Scott Marlowe
Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Announcing AssassinTales.com

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Assassin Tales is an all-new site dedicated to my Assassin Without a Name series of fantasy assassin stories. Every few months I’ll post a new story in its entirety onto the site. Currently, there are seven stories already written; I’ve already posted the first three stories in the series to the site and will continue with the others at regular intervals based on how far I get with writing the next stories in the series. In order to minimize the lag between postings, I intend to first build up a small backlog of stories. I already have many of these outlined, but they have yet to be written. All stories posted to Assassin Tales are complete and free to read.

Based on reader interest and feedback, I may also make these new stories available for download or purchase on Amazon.com. Posting to Assassin Tales costs me nothing. But for an actual published work the bar (and the cost in dollars) is so much higher. There’s professional editing costs, book cover costs, and a whole lot of my time formatting and proofing the digital Kindle file to ensure the reader experience is the best it can possibly be. That’s a level to which I do not intend to take the remaining stories in the series unless I can see a solid ROI so that I can at least recoup editing and book cover costs.

AssassinTales.com is therefore intended to satisfy my own self-interest in seeing the series completed. I love writing and world-building and creating awesome characters and throwing them into impossible situations. The business end of writing can really cloud all of that sometimes. Assassin Tales is therefore my attempt to not worry about that part of things and just focus on the fun aspects.

Visit AssassinTales.com today, read a story or two, and leave a comment when you’re done. Thanks.

Moving Forward

My wife and I moved from the country into the city about six months ago. Preceding that move was a fairly large promotion for myself at my primary job that required me to start going into the office every day. The move was prompted by this, as well as some other factors, but ultimately it came down to a desire for both my wife and I to drastically shorten our daily commutes. Somewhere during this period of getting promoted, moving, getting settled, and focusing on doing the best possible job I could in my new role, I completely lost sight of my writing. I didn’t forget about it; it was always there in the back of my mind. But it somehow just wasn’t that important anymore.

There isn’t anything prophetic about this. Neither is it very unusual to have higher priorities take over when something—like my writing—isn’t generating anything near a measurable amount of income. Truth be told, many of my books have not “earned out,” as they say in the industry, meaning that I have not made back my costs of production. This isn’t factoring my time into the equation at all. If I simply look at the cost of editing plus having a professional book cover created, in many cases my books have not made back that investment in sales.

Which brings me back to our move. Moving is a liberating experience. My wife and I freed ourselves from untold quantities of “stuff” that we either never used or never used enough or had so many of that we were never going to make effective use of all of them (I’m specifically thinking of glasses here; three different kinds of wine glasses are wonderful for people who drink a lot of wine, but my wife doesn’t drink wine at all and I prefer craft beer over most other forms of alcohol). So we donated, gave away, and threw away a ridiculous amount of things, which was to our benefit because otherwise we were paying to have those things moved to our new house.

The point of that story is to convey that I’m now carrying over the same liberating ideology to my writing in the following ways:

1. I’ve removed all of my books from all retailers except for Amazon

The bottom line is that I move an insignificant number of books via iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and all the rest of them. Very few readers, very little sales, an irrelevant amount of revenue to help me cover my time and the production costs of putting together a novel or story.

2. All of my books are now therefore exclusively available via Amazon.com and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited

If you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, either via the program directly or as a member of Amazon Prime, you can now read all of my works for free as part of that membership.

3. I’m putting all of my Assassin Without a Name stories on a separate site where anyone can read them for free

More on this in a near future post.

4. I will be completing The Alchemancer series but it’s not my highest priority and will likely be released in an unconventional manner

The series has not earned out, so I’m very reluctant to invest another $1500 or so to hire a professional editor and have both digital and print book covers created. Not to mention the 10 months or so it takes me to actually write the darn thing. If sales were better, if the number of reviews was higher, if readers were banging on my door demanding to have the next book ASAP, then I’d be willing to spend every free waking moment on finishing it up. But those things have not happened, so here’s what I’m thinking: I will finish the series in time, but it may take the form of chapter by chapter posts to a blog. If there’s interest past that, then I’ll gladly package those chapters up into a novel, give it the professional treatment, and put it up on Amazon for sale or as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Feel free to share your thoughts on any of this via a comment below. Thanks for reading.

It’s Release x2 Day! New Assassin stories are here.

Release x2

What’s better than announcing one new book? How about two?

First up is Witch’s Imperative. Witch’s Imperative is the 7th Assassin Without a Name story. It rounds out the series nicely and enables me to collect those first seven stories into an all-new collection, The Assassin’s Blade.

Following the pricing of the other stories in the series, Witch’s Imperative retails for 99 cents. For something that’s over 100 pages, that’s a steal.

