Undead billboard ad

Horror writer RR Haywood pulled off one of the UK’s more striking self-publishing promo stunts in London recently – but focused on something more serious than just driving sales. Struggling with lack of recognition from established publishers and agents despite self-publishing bestsellerdom for his The Undead Series (currently running at some 16 volumes), he decided to take a mobile billboard on lorry-back to London’s literary quarters, to get the message across at first hand, with the help of door-to-door calls round agents and flyer handouts. The result you can see above, with Haywood, who writes pseudonymously owing to his day job, posing next to Amy Mitchell of David Godwin Associates.

Haywood told TeleRead:

Having achieved 30,000 downloads, over 600 top reviews, won awards and The Undead Series being the UK’s best-selling zombie horror series, I [am] still struggling to be taken seriously by the mainstream publishing industry. So I came up with this unique idea to show just serious I am to get published. We took the billboard to every literary agent we could find in London. The result was a mixed bag, with some agents clearly very unimpressed, and others seeing it for the tongue-in-cheek event it was and giving us high praise for being so enterprising. Time will tell to see how successful we have been!

Haywood certainly deserves an award for chutzpah. And as a two-in-one advertising stunt and serious pitch, this takes some beating. Any publisher or agent who takes Haywood up obviously doesn’t have to worry about some serious high-profile and attention-getting fun on the promotional tour trail.


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