Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Favorite Reads of 2014

Mostly, I read for entertainment. Most of the titles below fit that bill. Some, like The Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe, find themselves on my reading list because I love history (Revolutionary War, Napoleonic, World War II, Ancient Rome timeframes are all thumbs up) and have great respect for anyone who has served in our military. I find their stories emboldening and interesting. Other reads, like What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank, are just fun, and something I hope provides information that finds its way into my writing. There’s one financial-related book in this year’s best because I love what Jim Cramer does for the small investor and I found this book in particular hit very close to home because Mr. Cramer talks quite a bit about the tech bubble of the late 90’s. I graduated college in 1994 and lived in the Silicon Valley area (I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area) during the rise and fall of the stock market during that era. Looking back, it was quite a ride. I don’t think any of us really knew what we were in the middle of, but it was some good times. The rest of the books are the usual fantasy, with a little steampunk thrown in, but all good reads (otherwise they wouldn’t be on this list) I recommend.

 

17349068 18457557
17262144 9513722
4407
17365093 15819028
9802432 13109291
1395209
9918083  

Favorite Reads of 2013

Carrying on the tradition of listing out my favorites reads of the year (here are my favorite reads of 2010 and 2011; apparently I skipped 2013—some tradition, huh?), I give you the books I found most enjoyable in 2013.

9579634

6050678

12987245

13414217

12287209

1206073

256598

298567

6885204

9461562

17370411

 
 

You can see all of the books I read in 2013 on Goodreads.

Other "Best Of" Lists

The 2012 Year In Review

Carrying on in the tradition of my annual Year In Review posts where I took a look back at each of 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, here's my review of 2012 from a blogging and writing perspective.

Blogging

Late last year I decided to start blogging every day. This obviously had an impact on the amount of content produced and the number of posts I ended up with. I was kind of surprised, though, that it didn't result in a new high. As this table shows, 2010 remains my most prolific year as a blogger.

Year Total Posts For Year
2008 157  
2009 219 62
2010 363 144
2011 407 44
2012 514 107

Still, 107 posts is significantly better than the previous year and I managed to just come in over 500 total. 500! Wow, it feels good to be able to write that.

In terms of traffic, I'm going to hold off on the effect that making daily posts has had. As one would expect, traffic is up. But is it up significantly year-to-year from when I wasn't blogging every day? That's a determination for a future post.

In 2012, I once again reminded people to make backing up your data a priority. I jumped into KDP Select, enrolling both of my novels, but ultimately bailed on the program. Just not for me. I ran giveaways for print editions of The Five Elements and The Hall of the Wood. I finally threw in the towel on free promotions. I talked a little bit about eBook pricing. I revealed a new cover and product page for The Five Elements, was interviewed on Kindle Fantasy Authors, and talked a bit about achieving perfection, or trying to anyway. I joined the Magic Appreciation Tour, discussed the direction I plan to take The Alchemancer series, gave my opinion of reviews and why I've generally stopped reading them, listed out some reasons why I don't follow everyone back on Twitter, and announced I was no longer making print editions of my novels available. I furthered my online presence by establishing a Facebook fan page and started blogging every day. I featured my first ever guest post, featuring a post by Tracy Falbe. Last, I offered up some predictions for the ePublishing industry as we move into 2013. That post got about 1,000 views in the first three days as it got picked up by a few on Twitter.

Here's what dedicated readers and those just passing by found most useful in terms of posts written in 2012:

  1. KDP Select Promotion 1 Wrap-up
  2. The Failure of Free
  3. The Characters of The Five Elements
  4. The Places of The Five Elements
  5. What to do with an Amazon review containing spoilers
  6. The Five Elements: Free on Kindle Today Only
  7. The Great Free Experiment
  8. The Five Elements Giveaway
  9. 5 out of 5 stars for The Five Elements by reader Timmain
  10. The Five Elements: Now Free Tomorrow, too

Here's the overall Top 10 (out of the 500+ posts) with number of views in parenthesis:

  1. Publishing’s Big 6: Who are they? (26249)
  2. eBook File Formats (26133)
  3. Book Review: The Soldier Son Trilogy by Robin Hobb (17366)
  4. Novels (9412)
  5. Has the fantasy genre become stagnant? (9223)
  6. Weekend Links - 7/3/08 (8806)
  7. Recommended Reference - The Synonym Finder (8675)
  8. Fiction: How Long Is Too Long? (7908)
  9. Locus Online: 2007 Cover Art Gallery (7697)
  10. How much do you make selling through Amazon's Kindle store? (7478)

That's 128,947 combined views! If you look at the total number of views of all posts, it's 953,371. Almost 1 million views since my first post back in January, 2008.

Now, on to writing.

Writing

I didn't complete the next novel in the Alchemancer series. That was a bit of a disappointment for me. But I made some moves related to the day job about mid-year which has put me in a good position to finish the next book by early 2013. On the plus side, I've got a solid outline I'm working from and I'm making consistent, daily progress.

