Porter here, to introduce a special post written for us by Hugh Howey in our “Inside Publishing” series. In my Friday piece, Sir Hugh and the Snail, I wrote about how Howey’s career has surprised some observers because he embraces not only self-publishing but also traditional publishing contracts.[pullquote]I believe there are those in my own country who want to blaze new trails and forge new partnerships, and I welcome that. — Hugh Howey[/pullquote]
Howey has just re-signed with Random House UK’s Century imprint, to publish his new novel, Sand — the same folks led by Jack Fogg who published his Wool trilogy in London. These contracts are for print and digital, even as he self-publishes those works in the States. And with more than 30 such foreign publishers, Howey has said that overseas houses are “nimble and creative…They get putting the reader first.”
On Friday, Writer Unboxed’s rich comment-conversation produced some excellent questions along the lines of, “Wonder what Hugh would say a publishing deal looks like when it’s right?” What makes the driving force behind the new AuthorEarnings.com initiative so outspoken in his enthusiasm for these partnerships with publishers?
So I asked Howey at 10:20 p.m. if he’d consider giving us a few thoughts on it. He sent the piece to me at 7:43 the next morning. (When we say the outliers work hard for their success…right?) The text is his. I added visuals. Thanks, Hugh.
“Whatever It Takes To Reach Readers”
When my editor rolled over in his bed, I could feel the entire caravan sway on its axles. A tiny gas heater sputtered and tried to keep the cold at bay, but it was March in Wales and the ground was covered in frost.
We were at The Weekender, a science fiction convention held every year on those caravan-studded fairgrounds three hours by train north of London. Random House UK had sprung for a deluxe caravan, which came with two bedrooms. But I didn’t doubt that my editor would’ve bunked up with me if the accommodations required it. That’s Jack Fogg for you.
I first heard about Jack from Jenny Meyer, my overseas literary agent. She said one editor in particular was pestering her about Wool at the London Book Fair. He kept cornering her to ask about the book. I liked him already.
But it was in the gator-infested and broiling Florida backcountry that I knew we were meant to partner up. My wife had just taken a new job in Palm Beach County. We were down looking at houses in May of 2012, and the UK auction for Wool was in full swing.
To pitch their proposal to me, Random House UK had created a custom website for me to log into. With turtles and peacocks outside, my wife and I sat in a rental car with the AC blasting and shared my laptop. Up came a montage of employees at Random House UK who had read Wool and loved it.
At the end, Jack Fogg came on and shared accounts of people who weren’t even supposed to be reading the work snagging copies from his office. He said people were losing sleep. While my wife and I waited to hear if we got the house we wanted, I waited and hoped that another auction would go my way.
It did. And the same enthusiasm and creativity I saw in that pitch was displayed throughout the release of Wool in the UK. [Read more…]