Wool on Slate!

An incredible story on Slate this weekend. You can read it here. It’s amazing to have this sort of coverage ahead of the hardback and paperback release, which is less than 10 days away!

I wonder if any stores will break street date and shelve them early. We were guilty of this at my bookstore. It was awesome to see a reader pass by our displays and realize the book they were waiting on was out a day or two before it was due. Those are the readers who tear through a story and go on to tell others about it. I’m sure publishers would be miffed to hear the number of books we sold ahead of time — but then you think of the goodwill and PR this lends, and I think it’s easy to justify.

Over and over again when trying to sort out what to do in this topsy-turvy industry, I find that the best decision always comes down to pleasing the reader. Satisfy your customer. What’s so revolutionary about that?

9 responses to “Wool on Slate!”

  1. Very good rewiew. Deep insite. I wonder mye, too, about how much harm that good and righteous Juliette has caused and how much good that dusgusting and full of lie Bernard has done to the silo. Therfore I love these novels — they have a lot of layers and sub-layers.

  2. Wish I could be there! Long flight for a pint, tho. I love experiencing success through your eyes, you’ve quite the refreshing outlook.

  3. Stripping away everything, it is all about “control”. People of power hate it when they can’t control. Just take a look at DC.

  4. William Jacques Avatar
    William Jacques

    “… the best decision always comes down to pleasing the reader. Satisfy your customer.”

    People usually take shortcuts and overuse gimmicks when their product can’t stand on its own, or someone wants to take shortcuts. Providing a quality product, personalized service and being authentic with your reader establishes everything on a “higher” plane, and provides a stable base from which one can occasionally diverge and experiment without looking hokey or desperate.

  5. Hugh, with the perspective of experience you have as a bookseller, you are really illuminating both what publishers need to know about how to market a book and encourage customers to buy, and how to make a successful e-book readership. The goal is to have a readership. I have approached literature as a critic of literature and professor of literature; and while working for AT&T (as a software engineer!) I met an interface programmer (originally from India) who had taken her phD at the University of Mississippi in English language and literature, and taught literature. At lunch one day I discovered that she had read Milton and Donne and taught it to Americans in Mississippi up until recently when her mother fell ill and she needed “a paying job” and changed to software engineering. We English majors can do that of course, but only the women – ( j/k) She found out I was a poet and novelist and she said “I would like to read your book.” I had many books but there was one in particular I had had no success in getting anyone interested in. I gave her a notebook with the book (it’s very large, over 230,000 words) and she showed up in my cube two days later. “I read your book.” My eyes popped out. She not only read it, but read it in TWO DAYS? None of my own friends or family had ever even finished one of my books, the record for this particular one was up to page 26. She said yes. I said “That was pretty fast… no one has read any of my books through to the end.” And she put on her professor glasses and said “That is because you are not writing popular fiction.”

    “I’m not?” I was not expecting this. “What am I writing?”

    “The new American literature.” Like I fool I was about to ask her if she thought it was good, but she had already answered me. She also advised me to provide four colleges with reading copies of the manuscript – preferably by sending them to the head of the literature department. Once a professor decided it was intriguing enough to assign to his class of students, he would simply request that his university press print it. In hard back, as required reading. Her plan was astonishing. And since I was off to Germany only a few months later – because I needed the money and wanted to get back there to complete some more of the sequel to the work in question – I didn’t follow up on her idea. But it is still the best way to approach that book, I think. Anyway back to “Wool” there are many approaches to publishing one’s work, and I for one am going to follow your method for the bulk of my writings: just put it out there, knowing I have a loyal readership – and satisfy my customer.

    1. Wow. That’s a cool way to get published! Congrats on getting a read; that’s what it’s all about!

  6. Ms. Oler really got WOOL and “the Howey way”: I love this piece.

    And you are the master at teasing your own work – I’m so excited about Dust now.

  7. Got my Goldsboro edition in the mail! Fantastic quality. I placed it in on my favorite book shelf in the house, right above my chess set.


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