Hey Reddit, it's been a while!

I've done a couple AMAs in the past about my writing career and self-publishing. A few weeks ago, Apple announced a TV series based on WOOL, a short story I wrote while working as a bookseller.

It's been a wild ride, getting this book adapted for TV. For much of that time I haven't been able to talk about what's brewing, leaving me vague-posting my excitement. That has sucked. I figured the best way to celebrate being able to talk is a full-on AMA!

I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. We can also talk BEACON 23, another book of mine that AMC is developing for TV. Oh, and since the last AMA, I sailed a catamaran most of the way around the world if that's of interest to anyone.

Fire away!

The news: https://variety.com/2021/tv/news/rebecca-ferguson-wool-hugh-howey-apple-1234977582/

Proof: https://twitter.com/hughhowey/status/1397044587521363974?s=20

Comments: 382 • Responses: 63  • Date: 

NinjaPandaOnSkates328 karma

Hi Hugh, not a question but a thank you.

I met you at Supanova several years back. I was a broke young person, who only made it there because I won tickets. You saw me approach another author for an autograph on a book I brought from home and saw as they rudely humiliated me in front of others by asking "What? So you're not going to buy a copy of my book?" After sheepishly buying their new book and getting it signed, you jumped up and said "Here, take a copy of mine (WOOL). I've already signed it for you."

I just wanted you to know that act of kindness has stayed with me for years, and thank you. It meant a lot to a socially awkward and anxious person.

hughhowey215 karma

Hey, you're more than welcome. I'm also socially awkward and anxious, so I probably saw what you were going through and felt the pain like it was happening to me.

jauerbach129 karma

So excited for the Wool TV show! I remember back in 2012 when my friend mentioned this new series he found on Amazon about "these people that have to live in underground silos."

How was Wool shifting between TV and a movie changed the story you want to tell on screen?

hughhowey140 karma

It gave us so much extra room to let the story breathe! I read two really good scripts for a film adaptation, and it was pretty impressive how much of the story they were able to tell, but a ton had to be left out. With ten hour-long episodes of commercial-free television, we were able to add to the story rather than subtract. I think the best stories are being told on television right now. Check out WARRIOR on HBO Max for a prime example.

claire0103 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA and congrats! I’m a longtime fan and really looking forward to the Wool series (my favorite). Any new books or serial stories coming out soon?

hughhowey124 karma

Yup! A memoir, a sequel to SAND, and I'm gonna start a new serialized story this summer. Just getting the first handful of entries done now. :)

Thanks for all the support over the years. Means a lot.

Serindu8 karma

I've been anxiously waiting for more stories from you for years! Glad to hear some are in the pipe.

I'm wondering if any bits or bobs from your trip to the National Laboratory will show up. Would love to have you return as part of a press tour for the TV show.

hughhowey15 karma

I'm dying to come back! And for sure that trip has influenced some of my other stories.

Arysta61 karma

Hi, Hugh. I love your books! Your Wool novels have such an amazing atmosphere. Is there anything you did in particular to help make the reader really feel being in an oppressive closed space?

hughhowey100 karma

I think it helped that I wrote most of the story in a pitch-black meeting room in the bookstore I was working in at the time. I was also living in a 750 square foot house, and I'd spent five years living on a 27' sailboat (that's really small for a floating home). I'm also slightly claustrophobic, so I was able to tap into those fears.

Whenever I write, I try to SEE the world through my character's senses, rather than look down on them from above. Immersive writing like this really helps. I highly recommend it as a tool for all writers.

piotrzak354 karma

Are you going to do a Stan Lee-style cameo in the show?

hughhowey170 karma

I'm going to try! I haven't really started the begging campaign for that yet. But I'm gonna stomp my feet and wail until they let me.

I mean, I wanted to play Holston since I'm all old and gray now, but they wanted someone who could act, so that was out.

piotrzak333 karma

Can you tell us anything about your next book? Timeline, ETA? I love reading your books.
(Can I put in a vote for another installment of SAND?)

hughhowey59 karma

Your wish is my command! I turned in the sequel to SAND in May. It's gonna be called ACROSS THE SAND, and it's a wild one. Should be out early next year.

