Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Word Count Classifications for the Assassin Without a Name series

I'm getting ready to release the next Assassin Without a Name story, The Goddard Affair. Since these stories are not novels, I'm often having to look up, based on their individual word counts, how exactly to classify each story. Is it a novella? A novelette? A short story? Is coming up with such a classification even that important? Maybe not, but it helps with pricing, which is always a bit of a conundrum unto itself because pricing isn't based solely on word count, but other factors such as genre, popularity, and what the market will bear.

That being said, I plucked two sources from the web on the breakdown of word counts as it relates to the classification of a piece. The first, from Wikipedia, has this:

The second, from the SFWA's criteria for a Nebula candidate, has:

  • Short Story: less than 7,500 words;
  • Novelette: at least 7,500 words but less than 17,500 words;
  • Novella: at least 17,500 words but less than 40,000 words
  • Novel: 40,000 words or more.

Those look exactly the same to me. I don't know if they each came up with those numbers independently, but they're good enough for me.

Given the above, the Assassin Without a Name series breaks down as follows:

Fine Wine 1693 words short story
Killing the Dead 4512 words short story
Night of Zealotry 14522 words novelette
The Goddard Affair 18997 words novella

One of my goals with writing this series is to not regress in terms of word count from one story to another. That means I'd like each story moving forward to come in around 20,000 words. That puts it squarely at the low end of novella range, but with a wide enough margin from novelette consideration. It also gives readers a bit more bang for their buck. Total, the series stands at 39,724 words. The next story should push that into the 60,000 range. At some point I'll consider a compilation, but for now I'll continue releasing them one at a time as novellas.

Cover Reveal: The Goddard Affair

The next book in the Assassin Without a Name series has a title and a cover.

Fresh off his harrowing adventure in Night of Zealotry, the Assassin Without a Name is on the hunt, looking for the secret organizations which tried to kill him before they can try again. But the work of his trade doesn't stop just because he's involved in personal business, so when a new client named Walter Goddard comes around wishing to have a rival eliminated, the Assassin Without a Name takes the job.

Only after the task is complete does he learn that Walter Goddard is a member of the Society for the Progression of Science and Technology, one of the very same organizations the Assassin Without a Name has been seeking. At one of the society’s premiere technology galas, the Assassin Without a Name meets Gwendolyn Morgan, a beautiful widow who has run into problems of her own with the society. Not only does she believe the organization hired an assassin to murder her husband, but she’s certain she’s next. Convincing himself he’s only helping Gwendolyn in exchange for the society’s darkest secrets and not because of his part in making the woman into a widow, the Assassin Without a Name finds himself in the unusual role of protector as the society dispatches their Black Guard watchdogs to kill them both.

The Goddard Affair is scheduled for release in May 2014.

On Goodreads? Why not add The Goddard Affair to your reading list?

Release Announcement: Night of Zealotry

Night of Zealotry, the 3rd story in the Assassin Without a Name series, was officially released to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Google Play, and the iBookstore today.

Fresh off his adventure in Killing the Dead, the Assassin Without a Name finds himself mixed up with a mysterious group of religious zealots whose interest in technology is anything but well-intentioned. Here's the full blurb:

Take out the mark, retrieve the scroll, and avoid getting killed by his protection detail of Black Guard mercenaries. That was the job. Simple enough, or so the Assassin Without a Name thought, until he finds himself smack in the middle of three organizations all vying for possession of the item he just stole.

Of the three, the worst is the Jakaree, a group of fanatical priests willing to kill to fulfill their mysterious goals. But by making the Assassin Without a Name a target, they're about to get a lesson in death themselves from one of the best.

If you're on Goodreads, you can add Night of Zealotry to your TBR list here.

Stay tuned for more info on subsequent releases in the series.

All New Assassin Releases Are Free!

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I'm kicking my Assassin Without a Name series into high gear, with the third and longest story yet, Night of Zealotry, set to come out in the next couple of weeks. Also, I've got three more stories all in various stages planned for release thereafter.

Right now, you can get the first two stories in the series, Fine Wine and Killing the Dead, for free at Amazon and other select online retailers.

With those on your eReader, wouldn't you want the next story too? Here's how to get it for free:

Sign-up to my mailing list. It's that simple. In exchange for allowing me to notify you of all of my new releases as they're available, I'll not only send you the next, unreleased story in the Assassin Without a Name series, but I'll also send you each and every story thereafter.

What that means is this: Sign-up today and I'll send you Night of Zealotry in a couple of weeks when it's released. Because it's a longer story than either of the first two, it's going to retail for $2.99. But you'll get it for free. Then, when the next story comes out, I'll send you that one too. And so on.

Why would I do this? Because I like having readers. I also like having ratings and reviews. There's not really any obligation to leave either, but it's a nice gesture and something which I'm willing to play the numbers on. If I give away 1,000 copies of the next story, chances are 5-10% of them will leave reviews. Maybe some others will help spread the word in some other way. It all helps.

One last question to answer: What's the frequency of Assassin releases? In an ideal world, I'd like to do one per month. But, because I'm a realist with a day job, I'm willing to commit to one new release every 1-2 months. I'm will to commit to that if you're willing to show your interest by signing up today. You have my thanks in advance.

Night of Zealotry Comin' at Ya

The next Assassin Without a Name tale is coming soon. It's called Night of Zealotry, here's the cover, and check below for an easy way to get it for free:

Night of Zealotry is the 3rd Assassin Without a Name short story in the series. It is preceded by Fine Wine and Killing the Dead, both free downloads on Amazon.

But wait! Before you rush off to download those gems, there's more!

You can get Night of Zealotry for free, too. How, you ask? Here's how: sign-up for my mailing list and I'll send you the story when it's complete. It's that simple.

What do I use my mailing list for? Good question. I'll let you know about new releases of mine when they come out, often when they're offered at a discounted price. Also, I'll send you free shorts. Not only Night of Zealotry, but probably later installments in the Assassin series, too.

Don't believe me? Well, those who were signed up when the second edition of The Hall of the Wood was released last year got it for free. Also, when the second book in The Alchemancer series came out, I told subscribers when and where to get it for 99 cents (regularly $5.99). Not a bad deal. All for allowing me to send you at most 1-2 (maybe 3) emails per year.

So why in the world would I want to give away free books and shorts when it costs me $$$ (covers, editing, my time) to produce them? Another good question. Because my hope is you'll like them enough to tell someone else about them. Or maybe leave a rating or review somewhere. Word of mouth is a huge, huge way for me to get more readers and, quite frankly, to cover my expenses (at minimum). It's a great help in making this writing thing viable and I really do appreciate such efforts.

Sound reasonable? Then what are you waiting for? Go sign-up!

Oh, and in case you're wondering what Night of Zealotry is all about, here you go:

Take out the target, retrieve the scroll, and avoid getting killed by the protection detail of Black Guard mercenaries. That was the job. Simple enough, or so the Assassin Without a Name thought, until he finds himself smack in the middle of three organizations all vying for possession of the item he just stole.

Of the three, the worst is the Jakaree, a group of fanatical priests willing to kill to fulfill their mysterious goals. But by making the Assassin Without a Name a target, they’re about to receive a lesson in death themselves from one of the best.

Sound awesome? I thought so when I wrote it. He's definitely a fun character to write about. Hope you'll join me for this and future installments.

You can add Night of Zealotry to your Goodreads TBR list by going here.