Also, I've added a lot of worldbuilding type of info to the World of Uhl site. Information about the various kingdoms, their people, and specific characters that show up in my novels. Go check it out.

Last, I've got maps coming. The first one to go along with the story told in The Hall of the Wood is finished. I'll do a reveal in the next couple of weeks and also get it integrated into the eBook. The next map to come my way will be the one to go along with The Five Elements. Then I have two coming for The Nullification Engine, which is the next book in the Alchemancer series. The final and fifth map I've commissioned my cartographer to create is of Uhl itself. A full-on world map. It should be glorious.

Conclusion

I'll conclude with some stats and a thanks to everyone who has made this blog a success for me by stopping by, reading, commenting, and spreading the good word through Twitter and other social media outlets.

Thanks!

  • Total number of posts at EOY: 514 (at end of 2011: 407)
  • Total number of posts written in 2012: 107 (at end of 2011: 407)
  • Total number of views for all posts: 953,371 (at end of 2011: 716,639; an increase of 236,732)
  • Average posts/month: 8.9 (at end of 2011: 4) 

The 2011 Year In Review

It's fast becoming a tradition around here to reflect a bit on the previous year both as a writer and a blogger. Previous bouts of reflection spilled out of me in 2010 and 2009. But, here we are now, in 2012, so let's dig in.

In terms of blogging, my posting decreased dramatically. In 2010, I wrote 144 posts. In 2011, only 44. This reflects an attempt to refocus myself on my novel writing and my self-promotion as an indie author. I'm not giving up blogging; I find there are important topics that, as an author, I need to know. Topics such as the growing alignment of paperback and eBook prices is one of those things that can change (and is changing) an industry. Also, Amazon's eBook strategy remains paramount for nearly every indie author out there. I can't guarantee that every post I wrote in 2011 is going to be beneficial to everyone, but they are at least beneficial to me.

In terms of what others found most useful, here are the "hottest" posts written in 2011 (numbers in parenthesis represent the total number of views for the year):

  1. Pricing: eBooks vs Paperbacks (2241)
  2. Contribute (1807)
  3. The Five Elements - 12. The Four Elements (1780)
  4. Free Kindles for Everyone! (1439)
  5. An introspective on Borders' liquidation (1187)
  6. The Five Elements - 21. The Fifth Element (888)
  7. The Five Elements - 18. Amongst the Clouds (842)
  8. How to ruin your writing career in 1 easy step (773)
  9. Book Review: Honour of the Grave by Robin Laws (747)
  10. Classic Reread: Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles (714)

Now, let's look at the most popular posts overall:

  1. Tor Free E-books: The Complete List (17746)
  2. eBook File Formats (14890)
  3. Book Review: The Soldier Son Trilogy by Robin Hobb (13571)
  4. Publishing’s Big 6: Who are they? (12717)
  5. Tor Free E-book: Old Man's War by John Scalzi (11120)
  6. Tor Free E-book: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (8955)
  7. Tor Free E-Book: Starfish by Peter Watts (8045)
  8. Has the fantasy genre become stagnant? (7791)
  9. Weekend Links - 7/3/08 (7544)
  10. Recommended Reference - The Synonym Finder (7178)

The #1 spot still belongs my list of Tor's free giveaways from a few years ago. I think the word "free" in the title has something to do with that post's longevity. My review of Hobb's Soldier Son Trilogy fell one place to #3, making room for a new #2. My post on eBook file formats spent most of 2010 skyrocketing through the ranks and really only missed the Top 10 for that year by a few places. Seeing it at #2 (and eventually #1 is my guess) is no surprise.

Other notable additions to the Top 10 Posts for 2011 is my post on the publishing industry's "Big 6". A lot of writers come by to take a look at that one, and it's even gotten linked to from several other sources as reference material. That's gratifying.

As far as writing… where to start? Lots of self-promotion via Twitter, GoodReads, and this web site. I gave away a lot of free eBooks, serialized The Five Elements, and purchased some professional art to use as the cover of The Hall of the Wood. I even re-vamped the cover for The Five Elements. Also, The Hall of the Wood went free on Amazon and I'm happy to say it's racking up over 100 downloads per day, went as far as #11 in the Kindle Free Mythology category (it's at #26 as I write this), and remains in the Top 100 Free Fantasy category for Kindle. It's even driven some sales of The Five Elements (but not enough).

Clearly, there's a lot going on right now for me on the writing front. I think I'd like to address some of these points separately in their own posts.

That being said, I'll close this up with my usual statistics:

  • Total number of posts at EOY: 407 (at end of 2010: 363)
  • Total number of posts written in 2011: 44 (at end of 2010: 144)
  • Total number of views for all posts: 716639 (at end of 2010: 450,053)
  • Average posts/month: 4 (at end of 2010: 11.9)