THE LIVING isn’t quite here…(but you can still read it!)

I have good news and bad news.

GOOD NEWS: today is the release day for THE LIVING, the final book of the Warm Bodies series. 10 years after I wrote WARM BODIES, I finally get to share the conclusion of this story. What a moment! The end of an era, the culmination of a decade of work! There should be fanfare, a launch party, we should—

BAD NEWS: the books aren’t printed yet.

I know, I told you I was publishing this myself, but it turns out the only way to TRULY do it yourself is to print the books on your own inkjet, bind them with duct tape, and sell them out of the back your sketchy van. Anything more ambitious and you’re dealing with other people. It takes far more people than you would imagine to publish a book well. There are shortcuts if you dump it into a faceless print-on-demand machine, but if you want a book that looks and feels substantial and refined—a book that you can autograph and slip special gifts into—you have to involve other people. I did everything in my power to deliver the book today, but I’m just the first cog in a long sequence of gears, and those big ones at the end are still turning.

THE HARDCOVERS WILL SHIP DECEMBER 10th

I know. It’s maddening. You’ve been waiting YEARS for the end of this damn story. Am I really going to make you wait 26 more days??

Well…not necessarily.

If you bought the ebook, you will still get it today. So it’s KIND OF release day. (Yay!) But I’m not about to let those digital techlords flaunt early access over the true book lovers who wanted the rich experience of the hardcover. So...

ALL OF YOU GET AN EBOOK.

If you preordered the hardcover, you will be getting an email today that contains an ebook download link. Anyone who orders the hardcover from now on will also get the ebook. You don’t need a tablet—you can read it on ANY device, including a desktop or laptop. If you feel that reading digitally will taint your experience of the story, I urge you to wait for that smooth, warm paper. But if digital doesn't bother you, or if you were just so hyped for this day that another wait might break you…the ebook is here if you want it.

I’m so thrilled to finally be sharing this with you. I hope once you start reading it—in whatever format you choose—all these annoyances will melt away. I hope you’ll join me in wishing R and Julie a fond farewell and get lost in their strange world one last time.

Thank you.

-Isaac

BUY THE LIVING

The Living is Live

Yesterday I shared some big news.

THE LIVING is coming November 13.

It looks like this:

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You can preorder now.

Ok, now let me tell you a little about what I’m doing here.

I wrote the last sentence of this story in July, 2015. After breaking that massive Pangaea of a book into two smaller continents and exploring them for two more years, I released the first half—THE BURNING WORLD— in early 2017, expecting the conclusion to come out later that year. I had no idea everything was about to fall apart.

For reasons I’ve debated elsewhere, 99% of WARM BODIES fans didn’t come back for THE BURNING WORLD. My publisher dropped me. My financial forecast turned bleak. I sold my house to pay off my debts and found myself literally out on the street, living in my van, a bearded maniac shouting about industry conspiracies and waving THE LIVING at passersby. "YOU MUST READ THE BOOK! THE END IS NEAR!”

I spent a year searching for a publisher with a vision for this story, then gave up on that rusty old machine and started looking for a viable path to independence.

I found that most of the popular self-publishing routes didn’t fit me. They demanded obscene displays of obeisance to Emperor Bezos and other corporate despots—Amazon exclusivity, exploitative profit cuts, and degrading stunts to win the acceptance of algorithms. It felt crass and slimy, like I was sending my beautiful brilliant child to work in a novelty souvenir factory, and after all that humiliation, the paycheck would be so small I might as well not bother.

It might make sense for new authors trying to get started, but I already have readers. I have YOU, the survivors of whatever plague wiped out 99% of my original readership. You're hardy and true and you deserve the best book I can give you. So despite this brave new world of modern indie options…I’m going back to my roots.

I’m printing 3,000 high quality hardcovers at an actual print shop in New York.

I’m signing every copy.

I’m selling them exclusively on my website, where I can include bonus materials—and actually keep some of the money you’re giving me instead of dumping it all into the corporate retail system.

