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Self-Published Zombie Titles Have Doubled Since 2012

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the all-we-want-to-do-is-eat-your-brains dept.

Books 74

An anonymous reader writes "For the second year in a row, the number of self-published ebooks with the word zombie in their title has doubled. The annual check is performed on Halloween in Amazon's Kindle Store, and this year discovers 8,052 ebooks (with titles like 'Jesus Camp Zombie Bloodbath' and 'Never Slow Dance with a Zombie...') — more than 12 times the number that appear in the Library of Congress. 71-year-old literary author Joyce Carol Oates — twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize — also named her 2009 novel about a serial killer 'Zombie (P.S.'", but most of the titles in the Kindle Store 'aren't as ambitious,' notes this article, which still applauds the self-published authors and their 'massive outpouring of new creativity, as people all around the globe start wondering what's going to happen in their own imaginary zombie scenarios...'"

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74 comments

I suspect... (5, Funny)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 5 months ago | (#45295933)

...that most of them are autobiographies.

I suspect the reason they're self-published (3, Insightful)

themushroom (197365) | about 5 months ago | (#45295961)

is because a real publishing house with editors would reject them as poorly written tripe.
(And that Oates went through her publisher, and was not self-published.)

Re:I suspect the reason they're self-published (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45295987)

The internet is here. Services like Google Play exist. Publishing houses are obsolete.

and as a result (5, Insightful)

themushroom (197365) | about 5 months ago | (#45296013)

so is quality control.

Re:and as a result (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45296769)

So what? Anybody should be able to write and publish whatever they want.

Re:and as a result (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45297867)

So what? Anybody should be able to write and publish whatever they want.

I draw the line at zombies.

The undead should not publish.

Re:and as a result (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45299153)

so is quality control.

I concur! And I'd go a step further and say that the new generation of young adults wouldn't know what quality is if it came up and bit them on the ass.

Re:and as a result (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45299317)

Don't write half your sentence in the subject field, it makes it hard to read and hardly puts you in a position to whine about quality control.

Self publishing isn't what killed quality control. It is something the large publishers stopped doing properly a long time ago.
This was the publishers competitive advantage and by not doing it they have enable self publishers to compete on equal grounds and self publishers have way less overhead.

Those that hate citizen freedoms (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45296199)

Oh, no- ordinary people no longer need someone else's permission or money in order to publish their own books- whatever will happen to the world?

I suspect the reason you 'published' your comment is because you are a jack-boot licking cretin who thinks the sign of an orderly society is the absolute top-down hierarchy of control that implies the people at the top are 'gods' and the people at the bottom 'scum'. Indeed, only today, in Vietnam, a nation that plays by YOUR rules, a bloke was sent to prison for 'abusing' his 'freedoms' as a citizen. Vietnam literally has Laws stating that while Vietnam has 'freedom' of speech etc, if any ordinary citizen uses these 'freedoms' to do ANYTHING that offends their 'betters' a criminal offence has occurred.

It is also a fact that most major publishing houses in the West strongly align with Israel. Of course, there is NEVER anything neutral about the abuse of power, such as the previous ability to limit those who could get their written works to large audiences. People like 'themushroom' loathe the concept of true citizen freedom, because they know their 'teams' will not win public support in a free and fair world.

No decent, rational person would attack the growing ability to self-publish. After all, the test of a book is whether others are willing to spend the time to read it- and everyone should have the freedom to choose what they read, despite what people like 'themushroom' would claim.

It is notable, of course, that the first nation in the West to effectively BAN self-publishing is Tony Blair's UK. Here, Blair uses the tactic of claiming that the inherent censorship mechanisms of official (and effectively state-approved) publishers is essential to prevent the WRONG types of content from being available to the public. The list of what 'wrong' constitutes grows every year in Britain- the land that had the most severe laws against ALL explicit vanilla sexuality content in media UNTIL the growth of the Internet rendered such Laws unworkable. Never believe the crap about Blair only wanting 'bad' sexuality banned. When Britain could, it banned ALL explicit sexuality.

Re:Those that hate citizen freedoms (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45296279)

>It is also a fact that most major publishing houses in the West strongly align with Israel.

Thanks for saying this. It saved me the time of reading the rest of your comment.

