May 2022 Newsletter

Well here we are! Book 3 of the swashbuckling Space Opera The Long Way Home is up on BookFunnel.

WARNING. All the Bookfunnel freebies come down in a couple of weeks.

Then they’ll be published on Amazon, book 1 at $2.99 on 1st July, book 2 at $4.99 on 1st August and book 3 at $4.99 on 1st September, with pre-orders from day 1.

There might be minor changes and edits. I might actually get around to including a diagram of the spaceships involved, a brief summary of the physics of Chang space and associated tech (no equations, I promise) and maybe even a basic layout map of the stars of the Parvi sector.

Dunno what I’m doing for the newsletter next.

What I’m doing now

(Apart from clearing newsletter stuff today) Concentrating on Bite Back 8. There’s a fierce load of concentration going on, and writing, but not a huge amount of real progress to report.

I finished turning one thread from the unfinished book 3 of Among the Stars into a short story that has been submitted for inclusion in an anthology called The Expanding Universe this summer. If I don’t make the cut, I’ll publish it as a short story or wrap it up with the newsletter.

Reviews

I love all my reviews, even the negative ones. Of course I love the positive ones more! I don’t often highlight one, but this lady made a lot of effort to review A Name Among the Stars.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-reviews/R2OMAOQ7FHROP1

In other news

As many of you know, my covers are done by Andrew Dobell (he also did Michael Anderle’s Kutherian Gambit covers). Now, Andrew is a writer of Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction. He’s offering his 12 book UF box set for $4.99 (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B193KLG9), but wait a moment… put a reminder in your diary that between June 13th-17th there will be a special deal on the box set because on the 16th, he’s running a worldwide BookBub deal. Put it in the diary now!

Also, Netflix-Folk, looky, watchy this trailer for teen vampires. Great setup based on VE Schwab’s short story, and a slick trailer.

LINKS to TLWH on BookFunnel

Book 1, The Dark Takes Fools

Book 2, Out of the Dark

Book 3, all episodes, 13-19

April Newsletter

The April newsletter has gone out.

Originally, each book of The Long Way Home series was going to be 6 episodes. Book 1 is indeed 1-6 and book 2 is 7-12, but book 3 hasn’t ended on episode 18. It’s going to need another episode to conclude Jan & Bjorn’s visit to the secretive hi-tech colony of Turing.

While I’ve been finishing TLWH book 3, I’ve also undertaken to tidy up a thread for the incomplete third book of Among the Stars. This is called ‘To Catch a Thief’, and will appear in an anthology this summer.

Yes, I’ve also been moving forward on Bite Back book 8, and I’ve even been nagged into looking at rewriting Stand Up, which kinda fell down while I was trying to serialise it. What else? Oh, yeah, Bian’s Tale book 2.

I *hope* that May will be a quieter month. Jessica will be filming in Germany, Joshua is living in London during the week, working at instructing in Hapkido. Maybe I’ll have progress reports in a month’s time…

I’ll be publishing The Long Way Home books 1-3 over the summer, which means they’ll disappear from the freebies on BookFunnel. I will need to keep producing something for the newsletter, but I’ve not yet decided what that will be.

Newsletter changes

Hello all. I’ve been running a monthly newsletter, which has been a vehicle for my serial novels in The Long Way Home series.

Things are going to change a bit…

The Long Way Home has been the mainstay of the newsletter, and was always designed as a serial novel, to progress episode by episode, month by month. However, the level of engagement has dropped off in the last four or five months. I hope that hasn’t been because of any reduction in quality, but what other reasons does that leave? My current theory is that it’s a combination: the story itself is too long for the format, the intervals are too long between episodes, the alternatives too appealing (by which I mean ‘wait six months and get six episodes as a self-contained book’), and the BookFunnel process (email checking / redirecting to Kindle) is irritating.

So what instead? I cannot write full episodes of the current length and put them out on a weekly basis. I used to write a chapter or two every weekend and put those here, on the WordPress blog site, where I got a lot of response. On that basis I am proposing that the newsletter will usually direct subscribers here to read one or two chapters of whatever the current project is. Every so often, these chapters will be assembled into an episode of some kind, and there will be a catch-up that can be downloaded from BookFunnel. At a much later stage, these will be converted into a book and put up on Amazon.

What about The Long Way Home? The story will continue, but it will contend with other projects…

And what will these projects be?

Essentially… whatever gets the best response gets the effort to progress. So initially, there may be a few opening chapters or story teasers and I see what gets a reaction. I’m thinking that Bite Back 8 may well be one of those projects. So will a re-written Stand Up. Some of the other projects I’ve mentioned before, like a Steampunk Fantasy set in South Africa, the dragon rider after the age of dragons has passed, the space marine recruit escaping ‘justice’ on her terrible homeworld, the monster that walks the Canadian highways, A War Among the Stars (book 3 of Among the Stars), the college wizard just trying to get his degree, the rogue detective and the serial killer, an Amber novella of a daring rescue, Heartbeat (SF), The Words of the Dead (book 2 of Bian’s Tale), Marionette (thriller set in France)… I’m not short of ideas, people.

How do you see this? Will you enjoy getting mini-episodes (couple of chapters basically) more frequently here on WordPress? Please comment on this post with anything you think is relevant…

November newsletter

November newsletter is in your inboxes…

Subscribers to the newsletter can get the download of the latest episodes from: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/bmk7nf70yr

Sign up to the newsletter at https://mailchi.mp/…/mark-henwick-scifi-newsletter-signup

The first twelve episodes are now available as two books and can be downloaded (without subscribing or providing email addresses) at the following links

Book 1 https://dl.bookfunnel.com/t084dkxws1

Book 2 https://dl.bookfunnel.com/hfbl9m9fjy

But if you want the latest episodes… you can only get them from the newsletter.

Arranging the early episodes into books allows for a Goodreads entry. If you’re a member of Goodreads and want to give feedback:

Book 1 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59610188-the-dark-takes-fools

Book 2 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59681804-out-of-the-dark

Anyone can download those books. If you’re on the newsletter subscriber list, here’s the latest link to the latest episodes as of the January newsletter : https://dl.bookfunnel.com/38rklkoxdz

Enjoy!

Links for The Long Way Home

As mentioned in newsletters, previous posts and on the Facebook pages, I am releasing my current Science Fiction / Space Opera serial novel The Long Way Home as downloadable books. These are FREE at the moment, and this post contains the links to download the books. You do not have to sign up to the newsletter to get these two books.

Book 1 The Dark Takes Fools comprises episodes 1-6. LINK HERE

Book 2 Out of the Dark comprises episodes 7-12. LINK HERE

The story is ongoing, and further episodes are only available by subscription to the monthly newsletter. At the present each newsletter contains a link to a full episode of short story length.

Signup for the newsletter HERE.

The newsletter is run through MailChimp, and it’s an easy one-click to unsubscribe. The contact details will only be used by me to provide my monthly newsletter and very occasional alerts for a new book by me. Contact details will not be made available to anyone else.

August roundup

My apologies, but the blog site has been neglected while I concentrate on my monthly newsletters and Facebook pages.

The August newsletter has just gone out, and The Long Way Home now stands at 12 episodes, or 147k words. I was aiming to release bundles of episodes as ebooks this summer, but I’m holding those back for an IASFA promotion in December. I need to think of names for the books, because The Long Way Home is the series name. The individual episodes have names, but I’m struggling with names for several episodes together.

What’s IASFA? The IASFA is the grandly named International Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Authors. The authors in the group are independents, and the important thing for you as a reader is that they do promotions. Participating authors have to get a temporary release from Amazon to give their book away for free, and these are compiled into a list and available to any reader who has joined the IASFA.

September’s promo is ‘All SF’, October is ‘All Fantasy’, November is ‘Urban Fantasy’ (yes, I’ll be putting some books up for that), December is ‘Space Opera’ and yes, I’m planning to launch The Long Way Home ebooks in that promotion.