I know some of you hate hardcovers because they're expensive and bulky, but listen. This book is the culmination of 10 years of my life. I bled and sweat and cried over this story. THE LIVING is its finale, and this might be its only edition. I’m not going to end this era with a shoddy Print on Demand paperback that will fall apart in a year. I’m not going to feed it into a machine that will eat up all your money and leave me without the means to keep writing. I want this final moment to be real, tactile, personal, and lasting.

So, a few notes:

You can order the hardcover in almost any country, but shipping outside the US will be tragically expensive.

A paperback with worldwide distribution MIGHT happen someday…but I can’t promise anything, and it wouldn’t be until next spring at the earliest. (And it won’t be signed.)

If money is tight, the ebook is cheap and available everywhere, including Amazon. (But I do make more if you buy it on my site.)

I wish I could make this easier and cheaper for everyone, but this is the only way I can do this book right and still make enough to stay afloat as a writer. In this era of devalued art, many creators are using Patreon or Ko-Fi to keep the work coming. I decided I’d rather take donations in the form of book sales. So...thank you for your support! You are literally keeping me alive. And even more importantly, thank you for coming with me on this crazy 10-year journey. I’m so excited to tell you how it all ends.

-Isaac

 

 

 

Hermitage

Hey Seattle friends...so, um…I’m leaving!

This is so big and weird for me I’m not sure how to share the news. For most of you a simple “Bye!” would probably suffice, but this means a lot to me and I feel a need to write about it.

I’ve lived in Seattle almost 13 years. I’ve explored a lot of other cities, and while they all have their own character, I haven’t found anything so different that it seemed worth uprooting my life and leaving all my people. Despite the worrying path Seattle is on with its runaway growth and aggressive homogenization, this is still my city.  But what I’ve been realizing is…I don’t want to live in a city anymore. Any city.

I’m still a believer in the city concept, the promise of concentrated culture and large scale civic endeavor. I think it’s important to be challenged and have new and diverse experiences on the bleeding edge of life. But when you’ve been chasing that same energy for 13 years, is that still new and diverse? What about the other frequencies of experience? What about silence and stillness, solitude and reflection, the solemn beauty of forests and water? What about the inner world? What about dreams and fantasies and long, deep thoughts, those paths you have to walk slowly to explore?

I find these subtle frequencies hard to hear in the city. I find my time and attention spread too thin as I bounce between dozens of tiny social pods scattered across a sprawling, traffic-clogged obstacle course. I’m overstimulated and overwhelmed by the endless buffet of activity. Options become obligations. Fun becomes a job and therefore self-canceling. My brain is so overcharged with input that I can’t concentrate or contemplate, I can only skim. I’d love to sit and get lost in this book but what if and should I and this and that and them!!!!

I don’t believe in walling myself off from society, but I feel like I’ve absorbed enough of its energy to last a while. I need to withdraw into a simple space where I can let it trickle out into art. I want to write all these stories floating around my head. I want to make music again. These are the things that give me a reason to wake up, and I’ve been running away from them. My energies have been siphoned off by the reflexive pursuit of entertainment, indulgence, and social compulsions. I’ve been spending so little of my time on the things that matter the most to me, and I’m mad as hell about it. 

So…I’m moving to Orcas Island! I just bought a secluded cabin on a hillside overlooking the Salish Sea. It’s a quick drive to Doe Bay Resort, where I’ll drop in once a week for a meal and some human warmth, but this will be a different kind of life: smaller, slower, solitary and focused, 120 miles removed from that roaring vortex of appetite and anxiety.

I don’t hate the city. These 13 years have had plenty of beauty in them. I’ve shared some amazing times with some amazing people and I’m grateful for all of them. I just need a change.

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I may become a mystic hermit but I will occasionally remove the birds from my beard. At least once a month I’ll come back to the city and spend a few days reconnecting with the outside world. And I hope to lure some of you out to the island now and then for a visit. I think it’s the most beautiful place in Washington and I still can’t believe I get to live there. I’ve moved over 30 times in my life and never felt so hopeful about a new chapter.

So goodbye for now, city friends! I wish you best of luck in the urban adventure. I’m trying something new…but we’ll share stories soon.

-Isaac

 

Watson



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Many of you are bigger fans of my cat than you are of my writing, and that’s understandable and right and good. You’ve loved him from afar via my incessant cat pics, and you’ve understood how much he means to me—my only pet, my muse, and usually the only living thing occupying my sorry bachelor pad.

