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View Full Version : Hugh Howey - This is how you do it



Liralen
03-11-2013, 10:00 AM
Or How to do it your way (http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424127887324678604578340752088305668-lMyQjAxMTAzMDAwODEwNDgyWj.html?mod=wsj_valettop_em ail)

Excerpt:


It's a sign of how far the balance of power has shifted toward authors in the new digital publishing landscape. Self-published titles made up 25% of the top-selling books on Amazon last year. Four independent authors have sold more than a million Kindle copies of their books, and 23 have sold more than 250,000, according to Amazon.

Publishing houses that once ignored independent authors are now furiously courting them. In the past year, more than 60 independent authors have landed contracts with traditional publishers. Several won seven-figure advances. A handful have negotiated deals that allow them to continue selling e-books on their own, including romance writers Bella Andre and Colleen Hoover, who have each sold more than a million copies of their books.

Ann Joyce
03-11-2013, 11:11 AM
What an interesting thread... and very exciting to read about. Kudos to Hugh Howey as well as the other featured authors!

Old Hack
03-11-2013, 11:27 AM
Mr Howey has done extremely well for himself, and I'm very pleased for him: it's great to see any writer have such a success.

It would be wonderful if his success could be duplicated, but if it could be then everyone would be doing it. As it is, the best route to success remains the same: write a really good book and publish or submit it appropriately.

Diane
03-11-2013, 10:13 PM
There's another article today at the IndieReader (http://indiereader.com/2013/03/hugh-howie-explains-everything/):


When Kristin Nelson first contacted me about representing WOOL, I warned her that I didn’t think I’d ever sell the rights to a publisher. My series of stories were doing well enough for me to quit my day job, and I didn’t think it would be advantageous to alter course. Other agents had been in touch already, and I’d passed up their offerings of representation by explaining that a deal was unlikely, but Kristin got my attention by saying, “I’m not sure you should sell the rights.” She went on to explain that it might not be in my best interest to change what I was doing, but wouldn’t it be fun to feel publishers out? To see what they were willing to do?

Hugh used to post here at AW. If you do a search on his name (I think he was "Hugh Howey" but it might have been "Hughhowey") you can see how rapidly his life changed with the success of "Wool."

benbradley
03-11-2013, 11:43 PM
I recall him posting about his first book "Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue" several years ago - his first copies had a printing problem (an early page was in light print and hard to read), and he gave a few out here. I got one and it's signed (!). I read and enjoyed it, but it's now in the hands of a 12-or-so-year-old who tried to read it but said she "didn't get it." I should definitely get it back from her...

http://www.hughhowey.com/

He's definitely been busy, four Fyde novels, the Shift series, more standalone novels, and the Wool thing. How many books per year is that? He must be doing a NaNoWriMo about every other month, and editing and self-publishing in between!

He's speaking at SXSW, that's gotta be as big as these other news stories!

merrihiatt
03-12-2013, 12:17 AM
Really excited for Hugh and his journey, which I've been following for quite some time.

FOTSGreg
03-12-2013, 03:29 AM
Major congrats to Hugh and his success. I remember discussing things here with him and over at the old Analog or Asimov's forums. I also received a copy of Molly Fyde from him (still have it around somewhere, I think).

It just goes to show that it's still possible to break in, but still hard in so many ways.

Good job, Hugh.

Lady MacBeth
03-12-2013, 06:19 AM
I've read some great things about Hugh's books. Didn't know he was an AW member. Congratulations Hugh!

sarahdalton
03-12-2013, 08:17 AM
Really excited for Hugh and his journey, which I've been following for quite some time.

Me too! He also seems like a really nice chap from his posts on here and KB.

triceretops
03-12-2013, 08:54 AM
I've exchanged some emails and PMs with him. A genuinely fine and unassuming lad. I'm tickled for his success.

tri

Todd Young
03-12-2013, 10:54 AM
Yes, it's a great inspiration. He still posts regularly at KBoards.

valeriec80
03-13-2013, 04:41 AM
Hugh used to post here at AW. If you do a search on his name (I think he was "Hugh Howey" but it might have been "Hughhowey") you can see how rapidly his life changed with the success of "Wool."

I can't be certain, of course, but Mr. Howey has made comments elsewhere that seem to indicate he's under the impression he's been banned from this forum.

jnfr
03-13-2013, 06:19 AM
Hugh's a genuinely nice guy, from his online interactions at least, as well as reports from writers who've met him around the world.

And he cracked the nut we all hope to crack: he wrote a deep and unusual book and found tons of readers. Then he held out for a contract that most would have thought couldn't be had. Though a few others have gotten some similar terms recently, as reported in the WSJ.

I wish him and his lovely wife all happiness. They've already got the success.

Old Hack
03-13-2013, 11:25 AM
If Mr Howey had been banned from here, he'd have the word "banned" (or one of our derivatives, such as "sockpuppet") beneath his user-name.

He sends me PMs from time to time. He still has access to the boards.

