About the Author

img-hugh Hugh Howey is the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde Saga and the New York Times and USA Today bestselling WOOL series.
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Howey_SAND_OMNIBUS_EbookEdition 100

Sand

A novel of desolation and of family, of lawless lands that the gods have turned their backs on. Not a part of the WOOL series.

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This is a crazy-awesome honor. Autumn Kalquist’s latest tune was inspired by my MOLLY FYDE series. It’s a catchy tune with silky smooth vocals. Give it a listen, then check the link after for a story about how Autumn put it together:

Here’s Autumn’s blog post about writing and recording the tune.

The four books in the series were recently updated with new covers that combine the original Jasper Schreur’s artwork with Jason Gurley’s typography:

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Howey_MOLLY_FYDE_BOOK3_EbookEdition copy

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Publishers are currently making record profits on the rise of e-books, and authors and readers are the ones paying the price. In fact, many authors—and the guild that’s supposed to fight for them—are actively defending these publishing houses that are doing well while causing harm.

News Corp, which owns HarperCollins, released their quarterly earnings report yesterday. The portion dealing with book publishing demonstrates just how profitable e-books have become for major publishers, and that despite the spin from pundits, e-books are still very much on the rise. The full earnings report can be found here. It includes this gem:

E-book revenues improved by 35% versus the prior year and represented 22% of consumer revenues, up from 17% in the prior year. Segment EBITDA increased $55 million, or 39%, from the prior year, benefiting from the higher contribution to profits from e-books and ongoing operational efficiencies coupled with higher revenues, partially offset by dual rent and other facility costs.

It’s interesting to note that HarperCollins has not added this press release to the Media Room on their site. And they are unlikely to tout these results. Of course, it could have something to do with publishing speed and not anything due to embarrassment, but this is the same HarperCollins that leaked the higher margin on ebooks compared to hardbacks, and the smaller cut authors earn at the same time. An agent comments in the prior link that publishers lied for years about whether e-books were more profitable. It’s hard for parent corporations to brag to investors without the dupes overhearing (ask Hachette). Continue Reading →

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The following comes from a comment DG responded to on a prior story. The graphs are too good to sit buried down there, so I’m reposting here. Follow the links to see the bar graphs.

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Here’s what the authorearnings.com data from July can tell us about comparative sales at different Kindle ebook price points. Taking the Top 500 Best Sellers at each price point and eliminating the top 10 from each, we see:

$9.99 ebooks outsell $14.99 ebooks by a huge margin in units.

$9.99 ebooks outsell $14.99 ebooks by a huge DOLLAR margin, too, despite their lower price.

Even when looking only at the Top 10 (outliers) for each price point, the pricing sweet spot at $9.99 or above seems to be $10.99 (with $9.99 running a close second).

The Top 10 bestselling ebooks at $12.99 and $14.99 generate fewer gross DOLLARS (as well as selling fewer units) than the Top 10 at $9.99 and $10.99.

But… $4.99 beats $9.99 across the board. $4.99 sells more units AND brings in more gross DOLLARS than any other price point. This is true even for the Top 10 Best Selling outliers at each price point.

Once again, we see that lower ebook prices = higher author earnings.

The Top 500 Best Selling Kindle books priced at $4.99 are out-earning those at $9.99, $10.99, $12.99, $14.99, and every other price point.

(Below the Top 10, $3.99 runs a close second to $4.99.)

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Cover art can be a pain in the butt. Books need to look attractive, but that can cost a lot of money. If you can afford it, nothing beats professional cover art from someone like M.S. Corley or Mike Tabor. When we’re starting out, though, spending hundreds of dollars on art can be a stretch. And for prolific short story writers, it can be damn near impossible.

Enter Canva, a website for illustration creation that includes templates for ebooks. This is drag-and-drop simplicity. The reason the covers come out looking great is the typography. I see way too many covers with difficult-to-read font, fancy scripts, and just poor layout. It’s so hard to get right. Canva helps. Check out some of these covers on Pintarest.

And then check out what I was able to do in ten minutes: Continue Reading →

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“Help!” Misha Collins cried. “She’s falling apart!”

The Time Continuum Machine rattled and roared. Struts began to buckle. Chains shuddered from their gears and flapped dangerously. The engine that kept all the cosmos running became a buzz-saw of terror.

The Queen of England leaned into her wrench, tightening bolts, but two came loose for every one she handled. “This is the end,” the Queen Mother said. Misha had never known the Queen to be dire. He believed it was the end as well.

“If I had nine arms, I could fix this,” Misha said. He stabilized the quantum flux dismorgaphier with one foot and kept the vacuous air filter in place with his shin. “What I couldn’t do with nine arms,” he muttered to himself.

“Hey,” the Elopus said. “Can I help?”

 

 

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No, the Liliana Nirvana is not a secret massage chakra technique. But it may be the secret to launching a successful self-publishing career.

