Here’s the story of how I met Hugh Howey….
I had heard about him from various other readers/authors and I was intrigued. All I can recall hearing about him was that he wrote this awesome dystopian book. Bam! That got my attention. End of world disaster? Yeah, count me in. I’m referring to Wool (pictured above). I wanted to read the book and at the time I was only reading physical books (no e-books). I didn’t think too hard about actually putting the book into my library queue or buying the book until the pressure of all those other readers hailing Hugh Howey as some great genius cracked through to my TBR list. At the time I was also only purchasing books that were signed. For Hugh Howey’s Wool, though, I figured I could make an exception. I bought the book and shelved it immediately. I was busy, but I was growing to like the author more and more. Hugh Howey is my author idol. He interacts with his readers like a true role model and so I started to follow him through social media.
Then, bam! Again I was thrust into the world of Hugh Howey. He was coming to Seattle and was going to stop in at a local bar downtown to meet his fans. It was the day before, how many people could possibly show up on such short notice? I was intrigued. I could get my copy of Wool signed so that my collection of books wouldn’t contain any unsigned works. I was sold and the next day made off to somber Seattle to meet the man who was a self-published millionaire, with a success story like J.K. Rowling’s rise to fame: he had a great novel published at just the right time at the beginning of a new wave of reading to thrust him into the spotlight. Hugh is my hero.
I still hadn’t had a chance (or made a chance) to read Wool or any of his other works, but that wasn’t going to stop me from meeting such an entrepreneur. However, I did my research before I went. What had made Hugh such a remarkable shining example of an author rising through self-publishing to become rich AND famous? Part of it, I think, is due to him being at the forefront of self-publishing i.e. less competition and the fact that he had a breakout novel. Wool (when I finally got around to reading it) is phenomenal.
So I went to Seattle, met up with approximately fifty other adoring local fans and shyly made a grab for the famed Hugh Howey’s signature for my copy of Wool. At the event I met one of my other favorite Indie authors who makes it onto my Indie authors to watch. I didn’t mention to Hugh that I had not read the book, or any of his books. He is my idol in more ways than just the writing. He has a work ethic to admire and a business sense to watch out for. I also like to see what pictures he posts on facebook and read his blog posts about current author politics or self-publishing tidbits and statistics.
Hugh Howey, though he is already a star of self-publishing and the Indie author world, is on my list of Indie stars to watch out for because he is a wonderful writer, prolific, has a terrific work ethic, an acute business/marketing sense, and has a great relationship with his readers through both his social media and in person presence.
I’ll have to make some more time to read some more of his novels and the next ones on my list are Sand and I, Zombie.
Another story: As soon as I got to the bar, I began to panic. It was fairly large and sprawling and I had no clue where Hugh was going to be. I was fashionably late and the bar was hopping. I walked timidly out of the doorway and into the left main area, sweating my nerves in a foreign place with so many strangers. My author anxiety and closet introverted nature hanging on my sleeves. I saw a large table with some boisterous people and marched up to one and asked if this was where Hugh Howey was. They assured me it was and brought me to an empty seat. I sat, still timid, and tried to spot Hugh. No offense to the man, but he is quite average looking. In a bar full of chattering people, I couldn’t spot him. I tried to pull up his picture, but he has one of those melt in a sea of people faces and I just couldn’t pull him out of the crowd. Embarrassed I asked one of my new seatmates if they could point him out as I didn’t really know what he looked like and probably couldn’t recognize him. They laughed off my insecurities and one nice lady said she’d snag him over for me as he hadn’t spent much time at the table anyway. She brought back several guys and pointed in their general direction for Hugh. I turned to the man she pointed out about to speak when the guy in the middle spoke first. Whoops, good thing I held my tongue because not only could I not recognize Hugh Howey in a crowd, I couldn’t even recognize him between three guys. He wasn’t the one I had identified and thought the lady pointed out, but the guy in the middle. Embarrassment narrowly averted.
I hope someday to have the chance to meet Hugh again and maybe even get in a brief chat.
Check back next Monday for the week’s Indie Author Rising Star 2/5