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The Benefits of Belonging to a Community of Authors when Publishing

The Benefits of Belonging to a Community of Authors when Publishing

Words fail to express how much my author friends have helped me in my publishing journey.

Without the help and support and bartering of services with Alicia Scarborough, I would have been forced to pay someone to create covers for my various self published short stories.

The various friends who have volunteered to either BETA read or edit my manuscripts saved me hundreds of dollars in editing fees for my self-published titles. While at the same time costing me many hours in BETA reading their manuscripts in return. However, reading their works is more of a pleasure than anything else.

I have said it many times, my favorite part of being an author is meeting new author friends.  Most my author friends will never be able to BETA read one of my stories. Nor will they join my ARC (advanced reader copies) team, someone who agrees to read your book before the release and post a review of your book on release day. My friends are there to help to support me when I feel depressed. Or when I want to talk out a certain problem or plot hole, and so on.

In short, I have benefited greatly by surrounding myself with other authors, sharing each other’s frustrations, successes, and literary discussions.

That is why I chose to create the Burning Embers Author Discussion Group on Facebook. And that is why Ally & I created this blog. It is another platform we can use to reach out to and help more author friends.

Publishing Costs

Publishing Costs:

Publishing costs can run anywhere from $0 – as much as you desire to spend.

I have not spent a single dime on any of my current publications, self-published or traditional published.

Here are a few various categories that may cost money:


As I have shared before, I barter services for editing, so I am not familiar with editing costs.  I do know from previous inquiries that some editors charge you by the page, others charge by the word count.  If you confident in your editing abilities, then you may choose to edit your own books free of charge, but I am not confident in my own editing prowess, which is why I barter services.  Content editing gets very expensive, but I hear the end result is worth the cost, both in the quality of your story and in the value of the experience to improve your own writing prowess.  I know the one time I bartered services for a content editor, my content editor was instrumental in helping me see what did and did not work in my book, and helped me understand why.


There are some fantastic covers out there that cost thousands of dollars, others that are fantastic and only cost a few dollars.  And you have everything in between for both cost and quality.  If you publish with a traditional publishing house, you do not pay for your cover, pending on your contract with your publisher.  If you create your own covers, which some of my authors friends do, then you also do not pay for covers.  And if you barter services, well, then you do not pay for covers with money, just time to accomplish whatever it is you and the cover designer agreed to.


So I get my formatting free in three different ways.  First, I barter services for formatting for some self published titles.  Second, I upload my books to either Amazon KDP Publishing or Draft 2 Digital, and they do all the formatting free of charge.  Third, my publisher formats my books I have contracted with them free of charge.  But if you want specific formatting done just the right way, you can research how to do it yourself,  you can barter services with someone who knows how to format well, or you can pay for it.  I don’t know if formatting services are expensive or inexpensive, but I do know it is one other cost that needs to be taken into consideration.

The one thing that all authors need to consider when looking at publishing costs is marketing and advertising costs.  The larger the publisher, the greater that publishers reach and marketing value, but that does not mean they do not do everything for their authors.  It does not matter who is publishing your book, you want to look into having a marketing and advertising budget.  How much you spend will depend on several variables that I cannot tell you, because they are not universal.  But, in general, if you want to find new readers, well, then not spending any money at all on any aspect of marketing or advertising will be detrimental to your sales goals.

Traditional Publishing

Traditional Publishing

Why Traditionally Publish A Book When I Can Do It Myself?

There are a quite a few pros to publishing with a publisher.  First, you have the resources of your publisher to help you market and sell books.  That by itself is potentially HUGE, pending on the publisher you sign on with.

Other Pros include:

*Editing services provided by your publisher.  I strongly recommend all authors to edit their books to their fullest, either themselves or others, before submitting anything to a publisher.  But, a new pair of eyes on a story is always helpful.

*Book Descriptions or Blurbs.  One thing that I struggle with the most on my own is crafting intriguing book descriptions for my self-published novels.  My titles published through my publisher, Cosby Media Productions, have better, more enticing book descriptions than anything I can craft myself.

*Book Covers.  Publishers, pending on your contract of course, have their own resources for creating book covers.