As many of you know from social media, Watson is missing. I moved him to my grandparents’ house during a moving transition, and before he could get used to the place, he escaped. I’ve tried every trick in the book to recover him, so PLEASE do not bombard me with cat-finding techniques. Believe me, I’ve done them all. I’ve been camping out in my grandparents’ back alley for 20 days, walking the streets every night, and even got a team together to leave flyers on every single doorstep in the neighborhood. Nothing.

I’ve decided it’s time to go home. There’s nothing more I can do out here, and I have to stop torturing myself. Most likely Watson has been taken in by some kind family or he’s enjoying a wild new life among the strays. I still hold out hope that he’ll come wandering back someday—I know it happens all the time, so please spare me the flood of anecdotes—or someone will recognize him from the poster and give me a call. If it happens, I’ll be overjoyed. But for now, all I can do is wish him well and say goodbye.

I know this has nothing to do with books, and some of you probably don’t care, but I figured those of you who do care deserved some closure. And because I need people to stop asking me if I’ve found Watson yet. Believe me, oh believe me, if I find him you will hear about it. Until then, with tears…on with life.

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IT'S TIME

I wrote the last two books in the Warm Bodies Series back-to-back, and I intended to publish them the same way. THE BURNING WORLD came out February 2017, and I imagined THE LIVING would come later that year. A chance for the readers to catch their breath and for me to do a little further polishing, and then the story would be complete.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

THE BURNING WORLD was released into one of the most chaotic moments in modern American history, a perfect storm of political mayhem, social upheaval, and mass distraction that consumed all cultural bandwidth and sank dozens of books that were “supposed to be big.” Despite glowing reviews, THE BURNING WORLD went largely unnoticed by media and fans alike, reaching only 1% of the first book’s readership.

So my publisher dropped the series. And just like that, four years after nearly topping the NYT bestseller list and seeing my name on movie screens around the world, I was out on the streets.

I spent a year looking for a way back into the system. I approached several smaller houses and heard the same thing over and over: “We love the book but we don’t know how to publish it.” And I get it. The creaking gears of traditional publishing won't mesh easily with a book like this: the orphaned fourth entry in a hard-to-package series that's evolved from a simple, crowd-pleasing riff on the zombie genre to a post-apocalyptic fantasy epic that challenges society, explores the nature of reality, and takes a shot at the meaning of life.

It’s a lot to ask of a struggling industry that can’t afford to take risks. But this story needs its ending. You've waited long enough. So to quote a large purple man who dominated pop culture this year…fine. I’ll do it myself.
 

I am publishing THE LIVING independently.
 

If all goes as planned, it will be available from all major online retailers and hopefully some stores.

It will be released simultaneously worldwide.

And most importantly, it will be released soon.

This year.

FALL, 2018.

 

That’s all I can say for now. More details will be coming soon, so if you want that news to actually reach you instead of being shoved aside by social media algorithms to make room for more ads, JOIN MY EMAIL LIST.

Thank you for staying with me and following this story to its end.

#WakeTheLiving

Warm Bodies is “Canceled"

If you're extremely online like I am, you may have seen what just happened with the TV show Brooklyn 99. FOX announced it was canceling the show due to low ratings, but the fan uproar was so intense that NBC swooped in and picked it up in less than 24 hours.

I haven't seen the show, but I have a strong personal interest in any art that's beloved by fans and critics but fails to meet the demands of a mass market and therefore can't be allowed to exist. What happened with Brooklyn 99 seemed kind of miraculous to me and I don't even fully understand it. No matter how passionate the fans are, the ratings don't lie, right? What would inspire NBC to pick up a show that the numbers don't support? Unless maybe they see an untapped opportunity there. Unless they think that passion could be converted into ratings, if they can be smarter than FOX and find the right way to promote it.

I saw a lot of intriguing parallels to the current situation with my books, so I posted this tweet:

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It was kind of a joke referencing the situation with Brooklynn 99 which was just then unfolding, but a lot of people took it literally to mean that the last book in the series, THE LIVING, was officially never coming out. I need to clarify this.

