A Few Tips when Writing for Publication.

Firstly, use as few words ending in “ly” as possible.

Tab over to indent paragraphs.  Do not space over.

When writing a short story for inclusion in an anthology, do not use a chapter heading style (which is used to link to the table of contents) for your story title when using Word.  The final editor for the collected work will take care of this in final editing.  If all contributors add their own chapter heading style, the final editor will just overwrite it anyway and end up with a confusing heading style “forest” in the final draft.

Also see William Shunn’s fabulous guide here:

Shunn’s Novel Format

Excellent Grand Opening of Otaku Nation in Tucson, AZ (featuring Dream Galaxy Whip cell phone cases)

April 14, 2017

Great fun was had by all at the many gaming tables at Otaku Nation, which celebrated it’s grand opening tonight.  Check out the Facebook Page.  In addition to selling anime-related collectibles and games, owner Jeremy Daniel also provides sales space for select local artists.

Clara of Dream Galaxy Whip is one such artist.  She creates custom cell phone cases which are now featured at Otaku Nation.


Clara (Dream Galaxy Whip) and Jeremy Daniel (owner Otaku Nation) are pictured below.


Several colorful characters were in attendance, such as Leeloo from “The Fifth Element”.


Anime characters were also in attendence.


Otaku Nation

3919 E Pima St

Tucson, Arizona

(520) 207-6885

Check out Southern Arizona’s home for anime-related collectibles and games! Swing by to enjoy weekly anime screenings, Japanese games, art/cultural events, and more!

David VanDyke – The $200K per year independent author!

David VanDyke is the independent author equivalent of the Six Million Dollar Man.   Many authors of the Oro Valley Writers’ Motivational Workshop have expressed great interest in how David is able to turn his words in to gold, but were unable to attend his presentation.  I was fortunate to attend David’s presentation at the Tucson Self Publishing Expo last Saturday.  David is a very dynamic and entertaining speaker, and it was a pleasure to listen to him share his hard-earned knowledge and wisdom.

In short, David said that good writing content is required, but by itself will not earn a lot of money.  David puts 25% of his earnings back in to advertising, editing, re-editing of old works, covers, new covers for old works and even translation to different languages (although translations are quite expensive).

When first starting, he recommends having 3 to 5 books in a series already written. You soft-launch (no ads or promos) a paperback of your book to create a page to gain ARC reader reviews, then launch the ebook version of Book 1 when you have several good reviews up.

EBook 1 launches at a reasonable retail price such as $2.99-$3.99, possibly with some advertising support from social media posts and paid ads. EBook 2 is set to pre-order 28 days later, and EBook 3, 28 days after that and, if you have further books, the same. When book 3 is live, that is the time to offer Book 1 at a discount to 99c or free, and promote it with book promo sites to gain wide interest in your series. While those who got Book 1 at a discount are still hungry for more, later books in the series are immediately available to purchase at normal prices, and some may also be in pre-order to show your commitment to the series. The key to remember is, the series is your product, not EBook 1. You can take a loss or make no money on EBook 1 in order to get large numbers of readers to pay for the rest of the series.

Several things that David strongly believes are not a good ROI (return on time investment) are presented below. David would rather spend his time writing a new book or doing direct, effective marketing than:

  • Blog on his own website
  • Guest blog
  • Create book trailers
  • Have press releases
  • Spend time on social media (except for buying ads)
  • Hustle to get his books reviewed (except for Advance Review Copies and launches)
  • Have book signings
  • Try for little known awards, especially from contests with entry fees

It’s the old saying “In order to make money you have to spend money”.  David didn’t want to discourage authors from performing some of these activities, especially if they enjoy them.  He also said there are exceptions to every rule.  Your mileage may vary.

David has much more advice to give, and I highly recommend you seek an opportunity to hear him speak directly.  David was also kind enough to review this blog  post and give me some recommended corrections which I have already incorporated.  It greatly improved the content of this post.

