just have notes about things I want to include and a brief sketch of the overall plot. It’s definitely a different sort of story than CtD, and I’m excited about telling it. I don’t currently have any sort of timeline in mind as to when it will be released.
I’ve run into some minor complications with the paperback edition of Saving the Dragon. I gave the designers the wrong dimensions (I told them the dimensions of the old edition). I thought I could make it work, but alas, KDP is much pickier than the old CreateSpace. So it will be probably another week yet before the paperback goes back on sale. My apologies.
The good news is, I did give them the correct dimensions for Courting the Dragon. The cover reveal for that is coming up soon!
***At the time of this writing, the updated eBook should be available on Kindle, Nook, iBook, and Google Play. I am currently waiting on a proof copy of the updated paperback before I put it back on sale. ***
About the Cover
I didn’t necessarily need to re-cover Saving the Dragon, but I felt that it was the right thing to do ahead of Courting the Dragon‘s release. There were a few reasons for this. The biggest two were: 1) I wanted a cover that would be a cohesive piece of the series. 2) I wanted a cover that I felt better reflected the Fantasy Romance genre.
Getcovers.com delivered on both these fronts. They absolutely nailed this one, and I can’t wait to see the cover for Courting the Dragon.
Why a Re-Release?
When I published Saving the Dragon back in 2015 (yeah, it’s been 6 years folks) I had zero clue what I was doing. I made a lot of mistakes. Many of them are forever immortalized in the print copies already in existence. The publishing platforms back then were not what they are now. Y’all Google Play has really stepped up because their site sucked. At that point in time, I also didn’t have some of the tools and resources available to me now. Like Scrivener 3. That app is a godsend. I’m sorry Windows users that you’re still on version 2. #NotSponsored.
Anyway, just to give you an idea of the sorts of things I’m talking about:
Creating the ePub file I needed for Google Play was a straight-up horror-show in 2015. I had to use an eBook management application called Calibre to MANUALLY EDIT THE MARKUP when Google rejected it fifty bajillion times.
My author name was screwed up on iBooks for years and I couldn’t fix it till I purchased a Mac. iTunes Producer was, at the time, a dumpster fire that their own customer service had no idea how to use.
I was trying to manage various drafts and revisions of a 50k+ word novel (or novella depending on who you ask) in Google Docs. Please note, Google Docs is a wonderful tool, but it is not, I repeat, not the tool for text documents over 25k words with formatting. I’ve since discovered that Pages in iCloud manages slightly better with documents of this size, but only slightly.
I did all of my print layout in LibreOffice because that’s what I could afford. If that doesn’t make you cringe, it should. In retrospect, there’s a pretty great open source desktop publishing app called Scribus that I probably could have used to get a more InDesign-esque experience. But as with many other great open-source programs (*cough* GIMP *cough*) Scribus has a UX that I don’t find particularly intuitive. (I love GIMP, by the way, no shade).
Professional editing is expensive. That actually hasn’t changed. But grammar tools like Grammarly have gotten infinitely better so at least what you’re sending to the editor is less of a hot mess.
So, as you can see… It. Was. Chaos. I don’t even have a copy of the final manuscript anymore. When I started this revitalization project, I had to download the ePub from my publisher account with Barnes&Noble and use good ol’ Calibre again to convert it to rich text. Which, predictably, made a bit of a mess. And then I discovered something utterly horrifying: I don’t think I uploaded the document I got back from the editor. I think I uploaded my revised draft. Needless to say, this atrocity could not stand.
Although for the purposes of Amazon and printing I created a new “edition”… this is not a new edition of the book. You don’t need to buy a new paperback copy. (Unless you want to, I mean, I like money.) I did not make significant changes to the text. I cleared up one mortifying mistake that my audio narrator pointed out and fixed some commas and typos. I fixed/updated my photo in About the Author. That’s about it. It was not my intent to make Saving the Dragon a better story. The goal was to make it a little more professional and polished as a product. (Which is the opposite of this blog, by the way. This is pretty raw, I don’t even run these posts through a grammar-checker half the time. Enjoy my comma splices, suckers!)
The only “addition” to the book is the preview of Courting the Dragon that’s been available for free on my blog for years.
What I really did change was the over-all look-and-feel of the print edition and modernize the eBook. There have been some advances in the format since this book was originally published. The reason for this is two-fold. Again, I wanted to bring a little more polish, but I also wanted to set Saving the Dragon up to be consistent with the releases I have planned for later this year and on into 202X (you aren’t getting me to commit to even a release year for Finding the Dragon after the purgatory that was finishing Courting. You get a decade). And yes, you read that right. I have releases planned for later this year. I even have the pre-order dates configured in Amazon so I’m contractually obligated to upload the final text by a certain date.
As for the audio edition, the only change to that is the updated cover, because 1) Hilary fixed my big goof when she read it anyway and 2) you can’t actually hear the other changes I made, or they are so small that you would have to be physically reading along with the audio to notice. This may however have the effect of killing Whispersync on the book, and if so I apologize.
There is a silver lining in all of this. Doing the edits and reformatting on Saving the Dragon gave me some major pay-offs. First, since I did it right before jumping into the first draft revision for Courting the Dragon, I found all sorts of threads from the first book that I need to weave back into the second. It gives me an opportunity to bring some additional continuity. Second, I will be able to reuse the print and ebook compilation profiles I created in Scrivener when I go to publish both Courting the Dragon and Finding the Dragon. This will keep the whole series feeling cohesive from a design perspective.
So that’s it for the explainer portion of this post. Now I just want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has come on this wild ride with me. Everyone who bought a copy of my freshman attempt at self-publishing (I’m so, so sorry about the editing. Truly). Everyone who has nagged me (for years) about the sequel. And everyone who at least pretended to be interested when I went off on a writer rant. I appreciate you all. I hope you love the updates.
How to Get the Updates
You can follow these links to learn how to get the eBook updates for your platform of choice:
iBook (this one isn’t directly from Apple, but it was the best I could find)
I couldn’t find a link for Google Play. From what I can tell, it seems like the content updates immediately in the web reader (there does not seem to be a 24 to 72 hr processing period as with the other platforms). I assume that re-downloading it to your preferred device should have the effect of fetching the updated files.
Fun Bonus Fact: I *actually* wrote most of this blog post before I’d even commissioned the new cover(s). That’s how excited I am (was?) about this release and what’s coming up next. I am (was?) also super sleep-deprived from working weird hours and pushing myself on wrapping up CtD’s revisions, so if I came across a little manic, now you know why.