A book series can't really be “canceled." The publisher only owns the rights to the books they've published, not future installments. And if no other publisher wants to touch that final book, there's always the self-publishing route, which I'm considering more seriously every day. So one way or another, THE LIVING will be released. Eventually. In some form.

But in the TV analogy, the series has been “canceled" for about a year now. This is old news to me and anyone who's been following my struggles online, but if you haven't been tuned in maybe it comes as a shock. It actually happened very shortly after the release of the latest book.

THE BURNING WORLD got good reviews and high reader ratings, but it had everything else working against it. The series was already hobbled by years of strategic blunders, mismanagement, and neglect. (I take the blame for much of this.) Then we dropped book 3 right into the middle of the political/cultural hurricane of 2017.

It sold a few thousand copies. Book 1 sold a few hundred thousand.

So the publisher, being a large commercial house, said they couldn't move forward with book 4 until sales of book 3 improved. But since they had no plans for any new promotional efforts, I took that as an official statement: due to low ratings, the Warm Bodies Series is canceled.

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In the year since, I've been fighting to revive it. I've launched big promotional campaigns of my own and fans have rallied to try to spread the word. My agent has been talking to other publishers in the hopes of finding someone who sees an opportunity to rub the dirt off a diamond.

The series is definitely not canceled. The final book is written and will be published. It's just a question of when, and how well. And honestly, I don't even want you to pressure Simon & Schuster. I want whoever publishes this book to do it because they believe in its potential and know how to make it shine. So if you want to protest this “cancelation," don't aim your passion at publishers, aim it at readers. Join R's Rmy and brainstorm with other fans on how to keep spreading the word. Decisions will be happening very soon, and every voice of support makes that diamond a little shinier.

As always, thank you for sticking with me. I had planned to release this book last summer. Sitting on it all this time has been my personal hell and I promise you I can't endure it much longer.

-Isaac

The Trump Tweet. Again.

Nine months after I posted it, that undying Trump tweet is back again, no doubt exhumed by some well-meaning celebrity and spread around by thousands of well-meaning resisters. There is no stopping it at this point, no use in deleting the original tweet—it's spread far beyond Twitter now. For reasons I can't comprehend, a screenshot of an author no one's ever heard of clapping back at the president about a book hardly anyone has read has become the stuff of meme aggregators and viral sharing, and no amount of debunking can slow it down.

Nevertheless, it's time once again to do my duty as the accidental creator of this monster and post my little explanation and semi-apology. Most people will never see this post and half the ones who do will ignore all this tedious text about how THE TWEET IS NOT REAL and immediately start commenting as if the tweet is real. Well, so be it. At least I'll have somewhere to send all the people flooding my inbox with congratulations and curses.

SO LET'S RECAP:

In early January, as I was deep into promoting my new book, THE BURNING WORLD, I thought of a way to talk about the book that seemed more fun than just endlessly tooting my own horn. Trump’s petty Twitter feuds with public figures were a running gag that was still funny back in January, before 9 months of relentless absurdity sucked all the humor out of the world. How funny would it be, I thought, to imagine him starting a feud with ME, an obscure author of zombie fiction, because he thought the grotesque and insane corporate warlord who's exploiting the apocalypse is supposed to be HIM?

Haha!

So I photoshopped a series of tweets in which Trump attacks my writing, makes fun of my hair, says I have a small penis, and predicts that my book will flop and I’ll end up living on the streets. (Which came true, by the way.) Then I posted my “responses” to all these tweets in which I start out strong and sassy, then gradually break down under his relentless assault.

It was a little piece of Twitter theater. Performance art, if you will. To anyone who knew who I was, it was obviously a joke. THE BURNING WORLD was getting zero media attention and had only sold a few hundred copies. I was walking around town stapling up posters by hand and asking friends to hand out flyers. There was no imaginable universe in which Donald Trump knew about my book and found it threatening. Hence: COMEDY!

Not "lies." Not "fraud." Not "fake news" or ANY "NEWS" AT ALL. Just a guy with a few thousand followers posting silly pranks on Twitter. 

But then somehow…the tweet blew up. Not the whole increasingly absurd sequence with the ending that underlines the joke. Just the first one. The most plausible one. 

