April 2021 Update

Posted on April 30th 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: News, Release Announcements, Self-Publishing Woes, Writing

My performance for Camp NaNoWriMo was, predictably, abysmal. Finding the Dragon is sitting at just shy of 8000 words (some of which I think will be thrown out) as I write this. That’s a far cry from the “modest” 23k goal I set. Still, I’m not beating myself up about it too much; April was a very busy month.

My sorry excuse for a word count chart from Camp NaNoWriMo

Let’s start with the highlight, of course, which was getting ARCs out for Courting the Dragon. Printing ARCs through Barnes&Noble Press worked out much better than I could have anticipated. Depending on when I get the copy edits back I may be able to do a second run of corrected ARCs, which would be super swell.

Paperback ARCs of Courting the Dragon still in the box.

Which brings me to an update about the paperback availability of both Courting the Dragon and Saving the Dragon. Saving was priced at $9.50 and Courting was planned to be priced at $14.99. This was due to the price restrictions with KDP’s Expanded Distribution (this is what put my KDP paperback in Barnes&Noble stores, BAM, etc). I’ve decided after seeing how the Barnes&Noble printing works to cut the KDP Expanded Distribution and simply run print editions on both platforms. This means that the paperback will only be available from Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com. However, it also means that I can drop the prices to $7.99 for Saving and $10.50 for Courting. I plan to do the same for Finding, and may even offer paperback pre-orders through Barnes&Noble. We’ll see.

I have two other announcement related to the availability of both books.

First, in addition to Kindle, Nook, Google Play, and Apple iBooks, both books will also be available from Rakutan Kobo. The regular price is still $4.99 for Courting.

Second, for this week only (April 30th to May 8th), Saving will be on sale across all the eBook platforms. For this one week you can pick it up for just 99 cents.

Saving the Dragon and Courting the Dragon in paperback, each with a bookmark sticking out of the top. In front of them is a mug that says "I just happen to prefer spells to sewing needles."

Another fun thing this month was lining up some prizes for the big giveaway in June. I won’t tell you all about the grand prize basket yet, but I will tell you about the awesome coffee mugs! You can’t see the whole phrase in this photo since it wraps around, but they say “I just happen to prefer spells to sewing needles.” I got these from the wonderful @skyekelrose. Check out her Etsy shop here.

On a more personal note, things have taken a minor left turn for me recently. A few days ago I started having more than my usual twinges in my neck and wrists. My right hand was basically unusable for a day. Just placing my hand on a computer mouse was intolerable. This didn’t help my already lacking word count for FtD. After much icing, sleeping with a wrist brace, and Advil, I am feeling much better. However, things are still tender and I don’t know how well I will be able to keep up with writing and the blog in the short term. For now I am going to plan on maintaining my upload schedule and social media presence, but please be aware that there may come a time that I have to step away for a week or two. We’ll see what the doctor says.

You can find all the retail links for Saving the Dragon here.
You can find all the retail links for Courting the Dragon here.
Digital Advanced Review Copies of Courting are still availble. You can request one here.
Read my FREE short story “The First” here.

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Courting the Dragon Release Date Set (Again, For Real)

Posted on March 1st 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: News, Release Announcements

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.

Kindle Pre-Order is now available.

Will there be an audiobook?

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.

 

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The Angry Woman’s Guide to Not-So-Snappy Comebacks

Posted on February 22nd 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Release Announcements

I’m super excited to say that one of my short stories and – shockingly enough – a poem are going to be included in an anthology to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021. The Angry Woman’s Guide to Not-So-Snappy Comebacks is available on Amazon for pre-order NOW and will be released on March 8, 2021. Also, check out the project’s Facebook Page. Proceeds from the anthology will benefit the girls’ coding club at my middle school alma mater.

From the blurb:

“Sometimes it just needs said, even if you never got to say it in the moment.”

“There’s something for everyone in this collection of 20 authors, coming from a variety of USA Today bestselling, award-winning, and rising star authors. From heart-breaking break ups, thick glass ceilings, and tremendously disappointing conversations comes the rise of an angry woman’s voice. These authors took a chance to say all the things that you never got to say in the heat of the moment.”

“These original stories and poems are packed with unforgettable one-liners, relatable situations, frustrating romances, and intense emotion that will leave you remembering why us women need to support and lift each other up.”

Here’s some links to check out my fellow contributors:

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Saving the Dragon Paperback Complications

Posted on February 15th 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: News, Release Announcements

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!

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Why I’m Releasing a Revised Saving the Dragon

Posted on February 1st 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Cover Reveal, News, Release Announcements, Self-Publishing Woes

***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.  ***

Saving the Dragon Cover

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.

So.

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.

Thank you

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:

  • Kindle
  • Nook
  • 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.

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