The Ratel Saga

You know, I’m going to have to think about the titles we give books, if this one starts a trend. Publishing it wasn’t supposed to be a saga. However, the best laid plans of… you know. It all went well until we encountered the Amazon.

This is the fourth? Fifth? coloring book/children’s book I’ve managed. It is the only one that was this painful to get out in print. Mind you, twice was my fault. The other six or so times? It definitely wasn’t.

Let me back up a bit. I’m frustrated with the process, but also happy to report that it is done, the print and the ebook are available, and the reviews are already coming in. The Ratel Saga is part coloring book, part really funny story, part field-guide to some African animals, and part don’t-try-this-at-home-kids!

This is the second of three planned coloring books I’ll be doing with Lawdog. Well, ok, Chiweenie wsn’t planned, it just sort of happened. This one, and the next one in line, Sapper Lizards, were planned. Which means that I knew the page size going in, so I could illustrate to scale.

Not that this helped any. Amazon didn’t like images outside the margins, in spite of having the bleed on. Amazon didn’t like that there was text near – not over! a margin. I moved stuff around. It got kicked back to me again, this time with different images that might get cut off… even though they were inside the margins still. I moved that. Finally, the file was accepted! Joy, rapture, and ordering copies retail because author copies are taking a month to arrive, and proof copies aren’t really any faster (not to mention that this is running through PubShare and I don’t think they handle proof copies). So I will know this time next week (I hope) if the book looks all right. I think so. Just a couple of the images might not, you know, be full sized. Oh well, we were encouraging people to color outside the lines anyway.

The funny thing is, I checked with my collaborator to see if he was ok with an ebook version. “Sure, why not?” He shrugged. “Worth a try.”

Well, that’s catapulted us into the top seller of a category that I assure you, I didn’t set, but it’s hilarious given… well, you read the book and then come back to tell me if you find it funny too.

It’s not wrong! It really is a non-fiction animal book, although there’s more to it than that. And it really was illustrated by a certified natural history illustrator (I took a class, back in 2021).

In the next book, I may be drawing chemical equations and molecules. Muahahaha! The inner mad scientist is having far too much fun with all of this. The graphic designer wants to pull her hair out, a little, at Amazon’s magical moving goalposts. But!

It is done!

8 comments

    1. It is a fun project to do with them! We talked last night, and after Sapper Lizards (which will be the titular story, Astro-lizards, and the Major) we will be working on the more kid-friendly Africa Tales. We both agree the law enforcement stories aren’t a good fit for this style, and our personalities.

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