Monday, 13 May 2013

Other People’s Work (Wool)



Hey all,

I’ve spent most of the time since I did the last post down in Seattle, away from my computer and my writing. I’ve scribbled a few ideas down in a notebook, but for the most part, I just haven’t had access to my documents. As you can guess, that leaves me with not really very much to talk about on the front of my own work, and so I thought I’d talk about someone else’s.

I stumbled across this podcast just yesterday while wandering the internet:


It’s actually a link to a site where you can download the mp3 of the podcast, but you get the point. It’s about twenty minutes long, and for the most part is an interview with Hugh Howey, author of Wool. If you’ve been paying any attention to the self-publishing world, or Amazon’s kdp program, you’ll know about Wool. It has become extremely popular, garnering print runs, translations into multiple languages, and movie deals.

I, being someone who has an excessive pile of books to work through before he even considers buying anything else, haven’t actually read more than the first few pages of Wool, so I won’t be able to comment on the content; although, if the 5 bajillion reviews on Amazon are to be believed, it’s good.

Anyways, what I really wanted to go over was Mr. Howey’s answers to the questions pertaining to ‘How did you do it?’ There were a few that fell into that category, and he answered them rather eloquently (in my opinion). I liked the way that he really pushed the fact that he wasn’t spending all of his time online harassing people into buying his books. There are many, many people that I’ve encountered on the internet that do this. They spam their book titles and special deals and taglines every hour of ever day, and after a while, I just start to tune it out. I’m sure it must be effective, to some degree, because many of them have a lot more followers than I do on twitter—but it just seems so… rude. The Wool books sound like they were really grown from fans appreciating the work, telling other people about it, and possibly chatting about it with Mr. Howey himself on Google groups.

This is of course not to say that Wool became popular all on its own. I’m sure that there has been a ludicrous number of hours put into all manner of PR (not to mention the time spent writing); but it’s nice to know that you can make it off the merits of an excellent book and a less invasive PR campaign. Chatting with people is far more up my alley than running about and shouting at people to “Check out my book! 75% off today only! Hey, hey, it’s a book! Buy it now!’

Anyways, give the podcast a listen if you haven’t, it’s a fun interview and can give you a bit of the back story of how things get published (from a source other than me).

-Trevor

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