Yes, it’s totally not fair that New York is getting its third meet-up while Cincinnati hasn’t had its first. I agree. This one isn’t my fault, though. I’m going to be in NY for BEA next week, and a handful of bestselling authors have invited me to sign books with them at the W Hotel in Times Square. Tina Folson, Jasinda Wilder, Liliana Hart, and CJ Lyons will all be there. After the signing, we’re going to have a super-duper combined meet-up at a nearby bar.
If you want to join us, drop by the W between 5 and 7 on Saturday, June 1st. Bring books to sign or snag one there (I’m giving copies of WOOL away. Everyone will have books!) Then follow us to the meet-up afterward. It should be the biggest and baddest one yet.
Next week is BookExpo America, the largest book conference in the United States. It’ll be my first year going. My boss at the bookstore I worked in always said next year would be my turn to go, and then next year would roll around and he would apologize and leave the store to me for a week. This year, I’ll be able to meet him up there and grab some lunch together, catch up a bit.
BEA is mostly about showcasing upcoming releases and doing business between booksellers and publishers. Some bookstore owners do their catalog ordering right there on the floor. There are authors signing copies of books and stacks of advance copies and free books to whoever wants them. I’m expecting a little chaos.
I have a couple of talks planned and interviews scheduled. Most of my time will be spent at booth #966: Bestselling Indies. I got an invite a while back from a group of the bestselling authors in the business. Even though I sell a fraction of what they do, they took pity on me and asked if I wanted to go in on the booth with them. It’s going to be a chance to hang out with my heroes and trailblazers like Bella Andre, CJ Lyons, Barbara Freethy, Stephanie Bond, and Tina Folsom. I can’t wait!
I think Amazon’s servers are keeping tabs on my word count for DUST. To put some pressure on me to write faster, both WOOL and SHIFT are Kindle Daily Deals today. That lowers the price to $1.99 for each book. I’d call that a steal . . . except that both books are all over the torrentz and warez sites. Let’s just say it’s reasonably affordable.
And here’s the real trick: If you have the ebook, the full audiobook is only 99 cents! Which means you could get the full recording for three bucks. Insane in the membrane.
Maybe it’s a sign that I think my books are overpriced that I rarely urge people to buy them. But at $1.99, it feels like a good deal. And if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still read the thing on any device. There are apps for that. Or, since the book is DRM-free, convert it to whichever format you prefer. But get them while they’re cheap!
(You should also snag Stephanie Bond’s book, Our Husband, while it’s only 99 cents. Stephanie and I will be sharing a booth at BEA this year. She’s one of the bestselling and coolest indie authors around!)
I have a routine. Every single morning, I get out of bed, grab the New York Times off my driveway, and put on pants. Sometimes in that order. And then I sit down with a bowl of cereal and read a paper made out of actual paper. It’s my favorite thing in the world, something I got hooked on when I lived in New York and returned to while working in a bookstore. It feels quaint, sure, but it’s not like I’m trying to live in the past. That’s for the editors of the New York Times to do.
More specifically, it’s what Pamela Paul wants us to do. The new book editor has decided that e-book bestsellers will no longer appear in the print edition of the New York Times Book Review. The argument is that they belong online. I haven’t heard what this means for the combined list, but my guess is that it’ll stay combined (the first list and most important one right now jumbles the print and digital together).
Interestingly, when Simon & Schuster launched the print edition of WOOL, the New York Times refused to count the print and digital as the same book, which kept us off the combined list. That was how WOOL could show up on the hardback bestseller list, the paperback bestseller list, and the e-book bestseller list, but not on the combined. Three versions of the book hitting the charts in competition with one another but not on the main list. It shook my confidence in those lists in general. This move does as well. These lists should reflect what you, the reader, are . . . reading. Not what publishers want to see advertised. For that, it should cost them. You know, so the paper can stay in business.
The whole thing smacks of a child hiding their eyes, assuming if they can’t see something then it’s not there. Change scares the shit out of some people. The rest of us know it has never been a better time to be a reader or a writer. And if you see me with my pants off in the driveway, squatting over a copy of the New York Times, I’m not making a political statement. I’m just grabbing my favorite paper in the entire universe, and sometimes I get my morning routine all out of order.
Edit: @Swedgeland informed me via Twitter that this has an ugly precedent.
I should have seen the question coming. It was one I used to pose to my professors in high school and college. I never believed all the supposed “meaning” injected into works that we were supposed to learn to spot. Not until I started writing.
And then I gave a talk at my wife’s university, and the first question out of the audience of college freshmen was whether or not authors deliberately put in the metaphors and allegories they are expected to learn. I remembered being that student. I told him, “Hell yes it’s there on purpose.”
When I write, it has to be about something more than the plot and the characters and the conflict. What’s the central idea behind the story? What am I exploring? And let me be clear: I am exploring for my own benefit. These are the layers added to keep myself engaged. I don’t expect them to be uncovered or appreciated. In fact, I halfway expect them to annoy if spotted, these deliberate repetitions of theme and circumstance. But when you plan on doing seven or ten passes through the same work, you better make it entertaining for yourself. Otherwise, you’ll write a rough draft and hit “publish.” You will not have any desire to immerse yourself in the work any further. Well, that’s my approach; every author is different.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading in the New York Times. A major cell phone carrier was doing away with the 2-year contract? They were going to subsidize the cost of the phone only until you paid it off, and then you quit paying for it? With zero interest? You can leave at any time, change phones at any time, and they’ll unlock the phone for you so you can travel?
