Late month end news

If I was my boss, I’d fire my lazy ass already.

I promised a teaser, and it’s not ready. I was away in the Netherlands last week, came back this week and just didn’t get back into the zone. The second part of Bian’s Tale has lots of writing completed, and the scenes are just about all there, but the timing and links between scenes aren’t right. It’s a similar situation with the first part of Bite Back 4, lots of scenes but not a story yet.

This is not an excuse, but part of the problem is the timing between scenes of the two series is very different. The Bite Back series is deliberately intended to be full-on, in your face, barely time to grab a breath. That’s why the action happens over such a short time in each book – it helps keep up the runaway train feeling. The Bian’s Tale series spans a century and a quarter, so the same technique will not work, even though there will be sections that are intense action.

So, what’s up on the sales and marketing front?

Raw Deal : 19,280     Sleight of Hand : 19,545

Hidden Trump : 13,936      Wild Card : 4,500 (yes, exactly).

Ticking along, but no particular changes, then. Wild Card is still selling very slowly, and I’m assuming that means that Amazon is still not promoting it to readers who’ve read SoH and HT (but I don’t know because they don’t talk about those sorts of things with authors).

I’ve experimented with raising and lowering the price of Raw Deal, because I’ve seen that recommended on some author’s blogs. I will try that with Wild Card, but my gut feeling is that sort of marketing works better for series openers rather than for book 3.

Amazon have also been fiddling around with the volume numbers for book series, saying that it will make it easier for readers to find books in a series, but Bite Back already had the numbers displayed clearly, and all they’ve managed so far is to mess the titles up.

I did see a spike in SoH when it got nominated for Book of the Month in a couple of the Urban Fantasy groups on GoodReads – again that’s for series openers.

I’m open to suggestions for how to raise awareness in existing readers that there’s a third book in the series! 🙂

To spruce things up for the whole series, I’m redoing the covers, adding Charles de Lint’s recommendation (see previous blog post) in the blurb, and I may offer the books in boxed sets as a special promotion (which might alert readers of SoH & HT that WC is available).

I will be asking professional narrators to read a sample from SoH, and may put those tests up on the blog for you guys to vote on. (I know, been promised and I’m late on this too). If we can agree a narrator, then I’ll do audible versions of all the books. I’d love Scarlett Johansson’s voice for the narration, but she’s out of my league. Anyone got any favorites?

The German translation of SoH is being copy-edited and formatted, and I expect I’ll have it up by the end of the month. I will be fascinated to see how it goes. I wanted to do a more ‘European’ cover for the German version. If any of my German readers are reading this, I’d be interested to hear what they think a good cover looks like for a German Urban Fantasy. Any favorites you’d care to mention?

I have a couple of blogs to put out this month – one about sex, and maybe one about advertising 🙂

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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 http://amzn.to/Sa0D3n

17 responses to “Late month end news”

  1. Susan Illene says :

    I got a recommendation from Amazon for Wild Card about a week or so ago. Thought it was sort of ironic since I’d already bought the book, but at least I can tell you they did send an email recently.

    I’m looking forward to hearing how the German translation goes. There definitely seems to be market for UF there.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Susan. Yes, my spies report an Amazon email from time to time. Amazon send me emails as well, but I’m thinking that’s probably based on the fact I visit the book pages daily to log the ranks in my spreadsheets (sad, I know).
      What I’m betting hasn’t happened is targeted mailing to people who’ve bought SoH and HT and not WC. Amazon know this stuff. Hell, they even know who’s reading the books and how far they’ve got, if they’re using Kindle.
      Let me put it this way: I bet they target like crazy for their 47North authors.

      I’ll post more about the translation nearer the time. I’m having a look at covers, audible, iTunes and a whole load of stuff at the same time as I’m hitting a slow patch writing, and everything is taking longer than expected, but I’m still excited about all of it.
      Once I’ve published in German, I’ll report figures side by side for German sales.

  2. Daniel Dobbelstein says :

    Ohhh there certainly is a market for UF in germany… thing is, i hate reading translations, because i feel alot gets lost in it.
    Same for movies, hate translations there as well. So if something has originated in english language, thats what i read or watch.
    But not all germans are that proficient in the english language or even want to try.
    Promise, if they tried, soon they would become alot more proficient in the language but well. There is only very few german authors for that genre, UF or Fantasy at all, and most what you get in german language is either from the Big Publishers, who have money to hire crappy translators, or german authors, of whom many seem to be only semiproficient in the german language themselves. Either that or they think their readers are imbeciles.

    In the last couple years i seen one good german fantasy series, by Richard Schwartz, a german author, not sure if there is translations out there, if there are i can recommend it. The title of the series would translate into “The Secrets of Askir”
    But its normal fantasy not urban. Heinz is another good author, who wrote the book Orcs, which i am pretty sure got translated into english.

    Sadly especially the big publishers, don’t seem to hire very good translators, when they translate books from english into german.
    Well all the better to read books in the language they where written in.

