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Publishing Helps from A Community

Publishing Helps from A Community


So this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and brings a tear to my eye every time I think of it.

I love my Author Friends.  I am so grateful to them for all their help and support.

I have not had to spend a single penny to publish any of my self-published works.

I have bartered services with friends for editing, teasers, book covers, and formatting.  I will be the first to admit that the editing on my self-published titles are not the best.  But, I will equally be the first to say my covers are as eye catching as anyone else’s.

One thing I have done on my own every time is create my own book descriptions.  That is one failing I will own.  I am working on improving my copyrighting, but it is still not that great.

But, my community helps me with that, too.  I draw on the strength and prowess and support of my fellow authors almost daily.

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The Revenge of the Fifth!

The Revenge of the Fifth!


Millenium Falcon


I am a bit of a Star Wars Geek, can you tell?

To many today is Cinco de Mayo. Yeah, and to all you who celebrate that holiday, may you have a great day. But to me, it is the birthday of my Uncle. Many Happy Returns Uncle! I love you (even though I really doubt he’ll see this.)

Anyway, the Month of May is the month we are talking about Publishing on Burning Embers blog, so it is on my mind to talk about here as well. As a hybrid author, meaning I have a traditional publisher (Cosby Media Productions) and I self publish some things, and I am part of a couple self-published anthologies. So unlike last month, (editing) I actually know a few things about publishing.

So let’s talk publishing.


Some authors are lucky and they can publish with just one publisher their entire career. And that works for them, and that works for their publisher. If that is not you, no worries.

Let’s start off with what type of publishers there are.

There are the traditional publishers. The Big 5 in New York City, Cosby Media Productions, and the like.

Then there are the self-publishers.

Then there are Vanity Presses, which as far as I understand it, Vanity Presses are a one stop shop for a self-published title where you pay the Vanity Press, and they do everything for you, instead of you shopping around for an editor(s), cover designer, formatting, and you having to upload your book to whatever book distributor you choose.

Throughout the month I will go into greater detail about each option, and why you may want or not want to choose it for your individual project.



But before we can talk about publishing, you need a story to tell.  Do you have a story to share?  I would love to learn more about it!

Comment below on either what you are thinking of writing, or for you experienced authors, your current WIP!


Oh, on the note of WIP, which means Work In Progress, I am still working on my Christian or Fantasy Thriller, whatever type of Thriller it becomes, but even more exciting, I just signed up to ARC read a new book from Tessonja Odette, that genius who brought me “Twisting Minds” earlier this year.  So excited to see what she has in store next.

editing Monthly Theme



This is my FREE introductory course to BETA Reading by JQM.

Before I begin, let me honest with you.  I am no expert on editing.  My degree is in Anthropology with an Archaeology Emphasis and dual minors in Russian and Geology.  I only went to the mandatory English classes in high school and college, and that was many years ago.

What I have learned about BETA READING I have taught myself or have been told by authors with more experience.  So here is my informal opinion on BETA reading.

What Is BETA Reading?

Well, that is a good question.  Is Beta Reading content editing?  Is it proof reading?  Is it simply reading a book before it is published?

Well, BETA reading is when you have a book ready to send to your publisher or self publish.  But it is not quite ready for publication.  When you want a second opinion on the story.

So you ask a trusted friend or friends to look over your manuscript for a much needed second opinion.


What Do You Do Expect From BETA Readers?

You have such fantastic questions.  Usually when I receive a manuscript from a friend, the author has expressed to me whatever concerns they have about the story, any specific items or details they want me to look for within the text.

On the other hand, when I send out a request for BETA readers, I am almost always looking for the same thing every time.  To make sure that the ideas in my head translated well on paper.  I do not always succeed, and my BETA readers help me figure out where I messed up, and we talk through ways to fix my literary blunders.


Is BETA Reading And Content Editing The Same?

No.  Content editing is a little bit LOTS more intense.  Content editing, as a friend of mine once explained, helps you restructure a lost story.  It is very time consuming, and often very expensive.

However, BETA reading is reading a manuscript and commenting your thoughts, suggestions for improvement, etc.


What Do You Do When You BETA Read?