Before that, a memoir called DEATH AND LIFE will be available this summer. Initially on Amazon Vella, but perhaps elsewhere as well. I'm not kidding when I say reality is stranger than fiction. The things that have happened to me at sea and elsewhere defy explanation.

baraqiyal27 karma

After reading Wool the short story for free on Amazon, I bought and read the entire trilogy. It was the first fiction I had read in more than a decade. Do you get a lot of stories like mine?

hughhowey42 karma

A ton. I used to wonder why this series took off, and so I'd ask audiences at readings how they heard about WOOL or why they gave the series a chance. And I often heard people say the first part was free (or 99 cents), and so they took a peek inside and got hooked.

It reinforced for me the idea that art should have a very easy on-ramp, especially from unknown names or people trying to get their start.

I also was always forgiving of people pirating my works. I just wanted to be read.

alannerd61423 karma

Since we must trust your advice, and assume the WOOL show won't actually "get made" until I'm seeing it with my own eyes (apple announcement be damned)....What, if any, worries do you have about the (potential) show's adaptation? Do you have any expectations of staying very close to the books, or are you open to unique divergences from the book that are interesting, even if they aren't faithful to the original work?

hughhowey67 karma

We are diverging in some interesting ways. Stories really need to hew to the medium they're told in. So much of WOOL relies on internal angst; we need to create more physical drama. I think you'll like how we pulled this off.

The real fun was adding some backstory scenes that are only hinted at in the books that we now get to explore more fully. It's great fan service for readers, and it tells a more in-depth story for noobs.

My worry is that the second season won't get ordered. So much of what we do in season 1 relies on a season 2. I've got friends who've had a season of TV made only to have it canceled. So that's my big fear right now.

pikkopots23 karma

When will we start to hear more news about who was cast for the show?

hughhowey31 karma

I think it'll come out in dribs and drabs over the next few months. The shooting should start in July, so some things will start leaking. Once again, I find myself holding too much close to my chest when I just want to shout everything to the world.

daromebrentiss19 karma

I hope a big name is cast to play Holston and he’s all over the trailers just so the newbies to the series can freak out after what happens to him so early in the story haha

hughhowey26 karma

Hahaha! I wanted them to do the same thing. And barely even talk about Juliette. It's a shame that the Hollywood hype machine has to be so formulaic. If I was completely in charge, people would think Ryan Gosling or Chris Hemsworth was the star of the show until ... ooops!

delfinartinezz22 karma

Hi! Very excited for the tv show. I was wondering how and what was the process for casting Rebecca Ferguson?

hughhowey42 karma

Us: "Rebecca, please, please, please, please come play Juliette!"

Rebecca: "Um, okay."

tjrhodes20 karma

My wife an I read Wool to each other at the end of each day. We are on chapter 54. I’ve read the trilogy on my own and it’s phenomenal. So, thank you.

Are you supporting the TV show or is it mostly out of your hands?

hughhowey14 karma

Wow, that's so cool! :)

It's some of both. I support the show and am trying to help out as much as possible. But it's a big team full of smart and creative people, so a lot of it is in their hands.

htown6417 karma

I’m so happy for you and all your success! How involved were you in casting and scripting? Did production consult you on any major character or plot changes?

hughhowey29 karma

Yeah, I was in the writers' room as we laid out the episodes and seasons. We discussed casting, but I didn't have much of a role there, except to squeal like a little kid on Christmas morning every time they told me another person they'd wrangled into this little endeavor...

petrifiedcattle17 karma

Super excited about the TV show! Is there a chance it'll be available outside of Apple TV?

I still have fond memories of you skyping into the book club meeting back when Wool was 3 short volumes. Thanks for being so humble and personable all of these years!

hughhowey36 karma

Yup! The original deal was with AMC, and they are involved on the creative side. So I'm sure after an initial release on Apple+ that it'll appear on AMC as well.

But if I were you, I would seriously consider suspending another streaming service for a month and getting a month of Apple+. TED LASSO is the best thing I watched last year, and a new season hits this summer. FOR ALL OF MANKIND is also spectacular. Dip in and try them if you can.

StarkJeamland13 karma

Love Wool, just bought a box set of the novels for my father in law who shares my love of post apocalyptic fiction.

This is the first I heard of the show and am beyond excited.

As with any adaptation I have a question on how faithful to the source material you expect it to be?

hughhowey13 karma

Pretty faithful, but we are changing a few things. Exact replicas (like the WATCHMEN film) often fall flat. For me, the main thing was getting Juliette and Holston right and making the silo feel authentic.

sonicseeker4213 karma

Quite amazing to follow your journey! How much, if any, of your success would you attribute to your skillful ability to play “You don’t Know Jack” on a sailboat in Charleston?

hughhowey16 karma


And now I'm dying to know who this is.