    Have a nice day
    Daniel

    PS: Susan, can’t wait for the next book from you… 20th april, yay, will tide me over for a bit… well a day or 2 at least.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Daniel.
      Obviously, I am worried about the ‘feel’ of the translation. Peter and Moritz commented on specifics such as word-play in English that can’t be translated. Humor generally doesn’t translate well, and I wonder what ‘snark’ sounds like in German. Peter also mentioned that maybe SoH was too ‘militaristic’ for most Germans. I don’t know. Only time will tell.
      Incidentally, I’d be interested if any German readers have places they go for book recommendations – is there a German Goodreads for example?

      Schwarz does not seem to have been translated. I have come across Heinz, but I haven’t read the English translation of the Orc book.
      I can read a little French and German, but not to the level of reading a book. As you say, I should just do it and I would get better. 🙂

  3. Daniel Dobbelstein says :

    Actually that remark was not aimed at you Mark, though polishing up a language can never hurt. I started to learn english at school, but had a really hard time up to the 11th grade (i guess in the US and Britain that would be college level) then i started, mostly due to the influence of my best friend, to view movies in english language and my english marks at school like skyrocketed shortly after.
    Like from C’s and D’s to A’s. Then around the end of the 90’s, beginning of the 2000 i got sucked into the evil world of MMO games (in case you don’t know Massive Multiplayer Online games) which further polished my english… though my english teacher form school would most likely see that a bit different and despair, would they hear me talk english nowadays, especially after having been in a relationship with a redneck girl for around 6 years some time ago.
    That changes your language alot.

    But as i said, never hurts to polish up on a language, but i hear german is pretty tough to learn, and not sure how well you can do it by reading books… english is much easier there. And yes humor translates very badly, and word plays usually do not work at all.

    Some translators do find plays of words, that have a similar or close meaning, but thats the best you can reach.

    I don’t know about the militaristic character in germany, we do have a very good army, and many people in uniform who serve this country well, even though patriotism is a bit out of fashion in germany since 1945.
    Sad that we still have to fight with that image.
    I am german, i served in the army, and i loved the book.

    Daniel

    • Susan Illene says :

      Differences in languages are interesting. Since I studied Arabic, that’s the only other one I know. It surprised me that some sayings worked for both English and Arabic. The one I can think of off the top of my head is “under the table”. Such as I’ll pay you under the table. It translates word for word the same and means the same thing.

      About the German military. I got to sort of work with German troops while I was down in Louisiana for JRTC (Joint Readiness Training Center). For those who don’t know, it’s basically where US troops plus any other foreign troops invited play war games. There is a permanent battalion of infantry guys who play the opposition. Both times I went we had German soldiers participating.

      I actually learned to have a lot of respect for them. On one rotation I was assigned to be a “civilian” and had to play the role of woman from a third world country. A bunch of us assigned this job lived in the ramshackle towns that are dotted throughout the training area. The idea is to make things realistic and for that you need to have civilians on the battlefield area who you’re supposed to protect and deal with as needed.

      They also assigned me the additional role of being a sympathizer for the opposition forces. Which meant I spied on the American troops (and whoever they worked with) and then reported it back to the so-called “bad guys”. Well, this was both a fun thing and a not so fun thing. For one, I was on a black list because of my “sympathies” so I always got nervous driving my beat-up purple truck through military check points. Of all the ones I drove through, the Germans were by far the most thorough. They’d really check me and the truck over before I could pass. I was always sure I was going to get busted by them. The American forces usually didn’t hold me up for so long.

      The fun part was harassing the troops when they came into town. They totally deserved it for getting into firefights so close to our homes and getting us killed. We had chickens, goats, and other assorted animals we allowed to roam free too and sometimes they got “murdered” and we made them pay restitution. If I happened to toss bird feed at the Humvees and they flocked over to it and mobbed the thing, it could hardly be my fault. Hey, I throw like a girl. It was a mistake…honest! Oh, and I claimed I couldn’t read and forced the psyops guys to read me their silly brochures that were supposed to win my heart and mind. They kept looking at me like “I know damn well you can read” but they had to play along. I just batted my eyelashes and played innocent. Those were fun times.

      My other trip to JRTC wasn’t quite as much fun. I had to process the dead troops and send new ones out to refresh the losses (which really meant we held the “dead” guys for up to 24 hours and then released them back to the training area as “replacements”). Those German guys would always try and sneak on the trucks early. They hated being dead for very long and wanted to get back out there. I couldn’t blame them. They traveled a long way and didn’t want to miss the action, but I had the worst time communicating with them that they couldn’t go if they weren’t up on the list yet. All troops stayed dead until we said they weren’t anymore. No one ever wanted to hear that, though.

      So, anyway, they seemed rather motivated and professional to me. It may not be popular to be patriotic over there right now, but I did get a good impression of the German army.

