Tag Archives: Dolbin School for the Extraordinary

Hangout with AJ Cosmo June 2016-Report Cards, Poop, and Jar Jar Binks

It’s been awhile but AJ Cosmo and I were able to catch up again.


We cover these topics:

  • Writing groups are great ways to keep you FROM writing.
  • AJ’s next book is called Hugs and was written for a mom who is reader of AJs.
  • His next middle grade book is called “Poop”–he’ll get on a banned book list and then that will be the end of that.  He’ll be super famous rich.  (The book is actually about health.)
  • I learned from most recent book The Return of the Professor that new books really do help increase sales.
  • Also that I should have added pronunciation guide for Dolbin School.  It’s pronounced DOLE-bin (long o sound.)  I stole the name from Dolby Labs.  When writing the original book in 2013, I needed a name for the school and I have movie posters in my office and I saw the Dolby Labs logo and I adapted name.
  • Writing books for me has become enough to consider it a part-time job.
  • We both are not fans of Scrivner writing software.  When you spend more time trying to learn the software opposed to writing, well, that’s a problem. There I said it.  Glad I got that off my chest.
  • I also talk about the rule that Report cards can only be given out at a certain time on the last day of school, plus AJ spouts his disappointment that Jar Jar wasn’t in The Force Awakens.

Check our previous hangout.

Get AJ’s latest book Nuts:

And you can pick up my latest book The Return of the Professor.


The Idea for lesson plans with the new book.

I have a new book available for preorder.  The Return of the Professor, The Dolbin School 3.

The Return of the Professor Kindle Cover 1

But I am also offering lesson plans/activities to go with it, and the other two books in the Dolbin School Series.

Knowing my readers

I don’t know why more writers don’t do  this.  Especially if you write for children.  When books are taught in class, teachers need to take the time to come up with plans for the books they use.  I am a teacher.  I want teachers to use my books.

When visiting Potomac Elementary School, I spoke with the librarian and she told me that she appreciated Dolbin School for the Extraordinary for the short chapters.  Suddenly it dawned on me that teachers were using my books.

I also know that parents of older kids are reading the series, so with these activities parents can also have some value with with the books.

How many times have you had your child read a book and then be done with it?  I hope with these activities I hope parents will be given ideas of what to do with other books their children read.

Trying something new

With the release of this new books I have taken over a year to get the book the out.  Which is a mistake and another post in among itself.  So I wanted to do something different for it.

I have no idea if this make any difference in sales. But part of indie-publishing is trying something new and experimenting.

But I also know who a lot of my readers are, and I know what they need.  And I know they need activities and lesson plans.

So here’s how get the plans for the new book.

  1. Buy the book.
  2. Forward your receipt to thereturnoftheprofessor@gmail.com

An email will be sent immediately to you with a link for the plans.


I also have lesson plans for my Kevin series.  If you join my Insider’s List you get them for free.  They were written by  a teacher friend Nikki Sabistion over at Teaching in Progress.


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.)

Entering other stores

It looks like I am going to gradually be leaving exclusivity of Amazon’s KDP Select.  The books will still be available on Amazon, but soon they will be on Nook and Kobo.  Apple will take a little longer but eventually.  Because you know, Apple.

I have written before about leaving Amazon exclusivity.  Some of my concerns remain.  Amazon is just better than everyone else.  They’re the New York Yankees and everyone else is playing softball.  But things change.

Dolbin Kindle Cover


So first up Dolbin School for the Extraordinary is now available on Kobo, Nook, Page Foundry and Scribd.

Exclusivity to Amazon can be beneficial for some books and some authors.  For two years it was useful to me.  If I ran a free promo or a Kindle Countdown then I could almost always count on some sort of bounce in sales.  But over the last few months that has been less of a guarantee.  I liked the idea of the Kindle Countdown Deal, but Amazon went and hid the countdown deal on the Kindle.  The Kindle Countdown link used to be on the front page of the bookstore on my Kindle.  Then it was hidden in a Kindle Deals link.  So not only was any book I had on sale hidden, so was the category that the book was in.  The trade off in exclusivity had run out for me.

Kindle Unlimited I have mixed feelings on.  I like that I get paid if someone simply opens the book.  When the program began a reader had to read through 10% of the book before I got paid.  Also the amount I got paid for a borrow changed.  Before Unlimited Amazon was paying around $2 per borrow through the Amazon Prime Program.  But in October I got paid $1.33 per borrow.  Nothing wrong with that, but when I calculate $2 per borrow that’s a big drop in income.

I have nothing against exclusivity if I get something good in return and over the last six months those good things have slowly disappeared.  Now things change a lot in this business, so maybe a year from now things will be different.

Plus now that i have several titles available that will allow some room to experiment.  Put new books in for the exclusivity and see how it goes, and then adjust as necessary.

New Services

I have added a very simple page.  if you are making an indie book and need help please contact me and let’s see how I can help.

Free Books

Get free short stories and free books if you sign-up for my Insider’s List.  You get future books for free before they are available in stores.

New illustration from Baseball and Aliens

Here is a new illustration from Baseball and Aliens.  Check out John’s Tumbler here.  If anyone wants to help start a company that makes Holographic Umpires let me know.



You  can pre-order the book here.  It will be released at the end of September.

Also Dolbin School for the Extraordinary is a Kindle Countdown Deal this week.  Check it out for 99 cents.

 Dolbin Kindle Cover

Click here to get it at Amazon.

The purpose of giveaways and Dolbin School for the Extraordinary giveaway on Goodreads

First the Promotion

I’m giving away 10 signed copies of Dolbin School for the Extraordinary on Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dolbin School for the Extraordinary by Martin Tiller

Dolbin School for the Extraordinary

by Martin Tiller

Giveaway ends December 01, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

And if you wanted to just pay for a signed copy just email me martinctiller@gmail.com and I’ll send one out. I’ve been too lazy to get a link up on the autograph page.  Eventually I’ll get one out.

Why Do This?

For those of you that follow this blog in hopes of learning about indie publishing, I have found Goodreads giveaways a decent way of getting good reviews, meeting new bloggers, and gaining fans.  As I wrote before that we need to be dandelions, you just never which thing you do will take root and spread.  Try everything and be willing to fail.

This is a wonderful review that I got on Kevin and the Three-Headed Alien.

I do recommend that when you do a giveaway that you send a personal note, both in an email and in a letter with the book asking for a review.  I started doing that with the second Kevin book and got more reviews on Goodreads because of that technique.  Kevin and the Three-Headed Alien has more text reviews than Kevin and the Seven Lions does on Goodreads, and I think that is because I started asking for reviews when I did the giveaway.

If you have done a giveaway, I would love to hear your experience.  Leave a comment sharing your experience.


Join my mailing list and get the first notice on new releases.  Don’t worry I am too busy to spam.

Dolbin School for the Extraordinary is free today and tomorrow.

The free days on Amazon aren’t the same as they once were just a short 10 months ago.  But they can still bring in reviews and get drive people to other books.  So anyway my newest books is free today and tomorrow, but I don’t see me using another free day after that.

If you do pick it up, please leave a review, because you’re awesome.  You know you are.

Dolbin Kindle Cover

Click here to get the book at Amazon.

New Paperback proof for Dolbin School for the Extraordinary.

Got the first proof back today for the paperback of Dolbin.  Tonight’s lesson is I see formatting issues that I should have caught in Photoshop and Indesign, but I didn’t see until I had a physical copy in hand.  Lesson learned.

It will be ready soon, and when it is it will be definitely be a part of the Matchbook program.

Dolbin Proof

This one is big enough to fit the title and my name on the spine.

First Chapter from new book. Dolbin School for the Extraordinary.

The nice thing about doing this as an indie is that I can do this.  Here is the first chapter of my new book which should be ready in October.  It is a 26700 middle grade book.  I just can’t seem to write picture books anymore.  Maybe in the new year.

Dolbin School for the Extraordinary

An EARLY DRAFT of the cover.

Chapter 1: Jake Cooper

It was a Tuesday in late March, and it was the last day Jake Cooper was considered a normal person. He was skinny, had jet black hair and was a little tall for a fourth-grader.

Jake sighed as he stepped off the bus and walked into Kane Elementary School. He was ready for Spring Break. He turned down the hallway and walked into Mrs. Williams’ class.  He put up his backpack, turned in his daily folder and took a seat behind Brad Cushing, the class bully, and began his morning work.

Brad looked at Jake and uttered, “Mornin’, dweeb.” No one else near Brad said anything. They kept their heads down. Jake sat down and began working.

It was 8:05 a.m.

At 9:30, Mrs. Williams started the math lesson. “Okay, we are reviewing division with decimals,” she said. “Everyone get out your notebooks. Mark and Sarah, we will see you later.”

Mark Daniels had been Jake’s best friend since the first grade. He was a little guy who wore round glasses and had sandy brown hair. Mark and Sarah Baker stood up to go to Mr.  Stanford’s classroom for advanced math class. Mark had always been a whiz with numbers.

“See ya, dorks,” Brad said under his breath as they headed for the door. Sarah didn’t hear the comment, but Mark did.

“Mrs. Williams, Brad is being a jerk and calling us names,” Mark told the teacher. Like most of his classmates, he was sick of Brad’s tactics.

Brad leaned back in his chair and stared at the teacher. “I didn’t say anything!” he said. “I’m just getting my stuff out for math. Seriously, that’s all I am doing.”

Mrs. Williams looked frustrated. “Brad, stop it and get your stuff out,” she said. “Mark, I’m sorry. Just head on to class.”

Mark rolled his eyes and walked out the  door.

At 11:07 a.m., the students lined up and went to lunch. Mrs. Williams escorted the class to the cafeteria and the students sat down at the long tables. Jake found a spot next to Mark.

“Did you watch The Knight last night?” Mark said, laughing out loud. “Ha! Ha! I love saying that.”

He always laughed at that joke. It never got old.

“Of course I did. It was tight when he threw the robber out the window,” Jake said. “That was my favorite part.”

“Are you kidding me, Cooper?” Mark said. He always used Jake’s last name. “The best part was when the robber held the whole bank hostage. Seriously, I wonder about you Coop … UFF!”

Mark was interrupted by the force of Brad Cushing’s elbow slamming into the back of his head. He spilled his drink and looked up at the bully, wiping away that tears the formed in the corner of his eyes.

“You nerds still talking about The Knight!?” Brad said as he took a seat at the next table. “Wait, of course you are.”

“Hey! Elementary nerd!” Jake shouted at Brad.

Mark was simultaneously holding the back of his head and wiping his drink off his lap.

Mr. Stanford came over and confronted the boys. “What’s the problem here?” he asked. “Is there a reason you are shouting across the cafeteria, Jake?”

Mr. Stanford held his hands behind his back and looked down at Jake.

Jake and Mark didn’t respond. Brad and his friends would make him pay dearly later if he ratted on him. They realized that getting into trouble for dealing with bullies was part of life in the fourth grade.

“Keep it down, you guys,” Mr. Stanford said as he walked away.

Jake looked over at two other boys, Jeff Smith and Larry Marble, who were sitting at the table.  They acted as if nothing had happened and kept eating their lunches.

Brad pointed at Jake and turned around to his table.

“You okay?” Jake asked, handing Mark a paper towel.

“Yeah,” Mark said as he continued to wipe himself off.

“Hey, dorks, what would The Knight do?” Brad shouted at them from his table.

“Ignore him,” Mark advised his friend before adding, under his breath, “he would probably beat the tar out of you.”

“It’s hard to ignore him,” Jake said, looking down at the table.