Griffin Hayes
03-13-2013, 05:47 PM
There are many paths to the top of the mountain. It's great to see Hugh and other SP authors making a living doing what they love.

S.P. van der Lee
03-13-2013, 07:02 PM
This is so inspirational. It almost makes me want to give up searching for agents/publishers and just go straight to selfpublishing :) Hmm...tempting. Though I'd have to wonder; when do you know your book is ready to go?

Snowstorm
03-13-2013, 07:05 PM
Yay! I'm so happy to see an AWer do so well. Kudos to him and for staying with his dream.

MumblingSage
03-13-2013, 07:51 PM
This is so inspirational. It almost makes me want to give up searching for agents/publishers and just go straight to selfpublishing :) Hmm...tempting. Though I'd have to wonder; when do you know your book is ready to go?

I was at a writing class this weekend when our instructor read this article for us. And it was really thrilling to hear, but I looked around the room and thought of many in this group--who are still learning the ropes of the craft and trade of writing--running out to upload files into the Kindle shop and... Well, I sort of wanted to take each person's hand and say gently, "This is amazing, but publishing is a business. Are you sure--would you bet what may turn out to be a significant chunk of you writing career--that you are a businessperson as well as a writer?"

(Of course I said that to myself first, because I needed the reminder too!)

I'm very excited for Mr Howey's success, but I'm also impressed at his entrepreneurial talent, which I admire with the admiration of someone who knows he has what I don't--at least not at this point. If you're going to self-publish successfully, I think you need to spend some time building up both your writing and your marketing talents. If you don't do that, your business plan amounts to uploading through Kindle and hoping benevolent lightening will strike.

S.P. van der Lee
03-13-2013, 08:04 PM
Hmm yes I agree, a certain degree of marketing know-how is required to self-publish. I'm a Digital Communication student in The Netherlands, currently writing my Thesis (last year). I think I know some of the ropes, though not all, especially not in the writing business :P I'm an entrepreneur aswell. Maybe I should give it a shot, after some thorough investigation. Might take a couple of years :) But I guess it'll be worth the try.

Old Hack
03-13-2013, 11:59 PM
There are a couple of reasons why that the article was written.

The first one is that both Mr Howey's success and his route to trade publication are extremely unusual, and very, very few writers will find the same success that he has, or find it in the same way that he has.

The second is that he has a trade publisher behind him now, with a huge marketing and promotion machine, which will be working hard to get press coverage, bloggers blogging, and reviews of his work.

Anyone who is tempted to self publish because they hope they'll be able to duplicate Mr Howey's success should think again. Self publish because you want to, because you have a very good book, because you're keen to work your socks off to find your readers; but don't do it because you think it'll get you a big trade deal, or earn you a packet of money.

Roly
03-14-2013, 04:29 AM
Oooh, interesting article! It's weird, I was just hearing about the WOOL series somewhere else - a friend at my university recc'd it to me. She was practically raving about it. I had no idea that he was self-published :) I think I'll have to check out his stuff...his series sounds incredible! :D I also didn't know he was an AW member? Did he leave? Wow, crazy :)

He's definitely an inspiration. Good for him for making it! I think he's somewhere on the kindleboards. Might check him out there, maybe he's got some words of wisdom!

Thanks for posting!

Also:


Hmm...tempting. Though I'd have to wonder; when do you know your book is ready to go?

This isn't really advice, but that particular quote reminded me of a quote I just heard on a Star Wars documentary I was watching: "Art is never finished, itís just abandoned...however, itís abandoned then shown, and those things with their flaws are what affect people." -- Paul Yates, director of The Trial of Han Solo :D

So yeah. Eventually after all the editing and beta-ing and revising you really just have to let it go at some point! Good luck :)

J. Tanner
03-14-2013, 04:39 AM
Oooh, interesting article! It's weird, I was just hearing about the WOOL series somewhere else - a friend at my university recc'd it to me. She was practically raving about it. I had no idea that he was self-published :) I think I'll have to check out his stuff...his series sounds incredible! :D I also didn't know he was an AW member? Did he leave? Wow, crazy :)

He's definitely an inspiration. Good for him for making it! I think he's somewhere on the kindleboards. Might check him out there, maybe he's got some words of wisdom!


There was a thread about a year ago that got a bit spicy. Hugh was under the impression that he got banned at that time. Maybe he just got a temporary timeout? I don't really know the details, but as OH mentioned he doesn't appear to be permabanned (and obviously she can tell for sure even though I can only go on appearance) and Hugh has also PMed me here since that time.

He's a frequent poster on Kindleboards now.

He's also apparently got an active Facebook presence (though I don't use it to confirm.)

I'll echo your friend's sentiments about WOOL. Hugh's writing can really grab you from the first page. It has that pro sheen to it that I don't see in a lot of self-published work. I expected him to find success after I read the original WOOL novelette--but nothing like this. :D

Roly
03-14-2013, 04:54 AM
Wow things got 'spicy'? What do you mean? Did he do something wrong? Oh well, I'm sure it's the furthest thing from his mind right now!