VU50013 karma

Do you have any plans to explore more of Half Way Home saga? I was throughly intrigued by the concept of young people with just partial concepts of existing culture. I’d be real interested in how individuals would fill in the completion of these concepts especially the partially formed concept of religion.

hughhowey15 karma

Yeah, I'd love to write a direct sequel to HALF WAY HOME. And also explore other colonies that had their own problems. There's an infinite supply of story there to tell. Hopefully I'll get to that someday.

fourwalker212 karma

What's the most annoying thing about being kinda famous?

hughhowey53 karma

Fantastic question! I feel like I could write an entire book about this. A few highlights:

- Family and friends assume you are far wealthier than you actually are.

- Your colleagues are either a little less famous and hate you or way more famous and don't want to spend time with you.

- What little fame you have feels undeserved, while part of you wonders why you haven't been more successful and what you did wrong.

I mean, it's a mind-fuck having any kind of success. But then, all of life has felt like a mind-fuck to me. I'm generally confused about why things are this way rather than some other way.

ScadaTech11 karma

When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer? When and why did you decide that self publishing was the route you were going to take to get your work in front of my eyes? What’s to come for your readers?

Also, thanks for putting your art out there for us to consume. I’m about to reread The Plagiarist this evening because I need a reminder that reality may not always be what it seems.

Edit: spelling

hughhowey24 karma

The Plagiarist haunts me. I'm convinced we live in a simulation. By the way, we just did a deal last month to develop that short story into a TV show. Might not get off the ground, but it's been fun to brainstorm how best to adapt it.

I knew when I was 12 that I wanted to be a writer. It was ENDER'S GAME that cemented it for me. I started a novel that basically ripped off HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, but never finished it. I would repeat this failure for the next twenty years! Finally, I wrote my first book at age 32 and then kept going for fear of not being able to do it again.

I chose to self-publish after watching a small press put out my first book and seeing that I could do all the things they were doing myself. And I'd keep most of the revenue and have more artistic control. It always felt like the better option for getting a career started.

Lots in the works! A sequel to SAND hits next year. And a children's book about cannibals who write haiku. Sometime this summer a memoir about my crazy sailing adventures will drop.

MelsReddit7010 karma

Hi Hugh! I'm such a huge fan, the first Wool book is tied for my favorite book ever with The Stand. I have recommended the series to so many friends, and even people who "don't do scifi" loved it! How much input were you able to have in the casting decisions for the series?

hughhowey8 karma

I didn't press for any actors. There are people whose entire job is to cast shows like this, and they are so good at what they do. So many things to consider, especially availability. But you also want to get the best talent out there, even if they look different from how you wrote a character. Before long, that actor will take over the role and you'll never see the character any other way.

farbster8 karma

Congrats on the tv show. Hopefully it will be as great as the books.

Do you have any books to recommend from other authors that might be under the radar? ie. other books by self-published authors?

hughhowey12 karma

I'm going to have a ton of recommendations soon. We are launching a major competition for self-pubbed science fiction later this month. 300 books, whittled down to 10 finalists, and then 1 winner. I'll be reviewing all the finalists myself, but the main work will come from the team of bloggers and reviewers we've put together.

hashxrosin8 karma

What’s the key to success?

hughhowey38 karma

I'd say it's 50% luck, 40% hard work, and 10% natural ability.

Luck: I started writing right when digital tools were becoming available, so I could self-publish with zero cost to myself, just upload a PDF and an ebook and away we go. Had I started writing ten years earlier, I'd have been stuck getting terrible publishing contracts or selling books out of the trunk of my car. Ten years later, and the competition is far more fierce. Being at the right place at the right time is too often undervalued in success stories.

Hard work: I gave up all other hobbies and spent my every free minute writing. I was publishing three novels a year when my career took off. Very few people were working harder than me (and I noticed that anyone who was had even more success than I did). Effort really does matter. For most of my life, I was unwilling to give up other activities to devote that time to my writing.

Natural ability: If I'd dreamed of being an NBA all-star, I would've needed far more luck and had to work extra hard. My body just isn't built to be an athlete. My cardio is awful. And for some reason, ever since I was a little kid, I had a wild imagination, an ability to absorb vocabulary without really trying, and a voracious appetite for books. There are only a handful of things that came easily to me, and I happened to have success in one of those areas.

Not sure if this answer is accurate, but it's how I feel about success. I've spent a LOT of time pondering this question, wondering why it happened to me and not so many of my more-talented colleagues. This is the best I've got for you.

jaexlee8 karma

I remember you saying many years ago, after you had first published the first Wool novella, it did pretty well, so you jumped on it and pumped out 2-5. So I would say it was also you being ready and able to seize the opportunity and not waste that chance. Of course a part of that may have been luck, but you made sure that luck kept going.

hughhowey14 karma

Good point. I think about that moment a lot. I've had other opportunities come up that I let slip by, and it would've been easy to ignore the demand for more WOOL stories as well. I would have made tens of thousands of dollars on that 99 cent short story, and then life would've gone back to normal, I think. It almost makes me feel afraid, how closely I could have come to missing that opportunity.

piotrzak38 karma

After you took a break from FB, I lost track of your boat adventures. Where is it now?

hughhowey17 karma

The boat is in New Zealand. I sold WAYFINDER right as the pandemic was erupting. I'm designing a new boat now, which should be ready right around when the TV show no longer needs me. It was a bit of a gamble, moving back to land to concentrate on turning books into other media, but so far it's paid off. I just see this as an extended hiatus from the cruising life.

Jamie_Karell7 karma

Read through your other AMAs, thanks for linking to them. I'm just going to go ahead and repeat my questions from last time:

  1. What's your stance on the NYT Bestsellers list? (As a political statement/curated list, in comparison to other lists that are more reflective of actual book sales.)

  2. What do you think were the deciding factors towards being able to make your writing career work? Anything you were doing differently compared to your peers while you were getting established?

  3. What prompted the catamaran trip, was it all in one go or in several trips cumulating in most of the way around the world? Why not all the way around the world/will you be doing more?

  4. What do you think that special something is which makes your works tv-worthy?

hughhowey11 karma

1) The NYT list is garbage. It's curated, and there's a ton of favoritism. I'm far more proud of having hit #1 overall on Amazon.com than I am for hitting the NYT list a few different times. Having said that, it's still the branding you go for if you can, because of the recognition from readers. It's similar to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in this way: Mostly meaningless, but touted everywhere because it's touted everywhere.

2) Patience and a hatred of debt. I lived a very simple, affordable lifestyle for years and didn't accumulate debt. This afforded me the free time to invest in my writing career. The cliche of the "starving artist" is totally true. Learning how to subsist on very little will give you the space to concentrate on making art.

3) I've been dreaming of sailing around the world since I was little. It's just a fun way to travel, by boat. The right cadence of difficulty and leisure, hardship and relaxation, fear and contentment. I still have the Indian Ocean to cross someday, and I look forward to that. So far I've gone from South Africa to Australia, heading westward.

4) I think almost any book could be adapted to a decent TV show. What probably got this made is a history of sales and an established fanbase. But if there is any secret sauce here, it's Juliette. She's such a fun character to get to know. I think the studios have always chomped at the bit to bring her to life.

Great questions! Thanks!

UglySpiral7 karma

Hi Hugh! I read WOOL last year and really loved it so I’m excited to see it’s coming to tv! I’m wondering how much creative control you’re given in regard to the tv adaptation, casting, storyboarding, etc. or are you pretty hands off for the most part?

hughhowey8 karma

I've been involved, but definitely not in charge. I spent a few weeks in LA before the pandemic in a writers' room, blocking out the pilot and the first season of episodes. The last year has been a lot of work, going through scripts and making notes, meeting with the writers and production crew, just trying to help make the story as solid and engaging as possible. It's been a lot of fun. I think my dream job now is to just work in TV/Film writers' rooms. The group energy is infectious.

Misaka99827 karma

From my wife (who loves you): How long and how extensively did you plan Half Way Home before you began NaNoWriMo?

hughhowey9 karma

Very extensively. The week before NaNo started, my gf and I went on a long camping trip. We hiked every day with our dog on the trip, and she and I would just discuss the plot and characters and all the different directions I could take that plot. By the time I sat down to write the first chapter, I knew most of what was to come.

powermuffin6 karma

Congratulations!! This made me remember an exchange we had eight years ago (https://reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1a7jxd/_/c8vfck5/?context=1). Will watch the show as soon as possible. :) A question: What's it like to be on a boat during world events like a pandemic or a failed coup attempt? Samesame or different than being on dry land among other people?

hughhowey9 karma

I actually spent most of the pandemic in NYC, at ground zero for all this craziness. For me, I'd rather be close to events like this rather than far away. Somehow, they are less scary.

