Amazon, Wall Street Journal & Washington Post Best-selling Author

R R Haywood

Written by R R Haywood, May 7th, 2015

Posted in Ramblings | Currently 68 Comments

I need some advice…

 

I need some words of wisdom from the collective life experience of The Undead readers.

When do you stop? At what point do you sit yourself down and talk about the unceasing relentless drive inside and tentatively discuss, politely, that perhaps it is time to point that energy somewhere else. There is no instruction book for this stuff, no list of rules or do’s and don’t’s, and as much as there are well-minded folk who offer advice there are no professional experts to ask either. Sure, there are people who think they are experts but in truth there ain’t no experts.

I have been pondering this issue for a while and (apologies for the cliché) but I want to reach out and ask what you think. A serious question that will hopefully guide me in the right direction.

It’s like this. I started The Undead in May 2012. So far I have written and released seventeen books in the series and it has become the best-selling British zombie horror series on Amazon. It has a fantastic cult following and I have been blessed with dedicated interactive readers who love getting involved and voicing their opinions and thoughts. Audible have bought Days One to Seven and put them out in a parts format that is doing incredibly well, especially in America where the freebie short story “On Air” has remained in the top ten US horror chart since release.

As the series has grown, so I have had to learn some business sense, and when I say business sense I mean the tiniest smallest minutest amount of business sense. I still work full time and writing is done around everything else so I have had to learn to be organised and disciplined. Being disciplined isn’t so much of an issue but being organised is the extreme opposite of my character and definitely does not come naturally.

Organically as the series became more popular, so I wanted to push for the next step and aim to get my work into a mainstream audience and the only way to do this was to get a literary agent. I got one and the agent commenced a round of submitting the series to the commissioning editors for eleven main publishers. They all said no. Nearly all of them gave feedback that they loved the writing and style but not the zombie genre as they did not feel there was a sustainable future in this genre. That was bitter-sweet as it meant they like my writing, but just not the subject material, and it is that same material that I have fallen in love with. There were many counter arguments that could have been presented back, such as the popularity of the zombie genre within the mainstream audience. The zombie genre is a mainstream audience. Just look at the staggering success of The Walking Dead and nearly every year sees a new Hollywood zombie movie being released and those guys who make movies seriously know what they are doing when it comes to gaining financial backing. Amazon were the closest to signing the series under their imprint 47North but gave the reason that my release rate (a book every two or three months) would be hampered as it would take them twelve months or more to get the work to their standard, which in turn would disrupt the reading experience due to the existing readership having to wait for such a long time for the next book. I can kinda see the sense in that and am thankful for the serious consideration they gave.

Now here is the issue. I am being advised that perhaps it is time to move on and write something else, some new material that we can present to publishers and this advice is coming in from several places. Equally, I am being advised that I have never given up on anything else before so why do it now?

I believe in the series and still want to get it into a mainstream audience but I can’t do that as advertising costs buckets of money and there ain’t a hope in hell I can even contemplate an advertising campaign that will begin to be fruitful. An effective but basic advertising campaign starts at £10000…that’s ten thousand pounds for a basic advertising budget. Plus I wouldn’t even know where to start…I could learn and have met some fantastic people in the last couple of years who would guide me through it but it just isn’t an option. And remember, that figure of ten grand is for a basic budget. The big retailers  and corporations will book advertising space well in advance and throughout the year which means they get good prices. The likes of me walking in from the street will have to pay top dollar with no discounts.

I run some adverts now, like with SFX magazine and Ade, the advertising executive at SFX has been incredibly kind with the help, guidance and rates he has given me. But even that costs a fortune and goes nowhere near getting the coverage needed.

That’s why publishers are needed. They have gargantuan advertising budgets and are experts at marketing, plus they have the logistics to get the book printed, shipped and stocked.

So what do I do now? Do I keep pushing and maintain my belief that this work should be published or do I heed some of the advice and think about new material? If I make the decision to go for new material then I will have to stop The Undead as I don’t have the time to write new material, write The Undead and work my day job.

I love writing The Undead. I adore it and personally I believe in it, but that begs the question of whether I am objective in my decision making which is why I am asking you.
I know what I want to do and it’s rare that I even question whether to give up on something and that inner voice that pushes me on – stop fucking about and get on with it, if you want something you have to work for it and if you believe in something then never, ever give up – is still there but it needs to be balanced and sometimes in life you can’t trust that inner voice as it also tells you bad things like go on and have more coffee….it won’t make you wired at all! It’ll be fine, drink it…drink it…yeah that voice.

What do you think? I would be honoured to have your views.

