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Marketing Madness in March

Marketing Madness in March

Bleen, my least favorite, most hated aspect of publishing is marketing.

From everything I have read, and researched, marketing is all about finding your ideal audience. Well, I am about as far from finding my audience as I am from finding needles in hay stacks.

I start off with this so you understand I am far from knowledgeable, I am just an author who is trying things one baby step at a time, and often feels like I took one step too far underwater. Not a good feeling for a hydrophobe, like myself.

In point of fact, Burning Embers was born from my frustration with marketing problems, and my desire to share what hasn’t worked with other authors, and learn from one another what does work.

But here are some things I do know about marketing.

Newsletters. I personally send out my newsletter once a month, on the first Wednesday of each month. I have a reader magnet, The Viscount of Sternboard, A Realm of the Light Novella, that I give away to newsletter subscribers. I only have a modest following, about 750 subscribers at present, but the services provided by Story Origin have been incredibly valuable to me in maintaining that number.

Blog. I run a blog at  Every Monday evening I post a book spotlight, every Wednesday I post an author interview. Every so often, not as often as I should, I post something on the other days as well.

That’s about it.  I have profiles on multiple social media platforms, but am not particularly active on any one individual platform. That is mostly because I am over the social media phase, and only use to keep in touch with friends and family.

What marketing strategies have worked for you, or is presently working for you, that you would like to share?

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JQM Thoughts on Newsletters

The Burning Embers Theme for October is Newsletters, and I was preparing my post for that blog, I thought I would share my thoughts with you as well.

To start off with, I don’t much about newsletters (NL). I have a NL that I send out monthly, but I am no expert on the subject.  But all the same, here are my thoughts.

Why I send out Monthly:

There are authors who send out newsletters monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, or whenever they feel like it. I chose for consistency sake to send mine out monthly. A monthly newsletter is not too difficult for me to create, and is easy for me to remember to schedule. As a reader, I think weekly or bi-weekly newsletters are too frequent, and anything less than monthly is too inconsistent.

What Email Service I use:

I chose MailChimp. It is not the easiest service for me to navigate, but let’s be honest, there is not an email service that would be easy for me to navigate, and a few friends recommended that I use MailChimp’s free service, so there you have it.

What Type of Content I Share:

It is very important to remember that as an author you have a brand, and you need to share only books and content that fit within your brand. I write YA, Children, and Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction that is clean in content, so I choose to only share books and join group promotions that fit within my genre and audience.

I also choose to share at least one personal tidbit about myself. It is usually something that has to do with whatever I am working on, either personally or in my literature, at the time that I am writing the newsletter. For instance, I am fan of the University of Florida Gators Football & Basketball teams, so when they are doing well, or when they are not doing not so well, I either share my frustrations or excitement with my NL subscribers.

What are NL Swaps, and Where to Find Them:

A Newsletter Swap is where Alicia Scarborough and I agree to share one another’s books with our newsletter subscribers. So I will post something about Potion of the Hound, Mystical Mishaps Book 1 on my NL, and she will in turn post something about The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1 on her NL.

There are a few places to find NL swaps, Facebook, MeWe, Prolific Works, etc, but the place most user friendly for me to coordinate all my NL swaps and Group Promos are in Story Origin. If you don’t use Story Origin to coordinate NL swaps, Street Teams, Group Promotions, Audiobook reviews, and the like, I highly recommend it.

I use not 1 but 2 reader magnets to draw people to join my Newsletter.

First, is Jackalopes: The Real Story, a fun short story about two couples camping in the wilderness and encountering Jackalopes and other mythological creatures.

Second is Viscount of Sternboard, A Realm of the Light Novella.

Cyrus McCreed returns home from serving his country abroad to discover that life is not as simple as he hoped. Viscount of Sternboard is a Historical Fiction novella, the Titanic Story on the Realm of the Light.

To show they are free gifts to NL subs, I have this image I use:

If you are interested in joining my NL, follow THIS LINK.

If you have any further questions about Newsletters, you can either post your question in the comments, or shoot me an email at I am not promising I have the answers, but I may be able to connect you with someone who does have the answers that i lack.

Have a great day!

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My Thoughts on the July Topics for the Burning Embers Blog

July’s topics are Book Contests and Author Coventions, two topics I know very little about.

I know very little about book contests.
The little research i have done has been a simple google search, which pulls up a lot of contests with pricey entry fees. The only exception, and only contest i have ever participated in was AllAuthor’s Cover of the Month contest, which Kindled Legends, A Burning Embers Anthology took 3rd place in last September.

Quite honestly, the only author convention I am interested in attending is Realm Makers, a convention for Speculative Fiction Authors who believe in Christ. Maybe one day I will be able to attend.
A future convention I may be interested in attending, and hosting, is a potentional Burning Embers Author Convention, but right now that is a a few years down the road.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?