IASFA signup is https://iasfa.org/newsletter/

Writing

The conclusion of the Bite Back series is all very tightly bound together. So tightly, I will have to get the books out one after the other. There are 2 or 3 left. Still working out how I can achieve this.

Link for The Long Way Home Ep 1-12 (you have to be on, or join the newsletter list)

https://dl.bookfunnel.com/ovf1ys6jre

(Yes, it should be ‘insurmountable’ not ‘unsurmountable’ in the episode blurb)

News, newsletters, updates and episodes

Writing Progress

Another really busy month resulting in no monthly episode of Stand Up. My apologies. It’s been so busy, I’ve made no real progress on writing the book I’m supposed to be writing – Bian’s Tale 2. Even episode 8 for The Long Way Home was finished so late in the month it hasn’t been pass the editor. The Long Way Home is now up to 100,000 words by the way, which is around ‘novel length’ for SciFi.

What have I been doing?

A lot of it seems to be admin and advertising.

I’ve passed the first draft of the audio version of Queen of Diamonds. Just listening to the files took over 16 hours. Feedback, preparation and pronunciation probably took another 4 hours. Now I wait for the edits and final pass, and then in a couple of months time, Emily goes back into the studio to re-record Sleight of Hand, which isn’t up to the level of quality of the others.

I’ve spent literally days formatting books. I use Word for all writing and it’s fine for that. It’s familiar and reasonably intuitive. Formatting… not so much. I remain convinced there are bugs in Word’s formatting options. Either that, or someone has put a curse on me. The main project has been formatting print books for Germany, but it’s surprising how much work I needed to do for compiling box sets (also for Germany). I’m still not happy with the front and back sections of the books (in both languages).

I finalised book 7 of the Bite Back series in German – Karodame – and launched it.

Part of the rush on compiling German box sets was a need to use them as a platform for the release of Karodame. Bite Back sales and page reads in Germany were going very well in the middle of last year, but they’ve died down. To create some market noise, I released box set 1 at 0.99, followed a week later by box set 2 at 2.99 and then a week later Karodame at the normal price.

I also ran some promotions in the US and UK, box sets, The Harvest of Lies, A Name Among the Stars etc.

Why am I doing all the advertising?

Because even though my fans are good fans, they are literally swamped with books on Amazon. I’ve had feedback last year on the lines of “I didn’t realize Angel Stakes had been published”. It’s irritating. Amazon used to promote sequels to readers of a series. This was a good system, because it got them a lot of sales, and it got authors a lot of sales with only the effort to keep writing. That’s not what happens now. Amazon gets such a return from advertising books that it now requires authors to pay for a place in their advertising. I literally have to pay if I want my books to turn up in response to an Amazon search from a reader typing in ‘Bite Back Amber Farrell’. The indie market wouldn’t exist in the form it does if Amazon hadn’t encouraged it, but what used to be a good deal (70% royalties) looks a lot less good if you need to re-invest half of that back into telling existing readers that there’s another book available, and can only ever get through to about half of them anyway.

I’m still rated as a successful author, and it’s still a better deal than traditional publishing, but unless I get to a magical stage where the books become self-sustaining, I need to dedicate a disproportionate amount of non-writing time. And Amazon have it in their power to change the rules.

All of which is why I really want my readers’ email addresses, folks. Expect to see me put more effort into harvesting addresses in future.

FEEDBACK

What I’m really missing on the episode books is feedback. A couple of readers went so far as to put up Goodreads ‘books’ for epsiodes and comment on them. (Thank you!) Unfortunately, Goodreads decided in retrospect the book had to be for sale as a finished product before an entry could be made, so those were erased.

Please tell me what you like or don’t like about the episode novels. I’ll put this article up as a post on Facebook too. I would appreciate a comment, however brief, negative or positive, either as comments on the posts, or an email to mark@athanate.com – TIA.

