Well, this is a blow to my author’s platform. Not to mention my every notion of book promotion/success. You see, and I blush in shame to admit this, but the work experiencing the most success right now is the one I have failed to mention anywhere!

That’s right. No publicity, no option to buy a copy on my website, no tweets, not even any Facebook posts (not until after it had already taken off). So, what gives? Well, I have theories but no real answer. WOOL is in a slightly different genre than my other books (post-apocalyptic), which might have something to do with it.

It could be the length and the fact that the sales are mostly going nuts on the Kindle store. The physical book is a mere 65 pages or so, consumable in under two hours of reading. Perhaps this fits into the Tweeting culture of short ideas that can be completed, briefly contemplated, and then move on to what’s next.

It could be the price, though I’ve had other books tagged at $0.99. It could be the positive reviews, but most of my books have these in droves. Maybe it’s the combination of lots of these factors.

What I don’t want to admit is that the story is just that good. That inspires two fears: (1) Everything else I’ve written sucks. And (2) Maybe I’ll never write anything this good again.

So this very limited success is troubling. Not just because I don’t know what caused it, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to duplicate it. And I don’t know what kind of legs it has. Each time I expect it to falter, it picks up speed. Last night, it rose to #20 on the general science fiction page of the Kindle store. That ranks it as the very last book on the front page. For those of us who never tread beyond the first page of Google results, this seems like a momentous occasion. And once again, I expect the story to have topped out. Seriously, this time.

#708 in all of the paid Kindle store. That’s weird. Unexplainable. Unreproducable. It terrifies me as much as thrills me. Maybe, finally mentioning it here, on the platform that is supposed to generate success and sales, I’ll finally put an end to the nonsense. Who knows?

To check out the book on the Kindle store, click here.

26 Responses to “Maybe I should finally mention WOOL”

  1. jessica1983 says:

    I registered just so I could leave a comment, hehe :)!

    I happened to find Wool last night while looking for a good post-apocalyptic story. I can only really offer what made ME personally buy it and it really was all of what you mentioned. The first and main factor was that the story sounded like what I was craving when I popped onto Amazon. The second factor was the reviews, as they were very strong. And of course, the price did matter, as I wouldn’t pay very much for such a short book, but that actually didn’t factor in too much. I am now really intrigued though and I cannot wait for a follow-up to Wool! I also plan to check out your other books now as well, as I am a new reader of yours :)! My guess however though as to why it is more popular than your other books is because the genre is EXTREMELY big right now and you are offering a very strong entry into the post-apocalyptic genre. I can only imagine how overwhelming it would be though to have something suddenly become so huge seemingly overnight and so unexpectedly ;) congratulations on your success!!!

  2. GinnyT says:

    Or perhaps it’s because it speaks to that nibbling little fear in all of us that the establishment is somehow pulling the wool over our eyes in so many areas…

  3. Thanks for the insight, Jessica!

    And Ginny … I feel like you’ve seen too much. Better watch what you say. ;)

  4. weilkevin says:

    Personally, amazon.com found Wool for me… I saw the cover and the title and, being an animal lover, decided to take a closer look. After the reading the description, I realized it most likely had nothing to do with sheep but the short and very vague description grabbed me. All too often product descriptions are WAY too descriptive and seem to ruin the entire book/movie/game for you. After reading the description for Wool, I read it out loud to my girlfriend and she said, “we’ll definitely have to read that!”

    The price point helped as well, of course.

    Great read. Already dove in to part 2!

  5. [...] of WOOL by warn sales numbering in a dual dozen, Howey finally mentions to his readers in Oct that he’s published WOOL; he sells 1,014 copies that month, relocating from a Anthologies sub-category Top 40 to #92 on a [...]

  6. Linda Ann says:

    Last weekend while playing Charades my grandson chose your book Wool to pantomime. Three people playing got it! Several people there who had never heard of this book are now buying the books. I just reviewed the first book on Amazon.(under Dicca) And I don’t review books! When I have time I’ll review the rest. They are that good! Mr. Howey, you are that good! Just write quick, I’m getting old!

  7. Bob Ross says:

    I have to say, that all the above was true, plus the cover art was REALLY intriguing. I’m a big science fiction fan, and Amazon knows that I enjoyed the Hunger Games, so once I got the Kindle Fire, Wool just kept popping up again and again in my recommended titles section…and I am SO glad it did. This short story really captured my imagination, I immediately began emailing links to it to my friends. I am now halfway through Wool 5 and I have LOVED the arch this story has taken and will be sad to see it end. Definitely look forward to reading more stuff from you!

  8. Lisa says:

    Whoa. Isn’t Bob Ross the “happy little trees” guy?

  9. Bob Ross says:

    hah! yes he is… and no I’m not… =) why my parents just didn’t go with something like Kyle, I’ll never know…

  10. David W says:

    Brother, you have a gem here! I saw it reviewed on megaton.us today and then again on boingboing.net and I am thrilled I bought it! It’s so good already. I’m excited to see what else you have to offer!

  11. Matthew English says:

    Loved it. I read all 5 of them in about a week. Apocalyptic dystopia is my bread and butter. I have read everything of this type I can get my hands on, this is up there with almost anything.

    A couple things: First, what were the inspirations behind the text, or what books or authors influenced this particular story? Second, this thing is just begging to be interpreted in other formats. (I would love to see this as a graphic novel in collaboration with the right artist, or the additional obvious response, this needs to be in film.) Any info. on additional ventures here?

    I would seriously give fingers off of my right hand (I’m right handed…in case you’re curious) for a chance to write/read the screenplay.

    It has been sometime since I have been sucked into another world and forgotten I was reading, thank you for that.

  12. Mike says:

    Amazon thought I’d like Wool, and gave it to me free. Then I bought the omnibus based on how good Wool was.

    Now I’m hooked and off to check out your other work.

  13. Peter Phan says:

    Greetings from Australia. You sir, is held solely responsible for two continuous nights of lack of sleep, what with all this Wool Omnibus nonsense, no thanks to that good for nothing Amazon recommendation system. And now you have the audacity to raise Wool 6 and more spawn from that ilk. I shall soon have a word with the Kindle store and put an end to this ungodly yearning.

    As you were, kind sir, and do not even think of stopping.

  14. Brian Duggan says:

    I too got amazon recommended your way after hunger games and some others in the genre, which I love. To answer your question, I bet the stratospheric success of The Hunger Games is part of why Wool has so much extra momentum. But without the ratings,stemming from the quality, that wouldn’t matter! I’ve been thrilled with the discovery! I am especially excited you are continuing on with Wool 6, and hopefully way way beyond. And great news on the movie/ TV rights! I cant wait! I have had several very pleasant Lost reminiscences while reading, which I hope you will take as a great compliment. (It is!)

  15. I grew up on Clarke, Heinlein and Asimov. These days I love Bova, Egan and Bear. Wool could have been written by any one of these great S-F authors. It was the first and only book I have bought on the Kindle app but will not be the last, so long as you keep spinning yarns of this calibre. Thank you for making my iPad unputdownable!

  16. Casey Pelton says:

    Hugh,
    Wow. Is all I can say. I just tore through the Wool Omnibus edition and first shift. Something about the story and the characters really touched me. I’m looking forward to the future editions. Word around the internet is that movie rights are being secured. Congrats.

    My wife turned me onto the books. She works at Amazon for Kindle publishing. I’m very glad she did!

  17. […] Hugh Howey’s WOOL took off without help. Not true. Look at this post from November 8, 2011 called “Maybe I should finally mention Wool.” Now look at his blog stream**. His post the week before was about NaNoWriMo. After Nov. 8th, most […]

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