Tucson Self Publishing Expo 2017

Last Saturday I attended the Expo with several authors from the Oro Valley Writers’ Motivational Workshop, as well as 250+ attendees.  The Expo was hosted by the Society of Southwestern Authors.  On their website you can find a link to their writing contest with three separate categories.  Entries must be 2,500 words or less and are due by September 30, 2017.

Mark Coker

Mark Coker (who founded Smashwords) started off and gave several great presentations.  He did give me permission to post his slides, but I have not received them yet.  I will obtain and post them soon.

Update: Slides now available by clicking Mark Coker Tucson Expo Slides.  It’s a somewhat large download, so I recommend saving to your computer after opening rather than clicking the link multiple times or opening with your smartphone.

Smashwords seems to be a very easy way to self publish, but only does ebooks (no hard copies).  It’s free if you do it yourself, but it’s highly recommended to have your work edited first.  You should also hire a pro to do your cover.  Smashwords does take a 10% cut of the price of your ebook, and I recall the cut fades lower as more books are sold.

Mark warned of Amazon’s market domination (and CreateSpace is owned by Amazon).  He spoke of Amazon exploiting the glut of indie authors works.  Now readers can cheaply rent books through Kindle Unlimited.  But authors effectively give away the first twenty pages of their book, and thereafter earn half a penny per page read by a reader (rather than perhaps receiving $2.50 per ebook).

Robin Cutler

Robin Cutler of of IngramSpark gave a data rich presentation.  She promised to provide slides to the SSA, but to date I have not received a copy from the SSA despite my request.  But it’s still early.  I plan to post them (after I receive permission).

Robin also shared a code to waive the $50 fee for startup costs.  I’ll provide that if you ask me, but won’t post it here.  This fee is also refundable after 60 hardcopies are ordered even without the code.  IngramSpark distributes both ebooks and hardcopies.

They have inroads to many retailers that CreateSpace does not have (too many retailers compete directly with CreateSpace and refuse to order from them).

One could easily self-publish with both Smashwords and IngramSpark, but if doing so it’s best to obtain your own ISBN number rather than the free one from Smashwords.  Mark did say there are inexpensive ways to do this.



David VanDyke

David shared the secrets to his success of making $200K per year by self-publishing.  He did provide me a softcopy of his slides, but understandably doesn’t want them published online.  In my next blog post I’ll share a bit of his advice at a very high level from my own notes.

It took David years to get to this level and still takes much hard work to maintain this income, which can greatly fluctuate from month to month.

Overall Impressions

The event was highly informative, and I was very glad I attended.  However, there were few breaks during the presentations and I overheard complaints (since people didn’t want to miss any part of the presentation).  But it was challenge to present all the material in the planned time frame, especially with many questions from the audience.

Water was available and coffee sometimes, but no snacks except at breakfast (another overheard complaint).  Attendees drifted out over the course of the afternoon and I was the only one from our Oro Valley group that stayed until the end of the day.

My thanks go out to the Society of Southwestern Authors for organizing this event.  It was a tremendous success and took a lot of hard work and dedication.  I very much hope they will organize another event next year.

What’s Next?

I plan to blog more about the Expo as time permits.  There was simply too much material to post all at once.  I welcome your comments here on my blog about the impressions you had of the Expo.

Don’t get scammed by a phone call for virus removal.

A friend related this story to me and wanted all to learn from his mistake.

The voice on the other end of the phone said, “Our company monitors web traffic and we’ve detected a virus on your computer along with a lot of malware.  We can remove it for free right now if you like. “

I certainly didn’t want a virus on my computer.

“Great,” I said as I granted them access.   After half an hour, they said they would need to finish the job tomorrow but not to worry.

The next morning I received another phone call.

“We have a problem.” The voice said.  “We need you to drive down to Walmart and buy three one hundred dollar app cards.  We will reimburse you once the job is done.”

Strange I thought.  But I agreed and later give them the codes from the cards.  After all, I would be reimbursed.  Direct deposit in to my checking account since I had given them my account number.

An hour later I got another call.

“I’m sorry, but we need one more $100 card.”