Re:Those that hate citizen freedoms (1, Funny)

whargoul (932206) | about 5 months ago | (#45297005)

>It is also a fact that most major publishing houses in the West strongly align with Israel.

Thanks for saying this. It saved me the time of reading the rest of your comment.

Thank you for pointing that out. It saved me the time of reading the rest of his comment.

Re:I suspect the reason they're self-published (1)

icebike (68054) | about 5 months ago | (#45296263)

is because a real publishing house with editors would reject them as poorly written tripe.

But on the good side, the Vampire authors have mostly given up that Genera and moved on.

There are some good self published ebooks. Its pretty hard to find them because of a wheat/chaff problem.
You can find well known authors going directly to ebook these days, and you can find top notch editors
taking in more direct to ebook editing jobs (or so my writer friend tells me).

But its a wasteland out there...

Re:I suspect the reason they're self-published (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 months ago | (#45296367)

I'm going a different direction with my book. Electronic versions will be free, you'll only have to pay for paper versions (even though paper comes out before electrons).

Oh, and there aren't any zombies or vampires. There are ghosts in chapter chapter 21 but they're not really ghosts. It's science fiction, not horror.

Shit, it's halloween, sorry. The bad guys are ghouls (at least that's what the Martians call them).

Am I on topic yet? Damn...

Re:I suspect the reason they're self-published (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45296581)

you can find top notch editors taking in more direct to ebook editing jobs (or so my writer friend tells me).

I recently translated a book from a foreign language into English for publication by a new publisher that tries to compete in both ebook and print formats in a niche areal studies market. The publisher does not have in-house editors and spent a while searching for one for this publication. Ultimately the book I had translated was assigned to someone without the least familiarity with the subject. I noted some places that would require editorial intervention before publication, but the editor couldn't be arsed to get that involved in the job. She essentially did no more than check that I had translated the whole book, did a spellcheck, and then sent it off to production. So now it's out there, and my name will be forever associated with a lack of quality control beyond my power. The payment I got for it was nice, but I don't think I'll be putting this on my CV.

While there may be a few top-notch editors out there taking on non-mainstream publications, I suspect that most of the "new media" works in the same way I experienced with this latest translation. When editing is expensive and there's a desire to get as many titles out as possible, ensuring quality is less and less attractive to publishers.

Re:I suspect the reason they're self-published (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 months ago | (#45301595)

Editors aren't cheap. It would have cost me $1000 to have Nobots professionally edited, so I just proofread the thing, fixing mistakes, a few hundred times.

Publishing a book is expensive without any professional services, at least hardcover and paperback (e-books are a lot cheaper).

Re:I suspect the reason they're self-published (1)

icebike (68054) | about 5 months ago | (#45303535)

But you know that proofreading and fixing mistakes are but a small part of what editors do. Much of this can be accomplished by software, not only spell checking and punctuation but also voice, tenses, etc.

Macro structure, interweaving of subplots, deletion of entire sections, general slashing and burning, and razing of villages is the part of editing that causes most authors the greatest anguish, but often yields the best results.

Re:I suspect the reason they're self-published (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 months ago | (#45305837)

Exactly why it's so hard to write a good book without an editor. But editors are expensive.

Re:I suspect the reason they're self-published (3, Insightful)

inflex (123318) | about 5 months ago | (#45297337)

Oh help us, imagine if this happened in the world of software, eeeeish, they'd probably create something like Linux! *shudder*.

Readers are the ultimate choice makers, while big publishing houses can bring some useful services to the writer they're quickly becoming less relevant as the whole industry reworks itself into more independent units for hire ( cover art, editing, proofing, marketing ).

Re: I suspect the reason they're self-published (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45297561)

Actually, you'll find that a significant portion of self-published authors is very concerned with quality control, and spend a lot of time polishing their works. You'll also find that freelance editors are quite busy with all the self-published customers they have.

We self-published writers try very hard to escape the reputation of uploading unedited garbage.

Sites such as Kboards have a writing community which actively encourages making your work as good as it can be before publishing, and as a writer I spend more time polishing a book than actually writing the damned thing.

