Last of the Living – out today

I know I’ve been banging on about it for weeks, but LAST OF THE LIVING is officially released today. Containing two novellas and a host of zombie short stories, it’s my last word (for a while, anyway) on the living dead.

Pick up a signed copy direct from Infected Books, ebay, or Amazon.co.uk (free shipping for all UK orders from Infected Books and ebay).

You can also get the book from: AMAZON.COM / AMAZON.CO.UK / B&N / Waterstones / Book Depository

LAST-OF-THE-LIVING

A fall in THE COST OF LIVING

CostofLivingJust a few weeks now until the release of LAST OF THE LIVING – the new paperback collection which includes my zombie survival novellas THE COST OF LIVING and ISOLATION and much more. In readiness for the new release, the price of the ebook edition of THE COST OF LIVING has been reduced to around 99c/70p – an absolute steal. More information at this link.

In keeping with the Infected Books approach to ebooks, if you’ve already bought THE COST OF LIVING and ISOLATION, you can get a £2 discount on LAST OF THE LIVING (use the name of Keith’s manager as a discount code during checkout). Likewise, when you receive LAST OF THE LIVING, you’ll be able to download complementary copies of the ebooks.

I’m hoping the LAST OF THE LIVING signed pre-orders will start shipping later this week, and I’ll update here again as soon as they do. In the meantime, don’t forget you can pre-order copies here, and that everyone who pre-orders by 20 October will be entered into a draw to win an original AUTUMN manuscript and other rare memorabilia. Good luck!

LAST OF THE LIVING – pre-orders now open

LAST-OF-THE-LIVINGI’m pleased to announce that pre-orders for LAST OF THE LIVING are now open. The book will be officially released on 27 October, but these signed, pre-ordered copies will ship in advance of that date.

All pre-orders received before 20 October will be entered into a competition to win a rare copy of the original Infected Books edition of AUTUMN, along with a genuine (and ever rarer) AUTUMN manuscript from my archives.

Click here to place your order!

One more thing… in keeping with the Infected Books philosophy of not wanting folks to pay for the same thing twice, if you’ve already purchased the COST OF LIVING and ISOLATION ebooks, you can get a £2 discount on your pre-order. Simply use the name of Keith’s (from Isolation) manager as a coupon code at checkout (not case sensitive), and your discount will automatically be applied.

I hope you enjoy LAST OF THE LIVING. As always, don’t hesitate to shout if you have any questions or if you experience any problems placing your order.

ISOLATION – additional short stories

I’ve talked a lot about ISOLATION recently, but I’m conscious I haven’t told you very much about the four additional zombie stories which come bundled with the new novella. I’m going to put that right today.

IsolationSlideTHE COST OF LIVING and ISOLATION ebook releases represent all of my non-AUTUMN zombie output. If you remember, THE COST OF LIVING includes two previous versions of the story. With ISOLATION, I’ve included two previously published shorts, and two which were written specifically to close out this collection.

WHO WE USED TO BE
Originally appeared in John Joseph Adams’ excellent THE LIVING DEAD 2 anthology, and I’ve grown to think of it as the antithesis to THE COST OF LIVING. One minute, everyone in the world dies unexpectedly. A minute later, they all reanimate. The story focuses on a small family unit as they try to prolong their increasingly precarious existence for as long as possible…

MURIEL
Was written for an SFX magazine zombie special. I make no apologies for it being a more mainstream zombie tale than anything else I’ve written, as I was writing for a specific audience. It’s a quick, gory and fun tale of a lone survivor living on his nerves in his parents’ house.

TIGHTROPES
A brand new story set in a world which has just about managed to pull itself back from the brink of the zombie apocalypse. So when we’re used to living alongside the threat of the undead, how long will it be before we slip back into our old ways again…?

WISH I WAS HERE
I’ll say little about this final story, other than it was inspired by a thought that’s regularly struck me… No matter what the reason we’re given for the dead beginning to rise, at the outset there’s a stark difference between us and them. But the longer the situation goes on, the less noticeable those differences become. When the dead walk the Earth, can there be any winners?

I hope you enjoy ISOLATION – early reviews have been great (the ever-reliable BookBloke said: I was once again blown away by the recognisable settings and relatable yet engrossing characters. A gripping read. Treated to four more short stories within this book, all with different takes on zombie fiction, it’s a must have for zombie lovers, people who love gore and violence and people who love stories with exceptional characterisation. It’s one that’s not to be missed”). And finally, for those who’ve been asking, in the coming weeks I’ll be formally announcing LAST OF THE LIVING – a new paperback release which will include ISOLATION, THE COST OF LIVING, and all the other stories I’ve talked about today.

