I’ll never forget the first day I sat down and started writing a book that I felt deserved to be read. It was the first Molly Fyde novel, and I couldn’t wait for my wife to get home so I could shove pages in her hand.
It’s a writing cliche: the author pressuring his or her spouse to suffer through their drafts. But from day one, I had a more than willing participant in this hobby of mine. She devoured those pages and demanded more. Amber has not only been my creative muse, she’s been the constant kick to the pants that kept me forging ahead in that draft, helping me to the end. And all it takes is finishing one novel to become addicted to the process and that incredible high at the end.
But it would be meaningless without a reader, even that one. For the longest time, this is all I ever wished for: to have people read my stories. It seems to have come about suddenly. In the last few months, I’ve been pleasantly overwhelmed by your emails and your participation in this process. Lately, that participation has become more than the passive devourers of text that I always craved; the Wool series has become crowdsourced.
It started with fan art. A gorgeous rendering of Jules by nisays, a schematic of the aboveground tower by Paul Embree, floor plans of the silo itself by Jerry Aman. I started thinking of ways to incorporate these fantastic pieces into future cover art (with ample compensation, of course). And then actual cover art started showing up, like this brilliant rendering by Mike Tabor! In fact, Mike touched up the FIRST SHIFT cover, which already employs a schematic from Jerry Aman and a text layout by John Jarrett, another regular commenter on this site.
How about this: Last week, I received an email from a reader entitled “162 errors in the WOOL series.” Each error was listed by location and detailed. Today, I went through my master copy of the Omnibus and updated these mistakes, slapped it together with the new cover sent in by Mike (with his permission, of course), and we have an improved WOOL OMNIBUS all because of YOUR efforts!
How crazy is this? The same week a Wikipedia entry went live for the series, the series itself becomes Wiki-fied! And now beta readers are feasting on the next Silo Story. Soon, their feedback will be incorporated, a dozen hands stirring a pot, the end result, like a stone soup, a thousand times better than anything I could have come up with on my own.
It’s brilliant. I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of creativity and support. Thank you, to all of you, from the person who is telling all their family and friends, to the dedicated reviewers, to the commenters on this site, to those who email me with typo discoveries. I would be almost nothing without you. I say “almost,” because I know I could always force my wife to read my drivel. I’ll always have that to fall back on.