Re: I suspect the reason they're self-published (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 months ago | (#45301611)

Actually, you'll find that a significant portion of self-published authors is very concerned with quality control... We self-published writers try very hard to escape the reputation of uploading unedited garbage.

You could have fooled me.

I have to agree (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 5 months ago | (#45297845)

Zombie games are not "massive outpouring of new creativity" by and large. Rather it is "uncreative developers attempting to jump on a popular bandwagon." There are some good ones, but most are poorly done and very uncreative in design.

I'm a big fan of indy (aka self published) games but I can't think of any zombie ones that have caught my eye as good.

Re:I suspect the reason they're self-published (1)

lxs (131946) | about 5 months ago | (#45298777)

Quoting from a future edition of Wikipedia.

Zombie Apocalypse: the time when you can't open up your webbrowser without being bombarded by a deluge of inane zombie fanfic.
ex. "before the Zombie Apocalypse, browsing the web was a whole lot less tedious." anon. 2034

Zombie Apocalypse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45295979)

What they ignorant nerd doesn't realize they're doing by supporting this moronic and beaten-to-death zombie trend is that they are tacitly supporting tactical readiness of a mass-uprising, aka "riot," by disenfranchised minorities they would never otherwise admit depersonalizing. It is similar to King Kong and Planet of the Apes, with the unruly primates clearly being a reference to a particular nonwhite minority.

So those of you who embrace the zombie trend are enabling "the man" to keep the bruthas down. You should feel ashamed of yourselves and your privilege.
 
  -- Ethanol-fueled

beaten-to-death trend (3, Funny)

themushroom (197365) | about 5 months ago | (#45296027)

Zombie lit, just like real zombies, is impervious to the fact that it's dead. (Same with vampires and vampire lit.) Funny that.

Re:beaten-to-death trend (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45296157)

The major difference between the two being that zombie lit is covert racist propaganda, while vampire lit is covert pro-homosexual propaganda disguised as bi-curious propaganda.

When I get asked by those crowds "what I am," I respond that I'm a werewolf. It gets the ladies juiced-up and the swishy, histrionic gay-boys up off my ass. The quickest way to clear your house of "those types" is to put on actual gore - a beheading video, or perhaps the aftermath of a partial-birth abortion. Blood and fangs, my ass.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:beaten-to-death trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45296855)

Yeah, the whole genre is a dead end.

Re:Zombie Apocalypse (1)

felrom (2923513) | about 5 months ago | (#45298687)

Wait a second. You went from, "King Kong / Planet of the Apes = anti-black" to "zombies = anti-black" with no logical link. Now, your KK/PotA argument is interesting on the surface, and it may be entertaining to explore it more, but your zombie argument doesn't even pass the sniff test. In my experience, zombie movies have a pretty normal representation of races among their zombies. I've never seen a zombie movie where all the humans were one race, and all the zombies were a very obviously different race.

If you really want to bring your victimization mentality into a discussion of zombie fiction, you should do it from the angle of, "zombies = poor people," or "zombies = sick people," or "zombies = liberals." At least each of those has some logical support that can be argued.... a little.

IMO, zombie fiction is great. It gets people to think about preparedness for natural and man-made disasters since zombies would pretty much be the ultimate disaster. Not surprisingly, that's why a lot of government agencies use it as a plot for their own disaster drills. Also, your "tactical readiness" should be independent of what you think the threat is going to be.

If you want a genuinely good and different... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45296029)

...zombie novel, check out "Toothless" by J.P. Moore. It doesn't read at all like the author was merely jumping on the pop culture bandwagon.

Re:If you want a genuinely good and different... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#45298235)

Night of the Living Trekkies. If the cover art doesn't do it for you, I don't know what will.

Oates is a time traveller (1)

nmoore (22729) | about 5 months ago | (#45296069)

Somehow she managed to win the 1996 Bram Stoker Prize for a "2009 novel". But the "(P.S.)" was removed by the time machine, and the protagonist was renamed from Zombie to Quentin P.

Fashion trends (2)

bob_super (3391281) | about 5 months ago | (#45296073)

Can someone make a graph with the yearly occurrences of wizards (early '00s), vampires, werewolves (late '00s), zombies (early '10s) ?
Cross it with more standard fanfic (esp star wars from 99 to 05, star trek afterwards).