But in the past, there were times when I was out of touch during major happenings, and I would only find out about them months later. Columbine was one of those things. I was living in the Bahamas at the time, and I didn't hear anything about it until half a year later.

Patzlaf6 karma

Hi Hugh. First off, love the books. I've been debating with my dad about what books we'd like to see adapted into a TV series and we both agreed the Wool Trilogy would be outstanding.

How many series do you think you'd need to tell the story properly? You've mentioned about character's back stories and that a lot of it hinges on having a second season.

Also, who is playing that slimy IT head Bernard? Any ideas who you'd like?

hughhowey12 karma

I think we can tell the entire story we have in mind in 4 seasons. The more compact, the better in my opinion.

You won't believe who we got to play Bernard. It's wild. I can't wait to see that character come to life.

Plus-Significance-176 karma

Hi Hugh. You now have a few TV shows in the works, are there any signs that Sand might also be adapted the big or small screen? Looking forward reading the 2nd installment 😊

hughhowey6 karma

SAND is currently with the second studio to option it, and we just found out a couple months ago (after they wrote what I thought was an excellent pilot) that they aren't moving forward with it. So I'll get those rights back in December, and we'll go out to interested parties again. That means any possible adaptation would be years away. But we'll keep trying! I love that world and think it needs to be on screen somewhere.

lewant996 karma

Hi Hugh. Congrats on the TV deals. I have a few questions about Beacon 23.

The novel really focuses on the one male protagonist, but with the brilliant Lena Headey cast, I assume that she will be taking on a leading role. Is her character based on Claire, and if so do you know how they plan to expand that part from a secondary character into a leading one?

Also, any idea when Digger's casting will be announced or if he has been cast yet?

hughhowey5 karma

I think Digger is locked down, but no announcement yet. Claire is indeed going to have a much larger role in the TV show, and will join events much earlier on. What worked in the book wouldn't translate well to TV. I think you'll like what's in store...

metalsun6 karma

So is there a story that you want to write but not got round to yet?

hughhowey7 karma

At least a dozen. It's so painful, having story ideas that you can see almost fully, but you can't find the time to execute it properly. It drives me insane.

fourwalker25 karma

I'm not asking you for exact numbers, but with Apple did they just pay you a chunk of money up front, or do you get paid based on how many views Wool gets? Or is it a combination?

hughhowey15 karma

Most TV/Film deals work like this:

You get a chunk of money in the form of an "option." This just lets them hold the rights for 18 - 36 months. This could be anywhere from $500 to $500,000. I'd guess most options for book adaptations fall in the $15k - $100k range.

If they decide to actually make the thing, you get paid the "purchase price," usually the day principle photography starts. This can be from the thousands to multiple millions. I'd guess most purchase prices are in the $50k - $1 million range.

I have a friend who just sold a pitch to Netflix for $2 million dollars. This is unusual, but a ton of big names are attached. I also know folks doing deals for $500. The range is enormous.

For authors, the big bonus is often from increased book sales.

AnthBlueShoes5 karma

Dear Mr. Howey,

It’s my understanding that the song Omega Point by the band Chaos Killed was paramount to your completion of the series. What’s the likelihood we could see this featured on the show?


Totally not a member of Chaos Killed that reached out to you while you finished the series

hughhowey6 karma

Hahaha! I don't know this song, but now I want to go listen to it instead of taking more questions. :)

AnthBlueShoes6 karma

Appreciate the reply!

While you were completing the series, I reached out to you on Facebook explaining that our band was directly influenced by your work. You replied and went on to tweet the link to one of our songs. Which was beyond flattering.

