Hugh Howey… I’ve got his back. How about you?

ImageI 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.

May 25, 2012


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.


57 Responses to Hugh Howey… I’ve got his back. How about you?

  • Rob Mullin says:

    Way to go Patrice. My name is Rob and I have Hugh’s and your back.

  • Really excellent! Admire your skill and passion.

  • Karen Dodd says:

    Woohoo! Good on you, Patrice!!

  • Dave Rockwell here. Glad you chimed in. I wasn’t fully tracking the issue, but you have made me aware. Good writing makes it’s own friends. I too think Hugh’s work is note worthy and that he is a man of principle. Thank you for standing up for him. I will be sure to check out your Woolverse stuff to and give you an honest review.

  • Nicole Clark says:

    Here’s another supporter!

  • O'Bryan says:

    I completely agree.

  • Tom Powell says:

    Love this guy and his books. Screw the dudes going after him.

  • Jeff Carter says:

    HELL YEAH!!!

  • mctiller says:

    Thanks for this. I’ve always wondered why the paid placement in a book store, Advanced Review Copies, buddy reviews in the NYT doesn’t gather the same venom.

    • patricefitz says:

      Because those are “real” writers whose books show up in brick and mortar stores, right? Another example of the rules made by the establishment that are accepted because they always have been.

  • Paul Kohler says:

    f course I’ve got his back. This whole ‘review’ business has me worried with my first book just coming out, and I am looking everywhere for early reviews. I would never condone paying for them, but I can see how tempting it could be. Hugh Howey is a stand up guy! His writing speaks for itself, and demands positive reviews from everyone.

  • Teresa Glidden says:

    My name is Teresa Glidden, and I too downloaded the first Wool book, then bought the entire omnibus. He is a brilliant author, and I also have his back. :o) Excellent post, Patrice!!!!

    • patricefitz says:

      Thanks, Teresa! I’m asking folks to find their reviews, and verify that they wrote them without any payment, by posting them on twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #HughHoweysBack.

  • Thomas Sabo says:

    Well written. Amazing how people can be so defensive over something someone so clearly more talented, celebrated, and supported than they said. Wait…could that be it? Something as simple as sour grapes? Nah, say it ain’t so!

  • Jeff Olah says:


    I will start by saying that Yes, I have your back as well as Hugh’s. I believe it’s unfair that these people (whoever they are) have taken to personally attacking ALL of the individuals on that page. I feel for each and everyone of them.

    As a new writer, it angers and quite frankly scares me that someone can do this. Writing full time as a career without the beniefit of a safety net is troubling enough. Now we have to worry about these types of attacks.

    You are doing good work here. I wish you nothing but the best!

    I hope you have a wonderful day.

    • patricefitz says:

      I appreciate it, Jeff. You notice that on that site there are no comments… and yet I’ve heard from a number of people who have written them, and they are not being posted.

      It’s easier to sling around accusations than to face criticism.

  • swmull says:

    Patrice, I am a post-menopausal, 59 year old Type A personality with a love of reading and a genuine love for Wool and all of it’s derivatives. If you ever find out who started this crap, call me. I wanna be in on whatever goes down.

  • Teresa Glidden says:

    My review from May 24, 2012: (And for the record, my husband DID enjoy it!)

    I can’t remember how I first heard about the Wool series. It must have popped up on my Kindle as a Prime option so I checked it out just because I’ve been reading a few different dystopian-type novels. I read the Hunger Games a few months ago and enjoyed them, but the Silo series beats that by leaps and bounds. Disclaimer: I’m not a huge science fiction fan, and I don’t pretend to be, but my previous favorite in the genre was probably the Bender series by Orson Scott Card.

    I am SO glad I stumbled on this! I voraciously consumed it within a week (the entire Omnibus) then bought and devoured the 6th in the Silo series (Legacy) and am now reading Hugh’s “Molly Hyde” series. He is seriously on my very short list of favorite authors. He has a way of telling a story that draws you in and won’t let you go until the last page, without dumbing it down (especially when it comes to Edison from the Molly Hyde series!)

