4 Steps to Getting Your Book On “Amazon’s Hot New Releases” List

Hot New Release

Yes, it’s possible, even for Indie publishers.

My book, Cold Coffee and Speed Limits hit #6 on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” Parenting and Family Humor category. It was released less than a week ago and I don’t have any major publishers or big-time book reviewers backing me. For brief shining moment, my book was in front of Whoopi Goldberg’s and Jim Gaffigan’s!  It’s updated hourly.

I published my first novel through a traditional small press publisher (so yes, someone bought it and I signed an actual contract), but when it was time to put out my second book I decided to do it Indie-style–on my own.

Here’s what I’ve done–and it’s WORKED.

1. I promoted my book on social media for the last 6 months. I used Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest the most.I’ve been posting little teasers on my Facebook posts.I created a Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest page for my book. It’s free advertising. I chatted it up to my friends, who also chatted it up with their friends. Word of mouth goes a long way!

2. For the last year, I’ve been blogging. This has cost me nothing but my time, although I have invested in a nice-looking template and a few other goodies. Blogging has helped establish me as an “expert” in my field as well as given me material for my book. In addition, it helps my “Google-ability” or my social media presence. I don’t blog JUST about my book (nobody wants to read just commercials!), but it’s one of the topics I cover.  I’ve also gained readers who are interested in my blog about parenting teens, so naturally many of these same readers are also interested in buying a book about the same topic. If you spend time giving people valuable information (or inspiration, or entertainment), they will come back for more.

3. I had a professionally designed cover made. When I was working on my draft, I had a really cute picture of my son and his girlfriend for the temporary cover, then I asked my friend Josh Kennah who’s a pro in graphics and marketing to help me. I paid him in ENCHILADAS, people. I mean, they’re pretty good enchiladas, but I know he was on the losing end of this deal. A professionally designed cover sets you apart and gives you an edge.

Tina Book Cover

4. I recruited people to help me. In exchange for an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC), readers promised to 1) give me HONEST feedback 2) tell me of any spelling/grammar/continuity issues 3) write a short review and 4) help me promote my book on social media. It’s a cheap price to pay, AND I placed excerpts of the reviews in the beginning of the book so that people who were just checking it out might be motivated to KEEP READING.  This cost me nothing. When my book was released, I asked these guys (as well as others) to go on Amazon and post a review there. Reviews (even less than 5 stars!) add a legitimacy to your book.

So remember, PLAN AHEAD. You don’t have big bucks for promotion, but you do have to spend some time. It’s all worth it to see your book on the list!

Get Tina Coleman Bausinger’s book Cold Coffee and Speed Limits today!

What I Want My Daughters to Know: Part 2

settling 3

But I will win and give her my spirit, because this is the way a mother loves her daughter. Yin Yang. –Amy Tan

Note to the reader: Part 1 was published in a previous post. If you want to read it, click here.

What I Want My Daughters to Know: Part 2

My sweet girls,

I am so very proud of both of you. You have both worked so incredibly hard, sometimes through outrageous hardships and complications, to follow your dreams and to become successful women in your right. You both have giant hearts as well as the ability to recognize need in others and to try to help others.

I will never have the time to tell you everything I want you to know–there aren’t enough hours in an ordinary life. God only gives us a terminable view of eternity–and it’s fleeting at best.

I know I’ve told you much of what I want you to know already, and sometimes I have done the direct opposite of what I preach. I’ve had wrong priorities; I’ve made more mistakes than I can count. But I hope you know above all how much I love you both. Here are a few more things I want to pass on to you.

1. Don’t make anything (or anyone) your whole world. People are only human, and will inevitably let you down. It’s unrealistic and unfair to make a mere mortal the center of your universe–and doing this will rarely lead to happiness. This goes for spouses, parents, even your own children. Children SHOULD be the most important part of our lives when we are raising them, but they too will move on one day. They are only on loan to us, and the time with them is fleeting, but balance is everything.

In the same way, jobs are only temporary pieces of who we are–important pieces, yes, but merely fragments–and there will come a day when we can’t go to work anymore. The only thing that can make us whole is our relationship with God, and that’s not always easy either.

