If you haven’t heard of Hugh Howey by now, you might be living under a rock. It’s hard to miss him. He’s been featured all over the national media and has become this year’s Amanda Hocking; the savior, the messiah, the testament to the changes in the industry and living proof that indie authors can make it big.
I’ve been fortunate to have had quite a few interactions with Hugh via social media and interviews as well as email and I have to say that I’m impressed. I’m not impressed that easily anymore, since I’ve worked with and interviewed my fair share of high profile people.
But I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to him because well, he’s awesome. There are a few reasons why I think he’s a great amazing example to us indie authors and worthy of mentioning.
I thought I’d highlight a few of them below:
1) Hugh Howey has remained down-to-earth and accessible despite his success. They say that fame and money is an amplifier of who you are. Well, Hugh must be a true-and-true good guy because no matter how busy he is and no matter how much money he has made, you can still email him or Facebook him and he will write you back. Sadly, that can’t be said about all of the indie authors who have found great success. Some, who aren’t nearly as successful or busy as Hugh Howey, have developed I’m-too-busy-how-dare-you-email-me attitudes. (No need to mention names. They know who they are.) Again, fame and money is an amplifier of who you already are.
2) Hugh Howey isn’t a literary snob, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But he understands that it’s all about storytelling, not necessarily prose. And although there is still an audience for literary fiction, it is a niche audience and arguably always has been. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you see it, much of the traditionally published community make up that niche audience. If you want to appeal to them, you’ve gotta give them what they want. Hugh on the other hand, writes for the masses. He writes for the people who buy his books.
3) Hugh Howey doesn’t take himself too seriously. Even if it’s dancing to Silo Plum Fairy, he’s still having fun. We identify with him because he hasn’t forgotten that he’s a normal human being who takes a dump at the end of the day just like everybody else and projects the America’s best friend image that we love so much.
4) Hugh Howey balances his social media interactions with his fans and still finds the time to crank out new books. That’s something I struggle with sometime, balancing both worlds: writing and engagement. It’s just as easy to go into writing-cave-mode and not come up for air as it is to spend hours on Facebook.
5) He doesn’t bash traditional publishing. He’s proven you can be a hybrid and enjoy the best of both worlds. Some authors only talk about how horrible traditional publishing is and how everyone in the book publishing industry is the Devil and I just don’t think that’s fair. I do agree publishing is changing and that authors and artists of all kinds don’t need to be dependent on the “insiders” any longer. There just is very little that you cannot do on your own. But I think that people that bash the entire industry seem to forget is that there are real people involved in publishing, with real feelings. Imagine having dedicated your life to a career and suddenly it’s uprooted and you have to scramble to not only justify your existence in the industry but you wake up in a cold sweat wondering how you’ll be able to provide for your family?
These are just five of the things I love about Hugh Howey that I personal admire and will continue to try to emulate and I hope will provide inspiration for other indie authors as well.