  4. Daniel Dobbelstein says :

    I was on a joint military training exercise in Nevada once, mostly about our patriot anti missile systems ;P I was with the air force back then and yes the professional soldiers, those that do it for a living, or for a scheduled time, where very good. Back when i was there we still had conscription though, and the wast majority of Soldiers, where conscripts who only thought about getting drunk and getting around their alloted time.
    I served for 4 years back then, so no i was not a conscript.
    We did make a bit of fun with our “emeny” troops though. Some of us had exchanged troop materials in Bosnia with american soldiers, and it was kind of fun to sneak into your camps, wearing US Camo and pretending we where one of you, to spy, or sabotage your mission.
    Yes we germans can be seen as a bit strict and unfelxible, but well we do our jobs and usually we do them pretty fine.
    Since WW2 we are not supposed to show patriotism, because when a german says “I am proud to be german” half the EU starts to shout you down as a “Nazi”
    I know very well, that what happened during the time of the Nazi regime in germany is a very bad thing, and should never be allowed to happen again, but i was born well more the 30 years after that, as where most of my generation. My parents, did live through the end of WW2 but have no real recollection of that time, my Mother was around 7 back then.
    Holding that over us nowadays, is a bit tedious and silly if you ask me.
    Yes it was bad, yes it should never happen again, but hey its not my fault. and actually putting up with it again and again, just kind of angers me.
    I know many people, especially people who are around 20 to 30 nowadays, who get a glazed look in their eyes, if you start about it.
    Yes we do have rightwing political parties today, but i think half their success is because you cannot stand up and be proud to be german nowadays, without resentments about a time, none of their members ever personally witnessed, but having gotten drilled into their head at school, that its a bad thing to be proud of our heritage.
    Alot of good things came from germany, and still do. The fridge for one thing.
    Donuts where originally a german recipe, that american soldiers brought home to the US after WW2 as well.
    Enough of that rambling.
    I do have alot of respect for american troops, i had the pleasure of training with some of them, and they were very efficient and proficient, though maybe a little too proud and a bit too dependent on their technical gadgets.
    But hey they could be, you really have amazing gear. Ours was a bit on the shabby side, and when you knew that your own bulletproof flakjacket, weighs around 30lbs, and the US troops got a jacket, that does the very same thing, and it weighs around a third of yours, you do get a little jealous.
    Its a very good workout though ha.
    There you got the optimism we have.

    With regards
    Daniel

  5. Daniel Dobbelstein says :

    Uhh Actually i think Pizza is originally from the US, not entirely certain but i seem to remember that the first settlers made flat breads and put the leftovers onto them.

    • Daniel Dobbelstein says :

      I read it up, Wikipedia is your friend, and the real source of Pizza is a bit murky in history, but the official first Pizza was made around 1820 in Italy, so i have to ammend what i said 😦

  6. Taylor John Jero says :

    I really loved the books so far, just gone done reading the series so far between exams, and it was one of the most fun reads I have had for quite some time. I did get the series on kindle, and they are not marketing it worth dealin with an enraged bullman (minotaur). Anywho, got the whole series down within a week, had lots of fun, though the weapons made a surprising amount of sense, and no the p90 isn’t ugly…. merely misunde-dammit nevermind… it is ugly as all hell, but its a great firearm…
    Soooooo, questions, what other kinds of creatures can ya pull out? Can you please put up a facebook page so I can get my asshole, and dumbass friends (who won’t buy something without reading the facebook comments on it… yeah… go america…) will buy this book….. pleeeeease? And can you please put a time lapse for this poor beaten half to death character already? In the span of less than a month she has had all but her bones ground to dust to make an ogres bread without any rest what so ever. I’m starting to go into each chapter thinking she’s gonna fragging just walk outside, see a giant meteor of shit hutling towards her that is the trouble she is in on a minutely basis, shrug and proceed to blast said shit with the overpowered shotgun of doom (cannot be bothered to remember the actual name because this descrition has been forever engrained in my head) and that would be counted as her “rest peiod.”
    In spite of that:
    5 stars because the series just so much fragging fun

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Ha ha ha! Thank you for the post, Taylor, I needed that.

      Easy bits first: the FB page is https://www.facebook.com/TheBiteBackSeries.
      Traffic is split between this web site and the FB page, and I normally put a link on FB when I make a post here. Your friends can read FB, website, Amazon (US, UK, CA, DE) & Goodread reviews and I’m fairly confident they’ll not find much that isn’t positive.

      Amazon marketing. Yeah, I’m feeling a little unloved at the moment. They know everyone who bought SoH and HT, how difficult would it be to email those people and tell them WC is available. It’s not as if it isn’t in their interest!

      I’ll post a picture of the P90 against the SCAR and HK, and you people can tell me which is the ugly one 🙂

      Now the difficult bit – Amber’s down time. Here’s a minor spoiler – she gets to sleep for the whole of a long car journey in the early part of book 4 which I might be naming ‘Cool Hand’. I’m glad you’re feeling for her, but she’s still got tough times ahead. I’m scheduling a whole weekend off around the end of book 5. 🙂

      Best of luck in the exams – what are you studying?

  7. laura271gsd1 says :

    Kevan Brighting does a very good job narrating the Julia Quinn historical romance novels.

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