Very quickly, my silly prank was plucked out of its natural context and dumped onto THE WORLD STAGE, spotlighted by celebrities and spread around the internet by earnest activists and professional Trump haters. In that context it looked a lot less silly and a lot more real. And as the REAL Donald Trump continued to out-silly himself, the line between parody and reality continued to erode.

Now it’s October, nine months later, and we’re so inundated with political satire that the very concept rings hollow. None of this is funny anymore. Making a Trump joke feels like joy-buzzing a corpse, watching it lurch slightly and go still again. It’s gross and dare I say it, SAD. So people see this tweet and they take it dead seriously. Or they find out that it’s fake and can’t comprehend it as comedy. All they see is an author’s pathetic attempt to sell books by making himself a victim, a martyr, a CAUSE.

No no NO NO NO.

GROSS.

PLEASE look at the context. The context of its TIME—a simpler, more innocent time, nine months ago. The context of its PLACE—the generally ignored Twitter feed of a small-time fiction writer who’s been posting absurd, trollish nonsense for years. Nothing on that feed should be subjected to the intellectual rigor this tweet is getting. You don’t have to find it funny, but you do have to acknowledge what it was. Not an editorial in The New Yorker. Not an article on CNN. A joke on Twitter.

If you thought it was funny, laugh. If you thought it was real, don’t be mad or embarrassed. It’s not your fault—or mine—that Trump has made something so silly seem so plausible.

 

 

Ok, now that you’ve ignored all the above text, go ahead and read the tweets below and comment very sincerely about them because you still think they’re real. Enjoy!

 

Soul Vomit is done

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84 copies into the promised run of 500, I am discontinuing my signed and painted "soul vomit" editions of THE BURNING WORLD.

While I loved making the art and seeing your reactions online, the task of keeping track of the slow trickle of orders and getting them to the post office in a timely manner was becoming a source of anxiety that I don't need in my life. But more importantly, books I sell by hand don't count toward my sales ranking, which is what the publishing industry looks at to determine whether or not I'm worth putting on shelves, and since I'm fighting hard right now to get a release date for THE LIVING, I need every point I can get.

So, to the 84 of you who bought these special books, thanks for your support. I will do my best to make those things valuable someday.

Update on THE LIVING

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After a long and impressively patient wait, I'm starting to hear rumblings from the readers. As if on some silent cue, the messages have started pouring in on all platforms:

Where's the last book?

Where's the end of the story?

Where is THE LIVING?

When The Burning World was released, I had already mostly finished The Living and was hoping it could come out that same year. Unfortunately, I was naive. The fate of The Living is tied to The Burning World and that book has had a bumpy release. So despite being finished and ready to read, The Living has been trapped in publishing limbo awaiting some ambiguous change in fortune.

That change may be coming soon. As usual I can't talk specifics about what goes on in the secret smoky room, but...things are happening, and if all goes well, um...more things will happen?

I know. This is less informative than a White House press conference. I just want you to know that I'm still alive, this book is not a myth, and for the first time in a long time there is movement behind the curtain.

And although I can't give you a specific release date, I'm going to make you one solid promise:

THE LIVING will come out before the end of 2018.

Even if I have to self-publish it, even if I have to spraypaint it chapter by chapter on alley walls around the world, one way or another you'll be reading it in 2018.

Until then, thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for being alive.

-Isaac

Soul Vomit Update

A while ago, I quietly launched a strange project. 

As stated loudly on that page, this project is very time consuming for me so I can't offer any kind of solid delivery date for your orders. As orders trickle in, I create the books one at a time, and when I have enough, I set up a mailer packing factory and then make a trip to the post office. Combined with the generally chaotic state of my life at the moment—living on the street in my RV, traveling constantly to hustle up funds, and fielding the endless stream of social obligations that come with summertime—this means that it might be weeks if not months before I'm able to ship your order.

So far, most of you have been patient and cool about this. But I don't want you to think this is a scam, so a quick update: I expect to finish creating all the current orders this weekend and will ship them on Monday, July 31st. Then the queue will reset and the cycle will begin again.

I'm really honored by your interest in these signed copies, especially given the high price. I will do my best to become famous for you so that they'll be worth something someday.

 

-Isaac