Take care

RR Haywood

68 thoughts on “I need some advice…

  1. Right. Let’s set up a crowd funding thingamajig? You don’t stop until every last avenue has been explored and every last hope has been extinguished xx

  2. I understand you are in a real dilemma caught between your dream and the harsh reality of the advertising/publishing world. Personally, I would be horribly disappointed if I didnt get to know what happens next! Have you thought of starting a gofundme page to try and get some revenue to fund your advertising campaign to get your books into the mainstream? Be true to yourself. I think if I was in your position I couldnt give up on what I had created so far. Your a great, innovative and genuine writer.

  3. I absolutely love The Undead series. I don’t think you should just stop. You’ve introduced characters that seem to be setting up for bigger thing like Gregori & the boy, and the Neil & Jess, they seem to be going somewhere, and I’m practically on the edge of my seat waiting to know what their deal is in the story. We haven’t learned why the boy can control the undead yet, and we haven’t learned if Neil completes his mission. Please, don’t just stop! We at least need some closure and answers to these characters. A happy ending perhaps! (or a really unhappy undead ending?) Either way, it hasn’t ended yet and every story needs an end and I feel we are really only in the middle at the moment. Maybe go to day 21? The first three weeks.

    I for one am I fan and will follow your writings whatever you do.

    Always looking forward to the next release!

  4. pls pls pls don’t stop I agree with the previous post anything we can all do to help we will definitely do your books are amazing n I have live every single one of them n can’t wait for more more more x

  5. OMG as I was reading I was thinking the same thing! Crowdfunding! I honestly love your books and I await your next but only you know what you need to do for you and your future. Good luck with your tough decision AND I would support you with the crowdfunding!

  6. I love the undead can hardly wait for the next installment, maybe you could bring it to a conclusion and then maybe a publisher would pick it up as a finished book ?? then you could move on to the next thing. Also have you an idea of what you want to write next, do you think it would sell as well ?? I guess only you can make the choices but you can only follow your heart I guess

  7. Do you have an idea for a new book – away from the series that is – demanding to be written? If so, follow it. If not, one will turn up so do what you love for now. I’m not a writer but I imagine, much like most creative processes, too much forcing the issue results in something you’d not be best please with. Fans of the Undead would wait for the next book AND read whatever else you put out because fans of The Undead are your fans. Whatever you choose, I’ll be checking it out. Best of luck.

  8. please please don’t stop
    I agree with others saying about fundraising
    There are bands that can get albums funded look at marillion
    I want the series to continue
    I don’t want to follow every day but would love to follow the characters 10,15 even 20years into the ZA
    What happens when the fuel is all gone
    How long will a zombie ” live”
    Please please keep going
    Love and light

  9. Don’t give up! This is what you are meant to do!!!I’m shocked and surprised you don’t have an agent, but this is where you are. So, what would Richard Branson do? what would JK Rowling do? What would Buffy Summers do? Not give up! So please don’t!! You have a wide spectrum of readers, surely we can come up with some way to help raise your profile, and get you an agent! Come on let’s do this (embracing my inner American!)

  10. Hi Richard.
    Firstly let me just say that the Undead series are, by far, the best books I have ever read and I read a lot of books.
    I can totally understand where the publishers are coming from, the Zombie apocalypse has been done to death you only need to look on amazon or in a bookshop. I think k I’ve read most of them too. They are kind of the same thing BUT there are a few that stand out from my the crowd, Zombie Fallout series by Mark Tufo is one that springs tomind and then of course Walking Dead (Def think that The Undead would be a better TV show than Walking Dead, would that be an option?). The Undead IMO blows them out of the ball park. At first I read them because I love zombies and my brother lent me his kindle and told me to check out this book he was reading. I was blown away I honest to Betsey could not stop reading it ,so I bought the rest and will happily read one in a day and await eagerly the next. Its not the zombies why I read them now its because I am emotionally invested in the characters, I have laughed, cried, been angry and screamed for them. I have even converted several zombie haters onto Undead (even my mam who thinks Zombies are a ridiculous idea and now loves Dave (everyone loves Dave))
    That Mr Haywood is a talent.
    So do I think you should stop Undead, nope, I think that its amazing and I would be gutted but that’s selfish of me. If your dream is to be published and you have tried everything you can then it may be time to put Undead on hold for a while (please try n wrap up a few of the cliffhangers and things don’t just leave us all in limbo, that would be mean) and try something more publisher kind? It would be kinda giving up, but if its your dream you do what you need to do to get there. You may become the next James Patterson then you can publish Undead at a later date, when people realize what a fantastic author you are.
    I think that The Undead most definitely has a future and I have every faith that it will go to print at some point. I am always amazed that it hasn’t been picked up yet tbh.
    It is, however, your decision. I for one would be happy for you to never stop writing about Howie and the gang.
    I would willingly give to a go fund me page 🙂
    Good luck Richard in whatever you decide. Xxxx

  11. Voting with my heart, I’d say to continue, please! I have persuaded my whole family to read this series. Even Granddad! And he has spread the word amongst his older friends so you do have widespread, mainstream appeal…
    But, you have to love what you do and maybe, over time, you’d lose the love you have for Dave and Howie if they became a barrier to your writing career so could you
    1. Finish it
    2. ‘Retire’ the series for a spell (No deaths) while you pursue other genres. And then bring them back when you’re ready? When people come across newly published authors, they often demand all the previous works, too.
    3. Slow the pace of output (we’d understand, sort of!) to give you time on your other stuff.
    4.Try crowd funding, what have you got to lose?

