What Works For Me

It’s been several months since I last posted anything in my What Works For Me series of writing tips/ thoughts. There are several very good reasons for that. Most importantly, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to work out what exactly does work for me.

You’ll probably have seen endless debate online over the last few months about the merits of independent versus traditional publishing, and also about the position/ value of indie authors as highlighted by the ongoing Hachette vs. Amazon debacle.

I started out Indie. I was Indie before most. I’m so old school that I genuinely used to email pdf and Word versions of AUTUMN to interested folks back in the day. I did well from it, and if I hadn’t done what I’d done, I’d probably have never written HATER and it might not have found its way onto the desk of the folks who passed it on to Guillermo del Toro all those years ago… When Thomas Dunne Books of New York made an offer for the publishing rights back in 2007, I didn’t hesitate to accept.

CostofLivingSo now we’re another seven years or so down the line, and the marketplace has changed beyond all recognition. Indie authors are in a better place now: more accepted, and with better tools and technologies at their disposal.

THE COST OF LIVING proved to be a turning point for me. I’ve been stunned by the success of my little ebook – it’s sold remarkably well and has opened my eyes to the full potential of independent publishing again. With the recent relaunch/ rebranding of INFECTED BOOKS, I feel like I’ve regained the control you inevitably lose when you publish traditionally, and I’m ready to take full advantage of that.

So, to stop a long story getting any longer, I’ll just say this: for now, although I’m technically what you’d call a Hybrid author, I feel 100% Indie again. So what does this mean? Well, for a start you should watch for another surprise release later this week (you can pre-order it now – I’ll tell you more tomorrow), and then look out for STRANGERS – my brand new, full-length novel, coming from Infected Books in November this year.

Gollancz 2014 Festival

GOLLANCZ – publishers of the AUTUMN and HATER books in the UK and elsewhere, are running a multi-media festival on 13 August. As well as live events at Waterstones Piccadilly from 6pm, there will be online events taking place all day via social media. You can find a full schedule for the evening at the Gollancz website here, and you can register to take part in the online events by visiting www.gollancz.co.uk/gollanczfestival2014. I’ll be taking part in a Facebook fantasy panel starting at 10:00am, and I hope a few of you will be able to join us online.

gollancz-festival-poster-final-26.06.14-723x1024

The future of Infected Books

So, a while back I promised to explain what was happening with Infected Books.

You might recall that, sometime around the middle of IBlast month, after clearing a lot of my shelves and stocks of books, I shuttered the website (which had become known as the Infected Bookstore, because that was pretty much all it was). People asked if I was disappearing or giving up… if I’d had my fill of independent publishing… if I was through with writing altogether…

That couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how things used to be back in 2001 when I started giving away the original AUTUMN novel for free via my website. The eBook market was small back then, and self-publishing was a dirty word (I know it still is to some people). These were the days before Kindle, Nook and iBooks… when I was literally emailing pdfs, Word docs, and all manner of obscure early eBook formats directly to interested folks.

Infected Books was created in early 2005 as a clear and very definite brand – a way of publishing my books independently which a). didn’t make me look like a one man band operating out of the spare bedroom at home (which I was) and b). gave me a professional-looking brand with which I could compete with other publishers around the world. In that respect, IB worked brilliantly. It was, as one senior editor working for a UK publisher told me a few years back, a masterstroke.

But then everything that happened with Guillermo del Toro and HATER and Thomas Dunne Books happened, and I pulled down the virtual shutters.

Fast-forward a few years, and I re-launched the business back in 2012 to republish my remaining novels – books which had been released previously, but which I knew would benefit from an upgrade. It worked really well. TRUST, AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION and, most recently, STRAIGHT TO YOU have been very successful.

But things really changed again at the end of May, when THE COST OF LIVING was released. I’ve already said this, but I’ll say it again anyway – the success of my little zombie novella has far exceeded my expectations. In some ways, THE COST OF LIVING has been a catalyst for the changes I’m going to tell you about now.

Infected Books is a publisher first and foremost. In the future, it’ll be much more than that (starting with, I hope, Infected Films in a couple of years time – more about that later). The website, though, didn’t represent that. In fact, it had become a glorified bookstore which took more time and money to maintain than I had available.

I’d like to invite you to visit the new www.infectedbooks.co.uk which has just been launched. It looks much the same visually, but there’s been a definite shift in content and focus (although you can still buy signed books from the site – now with free UK shipping). You’ll find much more about the titles IB publishes, and there will be plenty more new releases to come in the next few months. A mix of eBooks, limited editions, and new paperback releases are coming… there are things planned every month from hereon in. Please also follow IB on Facebook and Twitter to be the first to hear about these releases.

THE COST OF LIVING has reinvigorated me, and I can’t wait to let you see what’s coming next.

Infected Books is very much alive and kicking. As I first said back in 2001 (a line which plenty of others have pinched since then…) stick with me and let’s SPREAD THE INFECTION!

