Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

The Hall of the Wood, now on bn.com

My fantasy novel, The Hall of the Wood, is now available on the Barnes & Noble web site. This comes courtesy of Smashwords, which signed an agreement with BN to distribute eBooks through the Barnes & Noble site.

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The retail price is the same as everywhere else: $0.99.

You can also purchase The Hall of the Wood from this site in PDF format, from Amazon in Kindle format, or from Smashwords in a plethora of formats.

The deal that Smashwords inked is a good one, I think. It gives the writer a single point of submission, and since Smashwords also signed similar deals with Amazon and Sony, you're widening your distribution with minimal effort.

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Sell Your E-books in the Amazon Kindle Store

I've been interested in Amazon's Kindle digital book reader since its inception (though, admittedly, I didn't start blogging about it until the second version came out). I haven't bought one yet because I'm waiting for the inevitable price reduction, but that doesn't mean I haven't been exploring its features and some of the content for the device.

The biggest source of content for the Kindle is, of course, Amazon's Kindle Store. The store features a lot of e-books. A quick run down of some of the categories:

Fantasy 5,267 e-books
Science Fiction 7,299 e-books
Mystery & Thrillers 13,570 e-books

Total, there's over 300,000 titles available for download to your Kindle. That's a lot of books.

I recently discovered one of the best things about the Kindle store: anyone can post products there. JA Konrath clued me into the possibility, and he does a nice job of breaking down some of his own sales numbers. You can see that he's had no small success at it thus far. Granted, Konrath is a published author, so his name is out there via other, more traditional channels, but he also puts forth a lot of effort online as well. Nonetheless, is the possibility of an unpublished writer posting his or her work to the Kindle store gold waiting to be mined? I plan to find out.

As of a couple of days ago, my novel, The Hall of the Wood, is available for purchase via the Kindle store:

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I wanted to make the price $0.25, but $0.99 is the minimum allowed price. The one catch is that, of course, you must have a Kindle to which to download the e-book to. So, if you've already spent $300 for the device, what's another $0.99? ;-)

The concept of an unpublished author finding success in this channel is a challenge. As noted above, there are over 5,000 fantasy titles available for purchase in the Kindle store. How to make my novel stand out amongst those? For one, I created a book cover. Nothing fancy, but it gives the potential buyer something to look at other than "No image available". Second, I gave it a product description, which is the standard blurb taken from my web site:

Jed's wife and unborn child are dead, killed by a legacy he dare share with no one. Seeking a reprieve from his guilt, he sets out for his former home, the Ranger Hall of the Wood. Along the way, he discovers all is not well. Aliah Starbough, a friend from Jed's past, sends him a chilling warning: the rangers are dead, the Simarron Forest, thrown into peril. Nearby Homewood has issued a plea for help, a summonings which Kayra Weslin, knight errant, and her chronicler, Holly, answer. Along with Murik Alon Rin'kres, an Eslar sorcerer who harbors a secret purpose all his own, the four attempt to unravel the mystery of the missing rangers. They soon find tales of their disappearance frighteningly untrue.

The third way to gain attention is through customer reviews. This one is huge, and the one that in my mind will allow us as writers to break free of the traditional agent/publisher dependency. It's a stamp of approval, a guarantee of quality, a statement saying that your book is not crap. Customer reviews, to a point, validate a book's worth. In general, low reviews indicate a lack of quality. High reviews, the opposite. This is not to say that every review should be taken as gospel. But given enough reviews and a trend should emerge.

I often read of the struggle authors undergo in finding an agent or publisher. There's really no rhyme or reason to it: the decision-making is subjective, and how often have you come across a published novel that, to be frank, sucks? I've begun to doubt the vindication that supposedly comes with having your work blessed by a "real" publisher, and let's face it: business models change. We might be witnessing the beginning of the end for traditional publishers here. If not that, certainly a sea change in the way we purchase and read books.

The Hall of the Wood has been available as a free pdf download for a long time now. As Konrath points out, Amazon's web site gets a lot more traffic than his own. That volume has a lot of potential to increase sales. Selling on the Kindle store seems like a real no-brainer to me.

Yes, I'm still here… and still writing

Rumors of my death are false. I'm still alive and kicking and trying to squeeze in some writing whenever and however I can. I'm relying more and more on Office Live Workspace for those days when I don't have my laptop with me. It's working out pretty well; I'd like to do another blog post on the topic as a follow-up. Stay tuned for that.

Now, however, I've slowed the blogging, including doing weekly writing updates because I've been finding it harder and harder of late to make any significant progress. I hate to just post that I didn't make any progress week in and week out—of course, here I am doing just that.

On writing… I did take a couple of weeks off. I needed the time to step away from my current project (the one I'd been posting weekly about). I like the characters. I like the story. But still, it was missing something. To that end, I've started over on the editing. Page 1. With a mind towards adding another layer to the story and, in particular, to one character. The end result is that I hopefully end up with a better story. Whether I accomplish that or not… we'll have to see.

So, it's back to writing for me. Blogging will likely be kept to a minimum while I concentrate on wrapping up this novel. But I'll be around and back on the blogging thing in time.

Writing Update #32

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

Alright, so I made absolutely no progress this past week. Actually, that's not true. I advanced my edit page by 1 to 307 out of 367. It's a bit frustrating, especially given that I'm so close to finishing this edit, and, to tell you the truth, I'm not even sure how the week got away from me. One thing came up, and another, and another, and so on, and I just never quite sat down to get any writing done.

OK, even that's not entirely true. I hit upon a climatic part of the story and I did spend some time thinking it out, mostly because I'm not so sure I nailed it as it stands right now, but the silver bullet never came to me. It's going to take some more thought, and hopefully I'll get it sooner rather than later.

Also, I have to admit my mind has been wandering a bit to my next project. In many ways I have to wonder if my current novel is really breaking any new ground (enter yea old foe of the writer, Doubt). I think my next will, so it's hard to not think ahead to it. Plus it's just going to be a little… different. Still fantasy, but it all takes place in one city, and is going to be a bit of a mystery/thriller. At least that's the plan.

For now, though, I've got a conundrum to figure out so I can wrap up The Five Elements.

Writing Update #29

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

Decent writing progress to report. I hit page 272 out of 368, which is a net gain of 14 pages over last week. I added 2 additional pages of new material—really 3—but with some other edits the end result was that the novel's length went from 366 total pages to 368.

Weeks left: 5.4. That's awesome. That means in just over a month I should be finished with this edit. The operative word is should. We'll see how it goes.

Here's some graphical progress:

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Total word count remained steady:

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Percentage completion is now at 74%:

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That's it for this time. Hope I have some more good progress to report next week.