  12. I love this series and would happily pay more on kindle for it ,but its your future and its up to you me old son

  13. Obviously, we all love The Undead or we wouldn’t be here on your website trying to persuade you to keep going, however….. You have to ask yourself why you’re doing it. Is it for the love of the series or as a means to an end? If it’s the former then bring it on, and I will gladly keep plopping a few quid into the Kindle every few months. If it’s the latter and The Undead isn’t not getting your foot in the door then take the advice and move on to something else.

  14. Most will tell you not to stop and carry on with The Undead, because they love it. Obviously so do I otherwise I wouldn’t be writing here. Follow that inner voice mate, by the time a publisher has gotten hold of it and edited it to death, it will barely be recognisable as your own work anymore. Maybe find closure after maybe day 28. That will keep the fans happy and could possibly leave it open to further days in the future once you do have a different book published and you could throw your weight around more with publishers. Just cos the undead are beaten in England (eventually) doesn’t mean howie and his boys can’t hop over to Europe and start lopping zombie heads.

  15. please don’t stop, I’ve bought every book and even all 3 audio books. I love this series and you are solely responsible for getting me seriously, well and truely hooked on the zombie genre. I even now argue with passion with my friends about the best thing to do in a zombie apocalypse!! For the record (I’m 35 year old, female, works for a bank and not a comic book / superhero / sci fi geek. Just an ordinary, mainstream, person )

    What you have created is awesome and you make a lot of people happy. Believe in yourself and what you have created and you will be successful.

    All of that said, if you do decide to stop, then we will understand and read whatever comes next, but if you do please don’t leave us hanging, tie up the lose ends, and give us warning that the last book is here please

  16. Richard, I totally sympathise with your predicament. Let me first say that I love The Undead and I strongly want you to have faith in it. It does have a cult following, and although I’m eagerly waiting for the next book, perhaps you should slow down. We fans have been spoilt with a new instalment every quarter. Don’t give up on Mr Howie and the others, but maybe have a break from it (I don’t know… maybe the next Mike Humber book??? Just thinking aloud..)
    I don’t understand why it is so important to have books published as in a hard copy. A lot of people have e-readers and they are the future. I still believe that The Undead should be the British ‘Walking Dead’ and wonder if you can skip the whole publishing bit and get it made into a screenplay? Don’t give up on it, please. If you want to be published, then work on something else, but come back to us Undead groupies x

  17. Keep going. I am heavily invested in the series so far and I agree that crowd funding would be a good way to raise funds.
    I would invest. Your writing is highly engaging and you made me care about the guys. . I always keep an eye out for yhe next day….

    Get as much free pr as you can…. zines and online forums and us lot leaving great feedback on amazon.

    Getting people to share new releases on facebook..twitter etc all helps.

    If your heart tells you to try another genre..then try it. No harm done. I’m sure you can use your characterisation skills in any genre given enough research.

    Just keep writing!

  18. I think others have said it all. Howie and the gang are a national treasure and I genuinely couldn’t imagine life without them! The fact that you take so much pleasure writing about them means that you can’t give up and imagine if you did explore different avenues and then found the publishers still wouldn’t buy into them! You need your fans behind you. The story and the characters lend themselves to the big screen too so the sky should be the limit! we must all rally round to get these books out there. To start how about creating a facebook page that each and every one of us can share promoting their adventures?

  19. Why not get it made into a graphic novel and try to get the series published that way? Or try some smaller publishers not just the main ones.
    Unfortunately the answer to your question can only be answered by one person and that is you, cause your readers are never going to say end it. Take a break for a while and have a break from the series and see if you can live without writing it, then you will have your answer as to what to do.
    Keep your pecker up bud.

  20. I might be the only one but I think it would be to the detriment of the series to go away and write numerous other things, get massively famous (obviously) then return and try to continue where you left off. By that time you’ll have changed as a person and as a writer. Nobody wants to see Howie fighting Tommy Gunn in an alleyway in 10 years time.

    Just to add none of my opinions on this topic have been shaped in any way by the fact that my signed copies of 1-14 will skyrocket in price when you get rich and famous, honest!

