That’s me, with the proof of the book. INFECTED will be out in paperback just in time for Thanksgiving, and to give “Thanks!” to all my readers, I’m hosting a giveaway. And in the Holiday spirit, share share share this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway
This is an essay I wrote for the blog Fictional Candy to coincide with a book giveaway.
Indie writers have a bad rap. There’s a stigma that these authors couldn’t cut it in the real world of publishing, and therefore used the resources of the internet to bypass the gatekeepers of talent. Some writers, admittedly, deserve this stereotype. For your first story, you probably shouldn’t publish it. You should email it to friends and family for their enjoyment, ask for feedback from strangers online, and grow before you try to stake a professional claim.
But what about projects rejected for reasons other than talent? Those rejected because they are considered “not marketable”? Marketability is actually more important than talent to the business side of publishing. Don’t believe me? How else can you explain this? Sure, at some point, talent is marketability, but not always. You could’ve penned the best vampire novel ever written, but the odds of getting accepted by a publishing house are extremely low—the market is flooded with vampires and therefore it might be rejected based on marketability.
So they will kill your work before it’s even born, and it’s up to you to resurrect it. You have the power. It’s no longer “Can I?” but “Should I?” Short stories are a perfect example. You can’t market a single short story as a publishing house, but you sure as hell can self-publish it online as an indie author. And if it’s good enough, you should.
Which brings me to INFECTED and “Click Your Poison” books. No, it wasn’t rejected by a publishing house—it wasn’t even submitted to a publishing house—it was rejected by Hollywood. Back in 2008, INFECTED was a screenplay. It made some ripples in the pond, did well in contests, and even won me a little money. What it didn’t do was attract studio attention. Why not? It was good, I was told, but it needed to either be based on existing intellectual property or be a zombie musical rom-com. Read: Marketability. Not wanting to compromise my story, I shelved the project.
Cut to four years later and an idea to make a “Choose Your Own Adventure” series for grown-ups.* I knew right away that INFECTED needed to rise from the dead. A book where the reader can finally find out for themselves if they would survive the zombie apocalypse? Marketable! I believed this so much so, in fact, I decided not to even attempt the traditional publishing route. It’s the new Wild West in publishing, and that makes indie authors the new outlaws. But soon, very soon, “self-published” will no longer be a dirty word.
*Choose Your Own Adventure® is now a registered trademark of Chooseco, LLC, and is not associated in any way with Click Your Poison™ books.
Head on over to Fictional Candy to enter the giveaway for a free copy of INFECTED!
Product Spotlight: INFECTED by James Schannep
Posted October 2, 2012 by Daniel Flatt in Paranormal
If you’ve ever known the thrill of choose your own adventure books that were popular back in the 80’s and 90’s, then you’ll be familiar with the concept behind INFECTED. You are the main character and it’s up to you to put all your pre-made zombie apocalypse survival plans you made with your friends to the test. As you make your way through the story you’ll be asked to make choices at certain junctures that will change your overall plot within. The book is a more adult take on the idea though, your character will meet bloody and violent ends throughout the experience with a wrong decision. Most importantly and complimentary to the author, your choices never feel too forced with more sweeping impacts to the narrative than most choose your own adventure books.
Three unique overall storylines are presented throughout the book to mixed results. Each of them are pretty well written with the author’s previous military experience peeking through in certain points and legitimately witty references to pop culture throughout. However there are elements that just aren’t up to snuff pacing and plot wise to the rest of the book. In addition, characters often come off as one sided caricatures, which honestly in this type of book I’m not sure how much more development they could have seen with so many different balls to juggle. Both these issues add up to my one real problem with the book. Throughout the experience, in most cases, the narrative feels slightly rushed and you’ll go from in danger to saved or dead within the space of a good night’s reading. At times the swift pace is certainly appreciated and there are moments that will legitimately get your blood pumping, I just wish there was more time I could have spent with every story.
Honestly, that’s a compliment in and of itself as I just wanted to spend more time reading and making choices in this setting. The book, while perhaps not the next Lord of the Rings, is immense fun and can be enjoyed time and time again due to the variety of endings and branch offs that explore different facets of an overarching narrative. Some of the multiple narratives even weave in and out of each other and you often see hints of one story in another. Death scenes, usually a sentence or paragraph in most of these types of books, are well written and usually leave you wondering up till the last page if you’re going to meet your end. Impressively enough, even though the characters aren’t the most fleshed out, you’ll find yourself caring more about them and even more so your fate, simply because you are more invested in the story. I can proudly say that my first read through was met with unmitigated success as I survived the zombie apocalypse without dying once, and with my morals mostly intact. Maybe not so much the second time.
Even more impressive, and I never thought I’d say this with a book, is the fun you can get by adding in more people to the experience. I’ve read this aloud with friends and my wife and it’s simply a blast to play through together and make choices. There’s even a drinking game featured on his website that entails ways to turn the book into a real party experience and, though I don’t typically enjoy that sort of thing, it certainly seems like it would be lots of fun.
