Along with recommended science fiction and fantasy, I have been recently discussing self publishing and marketing.
And…no one is more at the forefront of marketing for the Indie author than Hugh Howey.
I first became aware of Hugh Howey when I downloaded a free, self-published, short story off of Amazon called Wool. At the time, I didn’t realize it was a short story, but I had heard a bit about it and it showed up on my Amazon’s “suggested for you” list.
Seemed like an odd title, but it was free and intriguing noises were being made about it.
There followed on Amazon a longer sequel of 126 pages called Wool 2: Proper Gauge for .99 and then a 106 page story called Wool 3: Casting Off for .99, a little longer at 166 pages Wool 4: the Unraveling was $1.99, and finally a 259 page novelette, Wool 5: The Stranded for $2.99.
Hugh Howey says in July 2011 he wrote the first short story, never marketed it, never mentioned it on his blog, but readers clamored to know more about the world with the silos. Offered free, many downloaded, read it and wanted more.
The stories were bundled into an omnibus called Wool Omnibus Edition 1-5 for $5.99.
Hugh Howey was on fire.
Following this success, he continued with The Shift series, much in the same vein as Wool…First Shift at 236 pages, Second Shift at 266 pages and Third Shift at 282 pages all collected together and in 2013 offered the Shift Omnibus. Wool went to hardback, published by Random House, UK in 2013 and Ridley Scott Productions is discussing making a movie of Wool.
Then, Hugh Howey opened the doors to his Silo world, and authors from all over are now writing stories and novels in the Silo Universe. Wider distribution came with audiobooks. Also, Shift can be found in Scribd’s subscription listings.
This is where it becomes apparent that “content is king,” and some stories fire the imagination of their readers and take off to become mega hits if the author is paying attention to the new trends.
And Howey was.
It was an undefinable, combustible mixture of great storytelling, fresh marketing approaches and being at the right place at the right time.
Hugh Howey has been very clever and innovative in how his stories were released out into the mad maelstrom of the new publishing world.
Then one year ago (2013), he published his novel, Dust, also through CreateSpace, that wrapped up his Silo trilogy.
“Wool introduces the world of the silo, Shift tells the story of its creation and Dust brings about its downfall.”
Dust is a full novel of 464 pages. Sold in paperback ($14.78), Audiobook ($12.33) or Kindle ($5.99). I happened to grab it out of my local library in the paperback version. Before you yell cheapskate too loud, I did buy the Wool version first and then accidentally found Dust in my library. *snatch*
As a finale to an exciting trilogy, it delivers. Once again the reader encounters the determined Mayor Juliette who understands more than anyone the horrors of the silo and desperately tries to save her people. Dust also brings back the grittiness of life in the silo with the good, the bad, and the clueless that live there.
It’s a story of the human spirit that never gives up, that adapts and copes in order to survive against horrifying odds.
But you have to start at the beginning. You have to start with Wool.
And then, you’ll be hooked.