  21. If ever you find yourself repeating yourself or running out of ideas, then stop. Until then, stick at it fella.

  22. If The Undead series “naturally” comes to an end after fulfilling all that you want it to fulfill then I will be one happy fan who wishes you well with your next piece of writing!! But if you feel like you are being “forced” into finishing it a little too quickly or you still want something out of Mr Howie that you haven’t got yet then PLEASE carry on because I and many many other fans will be heartbroken for it to end!!!
    It truly is one of the best Zombie genre journeys that I have been on and I’m loving every minute of book seventeen at the moment!

    From the first word of book one, you got me! Hook, line and sinker!! This is something only a few authors have managed to do with me and you sir are up there with Stephen King and James Herbert xxx

  23. Hope you don’t mind me asking a few questions? do you consider yourself a writer and do you have more to give than just the undead series? If so…..then believe in yourself and make the jump to churn out more books,get the money to be published but be prepared to compromise your work and be told what to write for a while. I’m not sure how these things work but assuming if you get picked up by someone(similar to a record deal!) that you’ll get X amount of money to write say three books over 18 months or so? Weather you’ll get a freehand in that or not I don’t know but I think if you want it….go for it. Your undead fans will follow you and will wait for your next holiday book! As tempting as it is to consider an undead film…….it would have to be better than good! To compleat with the walking dead for example….(which I truly think it can!) youd have to do it well as the comparisons would be unfair. Fans tend to be loyal but if the howie playing howie wasn’t like they imagined! Without sounding callous……. If you feel that you are a one trick pony and the undead is your best and only idea….then stick with the day job and write as a hobby. However if you are brimming with ideas and have a back catalogue of work….Go for it dude! Good luck either way.

  24. I personally would support crowd funding the undead series as I think like a lot of other people this is the best zombie series currently out there, however I also like your other works. Bring the series to a conclusion over the next couple of days, but keep the option open to revisit the series in the future.
    Follow your ambitions, give it your best shot and if it works we will all wait for the next undead chapter if it does not work revisit what you know.
    Only you can decide what’s best for you but rest assured we are here for you and support your decision.

  25. As a life long fan of Si-Fi/fantasy novels I can honestly say that the Undead series has completely change my reading taste.I just can’t get enough of Howie,Dave & the lads,i have never gotten so into a series of books that have kept me wanting more & more.so for me if you were to decide to finish it it would be a complete shame however I think what ever you decide to write next I would definitely be reading it come rain or shine.So from someone who hasn’t got a clue how these things work I would say do what is best for you & know that all your true fans will support you whatever you do.Having said all that please please please dont stop!!!!

  26. I first came to the series through audible and have absolutely loved it. In my mind it is the best series I have cone across in several years listening to books of which I do several a month. I understand the dilemma you face and an glad that I don’t have to make it. In my humble opinion why slow it down rather than stop it. With published authors you might get a book every year or eighteen months. Put the unread on hold and do what you need to do personally I have been telling everyone I know that is into this type of book or comic or movie. Personally I am prepared to wait for the next parts. I have the first week edition on the kindle as a book as well as all of the audio books. Put the unread on hold but don’t give up on it altogether. Go and chase do what you feel you should do your gut feelings are usually the correct ones. You already have my respect for having produced what you have done so far whilst holding down a full time job. If you feel you should put it aside a try to break into the mainstream. Your followers and fans will stay with you but if you don’t try you will probably always ask the question what if. As I was once told whilst doing my outdoor sports as a younger man – to really live you must face (and attempt to conquer) your fear and it applies to anything that you love be it scrambling on the Scottish mountains or writing.
    Good luck on whatever you choose to do and I will continue to follow you regardless.

  27. I hope that you do not stop, the story has to have an ending. At least explaining who the guy on the horse is, if its the boy “whos coming” and if theres a cure. As long as the story has a suitable ending I would be happy for you to explore other avenues and write about whatever you want. BUT -THE STORY MUST HAVE A SUITABLE UNRUSHED ENDING. thank you for these characters.

  28. I think you should do whatever you feel you need to do… obviously I’m gutted at the thought of my favourite zombie book series coming to an end, but you shouldn’t keep at it just for us fans. (You don’t want to end up like the famous author with a similar name to yours who just can’t seem to release his next book. So frustrating for the fans, and he must find it annoying too.) If the advice you’ve been given is to write in a different genre then maybe you should try it. As other commenters have said once you’ve secured a publisher you could always revisit the Undead. Looking forward to reading whatever comes next. But please, please, don’t leave us hanging!! I love the characters you’ve created and I need to know what happens to them. Thanks for The Undead and good luck with whatever you decide to do. By the I think the series is well worthy of being published, and I can’t believe you haven’t been snapped up.

