Dan Padavona reviews “Dying Days” while reading it on St. Augustine Beach, where part of the action is set! That’s dedication!
When the first Dying Days book came out all those many, many years ago (April 2011) I had no idea it would become a success. The series literally kept me going financially when I was still having doubts about doing this writing thing full-time. I just wanted to write another zombie story. After writing Highway To Hell I knew there was more story to tell in this world.
About halfway through Dying Days I knew there was going to be a backstory for Darlene Bobich but I had no idea if this would be a series or a standalone until I came to the end.
Looking back, I could’ve easily kept the story going and added another 20k to it. But I wanted a series because I suddenly had ideas for all of these characters and more.
The problem with being a total pantser (instead of an outliner or whatever the cool way of saying it is) was the fact I asked for a second cover with no real understanding on building this as a brand or a series potential readers might immediately recognize as one big story.
All with different cover ideas (besides zombies, obviously) and not with any understanding of branding or making it easy for a potential reader to figure out the order of the series. For those who care, here is actually the DYING DAYS ORDER to make it a bit easier, although you don’t have to read it in this exact order if you don’t want. If you only ever read the main Dying Days series you’re still good, but the other side stories are damn cool. Trust me. Not biased.
I finally saw the light… well, actually my wife did first. She noticed at conventions how the smart authors branded their series so it was easy to see how many books were in each series and they were all part of the same series. Similar covers, same fonts, basic ideas to make the reader know there was more than one book. As a kid I was a huge fan of series, especially fantasy. I have over 150 of the Forgotten Realms books in paperback still, and they all have a different cover but a setup that lets you know they are all in the same series and world.
Dying Days covers have been updated (the main series, anyway) and I can tell you now… there will be 9 books. When the 9th book is released will it be the last? Not really sure yet. I still have 3 books to write. Jack Wallen did the covers based on my idea and I could not be happier.
I’m also seeing a big increase in sales and especially page reads in the Kindle Unlimited program with the series, which is what the goal was.
Other authors have done the same thing, which is so much easier when you self-publish a series. You get bored with a cover and you get another one. I never thought it would do much for my sales but it definitely has. I’m also finding loyal fans wanting to purchase the old, out of print covers now, too. Something I never thought would happen.
What book series out there did you read because they changed or updated the covers and why? I’d really like to know.
As part of the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour, I’m over at Jay Wilburn’s world famous website with a teaser for my latest zombie book!
This year’s Summer of Zombie blog tour is being run by Jay Wilburn. We’ll see if he screws it up. Until then…
Here’s the handy dandy link to follow along through all of the posts. I’ll reblog a bunch of them on this site, too.
This summer I’ll be doing something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time… I want to recognize some great books in the zombie/post apoc fiction field. I also want to find some new books I might’ve missed myself, so…
Jake O’Connor has problems.
His time spent overseas with Britain’s SAS Regiment still gives him nightmares, his social life is in the toilet, and his best friend is an unrepentant adrenaline junkie.
Unfortunately, just as things finally seem to go his way, decomposing corpses of the recently dead begin rising to gnaw on the living. Soon the streets are glutted with mindless creatures hungering for only one thing: human flesh. Jake’s unlikely group of friends needs to make tracks for some kind of refuge before they end up as Hors d’oeuvres, but how to do that without being turned into drooling maggot-heads themselves?
Now, a burned out combat journalist, a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, a health food store owner, and a ditzy pharmacy tech, have to hold their own against legions of walking corpses. At first glance, none of them are likely candidates to survive for long in The Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.
But hey, stranger things have happened.
Psychopaths, escaped criminals, and para-military white supremacists all stand in their way, not to mention the ever-increasing, zombie hordes. If Jake doesn’t want to become one of the shambling dead he’ll need to keep his whits about him, and his crowbar handy.
KEEP YOUR CROWBAR HANDY drops the reader headlong into a frightening (yet sometimes comedic) zombie apocalypse, literally with a bang. S.P. Durnin captures the craziness of it all by focusing on an unlikely group of potential survivors as they attempt to work together dispite some rather odd personality quirks, not drive each other crazy, and try to stay alive in a world now overrun by the hungry dead. The author combines tongue-in-cheek humor with a healthy dose of gore-soaked apocalyptic adventure, and proves that love doesn’t always conquer all. Sometimes, you gotta use a crowbar…
(suggested by Rochelle Blalock)
* * * * *
Living With the Dead is an ongoing survival horror story set in the zombie apocalypse. Its original format was and is a serialized daily blog.
When the world falls apart and the true nature of mankind is revealed, a small group of survivors in Kentucky make a go of holding their ground and building again. Through hordes of undead and bands of ruthless marauders, they come together with a common purpose. Over the days and months, they begin to learn that when the world is filled with the dead, the only choice is to learn how to truly live.
(suggested by Dennis Morel, who said: Excellent eight book series that is probably one of the more intelligent and thoughtful zombie collections out there)
* * * * *
Ten years after the world was nearly decimated by a zombie virus, there is a desperate race for an antidote. A team of commandos are sent to a remote island populated by the undead to rescue a group of stranded scientists . The commandos come up against the hungry dead, Russian mercenaries, and shady government conspiracies. Dead Island: Operation Zulu is a fun, action packed, blood splattered, horror adventure. Dawn of the Dead meets Aliens!
(suggested by Tim Scott)
* * * * *
Armand’s Bonus Zombie Suggestion
From a master of zombie fiction and a founding father of “splatterpunk” comes a mind-bending anthology of 32 new and classic stories from both renowned writers and rising stars
In the tradition of Black Dog & Leventhal’s bestselling
Vampires and Ghosts, this anthology of 32 stories is set in a world where the dead have risen from the grave to consume the living. This rich collection showcases the best of the genre?from short-story masters such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, and Poppy Z. Brite; zombie stalwarts such as David J. Schow and Jack Ketchum; “bizarro” founders such as Carlton Mellick III; and popular up-and-comers such as Max Brooks and S.G. Browne?and will satisfy the insatiable hunger of zombie fans everywhere.
A series of captivating essays about zombies in folklore and in popular culture by John Skipp, award-winning zombie anthologist and author, enrich an already extraordinary collection by discussing the past, present, and future of the living dead. And a resources section encompassing the best of long-form fiction, movies, websites, games is included for any reader interested in learning more about the wider world of the undead.
Sure to sate the hungriest zombie fans with classic as well as contemporary servings of tangled entrails and other unspeakable meals, Zombies: Encounters with the Hungry
(suggested by Armand, who said: an older collection with some really great stories in it. A nice mix of authors. My late friend Brandon was reading this when he passed and I took it up and finished it. I’m glad I did)
I am opening this blog up to suggestions from YOU!
I want YOU to give me one zombie/post apoc book suggestion you loved. It doesn’t have to be new. It doesn’t have to be a certain length or a certain type of zombie or post apoc story (I’ll be doing horror picks on http://armandrosamilia.com each week as well!) It just has to be something you liked enough to want to let the world know. Or the readers of this blog.
You CANNOT CANNOT CANNOT suggest your own book. That is super tacky and frowned upon by management.
I’ll be picking 3-5 each week and I’ll post it up each Thursday on this site and the horror fiction every Tuesday. It’s free of charge. It’s just a way for me to not miss what is out there, too. Hopefully it will become a place where zombie/post apoc readers will enjoy some new suggestions, too. I’ll even let everyone know who proudly suggested it, too!
Send me an email with the title/author and Amazon link to the book and I’ll do the rest. Simple as that!
armandrosamilia (at) gmail (dot) com