As a gamer I doubly appreciate the interactivity and re-playability (re-readability?) that this form of writing brings to the book. Before now I’d almost forgotten about the appeal of choose your own ending (or in this case called click your own poison), but it was back in full force with this book, and with the more mature themes, was even more impressive. It’s worth noting that the addition of using an E-Reader means you can click through the choices and go directly to the consequences of your actions instead of searching for a page; something I never would have thought of myself before this, but that makes the experience even easier to enjoy. I’ve gone through all three storylines now and comparing my stories to my brothers, who read through at the same time. Even though we saw some of the same storylines, ways we navigated them were different and we got to know more about certain characters or see more aspects of the full plot because of our choices. There’s even a website you can share zombie apocalypse survival stories with other readers if you so choose.
INFECTED is quite simply a welcome evolution to an old format that just begs to be enjoyed. The zombie apocalypse is an instantly identifiable and enjoyable setting to many, especially us gamers who have spent hours in conversations with friends about the topic. With the internet being leveraged to share stories, the e-reader bringing even more accessibility, and the more mature theme; James Schannep has truly managed to bring choose your own adventure into this generation. The future looks bright for this subset genre of books and I can’t wait to read more from this promising author, in this format or any other.
If you’d like to purchase this book you can do so at this link.
Whether you know it or not, this is the day you’ve been waiting for. This is the day I unveil the latest and greatest in storytelling technology. With INFECTED, the flagship book in the Click Your Poison series.
What is Click Your Poison? It’s the first gamebook series (a book in which YOU are the hero, and your choices directly influence the story’s progress) aimed directly for adults. What series like Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, Give Yourself Goosebumps, and Fighting Fantasy (UK) pioneered for children’s books in the 1980s & 90s, CYP now does for those fans who’ve grown up but still crave more.
Except now, as an ebook, you simply click your choice and the story flows forward for you. No flipping pages.
The first CYP book, INFECTED, allows you to answer the crucial question of our time–Will YOU survive the zombie apocalypse? Jump into the book right at the outbreak of a global zombie pandemic to learn how you’d fare against the walking dead. With over 50 possible endings and 3 unique storylines, you can pick up INFECTED a few minutes at a time on your smartphone, or dig deep on your tablet or PC… finally, a book with replay value.
I hope you have as much fun reading it as I’ve had writing it. The book’s PR campaign kicks off in the next couple of weeks, so this announcement is a special head’s-up for my blog’s community. Be the first of your friends to “Get INFECTED!”
Where to buy:
- Amazon.com Kindle Store
- Barnes and Noble Nook
- Apple iTunes iBookstore (Coming soon!)
- Sony Reader Store (Coming soon!)
- Kobo (Coming soon!)
- The Diesel eBook Store (Coming soon!)
- Baker & Taylor’s Blio (Coming soon!)
- Axis360 (Coming soon!)
PS — Drop me a note, let me know how you like it!
As promised, here’s an update on my impending book. I’ve gotten round one of reader feedback from my betas, with Mike somehow making it through unscathed (that dude is a ZAdass–Zombie Apocalypse Badass–sorry…that’s awful) and Chris showing me the best ways to die. Seriously, Chris can be in my survival group, but he’s not making the decisions (love you, man).
What’s up now? I’m sending the manuscript out to a professional editor next week, so she can shred it apart before it rises again as an immortal hellion bent on spreading across humanity like a virus. Also, I’ve got a talented cover artist working on a custom design for me. Here’s something she did a couple of years back:
So with all this awesome news, why am I suddenly terrified?
Maybe it’s because I’ve been toiling in obscurity so long it’s all I know? It’s like all I’ve ever wanted to do is go skydiving, and now that I’m standing in the door, I keep thinking how crazy I am.
Well, ready or not, I’m making the leap — in a month, perhaps.
Okay, I haven’t posted in a while. Sorry about that, but I’ve got two really good excuses:
1) I’ve been busy scrawling away at my breakaway novel.
2) I’m getting married in… (let me check the calendar)… 7 days.
So, I’ve been a little busy. However, In keeping that this is a professional blog, let’s focus on #1.
Over the last five months, I’ve worked nearly every day with the goal of at least 1000 words. Looks like I averaged around 740–not bad considering I drove across the country, spent two months away from home, and was busy planning a wedding. Okay, to be fair, my fiance planned most of it.
Still! For the first time, I’m going to be a published writer. This is a certainty. Not because I’m sure I’ll woo an agent and a publishing house, but because I’m not even going to try. I’m self-publishing. I have a story that those in the biz (and people like me who want to be) call High-Concept. This means as soon as I tell you what it’s about, you’ll want to buy it. No matter that you’ve never heard of me and I have no track record; it’s that compelling. Scout’s honor.
It’s a zombie apocalypse story, I’ll say that much, but I’m not going to tell you what makes it so compelling just yet, not until the press release. Sorry.
Instead, I can tell you what to expect from here on out. 1) Updates about the progress of the book’s editing, cover development, and release schedule. There is still much work to be done before the release. If you want to subscribe (over on the right), you won’t miss a thing.
And 2) News on the short stories I’ll be publishing as ebooks in the upcoming weeks and months as well.
But you’ll probably get neither until after the wedding.
Here we are at the start of a journey. I’m glad you can join me!