    I returned the Omnibus to Amazon’s Prime lending library, and then I bought it. This is something I will read again and again. I think my husband will enjoy it too, even though sci-fi isn’t his normal genre either.

    • patricefitz says:

      Thanks for posting that, Teresa! One more review verified by a (non-paid) non-relative or friend. Of course, we all feel like friends of Hugh’s now… he’s just that kind of guy.

  • steven rhodes says:

    love the books full support here

  • I haven’t yet read WOOL, but I’ve read several interviews of Hugh. What struck me quite powerfully is that he seems to be an extremely grounded, level-headed, and decent man. I’m glad he has supporters like you at his back.

  • Marilyn Lemmen says:

    I have read all the books – we need MORE, So good – like an addiction! My family and I have your back Hugh!

  • Jay David says:

    I too am a Hugh Howey fan. I stumbled upon Wool 1 based on an Amazon recommendation. After reading it, I sought out Wool 2 and it wasn’t out yet. Upon release of Wool 2 (my favorite!), I bega reading the Molly Fyde series, The Hurricane and The Plagiarist. I felt compelled to review Wool because it was unique, it was revolutionary and it moved me. I have read hundreds of books on my Kindle and have probably reviewed about 5 of them. I believe the volume and voracity of the positive reviews. I have not met Hugh in person, but I have spoken with him on the phone after the release of Dust. He is humble, unaffected and very grounded. He deserves the kudos and attention. As some rise, there are always those who want to tear them down. Ignore the cynics and stop giving them the attention. They don’t deserve it. I too have your back Hugh! You are a good man!

  • Kathy Czarnecki says:

    Very eloquent Patrice, thank you.

  • For four years a friend has been insisting that I read Wool and I never got around to it, Until now , a few months ago a read a preview from Kobo and suddenly Wool became more of a need than a want! I have begun to read it and I can tell I am about to become a major fan… My name is Nubelia Sousa, I am a real person I am of sound mind and body and am writing this simply because I adore the tale and the prose 🙂 I am also saddened to hear that a wonderful indie author is having to put up with nasty allegations so yes I have his back!

  • Shilpi says:

    I’m Shilpi and I have Hugh’s back! 😀 Thanks, Patrice!

  • Glen says:

    When I read wool (before the others were published) I knew he was on to something. My tweet didn’t go unanswered and I read everything he wrote after that. I love iOS writing, stories and ideas. I can’t wait for everything he does. He changed the way I think of my kindle, and most importantly, what to expect from an author. Keep it up, and I’ll keep buying!

  • Jane Morris Coons says:

    You go, girl! My name is Jane, and I have Hugh’s back, too. I had never reviewed a book before his. I got your back, too!

  • Torz says:

    Fabulous bit of ‘up yours! ‘ Patrice. Hugh Howey, we’ve got your back.

    • Idella says:

      A BIG Fat Ditto on Torz’ comment. You totally rock Patrice for taking the helm of this “sh*tstorm” out of the hands of imbeciles and laying on the whoop*ass! Yes indeed, we’ve got Hugh’s back and yours too!!!!

  • Hey Patrice! Wondering, did you try to post a comment on the detractor’s blog? I did (a long and carefully considered one), and I’m still waiting for it to come through ‘moderation’. I’m just trying to find out if I’ve totally wasted my morning, or if there were no other comments because they received buckets of them and reused to moderate them…

    • patricefitz says:

      Hi Tony! I didn’t, but my husband did, and I know of several others… and the response is crickets. I don’t know if they’re not posting them because they’re all negative, or if they’re taking names and email addresses to “investigate” those authors who wrote. (I should make clear that I’m kidding here… at least, I hope that’s not the case!)

