Jan 9, 2015

How I Published My Novel, 'The Dragon Within'

Hello everyone! I'm Melody Jackson, an almost adult, self-published author of The Dragon Within, which you've probably never heard of, but that's okay because you soon shall. ;) Today I'd like to bring you a special guest post about my journey from aspiring writer to published author, along with a few hopefully helpful tips and other such things. :)

If there's one thing you should know about me before we begin, it's that I'm a total, unabashed fangirl and all around GEEK. Doctor Who, Sherlock and other such fangirl-y references may make an appearance in my post, haha, and if you don't understand my references, feel free to ask!

 Ready? Allons-y!

My author picture :P

My self-publishing story starts like any other: with an eager young teenage writer and an interesting story idea that became one of the worst pieces of writing I've ever made. Oh gosh, that first draft makes me squirm so much...haha. You wouldn't even recognize it from the published story now! It was...terrible. :p

Fun fact: My story idea actually sprung from a story idea I had one night. I was a girl in a world where there were lots of dragons, but they didn't really get along. There was a big, crazy river sort of dividing their territory, and they were going to go to war and stuff, but I helped them make peace.

If that's intrigued you, though, I'll have to warn you my story came out much different, but totally better, I hope! I've actually got a book trailer I put together for your viewing pleasure (hey, a little harmless self-promoting never hurt anyone, right? ;)

Haha, it took me so long to make that...but I'm really glad I did; it may be my single best book-selling tool! It's not the easiest nor quickest thing to do, but really, really worth it. And it's pretty cool to show people. :)

Aaaanyway, after I made a total mess of a first draft, I decided to try submitting it to a critiquing site (Critique Circle) for input. And then I learned just how little I knew about storywriting. :p Thus began the long couple years of lots of studying, researching, asking questions, and rewriting the story into something that was actually enjoyable.

Another note: They say all the best writers read a lot, and that's totally true. But also, watching movies/TV shows is just as productive and bonus: it gives you a viable excuse for why you're rewatching the whole of Doctor Who for the tenth time. ;) Haha. I've actually seriously memorized certain scenes and studied them because the emotional impact they made on me was something I wanted to learn how to capture...and it's amazing how much you learn about character from watching TV shows. :)

But I digress (I love that term, it sounds so poetic and formal somehow :p ). After three years of learning to write well, I finally decided it was time to publish my first novel, The Dragon Within. I self-published it through Createspace, meaning all the details were in my hands. I wrote, edited, designed, formatted, everything. But that's a whole different story, and a long one at that. So instead, I present you with my first novel, The Dragon Within!

*cue dramatic fanfare, because dramatic fanfare is cool*
The coverrrrrr! :D
"Are dragons good...or evil?

Kaena Armae doesn't really care either way. No one's seen a dragon in over twenty years, so why should she even care?

But when she comes face to face with the shocking truth in the forest near her home, she is forced to choose sides in a feud that started centuries ago.

And the real war is just beginning.
Now, Kaena must convince opposing sides to join together to combat an ancient evil, or face the destruction of their whole                                                            world, forever.
                                     But what if they're fighting the wrong enemy?"

If you like dragons at all, you'll probably love The Dragon Within. :) My dragons were inspired by the wonderful DragonKeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul and have very human-like characteristics that (hopefully) makes the story quite amusing. The dragons were definitely my favorite to write, too! And here is a special link to purchase a copy from my blog (shh, it's cheaper than Amazon ;)

Get a signed copy of "The Dragon Within"!

You can also check out my blog to find the first chapter for free (it's at the bottom of the home page) as well as other interesting bits about The Dragon Within and information about my upcoming novel, Dragons' Bane. (the first chapter of that is also on there. It's not exactly a sequel to The Dragon Within either, so you don't have to worry about spoilers.) I try to make things fun and interesting, and also share some of the writing knowledge I've gleaned over the past 4 years. :)

A final bit of advice: One of the hardest things I struggled with about publishing The Dragon Within was figuring out when it was ready. So, I'm going to make things a lot easier and yet a lot harder for all you aspiring authors by just saying frankly, it's never truly ready. Writing books is an art, and everyone will always have some way you can improve it. But what you have to realize is there comes a point where changing tiny details doesn't matter anymore. Who cares whether you say she 'ran' or 'sprinted'--it's not going to make someone hate the book (At least, it shouldn't!) At some point, you just have to take a leap of faith and publish it. The biggest thing is, don't look for approval from others, because no matter how amazing your book is, someone will always dislike it. But if you love your book, someone else will too. :)

Well, I hope this post has been informative as well as fun, and that I might have piqued your interest about my books. :) If you'd ever like some writing advice or just want to fangirl about amazing TV shows, feel free to contact me by whatever means you prefer. I'm very active on Pinterest (and have some fun book-related boards on there!) and post blog updates on Google+, and then of course I'm on the NaNoWriMo forums and always have my email open for anyone to contact me. :)

Have any questions (writing-related or not) that you'd like answered? Feel free to post them in the comments; I'd love to help if I can!

--Melody J.


  1. Melody, your book sounds so interesting! I definitely want to read it... just as soon as I manage to at least partially dwindle down my way-too-long TBR list. XD But, The Dragon Within has officially been added to that list! :D

  2. Thank you!! :D Haha yep, I've got a really long TBR list too, so I totally understand that. :P I'd love to hear what you think of it when you get to it, though!

  3. Yeah! I'll be sure to let you know my thoughts, though I'm sure it'll be great! :D

  4. That was helpful Melody, thanks! :) My Novel is nowhere near ready, but it's good to know how long it took you to finish yours and I do have a plan to get mine to Kindle someday!

    1. You're welcome, Ria! :) Yeah, I read something the other day that kind of inspired me: The best writers are the best REwriters. No one gets it right or even great the first time(*groan* If you had seen my first draft...haha) but the great thing is we don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. ;) (another quote I love, haha!)