What an Amazing Year!

It’s hard to know where to start with this bit of news. A year ago this month, I noticed Wool, a little story of mine, was out selling all of my other books and garnering an unusual number of rave reviews. During the month of October, I watched it notch upward and upward. I remember staying up until midnight on the 31st hoping to see a book of mine sell 1,000 copies in a single month. At 35 cents per book, that would be $350 in profit! From writing! That was more money than I made in a week at the bookstore!

At the time, any dreams of quitting my day job and writing for a living were impossible to consider. No way. All I could think of was that I had thirty or forty Amazon reviewers clamoring for more to read. I was getting emails from people demanding more from this world. On November 1st, I started writing the second Wool story. If you’ve read the first book, you’ll know how challenging a task this was. Somehow, I managed to not upset too many people with the direction I took things.

Three months later, I had to quit my day job. The demands on my time were too much. I was selling in a day what I had gone gaga over selling in all of October. In January of this year, I wrote Wool 5, which is the length of a novel at 63,000 words. Over the next few months, I wrote First Shift, another novel. And then I, Zombie. I’m now working on what will be my fourth novel of 2012. Life is a complete blur. And then something like this comes along to put that year and this journey into perspective.

Kindle Book Review is one of the great go-to websites for discovering awesome reads. A few months ago, I found out Wool had been nominated for KBR’s Indie Book of the Year Award. It was the highest honor to make the list of incredible semifinalists, to see Wool listed alongside these other top indie books. I never dreamed of winning. This is an award chosen by a panel of readers and reviewers, and surely there was something better in that pile of awesome ebooks. I’m not supposed to win annual awards. It just doesn’t fit. I still see myself shelving books for a living and writing on the side. I still remember screen-capping Wool at #98 in Science Fiction > Anthologies on Amazon, terrified the book would slip out of the top 100 of that category and never be seen again.

And now this. This is such an honor. Such a highlight of my life, much less my writing career. It’s been an awesome twelve months, and I thank all of you for making it so. I think the best way to express my gratitude might be to punish you all with a new version of the Omnibus. I can include all the changes Random House made, the new chapter, the added scenes, and this big, old, honking gold star slathered on the front!

Just look at it!

And congrats to all the other winners and to the semi-finalists who likely deserved this more than me. The universe will correct for this eventually. It must.

50 responses to “What an Amazing Year!”

  1. Congrats! You deserve it.

  2. Congrats!! I knew you would take it. :) But then, I’ve read the story.

    1. Agreed. And what a rush for you. I’m delirious when I sell just a few hundred copies of Children of Destruction. Certainly can’t quit my day job on that.

  3. YAY!!!!! Good job Hugh!

  4. The story of your writing career is almost as compelling as the stories in your novels. (Okay, it’s actually even *more* interesting. I didn’t want to insult your novels.)

    Well done, sir. You did something remarkable. Huge congratulations.

    1. PS. The best way to express your gratitude is to never quit writing.

  5. Give yourself some credit, for heaven’s sake. It’s not like you didn’t work for it. Congratulations! You’ve certainly earned it!

    In about 3 months, ask yourself if you can do it again. We’ll all be delighted to see what happens from there. I’d bet you can. Don’t hyperventilate, please.

    A new Omnibus would be very cool.

  6. You’re so humble. It’s sweet, but really, you deserve all the accolades that you have received and more.

  7. Very cool! Great job Hugh! Your books and story are an inspiration. I can’t wait to read / watch the next installment…

  8. Humble Hugh……That big honking gold star gives me goose bumps. It most certainly is well deserved. Your writing is what made the story so absolutely great.

    There will be more to come so get ready for the awesomeness! This is only the beginning of a prosperous writing career and many more awards will be won. You will always be so surprised and we all say again and again “Congrats but I’m not at all surprised”.

    I wish I were younger so I could see it all happen!

  9. Hooray! Congratulations!

  10. Big smiles, Hugh! Congratulations! I want to reiterate what Deb says – give yourself some credit. You have talent and deserve to be recognized. Now, go out there and do it again! Woot!

  11. Yeah – what Susan said above….x2

    well done!

  12. CONGRATS!!! You Really deserved this great honor!

  13. I am so happy for you. I love hearing about these rise to glory/fame stories.

    On another note, I am still kicking myself for not joining you for the meet-and-greet dinner you setup while you were in Chicago.

  14. Cheers Hugh, I’m late to the party…but I just started Wool and already, I’m hooked.

    1. Bait taken, hook set….reel him in!

      Just finished the ‘free’ Wool and have ordered the Ombnibus!

      1. Note: I really did get the special ‘extra-b’ edition. :)

  15. Congrats Hugh!

    I don’t think this could happen to a more deserving guy. You have been wonderful to your fans – I know we make you work hard!

    As an author you are top notch. Any book you write that delves as deeply into your characters as those in your Wool books will be sure to please us.

    Hurray for you! and if anyone out there has not read Wool yet–here’s a book with shiny vampires to read instead.

  16. Congrats Hugh! You definitely deserved this.

    I’ve been pushing your stories to my friends and coworkers realizing this is the best way to “advertise” your work. Keep it up and please hurry with the next wool/second shift! Thanks!

  17. Congrats Hugh!!!

  18. Congratulations. Well deserved. It’ll look even better when it says Hugo Award on it.

  19. Well, I think the award is well-deserved. I’m sure this is the first of many. I loved the Omnibus and am very tempted to check out the re-issue for that extra chapter. It really is such a good book. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with in the future, and thanks for the great read. :)

  20. Congratulations from Seattle! Turned as many people who will listen onto your series, about half finished with First Shift. Just fantastic stories, cheers!