  29. Do what you’ve got to do to get yourself in the Gallery. But please don’t kill off the undead… ????. We can wait for however long it takes for Mr Howie and the guys to come back. It will give us, me at least, a plausible reason for re-reading the series in readiness for day 18. All the best.

  30. I’m a huge fan of the series but everything must end sooner or later. I’d love to see this hit the mainstream audience but maybe you need to finish the series by concluding the story. Once its finished it can be packaged in a way that might appeal to a publisher, that might mean it becoming a trilogy instead of 18 – however many separate books and that should be ok. We’ve all loved getting days released 1 at time and it seems to have suited you to but let the masses have it after we’ve finished with it.
    I agree with Lianne, give us a decent and unrushed ending. The characters, storyline and pace of the series has been amazing. I’m sure your next writing adventure will be too.

  31. I love The Undead, and I have read a lot of zombie books including Mark Tufo. I love his work too, but The Undead is best. With that said, I would bring the series to a temporary close. Take the advice and write something else for the publishers. If you get published go back to writing the undead if you want. Who knows, you may start another series that is just as good or better than the undead. I know you have it in you, you’ve proved it. Dont close the door on your dream of getting published. The Undead is going nowhere, the dead will be there when you get back. Maybe you could write a book about the origins of Dave without the zombies, or before the apocalypse. Give it a shot, you only live once.

    Good luck,
    Ill be waiting to read whatever you put out next, whether it’s the Undaed or something else.

    Tasha

  32. Less than a month ago, I accidentally stumbled onto your book while searching for something that I cannot even remember. I noted that there were 5 stars for your book and was skeptical that a book about zombies can get 5 stars, I have seen most good and bad and could not imagine how different your book could be, so I downloaded the sample on Kindle to read it to test it out…

    The rest is history as my life is somewhat ‘on hold’ and i’m on Day 15. Your books deserve the 5 stars and I dare say one of the best books/stories/shows about zombies out there and would make good TV. I’m middle age female in accounting but that does not stop me from being absorbed in Mr Howie and Dave’s world and just cannot get enough of the developing stories and how you just write it with heart.

    As per others’ comments, your fan base is great and by word of mouth it will become bigger as I myself have spread the word. For now though, there are fans who would donate and I would be one of them, That said, you should still follow your gut/heart as to what you want to do and try new materials. But if the ‘Undead’ series is where you want to continue as there is still so much potential, I will follow it through until the end. If not, though sad, I will even try out your other books as I enjoy your writing.

    Good luck deciding between what the heart wants vs what the head says…

  33. Hi Richard,
    I believe that anyone with a passion and the will to try owe it to themselves to do so. The world is full of dreamers who hope that one day that lottery win will fall into their lap and their problems will be over… Others get out of bed in the morning and give life both barrels… Many of those people never get closer to the dream of loving what they do for a living… However many people go through life with talent, passion and the drive to make a go of it… And do make a go of it! As you said the genre is as big as it has ever been and popular culture is hoovering up quality content at a rate that has the potential to make any well-put-together piece of fiction a sure fire hit if it is given enough exposure. You know its good, we know its good and all it needs is exposure in order for it to become the widespread success that it deserves. Crowd funded projects (such as kickstarter) have many many successful stories under their belts and you have a very loyal fanbase who would rally to your banner and beat their drum until enough people were made aware of your writings in order for you to receive the support you deserve. 3 years ago i decided to change my life, take a gamble, sent myself to college and changed my life forever… Im 35. Before I had a decent secure career but it wasnt ‘enough’… now i have another, less secure but more enjoyable… One where i look forward to going to work in the morning. Lifes no dress rehearsal and its better to regret things you have done than the things you didnt in my opinion (besides crystal meth!). Have faith in yourself and if you believe that The Undead is something you can continue to enjoy writing then i hope you stick with it, its by far the best series of books i have listened to on audible and inspite of the corporate complication bull s#it that amazon probably bring to the table I sincerely hope you continue onward with it. If you need to, Crowd fund it, you know what us Brits are like… We love an underdog and id pledge a days wages into a crowd funded project if it meant id be able to continue supporting it and im confident im not alone. Best of luck what ever you choose to do Richard!

  34. I would be disappointed if the series would come to an end just like that, you need a kickstarter to get additional funding as it can be quite costly.
    I can almost guarantee that you’ll get more than you ask for

  35. As many people have already said “crowd funding”
    Kickstarters are a wonderful thing it gives us a chance to show you how much we appreciate you and will make you see that you are supported by amazing fans.
    On a personal note I found your books in the summer of 2013, I needed a distraction from some things I was dealing with and you gave me that wonderful distraction.
    But seriously look into kickstarters I think you would be surprised by the support you receive

  36. I absolutely say you continue with these books and I also would be really disappointed if you stopped. I agree, the following for this genre is growing but there are still many people who watch it but don’t even think about reading it? Can you use your existing pool of readers to help promote more and advertise? I would love for it to be made into a movie or a series and if The Walking Dead can do it so can this?

