January 2014 – Monthly roundup

It’s the end of the month, and the monthly update is due.

The last week has been slow on the work side. Apparently a super-resistant plague bacillus was infected by a hyper-virulent avian flu virus and mutated into the worst disease known and it infected me. My wife says it was just a cold, but that’s ridiculous.

Anyway, I’m alive and sitting here waiting for the Broncos to stomp all over the Seagulls (this post may subsequently be edited due to unforeseen circumstances), so I thought I better sum up what’s where on the writing side.


Sleight of Hand was briefly overtaken by Raw Deal, but is now back in front with 18,950 sales in 19 months. Raw Deal is 18,880 in 10 months, Hidden Trump 13,400 in 15 and Wild Card 3,100 in 3.

The take-off that HT achieved hasn’t been copied by WC, due mainly (I think) to Amazon not recommending WC in their emails to readers of SoH and HT. That’s no concern to me really, slow or fast isn’t such a big thing. What I am pleased about in those figures is that HT is now at 71% retention from SoH and WC has re-boosted the sales of SoH and HT, putting them up around 15 daily.


I’m also pleased at the reviews that WC has brought in. Yes, there are people saying I need to tie up some of those threads that have been running for three books, but generally the reaction has been better than positive. And yes, I know that the next couple of Bite Back books have to tie up lots more.

Writing progress

Bian’s Tale 1: Saigon – The Reach of Lies is cantering. You’ll remember I said these books would be simpler, and they are. I have however had to deconstruct some characters and re-create them as two separate characters, so I’m having to revisit some of what I’ve written. I’ll have a more accurate update next month and I’ll put a teaser of the first section of the book up.

Bite Back 4: Cool Hand is trotting rather than cantering. I’m going slow because I’m nervous about the end of this book. My standard writing pattern is to have a very clear picture of the first and last quarter of a book when I start putting words on the page, because in writing terms everything has to ‘follow’ from those fixed points. I haven’t yet firmed up on the end of Cool Hand. It’s a double scene ending, as with HT and WC, and my problem is that the two ending scenes aren’t connected, physically, geographically or thematically. That doesn’t feel right. I can get around it, but it starts to feel like a triple scene ending. I can’t explain better without giving spoilers. It may be that I write the last quarter first, and when I’m happy with that, go back and start writing/re-writing from the beginning again.

I’ll try and communicate a bit more this next month, and, as I say, teasers will be coming out.



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 books are available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Henwick/e/B008SBO5YK/

8 responses to “January 2014 – Monthly roundup”

  1. wiggiemomsi says :

    Mark, I always love reading your updates, which I like to post on Facebook with “love this author” comments! Keep ’em coming! :o)

  2. Richard says :

    just had a thought and wanted to share.

    the ninja bitch from the park, if Amber takes her on, for whatever reason; ninja bitch would make a great present for the collenel, “know thy enemy”.

    just add a little athenate bonding to the mix and then “you will work for him and earn your place” or I will end you.

    if your going to take on an unkown then the consequences will be absolute for any infraction.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Richard, I enjoy seeing everyone’s views on the possibilities. It’s like the physics / science fiction theory of multiple universes splitting from the slightest difference and spinning off into completely unforeseen directions.
      I hadn’t thought about this for Yelena (that’s her name). I was going to include her meeting Amber in Wild Card, but of course, there’s a twist and my editor told me I had a twist (or two) too many for the book to support.

      • Richard says :

        after reading wild card i went back and reread it, sometimes reading a specific section mult times; almost as if I was studying it. I really like the depth of your books, even going so far as to reference things that happened behind the scenes from time to time.

        without seeing the twist in the book I couldn’t say iether way. Is she (your editor) a party pooper? LOL. I notice that sometimes you add debth even when she says to cut it.

        any thoughts on your numbers? I notice some books get a lot of attention on amazon that are just not worth the time. is it your audience? adults vs teenagers? or maybe the cover art? oooh! shiny wrapping. LOL

  3. Mark Henwick says :

    Lauren (the editor) isn’t a party pooper 🙂 She has a great feel for what will work, and the scene where I put in the twist about Yelena needed to concentrate on what it was meant to convey (it was the scene where Amber has a Skype conference with everyone while she’s at Jen’s HQ). That scene needed to propel the reader into the final section of hunting down the rogue, and the completely unrelated twist about Yelena stole that purpose and weakened the final section. Lauren was right, it had to go.
    I do sometimes override Lauren’s suggestions, but not often.

    The numbers? Hmm. Amazon concentrate on what gets the best return for them. At the moment, I’m on a deal that’s better for me than it is for them. Plugging in my cold commercial heart, I can understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. I personally feel that more effort on their part would reap disproportionate rewards, but I would say that, wouldn’t I?

    Audience? I’m definitely appealing to a more mature market than Twilight and the like. I don’t know what the buying patterns are, but I suspect that more mature readers develop more definite preferences. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t think good marketing could stampede lots of readers to buy Bite Back (or even a better UF series) in the way that good marketing (and a different type of story) could with a much younger audience. Complex! There may be a blog post on that at some time!

    Cover art needs an overhaul, yup.

  4. Mark Henwick says :

    My spies tell me Amazon is starting to email readers with the Bite Back series as a specific recommendation. Interestingly, Deborah Jay’s Desprite Measures is included in the email, and I’ve just recently reviewed it… Do you think they’re watching me? 🙂

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