Another trip to Walmart.  Surely my computer would be virus free soon.


Two hours later I received yet another phone call.

“I’m sorry, sir, but we made a mistake.  We accidentally added a zero on to the deposit to your checking account.  We put in four thousand dollars, not four hundred. We need you to refund us $3600. You can wire the money to us from the Miracle Mart. It’s right down the street from where you live.”

Finally the red flags started going off.  “Where will this money be going?”

“Beijing, China”

More alarm bells.  I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I politely agreed to pay them just to get off the phone.  Then I drove to my bank.

The teller actually confirmed a four thousand dollar deposit in to my checking account.  My relief was short lived however.

“Oh, I see what happened”, said the teller.  “The money was transferred over from your savings account.“


I immediately closed the accounts and opened a new one.

When I got back home I got another phone call.  The voice asked if I had wired the money.  After I said no, it said if I was worried about making a payment to China I could make two $1800 payments here in the USA.

When I told them I had no intention of paying them anything, things took a nasty turn.

“We will report you to the FBI.  They’ll throw you in jail and fine you $5000.”

“I don’t believe you.  I know what’s going on now.”

“The FBI is on their way to arrest you.  Your F’d now.”  Except he didn’t say F’d.

“I’m still not paying you anything.”

“You’re just a stupid old man.  Your computer will never work again.”



I hung up and turned on my computer. Big red letters proclaimed “This is the FBI.  You are under arrest unless you pay your debt.  Agents are on their way.”

Then a text window popped up.  “Your F’d,” appeared over and over again.

I turned off the computer and took it to Best Buy Geek Squad.  After 6 days they had cleaned up my computer.  The scammers had changed several of my passwords but the Geeks recovered them and the malware they added was removed.

I was out $400 to the scammers plus the cost to fix my computer, but it could have been much worse.  But at least my experience can be a lesson to all.  Don’t get tricked by this ploy like I did.


Book Signing at Oro Valley Library

On Sunday, November 6, 2016, there will be a book signing at the Oro Valley Library from 1 to 4 pm. Come to meet and talk to your local authors.

There will be over 20 authors with genres ranging from children’s books, teen-adult, horror, science fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, and humor. And, of course, memoirs.

Now offering Tee shirt, coffee mug, and poster designs on RedBubble.com

Hi everyone.  I’ve started up on a fun new project of designing images for sale on Tee shirts and other items at artist name BrownDL3 at RedBubble.com .  Here’s a sample of my warped sense of humor:


Light a fire for a man, keep him warm for a day


Redbubble allows independent artists a place to sell their wares online.  Check out the site.  It has a huge number of designs available from across the world.

Jetstream can now help you design your art for sale on RedBubble (or even if you just want your own personal design).  Contact us for more information.



Best of WordPress in Tucson

I attended the Tucson WordPress Enthusiasts best website in Tucson contest last Wednesday.  Dr. Mike Hattabaugh, a relationship counselor at http://www.MikeHattabaugh.com, told me about the meeting, but could not attend.

One can find out more about the WordPress group at http://www.meetup.com.

It was great fun.   The people were all friendly and it was easy to strike up a conversation.  Free pizza and beer was provided by Pagely.

Many great websites were presented.  AnyaLust.com won “Best of Show”.  It is, of course, a lingerie website.  Anya is derived from Anyanwu, an African goddess who dwelled within the sun.

The Rail Yard was the venue, and it’s beautiful.  It has office space for rent and a nice open area.

We were also all invited to the Rail Yard for weekly meetings of the Worthless Bastards!  Rules are simple: no talking about work or personal problems.  Talk is about art, science, movies, books, or whatever else interests you.  No handing out business cards!  WorthlessBastards.org


Joy of Self Publishing Panel


I attended this author panel discussion at the Oro Valley Library last Saturday.  Alexis Powers, Shirley Pinkerton, Melinda Rucker Haynes, and R. L. Clayton were all very enthusiastic, friendly, and approachable in the question and answer session.  I was very glad to have had the opportunity to attend this extremely fun and informative event.