Isolation

Cast your minds back a few years, and some of you might remember ISOLATION – a short film project I announced along with Will Wright but which, for various reasons, never made it to screen (though I hope it still might). I’m pleased to announce the release of an adaptation of my original screenplay. You can pre-order it now, and it’ll be available to download from tomorrow (20th).

ISOLATION (which also includes four additional zombie short stories – two of which were previously unpublished) is a companion novella to THE COST OF LIVING. There are no connections between the stories, but they’ll appear together in a combined print edition later this year. Here’s the ISOLATION blurb:

IsolationKeith’s in his early twenties. No girlfriend, no hobbies, no future. He spends his days working in an office and his evenings, weekends and just about all his free time looking after his alcoholic dad.

And then the zombie apocalypse changes everything.

Suddenly Keith’s free. For the first time in a long time, he’s got nothing to worry about (apart from several hundred thousand reanimated corpses heading his way).

But then he meets Anna, and everything changes again. Cocky, cool, confident… she’s everything Keith isn’t. Holed-up together in an isolated bungalow, besieged by the living dead, will they survive, or will they tear each other apart before the dead can get anywhere near?

Download ISOLATION for the paltry sum of $2.99/£1.99 from AMAZON.COM | AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.DE | AMAZON.ES | AMAZON.IT | AMAZON.CA | AMAZON.COM.AU

Cover art is again by the brilliant David Shires and, as with THE COST OF LIVING, I’m experimenting with Amazon exclusivity for now. If you want the ePub version of the book, simply buy the Kindle edition, then send me a copy of your receipt and I’ll email an ePub version back to you asap.

I’m very proud of this one. I hope you enjoy it.

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.

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.

The genesis of THE COST OF LIVING

CostofLivingIf you’ve already got the book, you’ll already know this but, if not, I thought it would make an interesting post. Did you know that I wrote three entirely different versions of THE COST OF LIVING, and that all three are included in the ebook?

It just goes to show the effect a format can have on the story you’re trying to tell.

The first incarnation of THE COST OF LIVING came back in 2010 when I was invited to put together a story for John Joseph Adams’ excellent LIVING DEAD 2 anthology. A different tale altogether ended up in the book (WHO WE USED TO BE), but I also finished PRIORITIES – the 5,000 word short story of mom, dad and disgruntled older son, trapped in their home at Dad’s insistence with no way out, surrounded by hordes of zombies.

I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the story. A while later I was invited to write a piece of flash fiction by my friends at THIS IS HORROR, and I decided to strip back THE COST OF LIVING to bare bones. Just 750 words.

But I still wasn’t happy. It seemed to me that whenever I tried to write the story, I was being curtailed by its length. I never saw THE COST OF LIVING as being long enough to make a full novel, but I knew it needed more than the short formats I’d already tried. So, at the beginning of this year, I started writing again with the sole aim of telling the story I wanted, irrespective of word count and length.

And I’m absolutely blown away by the reception you’ve given the 38,000 word novella version of THE COST OF LIVING, so much so that I’m planning to return to the format sooner rather than later. One novella a month, perhaps?

Wayne Simmons says: “THE COST OF LIVING is character-driven zombie horror at its very best. No fan of the genre should be without it.” And Chris Hall at DLSReviews.com says the book is: “A truly superb post-apocalyptic story.”

If you haven’t yet read THE COST OF LIVING, it’s available for $1.99/£1.22 from AMAZON.COM | AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.DE | AMAZON.ES | AMAZON.IT | AMAZON.CA | AMAZON.COM.AU

The Cost of Living – a couple of questions answered

CostofLivingFirst of all, thanks to everyone who already downloaded a copy of THE COST OF LIVING. I’ve been blown away by the book’s popularity. It’s been sitting at number #3 on the Amazon.co.uk Survival Horror charts pretty much since release, and that’s amazing.

I’m regularly being asked the same couple of questions about the availability of the book, so I thought I should post the answers here.

First, can I get an ePub version (Nook, iBook etc.)?
Technically, no – I’ve restricted this release to Amazon to take advantage of their promotional tools. But… if you desperately want an alternative version, please buy the Kindle book, then send me a copy of your receipt and I’ll email an ePub version back to you asap.

Second, can I get THE COST OF LIVING in print?
Not yet, but here’s my plan. TCOL is about half the length of one of my novels, and I don’t think a print edition would be economical. My plan, however, is to repeat this later in the year with the release of another similar-length novella, then to bundle the two stories together in a single paperback.

I hope this all makes sense. As always, get in touch if you need more information.

And finally…

Just one last bit of clarification. I’m only closing the Infected Bookstore, not the Infected Books publishing business. Apologies if I confused/alarmed anyone. If you were thinking of making a purchase from the rare book sale I’ve been holding this week, I’d get in fast. There’s not a lot left! Click here for more information.