Scott Marlowe
Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Writing Update #23

A weekly progress report as I work through the (second pass) editing of my current fantasy novel.

I really thought I was going to have nothing good to report this time, but I wound up squeezing out 13 pages despite it being New Year's and a bunch of other things coming up. It was, however, a welcome if unscheduled break which hopefully has charged my batteries a bit.

So, 13 pages, bringing me to a current page of 151 (up from last week's 140). Total pages went down, again, this time from 354 to 352.


% complete went from 39.55% to 42.90%. A small gain.


Total word count: last week I had 104,006 words. This week, 103,397, a decrease of 609 words. Not much of a decrease, but a decrease nonetheless.


That's it for this time. Back to writing for me.

It's a New Year, and I haven't made a single resolution

imageNew Year's or not, I haven't made any resolutions in many, many years. Given that only 12% of New Year's resolutions are actually kept, it's a wonder anyone bothers making them at all. Yet, people do.

That's not to say I don't have goals; the distinction is important. Their definitions:

goal (noun): the state of affairs that a plan is intended to achieve and that (when achieved) terminates behavior intended to achieve it

resolution (noun): a decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner

A resolution is therefore a change in behavior. A goal is a task requiring completion.

Although my wife would be quick to argue this point, I don't need any behavioral changes. What I do need are goals.

David Stoddard in his post New Year's Goals - Yes (Resolutions - Not So Much) would seem to agree. He says:

I've done the goal setting things in the past. I heard of the studies where only the successful 3% have goals written down. I had ideas of what I wanted to accomplish. But for differing reasons, I didn't always reach them as often as I would have liked. Some were just ideas which stayed ideas. Others I worked at didn't turn out as planned.

Resolutions don't work. Maybe it's because we're too stubborn, or because we believe we can't change. Or maybe we're just too set in our ways.

None of that matters.

The only thing that really matters is that we set out to do something and then go do it. This is where goals come in.

David goes on to list a number of "must's" for goals, which must be:

  1. Achievable
  2. Believable
  3. Desirable
  4. Measurable
  5. Workable
  6. Flexible

I would sum those up as "do-able". Only you can determine if a goal is do-able. Also, what might be do-able for one person may not be for another. But you have to start somewhere, and setting goals is the first step.

I'm working on my own writing and blogging goals for 2009 in another post. It should go up soon. I would encourage others to do the same. I haven't done this before, so I have no last year's post to reference to see if I achieved my 2008 goals. This time next year, though, I plan to revisit this subject and see how I did in 2009.

Most Popular Posts of 2008

A recent post from Darren Rowse at ProBlogger entitled Best of ProBlogger – 2008, where he lists out his most viewed posts of 2008, inspired me to take a look at my own "best of" as dictated by Google Analytics.

Here they are:

  1. Tor Free E-books: The Complete List
  2. Tor Free E-book: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
  3. Tor Free E-book: Old Man's War by John Scalzi
  4. Meyer's 'Midnight Sun' On Hold
  5. Book Review: The Soldier Son Trilogy by Robin Hobb
  6. When To Stop Reading, Part 3: Short Stories
  7. Tor Free E-book: Through Wolf's Eyes by Jane Lindskold
  8. When To Stop Listening, Part 4: Audiobooks
  9. Book Review: Sly Mongoose by Tobias Buckell
  10. Has the fantasy genre become stagnant?

The 2008 Year In Review

Happy New Year everyone!

With 2008 over, I decided to take quick stock of things with respect to my writing and blogging.


I spent all of this past year working on my current fantasy novel. I've been documenting the progress in a weekly series, so I won't go into that angle of it too much. The fact that I only worked on one "thing" is kind of disheartening. I've been thinking of trying my hand at short fiction, but most of my ideas tend towards a larger scope, so the novel format is really the best. But the idea of starting and finishing something in a reasonable amount of time is alluring.

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. I'm already doing the things I want to do—writing, reading, cycling, programming. But were I to make a commitment of that kind it would be to finish my current novel. That, and to author more content-rich blog posts. I've been slacking a little lately only because I've been trying to focus on my writing. Blogging is great, but it's an aside and not the real purpose here.


Of course, now I want to briefly look at my blogging progress. I started blogging in June of 2006. That first blog is still out there, and really just morphed into this one when I acquired the domain name that goes along with my real name. That happened in January 2008. Since then, I've penned 157 posts (this makes 158). Probably a third (or more) of those are from my weekend links and writing progress series. Also, I recently started a new blog, called, which focuses on technology and programming "stuff". It creates some more work for me, but I've increasingly needed a technical online presence and a place to organize my software engineering pursuits much like I organize my writing pursuits with this one.

So, a good year, I think. But there's more work to do. Good luck with your own pursuits and make 2009 a good one.

