This is not happening…

It can’t be. I wrote a piece today for one of my publishers on what it has been like to go from a bookseller to a bestseller. One year ago, I was shelving books, arranging displays, dusting a bookstore, and writing in the mornings and on my lunch breaks. WOOL 5 hadn’t been written yet. I was just wrapping up the rough draft of WOOL 4. Cut to a year later.

Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian option the film rights. 20 foreign countries pick up WOOL. Random House in the UK and Australia. #1 on Amazon. #11 on the New York Times list. It just doesn’t make any sense. And then this, which I think may be the most surreal event in a long line of surreal events. This was just Tweeted by an Australian bookseller:

What? Really? I have to somehow process this? Because it doesn’t compute.

45 responses to “This is not happening…”

  1. A great reason for you to come to Australia. Which Bookseller was it in which city?

  2. Believe it, Hugh! Thanks for creating such an awesome series! Can’t wait for Third Shift. When can we see then movie?

  3. Congratulations.
    Hard work not always get you to your destination, but sometimes, when talent is also in the mix, it will get you further than you expected.

  4. Nice!

    I just seen the J. Blakeson rumours this morning, Wow!

  5. It’s thoroughly deserved… really uplifting to see such well conceived sci-fi rise to the top on its own merits.

    I’m itching to read Second Shift, hope it appears in the UK soon.

  6. Awesome! After all, surreal is good. It’s like what they sayat least on the NaNoWriMo YWP: Bragging rights for the rest of your life. On your deathbed, as family and friends gather around you, you can proudly say, “I had a total of (random number here) surreal events happen to me in my lifetime.”

    Or something.

  7. If I order one of these hardcovers from, can I have it sent to you for an autograph? :D

      1. Thanks! I checked earlier, but I saw the slipcase edition was out and didn’t see this one!

  8. Hugh, you made it! This is what the rest of us struggling authors dream of and strive for. Congratulations!

  9. A beautiful display showcasing the work of a brilliant author. You have earned it!

  10. I have to say that I am (impressed, absolutely, but) not surprised. It just takes some time for people and publishers to realize this book exists. Once they do, it’s a done deal. This is a fan-tas-tic story and you have a great writing style.
    BTW, I was wondering some weeks ago how long it would take for a director to make you an offer. This ought to be on the big screen.
    Now I’m devouring Molly Fyde Book 4 and I’m wondering the same question. But I know it won’t take long either.
    Keep trying! ;)

  11. This is the double-take you experience when you realize the power of an audience who appreciates your work, Hugh. Publishing has been a closed shop for a very long time, and you have found the crowbar that will open the door to mass publication – the push from an audience who create the market that pushes the publishers. It is a wonderful sign that it has happened for you – it means it can happen for one or more of us who has failed year after year to even get a publishing company to READ our work, never mind publish a few copies of it.

  12. Hugh, It’s right on target to where those books should be! Ride it man!!!

  13. and I should add – beautiful cover artwork by the way.

  14. Yaaaaay, Hugh! ‘Nuf said!

  15. Very well deserved Hugh, you deserve every last drop.
    Enjoy every second.

  16. I wish you believed in yourself half as much as we believe in you. Of course if you did, you would be all big-headed and not pay any attention to your fans….

  17. Don’t worry Hugh, we won’t let it all go to your head. We’ll keep you grounded here on the Earth so you can do your work and enjoy your success without unnecessary ego inflation. :)

    Keep up the good work! Nice to hit home runs with in this day and age.

  18. Ridley!? He is my fav when it comes to film. If he does your work, that would be like crack to me.

  19. Congrats. You deserve it and more. I am in the middle of your new book, and I am in awe of the beauty of the writing, how seamlessly the story unfolds, and the melancholy that lingers underneath the words like perfume. The story stays with me even when I’m not reading. A sign of a great author. That’s you!

  20. You deserve every ounce of credit. Your books are awesome. Enjoy the fame and respect :-)

  21. Oh my god! You are a wonderful author. I am so hooked. I loved loved loved loved loved reading the Wool Omnibus Edition! I can wait to read 6, 7 and 8! I am such a big fan and after reading 50 shades of disappointment (yes I am admitting it) your world brought me right back to where I want to be and I will never leave again :)

  22. Love seeing the Wool series up top on Amazon. Such a great series and the Shift books are a great continuation. Ripley Scott definitely gets my vote for a guy who will do the film(s) ;-) properly. Looking forward to it! Your short format / inexpensive listings on Amazon have definitely inspired me to rethink the typical approach to book publishing! Congratulations!

