Hugh Howey Q&A now live

December 12, 2013 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Author Interviews, Books


The author of WOOL and its sequels, one of my favourite books of all time is now visiting David Estes’ Fan Group on Goodreads and answering YOUR questions!

Check it out here.

I’m so excited, Hugh has already answered my questions:

Your overwhelming success as an indie author has led to obtaining publishing contracts in the traditional publishing world. How did you feel when this happened? What would your advice be to other aspiring indie authors? 

I was nervous, to be honest. For the better part of a year, I turned down offer after offer from major publishers. I didn’t want to give up ownership and control of my material. I was worried publishers would jack up the price. Some wanted to change the title. Some said they would take it down for a year while they “prepared it for a real release.” I wanted to keep doing what I was doing.

So we turned down 6-figure and then 7-figure deals. And my wife and agent were both incredibly supportive in this. I knew it was the right thing to do, both for the fans and myself. My agent and I also had a mission from the day we hooked up to try and set a precedent with fairer contracts for authors. We were very ambitious about this and knew it was unlikely, but my agent kept saying, “Publishers need to have these conversations. They need to hear this.” And I agreed.

So we held out until we got a contract that treated me like a partner. Most publishing contracts are just horrible for authors. There are anti-compete clauses that prevents the author from writing and publishing what they want when they want. So they aren’t just buying a book, they are buying your career. They also want ownership of all your rights for the term of copyright, which can be your life plus decades more. We fought for a limited term of license (7 years) and a groundbreaking print-only deal (the first ever from a Big 6 publisher). And I’m glad we did.

How did you come up with the idea for WOOL? It’s such a simple idea but completely captivating!

The idea behind WOOL was the wallscreen. I wanted to explore the idea of a culture that is fed a negative view of the world 24-7 and what this would do to their sense of hope and their desire to make the world a better place. Because I believe we’re living in that world. Our news outlets focus on the worst parts of humanity, and I believe this has an impact on us. This came to me as I moved from captaining yachts for a living and seeing the world with my own eyes to settling down in Virginia and seeing the news.

Much is made of the underground setting of WOOL, but that wasn’t even a major feature of the story to me. It was less than secondary.

WOOL rapidly switches between character perspectives in each episode, often in a shocking manner in the previous book. What was your thought process behind this?

This arose because of the way the work was published. WOOL was just a short story at first. It was only Holston’s story. You know how that ends, so you know I had a problem as people clamored for more in this series. I needed a new protagonist, and it wasn’t anyone from the first story. So WOOL 2 became a bridge story to introduce Juliette. And I decided to set up the expectation that Juliette would perish. The serial release and the act of turning a short story into a novel resulted in the POV changes.

What has been your favourite fan moment as an author? 

That’s a tough one. There have been so many. Probably this one:…

Ask Hugh Howey a question here! 

Upcoming Author Q&As

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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22 responses to “Hugh Howey Q&A now live

  1. I have to say that I hadn't heard of this book before, but I think it's great how he fought for an honest deal. To be honest, I didn't know that publishers actually had control over so many things! I agree that more people should be aware of that and that there should be more author-friendly contracts. I think it's great that he wants to let the world know more about this.

    Great interview!
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  2. Wheeeeee, he answered your questions!! Hugh Howey is pretty much one of my FAVORITE authors out there, at least for the dystopia and science fiction genres. The first story packed a lot of punch and it captivated me in its web from there. So happy to know more about the behind the scenes :3 :3 Great questions, too!!
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    • IKR? These author Q&As are so good they actually answer most of the questions you throw at them 🙂 I totally agree with you, he's one of my favourites as well! He actually visited my city earlier this year but I missed him at the local bookstore 🙁 Thanks Faye! Come ask him a question too!

  3. Oh I am not familiar with this author, Jeann. But I admire how he stood up for his principles and never got blinded with the money offers.

    And I also love your questions. I wish I had your wit and confidence to throw questions like these. I even passed up the chance to interview Marissa M. you know. 😐

    And kudos again to David for hosting this Q and A.
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    • I'm glad to spread the love to everyone hehe. I really enjoying participating in the author Q&As, it demystifies these authors and they are mostly just so down to earth and wonderful 🙂 You know how us book bloggers kind of treat them as celebrities hehe.

  4. I haven't even heard of this series before (yeah, shame on me 😉 But it sounds pretty epic. It's kind of WOAH that he has so many offers from publishers. That must have taken guts to turn down those epic deals to go on doing what he believed in. Wow. 🙂

    • It is really good, I actually found out about it from Amazon back when it was still an indie but it's really poular now. I know, good on Hugh for standing up to what he believes in!