Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

Jumping up and down on Amazon’s couch

It was a sad day for writerdom when Oprah Winfrey went off the air. Gone was the dream of winning the lottery beyond the lottery. If publishing a novel was a miraculous stroke of good fortune, Oprah was the Power Ball. She turned any novel she touched into a bestseller. By stepping down, she left a powerful void. Not that most of us stood a chance of getting on her circuit, but she took the dream with her when she went.

Enter Amazon. There’s a new holy grail for writers, and it goes by the name of The Kindle Daily Deal. This is the shot of nitrous oxide that can vault pretty much any story into the top 20, often the top 5 on the Kindle store. For one day, Amazon discounts an ebook to $1.99 or thereabouts. There’s no discernable algorithm for who gets selected; it seems to be partly random and partly based on a book’s prior performance. You get an email asking if you’d like to opt in, and you regain consciousness a few minutes later. Once the shock wears off, you reply with a resounding “yespleaseletmesacrificeagoatforyou.” And then you hope and pray that you’re selected. You wait. You dare not dream too big. You make vague allusions to huge news you can’t talk about on Facebook. The consternation and confusion of your readers offsets the frustration you feel for not being able to say anything.

What happens next is the equivalent of having the largest chain of bookstores in the world switch out their window displays to feature your novel. Every single store. Except now those stores are in every home, on every laptop, every computer, every tablet, every smartphone, and every Kindle. With the push of a button, Amazon can do what it would take an army of bookstore employees to do. It’s all digital. No plannagrams. *Pop,* and you’re a hit.

WOOL was featured as the Kindle Daily Deal on Saturday, October 6th, 2012. I’ll never forget the day. I watched as my book shot from #200 to #1 in the Kindle store, and many other books have shot to the top from much further back. This is what’s so amazing about the Daily Deal. Someone else is enjoying the rush right now. Another person will wake up tomorrow to have the best day of their life. Another person after that. 365 authors this year. Every year. More on Leap Years. No threat of retirement or going off the air.

Unlike many promotions that see their magic wear off over time, the Daily Deal has the potential to get bigger and better as the number of Kindle owners increases. Imagine being the Daily Deal on Christmas morning. My heart bursts with joy for that future soul. It bursts with joy for every person who has been through this and for all those to come. This is like Oprah having an author on her show¬†every day. And the weekends. No holidays. That’s the power of Amazon.

It was a fun day, lounging on the Daily Deal couch. Of course, I spent quite a bit of time jumping up and down on it like a loon. I even went Gangnam style, which lowered the worth of the internet a few notches. And as I make room for the next person, and they the next, all I can do is hope that all of my writing friends get a turn. It was easily among the top experiences of my young writing career. And one of the best days of my life.

30 replies to “Jumping up and down on Amazon’s couch”

Congratulations Hugh!!! It’s definitely a dream come true for any writer, and it’s so awesome when it happens to an Indie author. I admire you so much and definitely spend many a days dreaming that someday I’ll hit that lottery as well. It might be somewhat random, but Amazon only chooses quality books that their readers connect with. You can bet your book is all that and more. Well deserved.

Can’t say how happy I am for you, Hugh. You DESERVED the KDD. Simple as that. Surely Amazon will shine on you again someday.

Of course, I’m desirous to know exactly how many copies you sold yesterday as a result of the deal. I’ll be conservative and say 10,000 copies (hope you’re not offended by that estimate).

Also, that word meter thingy for WOOL 7 seems to be broken. Must I email the widget maker and tell them to fix that pronto? ;)

On that same note did I miss something with the word counter displaying Wool 7 and 9 but not 8? Just curious.

[cough spit] WHA? NOOOOO!!!!!!

I just got my friend to read Wool, but missed getting him in on the Omnibus edition KDD. I will keep brow beating him :)

Congratulations, Hugh! That is awesome news. I really hope everyone who bought Wool on Saturday enjoys it as much as we all did. I couldn’t think of a more deserving writer to have this happen! It says a lot about you that when you write about this success for yourself that you are envisioning the same success for others as well.

