I think somebody picked on the wrong author when they decided to target Hugh Howey. Not because he’s rich and powerful… but because his success is totally legit, his books are tremendous, and his fans are legion.
He’s going to come out all right after this, and I hope the other deserving authors do as well. The speed at which this has turned into a witch hunt has been mind blowing. What might have been a reasonable discussion about what’s appropriate in Amazon reviews is now a sh*tstorm of accusations and counter-accusations.
We could, in fact, have talked about how Kirkus reviews can be bought, and are. Or how traditional publishers pay for placement of books on the front tables and on the endcaps in bookstores. And how the famous book review pages (I’m looking at you, New York Times) do a little “you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” by assigning friendly colleagues to write the definitive reviews about another author’s books.
Further… blurbs are swapped as a matter of courtesy between well-known traditionally published writers for posting on the backs and jackets of new books. ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) editions of manuscripts are provided (for free, of course!) so that professional reviewers can have their pieces ready before publication. Interviews on radio, TV, online and in print are set up by P.R. mavens, and the publishers pay generously for all that. How is that okay, but it’s an outrage if Mom mentions your self-published book to a neighbor because she’s proud, and the neighbor reads and reviews it?
The accusers (I’m not helping them by linking them here) have such a broad definition of “fake review,” I’m surprised any review passes muster with them. Here’s their first bullet point on a list of how to identify a fake review:
- Any review written by an author’s friends, relatives or acquaintances, especially reviews requested by the authors themselves to push up their ratings.
Of course authors request reviews! What nonsense. Do they think that traditionally published authors don’t ask their fans for reviews? The difference is that they have armies of marketing people to do the selling for them, whereas an indie author has only herself. And even if her book is brilliant, if it doesn’t get that first review, or ten, it will never get seen and bought.
Everybody knows that I’m a fan of Hugh Howey. I read his books, I review his books, for goodness sakes, I write books set in the WOOLiverse. All of which has come to pass because… I LOVE his books! I love his books like I love Pride and Prejudice, which I’ve read about twenty times through my life. I love his books like I love Bel Canto, which was so extraordinary it led me to my soulmate. I love his books so much I dreamed up a story about one of the characters he referenced, and I’m fleshing out the details of her life. And yes, Karma fans, I am going back to writing the fifth and final book as soon as I finish this post!
Here’s the 5-star review I wrote about WOOL back in May of 2012, waaaay before I imagined meeting Hugh in person or writing books about his characters. It’s pretty cool to read it and see how quickly knew that he was the real deal:
Awesome. Simply, incredibly, awesome.
This review is from: Wool – Part One (Kindle Edition)
I heard about WOOL last week, and got around to downloading this first book a couple of nights ago. Immediately upon finishing the first one, I sprung for the omnibus edition with all the books.
Hugh Howey brings us an extraordinary tale of an imagined world peopled with characters who tell, layer upon layer, the story of the silo they live in. This is a book that makes writers like me say, “Wish I had written that!” His ability to sustain suspense, use different viewpoints, and compel the reader to keep reading is masterful.
In fact, WOOL and the ensuing books constitute a mystery as much as anything else. What really happened? What is outside? And who is in control?
No spoilers here… because I want you to have the fun of discovering the answers for yourself. I just finished the third book and I’m about to dive into the fourth. I just had to take a break for a moment to come here and tell you how awesome WOOL is!
Read this book and thank the folks at KDP who have made it possible for writers like Hugh Howey to share their gifts of imagination with the rest of us. He deserves every bit of success he has found.
P.S. I hope Ridley Scott does make the movie…
So. That’s what I thought when I was brand new to this author and he had done nothing but write a good book to surprise and delight me into jumping on my laptop and sharing the thrill in discovering WOOL with other readers. I received no compensation for the review, or any review, then or now.
I feel sorry for the anger and vitriol in the hearts of those who started this witch hunt. I don’t know who they are or why they thought this was a good use of their time. Oh… I do notice that they claim to have a “preliminary publishing agreement” for a book deal now. A profit motive? How surprising. I also noticed they are shameless enough to link to Hugh Howey’s very popular blog in order to troll for more readers.
Here’s a tip for those folks who are publishing private business communications on a blog: Get a lawyer. I note the statement, “Our posts are not meant to defame, harass or personally attack any individual or company.” Methinks they protest… not only too much but without effect. Saying you’re not liable doesn’t make it so.
My name is Patrice Fitzgerald. What’s your name? If you haven’t got the cojones to use it, perhaps you shouldn’t be naming others.
My name is Patrice Fitzgerald and I am a fan and a friend of Hugh Howey. I’ve got his back, along with literally a million other readers, all over the world. And I think you picked on the wrong author.