Two years ago today, I worked my last week at the bookstore. It’s only been two years! In that time, I’ve gone from selling a few thousand copies of WOOL at 99 cents to selling close to two million books (digital, print, and audio) around the world. I’ve also flown clear around the globe. I’ve been to nearly a dozen countries and a ton of cities. It’s crazy to look back on what the last 24 months have been like.
In the last few months, things have gotten so hectic that I have feared my ability to keep up. I don’t take days off. I often work from sunrise to long after sunset. Because of this, I’m quitting my new day job of answering emails. That doesn’t mean I won’t sneak around and do it here and there, but I really want to wean myself off of them. I want to spend more time reading great books (maybe even yours) and writing more stories (maybe even that sequel you’ve been bugging me about). I want to spend more time scanning social media to see what you think and less time writing what I think.
I don’t know how successful I’ll be. This is a huge change. It’s much more rewarding to sit and press that pleasure button of refreshing websites and clicking “like” and posting my drivel and nonsense. But in the long run, I worry I’ll get away from the reading and writing that truly fill my soul. This is a New Year’s resolution of sorts. It’s an attempt to find balance in my life. It’ll probably be wildly unsuccessful, but I’m going to give it a go. Wish me luck. And keep an eye out here for regular blog posts and subscribe to my newsletter to find out when I release something.
You cats are awesome.
35 replies to “I’m Quitting My Day Job. Again.”
Good luck Hugh. As a huge fan Hugh I say you’re making the right call. You are a machine, but even machines can burn out when over worked. Everyone needs days off. It’s great to work your butt off and take advantage of opportunities like when Wool took off cranking out the sequels – but eventually you need to do what you need to do so that you can have some time for yourself. Take that time to read a novel without feeling guilty that you’re not answering emails. Maybe get someone to comb through them every month or so and find things that come up the most often to draft up a F.A.Q. you can have on your site or something like that. Anyways, good luck and days of rest to you man.
I hope that doesn’t mean you’ll stop engaging in comments here.
But the email thing was kinda insane. When you replied to one of my emails, it was a WTF moment. A nice moment, but still.
In one of the zigillions of author blogs I’ve been reading lately, someone perceptively asked where it all ends. Only a few years ago readers expected nothing from authors in terms of direct engagement. You could buttonhole your favorite scribe briefly at signings or events, and that was pretty much it. Now it seems that there’s a contingent that demands more and more–cover reveals, Q&As, blog tours, anthology contributions, personal emails, social media engagement, and so on. An author is supposed to be available 24/7 just like your bank yet somehow generate more product at a faster and faster rate.
Yes. This also means I will never reply to another comment on my website.
Wait . . .
You are an inspiration to me Hugh. Thank you for always being so transparent about your journey. I aspire to be what you are and am working daily to achieve my goals.
Thanks for everything and I love you works!
I thought your day job is writing great novels. Don’t quit that. :-)
Don’t forget to keep writing the next Molly Fyde book. :) Really looking forward to jumping back into the Molly Fyde universe.
I thought you said “Your cats are awesome.” “But I don’t have any cats!” I really need to read more carefully…
Oh, and let me add my vote for the next Molly Fyde book. ;)
I hope this helps you to slow down and enjoy the ride at a less intense pace. You’ve been crazy busy!
I hope you set aside time to wander into the ocean and play in the sand… :)
You recently answered an e-mail I sent you. You responded so quickly I was wondering why nobody but me sent you an e-mail. This post goes to show your devotion to your reader’s and goes to show me that you have thousands of fans, even though you speak to each of us as if we are only one of a few people asking for your time. I think we all know you will be around and will continue to keep us company with your writing and saying hello. Thanks for all you do!
This is how it started for Salinger.
And Jimmy Parker.
Next thing you know you’ll be living in the Dagobah system, shitting in the floor grates.
Thank you, David. I laughed so hard my iPad is wearing my Pepsi..I think I have bubbles in my nose…
I’ve just discovered you and now you are leaving me. I hope when you have information that is important to indie authors you will post. Nevertheless, you have provided so much information on the web to keep me encouraged and writing for a long time. Thanks again for the wonderful books and information.
I’m not retiring, just changing the way I handle email. :)
Great ! Now I can sleep at night because all is right in the world.
There’s a free chrome app that PAUSES your gmail until you’re ready to look at it. It also sends an auto message of your choice to anyone who emails you during that time.
Ha, I think you’ll probably see an increase in email now, especially with people offering to guest post.
I hope you can throw some more word count meters up there soon as those keep a lot of people going.
Hugh, you need an assistant or a team, and then you can get one of them to read all the nonsense we send you by email like ‘please don’t give away the Greek copy I will pay my PayPal went crazy’! Thanks for being patient!
We’ll I am sure we will all miss you on facebook, but I hope you keep doing this blog. I’m always checking here for my next instruction on life :-)
Good luck. If we had known, we would have got you a going away cake.
Who will handle you mails now?
But reasonable decision…!
You must get a ton of email!! Hopefully you’ll continue to answer the important ones that have to do with your writing and getting it out there to millions more readers. Good luck!