Congrats! I think all of us envisioned sitting on Oprah’s couch, not necessarily b/c we were Oprah fans, but b/c we wanted the instant success her endorsement brought. Now we have to find other ways, and it appears fortune has found you.

And the hard work you put in I’m sure had something to do with it. ;-)

Amazon’s couch must be more fun. Although I’m sure that Oprah would have been privileged to let you jump up an down on her couch as well. You deserve all the credit. I’m sure there will be many more days like this in your career. Thanks for taking us along for the ride by sharing your experiences with your fans on this wonderful journey. It means a lot to us.

Grabbed the book on Saturday for the 1.99 deal, started to read around 1AM Sunday morning/Saturday night, and just finished an hour ago (1AM).

Bear in mind that English is not my first language…. Thanks a lot for a wonderful novel

I’m a little biased since I haven’t read too many of the other top kindle authors. But you’ve got what, 11 books out on the kindle? Which I’ve read 9 of (working on the 3rd Molly Fyde book right now, so after I’m done with the Molly Fyde series I would have read them all!) and I feel like they’re all worthy to be AT LEAST in the top 20. You write amazing books, and no lie, your books have made reading even more enjoyable for me. The fact that you continue to write and create makes me excited in anticipation for what is to come. Congratulations on becoming #1, but it was only a matter of time! Even if it had not been a daily deal, a novel this great would not have gone unnoticed over time.

Congrats, Hugh. You can’t do better than #1! Not until the print edition sweeps the UK…

Question: Do you get paid the same amount for a sale when it’s a Daily Deal? I buy a lot of Daily Deals (I get the daily email — I can’t read fast enough to keep up!) and would like to believe I’m not short-changing the authors.

David, I was wondering the same thing! I mean, it’s great PR for an author to get his or her books into the hands of so many readers, but if Amazon isn’t paying normal fees, it seems like a mixed blessing. Can you tell us how Amazon works this, Hugh? Did signing on to be Deal of the Day mean you signed away your normal royalties for those copies? We promise to keep it just between us. ;-)

Hugh, Wool at $10.99 is a steal (Sorry fellow Kindle users, but we are undercharged for Hugh’s books). At $1.99 not buying it is sheer lunacy.
One of the most original stories that I have ever read, with incredibly detail characters that I care about and love. Thanks, Hugh, and congrats!

Congrats, Hugh! I can only hope that when my book is ready to roll out that they are still doing this AND that it gets chosen some day.

What is it like knowing that so many people have entered the world of your creation?

I was thrilled to see someone whose work I’ve read, enjoyed, and respected show up as the KDD on my birthday. Had a blast refreshing the screen and watching you shoot up the chart throughout the day, and let out a cheer when you hit #1.

Congratulations, Hugh, and hope you continue to experience such great success!

dear adopted g-son HH (Aich)

we loved hearing this news that you were on this very big deal at AMZ. And especially liked your kindness of giving the information to others too. There’s a saying, that to encourage others to hope is the most direct route to encouraging others to succeed.

the two old folks who are still trying to get their ebks on amazon (just a big learning curve on layout/formatting, but we are getting there) with you further successes. One of the greatest things in life Hugh, are ‘first times.’ This latest ‘first time’ for your life is just great.
The Kubs

correction: not ‘with’… meant ‘wish’ …we wish you continuing successes

argh, pirate talk
from the Kubs

Just reading this, Hugh, makes me so happy for you! It’s really wonderful to see hard-working authors find audiences for their books, and Amazon is beyond amazing! Jumping up and down on the couch for you!

Inglath Cooper

Hi Hugh… just finished all books 1-6 since I bought them on KDD…loved them all and cant wait for the next books!! I actually like buying books when the series are complete so i dont have to wait for the next book ;) So glad that i bought and i am going to go and browse/Read more of your work while I wait!
Thanks you :)

Just finished Wool 5 and am so impressed with your plots, your dialogues, & your personalities. I’m an avid reader and have loved fantasy & science fiction since the 60’s. Then I read your comments on the Amazon “couch” and wishing the same kudos to other authors and my opinion of you went over the top! Thank you for many hours of pleasure past and to come, I’ll read everything you write – with anticipation and appreciation. Bless you!

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