  21. The people have spoken, and Amazon listened! Congratulations, and keep up the good work. (Wool 7 has been at 60% for about weeks :-(… I can’t wait to read more.
    On a side note the best series I have every reed has had to been the dark tower series by Stephen King. When he wrote book one of this series it was quite small, years late when he wrote the others they became full blown novels that paralleled, and linked to many of his other novels. Have you ever looked and creating a world as large as this with the Wool series? I can see how “Half way Home” could easily fit into a future Wool book. Of course I know it would be a huge challenge to go from 100 to 200 page books to 800 pages. They are just so well written that I would love to see you expand on the universe you have created.
    Your books have got me reading again, and I have to give you a huge high five for that, I just don’t want you to sell yourself short, you are the closest I have read to becoming the next King.
    Anyways enough from me, GOOD JOB and keep up the superb tale spinning!!

  22. I’m not sure which one i’m happier about, your stories, or the timing of your emergence. You are a pioneer in self publishing and i hope your work and success inspires many others with great stories to tell to share them. (And possibly even make money in the process) :)

  23. Congratulations Hugh. You deserve to be a full-time author. We’re all pulling for you. We root for you as an indie author breaking through. We root for you as a great author. Most importantly, we root for you so you’ll write more awesome stories that we can consume!

  24. John in Hollywood Avatar
    John in Hollywood

    Congratulations Hugh! Well deserved! Hugo Awards here we come!

  25. I agree with what everyone else has said. You are very talented and deserve everything you have earned and more! Keep writing!!!

  26. Is it wrong for me to sit here and smugly say that I’m not in the least bit surprised? “Wool” was the all time best Amazon recommendation I’d ever gotten; I had no idea what to expect when I started Wool 1 but it grabbed me in the first few paragraphs and didn’t let go.

    Well done, Mr. Howey, well done indeed, and thank you.

    1. Agree. Got the five part book from an Amazon recommendation and devored it. Best scifi, end of world stuff I have ever read. I am 47 and read my first Asimov book at 10 and King a year later. Just finished first shift. You have managed to do something I had not seen before – make a prequel compelling, thrilling and informative to the later periods of the series. Just incredible talent.

      Keep writing. Please don’t ever stop.

  27. Congratulations Mr. Howey!!! ^_^ I’ve always been envious of writers; I think it’s a great ability to be able to transport people to another time/place and help them forget their own lives for a bit. But I’m also very glad to be a reader, especially in this day and age with all the great works out there, and I’m happy to have found your Wool stories. A few of my co-workers are also happy Wool fans because of it – I get stopped on a regular basis and asked if I’ve found any more good books like Wool yet. Sometimes they corner me in a hallway, wringing their hands and shifting their eyes back and forth, begging me for a good book fix. I daresay you’ve turned me into a dealer of sorts!! ;) Anyhow, take some credit, because you deserve it!! Keep ’em coming sir!!~

  28. Congratulations!
    This is a well-deserved award. I am not surprised to see Wool being ranked so high. I’ll be just repeating what all your fans have said in that you are a great writer. What makes the experience of reading your books so much more fulfilling is that you are also very accessible to and involved with your readers. This is great news! Enjoy all the fame and glory as they say. I’m very happy for you.

  29. Well deserved!

    And here we all are still “demanding more from this world.”

  30. I had no doubts it would be you. Congratulations.

  31. Michael Creswell Avatar
    Michael Creswell

    Wool was the best thing I have read in the last 5 years. Although it took some nagging and cajoling 8 of the people I work with have not only read the first Wool novella, but have finished the entire Omnibus and are clamoring for more. Keep it up. You really have a gift, Hugh. Congratulations!

  32. Congratulations on a well deserved award! I have now read all your books and I cannot wait for more.

  33. Congrats Hugh! That’s awesome.
    I can’t wait for the next Wool book – keep writing them, I love the series!

  34. Beautiful, good for you Hugh keep ’em coming

  35. Congratulations Hugh. Your story in itself would make a wonderful read or movie.

  36. Well deserved Hugh,
    I remember a few months ago downloading Wool, not knowing you as a writer, and thinking after a few pages, this guy is the real deal, and cursing you later that night for messing up my sleep pattern! I know there will be many more great reads in the future and many more sleepless nights.

  37. So so happy for you! I don’t remember how I found book 1 of Wool-but I got through all of them that week. Love to read, love books, worked in a library (which wasn’t so much work as fun) and I love your books. Your writing style is so different, stories are so gripping, nothing predictable here! Congrats on your success…keep those stories coming.

  38. Congratulations! I loved this series and recommended it to all my friends, months ago . Even though I originally read these on my Kindle, I ordered the Omnibus book edition. I got it today and am re-reading the series. Thanks for the autograph, Howie. Good luck. I look forward to more fantastic reads!

  39. Fantastic writing, Hugh, from a new fan in Scotland. You have such a gift – I was put on to you by a writing friend via FB and having read the first few pages on Amazon I was hooked; I’m ordering the omnibus in paperback. I shall also be asking my local libraries to stock your books. Your descriptions, your vision, your elegant use of language with an ear to the rhythms and music of writing really do set you apart – you deserve every bit of success. I see the filmrights have been sold – I hope they do it justice. Best of luck, enjoy your well-deserved success, and most of all, don’t stop writing! You should be able to give up the day job soon, if not now, right? :-)

  40. Congrats! You deserve it – absolutely loved Wool!

  41. Hugh,
    Sometimes the world is just as surprised to discover that a talent such as yours has been cooped up in a book store. But in the end, we don’t care where you came from, what your background was, or anything like that. All we know is, Hugh Howey is an amazing writer and we can’t wait to read your work, words that seem to roll off the page with ease and a simple complexity.

    You deserve all the recognition that comes your way. You are truly one of the greats of 2012.
    ~ Jeff Bennington

    1. You are too much. Thanks, Jeff.

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