Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

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

That little something extra…

Earlier today, we revealed the awesome cover for the UK release of WOOL, and I mentioned at the end of my post that the jacket was missing that extra little . . . something. It’s like a crisp suit that needs a splash of colour, one of those squares tucked into its breast pocket. And that splash of colour, dear readers, should come from you.

My peeps at Random House call these things “straplines.” They’re those short phrases that grace the cover of book jackets and film posters. THE HUNGER GAMES probably had something about the Odds Being in One’s Favour. The two examples my editor gave were JAWS 2 and ALIEN (apt, eh, with the Ridley Scott connection?) On the JAWS 2 poster, we have:

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.”

With ALIEN, it was:

“In space, no one can hear you scream.”

Man, that last one is killer. There’s a physics lesson, a sense of setting, and the promise of impending horror. Hard to top that one, but if anyone can it’s you people!

What I love about Century Publishing and Random House UK is that they value the method of WOOL’s success. They know it has a lot to do with you all. Normally, this task would fall to a marketing team. Not all of them would have read the entire book (much less loved it like you all). Random House wants to do something different. This is what I love about working with these people.

We are going to let you decide what the kick-ass phrase at the top of the book should be. Yeah, one of you will come up with the hook. Your words will be emblazoned on the cover. And get this: after Random House UK picks the winner, that person is going to receive a set of the unbelievably hot and impossible to get proof copies! (currently selling at charity auction for a ridiculously high price).

You’ve come up with awesome t-shirt ideas, great bumper stickers, incredible art, even fan fiction. I know you’ll come up with the perfect strapline for WOOL. Here’s what you need to know: It has to be under 15 words (test your work out in Word. It’ll tell you how many words you’re using). And it should fit in with the mood of the back copy, which will grace the rear of the book:

WHAT WOULD YOU DO
If the world outside was deadly,
And the air you breathed could kill.

AND YOU LIVED IN A PLACE

Where every birth required a death
And the choices you made could save lives – or destroy them.

THIS IS JULES’ STORY

THIS IS THE WORLD OF WOOL

Submit your entries in this forum thread. Let’s say no more than three entries per person. You can put them all in the same post and edit to your heart’s desire. At some point, we’ll collect what you’ve come up with and send them off to Random House. And someone will have some bragging rights and a cool set of proofs to call their own!

Best of luck to everyone!

21 replies to “That little something extra…”

no escape from reality
(I started singing in my head after I typed the first one and of course liked this better.)

Just so no one’s entry is missed: please post your ideas IN THE FORUM (not here in the comments). Thanks!

Describing the awesomeness of the cover is beyond my limited vocabulary – most excellent!

I was a little surprised with the “This is Jules’ story” on the back-of-book blurb, though. As I observed in my review of Wool (that I have not got around to publishing yet and thus observed merely to myself so far) the story feels like nested TARDISes. Each door opened reveals a larger even more amazing space and I never quite know who’s going to die, who’s not and what grand theatre extension is just around the corner. It took me quite a while to get comfortable with even moderate confidence that Jules was going to survive to the end of the current chapter given the harvesting of souls that took place in the book’s early days. This is just one of the many, many things that makes Wool groovalicious. In my unbelievably humble and ill-informed opinion, it removes a teeny-tiny bit of suspense for new readers… but probably not. The book is fantastic.

Anyway. Given the point of your post, I feel I should make a suggestion for the front even if it is “E-, must try harder” grade: “There is always more to IT than meets the eye”

As the Brits would say, “Bloody Brill!”
I submitted my suggestions. :) over in the forum.
I loved the story and hope they don’t give too much of the story away on the cover.

To clean or not to clean

Do you want to go outside?

Perception is RealITy (with or without the IT)

I’m submitting my entry for the three worst possible straplines (SPOILERS):

1. It’s toxic outside Holston and Jahns die but Jules lives there are 50 silos bye

2. This, prospective reader, is what is called a “strapline”. It can contain at most fifteen —

3. From the author of “I, Zombie”

Secrets oil the gears of society.

A little perspective can ruin everything.

Some mysteries are better left unsolved.

“Outside the silo no one hears you clean….”
“They always clean in the end. Even the nonconformists conform.”

1 – “The very mention of it could get you killed!”

2 – “Dredging from the “Down Deep” often spells trouble!”

3 – “The maintenance of order requires sacrifice.”

4 – “If secrets are our legacy, what’s our future?”

In this place, noone can hear you clean…

… only joking, of course.

A tale of fear and thread…

… Still joking, of course.

A purler of a tale…

You’ll be hooked…

… Cast off your assumptions…

… More jokes.

A bright, clean tale of horror…

…Not really joking now.

Hi Hugh,
Please don’t pick one that reveals that going outside was deadly. One of the most amazing aspects of wool is figuring that out as the story unfolds. Please, no spoilers.
–Marion

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