  37. What can I say, you gave th story a day by day format, whichh makes it quite demanding.
    But it has to follow it’s path. So many really original concepts, the hive mind etc. It has far more potential than “the walking dead” ever had, even though I love the series. This could be an awesome TV series.
    But right now it is a book series, and one that must live it’s natural course. Don’t rush it or abandon it. When you started, you had a vision of where it was going, and roughly how it would get there. Even if it slows down a little, see it through!! It has to happen let your inner Howie come out and turn the tide against jaded publisher zombies !!

  38. Okay Rich, here’s what I think, and I haven’t read any other comments as that’s like reading a bunch of book reviews that can sway whether you read the book or not. I have yet to read Day 16, though it is on my reading list, and very much looking forward to it when I have time, day jobs are indeed a necessary evil! I have a few questions for you – Putting aside agents, publishers, deals, advertising and everything else, do you know where The Undead is going? And do you know if there’s an end? If so then aim for that, write your hear out and give it the ending it fully deserves and you know is in your heart. It has to end some time. Like many things (TV series spring to mind) it’s best to end on a high, give the readers and fans a damn good end to what is an absolutely exceptional piece of story crafting. Do not rush anything, continue on until that end reaches a natural point. If you rush to move on to something else, you risk alienating your fan base where future books are concerned. I’ve read your highs and lows, your struggle to find an agent and break through to a publishing deal, and I firmly believe your ability to spin a quality story will lead you down that path eventually. Part of me wants The Undead to continue forever because the characters are insanely good, but I’d rather see it come to a brilliant heart wrenching, climactic, epic end than watch it dwindle away and fade. So many times I’ve reached the end of a Day and sat there with goose-bumps, staring at the page wishing I could read the next book right away instead of waiting for you to write it! Your fans want that feeling but multiplied a thousand fold. Only when you can see the end, and have written a fitting one, can you truly move on to other projects. Another question for you – at the end of one of the Day’s you included a short piece with different characters, but set in the same world as Howie and crew, I can’t remember the piece exactly, but have you thought about a spin-off? Same or similar world setting, but with other characters, places and so on? What I found slightly concerning is your question – do you mean to move on to a different genre or move on with life? As in quit writing? Because that would be bad. You have that need, that desire, that craving to write, to create, astonish, amaze and entertain readers, so don’t ever give that up. A thought occurs to me – have you considered translating The Undead into script format? Or finding someone who can? Perhaps pitching it to Channel 4? Some have rightly compared The Undead to The Walking Dead, and no doubt many have pictured it on British TV, I know I have. One final thought – have you considered using Kickstarter? I don’t know how it could help, possibly with advertising, or perhaps getting a film/tv production company interested. It would take time and effort to put that in place, but it’s worth taking the time to think it over. Okay, a really final thought – ever thought of approaching a video game company, possibly an independant one, with the aim of creating an episodic variation on The Undead series? Take a look around Steam and see if you can contact games developers who are looking for something like The Undead. As you say, zombies are now very mainstream and The Undead would make a fabulous character driven game! Oh man, another thought, sorry, have you approached any high street book stores and asked them if you can do a signing day? I know they probably have their formats and rules etc, but if you could have a big launch I reckon you’d attract some much needed attention. Or contact independant book stores for the same reason, set up a tour of the country, take a weeks holiday and travel around, promote your dates on social media, magazine ads etc, and get your agent involved!! If not at a book shop, then why not at a convention somewhere? Get a stand, promote yourself as widely as possible, grab boxes of printed books (at cost to yourself obviously which is a bitch) but that would also generate interest. Rich, your passion for The Undead is clearly still there, and the dream is still alive mate.

  39. Hi Richard. I was supposed to comment days ago when you first posted this however I got caught up at work and then home and never did. That is the reality of life when you work, something always gets in the way of writing. Learning to discipline your life to fit in work, home and writing is always a huge challenge, some manage it , some do not. I never did. You need to pay the bills but you also need a small amount of recognition for your success and it seems despite your best efforts it’s not coming. I have read fantasy fiction since I was 10 years old and every author has a tale of woe attached to his/her early attempts at writing. I am sure they will all day stick with it! Keep badgering the right people , write , email , tweet and bother everyone ! And eventually it will come. I am sure that’s what most people who love your books would also say. I wouldn’t.
    Give up on the establishment just don’t give up on the Undead.
    You need alternative revenue streams and alternative success to make the establishment sit up and take notice.
    I would consider the following:
    1: merchandise – an Undead shop selling everything from your autograph, to a Dave replica knife. Start small , say a calendar or a signed photo and build the shop up slowly with mor products over time.
    2: an Undead subscription. Build a subscriber base to your books, subscribers can pay a monthly fee but get first read of your books, signed copies, info and any other relevant info merchandise or news.
    3: video games. Small Indie video game makers might be interested in your story to create and basis of a story. The success of your books guarantees them a minimum revenue for the game and the increased exposure for you will help build your brand.
    4: you tube: some you tubers are making drama of an exceptional quality on YouTube, contact some , see if they want to collaborate on making a pilot TV show for the undead. They will get millions of views you get exposure and plant a seed of an idea!
    5: graphic novels & comic books: could you expand the undead universe into a more visual format, works incredibly well for walking dead , contact upcoming artists, they might want to collaborate , again you established success guarantees then exposure.
    7: trading cards , boards games: once you have an artist on board what’s stopping you create a bigger universe for the Undead , trading card games , board games are great ways to continue the brands.

    If you can build a brand they publisher will Want you. And if they don’t fine!

    Obviously if you feel like the undead has run its course then I only ask you finish it BIG! Make the last books so good and so big that the literary world are knocked off their feet!!

    And then give it away for free.

    Marc

  40. When weaving a quilt how big should it be. The answer of when to stop writing the series is, when its finished. Visualize the very last image of the series and pave the path to that image. The world you have constructed has been presented in a very short time frame and could easily be adapted to a larger scope, scale and time frame. As to the business side, rejection is part of writing. To be concerned by rejection of the big 9? I won’t even dignify that with words. I do believe there are several publishing execs that are still dangling from nooses in their closets from rejecting J.K. Rowling. Writing is not like most businesses. You do not have to spend money to make money. Get your book into the right hands and you will be golden. Keep writing and Cheers.

  41. Just came across this as I was looking for any news how day 18 was coming along. There’s nothing much more to add at this stage as all the other comments have given valid opinions and options for you to ponder. I am selfishly hoping you bring the undead to a natural hiatus if you need to put us on hold while pursue your goal. Have loved the characters and the unstoppable roller coaster of the plot and I wish you all the best. Having said all that ~ will day 18 be released?

  42. Please don’t stop writing! I love this series and there are so many directions it could take, everytime I start reading one I can’t put it down – please hurry with day 18!

  43. Please don’t stop the undead – finish the series early if you must but we -I – need to know what happens to everyone!

    I fully understand your need/want to go mainstream and would fully support that as I really enjoy your style of writing but please finish the series. I would love to know if there will be a book 18. Thanks for the fab books so far.

  44. No no no. To even think of being mainstream is wrong. I adore your writing and have re read them on numerous occasions. Howie has become part of my life, to think that you may stop breaks my heart. I understand the turmoil you must be in, but if even a tiny bit of you still wants to write the undead then please listen to that tiny voice.

  45. OMG! You are not to say anything in regard to no more of The Undead books ever again. Wash your mouth out. Ha ha. You are 1 talented guy , you truly are. Thank you. X

  46. I check daily for the next installment so please dont stop the series! That said i would welcome it if you chose to try another subject material EVEN if it meant less regular undead books (but please let me know if this was the case!).
    I still think the undead has much further to go. The characters continue to develop and i would hope that a publisher will one day recognise the opportunity this series presents. Remember even the likes of JK Rowling and David Gemmell struggled with getting books published

  47. You don’t get to quit writing until all your fans are dead so put on your big-boy underpants and crank out some more books!., and please don’t kill Clarence … or Roy. Make up a new character and kill him! You killed Blinky so the next one needs to be a guy! I am eagerly awaiting Day 23 so … get a move on.,. ! And thank you for all the fun you’ve brought to the genre with your very delightful characters. I love them all! Well …except for Cassie and “the Boy”!!

  48. Oh my so many comments – I keep it short as others have said similar – try a crowd funded campaign with tiers – more money more books. They are a fantastic read, I would happily pay more.

  49. I think the publishers are very shortsighted! Have you thought of pitching the Undead as a screenplay? This would be a great television series. https://downloads.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scripts/screenplaytv.pdf
    I am in the US so I don’t know if there are many Zombie themed shows in the UK. But there are several here, some serious like the Walking Dead, but some with a bit of comedy too, like Z Nation. Alien themed books, movies etc. have been popular forever – and I think the latest Zombie trend will be the same. I suppose you could turn your Undead into aliens, or people infected by aliens, controlled by aliens etc. Maybe controlled by artificial intelligence, the basic premise stays the same.

