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…

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/

18 responses to “Newsletter changes”

  1. dennis morel says :

    I would really hate to see ‘The Long Way Home’ set aside, really enjoy that one. And Bite Back 8 is long overdue, so maybe that should become a focus of your efforts. Bottom line whatever you decide to write I will be more than interested in picking up a copy of it. Serial installments really don’t work for me, rather wait the extra time and get them bundled up in a book and enjoy them all at once and not try to remember what happened a week or a month ago. So, my two cents is for you to do whatever rewards you the most for your efforts, I’m sure I’ll enjoy whatever comes.

    Keep up the good work, your writing is something I sincerely enjoy.

    dennis morel

    ________________________________

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Dennis.
      I’ve had a couple of others emailing me with a similar view – that they don’t much like the episodes and prefer waiting for the book to be out.

      The Long Way Home won’t be shelved. My post gave an outline of things I’ve thought of to fix the newsletter, but whatever plan I come up with will adjust to take account of the feedback I get.

  2. azrm says :

    Sorry, the comment feature is just too complicated to just leave a simple reply.

  3. Sharon Sayegh says :

    I really don’t have a preference; if you write it, I will read it! 💖

  4. Yves Balez says :

    just like what Dennis Morel said! Ohh and I miss Amber …

  5. Ben says :

    You could consider tapping into a readership on any of the series sites like Wattpad or Royalroad or … with whatever is out there. If it’s on here, well, okay, maybe you are keeping people engaged that already read your stuff but new readers aren’t going to find it, or only in small numbers …
    … depends on your goals of course.

    As for the subscription; well, personally I just hate email subscriptions and I don’t have a clue why authors are always so keen on them (I presume someone back in 2003 wrote an influential blog post on this and ever since it’s been repeated as the-thing-to-do(tm)). Otherwise I don’t mind serials (depending on the type of story) although it’s not the same as sitting down with a finished book.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Ben.

      I’ve looked at sites like Wattpad and the Amazon serial stuff and none of it seems to generate much unless you’re in YA.

      The reason authors are keen on email subscription is that it gives us access to our readers. When I market through Amazon and Facebook, I don’t actually have access to the people who buy my books or click on my ads. Both of them monetise the link they hold, which is based on my content.

      Take Amazon, for instance. When I publish book 6 of a series, I am not able to go to Amazon and get them include book 6 in one of their regular emails to all readers of book 5. Even when a reader opts to follow me on Amazon, they don’t always get informed when I have a new book out. Given the sheer volume of new books any reader sees, this reduces the visibility and hence my sales by a huge amount. You know you can do searches in Amazon on an author’s name? I have to bid money to ensure my books are included at the top of the results for a search on *my name*.

      Or Facebook. When I originally launched, I had a few thousand followers, and every post I put up on Facebook, I had a chance that most of them would have it on their newsfeed. I regularly got over 1000 likes on a post. I can only get that now by paying Facebook to show my post to people who’ve already said they want to see my posts.

      All of that is why authors would humbly request that readers share their email addresses, and why I’m giving books away to tempt people to do it.

  6. taggaroo says :

    Unfortunately I much prefer reading an entire story in one sitting, probably because my memory is hopeless and I’ll have to reread the previous chapters/episode each time a new one comes out! 😀
    I like some of the ideas you’re toying with and I look forward to seeing some of those come to fruition. Bian’s tale is well due 😀 and Bite Back 8 sound great!

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Taggaroo.

      Yes, there do seem to be a lot of people who just want the books. All I need to do is write & publish a new book every six months. That is, one for each of the series that I’ve started. So four books, or eight a year.

      (Author whimpers)

      I’ll produce more info on the other stories as well, but I think 90% of my time has to be getting Bite Back 8 and Bian’s Tale 2 out.

      • Ted Maczulat says :

        Ill vote for that. I love the Amber and the BiteBack series and cant wait to see more about Bian.

        • Mark Henwick says :

          Thanks Ted!

          I really wish I could write quicker. I’m just finishing off book 3 of TLWH, and then I’ll be 100% on BB8 until I know the ball is rolling properly, and that it’s rolling in the direction I want!
          I am aware I have to get back to Bian’s Tale 2, The Words of the Dead, as well.

  7. Irene says :

    I am enjoying the long way home I do not care what format it comes in

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Irene.
      I’m enjoying writing The Long Way Home, and the story will go on. Maybe just as books. It certainly seems that the story has outgrown the monthly episode format.

  8. Karen Morris says :

    I have read all the Bite Back books and I have just gotten into this series. Just as addictive! I just left Jan and Shami with a missile coming into the Acid Penguin! Ready for the next episode! Ack! Where is it? Do I sound like an idiot addicted to the story? Lol. Let me know when I can get the next installment.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Hi Karen
      Thank you! 🙂 You can get it now…
      The next several episodes are available for newsletter readers. You can sign up at
      https://mailchi.mp/27afed3e7c0c/mark-henwick-scifi-newsletter-signup
      And then download episodes 13-17 at
      https://dl.bookfunnel.com/sjf9am00p4

      Born in Fire, Book 3 (Episodes 13-18) is nearly ready, and will be available for free *very* briefly on BookFunnel, sometime this month. I will announce in the newsletter, on this blog and the Facebook pages.
      Sometime in May, I’ll take everything off BookFunnel and ramp up to a full release of the 3 books on Amazon in June or July. I think they’ll be $2.99 for 1, and $4.99 for the others.

      I’ll be concentrating *hard* on Bite Back 8, but I will have some content for newsletter readers.

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