Scott Marlowe
Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Get The Five Elements for free on Smashwords

Just a quick note to let everyone know you can download The Five Elements for free from Smashwords from now until the end of the year. Just use the coupon code UP62L at checkout.

I like Smashwords because they sell eBooks in a variety of formats (HTML, MOBI, EPUB, LRF, RTF, etc.). Buy the book, and you can download whatever format fits your need. Use the coupon code, and it won’t cost you a dime.

Kindle Direct Publishing: Error in conversion… resolved!

2011/12/2 Update: Big thanks to the Amazon rep who reached out to me after I tweeted my issue with uploading The Five Elements to KDP as well as to Amazon's engineering staff. It looks like there was a combination of things going on here, but all is well now. I was able to upload the latest version of my book after a software glitch was fixed and the rep ran through some things which ultimately showed the error as being a false positive.

2011/12/1 Update: I've tried many formats: .docx, .doc, .rtf, .html. None work. I even tried uploading an old version of my document since it *did* work previously. Even that won't upload/convert. Bummer. I sent the rep the .doc file that was previously working to pass on to their engineers. Hope they find something.

2011/11/29 Update: A representative from Amazon saw the tweet I posted giving a shout-out to this post and contacted me via email. We went back and forth a few times, the end result being that while Amazon thought they had the problem fixed I'm still unable to successfully submit anything through the KDP interface.

I've been trying to upload the latest version of The Five Elements to the Kindle store for the past day and a half, but keep getting an error stating there has been a conversion error.


Not particularly helpful, and entirely unexpected considering I haven't changed the format of my submission. In fact, that exact format has worked flawlessly for some time now.

I'm assuming Amazon is having some issues on their end. I'm not the only one experiencing this issue, either. Unfortunately, the error is so generic there are many reasons one might hit upon it, legitimate or not.

Given that we're just coming out of Thanksgiving weekend, I'm going to give Amazon's guys a break here. This post is really just to document the error for my benefit or yours. Hopefully they get back in bright and early tomorrow and take care of the problem.

Indie Book Blog reviews The Hall of the Wood

The Indie Book Blog reviewed The Hall of the Wood, giving it 4 out of 5 stars. This review isn’t new, but somehow it slipped under the radar and I didn’t realize it was there until I recently pinged IBB to see if they’d review The Five Elements. Scott, the proprietor, pointed out the review to me and offered to move my request up the queue (turns out he’d already added it to his list, but just hadn’t gotten to it). Scott was also nice enough to publish his review as a comment on

As an indie author, you have to like what IBB is doing: buying and reviewing indie works gives us a sale and some exposure in the process. Guess you never know if that exposure is going to be good or not, but that’s the nature of the business.

Fortunately, Scott had some nice things to say about The Hall of the Wood:

The story is well written and has some interesting characters and plot twists along the way. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre and for [...] why not give it a try. I am intrigued enough by the author that I will be purchasing his other book in the near future to see what else he has to offer.

Thanks, Scott!

I’ll post his review of The Five Elements when it’s available.

You can purchase The Hall of the Wood on in Kindle format or download a free PDF version here.

3 out of 5 stars for The Five Elements

I was tempted to title this post "How to Deal with a Bad Review". Yes, I got a "bad" review. But the truth is that it's not a horrible review, just a bad one ('horrible' being 1 star or thereabouts). Once I'd taken the time to fully digest the reviewer's comments, I wasn't even that upset with it. The reviewer made some valid points, cited specific errors, and, all in all, provided a pretty level-headed assessment of his opinion. I really have no fault with any of it.

Here's what he had to say:


I'll admit: my first reaction was a mixture of disappointment and something to the effect, "Oh yeah, what do you know?" It's easy to become reactionary in these cases. I didn't act on my initial impulses, though. I'm professional enough to know the first thing one should do in a situation like this is nothing. Once I'd had some time to settle down, I re-read the comments. From there, it was an exercise in acceptance of the commenter's opinions and verification of the specific errors he pointed out. As to the former… everyone is entitled to their opinion and that's all there is to it. For the latter, he was right. There were some bonehead errors in there. I didn't proofread The Five Elements thoroughly enough myself. Neither did I have it professionally reviewed. That's something I may look into in the near future, especially as I get closer to releasing book 2 in the series. In the meantime, I corrected the errors and re-released all digital copies (across Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and this site).

I never expected to get all 5 star reviews. In fact, I fully expect to get some 1 star reviews. For now, though, I've got 1 5 star review, 1 4 star, and the one above. I think I'm doing ok still, and, thanks to Mr. Pemberton, the next reader that comes along won't have to deal with my mistakes (at least not those particular ones).

You can order The Five Elements from in Kindle or print format, or Barnes & Noble in Nook format.

No more comments

I've decided to turn comments off, mostly because I'm tried of managing the spam. It's amazing how much spam I get given that this site really doesn't get that many hits/day (maybe 100). Also, I have to approve comments before they appear, so the spam comments never see the light of day, anyway. Yet, they persist. Go figure.

Please ignore. The spam problem has been dealt with and comments are back in action.

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