Writing Update #22

A weekly progress report as I work through the (second pass) editing of my current fantasy novel.

Another good week. Before I jump into the numbers, some reflection: I find myself cutting a lot of "junk". By that I mean passages that are nothing more than info dumps or scenes where a character is thinking, introspectively, mayhap trying to rationalize something out, but I'm finding those paragraphs kind of tedious to read. I can only assume if I find them so, how's a reader going to feel? That's an excellent warning sign of something that probably needs to go. In fact, if you take nothing else from this post, take that. If you find yourself losing interest while reading your own writing, chances are your readers are going to feel the same way. No point in keeping such baggage around.

Now, on to the progress…

Like I started to say: it was a good week, especially considering half of it was spent at various xmas functions. Overall, I advanced my current page editing to 140, up from last week's 125. Total pages dropped (again) from 361 to 354. That gave me 22 pages for the week.


Percent complete jumped to 39.5% from last week's 34.6%:


Total word count proved interesting once more, decreasing by 1,864 to a total of 104,006. It's amazing how much that keeps going down as I cut and slash and tighten my prose. It will be interesting indeed to see where it lands when all is said and done.

That's it for now. Back to writing for me.

Scott Marlowe
Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Publishing’s Big 6: Who are they?

College football has the Big 12. The accounting industry has the Big 4. Publishing? The Big 6.

A lot of us are familiar with Macmillan due to their recent battle over eBook pricing. They're one of the six. But who are the other five?

This post started as a quick look into just that, but then I thought maybe I'd also list a little bit of information about their imprints. Imprints are nothing more than trade names a publisher uses when publishing in a narrower field. Tor, for example, is an imprint of Macmillan that focuses on fantasy and science fiction. But as I started to dig into each of the Big 6's imprint information I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer number. As you can see below, it borders on the ridiculous.

Therefore, the focus of this post is to just list out the major publishing houses along with some high level info about each. Their imprints have been relegated to a simple list with links so you can click-through to find out more information if you so desire.

Here they are.

1. Hachette Book Group

Hachette Book GroupHachette Book Group is a leading US trade publisher headquartered in New York, and owned by Hachette Livre, the second largest publisher in the world.  In one year, HBG publishes approximately 450 adult books, 150 young adult and children’s books, and 60 audio book titles. In 2008, the company had a record 107 books on the New York Times bestseller list, with 35 of them ranked #1.  In addition to selling and distributing its own imprints, HBG distributes publishing lines for Chronicle Books, Microsoft Learning, Arcade, Time Inc. Home Entertainment, Harry N. Abrams, InnovativeKids, Phaidon Press, Filipacchi Publishing, Kensington, MQ Publications, Strictly By The Book, Weinstein Books and Gildan Media.

Imprints include: Grand Central Publishing, Vision, Forever, Twelve, Business Plus, Wellness Central, 5 Spot, Springboard Press, Faith Words, Windblown Media, Center Street, Hachette Audio, Little, Brown and Company, Back Bay Books, Bulfinch, Reagan Arthur Books, Poppy, LB Kids, Orbit, Yen Press

2. HarperCollins

HarperCollinsHarperCollins Publishers is one of the world’s leading English-language publishers. Headquartered in New York, the company is a subsidiary of News Corporation. The house of Mark Twain, the Brontë sisters, Thackeray, Dickens, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Margaret Wise Brown, HarperCollins was founded in New York City in 1817 as J. and J. Harper, later Harper & Brothers, by James and John Harper. In 1987, as Harper & Row, it was acquired by News Corporation. The worldwide book group was formed following News Corporation’s 1990 acquisition of the British publisher William Collins & Sons. Founded in 1819, William Collins & Sons published a range of Bibles, atlases, dictionaries, and reissued classics, expanding over the years to include legendary authors, such as H. G. Wells, Agatha Christie, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis. HarperCollins has publishing groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia/New Zealand, and India. Today, HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children’s books, cookbooks, and mystery, romance, reference, religious, and spiritual books. Consistently at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement, HarperCollins is the first publisher to digitize its content and create a global digital warehouse to protect the rights of its authors, meet consumer demand, and generate additional business opportunities.

Imprints include: Amistad, Avon, Avon A, Avon Inspire, Avon Red, Caedmon, Collins, Harper Business, Collins Design, Collins Living, Ecco, Eos, Harper Mass Market, Harper Paperbacks, Harper Perennial, HarperAudio, HarperCollins, HarperCollins e-Books, ItBooks, HarperLuxe, HarperOne, HarperStudio, Morrow Cookbooks, Rayo, William Morrow, Amistad, Eos, Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Children's Audio, HarperCollins Children's Books, HarperFestival, HarperEntertainment, HarperTeen, HarperTrophy, Joanna Cotler Books, Julie Andrews Collection, Katherine Tegen Books, Laura Geringer Books, Rayo

3. Macmillan

MacmillanMacmillan is the new face of a company with a rich history in the publishing industry. The adult trade collection comes from a distinctive conglomerate of leading publishing imprints. Macmillan’s other primary focuses are on educating the leaders and thinkers of tomorrow with its college and academic titles, and magazines and journals.