*Formatting.  Publishers, here again pending on your contract, take care of the formatting.

There are more Pros, but for me personally, the above are the biggest influences as to why I sought a publisher for “The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1.”

What are the CONS to going with a Traditional Publisher?

Like with the pros, there are quite a few different cons to singing with a traditional publisher, and different authors lists of pros and cons will vary.  Here are just a few of my biggest cons.

*Setting Pricing.  DISCLAIMER: I have not had this problem with CMP, but a former publisher.  I discussed pricing of ebooks with one publisher who desired The United, my only published title at the time, to be priced at something like $15.99 AS AN EBOOK!  I don’t know about you, but as for me, I would never buy an ebook at $16, no matter the author.

*You may not like the cover the Publisher gives your book.  It happens.  Some publishers I have heard of will talk with you about it and change the cover, others, not so much.  On this count, I have been lucky.  My CMP covers are the best.

*Release Date.  DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING STORY IS A COMBINATION OF THREE DIFFERENT AUTHOR FRIENDS WHO TALKED WITH ME ABOUT BOOK RELEASE WHOAS.  I WAS NOT ONE OF THE AUTHORS ILLUSTRATED HERE, MY PUBLISHER HAS GIVEN THE MOST SUPPORT OF ANY ON BOOK RELEASES AND COVER RELEASES.  My friend, let’s call him Jim, had book 3 of a series that I absolutely loved coming out with a small publisher.  Jim was told the book would be released on Jan 1st.  (No, not really New Year’s Day, I am using it for this example to illustrate what happened).  But his publisher never gave Jim a pre-release link, nor a look at the cover, so he could do a cover reveal or promote pre-release sales.  Searching for something else on Amazon the week before Christmas, Jim stumbled upon his Book 3, published and available for sale (not PRE-SALE mind you, but released for sale).  That accidental find was the first time Jim saw his new cover, and he had to save the cover from Amazon because his publisher never released that to him personally.  Moral of the story: research your publisher before you sign anything.  If possible, talk with some other authors who are published with the prospective publishing firm. 

*I’m tired of getting rejection letters from Publishers and Agents.  On this point, some publishing firms, the BEST publishing firms among them, only accept manuscripts through literary agents.  Some don’t.  That does not make it a bad publisher.  One publisher I would like to sign on with, and who sent me a rejection note on two separate occasions for The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1, was Shadow Mountain.  They accept non-solicited manuscripts, and are a very good publisher that has seen success in marketing and selling of fantasy books, Brandon Mull’s best selling series, Fablehaven, is one of theirs.  But it can be discouraging for a new author to get so many rejection notes, especially when you have faith in  your book and you have the ability to self-publish.

*I want full control over every step of the publishing process.  I have heard this, or if not this phrase specifically, something similar to it from many, many, many self-published authors.  They want full control over pricing, marketing, promotional sales, book cover, book descriptions, etc.


Not all books are meant for every publisher.  Some books will do better if self-published.  Others will do better with a small press, others with a large press.  Every book has its own journey, its own ideal home.  I recommend you think about what you want to accomplish with the release of your current WIP (Work In Progress) before deciding how to go about publishing it.

Apple Books – A Game Changer?

Apple Books – A Game Changer?

Back in the saddle y’all! Let’s get to it!!

Wow, it’s been a while since yours truly has written anything for Burning Embers.

To be honest I needed a break and I thank JQM for handling things while I was on hiatus.

So, what’s brought me back to the typewriter? What’s got me all fired up?

I’ll tell ya 😉

Apple has launched Apple Books for Authors! Woohoo!

It has a lot of cool things that make me want to do a series exclusive to Apple Books only and stop putting all my eggs into the KDP basket.

Why is Apple Books good? Well, as you know KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) has been dominating the indie publishing sphere since 2015 and frankly it’s gotten a bit too tight in restrictions for many authors.

The glory golden days of KDP are gone and over with and thus you either play by the might Zon’s rules or you get booted. Once you get booted you didn’t have many options…

Well, there is Draft2Digital but still KDP was the go to spot for your average reader in the mindset to buy and not peruse.

