2015 half year report

And that was the first half of the year! Gone.

Progress on projects:

Angel Stakes
The beta panel (much expanded) has spotted a lot of bits, but everyone seems to be on board for the ride. That was based on the first 27k words. The second section takes the story to the half way point and will be with the panel in 2-3 weeks.
Is that where I want to be? Well, no. I keep having expectations based on approaching writing as an engineering project. That works sometimes and not others.
Taking the second section as an example, I have the core scenes written, and have had for some time. I wrote those at 1,500-2,000 words per day. What’s missing is the glue that binds the scenes together. As a result of what happens at the end of section 1, Amber is landed with a train wreck of urgent and important tasks. (So what’s new 🙂 ). The problem is her instructions are in conflict with her instincts as to how the tasks need to be handled. All of them are priority and different ones have different senior Athanate demanding them. And so on. What has stumped me for the whole of the last week is how to present this task list so the readers understand all the ramifications without a huge conversation/meeting. I do big meetings (end of Hidden Trump for example), but not at the 30% point in a book. It would unbalance the story. What I need, three chapters into section 2, is a physical fight, not a heated discussion. I need to present the list of tasks while Amber’s having a fight!
Anyway, in summary, it’s going reasonably well. Not so well that I’m ready to give publishing date predictions yet.

Audio version of Hidden Trump
A batch of minor edits has gone to Julia Motyka, and I hope to be able to publish in a couple of weeks. I will post up a snippet from Chapter 11 before then. You will enjoy this!

German version of Wild Card : Fortschritte bei der deutschen Version von Wild Card
My copyeditor is unable to complete the final checks and formatting until October, so I think publishing will be in November or December. My apologies, but I want to remain with the same team and process.

Mein Redakteur wird nicht in der Lage, um die letzten Überprüfungen und Formatierung bis Oktober abzuschließen, so dass ich denke Publishing wird im November oder Dezember sein. Es tut mir leid, aber ich möchte mit dem gleichen Team und Verfahren bleiben.

Book covers
Ah! Just no time. Maria came in for a session. My son Joshua took some great photos (see earlier post on Bite Back Facebook), but actually taking that to complete covers with photoshopping the green screen from the background and overlaying onto cover background, then adding titles – too much at the moment.

Sales

Raw Deal 20,400
Sleight of Hand (ebook) 22,100
Sleight of Hand (audio) 728
Sleight of Hand (German) 1,400
Hidden Trump 16,000
Hidden Trump (German) 690
Wild Card 7,200
Cool Hand 3,400

The first four month’s sales for Cool Hand have closely matched Wild Card. My major concern is still the huge drop between Hidden Trump and Wild Card. After its first 19 months, Hidden Trump was at approximately double the level of Wild Card is now at, after the same time.

Raw Deal is in Kindle Unlimited. Just in case you’ve been meditating in the Siberian tundra for the last year or so, this Amazon scheme allows their Prime users to ‘borrow’ and read books for free. The indie authors (not trad published authors) are now paid for these ‘borrows’ on the basis of pages read, as reported back from your Kindle. Obviously, a borrow generates much lower income for the author, but Amazon argue, greater visibility.
You can still buy Raw Deal outright and there’s a 1:4 split in favor of buying.

Marketing

Not really doing anything at the moment outside of maintaining the Facebook page and Athanate website. I do twitter, but I haven’t really got any understanding of how that works in a marketing sense.

I have RD in KU and I’ve kept the price of RD and SoH low.

So, a busy month in prospect, with another section for beta readers and an audio book to launch.

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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

3 responses to “2015 half year report”

  1. XK says :

    I always enjoy these status updates, Mark. They’re a nice window into the behind-the-scenes work of the self publishing world. I’m still in the process of agent hunting under the old paradigm, but it’s very interesting/instructive to see everything you go through on the other side of the fence!

    Good luck with the rest of Angel Stakes! I spent the last few months tossing out the first 240 pages of my book 4, getting back to page 300 or so in my rewrite, and realizing that I’m either going to have to pull out a plot thread entirely or end up with a ~600-700 page book. Fun fun!

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks XK. I wish you success in your endeavours, though you might consider running two parallel efforts – self-publishing (under a pseudonym if you’re worried that it will adversely affect your chances getting an agent) and continuing your efforts with the endless here’s-my-first-three-chapters emails.

      I doubt that you will find you have to do any less in the trad publishing world, should you become hybrid (apart from incidentals like covers).

      I know an agent will tell you pull that plot thread, but is 700 pages too long? Not if it’s necessary to tell the story. What about cutting into two books? (essentially what I did with SoH and HT). The mid-point in classical novel construction is actually a good opportunity to split the book. Email if you want to talk it through more.

      • XK says :

        I appreciate the feedback, Mark!

        With my (paying) job kicking into gear these past few months–back to 50-60 hour work weeks, not counting the 2-3 hour round trip commute–a parallel track (self pub and pub) might be slightly beyond my capacity for now, but it’s an option I hadn’t thought of. For the short term, I’ve setting a deadline for my first run at the traditional publishing route. If/when that elapses, I’ll move on to exploring self publishing (including finding an editor, hiring a cover artist, and establishing an online presence).

        Splitting the book is an interesting idea. I liked how you handled it with SoH and HT, but with my book being (in essence) a murder mystery, it might be difficult to find a good stopping point while still providing the reader with a satisfying conclusion. It’s something to keep in mind though, as I move into the next half of the book.

        My current, some might say naive, hope is that, as I continue writing, obviously extraneous or unnecessary will leap out at me, begging to be cut or saved for later. If not… well, it IS book 4 in the series. Hopefully, by this point, readers/publishers will have become invested enough in the world that the extra page count–provided it’s not just plot bloat–is seen as a positive, rather than a negative.

        I hope you and yours had a lovely 4th of July weekend!

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