I met Hugh at London Book Fair a couple of weeks back. I’m a big fan of the Wool trilogy, so it was great to meet someone who is a bit of a hero of mine. I’ve become increasingly interested in the possibilities of indie-publishing and made it the focus of my publishing industry research, in the lead up to my MA project at Falmouth. Of course, I was aware that Hugh Howey was self-published – I picked up on Wool fairly early on, well before Simon and Schuster bought the print rights. But hanging out at Author HQ at the LBF, talking with Hugh, and other indie-published authors, then attending everything I could related to indie-publishing, really opened my eyes to the revolution going on in the writing world. I came away knowing that the yin-yang of the reader-writer relationship had fundamentally changed for good.
As a writer I am hugely encouraged that I can open my writing up directly to readers, without having to fawn at the doors of the traditional gatekeepers – agents and publishers. I am the first to admit that I would just love the self-validation I would get from a publishing deal, but I am much more in love with the idea that, with hard work, I can set myself the realistic goal of getting my work directly to a readership. And, in my opinion, it is axiomatic that aiming to have many readers is a much better gatekeeping tactic than targeting just one – the over-inundated agent.
Since the LBF I have very actively researched the indie market, and kept a close eye on the rapidly shifting sands in the ebb and flow of the trad vs indie argument. It is no surprise that Hugh Howey keeps popping up as a champion of the indie-writer. In fact, I’ve been inspired to write this short post after reading a recent article on Hugh’s blog about goals vs. dreams: http://www.hughhowey.com/goals-vs-dreams/#more-5360 It’s a great article, sensitively written. It resonated with my world view, and where I find myself on the writer’s journey – it’s well worth a visit and a read.