  23. You deserve it Hugh! I was telling the truth when I reviewed the Wool Omnibus that it’s the best book I’ve read in years, or maybe ever. It’s not even in my favorite genre, but it’s that good man! Here’s to wrapping up a phenomenal year for you dude. You earned every piece of it and then some with your prodigious writing!

  24. I was an avid sci-fi reader as a kid, but struggle to finish anything as an adult. The Omnibus is the first book I’ve gotten through… maybe this year… and I truly enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you!

  25. Congrats on this “surreal event”….very well deserved! But now we have completion from Down Under, hope supply keeps up with demand.

  26. Is that a flotilla? A herd? There needs to be a word for a gathering of that many Wools at once!

  27. Like a previous person stated, not surprised at all that you have become a worldwide hit! It had been a long time since I was captivated and drawn so completely into such a well-written story. Well done and may your success continue!

  28. Congratulations Hugh, I’ve been an avid reader of your books ever since I came across them on Amazon – I started off with the Wool series on my Kindle, have have more recently followed you elsewhere on the humanity of zombies with I, Zombie. Just thought I’d let you know that I’ve just read my first print article on you in Western Australia’s only daily newspaper – the West Australian. Fantastic to see your books spanning the Pacific and making their way into mainstream literature and booksellers over here. Look forward to reading more of your work! Renae

  29. I bought your book wool (compendium) but haven’t read it yet… still don’t have a good idea of what it’s about. Please update to provide a better synopsis (on amazon at least).

    1. I’m still trying to figure out what the book is all about!

      Seriously, though, I hate writing synopses. If anyone wants to give it a go, knock themselves out.

      1. Typical cheesy back cover style synopsis: “In a post-apocalyptic world, mankind is struggling to survive. One woman’s innate curiosity sends her on a journey that could change her entire world.”

        On a serious note, Mr. Howey hasn’t fully realized it yet, but he *is* one of the greats. He has an amazing writing style. It’s difficult to give a good summary without giving anything away, but the sooner you read it, the happier you will be about it. I bought everything he’s written within 24 hours of reading WOOL 1, yes, it’s that good.

        Signed, A fan who is immensely enjoying seeing someone succeed based solely on their talent and quality of work.

  30. Let it compute. They’re showing they believe in you. And they should.

  31. A flock?

    1. A pack of Wools?

  32. I can’t imagine the huge life changes you have experienced in the last year, but it is truly deserved. I have read every one of your books on Kindle and have enjoyed them all. However, Wool is too fantastic for words. I have been eagerly waiting for each new installment. I am so glad that you are able to focus on your writing now. Your books are the things that I look forward to. Thank you for all your hard work.

  33. I couldn’t be happier for you…and WOOL’s not crap like some other stuff that gets “discovered”. It really is very, very good.


  34. Congrats Hugh:)
    I LOVE the Wool series so much!
    I put the kindle version on my 72 year old Mums iPad, along with a pile of other books. She found it, read it and loved it too!
    I should add the fabulous ‘ I, Zombie’ to her iPad hehe…

    How come Aussies can’t get the kindle version of Wool 7 on Amazon???
    I’m itching to read it!
    I hope it becomes available to us soon…

  35. I can’t express how happy I feel for a writer such as yourself. You deserve everything you’ve recieved this year and then some being such a workhorse. It might be hard to estimate accurately how much of an effect your stories have on not only readers, but writers too. I sincerely hope you become the next big name in sci-fi and that you continue to succeed.

  36. And …. because I still get e catalogs from Australian booksellers even though I don’t live there at the moment, I saw your book prominently displayed in some of them. So you know you’ve made it when you get on the Christmas catalog! And I think booktopia mentioned your book in their monthly newsletter too.

  37. Surreal?

    Then please, dear Hugh, imagine how we must feel! Sure it must be overwhelming and all, to see yourself on display all over the places and platforms but to be honest: I think you have no idea!
    Average book after average book, and in the end you start to dig out the old and solid stuff that you know, even a re-read will satisfy you more than that awefull crap. But suddenly, somehow those IT guys at amazon recommend WOOL to you and you already stumble upon the name, thinking…that sounds interesting…and then (to be honest) the prize! Okay, sounds not so stupid, why not give it a go…

    Amazed, mezmerized, astounded…in love!
    Do you have any idea (dear Hugh) how rarely one finds such a piece of literature? I guess not, because you, being a bookseeler-bestseller must have lost track of reader-reality :-)

    Anyways, here the title of a very recent research article, just published in Science these days…you may find yourself there.
    “Rapid Folding of DNA into Nanoscale Shapes at Constant Temperature”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *