Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

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

On to revisions!

Wool 6 is now considered “in draft.” I’m a third of the way through my first revision. There will be many more to come. Soon, it will go out to my handy dandy team of editors (my wife and my mother, possibly another). After their input is massaged into the work, a handful of beta readers will get their turn to rip the story apart. Soon after, it will go out to the masses.

Still weighing the title and eager for input here. The logical title is: Wool 6 – Legacy. This makes it easy for readers to find. However, I’m tempted to retire the “Wool” moniker and call this “First Shift – Legacy,” or something like that. And then note that it is the sixth book in the Silo Series. It gets rather confusing this way, but I love the 5 Wool books so much and don’t want to taint them with a never ending string of subsequent stories. The problem, then, would be determining the reading order or even having readers find the dang book.

As always, I’m open to suggestions.

45 replies to “On to revisions!”

Keeping the titles consistent to help folks through the reading orde may not be important. Wool 1-5 stands on its own, a complete story arc — will you be able to do something similar in later volumes?

Look at Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” collection. The fan base may recommend a certain reading order, and there are multiple story arcs carried through for different characters in different places in that world — but you can pretty much pick up and enjoy any of them without reading the whole collection in order. It might HELP to go in order, but few people get introduced to them that way.

I think I’d like “First Shift – Legacy” more. Having “Wool 6” as a prequel could get more confusing than dropping “Wool” from the title.
I think nowadays it’s not a big problem for readers to find everything you have written and put the stories in the proper order.
By the way, I just noticed that Wool is still missing from Wikipedia: a page there could be useful for letting people learn about the proper reading order.

I like the idea of calling it “First shift”. You seem to have a special place for the Wool books 1-5, and I think they should be left to there own. Can’t wait for I, Zombies!

I’d be for keeping the single word title for all works in this world.

“Sunk” followed by “Sunk 2” Etc.

I like first shift – legacy and put it, the wool books, and any others you write under the “Silo series” heading.

This could keep your wool books as both stand alone and part of whole series.

ege: I would love to see some Wiki stuff one day. I am registered as a contributor, but they frown on people writing about themselves or their products. It’ll probably happen of its own accord some day.

And I agree with both you and Mike. I like the First Shift – Legacy moniker. It’ll allow this trilogy to stand along and everything to fall under the Silo Stories umbrella. The tone is so different on this first book, it’ll probably help to have a new title. I think you’ve convinced me. I’ll just be sure to put info in the description to help with the reading order.

How about Silo: Legacy. The term Silo is now instantly recognizable to fans of Wool and the book will be more readily understood in the canon of the wool series then if a book called first shift popped up in my recommended titles on Kindle.

This keeps the Wool stories distinct. Wool was the perfect title for those because at those stories center around the idea of people following authority like sheep, of wool being pulled over peoples eyes. I even suggest the Juliette sequels could be called Silo 18: New Order or something like that because the themes going forward will change I suspect.

I agree with Bob’s last comment, Silo: First Shift – Legacy still looks cool (Seeing as I am guessing that Silo would be the mythos it is set in, the trilogy is called First Shift and the first book is Legacy) I mocked it up like the last one and it still looked good (Just change the word WOOL with Silo)

for the sake of continuity or something like that…
http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/5985/silo2atitle.png
But yeah, I really like the sound of the name… I can’t judge the look of this picture cos I made it and just like anyone who makes anything and doesn’t have their head so far up them selves, I am never satisfied with my own work… ever…

But yeah… So Hugh… How’s a release on the 16th of April looking? It’s a nice day, the 16th… perfect for releasing stuff I think… XD

I like Kitten’s layout with The Silo Series where Wool is, then you could add The Silo Series over the Wool books’ titles to show the connection. Then do the same for the sequels. The prequel trilogy could be read before the Wool books or after, like we will be doing. I track my series order using FictFact.com, and you are there.

Also… I was just thinking, wouldn’t it be part 2 of the Silo series.

Think of Grand Theft Auto (The game), it had GTA, GTA2, GTA3, GTA 4 and GTA V (is coming out this year or the next) but in there they had Vice City and San Andreas, most people thought that those two were GTA 4 and 5 but then 4 came out and people found out that VC and SA were actually GTA3:VC and GTA3:SA… cos they were the same technology and general feel… And very close in time setting (Between 1986 [GTA3:VC] and 2001 [GTA3]) with characters appearing in all three games as either minor or major roles…

I think what I am trying to say is shouldn’t Wool 1 – 5 be
Silo I: The Wool Saga
and First Shift be
Sil0 II: First Shift Trilogy
just to separate the two… it would also help people who are new to the series… Just a thought, Silo 6 sounds just as good!

Yeah, that sounds like what I wanted to say… maybe…

Ah, I like Kitten’s point about this being “Part II” of the Silo Saga.

Is “Saga” better than “Stories?”

Silo Stories.
Silo Saga.
Saga of the Silos.

First Shift – Legacy: Part II of the Silo Saga
Second Shift – Order: Part II of the Silo Saga

That could be a problem. Not that I’m over thinking this, or anything.

First Shift – Legacy: Part 6 of the Silo Stories
Second Shift – Order: Part 7 of the Silo Stories

The problem I see here is reader exhaustion. “How freakin’ long is this going to go ON?!”

Okay … more brainstorming. What about leaving the numbers out of the title.

First Shift – Legacy
Second Shift – Order
Third Shift – Pact

And if you don’t know that this follows the Wool saga, then yous better ask somebody! (I’ll include something in the product description).

Final note: I don’t think these would be good to read BEFORE the Wool stories. Most of the tension is derived from knowing what is being built and that humanity is fucked. I think reading these in chronological order would detract from the enjoyment. So that’s something to consider.

Of course, I would use Kitten’s awesome title layout to include Wool or Silo in the title, even if it wasn’t a part of the title. I think that ties it all together.

See that’s why you just have it as
Silo II: First Shift – Legacy
Silo II: Second Shift – Order
Silo II: Third Shift – Pact
it’s no where as long as

“A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones”
or
“Harry Potter and the something of some other thing…”

that and calling them Silo Six, Silo Seven and Silo Eight would kinda make people think that they HAVE to read the first 5, yes, in fact they do…

but if you want them to stand out from the crowd more and still be in order of need to read, calling it Silo 2 would naturally be a perfect way to say, hay look… read this second…

also, you can then go back and re-review WOOL, fix up anything you wish to fix, tweak the story a tiny bit for the non-important parts or flesh out a scene more or what ever and re-release it all as
Silo: The WOOL Saga: Collectors Edition with more cats…
(You would probably need to include a picture of a cat for that too work… or something… but who don’t love cute pictures of cats?) or whatever… or it leaves you more open to do that later… It would also help say that the First 5 are the first 5, the second 3 are the second 3 and the next ten gagillion (A man can hope can’t he?) can be what ever…

It gives you a natural way to split them up into chunks without it seeming overwhelming… or you having to go into long winded explanations of whats what… it’s all in the title…
That and on the cover I would drop the number any way (like my layout) and just have that as the title on Amazon or iBook or what ever DDS you DD it on…
Silo: First Shift – Legacy (Book I in the Silo II: Shift Trilogy) or what ever…

I am sure I have seen many series do that… none come to mind at the moment, I know Star Wars games are named sorta like that…

if you catch my long winded drift…

I think I am really bad at explaining what I mean…

Or something like this. Call these The Silo Chronicles and then you can label each story as needed

The Silo Chronicles:
First Shift – Legacy
Second Shift – Order
Third Shift – Pact
WOOL
WOOL- Proper Gauge
WOOL- Casting Off
WOOL – The Unravelling
WOOL – The Stranded
New Order – Juliettes Back and She’s Posses

Okay it’s supposed to read
New Order – Juliettes Back and She’s Pissed
…man, hows a person to be witty with auto correct getting in my way…oh well I still like The Silo Chronicles

I personally like the sound of Chronicles but I am gonna have to stick with Lisa and say Universe would work better… Cos with Universe you can have stories set elsewhere like some random Australian bunker (The Russians and Chinese have been used too much as bad guys in my opinion… so why not the Australians… >.<)

WOOL (The Silo Series, Book One)
WOOL – Proper Gauge (The Silo Series, Book Two)
….

First Shift – Legacy (The Silo Series, Book Six)
Second Shift – Order (The Silo Series, Book Seven)
….

Hugh! I am so excited for this news! I, too, like the idea of calling it “First Shift- Legacy”(Part 6 in the silo series) or something like that. I can’t wait to read it!

Greetings Mr. Howey,

I dabble in the art of the written word myself (though currently not at the skill level you possess). As a fellow lexophile, I am always delighted to see an author find a paying audience that allows them to concentrate on sharing their gift full time. With that in mind, I would strongly advise against dropping “Wool” in the title.
Your nascent fan base already knows about the Wool series–it is almost certainly what brought them into your orbit in the first place. You could change the title of Wool 6 to, “A Poor Excuse for Toilet Paper: Or The Worst Novella Ever Written” and your followers will fly to Amazon like moths to the flame to download their own digital copies. But they are unlikely large enough in number at this point to be sufficient to generate sales on the magnitude needed–seeing that you would somehow have to inform the people who do not follow you here or on Goodreads that Wool 6 is out; and seeing that even the best of series experiences a drop in reader continuation rate. What is more, the vast majority of the sci-fi reading world does not know you exist. That is a tremendous well you have yet to tap. The growing success of works titled Wool on Amazon, with each book piling up encomiums, is likely your ticket to bursting onto the sci-fi scene (if that is what you intend).
I have read and reviewed your Wool series (under the same screen name) and must say I enjoyed each one. And from the literary dregs I proudly occupy, I wish you the best going forward.

Hey, thanks for the feedback Book Knut. And I recognize your name from the Amazon reviews. Yeah, I read them all. :)

I have the same fear with taking “Wool” out of the title. I’ll have to continue mulling this over.

Hugh – Here’s your “left field” suggestion of the day:
Clay

Yep…That’s it…just “Clay”. Why you ask?
1. Think of the 1st time a potential sci-fi reader saw the title “Wool” and all the questions raised.
2. Like wool, clay is a raw product that mankind transforms into something bigger. Readers looking over a list of Hugh Howey books would immediately associate the “Clay’ series as related to the “Wool” series, but would also understand it is not the same story.
3. There are lots of terms used during the transformation process (digging, blending, throwing, firing, glazing, etc) that apply as subtitles for each subsequent book; i.e. “Clay 2: The Dig”)

I understand the desire to make it easier for identify the reading order, but seems to me that everyone reads the “dust jacket” book description when considering a book purchase. The first sentence of that description would be “Book 6 (or 7, 8 etc) of the Silo Saga.”

Part of the attraction of “Wool” was the title and all the questions it raised. I would like to see that continue.

Oh. And after you wrap up the “Clay” books, you can start on the “Iron” series. (4 letters, transformed by mankind, lots of process descriptors)

The term “Wool” is something that your readers identify and associate with you as the author. Deviating from that moniker may have a detrimental effect on the reader’s ability to link a newly titled series to the old one, even though it was meant to be part of the story.

I have to admit that I honestly feel that your series is on the cusp of becoming something significantly more tangible than it is now. You have a decent readership presently and it’s growing even larger everyday. Each new Woolite tips the scale in favor of your world and characters to thrive in the world of science fiction. You are in an interesting position though, in which, you may have a chance to reformat the titles to better suit the larger ongoing saga.

After reading some of these comments, I would have to really recommend RrustyDawg’s suggestion. While it may not be as apparent as having the word “Wool” in the title, it does allow some degree of association in the way that he mentioned.

WOOL
CLAY
IRON
SEED
RUST

Okay, a little presumptuous of myself to add more four letter words, but you can sort of see the way they all link, albeit out of order probably. There is an overlying theme that these tentative titles can convey both singularly and collectively when the series is looked at as a whole. Something as simple as “The Silo Series” or “The Silo Saga” written in subtitles could blantantly tell the reader that “CLAY” or “WOOL” is part of that saga, but obviously telling a different portion of it.

You want the WOOL series to stand alone as a complete work (as you should). So make sure it does. Retire the “WOOL” name, and call the new book/series something else.

Readers will figure it out — it’s not that hard! And even if they don’t, it’s far better that you get the product right (be true to your vision!) than for you to dilute the product in favor of a possible marketing benefit.

You know how books have that first page with “other books by this author”? I think you should list all your wool and wool+ books there in the order they should be read. You could label it “silo novels” or something wool-like. Then no worries about any confusion. If they find wool, they’ll find the others.

I think for a book title you should go for broke with something such as: “World Order Operation Fifty: Start Digging”. At the very least if Amazon ever lets readers sort by title length, you will always be ranked #1.

Didn’t Anne Rice change her Vampire Chronicles brand a bit after the first 4 books? I think once she moved away from Lestat, she shifted away from her original brand. I guess what I am saying is, I know it is about sales too, but you should go with your artist gut too. At what point do readers shift from “another WOOL book is out” to ” a new Hugh Howey book is out? “

I just finished “The Wool Omnibus” a few nights ago and wanted to drop by and tell you how much I enjoyed it! I stayed up until 3 AM to finish it and it had me hooked from beginning to end. Keep up the great work and I look forward to more stories from the silos!

If you want to consider this, the schema in which you followed for Wool sort of set a precedence for the tone. The idiom “to pull wool over one’s eyes” means to hide the truth from someone. The entire Wool saga centered around this. As a reader, I appreciated the deeper meaning behind a seemingly strange and superficial title for a book. Each chapter had an interesting tie to the word Wool and the chapter itself which made it geniunely more thought-provoking.

It’s understandable that you want to break away from the moniker Wool for the reasons that you don’t want readers to grow tired of all the numbers. I’m not saying that any of the other suggestions for other names like “Silo II” or “First Shift” are bad at all. It gives you the opportunity to change the name and makes sense pertaining to the story. But to go back to the schema that was set with Wool, I think it’s important to be similar in nature to signify that this is part of the same series, like a kind of uniformity, so to speak. A four-letter word, deeper meaning (perhaps by an idiom or otherwise), more references to things relating to that four-letter word–I just think it gives more depth to the world you’ve created.

I can make more arguments for RrustyDawg’s suggestion, but as a reader, I don’t want to push my opinions onto you as the author that will affect your own judgments on what you want to ultimately title YOUR book. Honestly, I don’t believe any one wants to do that. Whatever you decide to call the next installment, I’ll read it. I just wanted to point out that this way of naming the other books in the series, it gives you some leeway in being creative with name while still keeping the spirit of Wool, which pulled so many of us in with such an odd word choice for the title.

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