Imprints include: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, FSG Hardcovers, FSG Paperbacks, Hill & Wang, Faber & Faber, First Second, Henry Holt & Co., Henry Holt Hardcovers, Henry Holt Paperbacks, Metropolitan Books, Times Books, Macmillan Audio, Behind the Wheel, Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Picador, Quick and Dirty Tips, Scientific American, St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, Thomas Dunne Books, Tor/Forge, Tor Books, Forge Books, Orb Books, Tor/Seven Seas, Bedford, Freeman and Worth, Bedford/St. Martin’s, W.H. Freeman, Worth Publishers, BFW High School, Hayden-McNeil, Palgrave Macmillan, Trade Books For Courses, FSG Books for Young Readers, Feiwel & Friends, Holt Books for Young Readers, Kingfisher, Roaring Brook, Priddy Books, Starscape/Tor Teen, Square Fish, Young Listeners, Macmillan Kids

4. Penguin Group

Penguin GroupPenguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. affiliate of the internationally renowned Penguin Group, one of the largest English-language trade book publishers in the world. Formed in 1996 as a result of the merger between Penguin Books USA and The Putnam Berkley Group, Penguin Group (USA), under the stewardship of Chief Executive Officer, David Shanks, and President, Susan Petersen Kennedy, is a leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publisher. The Penguin Group, with operations in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa and China, is led by CEO and Chairman, John Makinson, and is owned by Pearson plc. Pearson is an international media company with market-leading businesses in education, business information, and consumer publishing.

Imprints include: Ace Books, Alpha Books, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, Avery, Berkley Books, Dial Books for Young Readers, Dutton Books, Dutton Children's Books, Firebird, Frederick Warne, Gotham Books, G.P. Putnam's Sons, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Grosset & Dunlap, HP Books, Hudson Street Press, Jove, NAL, Pamela Dorman Books, Penguin, The Penguin Press, Perigee Books, Philomel Books, Plume, Portfolio, Prentice Hall Press, Price Stern Sloan, Puffin Books, Razorbill, Riverhead, Sentinel, Speak, Tarcher, The Viking Press, Viking Books for Young Readers

5. Random House

Random HouseRandom House, Inc. is the U.S. division of Random House, the world's largest trade-book publisher, and is owned by Bertelsmann AG, one of the world's foremost media companies. Random House, Inc. assumed its current ownership with its acquisition by Bertelsmann in 1998, which brought together the imprints of the former Random House, Inc. with those of the former Bantam Doubleday Dell. Random House, Inc.'s adult publishing groups are the Crown Publishing Group, the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, and the Random House Publishing Group. The Random House Children's Books division is the world's largest publisher of books for young readers. Together, these groups and their imprints publish fiction and nonfiction, both original and reprints, by some of the foremost and most popular writers of our time. They appear in a full range of formats—including hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, audio, electronic, and digital, for the widest possible readership from adults to young adults and children.

Imprints include: Crown Trade Group, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Random House Publishing Group, RH Audio Publishing Group, Random House Children’s Books, RH Information Group, RH International, RH Large Print

6. Simon & Schuster

Simon & SchusterSimon & Schuster, Inc. is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, providing consumers worldwide with a diverse range of quality books across a wide variety of genres and formats. It is the publishing operation of CBS Corporation, one of the world’s premier media companies. Simon & Schuster was founded in 1924 by Richard L. (Dick) Simon and M. Lincoln (Max) Schuster. Their initial project was a crossword puzzle book, the first ever produced, which was a runaway bestseller. From that, the company has grown to become a multifaceted publishing house that publishes 1800 titles annually, and whose seven divisions — Adult Publishing, Children’s Publishing, Audio, Digital, and international companies in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia — are home to some of the most distinguished imprints and recognizable brand names in the world of publishing.   Simon & Schuster and its imprints have won 54 Pulitzer Prizes, and been the recipient of numerous National Book Awards, National Book Critics Circle Awards, Grammy Awards, and Newbery and Caldecott Medals.

Imprints include: Aladdin, Atheneum, Atria, Beach Lane Books, Folger Shakespeare Library, Free Press, Howard Books, Little Simon, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Paula Wiseman Books, Pimsleur, Pocket, Scribner, Simon & Schuster, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster BFYR, Simon Pulse, Simon Spotlight, Threshold, Touchstone/Fireside