Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

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

My Interview with Tim Knox

9 replies to “My Interview with Tim Knox”

Listened to the interview. Great, by the way. Good bit about photography. For 15 years I was an advertising art director known for getting great shots. I worked with a lotta pros who brought big pieces of equipment to the shoots. I had always been a secret photographer and one day I said to a particular photographer, Rosanne Olson (http://www.rosanneolson.com/) who was/is an incredibly accomplished shooter, “Man, I’d love to learn to shoot 4 x 5.”

The next day for the shoot she brought an old Calumet Cadet 4 x 5, a polaroid back and a gitzo tripod and said, “Gimme a couple hundred bucks. It’s time to stop wishing for it.”

After a few years later I began shooting my own ads with 4 x 5, but the truth was, it didn’t matter. I. Was. In. I shot for my own entertainment – if someone else liked it – great. BUt it was my passion. Visual storytelling.

I had 4k downloads last month for my first novel, “Paradise Rot.” It’s free. But it’s my new passion. I wrote for myself, for my wife, for my friends. If I could get them to laugh – gold. My second book just came out. It’s three bucks. We’ll see. I figure around book 7 I’ll have the stuff.

Remember when record labels used to let bands evolve and grow. That’s what self publishing is. I’m working towards my 2112:-)

All apologies for the ramble. If you haven’t tried large format photography – check it out – your mind will be blown by the possibilities.

Larry

Great interview. Love the nose-to-the-grindstone strategy of 2 books per year x 10 years. I have the less ambitious goal of 1 book per year x 10 years (and I’m behind already!). In the old days of traditional publishing, this wasn’t really an option unless your first book took off. The digital revolution has now made it possible for a writer to put out that second book regardless of how the first book did. And then the third book. And the fourth. Sure, there’s no guarantee that any of the books will take off. But it’s a much better chance of finding readers and making a living than under the traditional publishing model. Viva la revolution digital!

Agreed. And a related but distinct point:

I can’t imagine putting my heart and soul into a book, scoring that elusive contract, seeing my baby in bookstores for a few months, and then have it disappear forever. Out-of-print! It’s over! Even Asimov’s New Guide to Science (my favorite layman’s science book) is out of print. It sold a lot of copies. And then it sold less. And then one day, it was gone from the shelves. Everything except the Bible and Shakespeare and Jane Austen had an expiry date.

Regardless of how long a book stayed on bookstore shelves or how many copies it sold, the day it gets pulled from stores must have been painful. Now that we know our books will live forever digitally, available to the occasional reader who might stumble upon it, it’s just a sea change pyschologically.

We aspiring authors need more straightforward and demystifying talk like this about the writing life and making money from it (or not). Nothing leads to discouragement and disillusionment quicker than failing to fulfill unrealistic expectations. Your story is inspiring not because you hit it big, but because you would still be writing and publishing even if Wool had never exploded.

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