Just then a spitball landed in the middle of Jake’s lunch. He looked up and saw Brad and his buddies laughing.

“Aw man!” Mark whined.

Jake looked at Mark, who was trying to keep his eyes down. He glanced at Jeff and Larry, and saw they had scooted closer together. They had no interest in being allies in this fight.

“That’s it!” Jake said, rising quickly in his seat.

“Come on, Jake. Sit down,” Mark pleaded. “Don’t make this worse by getting us into trouble.”

Jake waved his hand in frustration at his table and said, “I guess I have to take care of this alone.”

Jake turned and walked toward Brad. The boys at Brad’s table were laughing. “What do you want, you little dweeb!” Brad said, smiling.

“Shut up, poop breath,” Jake said, staring at Brad.

Then Brad stood up and leaned into Jake’s face.

Mark, Larry and Jeff just stared. The rest of the students started to notice and the room grew quiet.

“What did you call me?” Brad hissed.

Jake leaned in closer and whispered, “You heard me, poop breath.”

The students at the nearby tables knew what was coming and started to chant. “Fight! Fight!”

Mr. Stanford, who was on the other side of the cafeteria, began walking briskly toward the boys, but he was too late.

Brad swung first and landed a blow squarely in Jake’s stomach. Jake bent over in pain.

Brad took aim at Jake’s face and swung again.

Jake stood up quickly and caught Brad’s fist in mid-swing with his left hand. Jake started squeezing as hard as he could and Brad began yelping in pain from the pressure. He sounded like a little dog that had been scratched in the nose after getting too close to a cat.

“Stop it! Now!” shouted Mr. Stanford, as he ran across the cafeteria.

With his right arm, Jake grabbed Brad by the belt and picked him up. The students erupted with joy.

“Stop it! Now!” Mr. Stanford repeated as he drew closer. Shouting into his walkie-talkie, he said, “Office, I need help in the cafeteria.”

“Fight! Fight!”

Jake lifted Brad up by the belt with his right hand while still crushing the yelping bully’s fist with his left. When Brad was dangling over his head, the cafeteria fell silent. The students had never seen anything like this except in the movies or comic books.

“Put him down!” screamed Mr. Stanford.

Jake didn’t say a word. The world seemed to disappear in a fog of anger. He leaned back and, with all the strength he could muster, flung Brad as hard as he could.

Brad flew across the cafeteria, like a screaming line drive headed for the fence, and smashed through a window that was at least 60-feet away.  A loud crashing sound covered the school as the bully landed on the grass in front of the school.

The cafeteria went dead silent. Everyone was stunned.

Jake had thrown Brad through a window.

The fog lifted and Jake realized what had happened. He sat down, stared at the floor and didn’t say a word.

Mr. Stanford stuttered into his walkie-talkie, “W-w-we need a nurse outside in the front.”

“Outside? You said the fight was in the cafeteria!” came the reply over the walkie-talkie.

“Y-yes. I said outside!” Mr. Stanford insisted.

Jake looked up and saw a massive hole in the cafeteria wall where a window used to be. He saw Brad sprawled out on the ground outside. He wasn’t moving.

Mr. Stanford stepped forward.

“Jake, you need to come with me,” he said quietly.

He went without incident and 20 minutes later was sitting outside the principal’s office. He was still shaking.

The front office was busting with people.  An ambulance had arrived. There were at least four police officers scurrying about. A TV crew was setting up for a live shot and several men in dark suits wearing sunglasses were talking into small microphones and listening to instructions in their earpieces.

Then Jake saw his parents hurry into the front office. Accompanied by three of the men in dark suits, they walked toward him. Jake began to weep.

His parents sat down on either side of him. His dad put his arm around Jake. For what seemed like an eternity, they sat there and didn’t say anything.

Jake’s dad leaned in and whispered. “Don’t worry, Jake. It’s going to be okay. You’re not in trouble. It seems the time has come.”

His dad paused, then moved closer and whispered in Jake’s ear. “We need to talk, son.”


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