Apparently according to my friend Hugh's work has the kind of writing she hasn't seen in a lot of self-published or regularly published books. And she's a big reader (works at the campus bookstore) so I guess I have to take her seriously XD But it's always interesting to see AW members do so incredibly well like this and inspire others :)

J. Tanner
03-14-2013, 05:31 AM
Wow things got 'spicy'? What do you mean? Did he do something wrong? Oh well, I'm sure it's the furthest thing from his mind right now!

He said some things that many other AW posters disagreed with. And they said so. (I tended to be on the side of the underdogs in that discussion as well.) And something seemed to be going on behind the scenes with the moderators because there were posts commenting about private messages. And then Hugh was pretty well gone and said elsewhere he'd been banned.

It doesn't seem like anyone is particularly bitter about what happened, but for whatever reason Hugh has chosen not to return to public posting here. As mentioned, he's PMed at least Old Hack and I, perhaps others, and so might still be lurking from time to time.

merrihiatt
03-14-2013, 05:39 AM
Edited by me because I had the wrong thread in mind. My error.

Ann Joyce
03-14-2013, 05:39 AM
I got the first installment of 'Wool' a couple of days ago (he's offering it for free at the Kindle Store), I read it and immediately went and bought the Omnibus. I had to see what was going to happen next. I'm loving everything about it: quality writing, riveting story, etc., IMHO. Congratulations, Hugh, if you ever check these threads. Wonderful to read about your great success.

Ann Joyce
03-14-2013, 05:49 AM
I read through a thread he started the beginning of last year where he felt as though people had been incredibly rude to him, exhibiting hostlity and personally attacking him. It seemed that way to me as well. He was called quite a few unflattering names in that thread from several posters.

Some may disagree, but I felt he handled himself quite well and exhibited a lot of class and was very respectful in his comments. He seems like a very fine man to me.

jnfr
03-14-2013, 05:55 AM
Anyone who is tempted to self publish because they hope they'll be able to duplicate Mr Howey's success should think again. Self publish because you want to, because you have a very good book, because you're keen to work your socks off to find your readers; but don't do it because you think it'll get you a big trade deal, or earn you a packet of money.

I can easily agree with OH on this. Nothing in writing offers an easy road to success. There will always be a daunting learning curve, and many obstacles. You should decide your path only after giving serious thought to your skills and how you really want to spend your time and your life.

Chances are you will not achieve the sort of success Hugh has. Most of us never will, and that has always been the case for authors. He has written a remarkable set of books and also has an outgoing personality and a knack for connecting with people online and in person.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't pursue your dreams in whatever venue you decide works for you. But try to be honest with yourself, and realistic. You'll be happier in the long run if you do. And if you manage to snatch the golden ring, be kind to those around you. When you do we'll applaud your success as we applaud Hugh's.

Old Hack
03-14-2013, 03:11 PM
It just goes to show that it's still possible to break in, but still hard in so many ways.

As does the success of all other debut writers.


There are many paths to the top of the mountain. It's great to see Hugh and other SP authors making a living doing what they love.

You imply by omission that it's not as great to see writers making their living by trade publishing. You might want to think about that, particularly with regard to AW's "respect your fellow writer" rule.


Wow things got 'spicy'? What do you mean? Did he do something wrong?


He said some things that many other AW posters disagreed with. And they said so. (I tended to be on the side of the underdogs in that discussion as well.) And something seemed to be going on behind the scenes with the moderators because there were posts commenting about private messages. And then Hugh was pretty well gone and said elsewhere he'd been banned.

It doesn't seem like anyone is particularly bitter about what happened, but for whatever reason Hugh has chosen not to return to public posting here. As mentioned, he's PMed at least Old Hack and I, perhaps others, and so might still be lurking from time to time.


I read through a thread he started the beginning of last year where he felt as though people had been incredibly rude to him, exhibiting hostlity and personally attacking him. It seemed that way to me as well. He was called quite a few unflattering names in that thread from several posters.

Some may disagree, but I felt he handled himself quite well and exhibited a lot of class and was very respectful in his comments. He seems like a very fine man to me.

The threads you're talking about are a year old. Do you really think it's helpful to drag all that up again? I'd have hoped that all three of you had been here long enough to know better than to do this.

If you feel that people have been badly treated here, report the troubling posts. Gossiping about it like this does nothing constructive, it reflects badly on the people who participate, and it usually escalates into bickering, negativity, and locked threads.

For those of you who are curious to know what all this is about, I clarified the issue about private messages and name-calling here. (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6984337&postcount=115)

If he has claimed elsewhere to have been banned from AW then he's misleading people. He's not been banned.

If he'd like to be banned from AW then I'd be happy to make it so. He only has to PM me and I'll do it.

If he is having trouble posting here and would like that investigated then he should PM Mac and ask her to help him--and he should stop claiming to have been banned from AW.

I can't see this thread developing into anything positive so I'm going to lock it now. If anyone has a good reason for reopening it, send me a PM.