Congrats on the show, can’t wait to check it out!

hughhowey7 karma

Oh yeah, that was a long time ago! :)

raspberrypied5 karma

OK, so what is going on in Silo 40? Also there appeared to be hints that one or two of the silos figured things out and detached from Silo 1. Thoughts?

hughhowey12 karma

Yup. That. They went rogue without arousing suspicions. I hope to detail this in the next book of the series.

unclesamiam223 karma

A new book??? Since when???

hughhowey3 karma

My agent and I just started talking seriously about this last month. But I've had the story in mind for a long, long time.

raspberrypied2 karma

Yea! Juliette gets alias (maybe?)!

hughhowey6 karma

It'll be about the next generation. ;)

Poobeard765 karma

How many sheep are in Wool?

hughhowey6 karma

Both of them.

Thantastic4 karma

Hi Hugh! Wow, thanks for answering every single question thus far and congrats on your achievements. I’ve read various other Q&A’s you’ve offered and have always felt so inspired by you.

What advice, motivation, or encouragement would you give someone who wants to get started on a similar path and has ideas, but is feeling nervous about things like lack of writing experience or beliefs that their story is not that original?

hughhowey8 karma

We all had zero experience before we started. Zilch. Stephen King started writing his first story with no idea about how to do anything. You fiddle around, you learn from your mistakes, you develop an ear for good prose, a mind for good story, a heart for great characters. And then you keep practicing.

ameliapond114 karma

Which Rebecca Ferguson project did you see her in first?

hughhowey5 karma

The Mission Impossible films. I think she stole the show. Absolutely captivating.

coreybstl4 karma

Hi Hugh! Thanks for the great stories. I credit Wool with helping me realize I am just a huge science fiction nerd. I hadn't really read much up until about a decade ago when I decided reading would be a good habit to get into. I first started off reading some drunk and drug-addled authors I had always wanted to read like Hunter S Thompson and Charles Bukowski; I picked up Wool on my kindle on a complete whim and was blown away. From then on I would only read science fiction novels, chasing that feeling I first got while reading Wool. So BIG thank you for that!
Anyways, I have been dream-casting Wool in my mind for a long time now. Rebecca Ferguson is absolutely perfect for Jules. How long until we start hearing some other casting news? I would like to campaign for Jane Lynch to play Mayor Jahns.

hughhowey4 karma

I think most of the season 1 roles are locked in, but some fun casting to do for season 2 ahead! Hopefully we will start announcing more of the cast as shooting gets underway next month.

coreybstl4 karma

Jon Hamm for Donald in season 2!

hughhowey5 karma

I'll ask him next time I see him!

verorderud4 karma

Hi Hugh. I just realised that I've probably read more books by you than any other author, at least living authors. It feels like you're still kind of an underground phenomenon, although that's about to change...

Do you feel pressure to please us fans, or do you just write what you feel like?

I'm always amazed by your creativity, and although the Wool series are a high point it just seems like there is a torrent of cool ideas and people living inside you ready to burst out!

hughhowey3 karma

Hey, thanks for that! I think you're right about me being an "underground" phenomenon. ;)

I feel pressure to please fans, but I know that this is most likely to happen if I just write what I feel like writing. It's difficult to finish a story if you aren't passionate about it. So I go where my curiosity takes me, and so far that's worked out pretty well.

mabl4 karma

Hey Hugh! Greetings from Turkey. I've read all your books. You're my favorite modern writer along with GRR Martin.

What was your inspiration to create the character Solo? He's my favorite.

hughhowey2 karma

He's my favorite as well! I think he's the character most like me, or that I drew from my own past in order to create. I was (and am) an introvert who would disappear into books and spent a ton of time on my own. Later in life, I would live alone on a small sailboat and sometimes go days without seeing other people. I drew from those experiences, and from being a middle child.

DrCVC3 karma

Any leads on where Wool will be filmed? I know you had a frustrating experience in Wilmington, NC on your last visit, but we'd love to have a chance to make it up to you Wilmywood!

hughhowey3 karma

I don't remember anything frustrating about Wilmington. My last time there I was sailing through on Wayfinder and having a blast. But for WOOL, it'll be overseas. I plan on getting back to NC soon to get some of those donuts near you all.

StillTop3363 karma

I'm so psyched for this show and have loved the series ever since it was first self published. I'm also a hybrid author who "quit" self publishing once I got an agent and am too scared to ask if I can keep self publishing on the side even though I want to. How does it work for you? I noticed a publisher-edition of WOOL at BN one day and realized you must have been picked up by a publisher. Do you still self publish? Do you trad publish first? Some kinda halfsies ebook for you, print for publishers deal? Do you have an agent? How do you go about deciding with publication option is best?