2. Nobody can take away your education. Whatever training or schooling you earn will only help you succeed in life. If you want that master’s degree–GO FOR IT. Want a Ph.D.? You can absolutely have one. Going to school is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but it’s worth it to pursue your passion, but it’s time consuming and there’s always a cost, financially, emotionally, and with your relationships. That old saying that nothing worth having is easy is absolutely true.

3. Always save for a rainy day. It’s almost a law of nature that the worst things will happen when you don’t have a penny to your name. The one who controls the purse strings controls you.

4. Never let anyone break your spirit. This can happen suddenly, like an unexpected thunderstorm that leaves you breathless, or bit by bit, so gradually you don’t even notice until the day you wake up with an emptiness you can’t name. Always, always keep in mind your own worth. Your opinion–your happiness– matters. You are beloved by me and God. If you wake up, dear one, and find this has happened, it sometimes takes the help of others to heal. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.

5. It’s so important to have good friends. Always foster relationships with two kinds of friends: those who admire you and those you admire. It’s important to be an example to others, to teach what you have learned, to help other women find their light. It’s equally vital to find a mentor for yourself–someone you wish to emulate, who can teach you and advise you when your own view is cloudy and hard to navigate. There have been several times when you both have became my beacons in a cloudy harbor when I was too weak to swim to shore. You’ve stood by me in difficult times when I felt I couldn’t talk to too many people about my problems. In this way, you’ve both become my best friends, and this is the best gift you could ever give me.

I love you, my sweet girls.

You make me so very proud.

For more of Tina’s writing, get Cold Coffee and Speed Limits on Amazon today!

Tina Book Cover

Teen Speak: Waking and Communicating With Your Teen Before Noon

Originally posted on Tina Bausinger:

Whenever I try to talk to Mancub before noon, it’s always a crap shoot. Whatever happens, you must be prepared for the worst.

Sometimes, I’ll speak to him, and though it appears he heard me, nothing happens. It reminds me of those Ghost Hunters shows where three grown men walk around  in abandoned hospitals in the complete darkness with night vision goggles and their EVP equipment. Seemingly on edge–which I’m sure has nothing to do with the fact that they are poking around in an abandoned mental hospital’s morgue or a supposed haunted hotel–they attempt to break through to the voices “on the other side.”

Sometimes I feel that this is an adequate metaphor for seeking to not only communicate with Mancub, especially in the morning when he’s not fully awake.

Me: “Nate, it’s time to get up and get ready for school.”


Me: Knocking gently. “Nate, are you awake?” Checking…

View original 100 more words

Cold Coffee and Speed Limits: Encouragement for Mamas of Teens Coming Sept. 25!

Tina Book Cover

Cold Coffee and Speed Limits

A Letter to Mamas of Teens:

Why is it that there are thousands of books/blogs about raising babies, toddlers, and even school-aged kids, but when we get to the teenage range–poof! Everybody disappears from the blogosphere faster than my pre-pregnancy figure. Sure, there are plenty of scary clinical approaches out there, but this isn’t one of them. I’ve been a mama of teenagers for a while now, and though I’m no expert, I’ve been there. Actually, I’m still there.

I am with you, Mama.

The life of a mom raising teens is anything but easy. This book began with a blog: http://www.tinabausinger.com. I wanted to chronicle my experience raising teenagers (two girls and a boy) not only for myself but to encourage others. In this book, I’ve included the most popular posts.

Some posts are funny—some are not. Some I wrote out of complete frustration and heartache. Others I wrote with joy and humor.

Besides being a mama of three, I’m a writer, an experimental cook, and an English professor. I’ve published in magazines and newspapers and internationally in Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I also wrote a novel, War Eagle Women.  I live in Texas (the land of Old Yeller) and I survive on large amounts of coffee and ungodly amounts of sugar. It’s really not healthy.

I refer to my son (now 16) as Mancub. He just LOVES IT. Ok not really, but he’s gotten used to it. Remember the Jungle Book? It’s Rudyard Kipling’s classic post-colonial story that sort of satires the motives of the British Empire as it claims to “civilize” India (and any other country it could get its hands on). All that aside, I think the jungle is the perfect metaphor to explain raising teens. Here’s why:

It’s scary. You can’t quite see your hand in front of your face, and your lantern is just not bright enough.

