August Update

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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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A Big Bite from a Bad Apple

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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Almost to the Finish Line

Posted on April 4th 2015 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: News, Self-Publishing Woes

I want to start off by saying that while self-publishing is probably the single hardest thing I’ve ever done (I’m putting it ahead of graduating college, getting my class A CDL, getting married, and actually writing the book) I can’t wait to start the process all over again with the next book. I have learned a lot in the past couple of months as I’ve run around like a chicken with my head cut off. For example, I learned tonight that I can figure out Apple software faster than Apple support can figure out what I’m talking about. I may end up devoting an entire blog-post to how annoying publishing through iTunes is, but that’s neither here nor there.

Getting my book up on all the different platforms has been a head-spinning adventure. Getting the paperbacks physically here on time for the Release Party… that was nearly a miracle. There’s nothing like approving a proof, then going to upload the HTML file to Amazon only to be told (by Amazon, because Word somehow totally missed this) that you spelled “nineteen” (of all things) wrong (in a title header of all places)and having to start the whole two-day proof process for Createspace all over again. Let’s just hope I didn’t miss anything else in the online proof, because I didn’t have time to order physical paper proofs again.

I can’t wait to see everybody who plans on coming out to the party tomorrow. I’m still bad at this whole publicity thing though, so if you haven’t seen the details on this yet you can find them here.

Copies of Saving the Dragon in a box.

Just a few of the paperback copies I ordered for the release still in the box.



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My Own Reader

Posted on April 4th 2015 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Self-Publishing Woes, Writing

Do you ever have doubts? Have you ever work so hard for something, only to stop moments before its finished and wonder why it was you wanted it so bad in the first place?

I think I’m having a moment of cold feet. There’s something absolutely bone-chillingly terrifying about putting a book up for sale. Part of me wanted to find a bucket to up-chuck after clicking the last button to post Saving the Dragon on Amazon.

Leaving aside from the fact that I’m a very anxious person to begin with, writing can be deeply personal and putting your work out there feel like inviting judgement. It feels that way because, well, that’s exactly what it is. I’m putting my writing, a piece of myself, out there for the world to judge. If it’s deemed worthy people will buy it. If it’s not it’ll languish at the bottom of the search results.

I’ve posted small amounts of my work on FictionPress over the years. I’ve gotten some positive comments and some negative comments. My old blog, which was political in nature, definitely incurred some nasty remarks. None of that really bothered me. Not like this. Somehow the pain of judgement is much sharper when your real name, your everyday identity, to the work. A bad review on FictionPress doesn’t hurt so much because you’re shielded behind a wall of anonymity.

So, in the face of my anxiety, I find that I must remind myself why I write in the first place. I write to tell stories. Stories to entertain. Stories to delight. Stories to teach and think and make the reader laugh. I write because I am a story-teller. But I am also my reader. Until now I’ve been my only reader, aside from a few isolated cases. So its natural, I think, to worry what others will think. What my mother will think. What my high school English teachers will think. What my friends and coworkers will think. Will the story entertain them? Delight them? Make them think, laugh, or cry? I don’t know.

Worrying about this is making me lose sight of a very important truth; I’m not really writing for anyone but myself. I am my own reader. I just happen to now be sharing my personal library with the world.

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First Revision Pass Complete & Other Thoughts

Posted on December 31st 2014 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Self-Publishing Woes, Writing

I have finally finished going through my printed out rough draft with all my horrible purple marks. All the changes — plus a whole lot more that occurred to me as I read it through again — have made it into the digital copy. Lots of new material ended up getting added in to flesh out a few points more fully. A little magical theory here, better explanation for the scissors there, you know, that sort of thing. The important point is that its finally ready for someone else to take a look at. Being able to click “share” on the Google Doc before the end of December was my goal and I met it (barely). Woot!

It’s a pretty cool feeling, actually, being done with a pass of revision. This is especially true given the way I usually work (write five chapters, then revise the hell out of the first two pages and never get anything else done). Now, this doesn’t mean I’m done  with the revision process. I still have to get feedback from the person I trust enough to be my content editor (yup, that’s what sharing the Google Doc was all about), and don’t even get me started on copy! My grammar isn’t particularly bad, I don’t think, but one should never attempt to judge one’s own comma splices. So, that fun still lies ahead.

While the second draft is getting another purple ink bleed-out (actually, I have no idea what color ink will be used) I shall have some time to get the main website up and running (ha, you thought I forgot!) and start thinking about what the heck I’m going to do for a cover. What really stinks is that I know exactly what I want but don’t really have the artistic skill to pull it off. I can swing a pretty good landscape with oil paints, but dragons and princesses are a little outside my skill level. Finding an artist I can afford to bring my vision for the cover to life is probably going to be outside my self-publishing price range. If anyone has any suggestions to share on that front I’m all ears.



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