I made vastly more money self publishing than with my 5 publisher deals, but I imagine once you're as big as you are, you might make more with trad? I'm still relatively a nobody writing YA. (and it's been harder for me to get a new book deal as the years go by)

hughhowey7 karma

Great questions. I do a mix of both. My general idea is to self-publish everything and let publishers make an offer afterward. The sequel to SAND was a bit different. My agent went and got an offer without even telling me, then when I heard the size of the advance, I felt obligated to drop other projects and write the best book possible to deserve what they were paying me.

In general, I've made far more month self-publishing than going with big 5 publishers. But once money was no longer my primary goal, I was able to do some interesting deals with publishers. My income now is less, but I'm reaching readers I may not have otherwise. That's a deal I'll take every time these days.

Best of luck to you!

drbougiie3 karma

Hello Mr. Howey! Wool is one of my favorite books and is what I recommend to anyone looking to get back into reading. Also that triple set of short stories has some of the best cover art - fantastic. Any advice or words of encouragement for someone just starting out writing sci-fi stories? Thank you!

hughhowey5 karma

Absolutely! And thanks. So, my writing advice goes like this:

-Read a lot, especially the good stuff. The more stories you consume, the better yours will be.

-Write a lot, especially the bad stuff. The thing that stops most people from writing is realizing that their work isn't that good. It's okay! You have to fight through this to get better.

-Give yourself a very long timeframe for having success. Your first stories won't be runaway hits. Be patient and keep writing. Your best work is always just around the corner.

Affectionate-Quiet653 karma

Hi. Can you tell us a little more about the new boat you are building? Is it another catamaran? Also any chance you will do any book signings in the near future?

hughhowey5 karma

Yup, another catamaran. I've actually helped design two boats for a builder that I really admire. One is a sailing cat and the other is a power cat. Both are revolutionary in how much solar they carry, something I learned from my last boat. Both are a little over 60' long, which is where I think the cruising market will end up eventually.

RedLMR563 karma

I've never been aware of you until now, I hope the series is a success. I have a series of books in mind of my own but I've always wondered, if it ever got adapted, how much faith should you have that the creative minds will be faithful? Because it's your baby at the end of the day but you have no creative control.

hughhowey3 karma

I've never worried about this myself. Nothing can change the books, so it's not like they're going anywhere. The biggest challenge is actually getting something made! I'd rather see an adaptation get on screen and not be perfectly faithful than pass up an opportunity over fear of it being changed in the process. But that's just me.

WinglessFlutters3 karma

Hi Hugh! Very excited about the TV show! When you wrote, did you know the entire story first, or did you discover aspects of it in writing? Are there parts of the book you'd change if you could, or that you look forward to improving as you adapt to a new medium?

Are you familiar with the Metal Gear Solid video gam series?

hughhowey4 karma

I only knew the first 50 or so pages. The series started off as a short story. There wasn't going to be any more after that. But the short story took off, and reader demand led me to write the rest of the first novel. I was having to sort out the story while I wrote.

I'd be scared to change anything if I could do it all over again. I'd worry I'd never be able to reproduce the success the series has had. It's similar to the question about changing anything in your past: if you are happy with where you are now, you should be wary of altering anything.

ImCaffeinated_Chris3 karma

Are you still baking bread on the boat? :)

hughhowey3 karma

Nope! I'm on a long hiatus while making myself available for Hollywood. But plan on getting back there soon. :)

DongOnTits3 karma

Hi, Hugh. I’ve been a fan for years, and I often cite you as a big reason why I started writing fiction. Readers have told me that my books would make great movies or shows, but I don’t know where to begin. How did you start making connections in the industry?

hughhowey2 karma

There are a lot of avenues you can take here; none of them are short or direct.

The best way is to sell a lot of books, which just leads to another question: how the hell do I pull this off? See an answer I wrote earlier here about luck & effort. There's a lot of the former. But if you put out enough stories, you should start accumulating readers and garnering sales. That's a good first step.

Eventually, you should try to lure in a literary or film agent, which will help you reach folks in Hollywood. This is also difficult. Sales help. See above. It ain't easy.

Another useful path is to network, network, network. Make friends with as many screenwriters and industry peeps as possible. Make yourself useful. Get work on sets if you can. Try to get a job adapting someone else's work. It's a grind. So many other people are chasing the same dream.