But wait . . . the best is yet to come. Someone is finally doing away with the ten minutes of instructions you get whenever you call a friend and get their voicemail. You know, you can press * to leave a callback number (don’t we all have call waiting by now?), or press 1 for more options, or listen for the beep, or oh-my-god-we-have-to-treat-every-caller-like-they’ve-never-called-anyone-before-in-their-lives . . . just-in-case.
Yeah, T-Mobile is going straight to the beep. Granted, as they say in the article, it’s easy to upheave an industry when you’re at the bottom. But still, I decided to reward these business decisions by taking my business elsewhere. Goodbye sucky carrier of old, I’m now with T-Mobile. And while I was worried about reception in my house (my sucky carrier gave me half a bar at home, dropped calls, and wouldn’t send me a tower to fix the problem), my new buddy at T-Mobile actually hops onto my WiFi for my calls, giving me perfect reception! (Like that $200 tower . . . but free).
It feels good to reward excellent business practices. It would be even better if everyone else on the planet jumped ship with me. Not because it would force the rest of the sucky carriers to treat us like human beings, but because I would never again have to listen to some voice tell me what to do after the beep. Just get me to the part where I leave a message. Not that anyone listens to them, of course. They just ring me back and say, “Hey, did you just call me?”
At least, that’s what I do.
Read the story. You’ll be glad you did.
If you’ve read WOOL recently, you are probably in dire need of a good laugh. Leave it to Mike Burton to provide a bit of levity to this subterranean and claustrophobic world.
I just saw these cartoons for the first time today. I asked Mike if I could share them on the blog, and when I messaged him I noticed he had already messaged me to see if I minded that he was selling prints. He assured me he was selling them at cost. I begged him to up the percentages a bit so he could get paid before I ordered my prints. Done and done. The postcards and prints are all extremely affordable, and 100% of the proceeds go to the Mike G. Burton Foundation er . . . wallet. Check them out here.
Another of his cartoons after the break! (And I hear he might have ideas for others).
I started a thread at KBoards last year that asked an innocuous question. I wanted to hear from indie authors making $100 – $500 a month from their writing. My hunch was that the untold story of the indie revolution was that a vast number of authors were making real money with zero media coverage. Well, this weekend, author Christina Miller started a new thread that asks a more audacious question, and the response is just as startling. She wants to know how many indie authors are making a full-time living from their craft.
Check out the list as it currently stands.
Jasper Schreurs gives us a peek of the entire Parsona crew (Walter is going to be on the back cover, scheming).
I finally saw MIDNIGHT IN PARIS last night, and it charmed my socks off. What a brilliant film. One I’m sure I’ll watch a second and third time. One of the cringe-worthy quotes from a heinous character — said a couple of times — was, “Cheap is cheap.” And that’s the first thing I thought of when I checked my Amazon page and noticed that the price of the WOOL audiobook is back to $1.99!
Now, this is only for those of you who own the Kindle edition of the book. But even if you don’t, that means you can get the ebook AND the unabridged audiobook for $6.98. That seems outright crazy to me. The newer Kindles will even read the work to you in the actor’s voice and highlight the words as she goes. It’s called Whispersync, and it’s badass. You have to see (and hear) it to appreciate it.
If you know anyone who hasn’t checked out the work because they don’t do ebooks, maybe recommend this little secret as a way of getting the audiobook for cheap. Oh, and this is a new recording that includes the chapter we added for the Random House edition. Also: SHIFT is now up for pre-order on Audible and should be out in a couple of weeks! You won’t believe Tim Reynolds’ reading. It’s AMAZING.
Hugh, your response is valuable to a lot of us. As you say, it’s definitely a good time to be a writer, and the opportunities are exciting. Can you offer your thoughts on how to deal with the feeling of needing to reinvent yourself as a writer. What I mean is, I imagine many aspiring writers have regular jobs and regular lives and writing is something done privately, very much on the side. Suddenly faced with the need/desire to get their work out there, they are faced with an uneasy disconnect between these two worlds–worried about criticism, or questions about their decision to share their art. It sounds ridiculous to think of being controlled by what others might think of you, but I think it’s a fear that sits just beneath the surface sabatoging dreams. Anyway, not sure if this is something you’ve dealt with, but curious how you might respond. Thanks!
That’s a great question, Eddy. I can only speak for myself, but the fear of publishing is almost crippling. I dread putting my work out there for others to critique. I always assume people will hate it, even as I pass my manuscript to my wife and mother for them to go over. When I first realized that strangers were reading my work, it kept me up at night. This is why you will never find me saying anything like: “My book is awesome; you should read it.” It’s not something I believe.
Hello Mr. Howey,
I’m Doug Rigsby and I came across your books on amazon looking for kindle science fiction books. My goal is to earn my living via writing science fiction novels. I’ve been writing in my spare time for the past 7 years. I’ve learned a tremdious amount during that time. I figure I’m within a year of launching my first ebook. Would you part with me some of your experiences? Things to do, not do? Developing a platform or online presence isn’t something I”m use to doing even though I’ve been in technology for the past 21 years. I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you.