Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

At the end of my books… A Call for Reviews

I was reading Andy Gavin's The Darkening Dream recently. Upon completing the novel, I came across a polite request to re-visit the retailer where I purchased the novel (in eBook format, in this case) in order to leave a review. This tactic is not new. But is it effective? Mr. Gavin's got a lot more reviews than I do (190 ratings/103 reviews on Goodreads), so either it does work or he's just better at selling (probably both).

The only way to find out if this approach will work for me is to try it, so I added this to the end of The Hall of the Wood:

If you enjoyed The Hall of the Wood, please consider taking a few moments to leave a review or rating at the retailer where you purchased it. Your comments help other readers discover great new reads and really do matter.

And something similar to The Five Elements:

If you enjoyed The Five Elements, please consider taking a few moments to leave a review or rating at the retailer where you purchased it. Your comments help other readers discover great new reads and really do matter.

I keep meaning to write up a post on my thoughts regarding why reviews are important. I went on a little about why I've stopped reading them, but not talked about their importance to authors and readers alike. Perhaps every time I sit down to write it up it just seems obvious to me why they're important. In a nutshell, reviews help readers make decisions. Good, bad, meh… they all matter. Though in the same way too many 1 star reviews can raise a red flag, so too can too many 5 star reviews. So much so that some readers are placing a higher importance on middle-of-the-road reviews to avoid the haters on one end and shills on the other.

As far as this new blurb at the end of my novels goes, I figure it can't hurt. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Oh, and if you have read one of my books and haven't left a review, please go do so now. :-)

My Titles Now Available Everywhere Fine eBooks Are Sold

My second commitment with KDP Select, where Amazon Prime members can borrow books for free (Amazon pays the author a nice royalty and gives the author the opportunity to make his or her novel free for up to 5 days during the 3 month commitment period), ended a month ago. I chose not to renew this time for a few reasons: (1) The initial "free effect" (as my fellow indie authors were calling it) where an eBook coming off a free run got a nice boost in the sales rankings was wearing off due to some supposed Amazon algorithm changes, (2) the number of borrows per month was steadily declining for me, and (3) I really don't like the exclusivity part of the Select agreement.

The last point basically means that when a novel is enrolled in KDP Select the author cannot sell that novel through any other retailer. No Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo or even selling or serializing the content on one's own web site or blog. This wasn't as much of an issue early on when the money was rolling in, but as the Select effect fizzled, so too did my desire to remain with it. Once my enrollment period expired, I got out.

Which is to say that my eBooks, The Five Elements and The Hall of the Wood, are now available for purchase outside Amazon. You can still buy my books on Amazon, but you can now also buy them here:

Buy at BN.com Buy at kobo.com Buy at Smashwords.com

If you do decide to buy one of my novels, please take the time to go back to that retailer and leave a review or rating. Reviews help your fellow readers discover great new reads.

The Five Elements is free today

Trying another KDP Select promo. Today only The Five Elements is free on Kindle.

Here's some more info:

Hello, If you enjoy character-driven fantasy adventure books, I think you'll like The Five Elements. A recent Goodreads reviewer described it as "reminiscent of Lord of the Rings and The Terminator, combined, with lots of precision and details". Far be it from me to refute such nice words. ;-)

What Readers Are Saying

"I loved the story and it was the perfect combination of elemental magic and adventure." - Ritesh Kala, Ritesh Kala's Book Reviews

"The characters are varied (an eslar mercenary, sorcerers, dwarves, hell hounds, demons, etc), interesting, well-drawn, and the action is nearly non-stop." - Chase, Goodreads reviewer

"A story that doesn't deserved to be missed." - Anna-louise, Goodreads reviewer

"Wow - just wow. Scott blends magical realism, elemental powers, alchemy and mechanics into a fascinating story. The setting, characters, and action are superb." - Terra Harmony, author of The Akasha Series

"The Five Elements is an enveloping story that drags you in and doesn't let go. I enjoyed it immensely." - Timmain, Amazon.com & Goodreads reviewer

What It's About

Aaron—scholar, alchemist, and sorcerer's apprentice—wants nothing more than to study his tomes, perform his experiments, and spend time with his closest friend, Shanna. Substitute the occasional romp about the city for the books and plenty of games of crutchit for the smelly alchemicals, and Shanna is just fine with that, too.

Their routines—and their lives—are thrown into chaos when an elemental attack is launched against their home. Aaron thinks Shanna killed, while Aaron himself is forced to flee for his life. For Shanna, who survives that fateful night, the greatest adventure of her life is about to begin. Only the worst of nightmares awaits Aaron: pursued by dwarves, hell hounds, and a demon who will not stop until he is dead, the only thing keeping him alive is his own resourcefulness and an eslar mercenary whose reputation as a killer might make him the worst threat of all.

Though Aaron and Shanna travel different paths, their purpose is joined when they individually learn of the mysterious Fifth Element. Shanna sees it as the final piece in the puzzle that is her destiny. To Aaron's logical mind, it is an impossible ambiguity. Whatever the answer, the Fifth Element draws them back together and into a final confrontation not as allies, but as adversaries.

eBook Pricing, or both my eBooks are 99 cents this week

There's a lot of discussion amongst both writers and readers about the "correct" price for an eBook. Take 99 cents, for example. Some writers feel 99 cents is too low; you can't make a decent living wage without having to sell an astronomical amount of books. Some readers look on that price as an indication of lack of quality. Others see it as a benefit because they can read more books at less cost. And if a 99 cent eBook isn't good, no big loss. $2.99, in my opinion, is a fairer price for an author. Writing a book is a lot of work. At $2.99, an author makes about $2 per book sold, which is much better than the $0.35 he or she makes on a 99 cent eBook. Typically, I price my eBooks at $2.99 for this reason. While I'm not quitting my day job anytime soon, I feel that the $2.99 price point both rewards my efforts while maintaining a low enough cost for readers that they shouldn't think too hard about making the purchase. I've experimented with higher prices: $3.99 and $4.99. I've had some success with the former and a bit less with the latter. Inevitably, I seem to come back to $2.99 as my standard eBook price.

However, for this week at least, I've reduced the prices on both of my eBooks to $0.99. If you're on the fence, this is probably a good time to jump in and get each for a pretty low price. They both clock in at around 110,000-120,000 words and have been getting some pretty decent reviews. Here are the links:

The Five Elements

The Hall of the Wood 

Magic Appreciation Tour

The Five Elements is now part of the Magic Appreciation Tour site. Here's my listing:

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The MA site serves two purposes: (1) it connects authors with other authors and (2) it gives fantasy readers a place to find some great, new reads. The proprietor of the site, Daniel Marvello, also organizes "reading tours" where authors help each other out with reviews and other promotional "stuff" (Twitter, etc.). This isn't an uncommon practice and there's no obligation to either read or, more importantly, review something, especially if as a reader/reviewer you find it's something that isn't working for you.

The Summer 2012 Tour approaches. There was a previous Tour in the Spring of which I did not participate because I wasn't aware of the site at that time, but I'll happily jump into this one. I'm not entirely certain how the Tour will take shape, but you may wind up seeing some related posts here once things get going.