Category Archives: Announcements

The New Book-The Dark Cloud Rises is now available.

After months of work before school, the book is finally here.  (Click here to get it.)




The book will be available for 99 cents for a few days then it goes to $2.99.   It already has several reviews.

Martin Tiller has done it again! If you haven’t read all of the Dolbin School series, you should! This is yet another great one in the series.Tiller keeps his readers both yound and older engaged until the end. I would recommend this for upper elementary students to ready independently but would work as a read aloud for lower elementary students. Happy reading!

I would love it if you checked it out and told me what you thought!

The Proof is here

The first proof arrived today.

The first proof arrived today.

Hugh Howey does unboxing videos.  I am lazy and only do stills when new books arrive.  The first proof for The Dark Cloud Rises arrived today.  I still get smiles when I see a new book arrive.

Creating a Kindle book is great, but seeing a paperback in your hands is something else.

It is awesome.

(The book will be available on April 28.)

Celebrating Opening Day Baseball and Aliens is free this week.

To celebrate baseball’s opening day and week I have put my baseball book on free until Thursday.


Kindle Cover test 1

Click on the picture to go to Amazon for the book.

In other news I just sent out advanced review copies of The Dark Cloud Rises-The Dolbin School Book 2.  It will be available on April 28.



March Hangout with AJ Cosmo

It’s been a couple of months since AJ and I have been able to do a Hangout as my day job of teaching fifth grade gets VERY busy during January and February.  But we were finally able to catch up.

We talk about the strangeness of digital piracy, writing longer books, growing a Twitter following, using your email list to reach your readers, and doing pre-release with Amazon KDP.

Also I know there are a lot of teachers that read my stuff so I have added a comprehension packet to my Insider’s list freebies.

Kevin Books TPT giveaway

Get a free ebook copy of Kevin and the Seven Lions plus the comprehension pack by Nikki Sabiston, who is a fourth grade teacher in Virginia.  Check out her blog here.

To get the book and comprehension packet join my Insider’s List.

Debating the merits of a pre-release on Amazon’s KDP

I am super stoked.  I have a new book coming out.

Here’s the cover.


When I first saw it, I said, “I would read the heck out of that!”



It is the sequel to Dolbin School for the Extraordinary.  It looks like I have another series on my hands.  So I considered setting it up for pre-release.

Pre-releases like the big boys

Amazon now allows pre-orders for indie writers.  At first glance that sounds like a great idea.  You can use a pre-order as a way to get more buzz and word of mouth about your book.  In some book stores such as Kobo and Apple pre-orders are all counted as sales on the day the book is released.  That can be very beneficial.  Even for books that don’t sell much.

Say for example you know that you can sell 20 copies of a book.  Yes. Just 20.  20 of your friends are willing to shell out 99 cents for you.  Now, you set-up a pre-release for your book and you set a time table of six weeks from pre-release to actual release.  All the purchases over that six weeks actually count as sells in one day.  The day of release.  That can really throw a book up the best-seller lists.  At least on Kobo and iTunes.

How Amazon does it

On Amazon though, they currently count each pre-order sale that day in terms of rankings.  So if you set a pre-sale and all your friends by the 20 books, not on one day, but over six weeks, in terms of rankings that will hurt.  Now 20 sales over six weeks, isn’t bad for a lot of indie-writers, BUT 20 sales in ONE DAY can be a big deal.  On Amazon that’s enough sales to throw a book onto several best-seller categories and therefore increase visibility.

In fact, when I did the pre-release with Baseball and Aliens back in September I let the book be released early.  For two reasons, one you can’t leave a review with a pre-order book and secondly there is no preview available for customers.  You essentially only sell the book to people who are going to buy the book anyway.

Pre-release to your own mailing list

So with that knowledge, I am changing plans and not setting up a pre-release sales page for my new book.  Here is my plan.

Send pre-release review copies to people who have joined my Street Team.  They will get the book early to read before it is on Amazon.  Then when the book is uploaded to Amazon. I will send out notice to my mailing list first.  Then the next day I will send out a notice on this blog and Facebook.   David Gaughran in recommends this approach in his book Let’s Get Visible of spreading out the announcement of a book.