Zarvon3 karma

Yooo I LOVED your book! While I read it, I kept wondering where your inspiration came from. Can you talk a bit about your world building process?

hughhowey7 karma

Absolutely. Part of the inspiration was seeing how so many people were getting their knowledge of the outside world through their screens and devices. I wondered what this was doing to us, being fed negative news all the time. Was it warping our view of how good it is out in the world?

I liken it to Plato's Cave, this sense that we don't see things how they are, but rather the shadows of the forms of things. That is how the wallscreen came about. Then I realized that the heroes of this story would be the optimists, who wanted to go out and see the world for themselves. The "cleaning" process arose from this, which gave me the first story in WOOL.

From there, I needed a character who would get to the bottom of the mystery of the silo. I wanted it to be a mechanic from the very depths, a woman if possible. That's how Jules started coming to life. And the entire time, I kept asking myself questions about the people who built the silo, what happened to the world, and what the finale of the last book would be.

For me, world-building is just asking a series of questions and always having an interesting answer.

cliffyskogs3 karma

I read that you plan/hope for a season 2. Do you have a final "end" figured out, and a number of seasons in your mind that you need to finish the story? Or at this point are you only worried about making it through season 1 and then figure the rest out as it goes...?

hughhowey6 karma

We mapped out every season in order to tell the entire trilogy. The challenge will be getting enough viewers interested so we get the green light to do that. So be prepared to spread the word!

cliffyskogs5 karma

That's a fear of mine with every new show I start, I've been burned before; especially with shows on streaming services.

Recently with Jupiter's Legacy, it was cancelled before I even had time to finish binging the other new shows that had released.

Do you know the algorithm or specifically what it will take to get the greenlight? Views, minutes, reviews?

I'll watch the episodes multiple times in a row, stop any watch parties and make people watch on their own (to get more views). anything that helps. :)

hughhowey4 karma

You rock. I'll be doing the same thing.

I don't know how they determine these things. With Apple, it's probably very unique, because they launched not that long ago. So I think there's a good chance they'll at least want a second season to build out their catalog and tell the best story possible.

CL4P-TRAP3 karma

Very excited about this! I love WOOL and wasn’t sure if it would ever get an adaption. Is the plan to cover the whole first book in season 1 and do the sequels for subsequent seasons?

hughhowey9 karma

We have 10 episodes in the first season. Each is an hour long. And believe it or not, that won't get us to the end of WOOL. It'll take two seasons to tell what's in the first novel.

YourFavoriteChoom3 karma

Hey Hugh -

I'm trying my hand at self-publishing after getting constant rejections from agents and publishers. I also saw your announcement for SPSFC and am thinking about entering that as well. So far it's been kind of a slog finding reviewers, marketing etc. Any advice for a new indie author?

hughhowey4 karma

My advice to an indie author who has their first book or two under their belt is to keep writing. Aim to write and publish 10 novels or so before worrying about gaining traction. It's the one thing you can control, and the thing most likely to kick-start your career.

pikkopots2 karma

Will the show be shot in Georgia? It seems like a logical choice since AMC Studios is in Atlanta, and Wool takes place there, so... ???

hughhowey3 karma

That would've been perfect! But no, it'll be shot overseas.

altcodeinterrobang2 karma

I just wanted to say good luck! I friend loaned me the first book years ago and it was a wonderful read. I hope the show holds up!

What's your favorite recently read book?

hughhowey3 karma

THE FIFTH SEASON by JK Nemisin. It's soooooooo good.

5paff2 karma

Firstly I'm a massive fan of your books and I thank you for what you have wrote, I've read the Wool trilogy multiple times and very excited for the TV series. So for my question, is there anything you wished you had done differently in the books?

hughhowey3 karma

Thanks so much! I appreciate that. It's an honor to have your stuff read once, much less multiple times! :)

The only thing I have thought about changing is the ending. In that I would love to write another trilogy that takes place after the events of DUST. Stay tuned for more on that...

BestCatEva2 karma

I loved the Wool series!! I always wondered, did some of the population not go into the silos and what happened (if anything) to them? Was the silo group a cult and only believers went into them?

hughhowey13 karma

I answered that question in SHIFT, I think. And in the three short stories that came out a few years ago in the Apocalypse Triptych. You should definitely check out SHIFT if you enjoyed WOOL and have questions about how things went wrong.