Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

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

My Large Stack of Irrational Exuberance

When my first book came out a few years ago, I was taken aback by the pre-orders. I sold over 100 copies of MOLLY FYDE AND THE PARSONA RESCUE before it was even a physical book. This was partly because of the free samples of the first chapters I had slathered everywhere and partly because I spammed every friend and relative I knew (and some that I didn’t). The result was a huge outpouring of generosity and curiosity. Even those who didn’t read YA or Sci-Fi, much less a combination of the two, were getting a copy to support a struggling artist.

That book did fairly well for a first release from a small press. It also ended on a killer cliffhanger, so I assumed everyone who bought the first book would want the sequel. I ordered boxes of MOLLY FYDE AND THE LAND OF LIGHT appropriate to this irrational exuberance. I had a handful of signings lined up in my hometown, signings at venues that brought a crush of people the first time around. The first hint that my writing was crap came when I saw the much sparser crowds who turned up for the sequel. It dawned on me (eventually) that a lot of those first sales were sympathy buys. The book had probably never been read by some of those supporters. The first chapters had turned off many of the rest. And I sat there with unopened boxes of THE LAND OF LIGHT and chatted with the few people who did read the first book and loved it.

Three years later, I still have over a dozen of those books. I’ve had to order copies of everything else, as that experience made me wary of expecting any sort of continued success. So while I run out of BLOOD OF BILLIONS and FIGHT FOR PEACE and have to wait for more to come in before I can fulfill orders, I just reach for the next copy on the LAND OF LIGHT pile, thankful for every one that I sell.

But I noticed something this week, as I fought to catch up with orders for signed copies. I only have a dozen or so of the second book left! The success of WOOL has translated to more and more people checking out the Molly series, which has brought a trickle of signed copy orders, which has meant me going to the printer for more of books 1, 3, and 4 . . . and my large stack of irrational exuberance dwindling.

All this comes as Jasper Schreurs puts the finishing touches on the new cover for the second book, and I realize how sublime the timing. As I run out of one, I’ll be ordering new editions of another. And watch: I’ll assume nobody wants any. And because of a mistake made years ago, which is only now ironing itself out, I’ll keep under-ordering copies of the books with the new art, never able to capture again that hopeful naiveté that followed the frenzied (and sympathetic) rush for THE PARSONA RESCUE…

31 replies to “My Large Stack of Irrational Exuberance”

I was one of those first buyers of Parsona Rescue. Rest assured, I *did* read it, and the subsequent volumes, and am (im)patiently waiting for you to pick up Molly’s story… I would not say those first purchases were “sympathy buys,” but the first was most definitely a “curiosity buy.” That changed once I read the first book. After that, they were all “genuine desire to read it right now buys.”

I just finishing Wool 5 to complete my second time through Wool. I went back for my second read through after finishing First Shift Legacy. The second read through was even better than the first. The details that you miss the first time through as you hurry to get to the end, are really coming through. I appreciate the series even more. I’ve told every reader I know to get Wool and read, read, read. Hugh, thanks for your writing and the way you are publishing. You and the many others are rocking the publishing industry and will be acknowledged for your pioneering writing style and the growth of self-publishing.

Half Way Home – very good book as well. Great start, great idea, good ending.
Hurricane – WOW, way out of your realm for Sci Fi, but a great story, I loved it.
Molly Fyde – 2.5 books done. Stopped mid way through to go back to Wool. Great characters and story telling.

Keep ’em coming! You have a big fan.

Jay David

Yeah, when I released THE RISING HORDE books last month, all the other titles caught some updraft as well (especially THE GATHERING DEAD, which had already been out for almost a year and half). It’s always a good thing to see old stock leave the inventory!

And Land of Light was even better than Parsona Rescue!

Can you at least put a progress bar up there on the left so we can see how far #5 is from seeing a release?

Be exerbuant, I’m exerbuant enough after finishing First Shift to give Molly Fyde a sympathy read.

This is the same fear I have all the time. That everyone who likes my work is just being nice to me. That I somehow magically know *all* the nice people in the world and they are merely humoring me to keep from bursting my bubble, out of love.

Wow, Hugh, thanks for helping me realize how insecure I truly am! ;)

Hearing great things about Wool. Best of luck to you.

I’d love to autographed copies of all your books, but I’m afraid I’d go broke. I know I need to buy the physical books for my niece. She’s going to love Molly and Cole and their adventures.
For myself I dream of autographed copies of the Wool omnibus, The Hurricane and the Plagiarist. I keep hoping you’ll come on a book tour to the Washington DC area where I can get you to sign mounds of your books for me.

Crap I guess I need to get off my tail and order one of those original copies of Land of Light. I love that story and the rest of the series which I admit started out as a curiosity buy but was never sympathetic eventually leading me into WOOL.

I agree with Ruby. I’m wearing out my shoes impatiently tapping my foot while I wait for the next Molly installment.

I really enjoyed the first book, enough to download Land of Light immediately after the cliffhanger (you are a bad man) and then to finish with the last two. But of the four, Land of Light is definitely my favorite.

I’m thinking you might want to order just a few extra of I, Zombie. Just a feeling.

A great thing for a fan to do: buy a signed copy of your favorite HH book and donate it to your local library.

No. I’m going to read it ASAP and BE one of the reviews. Fun is determined by the reader.

Order the books.

Hugh…you keep putting that book down. I trust your judgement but I flat think you’re wrong on this. A zombie book is not suppose to be fun. The book will be a hit. Just make sure the ending will satisfy everyone. Also leave room for I, Zombie II because there may be a huge demand for that as well.

Hey….you can write any type of book. When you have time down the road you need to do a romance story. You write women sooooo good.

You can become known for “The writer who can write it all”.

Two obvious options for romance writing, Hugh:

1. Write under a pen name, so that she’ll never know.

2. Tell your wife that SHE inspired all the hot scenes.

I hope you’re all moved into the new digs and organized. My wife and I truly enjoyed our recent dinner with you and yours in North Carolina.

All best to both of you,
Robert

If you *really* were dying to write a romance, you would’ve asked your wife by now. Having some knowledge of you wife, I suspect she would be 100% for it, so I’m thinking your excuse for not trying a romance book is lame.

Dame this new computer with its strange keyboard/touchpad layout! That should be “your wife,” Also, I’m wondering if we’re talking about strict romance vs. erotic romance vs. the so-called “mommy porn.” (BTW, who the hell decided that a book doing a poor job of describing BDSM is “mommy porn”?)

Question for Hugh or anyone that knows: It says you are working on Wool 7 and 9. Where is 8? Just finished the first 6 in about 3 days. Love it.

I haven’t started 8. There was a scene in 9 that I had to get down. I’ll be starting on 7 in earnest during July, with a September release planned. I hope to have 8 out before the end of the year. Which gets us back to Juliette to start 2013 (Mayans willing).

“WOOL” is your very hot ticket now. I believe that should be your top priority after “I,Zombie”. You can’t let the momentum dwindle. People get so excited over things and then they’ll move over to something else if fire burns out. The internet, and articles will write what’s hot now. I keep writing and begging someone out there to get you an interview with Fox News. The morning shows are always interviewing hot new books, singer-songwriters, etc. Your “Wool” sales would skyrocket and “you” would be the new “sensation”. This needs to happen now while the Amazon rating is so hot, plus the Fox movie deal. Lots to make a good story. I have always been able to pick winners rather it be a song,, movie, book or whatever. You might even say I can see the future sometimes even though that may sound corny or goofy. I’ve never been so compelled to relate my gut feelings on anything like this before. It’s just that you have a huge chance to become totally famous real quick. I went to Fox News to email them but I am 63 years old and absolutely ignorant about all this technical crap. Plus I wouldn’t be able to portray it as it need be. So get on it. I can feel it in my bones…..you might say.

I’m not giving up!

Too many good fact……self-published, SF writer, Wool Omnibus five book overnight sensation, Amazon best seller, over 1000 and counting five star reviews read by all (meaning non SF readers, Fox has the movies rights, and guess where this guy lives? Jupiter Florida. On and on….many more facts.

I’m not giving up!

Nah, I heard somewhere about some Archaeologists found a scribe and scientist’s house while on some big excavation, and on one of the walls there was a calendar that goes past this year, and on for a few more cycles, or a couple thousand years or something like that. ;)

I was looking for a good science fiction book to read about a month or two ago and Wool came up in my search. I decided to try it out. I have now read all of the Wool books out so far and am on the 3rd Molly Fyde book. I LOVE them! You are a great writer and your stories are so full … and my house has been a lot messier since I discovered you! Haha! Just wanted to let you know I am very pleased with these stories :-)

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