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. ***
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.
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Posted on June 29th 2018 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category:
News, Self-Publishing Woes, Writing
We are close to the end! So close, in fact, that I’ve already drafted the blog post to announce the release dates. I have only a very thin stack of papers left in my print-out of the Courting the Dragon’s second draft (because remember, I threw out like half the book several months ago). Once that is finished there’s a new epilogue I want to write and then it’ll be time for final polish.
Getting through this revision has been a real trip. I’ve been trying to reflect on why it was so much harder to get through this one than the last one. I think a few factors are at play:
- I wasn’t really trying to write a book for publication when I wrote Saving the Dragon. I was just having some fun with NaNoWriMo. There was no pressure to get the thing done.
- Courting the Dragon is a lot longer than Saving. You could make an argument that Saving is almost more of a novella than a novel and I would have a really hard time refuting your point. You cannot make the same claim about CtD. It is novel length. Not like George R.R. Martin or Robert Jordan epic-tome-of-doom novel length, but still long enough to get past some publishing houses’ minimum submission requirements.
- I hated my villain and a lot of other parts of the first draft. That made it really hard to want to work on the book and prompted the great word count massacre earlier this year.
- I really want this one to be good. I want to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. I want a stronger story, better writing, more character development, etc, etc. I am also really concerned with consistency for the magic system and generally continuity. I painted myself into some weird corners with random little things in Saving. Book 3 is going to be really interesting depending on how I tie up so worldbuilding in CtD.
And of course there was all of the of big life stuff all right in the middle of writing and revising this book, but we don’t need to rehash those details again.
I will say that after the long, arduous journey of getting Courting the Dragon finished, I think I will be taking a short break from Penny and her dragon. I have several projects that are begging to be finished. The Foundling is probably the closest to completion, and I really feel like that should be my next focus. After that it is up in the air whether Penelope’s Dragon Book 3 will be next in line. Odds are probably good that it will be, but I think I will need to see how I feel after Foundling.
All that is left of draft 2 to edit/revise as of this posting
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Posted on March 24th 2018 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category:
Audiobook, News, Self-Publishing Woes
A monsterous, messing stack of *most* of the pages from draft 2 that have been revised to date.
The end of the 1st quarter is upon us, and I’ve been pretty quiet the last few weeks. March has been a crazy month!
Production for the audiobook edition of Saving the Dragon has been chugging along. Hilary has uploaded all of the chapters! We’re now in the process of listening and making any necessary revisions (hmm, that sounds familiar) which means a lot of it is back in the hands of your favorite procrastinator, yours truly.
Oh, meanwhile, Courting the Dragon is still in heavy revisions. I had hoped to have it out to beta readers by now, but that still seems like it is at least a week off. I’m still hopeful for a summer release and hope to make an official announcement of the date soon.
Hot Tea & Tall Tales is on a short hiatus while Bob and I figure out our filming situation. Filming in the living room in front of the fireplace just isn’t sustainable, so we’re trying to figure out a more permanent solution. We’re exploring the idea of turning our junk room (aka the spare bedroom) into a combination writing and filming space. I think the transformation could make for a great blog/vlog series, so let me know if you guys would be interested in that.
That’s it for this update. Ciao!
*** Edit: I can’t believe nobody pointed out that I put 3rd quarter instead of 1st!
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Posted on August 3rd 2016 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category:
News, Self-Publishing Woes
It’s been radio silence for me for a while, so I want to check in with everyone and give some updates.
First, Courting the Dragon is still – you guessed it – behind schedule. This has not been an easy book for me to complete for a wide variety of reasons. Rest assured, however, that it is coming out and coming out soon. Expect a final release date on CtD in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I am happy to make a couple of other announcements:
- The Foundling has once again been entered in one of those awful popularity contests. If you have any interest in what my more serious fantasy is like, please consider a pre-order of The Foundling. If I don’t win the contest (most likely outcome) I do have plans for releasing The Foundling sometime next year. Here’s the link.
- I will be doing a series of readings from Saving the Dragon and Courting the Dragon via YouTube. Release dates on those are forthcoming.
Thank you for your continued support. I hope you all are looking forward to seeing CtD as much as I am.
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Posted on May 6th 2016 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category:
News, Self-Publishing Woes
Today I decided to take a leap and try something new. I bought an iPad. It has a tough little case with a built-in keyboard, and I thought it would be great for writing on the go. Let’s face it, poor old Harbinger with its bad battery isn’t much of an option for a busy author on the go. My poor, even older and heavier iBook is so past its prime. Even after I replaced Mac OS with an extremely lightweight Linux I still type faster than that poor computer can process. Seriously. And don’t even get me started on its internet situation. Remember dial-up?
But, before you get all excited about Sara the perpetual Apple-hater buying an iPad… I’m already thinking about taking the stupid thing back. I am at this moment, as my husband hangs on hold with Apple’s support people, wishing I’d bought an Android instead. It was cheaper, has expandable storage, and I guarantee you the problems we are experiencing wouldn’t happen with Google. Ever. But the shiny allure of an iPad on sale brought me around to the Apple way of thinking. In other words, temporary insanity.
At this moment my iPad is as good as useless, because I can’t sign in with my Apple ID. Oh, I’ve got the right email. The password is right, too. I reset it through the website on my working android phone. The stupid thing won’t let me update my billing addresses. And since it can’t update my billing address it won’t finish signing me in to iTunes. Since it can’t finish signing me in to iTunes, I can’t download apps. Since I can’t download apps, I can’t install Google Drive, Google Docs, etc. Since I can’t do that, I can’t use the stupid thing for what I bought it for.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had a run-in with Apple. When I was trying to get my book out there to all platforms I had a heck of a time getting it up on iTunes. Now, some might say it’s my own fault for working with Apple directly instead of going through Smashwords, but I didn’t like Smashwords terms. Here’s the problem though. In order to sell something on iTunes you must have an Apple device. Let me repeat, to set something up to sell on iTunes you must have an Apple device. The necessary application cannot and will not run on a Windows or Linux device. And once you get it downloaded, well, let’s just say it’s not exactly intuitive and no one on Apple’s support team knows how to use it. I can’t tell you how long I sat on hold at my sister’s house while using her Mac desktop to attempt to upload my book. And when it did upload, half my name got dropped for some reason. Sadly, I didn’t notice that until it was too late and I haven’t been back to my sister’s since to fix it.
Needless to say, that whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth where Apple is concerned. I was hoping this experience would be better. So far, not so much.
So, here I am, using Harbinger to update my blog with an anti-Apple rant. We’ll see if Henry can get the iPad working. If he can, then I’m prepared to give it another shot. If not, well, there’s a Samsung Tab E with my name on it at the Verizon store.
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