Wraiths, mummies and ghouls would like to know when they'll get their turn. (and don't tell me they're harder to write for, you can pull a Twilight and reinvent them completely, just keeping the name)

Re:Fashion trends (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 5 months ago | (#45296659)

More interesting: how does this compare to the overall number of self-published e-books? Afaik self-publishing as a whole is growing fast, too. If the number of self-published titles has doubled, it's no wonder zombie-titles doubled too.

Re:Fashion trends (1)

inflex (123318) | about 5 months ago | (#45297387)

In the last 2~3 years the number of books published outside of the "big 6" houses has done a lot more than doubled, 3~4x I think according to Bowker ( and that's just the ones that have ISBNs assigned). One way a lot of us notice the growth is by having a really unpopular book listed on Amazon and seeing how bad the ranking gets. The most recent peaking genres were erotica (thanks to 50SoG breaking the ice) and of course Vamps. Nice to see Zombies shuffling in :D

Re:Fashion trends (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 5 months ago | (#45297547)

If it went 3-4 times over the past 2-3 years, then doubling since 2012 quite plausible, meaning that a doubling of zombie titles means the ratio of zombie/not zombie remains the same. So no spectacular rise of zombie titles. It may even have been a decline in zombie titles, when compared to other books.

And of course, as always sex leads the pack Just like the abundant availability of porn has done a lot for the Internet as a whole (driving faster connections, improving payment/subscription systems, etc).

Re:Fashion trends (1)

ignavus (213578) | about 5 months ago | (#45310109)

More interesting: how does this compare to the overall number of self-published e-books? Afaik self-publishing as a whole is growing fast, too. If the number of self-published titles has doubled, it's no wonder zombie-titles doubled too.

Even more interesting: the number of zombies has doubled too.

Re:Fashion trends (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 months ago | (#45301685)

Wraiths, mummies and ghouls would like to know when they'll get their turn.

Well, the Venusians are pretty ghoulish in Nobots, and the Martians call them ghouls... I guess if it becomes a best seller you'll see a lot more ghoul books.

Oh Noes! (2)

hguorbray (967940) | about 5 months ago | (#45296103)

I thought one of our main defences against zombies was that they couldn't reproduce..

-I'm just sayin'

Re:Oh Noes! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45296417)

You like big cocks in your mouth, right? You like it when fat hairy men fuck you in the ass, right? You love to get guys off so they jizz all over you, right?
 
I knew it.

Rather popular (2)

Rolpa (3036845) | about 5 months ago | (#45296371)

Replace the word 'ebooks' with 'video games', and I would bet the resulting statement would still be pretty accurate.

Just wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45296467)

Filter error: You can type more than that for your comment.

Er, that's really all I had... someone needs to wait() so those zombies will go away.

Ahead of the curve (1)

UCFFool (832674) | about 5 months ago | (#45296505)

Luckily, I wrote and published mine [mariolurig.com] in Oct/Nov 2011... so I suppose that puts me ahead of the curve.

Dead or Alive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45296757)

Book authors and television has killed the zombie trend years ago. Someone needs to come up with something original.

no need for zombie fiction, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45296889)

the zombie apocalypse is talked about in the Bible, where it's called 'the resurrection of the dead'.

Non issue. Zombies are fiction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45296923)

Lets find something to beleive in. Zombies are bullshit.

It's a trend everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45297607)

The amount of zombie processes in my PC has also doubled ever since I installed ubuntu :(

I published The Bolachek Journals just recently (2)

Izaak (31329) | about 5 months ago | (#45297771)

I've been getting great feedback. Rather than the usual shotgun toting road warrior style hero, I decided to explore how a tech geek might approach the zombie apocalypse. Its been described as McGuyver meets the Walking Dead. Part 1 is available on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, or download it for free directly from my blog. So far I've been getting 5 star reviews and very positive comments, but I would love to hear some feedback from the more technology savvy Slashdot demographic.

