Hugh Howey – Amazing Amazon Publishing Success Story

I find Hugh Howey’s Amazon success story inspiring.  In 2011, the listing of Wool on Amazon resulted in a deluge of favorable reviews. The Wool series led to the type of success most of us only dream about.

Was Hugh Howey a success with his first book? Not at all. He just kept on writing and honing his craft. Then there was an Amazon. The publishing platform gives writers the type of opportunity never before offered. Writers can bypass traditional publishing houses and still be highly successful. You have to keep writing and have the courage to put your stuff out there. Just ask Hugh Howey.

Hugh C. Howey Link to the web site.

“Born in 1975, I spent the first eighteen years of my life getting through the gauntlet of primary education. While there, I dabbled in soccer, chess, and tried to write my first novel (several times).

Out of school, I became fascinated with computers, repaired them for a brief stint, then moved to Charleston, SC and attended college. To save money, I purchased a small sailboat to live on, and nearly got myself killed, bringing it down from Baltimore with a friend.

Wool Hugh Howey
Wool by Hugh Howey

After my junior year of college, possibly out of fear of the real world, I left my safe little harbor and sailed South. I hopped around the islands for a while, went through two hurricanes, and spent the last of my cruising funds re-stepping my mast. It was time to head back to the States, where I began a career as a yacht captain.

This began an exciting phase of my life, traveling all over the East coast and the Caribbean, from Barbados to Chicago. I worked on boats in New York, the Bahamas, even Canada. One of these adventures brought me together with my wife, who was able to lure me away from my vagabond ways, dropping anchor and buying a house.

Physically settled, my mind continued to roam, concocting adventures and whisking me off to fantastic places. Some of these tales seemed worth sharing, so I tapped into my love of books and decided to write them down. My first stories detail the life of a character that I’ve been mulling over for quite some time. Her name is Molly Fyde, and she draws inspiration from the awesome women in my life.

My Wool series became a sudden success in the Fall of 2011. Originally just a novelette, the demand from Amazon reviewers sent me scurrying to write more tales in this subterranean world. The resulting Omnibus has spent considerable time in the Amazon top 100, has been a #1 Bestseller in Science Fiction on Amazon, and was optioned by Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian for a potential feature film. The story of its success has been mentioned in Entertainment Weekly, Variety, and Deadline Hollywood among many others. Random House is publishing the hardback version in the UK in January of 2013.

When I’m not writing, I like to go for hikes with my family, take a stroll on the beach, and keep up with my reading. I currently live in Jupiter, Florida with my wife Amber and our dog Bella.”

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geraldgreene

I’ve had an interesting life. I suppose that’s why a couple years ago I started writing. I’ve had an interest since grade school. Growing up I was a dedicated reader. I read many of the classics, from Moby Dick to the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. My grandmother had the full collection of Ernest Hemingway on her book shelves. I read them all. I was hooked on going to libraries.I’d spend hours browsing the shelves. I read The Count of Monte Cristo, The Odyssey, anything by Jack London. Later in life I became a Tom Clancy fan. As I aged, I realized I’ve seen a lot and done a lot, both good and bad. I thought I might as well write some of it down, before I forget it all.) I grew up as an Air Force brat. As a ten and eleven year old I lived in Japan for 18 months. This was during the Korean War. The war ended in 1953 (not really, a cease fire took place) so my step dad was rotated back to the States. I had no choice, but to return with him. I liked Japan. We weren’t in the States for long. In 1955 we went to Chateuroux, France. We were in France for three years. I hated to leave. I was a high school sophomore, a football star, a big fish in a small pond. How many young American teenagers get to walk down the Champs–Élysées and drink Cognac in sports bars. I really liked France. Fast forward a few years and I was attending Georgia Tech part time and working at Western Electric as an Engineering Associate. I was bummed out to get a draft notice. Like Mohammad Ali, I had no quarrel with the yellow man. I thought the war a huge mistake. To beat the draft I joined a Navy Reserve unit located at the Ga. Tech campus. I joined with a good friend who said we should apply for the Seabees. We didn’t know it at the time, but that was like purchasing a trip to Vietnam and being in the field with the Marine Corps. We ended up in the same squad in Vietnam. With all this military stuff going on, it’s no wonder I’ve gravitated toward writing techno thrillers. I guess military life is in my blood. During World War 11 my dad was a Sergeant in the Army Air Corps. He didn’t make it. In 1944 the B-24 heavy bomber he was a gunner on was shot down over Germany. By a cruel twist of fate, it was on my second birthday. My writing reflects my military experiences and thoughts about military life. Few wars are necessary. Often they take place by a series of mistakes and miscalculations. Once started there is no good or easy way out. I write about the harm war brings to so many people. I respect the military and military families. They often face great hardship so the majority of the American public can continue with their shopping, TV watching, overeating, or whatever the current fad may be. I respect few current politicians. Most only play to their base. Since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, that base has narrowed. Now they listen only to those who can write a big check. The money men, pandering politicians, and the circle of 1% elite, are the ones who send young men and women to war. I’m sure this lack of respect shows up in my writing. But, no way I’m giving up on America. As Winston Churchill once said, “The Americans will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.”

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