Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chapter Thirteen: Buy the Book (or...“Extra! Extra! Read all about it!”)

Are you still with me? No worries...almost finished.

There is another yardstick in which to measure the rise of the zombie’s star: book stores.  Where, once, the bookshelves were practically bare, there is now a plethora of zombie fiction to choose from. One telling sign of its growth is that a multitude of women writers are venturing into the once male-dominant turf with some very smart, character-driven stories.

More does not necessarily mean better and there is a negative aspect of this newfound resurgence in all things zombie. There is certainly a great deal more chaff to sift through.  The degree of formulaic storylines and one-dimensional characters taking place in zombie fiction prove the “more is not better” thesis. While many zombie-fiction writers fall into the ‘easily forgotten’ category, there is a handful who are ‘must reads’: Rhiannon Frater, Max Brooks, S.G. Browne, Kim Paffenroth, and Robert Kirkman.  Of that group, half of them (Brooks, Browne, and Kirkman) have screenplay deals.  Kirkman’s The Walking Dead series of graphic novels is a smash hit for AMC. Brad Pitt purchased the rights to Max Brook’s World War Z and Browne just signed the movie rights away for Breathers: A Zombie’s lament.

Currently there are a few publishers who deal heavily in zombie fiction: Permuted Press, Books of the Dead (via James Roy Daley) and my own (excuse the shameless plug), MayDecember Publications are among some of the more prolific.  These three houses each publish between eight to a dozen titles a year consisting of a mixture of full length novels and anthologies.  All three have no qualms about taking a chance on a previously unpublished author.  It would seem that the ‘zombie infection’ has not only spread, but is thriving in the literary world.


  1. Walking Dead is on AMC, not A&E but I am still with you so there is that :) I love the "As the World Dies" series by Rhiannon Frater but the whole Max Brooks being a horror writer is not a real level to me. Yes, he helped get exposure to the genre but it also looks like he took his money and ran and really gave not a single shit about the genre aside from a paycheck. People say: then why are you in it if not for a paycheck? I am in it because I love it, not because someone if eventually going to pay me millions. My heroes of pulp made almost no money and I am happy with just having the chance to stand in their shadow. thanks for the great series Todd, looking forward to more!

    1. I fixed the A & E typo. Thanks for catching it early, Ed.

      And also, this paper was written four years ago, so a few references may be a bit dated. And I could add a few names to the "must read" list...but this just shows further how the genre has grown.

  2. Still with you Todd, I enjoy your blog and all of your books. I agree about the whole surge of Zombie literature increasing, I have come across some great books of late but there are some stinkers out there too. I just spend my dollars wisely and utilize the free ebook venues when I am in uncharted waters.

  3. yup still here and often plod off to the links you plant!