Sunday, June 5, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Glenn Shephard, author of 'The Zombie Game'

Glenn Shepard’s first novel, Surge, was written while he was still a surgical resident at Vanderbilt. In the following years he wrote The Hart Virus, a one-thousand-page epic about the AIDS crisis, as well as three other novels. In 2012, he created “Dr. Scott James,” his Fugitive-like action-hero. The first volume of the series was The Missile Game, followed shortly afterward by The Zombie Game. Born on a farm in eastern Virginia, Dr. Shepard lives and maintains a thriving surgical practice in Williamsburg.

Visit Glenn’s website at

About the Book:

ISIS terrorists are plotting to kill the Pope during his visit to America.

Their plan: Hijack a hospital ship in Haiti, convert it to a missile launcher, and cruise into Miami Harbor, unnoticed.

Their only obstacle: Dr. Scott James is a volunteer on the ship, and he’s recruited a squad of Haitian zombies to stop the attack. But nothing adds up … until the last seven minutes.

Jacques Jacobo, “Jakjak,” is the Haitian Finance Minister’s personal bodyguard. He’s just taken two bullets in the chest trying to stop an assassination attempt on his boss.

Dr. Scott James is a volunteer surgeon on a hospital ship anchored off the coast of earthquake-ravaged Haiti. He’s got his share of personal demons.

Omar Farok wants to rule ISIS, and the world. He’s just taken over the hospital ship and converted it into a launch platform for a nuclear strike on Miami.

Sanfia is the most powerful Vodoun priestess in Haiti. Omar Farok will pay her big money to turn Dr. James into a zombie.

Beautiful Elizabeth is one of the most notorious freelance operatives in the world. She’s come to Haiti to defuse the bomb.

They’re all about to play The Zombie Game.

For More Information

  • The Zombie Game is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I read everything I could on the subject of Zombie-ism. I consulted with a variety of authorities on other aspects of the book. I had military people, for example, look over the sections in the book that are about the missile attack.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I started my own publishing firm, Mystery House. I have a talented group of editors, artists, and PR people to help build up the series. I am still interested in publishing with an established house somewhere, but for now the focus is on making the series bigger and better.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?

Yes, I hired a small firm in Los Angeles called Great Adventures Press to do the typesetting, book design, file conversion, and the cover design. The results speak for themselves. The covers of the series are pretty dynamic, and the books have been well edited.

If self-published, how did you determine the price?

We priced the first book at .99, as a way to let people come into the series without having to spend a lot of money. That’s for the Kindle ebook. The other ebooks of the series are medium priced, at 3.99-4.99. We price the paperbacks at regular prices.

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

Yes, I’ve tried each year to be out with a new novel around the holidays. The sales of Amazon ebooks, especially, are very good around this time.

How did you choose your cover?

The designers at Great Adventures Press said that after reading the books they felt the covers should be energetic, dramatic, so they came up with a great photograph of a guy running down a tunnel, but lit by a brilliant green light. I don’t want to be a spoiler here, but Scott James ends up in a lot of tunnels and corridors in the series. So the look of the first book just kind of took off. All of the covers have that same look—some symbol of the series, but in bright neon/florescent light.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I wrote The Zombie Game all the way through, then went back and rewrote or added quite a bit. After that, I sent it to my editor and he cut about fifteen percent of it, which is about the standard.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?  

We do send out Post cards. You can go to and order one if you like. They’re free. We’ve put most of our promotional money and efforts into getting reviews.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

I did think of that, and maybe I will do that later, but for right now the emphasis is on getting more of the series out.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

I don’t mind the giveaways. It’s part of book promotion. In any publishing endeavor, you should always have a certain number of samples printed and set aside so that they can be used to promote a particular book.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

Make sure you know who your readership is. Make sure you know what they like, what books they read. That’s not nearly as easy to know or as clearly defined as people usually think. Make absolutely certain that you’ve got the best title you can have. Really put a lot of effort into titling. The titling of Dr. Scott James Series may sound deceptively simple, but it took us a while to get to a point where we had a great formula that you could plug a series into. Lastly, make sure your cover rocks.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

Start writing a new book. As far as I can tell, there is no practical value in taking a break from writing.
Participate fully in reviews, blogs, letters from readers, etc.
Understand that book promotion never goes away. You have to do it 24/7.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

The main thing that we did was to promote the first book of the series, The Missile Game.

Do you have a long-term plan with your book?

The main plan is to get the series out on the street. I have three Dr. Scott James books on the shelf right now. I have a fourth at the editor’s office right now. And I have two more on the way. So you could say my schedule is full.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

Thanks, from the bottom of my heart, for all the lovely emails, reviews, and comments. When a complete stranger says that he or she had a good time with the series, it means everything in the world to me.

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