Today we were joined by Hugh Howey, author of the runaway self-publishing success Wool. If you haven’t read Wool, definitely pick it up and check it out. It’s short and it’s free. The best way to get the rest of the series if you like it is in the complete omnibus (Wool 1-5).
Books in the Wool series, just FYI, sell bazillions of copies monthly (an exact figure), and movie rights to the book were recently optioned by Fox and Ridley Scott.
We didn’t dick around nearly as much before getting started this week, which must mean that we were eager to talk to Hugh. Or something.
Hugh Howey: Yes, he’s had a lot of writing success. But nobody in the popular press talks about how he’s a hybrid of Sean and Dave
Wool is the story of a dystopian society that lives in a buried silo after some sort of worldwide cataclysm, but what we didn’t realize was how dystopian Hugh himself is. We were fooled by nice, friendly videos like this one of him opening fan gifts, this one of him surprising a young fan in a bookstore, and this one of him dancing to Soulja Boy while wearing funny slippers and a funny hat. But then he started telling us vintage Dave Wright trademarked thoughts that always ended with people eating other people because that’s how life is and generally non-happy endings.
Oh, and then we almost kind of remembered to ask him about his self-publishing success. Right.
A few key points from our discussion:
* Hugh didn’t promote Wool because he didn’t believe in it as much as his other work and thought it was the most non-commercial, which just goes to show that you never know which of your writing projects might catch fire.
* He seems to have at least four projects going right now and moves between them as the urge and/or dominant direction of his fiction dictates, which I found odd. (But I’m currently writing three things all at once, so who’s actually doing something odd here?)
* Unsurprisingly, one of Hugh’s tips is to write a lot. That’s a dominant theme here, right? You need a large “Amazon footprint” so that you can be found, and any given project has a chance to hit critical mass.
* More of Hugh’s advice: Write a lot of different types of work that interest you rather than staying really narrow in focus, beat writer’s block by writing something else (because if the book doesn’t excite you, it won’t excite a reader), and stop dead in the middle of scenes, paragraphs, or sentences when you’re done for the day to create an open loop you’re dying to close.
* One of the greatest things about Kindle and other e-book formats is the ability to experiment and get real-time fan feedback — something you can’t do with a traditional book and with many other hands on a project.
… and of course a whole, whole lot more.
Oh, and Hugh enjoyed hanging out with us so much and/or secretly hates life enough that he stuck around after this episode and joined us for Better Off Undead episode #9, which we recorded immediately afterward. Check that one out if you’d like an answer to, “Is Hugh actually the vampire version of Dave”?
To view the video version of this episode, go to: Self Publishing Podcast #23 – Interview with “Wool” author Hugh Howey