It’s dangerous. There are many things just around the corner wanting to hurt you (or your Mancub). Sometimes, your Mancub may even go looking for danger. Sometimes danger comes looking for him.

I use the term Watergirl for the female of the species. In the Jungle Book movie made famous by Disney, Mowgli thinks he knows EVERYTHING until he sees the girl who sings about fetching the water. After that, Mancub is just GONE. So that’s the collective term I use for teen girls in this book.

So yes, the jungle is a dangerous place. Mancub can’t be expected to look after himself just yet, even though he disagrees. But oh—the beauty of the jungle…it’s breathtaking if you take a moment to reflect upon it.

For now—welcome to the Jungle!

What people are saying about Cold Coffee and Speed Limits: Encouragement for Mamas

Cold Coffee and Speed Limits is an enchanting look into the journey that is mothering teenagers. Recipes, open letters, anecdotes and practical guides come together in this book to inspire and comfort readers. More than the perfect Mother’s Day gift, Cold Coffee speaks to teens, mothers, mothers-to-be, and everyone in-between. The raw realities of life are beautifully arranged to fulfill our need of obtaining important information rapidly and allowing the reader to slip into the beauty that is family life.” Stephanie L.

Cold Coffee and Speed Limits is a mix of advice, recipes and anecdotes that will have the most serious of readers laughing and taking notes. It made the chaos of parenting seem both magical and practical…I laughed, teared up (RIP Goliath), and jotted down a meatloaf recipe to try later. After reading this book I went and hugged my mom and told her I was sorry for putting her through teen hell and thanked her for loving me through it.” Gabbey S.

Tina shares her mother of teens experience to show others there is a light at the end of the tunnel and they aren’t traveling it alone. Joy K.

Even though I’m not a parent, I found myself tucking little nuggets of your writing away in my mind for when I do have kids of my own.  Kelsi A.

So many other parenting blogs/books just make me feel guilty. It’s already too late to do or not do what’s suggested, or I don’t have the means. Yours are helpful and flexible. They help me see that, though I’ve made mistakes, my kids are doing well, and I still have time to teach them a few things.-Bryony T.

With each laugh, worry, and reflection shared, Tina unveils the teenage years of parenting as a time to revel in the beauty of living despite the chaos of the jungle. Through her journey, she shows the weary mom how to focus on the moment at hand versus the entire collage. Slow down, enjoy the coffee and hug your babies: we are all going to make it with the help of a little comfort food! –Kari M.

On Remembrance


There’s so much about that day in my life I remember, or I think I remember.

I was a housewife, living in the country. I was a good person, I guess, and there’s nothing wrong with staying home and raising children. I cleaned the house and baked lasagna–the epitome of white bread south. Looking back now, I realize how naïve I was, like many others– how trusting of the government and our leaders, so willing to be lead as a country into a war I didn’t understand with a cost we could have never calculated.

There was so much I didn’t comprehend–so much of it I probably never will.

I had initially heard the news that the first plane had crashed into the World Trade Center by seeing the footage on the small television at the University of Arkansas bookstore. The footage repeated, the confusion of what we were seeing, voices over voices…I didn’t understand at first. Nobody did.

Because, at first, it seemed like an accident, a tragic misfortune. Perhaps, the speculated, the captain on board of that 747 had a stroke or heart attack, and this was the fiery result.

I did not hear about the second plane until after my job interview, on the way home in my car. The radio reflected the pandemonium, the sheer panic of the spectators…for once, it seemed, the journalists covering the story did not sound stoic, speaking each word with a measured accuracy. The people being interviewed were breathless, terrified.

That was the moment when I knew this event was no accident. Two planes had been the unwilling weapons of terrorists, essentially bombs with humans as ammunition. It was too horrific for words.

When I returned home, my husband was plastered in front of the television; my dad had called him a few minutes earlier. On TV, people were screaming, sobbing, running through the streets, covered in white dust as if they were victims of a nuclear holocaust. The old women bleeding, leaning on you women, trying to get away from what was now being called “Ground Zero,” they could have been anyone. Images of fire, chaos and terror played over and over. Police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances were everywhere at once.