  • Felicia says:

    Ooooo! Can I share my review, too? I’m not much of a writer, more of a talker, actually. But here goes:

    Sweet Mother of Babies, This Is Good!, March 9, 2012

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) (Silo Saga) (Kindle Edition)
    I’m in the middle of a very demanding class that requires a lot of study time. Hence, I had to set my greatest love aside – reading fiction – until I finished this class. Oh well, the best laid plans… A friend of mine demanded I get to reading “Wool” assuring me it was such a quick read, I could probably “finish it in the bathroom.” Despite my feeble protests, I bought “Wool Omnibus Edition” and got to reading it (not in the bathroom). Then I couldn’t stop (okay, I did read a little bit in the bathroom). After quickly finishing Book 1, I *had* to proceed to Book 2. Well, Book 2 left me hanging off a cliff, so I *had* to read Book 3. Book 3 left me clinging by my fingernails to the spiral staircase railing, so I *had* to read Book 4. Book 4 – well, I’m sure you get the picture.

    Not only has Howey written a riveting story, a dystopic future set in a silo, he writes his characters so well that you *know* they exist and need you to keep reading to find out what happens to them. Thank you, Mr. Howey, for sharing your talents with the world. If I happen to see you at a book signing, I’ll be the photograstalker lurking in the background.

    Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5)
    Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 17, 2012 10:57 AM PDT

    Fight on and write on, Patrice!

  • stubblytroll says:

    I’m afraid I’m unaware of the attacks on Mr. Howey’s good name and stellar writing. However, I have seen vituperous reviews against other authors while trying to suss out the innards of a book. So, I imagine we’re talking worse than that, huh?

    My name is Lorene, and I have loved science fiction long before it was acceptable for women/girls to read sci-fi. I have been reading a long time. I found the Wooliverse and met a master. I’ll tell you how not related, nor a friend nor anything else I am to Mr. Howey, it took me forEVER to remember his name! But not his books.

    Yes, I have your backs. And your fronts, and sides, and heads, well, you get the picture.

    Just as an aside, I just finished Daniel, and can’t WAIT for the Karma Omnibus. (And, I can’t remember your name yet, either). : )

    • patricefitz says:

      Thanks, Lorene! It’s interesting, I stumbled on my first sci-fi book in about fifth grade, after thinking that such things were for boys… but I loved it and stayed hooked.

      The smear campaign about Hugh and others seems to have lost traction… which is a good thing. When you produce well-reviewed books and are honest and friendly to readers, the truth tends to come out.

      P.S. All five of the Karma books are out now, and I’m hard at work putting them together into one big novel. I should have it ready to go by December! First as an ebook, and in print sometime early next year. I’ll be eager to hear what you think.

  • katybrandes says:

    Now I remember why I must have first started following your blog, Patrice! Isn’t Hugh just the best? My name was picked out of over 600 who posted on his blog for the Amazon gift card. Being one of his “Apocalypse Whenever” fans from Good Reads, I already had the Wool series but got Dust and Sand with my gift. Can’t wait to read them!

    • patricefitz says:

      Loved them both! You didn’t miss SHIFT, did you? The prequel to WOOL, but meant to be read afterwards…

      I’m working on SAND fanfic right now. Such fun!

  • Catherine Violando says:

    Hi Patrice-

    I too am a huge fan of Hugh’s. I read the WOOL trilogy after he was featured on the Writer’s Digest cover. And I’ve read it several times since. I am ashamed to say I never thought to check out his website until this past summer. And now I have linked to yours through one of your comments on his blog. Isn’t the Internet a wonderful thing?

    I am thrilled to see so many indie writers, editors, and artists routinely referencing each other and interacting. It is what a community truly should be. We don’t need to be together, in proximity, laughing and sharing in person. We can do it remotely and it feels genuine.

    I felt compelled to comment on this because I somehow missed this shitstorm (I hope it’s ok I swear). It hurts my heart that such a talented, open, and giving author was the brunt of this. Unfortunately this story is not unique. And it will continue to be a problem. But sticking up for each other may be the only option. Your post was great.

    I have started reading your Karma stories and I really enjoy it-I love the way you write. Great story. I look forward to seeing more of your work.


    • patricefitz says:

      Hi Catherine:

      Thanks so much for getting in touch! Sorry for my delay in responding… I was down in Florida getting away from the Connecticut snow.