Zombie rant (2)

korbulon (2792438) | about 5 months ago | (#45298639)

What the fuck is the deal with this fascination with zombies? Especially among relatively intelligent people (i.e. nerds). I don't get it. Fundamentally it's a dumb idea, at least how it's presented 95% of the time. The only time for me that it works is as parody or as allegory, but taken as a natural phenomenon it doesn't have legs, feet, torso, etc. to stand on. A few exceptions where the genre works, it is attributable to external agency (e.g,. supernatural, alien). Very little of zombie lore withstands even superficial scrutiny. Why always so hungry when lacking a functioning digestive system? How are limbs able to hunt without sensory organs? Or move without a circulatory system? Why be only an asshole to the living and not to your fellow zombies? Also, how do they decide who to eat and who to indoctrinate into the zombie horde? No, no. It's just plain stupid.

Re:Zombie rant (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 5 months ago | (#45300497)

Questions answere by Mel Brook's Son:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Zombie-Survival-Guide-Protection/dp/1400049628 [amazon.com]

Re:Zombie rant (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about 5 months ago | (#45300791)

I thought you were taking the piss, and then I realized you were being dead serious, that in fact this Max Brooks of World War Z fame is none other than the son of Mel Brooks. Now I think the world is taking the piss. Nothing Mel Brooks ever wrote or directed was as silly as any given scene in World War Z. Zounds.

Re:Zombie rant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45300767)

IMHO, any remaining Nazis are all at least 90 years old by now. The Soviet Union is no longer a threat. Terrorism is a passe.

The advantage of Zombies is that it taps our innate aggression and propensities toward violence and gives you a "safe" outlet. You are free to kill because those Zombies are already dead. You are not killing a human being.

Think of it this way. The "No Russian" scene in Call of Duty was sickening - men with guns mowing down innocent people. But if you replace the civilians with zombies - well, there are no moral problems with killing at that point. You are free to act out your desire for violence against people because they are already dead. There is no harm in killing them.

I think there is also a desire to place normal people in extraordinary situations. Not everybody can imagine themselves as a tough-as-nails cop taking down a skyscraper of terrorists. But anybody can imagine themselves as an Everyman who suddenly has been thrust into an extraordinary situation.

Re:Zombie rant (1)

Arkiel (741871) | about 5 months ago | (#45301059)

Yeah. It doesn't make any sense at all, does it? They're dead and rotting, and yet they move. Unknown. Awesome.

Re:Zombie rant (1)

painandgreed (692585) | about 5 months ago | (#45301435)

What the fuck is the deal with this fascination with zombies?

Well, I think you went on to ask all the wrong questions. Zombies are not the main attraction of zombie media. In effect, they are just a natural disaster that humans are thrown against and thus the actual stories are human versus natuire, but really human versus human. Zombies are an excuse to thrust people into difficult situations and tell the story of how they interact with each other, not the zombies. Zombies work because they are a natural disaster that you can shoot in the face and thus provide action.

If you're actually worried about how zombies came about, are functioning, and why they are doing what they are doing, you are missing the entire story that is being told.

Re:Zombie rant (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about 5 months ago | (#45301861)

Yeah but what about BRAINS!? mm-mm, love me some brains.

In that case, give me a more realistic antagonist - just not fucking zombies. Or maybe give a zombie a speaking role, or at least a song and dance number. Gentlemen, it's time.

Just a fan ... (1)

Jumperalex (185007) | about 5 months ago | (#45298841)

and I'd like to put in a plug for Hugh Howey's "I, Zombie". Hugh has made a good name for himself in the self-publishing arena and his success continues to snowball. Not the least of which is due to his amazing stories like Wool, Moly Fyde, and my personal favorite the underdog Halfway Home, but also because he seems to be a genuinely good guy.

As for I, Zombie ... it is not a human story about zombies. It is a zombie story about being a zombie. Check it out.

Re:Just a fan ... (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 5 months ago | (#45300543)

I'd call it a human story about being stuck in a zombie. Great book though either way. Kind of a different perspective on the zombie genre.

Speaking from experience... (1)

Arkiel (741871) | about 5 months ago | (#45301023)

...most of this is survivalist escapist fantasy garbage. Poorly written, poorly-defined characters. I suspect there's a therapy group for returning vets where the therapy goals are to write a zombie book and self-publish it. Never ever buy any book without a recommendation from someone you think you can actually trust. That means a recommendation outside the Amazon system.
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