I never really knew why they called that place Ground Zero. When I tried to research it, Google comes up with some pretty outrageous stuff. There are so many pages devoted to conspiracy theories–a few of these use “Why do they call it Ground Zero” in their titles. The hypotheses are as numerous as the conspiracies themselves. One guy says that they call it Ground Zero because “they” knew it was an inside demolition job. USA Today has an article about businesses that, before 9/11, were called Ground Zero and the fallout that have occurred since–how they had to change their names, etc. Other articles talk about the workers around the site who helped rescue others from the steaming rubble, and their increased risk of cancer because of it. But as far as anything credible, there’s nothing I could point to.

On that day, my husband and I had not eaten yet, so I went to cook pancakes. Lee worked the night shift at a factory that made diaper wipes, and should have been in bed resting, but of course he couldn’t. My daughters were both at school, and Nathan was playing quietly with some blocks.

On the surface, at least for us, everything seemed eerily normal. At least, for a moment, I could pretend.

I could try to block out what this meant to me personally. There was a comfort there in the center of my kitchen, as I mixed the pancake mix and water with a whisk, as I had done a thousand times before. There was a rhythm to the way I heated the old iron skillet to just the right temperature. The buttery smell of the pancakes filled the kitchen, but it wasn’t enough to work on my worry for long. I began thinking of how, at age 30, the kind of world I was raising my children in. Jordanne was eleven, Sarah was eight, and Nate was two.

I can remember pouring the batter, watching the bubbles build in the center and spread to the edges. Then the panic set in. I pictured my sister’s face, blond gorgeous, and wondered what pandemonium must have been at play at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska where she was stationed. If I’m honest, I knew everything was not “okay.” Not with our country, and not with me.

“A plane just hit the Pentagon!” Lee shouted from the living room.

So America was at war, but with whom? The words Al Qaeda had been mentioned dozens of times, and the blame was being placed there, at least for the moment .

“There are some planes missing! Flight 93 is one of them!”

The pancake turned a golden brown.

“What do you mean, missing?”

“They know because the planes are not on their assigned paths. hey think one of them is headed toward D.C.–maybe the White House.”

“Oh my God…what will we do?” A chill stole across my arms.

“If they find out the pilot has been killed, they will have to shoot it down.”

“Shoot it down?” I repeated numbly, stupidly. I began sobbing. The pancake burned and smoke-filled the kitchen.

“Tina, your pancake…”Lee said, but I stood there, looking at it curiously, as if I had never seen such a thing. When I didn’t move, Lee shoved in front of me and turned off the burner.

“Where is our president?” It seemed he was being very quiet during this whole thing. Later, I would find out that he had been flown to the very Air Force Base my sister was working.

I had a feeling that she would know all about it, and possibly be a part of the planing it took to get him there.

On TV, the broken wreckage of flight 93 carved a cavernous ditch into the Pennsylvania countryside, looking like burning, torn flesh.

Suddenly I was struck with panic. All I could think of was my kids. I wanted to go to the school and pick them up, hold them close. I began to ramble incoherently.

Lee put his arms around me.

“The girls are o.k. I don’t think the terrorists are planning to attach the schools. They don’t need to be picked up.” He was right, I knew. It was unlikely that the terrorists were interested in small town Arkansas. We were hardly a symbol of American arrogance. If New York City was “Ground Zero” then what did that make us?

The rest of the day, I spent watching TV and trying to call my sister. Not surprisingly, the line to her office stayed busy. Frustrated, I hung the phone up harder than I needed to.

On TV, after President Bush announced that this was in fact an “act of terror and war,” people were even more scared, if that was possible. The news depicted aimless wanderers, shuffling through stacks of paper that littered the ground. Why was there so much paper everywhere? Of course it makes sense; it was a shrine to the “old way of life.” But the images of people wading through that paper still haunts me.

At home, the grocery stores were empty. I learned that many of my friends bought large amounts of ammunition, fearing the worst. Many of my friends who did not own guns bought them for the first time. Such a time of fear and chaos was upon us.

