The Shell Collector

 UPDATE: The print edition just went up for preorder! 

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Two weeks from release, and I just got the proof copies of the print edition in my grubby little paws. This might be the prettiest book I’ve ever assembled. The M.S. Corley cover is gorgeous, and I put a lot of time and care into the interior design. The book just looks amazing. No need to read it, you can just display it around your home!

The ebook is up for pre-order at several outlets already:

The Shell Collector on
The Shell Collector on iBooks
The Shell Collector on

I’ll put a Nook link up here as soon as the work is available there. It’s a measly $4.99 at all outlets. Fancy coffees cost more. The print edition (which is now up for pre-order) is $15.00.

So what’s the book about? It takes place in a very near future where sea levels have risen and the oceans have grown warmer. Mass extinctions have left seashells incredibly rare and extremely valuable. Hunting them down is the newest Dutch Tulip Craze.

As an avid collector and contributor for the Times, Maya Walsh frequently writes about shelling and the state of the seas. She is working on a four-part expose on Ness Wilde, the world’s foremost shell collector, and an oil company CEO. Maya blames people like Ness for what’s become of our world, and she has watched him profit mightily from the warmed and rising seas. As far as she’s concerned, Ness Wilde helped destroy her world. Now she’s out to wreck his.

The Shell Collector a mix of post-apocalyptic, suspense, romance, and environmental fiction. Mary Alice Monroe, the bestselling author of  The Summer’s End had this to say:

Green fiction at its finest! With science, romance and mystery, The Shell Collector will appeal to both men and women. I’ve been waiting for a hard hitting novel about the state of our oceans–and this is it!

I hope you all enjoy! And now for that unboxing:

50 responses to “The Shell Collector”

  1. Hoping I get the e book version so I can read it sooner than later. Regardless, I will be getting a print copy as well.

  2. Love it! Love everything you do Hugh!

    1. You are too forgiving and far too kind! :)

  3. I didn’t know you were still doing your own layout. Any special reason you haven’t hired it out yet?

    1. It’s too much fun. If the writing thing doesn’t work out, I’ll put up a shingle to do print pagination for a living.

  4. The shells look great, and think it’s a fabulous personal touch.

  5. Hugh it’s great to see another title out. Congrats! I’m intrigued by your desire to do your own formatting, could you give us a post about it sometime with what you prefer to see, some of your methods/techniques and tips to really give our own readers a great experience. Thank you.

    1. Working on a video tutorial right now.

      1. That would be amazing thanks Hugh!!!

  6. That’s a cracking cover, Hugh. I’m sure that’ll capture a lot of eyeballs. The story itself sounds very intriguing. I think ‘Cli-Fi’ is only going to get bigger over the coming years so I’m sure this will do well for you. I’m looking forward to getting through my TBR pile to read this.

  7. Outstanding story Hugh. You might be bringing a lot of people over into SciFi with these genre busting efforts of yours.

    1. That would be cool if so. I love hearing from people “I don’t normally read this sort of thing, but…” and then how much they liked it.

  8. Looks amazing – would love to get my hands on one of those early prints. Already most of the way through the ‘street team’ ebook – I’m loving it, and the entire concept is really interesting. My review will be publicly posted on Amazon and Goodreads on the release day. Thanks Hugh.

    1. Thanks, Joel. Glad you’re liking it. :)

  9. Hugh I really enjoyed this book! I liked the hopeful message in the face of our destructiveness. I hope you sell a million + copies!

  10. That cover is just dreamy. It might be my fave one of yours so far…. Congrats on its loveliness. :D

    1. Thanks! I love it too. M.S. Corley knocked it out of the park.

      What was great is all the variations he went through with me. We looked at five or six cover images and then dozens of font layouts before settling on this. I liked another one that had Maya and Ness on the cover and nearly went with it.

  11. Hmm, tough to call between Sand’s cover and this one, but I do love blues! Amazing font picks. (I’m a font snob)

  12. Will you be doing a Goldsboro Books slipcase edition again like Sand and the Wool Trilogy?

    1. I don’t think so. Those were all books published by Random House in the UK. I think this book is too different for them to want to publish. The assumption at most publishing houses is that readers only enjoy one type of book, so if authors branch out, it’ll upset people.

      1. I’ve enjoyed all your stuff from the short stories to hurricane all the way to I zombie. I think of school publishing is acting a lot like film studios where they are way way too risk adverse. So you end up with safe, pleasant decisions. But less bold experiments.

      2. Typical of publishers really – narrow minded and unprepared to give the readers any form of free thought and choice! Damn shame!

  13. Hugh – Thanks for the unboxing view! Love that you wore a blue T to go with that gorgeous new cover.

    It’s inspiring that you continue to brave bold new paths. Doing your own drawings — which are excellent — is very cool and very much a personal touch. Also love the genre-bending you do.

    And hey, man… did you lose your razor?

    This book is going to knock it out of the park. You’ll be a bestseller one of these days, I predict!