The effectiveness of this technique hit me at RWA. I attended a panel entitled “Self-Publishing Q&A.” It was two jam-packed hours of tossing out questions to mega bestselling authors Barbara Freethy, Bella Andre, Courtney Milan, and Liliana Hart. Of the four, only Liliana entered self-publishing without first having had a career with a traditional publisher. This anomalous beginning stood out during their introductions, but the uniqueness of Liliana’s success disappeared during the Q&A. Why? Because Liliana published as if she had a traditional publishing history.

She calls it her “5 down and 1 in the hole” technique. (No, this is not a page from the Kama Sutra. It’s far more important than that.)

Now, I should start by saying that there is no guarantee for success with any publishing path. My good friend and publishing genius Bella Andre disagrees with the ideas I’m about to set forth. And if you give me enough time and contradictory case studies, I might come to disagree with it as well. But right now, I lean toward thinking Liliana’s technique is absolutely brilliant. I think she discovered something that a lot of us lucked into. I think my own success owes something to the “5 down and 1 in the hole” publishing strategy.

So what exactly is it? Continue Reading →

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We have entered a new and very bizarre phase of the Amazon / Hachette negotiations. Now that Amazon has come out and stated its ideal terms, which turn out to be entirely reasonable, the tactics from those who hate Amazon, no matter what they do, have gone from misguided to just plain crazy.

Amazon says it is fighting for reasonable ebook pricing. This matches a long history of actions from Amazon. Their focus on ebooks at $9.99 or below is why publishers had to break the law and collude with one another in order to artificially raise prices on readers. So we have an established pattern of behavior here of Amazon fighting for reasonable ebook pricing and publishers working together to screw readers.

Now that Amazon’s book team has come out and flatly stated their intentions, the response from some has been to assume that Amazon is lying. The response from others has been to say that Amazon is a corporation. And the mantra repeated to anyone who appreciates Amazon as a business partner is that “Amazon is not your friend.”

So, no one has anything to say about the actual arguments and positions from either side? Is that what I’m hearing? To equivocate between Amazon and Hachette by saying both are corporations is absolutely absurd. Monsanto and Whole Foods are both corporations. So they’re the same, right? No need to look any further?

I’d rather dig deeper than that, if nobody minds.
Continue Reading →

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Temporary SAND tattoos might soon be a thing. If you were getting a SAND tattoo, what would it say? Is there a line from the book you’d enjoy? Or maybe slogans from various dive clans? Something like: Go Deep or Go Home. Or: Don’t bother, I’ll bury myself.

Leave your ideas or favorite lines in the comments. If we use your suggestions, I’ll send you something cool. Some really awesome SAND stuff in the works that we’ll be able to announce soon.

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For the longest time, getting a word out of Amazon required rubber gloves, lube, a stick of gum, and a length of string. During the ongoing negotiations with Hachette, that has changed. I mean, Amazon practically won’t shut up these days. Their latest blog post is particularly dense with revelations, and it should serve as a wake up call for authors and readers.

Here’s a link to their post. You should read it. Seriously.

As many have been predicting, Amazon is fighting for lower prices for their customers. It has also been posited over and over that lower ebook prices would generate more revenue for all involved, and now Amazon backs this up by revealing calculations pulled from their industry-best sales data. So who is Hachette fighting for, if they are resisting terms like these? The only people I can think of are those who sell millions of physical books at bookstores. You know, the Prestons, Pattersons, and Colberts. The top 1%.

Just as immense here is Amazon’s call for higher pay for authors, which is neatly tucked within the folds of their post. Amazon comes right out and states that they are asking for 30% on the sale of ebooks, which is what they currently get from most self-published titles. It is an entirely reasonable percentage for a retailer (bookstores get 40% – 50%). What I love, though, is that Amazon then suggests that the remaining 70% should be split evenly between the author and the publisher. Continue Reading →

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Some analysts appear to be confused about how so many authors can possibly be making more money while overall spending on reading is flat. Let’s see if we can’t figure this contradiction out.

The analyst linked to above gave a presentation at RWA (Romance Writers of America) last weekend. In both the blog post and the RWA presentation, we are shown this graph:

CES-2005-2012

If reading dollars are flat, then author earnings should be flat, right? Not necessarily.

Let’s start with the fact that the above graph includes newspapers and magazines, which are down. Here are the trends for magazines. And here are the trends for newspapers. You would think, at a conference for novelists, that this would be taken into account. Now, if the spending on total reading is flat, and two of the three reading types are down, that probably means the revenue for trade fiction is up. We can only guess here, because the wrong data is being used for the wrong purposes.

Continue Reading →

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Issue #5 of the WOOL comic book series hit Comixology today. The cover art for this issue is from my favorite scene in the novel, when Jules dives down to restore the pumps. Also, tomorrow is when the first issue hits physical comic book shops, so I’m looking forward to going out and sourcing a copy.

Just one more issue left before the story is wrapped up. And if you think you know how it ends . . . you probably don’t. :)

The comic series is available at Comixology and also at Amazon. Another huge thanks to Palmiotti, Gray, and Brox for the job they did with the adaptation.

WOOL 5 (Copy)

 

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