On TV, camera angles showed piles of concrete, several stories high. Fire fighters, covered in ashes and blood, dug out bodies with shovels. The rubble was covered in shredded, barely deliverable human artifacts: bits of clothing, portions of walls,shards of glass–it reminded me of human tokens: an archaeological dig.

I also remember hearing of the beating of Muslims, the political cartoons, the everlasting rhetoric of war. On campus at the University of Arkansas, an announcement was made that we were to be especially sensitive to Muslim students, and any threats made against them would be taken very seriously.

It was around six that evening before I was able to reach my sister.

“Hey,” I said, softly.

“Hey.” The background noise was indescribable. Phones rang and tons of conversations went on at once.

“Are you okay? Are you safe?” I asked her.

“Yes, I’m safe, but I’m going to be deployed, probably tomorrow.”

It seems crazy now that she would already have orders. To the rest of us, it seemed like the government drug its feet, letting the frenzied cry for revenge of American blood rise to its fever pitch.

My sister talked later about the fact that she did not even had time to sew on the stripes demonstrating her newly decorated promotion. Instead, she hurriedly sewed them on by hand, late into the night.

I caught my breath, trying to steady it. She didn’t like it when I freaked out about her deployments–and I had in the past. “I figured,” I whispered, swallowing a lump in my throat, trying to clear it away. She had enough to worry about.

“Oh, happy birthday,” I said.

“Right,” she said, with a sigh.

The fragile link between us, even though she was over 1000 miles away, seemed strong. On TV, the American flag flew high. In town, the flag was everywhere.

Now that I’m a teacher, I see lots of veterans returning to school. Sometimes, I can tell the veterans from civilians without even  checking their paperwork. Sometimes, I can see the haunted look in their eyes. I see their struggle to make sense of civilian life and college classes. Sometimes, it’s almost tangible–the great effort it takes for some of them  to attach importance to something as trivial as English homework when all they can think of is the sense of mission that seems missing and those they left behind. I see them, sitting in the back of the classroom, watching the door. Some of them come to my class physically broken, but most of the scars they bear are nothing less than a symbol of the mutilation of a nation, the castration of a once proud super power.

It’s possible to be patriotic, to support our military, but to still be wary of war. I was a Navy wife for 4 years, and my father and grandfather were also military. I’ve always believed that we should be respectful of those who serve.

Now that Nathan is almost grown, he’s talked once or twice about joining the Air Force himself. The thought makes my blood run cold. Not because I don’t love my country, but because I’ve seen firsthand the damage done to those who serve.

And I remember.

The Liebster Award


Thank you, Samantha Lamb! She’s nominated me for the Liebster Blogging Award! Besides the fact that she knows good writing when she sees it, I like her because we are both caffeine addicts.

Part of the process is I have to answer her questions…about ANYTHING SHE WANTS. So here goes:

Cold Coffee and Speed Limits: Encouragement for Mamas of Teens available for pre-order for .99 cents!

Cold Coffee

Why is it that there are thousands of books/blogs about raising babies, toddlers, and even school-aged kids, but when we our kids become teens–poof! Sure, there are plenty of scary clinical approaches out there, but this book isn’t one of them. I’ve been a mama of teenagers for a while now, and though I’m no expert, I’m here for you. Besides stories from the trenches, I’ve included teen-pleasing recipes, tips on time management and other issues important to us mamas.

Besides being a mama of three, I’m a writer, an experimental cook, and an English professor. I live in Texas (the land of Old Yeller) and I survive on large amounts of coffee and ungodly amounts of sugar. It’s really not healthy.

If you want a clinical approach, a hands-free parenting guide–keep looking. But if you want an honest guide to the joys and heartbreak of raising teens…well, you may have found it.

For a limited time, you can pre-order this book for .99 cents! It will be available on Kindle only Sept. 25, 2015.

Cold Coffee and Speed Limits: Encouragement for Mamas of Teens Pre-Order

Tips From Your Professor: 5 Steps To Sending an Email to Your Instructor


Example of a terrible email: 

hey i was absent last week and i dont understand the work i need ur help 

–anonymous student, writing from his bustamove.gmail account 

Do you need to send an email to a professor or teacher? STOP! Read this helpful guide first.This blog post is dedicated to all my instructors I may/may not have sent horrible emails as a student.

1. Don’t skip the greeting. Even though you are in a hurry, take the time to say hello before making a request or asking a question. Dear Professor, Professor Jones, etc. are acceptable greetings. By taking a moment to address your teacher, you are establishing the culture of respect between you.

2. After a polite greeting, take one sentence to wish your teacher well. Something like, “I hope you are having a good day so far,” or “I hope your week is going well” goes a long way in establishing goodwill on your end. You’re not just jumping in with what you need. Teachers get dozens of emails a day, and almost everyone needs something. It will be worth your while to demonstrate to your teacher that you regard him/her as an actual human being with feelings.

3. Politely state your question/request. Here are two examples of the same question.

A) This homework is crazy! Do you think we are graduate students or something? I can’t do this assignment!!!!!!

B) If it’s not too much trouble, may I see you after class to get some clarification on the homework assignment? I’m struggling quite a bit and want to do well.

Same question, different effect.

4. Don’t end your email without using some kind of “complimentary close.” This means to add a “Sincerely,” or “Many Thanks” etc. before you sign your name. Under no circumstances should you not sign the email (that’s just lazy).

5. Don’t forget to use proper grammar and spelling. An email is not a text, and your professor is not your bestie. Keep it formal, and don’t use “text speak” ( i cu). That’s unprofessional and discourteous.

Last but not least, don’t forget to say “Thank you” to your teacher. She’s probably reading your email at 11:00 p.m. before she falls asleep. After all, she’s a person too.

On the Middle Child and Asserting Your Voice


Dear Sarah,

23 years ago, I woke up to a startling popping noise, similar to the sound a bottle of champagne makes. It wasn’t champagne. It was the beginning of your journey into this world to meet me. I know there were (and are still) others you would meet, but I like to think this first time was meant for me alone.

coronado bridge

I’ve told the story many times before: the long ride across the Coronado Bridge in the pre-dawn hours, the lights twinkling across the bay as my contractions grew stronger and closer together. Dad was flying from Bremerton where his ship, The Long Beach, was being dry docked for repair. We hoped and prayed he would make it in time, but he was just a few hours shy.

The nervousness of the taxi driver who didn’t speak English and seemed very concerned I might soil his cab with my impending birth. How I labored for several hours alone, waiting for your Nannie and Papa to drive up from Indio to be with me. The doctor and nurses placing bets about how big you were gonna be (they were all wrong…and so inappropriate!). How beautiful you were when I held you in my arms, all 22 inches of you. You were and are still a gorgeous girl–the kind of baby that made people stop and notice, involuntairly saying “Awwww” when they saw that unbeatable combination of eyes and lips and now, the long raven hair that you could have only gotten from your daddy’s Italian side.

Not surprisingly, your sister was a bit jealous. She tried to keep you out of Nannie’s room so you wouldn’t get any of the snuggles. She wondered out loud when you were going back to the hospital. In short, she was not impressed.

But you found your voice pretty quickly. You learned to stick up for yourself, to declare your opinion–sometimes to demand your own way. When you were four and Jody asked what you wanted Santa to bring you for Christmas, you summarily told her to “Grow up.” When I tried to replace your worn out Simba that you carried everywhere by its neck (because that’s how Simba’s mother would have carried him!), I “washed” him and came back with a new, less ratty version. You looked me straight in the eye and said, “This one looks … new. I want my old one.” You ended up getting two. It wasn’t too long before the second one looked as decrepit as the original.

I know you sometimes make jokes about being the ignored middle child but you know we couldn’t overlook you if we wanted to. Your beauty, talent, brains, wit and hilarity brighten up our daily lives and I don’t know what we would do without you.

And I think your sister may have finally gotten used to your being around. Just a hunch.

Happy Birthday, Sarah. I love you so much.

One more time, Sarah–here’s the song I was thinking of while taking that long drive across the Coronado bridge, knowing my life was about to forever change.

I’m so very lucky.

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