    1. I haven’t shaved in a couple weeks. Celebrating the lack of speaking engagements. :)

  14. Hugh! You can draw! That’s cool. Don’t talk down your drawing skills, either. So few bother to even try, and it’s great that you’re drawing the shells yourself. It adds meaning to your print version. You just keep taking that right brain out for some exercise every once in a while. ;)

  15. I just finished the book this morning. What a page turner! I absolutely LOVED it and can’t wait to add the print copy to my bookcase. I’m already spreading the word about this great read. You’re amazing and I appreciate all of your work. Thank you!!

    Mary L.

  16. Hey Hugh,

    I’m excited to read the new book. Any chance you will be offering signed copies? Thanks!

    1. I am, but it might be a while.

  17. I was charmed by your video showcasing your new book, “The Shell Collector,” and look forward to adding it to my growing collection of Hugh Howey e-books. I was drawn to your fan base your entrancing Silo series, which still ranks high in my list of favorite science fiction reads. Keep up the good work!

  18. So glad you are including this in KU! Eagerly awaiting it’s eBook release date. :)

  19. Just finished the Kindle version you sent. Thanks for letting me be an early reader. I liked it way more than I ever expected to and learned that shells are much more interesting than I ever gave them credit for. Can’t wait to leave you a stellar review on Amazon.

    I hope you found and fixed the boo boo at the tail end of chapter 7 before going to print (one too many “her” in the sentence).

    1. Yeah, I think I caught that one. And thanks for the kind words. I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on this work.

  20. Another of your books ordered, lol.
    Off topic, does book gorilla depress anyone but me? Everyday i see dozens of cool books for free, or for 99 cents. I don’t have time to read them all, although i buy them up for the future. But what depresses me is the number of them, how will a new author be found among them? Guess it doesn’t matter, I still have to write.
    At least my Xmas submission of my Wool fan fic will be on your site, that is how i found a lot of Wool fan fic myself. Happy holidays, i gotta get back to work………

  21. Thank you, Hugh.

    The fact that you took the time to make drawings for The Shell Collector only highlights your commitment to your craft.

    You’re an inspiration. I’ve been working on a novel for a long time, and I check this blog every day or so for inspiration. I’m on the cusp of release. I’m sure it won’t make a big splash, but it’s my labor of love, and putting it out in the world is all that’s important to me.

    Anyway, good luck with the new release. You’re at the top of your game.

    1. Congrats on being close to release, Rick. That’s momentous. Think of how many people are dreaming of making it that far (I spent 20 years dreaming of writing a novel and feeling like I never would).

  22. Hi Hugh,

    I’m a fan of yours. Congrats on the new book! Will be sure to check it out.

    I have a question for you regarding copyright registration. Is it wise to seek one out before publishing on kindle? (I couldn’t find that your books were registered when I did a copyright search.)

    Thanks in advance for your input.

    Warm regards,

    1. No need. Whatever you write is copyrighted the moment you write it.

      1. Thank you for the reply, Hugh. I realize that it’s copyrighted the moment it’s written. I was speaking to the very act of registration re: without it you can’t file an infringement suit. Does anything ever come to that? I would doubt it, no?

        1. You can still file an infringement suit. The work is protected under copyright law. Some say it’s best to copyright anyway, just to strengthen your case, but I think that’s outdated advice.

  23. Dang, thought it was a sequel to Sand when I first saw the cover. Guess this story is still cool though. While in my head I imagine Wool as a gritty HBO series, Sand I imagine as a Studio Ghibli style animation.

  24. Got my paperback copy yesterday. Beautiful cover. Can’t wait to read it.

  25. So excited to re-read this book. I’ll review on Amazon & my blog once I’ve read the final FINAL. I’ve preordered the e-book because I can’t wait, but also want to get the print version for the beautiful cover. Great design (and love your shell drawings too). Mildly irritated that you’re a great writer AND a decent illustrator – c’mon, give the rest of us a break! ;-)
    Just gave a signed copy of Misty – The Proud Cloud to my favorite “first reader” for her son. Love that you are crossing so many genres AND age groups!

  26. Love the cover and the story sounds fantastic. I was such a fan of Sand, I’ll be sure to grab a copy :-)

  27. As Hugh mentioned in his newsletter, there was a poignant story in today’s Washington Post this week about the looming loss of Assateague Island to rising seas:
    “In the first half of his career, he fought against nature to save this beach at Tom’s Cove. In the second half of his career, he’s been learning — and teaching others — how to let go.”
    Makes me think of Ness & Maya.

  28. […] love to read, (just about to post a review on my advance copy of The Shell Collector, by Hugh Howey). I also run, when my running partner doesn’t allow me to flake out of it. And I am […]

  29. Doh!

    I put my name forward to be an early reader and after never getting the email, I just assumed I didn’t get picked! Now I found the email tucked away in another folder.

    Would have loved to be an early reader but I can’t make it in two days……but never mind. I just preordered it and I’ll read it along with the rest of the world :-)

    This video will also really help me……I have been working on chalk image for the front of my paperback omnibus for my latest dystopian series and this should help me get it alinged and inserted without CS issues. Thanks a lot!

  30. 3/4 of the Elements complete.

    Earth – Wool
    Air – Sand
    Water – The Shell Collector

    What story will represent Fire ?

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