      Yes, I think that “storm” is behind Hugh! Things are going tremendously for him as far as I know. What a great guy.

      I’m so happy to hear you’re reading the Karma series. If you haven’t finished all of them, you may want to buy the whole thing, which is published now as “Karma of the Silo: the Collection.” And I’d love it if you would write a review!


      • Catherine says:

        I’m very jealous that you were in Florida. CNY just got 18″ and it’s 6 degrees..ugh. But I saw the picture of you, Hugh, and Bella. Very cute.

        I finished the Karma Collection and loved it! The ending was perfect-excellent job. You had a great twist that I didn’t see coming (and I usually do) that made me say “No freaking way” and feel heartbroken/elated for Karma. Good story. I will leave a review over the weekend.

        I have been working on my own foray into the Silo world that Hugh encouraged me on a couple weeks ago. Terrified. Hope I can finish it. I’m unemployed, I really have no excuse to not get it done. Other than terror:)

        Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

        • patricefitz says:

          How cool that you are working on a WOOL book! Don’t worry about the procrastination… we all do it. I wrote my first book in a year while I was working two part-time law jobs, running my own firm, raising two kids and handling a house (plus a husband). I had hardly any time, but I managed. Now with all the time I want, I fritter away a bunch of it!

          As to being terrified… just write it anyway, and figure that the first draft will be awful. Get to the END. And then look it over and see what needs fixing. Creating something out of nothing always feels like a crazy leap into the unknown. Because it is!

          I’d love it if you’d leave a review. Thanks!!

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Karma of the Silo: the Collection (Karma Omnibus)
Karma lives in the Silo, deep underground. She lives with a man whom she barely knows and with a name she doesn’t remember choosing. When visions come to her about another husband, another way of life, and another world, Karma struggles to discover what came before.

Cleaning Up: a Silo story (Karma)
Five years have passed since the airlock slammed shut on the 4,000 souls condemned to live in the Silo. Karma can remember now that there was a time before--before she was locked into this cylindrical tomb under the earth. But all she can see of the outside are dead hills and the dark clouds swirling through what remains of a toxic world.

The Sky Used to be Blue: a Silo story (Karma)
Karma lives in a Silo deep beneath the earth. She isn't sure of much else… only that the wallscreen shows an outside view that is barren and swirling with toxic clouds. Most of the other residents seem content. Except for the ones who jump to their deaths from the hundred-level spiral staircase. And the ones who are pushed.

Last Walk: a Silo story
The kids are fighting in the Silo—gangs engage in battles between the Up Top and the Down Deep, with the Mids caught in between. There are too many young people without work. They ink themselves with primitive face tats and guard their territory against incursions from below or above.

Deep Justice: a Silo story (Karma)
Karma has endured twenty-five years underneath the earth. Her path in life—a path she never bargained for—has included marriage to a man she never chose, whose powerful position forces her to hide her memories of the time before.

Rising Up: a Silo story (Karma)
After a hellish three months locked in the private inner sanctum of IT, Karma and her family emerge, bloodied and forever changed. Rick is a man who is no longer in control. Mars has become the power in the Silo.

Silo Saga: SILO SECRETS: Daniel
Daniel is sixteen now, and he can count up to one hundred. He can go all by himself up and down the two levels of the Silo between his home and his job. Daniel knows he's not as smart as some people. But his mother told him he was smart enough to help her, so it must be true. He always believes his mother. His mother is a doctor.

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Till Death Do Us Part: a short story
Join Harold and Rosemary as they bring together their family and friends for a night of celebration before a long-planned trip... and see just how this journey ends. Mix a little Dorothy Parker and a little Shirley Jackson, add a twist of David Sedaris and a pinch of O.Henry, and out comes a satirical romp. "Till Death Do Us Part" is a 3,000 word short story. This is a sophisticated take on the way people fool themselves. More New Yorker magazine than Asimov.

The Terminal
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A pinch of Dorothy Parker and a twist of O.Henry go into the mix to make this Fitzgerald short a bracing sip of satire. There is a free sample of RUNNING, her best-selling Kindle political thriller, at the end of this story.

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