A quick plug for a good friend – David Shires, the COST OF LIVING cover artist

CostofLivingI just wanted to take a moment to publicly thank David Shires of The Image Designs for his stirling work in putting together the brilliant cover art for THE COST OF LIVING at short notice recently. Often when I’m working on an Infected Books release, I’ll have an idea what kind of design I want to use and I’ll give the artist a very general brief. In this case I had an idea and I’d made an incredibly amateurish attempt to produce the artwork myself. I emailed David all the details, and received the finished piece within a day. Phenomenal!

David’s done work for me previously and has been featured on this site before. You might remember his AUTUMN illustrations which are on display over at www.lastoftheliving.net. My personal favourites are the images he produced for OFFICE POLITICS and SKIN.

For more information about David’s work, email create@theimagedesigns.com or visit www.theimagedesigns.com or facebook.com/theimagedesigns. Once again, huge thanks to David for his work on THE COST OF LIVING which has been a massive factor in the book’s success. I’m incredibly grateful.

Office Politics - illustration by David Naughton-Shires www.knightwatchpress.infoTHE COST OF LIVING is available now from AMAZON.COM | AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.DE | AMAZON.ES | AMAZON.IT | AMAZON.CA | AMAZON.COM.AU.

Watch for an announcement in the next few weeks about another zombie-themed novella and an undead print collection coming soon from Infected Books.

Rare signed book sale – update

Not long left now before the Infected Bookstore closes its virtual doors for good (though some signed books will still be available via this site and eBay and Amazon). I just wanted to update you on what’s still available.

I’ve just found a few original Infected Books editions, and there are still some AUTUMN and HATER bundles. Click the link below for more details or go straight to www.infectedbooks.co.uk.

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Infected Bookstore to close – rare and out-of-print books for sale

It seems like I’m always trying to get you to buy signed books from www.infectedbooks.co.uk, but please allow me one last post…

I’ve decided that I’ll be closing the Infected Bookstore shortly. Signed books will still be available (direct from this site, eventually), but running the store as is just isn’t working out as I’d hoped.

Just before it disappears, however, I have one last announcement to make. I need to free up some space in my office, so I’m selling off a large number of rare and out-of-print books. You can see everything that’s available by visiting this link or clicking the image below. There are plenty of AUTUMN and HATER bundles to be found.

ukhardcovers

All the books are in mint condition and will be personally signed.

Rest assured, this isn’t the end of me or of Infected Books, just a re-focus. I hope you’ll find something of interest in the store, and do please check back regularly over the coming days as I put more of my inventory online. If you’re looking for a specific title to complete your collection, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can find.

Want to be a character in The Spaces Between?

TSB logoIn the past I’ve held several competitions where folks could win the chance to appear in forthcoming novels. Most notably, Keiran Cope won a charity auction to be in the final AUTUMN novel and have his own AUTUMN short story (which you can read here). And way, way back in 2008, The Swimmer was based on a lovely lady called Joanna Milne who won a contest to become a featured zombie in AUTUMN: DISINTEGRATION. Just below you can see Keiran in character (as immortalized by the mighty Craig Paton) and, next to him, The Swimmer (as sculpted by the equally mighty Patrick Crilley).

I think another contest is long overdue.

As you know I’m in the middle of writing the first part of a new four book horror/science-fiction series, THE SPACES BETWEEN. I’m offering FIVE people the chance to appear as characters in the books.

One randomly selected winner will:

  • Have a key character who appears in all four novels in the series named after them.
  • They’ll also receive a framed illustration of themselves depicted in a key scene from the first book.
  • And they’ll also get signed first editions of each book in the series as and when they’re released.

Four randomly selected runners-up will:

  • Have a supporting character named after them in one of the books (one book per winner).
  • They’ll also received signed first editions of each book in the series as and when they’re released.

So what do you have to do? It’s very simple. Visit this page where you’ll find all the necessary information. Good luck!

The infection spreads to Italy!

I’m very pleased to announce that the first book in the AUTUMN series has just been released in Italy. AUTUMN – L’ATTACCO DEI MORTI VIVENTI (which translates to Autumn – Attack of the Living Dead) is available now from Delos Books as part of their Odissea Zombie series.

Autumn ItalyThe Amazon Kindle version of the book is available here.

 

Location Inspiration

Straight to You coverI guess I could file this post under the ‘What Works For Me’ heading, but it should also be of interest to those of you who are here more for reading than writing, in particular those who’ve already read STRAIGHT TO YOU.

WARNING – MILD STRAIGHT TO YOU SPOILERS AHEAD!

I wanted to talk about locations today: how rather than finding the right scenery to fit your story, sometimes the story can be shaped by a location or, in this case, a journey. If you’ve not read STRAIGHT TO YOU yet, why not grab a low price ebook or signed paperback then come back and see how some of the scenes in the new version of the story came about.

I’ve already spoken at length about how I wanted the rewritten version of STRAIGHT TO YOU to feel more honest and emotional in comparison to the hopelessly naïve original, and I decided early on in the planning process that in order for that to happen I’d need to give the book a foothold in reality.

Here’s me pictured in the idyllic Welsh village of Criccieth last Sunday, and in the background you can see the castle which features prominently in the book. Click the link below to find out more, but please be warned – there are potentially some spoilers ahead.

Moody and castle

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