And if you are reading this and aren’t on the monthly newsletter, why not join? You get free novels in episode form…

(I will also sell the novels at some point, if you’re allergic to newsletters).

Or alternatively, get on my book alert list, which is a different mailing list and only ever used when I publish a book.

If you want in on either, send me an email to mark@athanate.com

EPISODES 1-8 of THE LONG WAY HOME (you need to be subscribed to the monthly newsletter):

Link to book on BookFunnel

Update. Book 7. Serial novels.

Bite Back book 7, Queen of Diamonds, is with the editor. She has promised to get back to me this week. I am still hoping to publish this month (Dec 2020).

The book is 135,000 words long, which is pretty much standard for my main novels. It has taken me a little more than a year (so far) to produce, but I have had other projects running at the same time.

I’ve given lots of estimates out about the length of the Bite Back series. I started thinking I was writing a trilogy! At the extreme, I thought it would take me 16-18 books to tell the story. Currently, I think it’s 9 books long, so there will be at least two more.

While waiting for the edits, I’m working on the two serial novels I have running. These are for subscribers to my mailing list only, and have been going down a storm. The general idea is the same as the serial format I used in this blog, but the updates are bigger and only arrive monthly. Unfortunately, I had to skip last month’s episodes to get Queen of Diamonds to the editor, but I should be back with new episodes this month. The two novels are The Long Way Home (Science Fiction, set in the same universe as Among The Stars, but at an earlier time) and Stand Up (Urban Fantasy, loosely tied to Bite Back, and set in New York after the novella Change of Regime).

Update: Bite Back 7 & Newsletter

The first quarter of Bite Back 7 is with the beta readers. The events covered were intended in the original plan to be the first 10%, but things snowballed and Amber got the bit between her teeth.

That section is 45,000 words long, which suggests book 7 will be 180,000, which will be approximate the length of Wild Card. Looking to release in Q3, but it may slip to Q4.

Newsletter

The other news of the week is the first newsletter has just gone out.

Some of you read the novels which I ran in serial form here on the blog. Change of Regime, A Name Among the Stars, A Threat Among the Stars, and The Harvest of Lies all appeared in weekly or monthly sections on this blog before being released as full books. I’m doing the same thing in the newsletter, but on a monthly release with longer sections.

There are two serial novels available with each newsletter. One is Science Fiction and the other is Urban Fantasy.

Science Fiction: The Long Way Home.

Their war has just ended. Their struggle has just begun.
Set in the universe described in ‘A Name Among the Stars’, but much earlier, around the time known as the Third Expansion. Janice and Bjorn are two young soldiers from a remote, pacifist planet on the Frontier who signed up to earn the money for essential Terran technology to save their colony from dying out. But nothing is easy. They have to overcome betrayals, corruption, greed… and pirates, on ‘The Long Way Home’.

Episode 1 is currently only available in eBook form in an anthology called ‘The Great Beyond’ ($0.99/£0.99)
smarturl.it/greatbeyond

(You can get the FREE audiobook for episode 1 at bit.ly/thelongwayhomeaudio)

Episode 2

Episode 2 ‘Problems and Opportunities’ is ready for download now, and you need to sign up to the newsletter to be able to use the links.

https://mailchi.mp/27afed3e7c0c/mark-henwick-scifi-newsletter-signup

Once you’ve signed up, then the download link is https://dl.bookfunnel.com/ae4uomtjpa

Urban Fantasy: Stand Up

This is an Athanate PNR, set in New York, and the events occur between Bite Back Books 6 and 7. This book is not essential for the Bite Back series. It follows on, in a fashion, from the Change of Regime novella, in that some of the characters return.

Carla is a comedienne, running away from a terrible event in her past, and whose stand up routine has run out of inspiration. Katja is a sophisticated New York Athanate in a state of denial over her broken heart. Neither of them wants what the other needs. Or do they?

Episode 1 is called I Died Tonight.

Episode 1

As before, sign up for the newsletter and then your download link for Episode 1 is: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/2dkw4kl9xq