This make me very happy to see. I wish you luck and I hope you never feel pressure to respond to an email again! YEAH!
A fan email, that is…if it’s from your wife or something you’re obligated, I think…Florida State rule? ;)
So what took you so long? Good for you! So with that said I want to add to the Chorus for another Wool book.
So what is going on in the other Silos?
Do any of them get out? If they do how has a few hundred years altered self identification and will they see or clash with Silo 17/18?
Did the Senator know something Donald didn’t?
Will they try to come back for the Legacy once they find out how much they don’t know about the up top world? If so what would drive them back to find the legacy? Did they drown/get attacked by a Lion? Do they rediscover and tame dogs again like Alisa has done?
What does the up top look like now? Will they even know the difference between salt and fresh water? Is the landscape still covered with bones?
How do they learn how to farm?
What do they use for weapons to catch game, Solo’s ammunition is going to run out?
How is Charlotte going to handle all the changes she has experienced? Will she try to find her home?
How will the lose of Silo 1 impact the other Silos? Will a cleaner live and start rumors in the silo about how the outside is getting better?
Once they go outside what if any bearing with the Order have?
How long will it take the outside to clear up?
Since the folks in Silo 17 had the helpful nanos will they be free from disease?
Now I know you don’t want me to go on with more questions but for crying out loud…..WRITE THE NEXT BOOK!
What’s the point of all that success if you don’t spend any time enjoying the benefits of it, right? I know that I will miss the frequent posts and kind email responses, but you should definitely find time chill out and be happy.
You could always post about the books you are reading, not only to help whatever author it may be from, but to get the word out about good reads. There aren’t enough consistent book bloggers these days, and they are so important for indie authors. Just a thought.
Hope you enjoy the respite. =)
Good call. While interacting with your fan base can be inspirational, rewarding and fun its also the one area that can grow completely beyond all realistic boundaries of available time.
Define your time for fan engagement and then stick to it. As difficult as it will be, it will help you stay sane and sustained for the long game.
Remember its one of the down sides of becoming a celebrity and, as I tell a friend regularly, celebrities just can’t possibility be friends with all their fans. They need to pick their circle and layers and stick to it to maintain their capacity to thrive and survive.
All the best. Nice to hear that your interest and passion continues to provide for you.
Wow. As someone only just starting out following my dream to write, it is pretty inspirational to see how far you’ve come. I discovered your blog today, thanks to Jon Morrow. I’m ordering a copy of Wool now….
Hope the decision to ditch the email turns out to be a good one for you!
Sounds like you need a personal assistant/apprentice.
Totally behind you. Don’t even know how you keep up with everything as it is. You’re like a machine.
You need a secretary to handle all the mundane stuff, and show you the really important things. Piers Anthony still answers every piece of fan mail, but he dictates short answers to a secretary who writes the actual letter, or email.
Let’s face it… you’ve become really popular, and you’ll never be able to keep up with all your fans. We love your writing. You’re an awesome person. I really hope you learn to balance everything though burning out would mean less awesome stories, and we’d all hate that.
I completely understand. I’ve never understood how you do it. I must say though that I was blown away when you responded to my Goodreads message! What a pleasant surprise. As a firefighter/writer/blogger, you are the model of generosity and connection I keep in mind when trying to build a social platform.
The most important thing is that you write! Your stories are your most powerful forms of connection and communication. Keep them coming!
Good for you. Our culture promotes the idea that more is better, but I think Bella has the right idea! More naps, more walks, more play=the good life.
Maybe you can have a contest for best auto response for your emails? Or send out an auto response w/a sneak peek of a book, or written by Molly….
The influence of the written word. I started reading Wool this week and have just finished your trilogy. The issues of individuality, crowd, morality, responsibility, power, love, behaviour, decisions, consequences, tribe.. the list goes on. I can’t quite get my mind round the dilemmas your writing has raised. My teenage son is taking a course in nano technology this summer so I might just lend him my kindle.,.
Great idea, Hugh!
Hugh, you give so much to your readers. It’s about time you took a step back and did some things for yourself. Reading is one of the great pleasures in life, and if you don’t have time for it…well, that’s just not right! Your legions of fans will understand…we’ll stick by you no matter what! Keep writing, keep reading, and find that balance you are looking for. WE are all striving for that I think. I know I am! Good luck, my friend!
Until i get a butler, I am responsible for a lot of soul draining tasks i must perform that require little skill and perhaps less mental attention but which must get done all the same. My remedy for this has been to purchase a tiny clip-on mp3 which I fill with good books.
It is a win win as i they say. My tasks get done, i enjoy my time, and i have read LOTS of books.
My preference are stories written in the first person as they make understanding who is speaking/thinking that much easier. Two more notable classic ones that come to my mind is the Great Book of Amber by Zelazny and A Canticle for Leibowitz (BBC rendition if my memory is to be trusted).
oh….it just came to me that you are probably more then familiar with audiobooks having taken with overseeing the production of your own….oops…good luck with everything.
[…] shortly after my e-mail, he announced he would not be personally responding to e-mails anymore … soooo … sorry to everyone if I ruined that for […]