S R Silcox - Author

Blog updated 2-3 times a month.

Tag: Hugh Howey

Crush paperback unboxing and pre-order

When I was just starting out on my self-publishing and writing journey, I discovered an author who has become one of my all time favourites. When I was feeling down about my writing, watching his first unboxing video used to give me a great pick-me-up. I still watch every now and then to remind me how exciting this big adventure can be, and how far I have yet to go.

(You can see Hugh Howey’s unboxing of Molly Fyde on youtube here.)

Since Crush is my very first novel, I wanted to share the excitement of opening the box and seeing it in print for the first time. You can see that video below. You can also scroll down to the video below that to hear the details of when the paperback copy will be available and where.

For the initial launch through until the end of July, you’ll be able to get Crush for $12 plus postage. After that, the price will go up to $15 (plus postage).

 

See the video below for details on when the paperback will be released.

Don’t forget, the pre-order page will go up on Monday the 25th May.

How Hugh Howey changed my mind

Sunday - fish

 

A few weeks ago, I wrote a short story in less than a day. I had a title in mind, and was mulling over what sort of story would go with it. I’d used the same title quite a few years ago with a short story I wrote for a competition that will never again see the light of day, but I really loved the title and wanted to use it again with a new story.

So, I discovered a new writer’s festival was coming up, and they had a short story competition. I vaguely thought I should write a story for it, if I found the time.

That same week, I was heading to bed late one night after a long day of writing and plotting when the title popped into my head again. Maybe it was my sleep-deprived brain doing the talking, but I let my mind wander and within an hour of going to bed, I had come up with a character and a setting I thought I could work with.

Instead of getting out of bed to write down those first thoughts and ideas, I slept on it. Lo and behold, the next morning when I sat down with my coffee and began to write, the words flowed. It was a fantastic feeling, and the fact that I actually liked what I was writing made it all the better.

I got to around 2,500 words and still hadn’t finished the story when I decided to stop and take a break, because the competition had a 2,000 word limit. I re-read it that afternoon, wrote it until the end, and then cut mercilessly at anything that didn’t belong until finally, exhausted, I got it down to 1,997 words.

As soon as I finished it, I wanted people to read it, but I knew I had written it with the competition in mind, so I sent it to my beta readers for feedback. I filled out the entry form, printed out the story, and then….

And then I didn’t post it. I’m not sure what stopped me, but something did, and I’m glad. Because then I read this facebook post by Hugh Howey –

 

Hugh Howey - Facebook

That post made me reassess what I want from my career as a writer. I asked myself what I wanted most from my writing. The answer?

I want people to read my stories.

I want to write stories and I want people to read them. It made me think about whether that competition would help me move forward with that one goal. It wouldn’t. Entering that competition would lock that story up until November, when the winner would be announced. If I were lucky enough to win or get selected for inclusion into the anthology, it still wouldn’t allow people to read my story. Why? Because that anthology most likely wouldn’t be available to people outside the festival or the organisation that was printing it. It certainly wouldn’t be available on amazon, where people who bought the anthology to read other authors could discover me.

That one post by Hugh Howey made me remember why I do what I do, and what I love most about writing. It’s the sharing of stories that I love. The sharing of characters and thoughts and ideas with people who might enjoy them and connect with them.

Last night I commissioned an ebook cover and started getting the file ready to compile and upload. This morning, after some final checks, it’s ready to go.

You can buy my new story, Sunday – fish, from amazon. The other stores will follow on the weekend.

And by the way, I bought and read that short story Hugh was referring to in his facebook post, Promises of London, and highly recommend it. You can buy it from amazon for 99c here.

 

What I really think of… Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey’s Wool

‘The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do. While they thundered about frantically above, Holston took his time, each step methodical and ponderous, as he wound his way around the spiral staircase, old boots ringing out on metal treads.’

So begins Hugh Howey’s first novella in his blockbuster Silo series, Wool.

I can’t exactly remember when I first heard about this guy, Hugh Howey, but I do remember his name popping up all over twitter and blogs, and I thought “Hell, I’ll give this guy a go.” At 99c for his first novella, Wool, it was a pretty good bargain, and having received my first kindle for Christmas 2011, I was looking for cheap books to fill it. 

I read that first book in one sitting then immediately downloaded the second part (“Proper Gauge”) and then the third one (“Casting Off”). I remember staying up until the early hours of the morning to finish “Casting Off”, and making myself wait until the next morning to download the final two in the series “The Unraveling” and “The Stranded”. 

Briefly, the Silo series is set in an apocalyptic world, where humans live underground in huge silos 144 stories below the ground. It’s set in a time when no-one can remember what happened on the outside, and no-one questions why they live the way they do. 

That is, until Jules comes along. Jules is a mechanic from the Down Deep, the very bottom levels of the silo, where she works to keep the machinery of the silo functioning. Needing a new sheriff after the tragedy that is Holston’s death (which is so hauntingly written in Wool 1), Jules is the one who steps up (albeit reluctantly). Her curiosity gets the better of her, and she begins to question everything she has ever been told about the history of the silo and the circumstances of their existence. Wool 2-5 follows Jules’ story – the consequences of questioning long-held beliefs, and the lengths that some will go to to protect the status quo.

The reason I love these books so much is that they focus on something that is a real problem in our own time – taking what we see for granted, and living our lives through computer screens. We listen to politicians and the media and assume that what they tell us is the truth. We have no real desire to do the hard work and find information for ourselves. We form opinions on someone else’s view of the world, instead of seeing it for ourselves.

I know from reading interviews of Hugh that those were major factors in his desire to write this series. 

I came away from that first series feeling like I needed to be more involved in the world around me; to take a more proactive role in my own life, instead of sitting back and letting it happen. 

For any of my teacher friends out there, if you’re looking for books to spark discussions with students, these are the books to read. 

On a slightly different tangent, Hugh is also a shining light for those of us looking to self-publish our own stories. Hugh began with a small publisher with his first Molly Fyde book (Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue), a YA science fiction novel, and quickly learned that he could do a lot of the publishing side of things himself. 

So he did.

The popularity of his Silo series made bigger publishers and agents sit up and take notice, and he made history when he signed a print only deal with Simon and Schuster, enabling him to keep his digital (ebook) rights.

This is extremely significant, because traditionally, contracts from publishers effectively restrict authors from writing and publishing anything that is seen to be in competition to the books they’ve sold, which really means everything that comes after.

I won’t bore you with the ins and outs of how that deal will hopefully help to change the publishing industry in the long term, and how they treat their authors, but suffice it to say, it’s a small step in the right direction.

There is so much more I can say about Hugh Howey and the effect he’s had on the self- and indie-publishing industries and authors, but I will leave the other stuff for another post.

The last thing I will say is BUY HIS BOOKS! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

You can find Hugh here:

Hugh Howey

Buy his books from Amazon (or order the paper copies of his books from your local bookstore):

Hugh’s Amazon Author Page

You can find out more about his Wool series at Simon and Schuster here:

Wool Series