  50. I;ve just finished Day 22 of the Undead and I hope you will be continuing our journey as I really do need to learn more about Kyle the “God Botherer” and Gerogie, Frank, Henry and Carmen certainly have more to tell us. I love all of your character in the Living Army and I need to know that Howie, Dave, Paula and all of them are ok. Please do not stop. Thank you so very much in advance for what I hope continues a wonderful series

  51. Please continue. They are so exciting. Can’t wait to read to the end of the books. Just finished Book 22. I so want to know what happens next.

  52. Howie would say “Finish it, it’s the right thing to do” myself and countless thousands are counting on you.

  53. RR, the Undead is a terrific canon of work. Controversial, thought provoking, difficult to put down, great story lines and even better characters. I really, really enjoy these books. Like Victor, you have created a powerful monster that is capable of almost indescribable horrors but has a huge heart

    Personally, I support the idea of you writing other stories. I think bringing your creation to a ‘semi-resolution’ where you can give the characters (and yourself) a well deserved rest, commit to other project(s) and come back to the Undead in a few years. We’d all like to know what the crew will be up to in 5 years time. Or 10. Just think of all that gestation time for great Undead storylines….

  54. Read the Extracted trilogy first then stumbled upon the Undead series as a result. Just finished reading all 22 books, one after the other. Couldn’t put them down and then the 22nd is just another cliffhanger! You can’t stop!I have read comments on here saying they want to know what happens 20 years on but that is just too much and would require too much commitment from you I guess and you have every right to move onwards………… but why don’t you just finish it with one more book with the George/Frank and crew meeting up with the Living army/fort and they give an answer to the cure/ plus the destruction of the ‘Boy’ and Dave and Mo Mo fighting Gregori, (the big boss), would be a good climax if nothing else. You sound like a guy that has the heart it in him to finish the job and do what Howie would. So…….’Do the right thing for the right reasons!’. I love your style of writing, you are brilliant but I, and I’m sure many of your current readers, would be dreadfully disappointed in you if you dumped us with the story up in the air to move on to another genre that maybe some may not follow you with. Please please please finish it! By the way, Im 69 and want to know the end before I pop me clogs!

  55. Oh please do continue !
    Just to let you know that you have a fan even from Turkey
    I have read all of your undead series in just 2 weeks and they are definitely the best I had read in my life much better than the walking dead series
    Please do crowdfunding
    Cheers

  56. Seriously, I could read this series of books and nothing else for the rest of my life and be happy. I read A LOT of books but nothing has ever come close to this. I feel like I know the characters personally and NEED to know what happens next. I have just read Day 22 and am scouring the internet with fingers crossed that I don’t have to wait too long for the next installment. I have read a lot of zombie books and it was getting a bit repetitive to be honest but thought I would give the first book of this series a go and am so glad I did! Literally can’t get enough them. Please please continue this series! These books are amazing!

  57. I have laughed my ass off, and been truly moved to tears by your writing in this series. I would have paid a lot more for the privilege. All that being said, follow your own road.

    I would ask you to continue for purely selfish reasons. I am invested at a personally emotional level in seeing this battle come to an end one way or another. You have accomplished something amazing in the Undead, rare and real, and captivating.
    As to future works, I have already read the Extracted series as well and have no fear of your continuing to create amazing new worlds for us. Follow your own road. God Bless.

  58. Please don’t stop! I’ve only just found the Undead and have read it all in the last few months without being able to put it down. It’s one of the few things that I’ve read that makes me laugh out loud (whilst my wife is asleep in bed next to me, she gets a bit annoyed by this), cry, cheer and have to check the wardrobe for anything with red bloodshot eyes. I love every character, the way they interact and the world you’ve created. The way that Day 22 ended has just opened up so many more possibilities! Thank you so much for everything and anyone who tells you that this genre has no legs is an absolute douche who should have their legs sliced off by Dave.

  59. I have just read all your books on the Undead series in the last 3 weeks.
    I am an avid reader and not just of Zombie books!
    the Undead series ranks with one of the best I have ever read, please don’t give up with the series.
    That said I agree with all other comments, follow your heart.

  60. IMAGINE IF JRR TOLKEIN HAD STOPPED. THE HORROR ! I WANT BOOK XIX ASAP. I LOVED EXTRACTED AS WELL. YOU CREATE INCREDIBLE CHARACTERS AND I WOULD READ ALL YOUR FUTURE WORK. HOPE THE UNDEAD CONTINUES AT ANY RATE. BEST TO YOU

  61. Please, please don’t stop writhing the unread season ibwould be up for a fund me page. I love the characters that Yyou have createdxanc fun, bail biting tales, mydad has read the entire series and halfway through book 19. I would happily help in any way I could.

  62. I absolutely love love love these books, I check every week to see if there is a new one! I tell everyone I can about them, please don’t stop. These have made me laugh and cry and sometimes at the same time! From the south coast myself so can really relate to some of the chapters and even to some of the characters!

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