The Assassin’s Blade, which comes in at over 400 pages, retails for $4.99. But, because it’s release day, I’m holding the price at $2.99 through the weekend. Get it while you can.

The Best Deals

I hosted a reddit AMA recently (go check it out; it was fun. If nothing else, you’ll learn a thing or two about trapping armadillos. Seriously.). One of the questions I was asked had to do with the most economical way to get a hold of my books. The person asking the question was a student with a tight money situation. As someone who also was a poor student once upon a time, I sympathize with his situation, especially when you consider how much the traditional publishers charge for eBooks these days.

My answer was that, if you like roguish, assassin characters, then check out Tales of the Assassin Without a Name. The first story, Fine Wine, is free, and each installment after that is only 99 cents. If, however, you’re interested in magic and infernal machines, then my Alchemancer novels are generally about $5 each.

The only problem with my answer was that I left out a couple of very important deals!

You see, beyond the usual suspects when it comes to online retailers, I also sell my eBooks direct from this site. Selling direct has been a great experience. It allows me to earn higher royalties than anywhere else and put together some truly awesome deals for readers.

For example, going back to my Assassin Without a Name suggestion above, you can actually get all 6 of the stories in the series for the low, low price of $3.99 currently. That’ll save you a couple of bucks with respect to the $6 you’d spend at Amazon.

Ultimate Assassin Story Pack

Also, for The Alchemancer series, you’ll spend $10 buying the first two books from Amazon. But, buy from me and both books will only cost you $5.99.

The Alchemancer Books 1-2

Last, there’s Tales of Uhl, which is a collection of firsts: the first Alchemancer book, the first Rangers of the Hall book, and the first (three) Assassin Without a Name stories. I can’t sell this for less than what I sell it for on Amazon, but it’s still a great deal at $7.99.

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

I’ve been busy. That’s the short answer. The longer, more detailed answer to what I’ve been up to lately follows.

Sometime last year I started outlining the third Alchemancer book, tentatively titled “The Inversion Solution.” I actually completed that outline, then switched gears back to my Assassin Without a Name series because I’m trying to round that one out with a solid ten stories (the story being told in that series will go longer than 10 stories, but 10 seemed like a good number to shoot for as an incremental goal). After spending some time with my witty assassin, releasing The Goddard Affair, Thief’s Gambit, Assassin’s Justice, as well as compiling the first three assassin stories into a collection called The Killing Knife, I changed my focus back to Aaron, Serena, and Ensel Rhe. I did leave them in a somewhat precarious position at the end of The Nullification Engine, so I know it’s important to get back to that series and get the next book out. The problem was that I was not satisfied with the outline. It needed more.

So I re-worked it from the ground up. Along the way, I realized there was too much going on to wrap the series up with only one more book, so I decided to add a book four. At that point, given the complexity of the various storylines, I knew I needed to outline book 4 before even thinking about starting to write book 3. I hate writing myself into corners or missing an opportunity for foreshadowing or some other tie-in. Plus, I really needed to work out the details to make absolutely sure I was telling the best story possible. So I pushed through and finished the outline for book 4. With both outlines now finished, I’m poised to finally begin writing the next book. People on my Facebook Page have been asking about it, too, which is kinda nice and cool at the same time. It’s good to know someone out there is looking forward to getting their hands on it.

Meanwhile, I also finished the outline for “Witch’s Imperative,” the next/seventh Assassin Without a Name story, and started writing it. I’m about 5,000 words in.

The plan moving forward is to split time between the two series, most likely giving more of my time to “The Inversion Solution” simple because it’s going to be longer than "Witch’s Imperative," and thus will take longer to write, and because I know readers have been waiting for it for a while now.

Last, I’ve commissioned a very talented artist to create a character illustration of everyone’s favorite witty assassin. I’ve received pencil sketches and some initial color blocks and absolutely cannot wait to see the final illustration. It’s going to look fantastic. The next step after that is to have full illustrations worked up for each of my major series. Think Aaron and Shanna in the middle of a chaotic, elemental storm for The Five Elements or Ensel Rhe and his daughter, Jakinda Rhe, battling a host of skeva for The Nullification Engine. I’d also like to see the Assassin Without a Name with Elizabeth at his side caught in the middle of a host of Jakaree priests. Exciting stuff. The business purpose of these illustrations is to use in advertising, on my web site, and in other promotional capacities, so there is reason beyond the coolness factor.

And that’s about it. I don’t write full-time; I’d need to sell a whole lot more books for that to ever happen, so I make use of what time I can outside of my day job.

One last parting word... If you’re on Facebook, stop by and like my author page, why don’t you? You’ll get occasional updates like this one as well as other genre related goodies and you can post stuff and ask me questions or just strike up a conversation. I'm very approachable and love to talk to people who share a common interest in all things fantasy.

Until next time!