With Apple Books on the scene making it super easy for authors to publish on their platform I bet there’s going to be a huge change in the market. Will it be for good? Only time will tell.

The game changer

So, what’s got me absolutely crazy about Apple Books and why should you even bat an eye at it?

Take a gander at these wonderful options my fellow author friend:

Apple BooksKindle Direct Publishing
70% royalties on every book, regardless of price✔️
No file delivery fees✔️
No limitations on offering free books to customers✔️
No payments for preferential store placement✔️
No price matching✔️
No third-party ads✔️
information retrieved from

Pretty stellar, right?

I thought so too and is super inticing for me to ditch KDP all together. However, keep in mind that Apple Books does not have a program like Kindle Unlimited.

Nor do I know if you can do print books through them or get free ISBNs (yes in some countries like the USA you have to pay for your ISBN numbers) through Apple Books.

Overall, I would have to say that this is a huge step up for Apple and I hoping this gives KDP a run for their money. A little competition helps keep things fair and we indie authors have been needing this for a while now.

What are you thoughts on Apple Books? Are you excited to give it a shot? Let me know.

Until next time…

Keep on rising above the ashes of obscurity!

My Opinion on Vanity Presses -A JQM Article

So, before I begin I want to say that this is in no way anything more than the personal opinion of JQM.  I have nothing against Vanity Presses in the book publishing world.  For some people and some projects it is the perfect option.  I am not an expert on Vanity Presses, so what I am sharing is just my opinion based on my observations and personal research.

I have been approached by a few Vanity Presses in my day (email, phone calls, FB Messages, Twitter Messages, and letters), especially when The United was no longer represented by Tate Publishing, and before I signed on with Cosby Media Productions.  To be honest, the biggest red flag to me that it is a Vanity Press is when they say “For X-amount of Dollars, we will publish your book.”  A true traditional publisher will never ask you for money to publish your book.  They take their cut out of royalties, but more on that when we talk about traditional publishers.

The disclaimer out of the way, why choose a Vanity Press to publish your book?

As far as I understand it, and as far as I can tell from my research, a Vanity Press is kind of like a one stop shop for self-publishing with less control over the publishing details, such as where your book is published, pricing, cover, and formatting.

As far as I am concerned, you as the author are in full control of the editing.  Never submit a manuscript to any publisher that is not as perfectly edited as you can manage on your own.  I am not saying edit solely yourself.  Barter services with other authors for editing and BETA reading, and/or pay for an editing service or barter editing services BEFORE you submit your first book to any publisher.  For your published book to make the best possible impression, have it as perfect as your resources can make it BEFORE submitting it to any publisher or literary agent.


So, first let’s talk about why a Vanity Press is a bad idea for your project.  If you want full control of your cover, ebook distribution, or how your final book is formatted, then a Vanity Press is not for you.  If you do not have money to pay for their services, a Vanity Press is not for you.  If you want your book in a brick and mortar store, or you want a publisher to be strongly involved in the marketing of your book, then a Vanity Press is likely not the right fit for your project.


So, with all those cons out of the way, why would you choose a Vanity Press.  That’s simple.  If you, as the author, want to publish a book, but you do not want:

1) to design the cover.

2) format the various types of books (print, mobi, epub, pdf).

3) Upload the book yourself to Amazon or Draft2Digital or any other ebook distributors.

4) Want to pay someone else to do all the above for you.

Then you might look into a Vanity Press.

My Final Thoughts

Personally, I would rather take on all the hassle of self publishing, or go through the hassle of finding a publisher. But that is just me.  Vanity Presses are not inherently bad. It’s just they have never been the right place for me to publish any of my projects. 

Why I Hybrid Publish

Why I Hybrid Publish

Not every title deserves to be published with every publisher, nor should every title be self published.

I felt like Cosby Media Productions was the correct home for The United.

But my short stories were not a good fit with any publisher.
Some short stories of mine were a good fit with some anthologies, so i submitted them.

That’s why I hybrid publish.

Now, that being said, my decision felt right to me. If you have a different path that works and feels right for, that great. My purpose in sharing this is so you can understand my choice, and hopefully help you talk out what works for you.