Monthly update

What am I working on?


My intention for the year is to fit in two Bite Back books, so I guess my release dates would be July and December. I do not intend to get quite as complex or as long as Wild Card, and that should help. It is, however, also my intention to publish a Bian’s Tale book, or two. These are much smaller and less complex than Bite Back books, and the first one is well advanced (teaser on the blog some time back). Four books is …er… hopeful.

Also, it proved too much last time I tried writing two different books at the same time, so we’ll have to see what comes out first. Bite Back has preference, but Bian’s Tale is more advanced.

Bian’s Tale is not Urban Fantasy, in that it is not contemporary and does not focus on one city. The first book will be set in Saigon around 1890-1895. I’ve scratched my head over the title and I think it’s going to be ‘Saigon – the Harvest of Lies’. The next Bite Back name might be ‘Cool Hand’.

 Marketing and Other Stuff

I’m going to become familiar with the Mac computer and I will release the Bite Back books on iTunes.

I’ll have a look at various promotional email lists – you may remember from August, that BookGorilla appeared to boost my downloads of Raw Deal by a couple of thousand, and that sort of thing is worth pursuing.

I’m also going to redo the covers for Sleight of Hand and Hidden Trump. They’ll end up more like the Wild Card and Raw Deal covers.

I’ve delegated the Bian’s Tale cover design and implementation to Jessica and Gideon – I’m really excited to see what they come up with.


It’s been a good time for reviews on Amazon (5 new Wild Card reviews today) and Goodreads. Many of those came from folk who visit the blog, and I can’t always connect between your internet names, so a general ‘thank you’ here!

There has been criticism of Wild Card – the length and complexity mainly, and I’m guilty as charged. I will make serious effort to start ending some of these threads rather than letting them tangle with new threads!

Well, where are we? Sleight of Hand has just reached 183 reviews, Hidden Trump 139, Raw Deal 47 and Wild Card 22, on the various Amazon sites. On Goodreads the numbers are 75, 36, 21 and 10.

I’m delighted with the response.


I wanted to get Wild Card out by Christmas for three reasons – I’d made predictions and slipped twice, I hoped it would be a nice Christmas for my patient readers, and also to surf the Christmas and New Year sales boost in ebooks.

You may remember that Hidden Trump was released just before Christmas in 2011 and went like a rocket. Wild Card hasn’t done that. The first couple of days’ sales were even higher than Hidden Trump, and then the numbers dropped. They’re still excellent sales, but there’s not the frenzy there was for Hidden Trump, which sold 4,500 in the US from just 5 days before Christmas to the end of January. I estimate that Wild Card will sell about half of that in the same period on current numbers.

What’s changed? Amazon started sending emails to people who’d bought Sleight of Hand as soon as Hidden Trump was released. They haven’t done that for Wild Card. There is no marketing department address I can call and talk to, so it’s a bit of a guess as to why that is. I’m not that concerned – I believe the majority of people who’re following the series will spot that Wild Card is out and buy it, but of a necessity that’s slower unless Amazon emails them.

So total sales as of today : Sleight of Hand 18,437 – Hidden Trump 12,990 – Raw Deal 18,495 – Wild Card 1,100.

US Amazon rankings have Sleight of Hand and Hidden Trump at about 40,000, Raw Deal at about 80,000 and Wild Card 3,700 overall and 38 in Urban Fantasy.

I’m very happy.





About Mark Henwick

I was born in Africa and left out in the sun too often. An early interest in philosophy and psychology was adequately exorcised by tending bars. And while trying to enroll in a class to read Science Fiction full time, I ended up taking an engineering degree which splendidly qualified me to move into marketing. That in turn spawned a late onset career in creative writing. When not working, I get high by the slightly less conventional means of a small light aircraft. My first book, 'Sleight of Hand' is available on Amazon at

20 responses to “Monthly update”

  1. richard says :

    no one has a legitimate beef with the complexity of your books. it is nice to get the full montey instead of wam bam thank you mam. your books are not just stories, you have successfully built a world. A world and a house that you can continue to write about long after this story is told. I look forward to many stories in the future about amber and the other people who inhabit her world. there are new houses all over the united states, who knows what drama will play out in those locations as emergence unfolds.

