Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

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

My Awesome Betas!

I just made another pass through LEGACY and cleaned up all the little nits my betas picked. Again, this feels like such a fun part of the process. It allows me to collaborate with the people who enjoy these stories so that they’re even smoother and cleaner for the rest of you.

I have one reader that I’m dying to interview, much as I just did for Mike Tabor. This gentleman has a freaky intellect. A few weeks ago, I got an email from him with the subject line: “161 errors in the Wool series.”

Naturally, I was intrigued. I went through the enclosed document, scanned my manuscript, and realized how much better the work was going to be thanks to this reader’s input. I thanked him profusely and asked if he wanted an early crack at part 6 of this series.

He said that would be fine. I felt like a security analyst handing over some piece of code to a hacker. A week later, it came back completely disassembled. This time, I had 182 errors in a document one third the length.

I wish I could share this email with the world. It is freakin’ HILARIOUS. Like, laugh-out-loud funny. There’s no chance that anyone will derive as much enjoyment from my book as I enjoyed from this reader’s corrections of said book. My wife can tell you; she was sitting beside me and cracking up as I read his comments.

What really meant a lot, however, was the body of email that accompanied the attachment. This is a reader who enjoyed the Wool series but would give it a solid 4 stars out of 5. Entertaining, but not all that and a bag of chips. LEGACY, he says, made him a believer. After questioning whether the Silo Series deserves its gushing praise, he then began to gush. And call himself out on it.

This is just one of my awesome betas. I have had incredible feedback from several, and it is all encouraging. Thanks go to my wife, sister, and mother, who all insist on early reads. And also to Bob, Jill, Starr, and everyone that I’m leaving out. The story is better because of each of you.

Wow. The counter up there says six days. That makes me unbelievably nervous. But it means I have time for another pass or two…

14 replies to “My Awesome Betas!”

I wonder if the gentleman had anything to say about the “diving” part of the Wool series and the physics involved there (decompression sickness, nitrogen narcosis, O2 toxicity, etc…). As a recreational diver myself that is the only thing that kinda made me say “What a minute…”

Your readers are really unbelievable, Hugh. Again, I really feel like your work is an Open Source project.

Do we get the “updated” version of Omnibus on our Kindles when you correct the errors or no? I’m just wondering if Amazon syncs updated versions of books already purchased.

The way to update your Kindle books is to delete them from your device and then redownload them from the “Archives” menu.

And as a recreational and one-time commercial diver, those scenes had me rolling my eyes as well. ;)

Woolites, Woolie Bullies, Wool-verines…whatever you call yourself, get ready… Wool 6 IS the book you never realized you were always waiting for! Thanks for the privilege Hugh! Seriously exceptional work! But I’ve come to expect nothing less. =)

grrrrrr r- finger is gettin itchy – needs to buy something – like a book – like next week…..gee manetly

All right, I’ll own up: I’m the guy that sent Hugh the “161 errors”. But for anyone who’s worrying that they read the “bad” version, I feel I should clarify: what I called “161 errors” was actually more like “6 errors and 155 petty grievances.” We’re talking about really piddly stuff — an extra space here, an incorrectly capitalized letter after a colon there. I expect you could read both the before and after versions side by side and not even notice all but a very few of the changes — unless you’re one of “Those People”. (And we know who we are. We’re the ones who drove all of our friends away years ago.) Honestly, Hugh and his betas/proofers/editors/mom were amazingly thorough in the first place, and I’m sure they had already polished many things I would have missed (we all have our own particular peeves).

Rodman — Nope, I didn’t even give a second thought to the realism of the diving scene! But I can promise you that that scene is now very well punctuated.

And I have to correct you one more time, Hugh (we’ll call this Error #183): I gave the first WOOL 4 stars, but I gave the Omnibus 4.5 stars. And I give Legacy a strong 5 stars. :)

Kitten: I can’t imagine what it would be like if I had to wait another week to read this awesome book. It would be absolute torture. You’re really missing out. It’s gonna be a long six days… :-)

T-Minus 6 days and counting.

And it’s funny that you mention that particular scene for diving. That was probably the most vivid part for me even though I have no clue about diving. I could almost feel like I was there with her, experiencing the dark, cold depth. It painted a great scene in my head!

Ellie: One of my FB friends sent that link. It’s amazing how much of this underground living is going on. I just saw a luxury hotel that’s opening up in China in 2014 that’s mostly underground!

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