Your questions keep getting better and better.  I love literature!  I love to discuss literature.  And I love helping my friends write better stories.

So to help my friends improve their writing prowess, I offer to BETA read stories.  Usually on barter or just as favor.

I use either Google Docs or Word Documents, pending on what the author has to send me.  I have no preference.

So, for example’s sake.  Let’s my good friend in the Realm of Rai, Amanda Adams, Creature of Rai, Member of the Unicorn Clan asked me to BETA read her newest essay titled, ‘Why Unicorns Are Best.’

Amanda’s BETA reading request would look something like: “Hey JQM.  I know your super busy right now, but can you look over my new essay?”

My initial reply would be:  “Sure.  You need help with anything specific?”

Amanda: “No.  I just need a mortal’s perspective.  Any feedback you can give me would be great.  Here is the link to the essay on Google Drive. LINK-X-Y-Z.  Thanks.”

Next time I am on my PC and have time to work on a writing project, I click on the link, and open the document.  I only read the document through once.  And as I read it, I use the comment feature to share my thoughts.

When I BETA read I try to never change the initial text.  I only select either what I am commenting upon or would like to see edited, and make the changes in a comment box.


What Types of Comments Do I Make?

I make 3 main comments.

First, I share my initial unfiltered thoughts as a reader.  That is my most common type of comment.  Why do I this?  To give the author a chance to see the types of initial responses potential readers will have.  A fellow author did this for me on a previous BETA read exchange, about two years ago, and I liked her thoughts as a readers so much that I have been doing it ever since.

Second, I point any places where I think the author can improve the flow and content of the story.

Third, and the very least, I point out any grammatical errors.



I am not a professional editor.  I am simply a Fantasy Author who enjoys to BETA read for my friends.  Nothing I said above is fact, it is simply my honest opinion that I am sharing to help out novice authors who are unfamiliar with the BETA reading process.

If you have any specific questions about BETA reading, you can find me on Messenger, Facebook, my blog, or email at


Have a great day!

editing Monthly Theme

It is Still Tuesday, I am not TOO Late

Happy Tuesday to you all!

I hope you are all finding the best ways to employ your time. For those of you who are unwell, my prayers are with you. For those of you who are stuck at home for the time being, it is a great time to get better acquainted with my Rai Saga, I suggest you start with either Welcome to the Realm of Rai or The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1. Why is it a great time to get acquainted with my novels? Glad you asked.

I recently submitted Perfectly Evil, The Realm of the Light Book 3 and Shades of Mortality, The Realm of the Light Book 4, to my publisher, and we are hoping for a dual release later this year.

Why am I tell you this?

I am even more glad you asked. As a writer, I have a super power. I surround myself with authors who are more talented than I. These author friends have helped me perfect both Shades of Mortality and Perfectly Evil by volunteering to BETA read my books. As they read, they left me valuable comments about flow, content, and yes, grammatical errors. As i engaged them in discussions about my stories, they helped me craft a better story than my original drafts.

That is the power of BETA reading for fellow authors.

And you know what else? The more often I BETA read for my friends, the better I get at not only catching mistakes and issues with flow and plot holes in their writing, but my own writing improves.

So the next time a friend of yours asks if you have time to BETA read for them, and you actually do have the time, I highly recommend you do it. Not only will you be helping your friend perfect their story, you will be helping yourself improve your writing prowess.

Thursday this week I will chat a little more about BETA reading, and what i look for when I BETA read for a friend.

About Me Monthly Theme


The Burning Embers theme for April is Editing.

So, let’s talk about editing.



I can think of few words that have to power to strike as much fear and dread into the hearts of several of my author friends than Marketing, Promotions, and Editing.


But I don’t get it myself.  I have never had a problem with editing.  Actually, to me, self-editing is my favorite part of the writing process.  What I can’t stand is creating original content to a story.  The way I write, I do not have an outline for the story beyond what ideas I have floating in my heads, and the dreams I have had about the individual story.  So I create my story, then I go back and edit the whole thing so the end make sense from the beginning.


There are many different types of editing.

There is copy editing which means to “edit (text to be printed) by checking its consistency and accuracy.”