    Keep writing the way you do, the complexity gives it life.

    my two cents

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Richard.
      I guess everyone has their threshold and I overstepped for some. I think the previous books gave fair warning that the Wild Card story wouldn’t be simple.
      Bian’s Tale will be simpler, but without getting quite to the level of Wild Card, I intend to keep Bite Back multi-threaded.

  2. Moritz Walter says :

    i like the complexity of your books, and don’t have a problem with it. But then i reread your books shortly before reading wild card and i guess not evryone did that. You could put 1-2 pages at the beginning, about what happened in previous books, that way its maybe easier to folow all threads if you dont want to reread.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      I hate prologues, but I guess I’m going to have to do something like that. If we get to number 10 or 12, I can’t see many people being happy to re-read 🙂

      • Robert Bird says :

        I hate prologues too. Perhaps you could put a hyperlink at the start to a synopsis of previous stuff that people could use if they hadn’t kept things clear? Because I like starting the story with a bang, so to speak, which you definitely do. It gets you pulled in so quickly, unlike a prologue.

        • Mark Henwick says :

          Excellent idea! I’ll have to check out the hyperlink functionality with my Kindle. This would be the ideal way to handle it. Of course, you can just page past the prologue as well, but this is better; an active decision to look at the summary so far. Thanks Bob!

  3. Bernd says :

    I have a review bubbling in the back of my head. If I can get it to come together I will post it on Amazon. It would be my first ever review product feed back ever on Amazon in 10+ years shopping there. Don’t get your hopes to high but I am trying to do one. I did really enjoy the book just like the rest in the series so you did it right. I do hope you get the iBooks thing working as that is my personal favorite way to read on my iPad.

  4. Richard says :

    I agree with robert…. the way you started this book was great! and ending the chapter with “hello julie”. I new exactly who what when and were without have to skip over someone explaining the obvious. that instant connection, rather than reading 20-30% of a book to get the connection is very apreciated.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Richard.
      My editor (Lauren) was a bit nervous about the opening chapter. She liked the tension, and liked that I threw the reader in the deep end with the action. However, if you hadn’t just read SoH and HT, it would be difficult to remember the name of the wife of a minor character and her link to Amber. It’s not such a big thing with Julie, because Amber mentally reviews the situation in chapter 2, but there are other references in the book I’m hoping the reader just ‘knows’, so that I don’t interrupt the flow with explanation.
      Lauren took a bit of a shine to Julie and had me tune up her responses to Amber, with the excellent argument that, unless Julie was the equivalent toughness, Amber would never be so relaxed about putting her in charge of Jen’s protection.

  5. Richard says :

    when you create the house charter could you post a copy

  6. Barbara says :

    I have just read all three books over a 3 day period and feel compelled to thank you for creating such a great world with complex characters and situations.
    I loved how the heroes battled so many interesting and ongoing challenges.
    The world you have created is amazing and for me, your writing is as good as it gets. Loved every page and will reread them as I await the next instalment.
    I will add a review on Amazon today – my first ever. Thank you and keep writing.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thank you Barbara!
      Feedback is my writing fuel and that’s given me a good charge.
      I hope I can keep meeting (or exceeding) your expectations. I’m certainly enjoying myself 🙂 I have no intention of stopping!
      Check back for progress updates around the end of the month.
      Thanks again

  7. Aynon says :

    Oh my gosh waking up late to the fact that Wild Card is out. You right was being lazy and thought Amazon would email me as I bought previous books from them. Heading right there now to buy the book. Agree with Richard don’t mind complexity, but hope some threads such as her sister belief that she did not serve in the army will be addressed in this book. Will let you know how I liked it?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Aynon. Yes, Amazon have decided not to proactively email people on the release of Wild Card. There’s not much I can do about it, but I hope that all those that are following the series will find Wild Card eventually.
      You can however click an option for Amazon to email you on a new release from me – it’s on the top right hand corner on my author page which is (for the US) at :
      or you can email me at and I’ll make sure you’re added to the email list for new book alerts.
      Dear old Kath… Some threads find an end and some find new beginnings. 🙂 She’ll be back (but not in the next book) and there are some twists in that tale still.
      I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to your feedback on Wild Card!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: