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Blood & Sand

General Fiction (cozy small town fiction)

Date Published: August, 2019

Publisher: Pen & Key Publishing

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A tiny town. A broken tavern. And one woman searching for a place to

Logan Cole is used to getting her way and what she wants more than anything
is for her father to get out of jail and restore her old life in New York.
All she has to do is wait for his scandals to fade and the online rancor
against her family to subside. Low on cash and out of options, she takes a
bus north looking for anonymity and stops in the smallest town she can find:
Ramsbolt, Maine.

When she stumbles into Helen’s Tavern, she finds a place in need of a
make-over and a grandmotherly woman who could use some help. Soon, she finds
herself growing fond of the bar, Helen, and the town. She’s even found
a friend in Grey, the local plumber. The tiny town puts her at a crossroads:
keep hiding her identity to preserve her new reputation or let down her
guard and reveal her true self to the people she’s grown to love. But
the choice is ripped from her hands when tragedy strikes the bar and saving
it requires every tool at her disposal.

Can Logan find a true home among the people of Ramsbolt Maine?

The Collected Stories of Ramsbolt is a series by Jennifer M. Lane,
award-winning author Of Metal and Earth and Stick Figures from Ramsbolt.
Fresh and heart-warming, the series tells the stories of a small town
looking for belonging.

Guest Post

8 Tips for Surviving The Self-Publishing Roller Coaster

Whether your self-publishing journey diverged from a dream of traditionally publishing, or you knew that self-publishing was right for you, there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself on an emotional roller coaster you didn’t sign up for. Readers are hard to find.

There are many expensive ways to get off the ride – from sketchy paths with vanity publishers to rocky shortcuts with marketing houses. There’s also the cheap route of quitting writing, but that won’t alleviate the ache.

The real solution is to stay on the ride. When you’re at the peaks, look around, enjoy the scenery, and take stock of how far you’ve come. Learn some skills you can turn to when your climbing, and they’ll become solutions you can turn to when your sales – and your outlook – are down.

Here are eight emotions many self-published authors face and some helpful tips to see you through.

  1. Disappointment
    Whether it’s bad reviews, rejection or reaching readers, disappointment is universal. Tap into what is causing the disappointment. There’s grace in fumbling through the darkest night of the soul. Eventually, you will find source of the pain, and only then can you begin a marketing journey to the solution.
  2. Sticker Shock
    Publishing can be expensive, but do not blindly accept the cost. Yes, you should find an editor if you can. If you can’t, swap with another author. Produce the best product possible. Join groups and forums for tips. Make your books as widely available as possible. Tally up the costs and determine how many books you need to sell to break even.
  3. Demotivation
    A funny thing happens when no one is looking over your shoulder telling you to write. As you start to go down the marketing road, it’s easy to lose focus of your writing. Shifting between business brain and author brain isn’t always easy. Make sure you keep the priority on writing.
  4. Overwhelmed
    With so many tasks that require different modes of thinking, it can be hard to focus. While you’re writing, you’re worried about your bank balance. While paying bills, you worry about the marketing.

    Tip: You won’t find yourself in a SWAMP, if categorize your tasks into five categories, and carve out a few minutes each day to tackle one. Eventually, it becomes a habit.

    Social media and Special Events – On Monday, schedule social media posts, reach out to book stores, and find book bloggers.
    Website and Writing – Does your website need updating? If you have a blog, Tuesday is a great time to write your next post.
    Advertising and Accounting – On Wednesday, update keywords in your ads and check on their performance. Use a system like Quickbooks, for example, to categorize your expenses.
    Marketing – Tackle hanging tasks on Thursday. Have you been wanting to update your book categories and descriptions?
    Promos and Public Relations – Have an upcoming release? Write a press release. Schedule discounts and promos. Then the rest of your Friday is all about writing.

  5. Review Reflections
    Reviews aren’t for you; they’re for readers. It’s hard not to keep an eye on the tally, because a lot of online marketing requires a minimum number of reviews. Send the negative ones to your critique partners and ask them to translate any actionable items like typos.
  6. Marketing Madness
    Decades ago, when I first started in marketing, I had what I called the Slush Box. Every flyer and unique piece of junk mail went into it. Without a filing method, when I needed inspiration, I was free to dump it out on the floor and sift through it until an ah-ha moment struck. You can do the same.

    Sign up for author marketing newsletters, listen to podcasts, join online groups, and take notes (a great Thursday task). Keep them in one place so you can turn to them for inspiration. After a while, you’ll go from “I don’t know what to do” to “I’ve tried that” and “here’s what works for me.”

  7. Comparing Yourself to Others
    It’s easier said than done sometimes, but don’t compare yourself to other writers. You are on your own journey.
  8. Get Down to Business
    Once you emerge from that dark and disappointed night of the soul, you’ll know where your pain points are. If you’re spending too much money, reduce the cost of producing your books and work to increase sales with free methods. If you aren’t reaching enough readers, take strides to build your fanbase and build your newsletter.

    Don’t listen to those who claim you can’t be a writer if you’re ambitious. You can absolutely measure your journey with business goals. Before you know it, you’ll be analyzing your profit and loss statement and saying, “Wow. I really enjoy this roller coaster ride.”

About the Author

A Maryland native and Pennsylvanian at heart, Jennifer M. Lane holds a
bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Barton College and a master’s in
liberal arts with a focus on museum studies from the University of Delaware,
where she wrote her thesis on the material culture of roadside memorials.
She is the author of the award-winning novel Of Metal and Earth, of Stick
Figures from Rockport, and the series of stand-alone novels from The
Collected Stories of Ramsbolt, including Blood and Sand. Visit her website
at https: //

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