Proofreading, or simply put Grammar Checking and Spell Checking.

Content editing, which is basically a huge overhaul of a story to make sure it is consistent with the series and world-building.  Making sure your characters are consistent, making sure your story flows well, etc.  I personally have never used a content editor, mainly because I cannot afford such a service at present, but I would like to just to learn how to content edit my own work in the future, and how I can be a better content editor when I offer to BETA read for a fellow author.

My personal favorite is BETA Reading.  That is basically sending your pre-publication story to a trusted friend or fellow author to look over your story for anything that may be amiss.  A plot hole here, bad grammar there, someone saying or doing something out of character without the anomaly being described.  When I BETA read a story, I have three main types of comments.  1st, and least common, is proofreading comments.  2nd, and second most common, anything I see amiss that disrupts the flow of a story.  And 3rd, and most common comment I make is my immediate response to a story as a reader.


Now, I know I am not speaking in the most technical of terms, and that there exists other forms of editing that I did not highlight.  But for me as an author, the four described types of editing are the most common I come across, and use myself.

While I may not be the best resource for editing knowledge, I have a few friends who I will gladly recommend you to, if you require such services.

Monthly Theme

Marketing Madness Within a Community

This month I have been thinking of what we can do as a community of authors to help each other market and promote our books and sales.
And I have a few suggestions, listed in no particular order.
* Share each other’s blog posts & social media posts of authors who write similar genres as you with your followers and friends. Our followers are readers, and as we know, a devoted reader never has enough books, and we (or at least I) am always on the lookout for my next favorite author.
* Participate in Newsletter Swaps. That is great way to find new readers. Personally i use Story Origin to help me organize my newsletter swaps, but however you do it, it is a great way to help share the works of your fellow authors while sharing your books with new readers.
* If you have the ability and prowess to create new promotional images, offer to make images for others, either by way of bartering for services or paid services. Many authors (myself chief among them) lack abilities to utilize photoshop or other graphic programs, and I barter services for my promotional images, usually i barter BETA reading, but that is what works for me. Mainly because i enjoy BETA reading.
* Participate in Reader Group Hops. It is fun way to both promote your own works & invite your followers to meet new authors.
* Ask questions, and if you have an opinion on a discussion topic, share your point of view. I recently had a conversation with a fellow author about a WIP, and the way she explained her point of view helped resolve my issue
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March Madness Indeed!

As a long time fan of college basketball, this years edition of March Madness is a bit disappointing, and very alarming.

But there is a bright side to everything, well not to me because our dehydrated potato warehouse and our manufacturing plants are still running full steam ahead.

But this edition of March Madness has helped me reflect on my ultimate goal, which to make enough money writing so i can quit my day job.

My strategy?

Well first, i buy into the idea that an author has to have multiple titles out and mutiple platforms to make thier available.

So, my first goal is to have 20 published titles by the end of 2022. My second goal, which is similar, is to have my Realm of the Light Series finished by that time (it will be a 5 book series).

But what does this have to do with marketing?

Well, I’ll tell you.

It’s matter of vision. I have a vision for how I want my author platform to look. And all my marketing and promitions fit within that vision.

1st, I want more than just Sykar the Volkrog to be a bestselling title. So i am planning a promotional sales run for The United, which both myself and my publisher are dropping a comsiderable amount of time and money into promotional newsletters, blog tour, social media blitz, newsletter swaps, etc. The sale will run the first week of April.

2nd, well, i want to build my newsletter to the point where it is my most effect marketing tool. To accomplish that I have a few NL magnets on Story Origin, joined a few different group giveaways, and have hired a NL consultant.

After that, my goal is to consitently create quality content that my readers will enjoy, and find inspirational.

What are your goals?