By doing it this way I am hoping for two things.  All the people that are going to buy the book anyway will buy the book in a narrow 48 hour window.  Secondly, by sending out pre-release review copies I can get enough reviews to move the algorithms.  Amazon favors books that have more reviews.  So hopefully there will be enough sales in a short amount of time to move it up best-sellers lists and with reviews increase.

If you are interested in reading the book for free before it is release please join my Street Team.

If you have an experience with a pre-release please share in the comments.

A New Facebook Page-Because you know Facebook

I  have put up a new Facebook page to connect with this site.  I have seen other writers connect their personal pages, which is fine, people can follow my public posts on Facebook.  But an official page will allow me to do ads and give me more information.

Anyway the page is

Go ahead like the page.  You know you want to.


When teachers write lesson plans on your books

One of the themes I have found myself writing about is that teachers should be writing books.

Fiction books, non-fiction, or both.  It doesn’t matter.  Write books.

Teachers that I have talked with get stuck in various steps of the process, from “I don’t have an idea!” to “I am working on it” with nothing to show for it.

But this week I am experiencing one of the benefits of having published several books.  A friend of mine does very in Teachers pay Teachers and she is doing a free giveaway of lessons based on the Kevin book series.

Kevin Books TPT giveaway

Click the picture to get the giveaway that Nikki created.

When teachers write lessons plans based on your work, that’s a milestone.  To me it’s a big one.

As a teacher you spend most of your working hours writing lessons based on other people’s work.   Having someone else write lessons based on your work is an experience that I want my readers, you, to experience.

In a time when teachers are under attack from politicians, and the media writing your own books is a step toward choosing yourself and getting yourself out from underneath that pressure that hopefully someone in a position above will finally appreciate you for all the work you do.

Even if you don’t make enough to leave your job being introduced to your students as an author is worth it.  Trust me on this.

If you need any help with any step along the way in creating your book please contact me on my Indie Book Design page.  I think sometimes just having someone to connect with can help.

If you’re an elementary school teacher check out Nikki’s blog and her Teacher Pay Teacher’s store.

Check out my original posts about why teachers should write books.

Teachers Should Write More Books.

Another Reason Teachers Should Write Books

Four Reasons Teachers Should Write Books

Get my first book Kevin and the Seven Lions for free

I pulled Kevin and the Seven Lions from the exclusivity of Amazon back in January.  You can still get it there, but not in the Prime library or Kindle Unlimited.

"Kevin and the Seven Lions"

For some reason Amazon has not let the book go permafree.  Amazon seems to be very difficult in doing that, I have no control of them.  Of course it is in their interest to charge for it.

But you can get it for free in EPUB format or PDF format if you join my Insider’s List.

You get a whole bunch of other freebies as well.  But that is the big one.  It is my first book and it was what started this whole adventure.

Also if you join now you will be entered to get signed copies of all five books.

Click here to join. 


Kevin and the Triple Creature Feature is a Kindle Countdown Deal this week.

I had totally forgotten I had set the third Kevin book to a Kindle Countdown this week.  Anyway it is the third book in the Kevin series.  Maybe I will get back to that series soon.  99 cents is as good as it is going to get.  So get it now.


In other news Kevin and the Seven Lions is free on Nook and Kobo.  I still can’t get the Amazon to price match.  You could help by click on the Find a Lower Price Link, and then linking the Nook or Kobo link.  (Apple is taking it’s sweet Molasses time in putting the book up on iTunes.  You know.  Because. Apple.)

"Kevin and the Seven Lions"

I am trying to get Kevin and the Seven Lions go perma-free on Amazon.   It’s a strategy that seems to work for a lot of people.  And the book long since made a profit on what I put into it.  (The others, well that’s a different story.)  By doing that it would be the plan that hope the sales on the sequels would increase.

So if anyone here can let Amazon know that the book is free on the other sites that would be a great help.

If you’re a writer and have tried the perma free approach, please share you experience in the comment section.