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Guest Post from Sam’s Teen Reads Corner, presented by Thrice Read Books

Guest Post from Sam’s Teen Reads Corner, presented by Thrice Read Books

thrice read books logo #2
The monthly theme for March is Marketing Madness.  One of my favorite things about being an author, is connecting with other authors.  Reviews are important to some marketing strategies, so I asked Sam from Thrice Read Books to join me on my blog.
I love books so much that as a child, I used to eat them. Like, literally. I would eat little samples of the pages. Did you know that different kinds of paper have different flavors? My parents are quite happy that I’ve outgrown that habit. Plus, ebooks! When was the last time you tried taking a bite out of your Kindle or Nook? That’s what I thought.
My review vlog focuses primarily on Young Adult and Teen fiction. Occasionally, I’ll read and review something middle grade or new adult. I particularly love fantasy, paranormal, and horror fiction.
Sam’s Teen Reads Corner started out as a homeschool assignment when I was in junior high, as an alternative to writing book reports for all the books I read. The format has changed over the years, but I still love the variety of books I get asked to review, and I enjoy the interaction of the live stream format.
I’ve drafted three books of my own, though I haven’t gotten around to publishing any of them. (Because editing. And computer crashes. And high school.) I’ve completed one National Novel Writing Month. And I’ve met so many awesome authors as the daughter of bookstore owners. Truly, it’s kind of a bookworm’s dream – living downstairs from our bookstore inventory (I never have to complain that I have nothing to read!). Plus, inventory shopping trips usually result in me getting at least a few books that I get to read before they get listed.
You can check out our review blog at and tune into my live stream vlog most Saturdays at 11 a.m. Pacific time:
Sam's Teen Reads Corner cover
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Guest Post From Amanda Lindsey, PA

Guest Post From Amanda Lindsey, PA


This month’s theme is Marketing Madness, as you already know.  Personal Assistants are great resources to help authors with marketing and promotions

I have very limited experiences working with a PA myself, so I asked my friend, Amanda Lindsey, PA, to share with you what PAs do.

From Amanda:

PA’s are personal assistants to authors.

We are also known as VA’s which are virtual assistants. Each person has different qualities and qualifications to offer an author.

Services may depend on training and knowledge. We are self taught or gain knowledge from the PA community. Pricing also depends on what the PA can offer and what the author may need. Each client is always different as are PA’s.

We strive to be the right hand person to the author. Some of the things that may be offered are support, friendship, reading and reviewing on a variety of levels, form creation, blog contact, group activity and maintenance, arc team support, social media marketing, running author social media and pages, calendar management, takeover posting, takeover and party setup, graphics and teasers, transcription and so much more.

We try to take up things that will give the author more time to focus on what they do best….writing.

Monthly Theme

My Marketing Struggles


So as part of my refocusing my blog, I am going to start posting about myself more often, and I am going to post about the monthly themes that are being used in the Burning Embers blog.  And the theme for March is Marketing Madness.

I will tell you what, as an author my favorite thing to do is get to know other authors, and make new friends.  My least favorite thing to do is marketing and promotion.

I don’t have much experience in marketing and promotion outside of posting about my books on Facebook (which ever since the updated community standards came into effect, I am in FB jail more often than not for spamming book groups), Instagram (which I do so sporadically, I might be better off to drop it), Twitter (here again I am so rarely on Twitter, and don’t really like it for my own use that my postings there are often ineffective), and other platforms where I have a presence.

I have got The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1, included in a few different book promotional emails before, and getting would like to get into higher quality promotions with a more active reach, but at only 27 Amazon reviews, my options are limited to the 25 or more promotional opportunities.

My biggest limitation is money.  I do not have the means just start paying out a $300/month on ads or promotions right now.  So everything I am able to do, I do without paying for ads and promotions on a regular basis.  In fact what has been my experience is that I drop $500 on a promotional run for The United, or a new release, and I make back like $20 in royalties.  I know that sounds upside down, and I agree, it is.  But is just  drives home my point that I am still learning how to effectively use my limited marketing budget.

My point? Marketing is struggle for me.  I have not found my niche market, I have a platform that is effective for me, and I have not been able to successfully sell my books on a consistent basis.

My challenge for March? Learn about any new platforms to try and market my books, reword some of my self published book descriptions, and update my blog.  As the month goes on, I will keep you posted on how that is working for me.

And you experienced authors out there, feel free to comment with any suggestions and recommendations you have that has worked for you, and that you think may be beneficial to me, or to other authors who follow my blog.