Saturday, May 10, 2014

2 Adventures in PubSmart (part four) by Kate Tilton

An inspiration to many authors out there, Hugh Howey is a powerhouse author who’s out of the box thinking, diligence, and kindness has made him someone I admire greatly. Hugh delivered the lunch keynote at the recent PubSmart conference giving us all tips to publish smarter.

If you are new to this PubSmart series please take a minute to check out the first parts of the series; IBPA’s Mini Publishing University, Social Savvy & Media Mastery, and What Does It Mean to Publish? by Jane Friedman. All are filled with information to help you publish smarter.


Insights from Bestselling Author Hugh Howey

  • “Don’t follow me because I don’t know what I’m doing.” – Hugh (He is very humble.)
  • Experts are the people looking at yesterday trying to tell you what will work tomorrow. Instead of looking at the big name experts we should look at those who are making a living writing that no one has ever heard of.
  • We are experiencing the digitization of entertainment.
  • The publishing industry is based on psychology. For this reason Hugh does not add sample chapters to the back of his book for fear of taking away a readers thought of “I finished this” after reading his books.
  • Hugh also added a Q&A between the last chapter and the epilogue in his book to give readers a sense of discovery as they found the epilogue they were looking for. He also asked for readers to leave a review in this section, when lots of readers were upset at the ending until they found the epilogue.
  • The best writers are the ones who have the highest standard in what they read and the most self-doubt. (They know they are not at their best yet.)
  • Quality is important, but we must be careful of who we are speaking to. Often when we tell writers not to publish too soon, the ones who are ready (the ones with self-doubt) are discouraged while those who are not ready publish anyway.
  • Backlist and free books are something we should embrace. The potential is endless for backlists now, and although there are enough free books for a person to read for the rest of their lives in classics alone, readers are still looking for new work.
  • To blame a company such as Amazon for providing what we want as consumers is silly. If it isn’t Amazon it would be another company. It is possible that Amazon is the best thing that has happened to indie bookstores. (Hugh has a fabulous article on this point here.)
  • Plot is more important than prose. Hugh has met professors of writing who write perfect prose, but without a good plot their writing is boring and goes unread. Reading is meant to entertain.
  • DRM punishes paying readers and does not stop piracy. If the words are out there someone can steal them. The best way to prevent piracy is to create high quality and affordable books.

Hugh has inspired me to work harder as an individual. To give back more and do more. I hope these insights from his keynote will inspire you too. And as always if you have any questions about this article, publishing, or social media I would love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below or connect with me on my website,

About Hugh Howey:

Hugh Howey is the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde Saga and the New York Times and USA Today bestselling WOOL series. The WOOL OMNIBUS won Kindle Book Review's 2012 Indie Book of the Year Award -- it has been as high as #1 in the Kindle store -- and 17 countries have picked up the work for translation. Look for WOOL in hardback in 2013 from Random House UK and keep your fingers crossed that Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian will do something exciting with the film rights!

Hugh lives in Jupiter, FL with his wife Amber and their dog Bella. When he isn't writing, he's reading or taking a photograph.

Related Articles:
Charleston: A Place for a Fresh Start with Hugh Howey
What is a Bestseller? With Best-Selling Author CJ Lyons
The Secret to Following Someone
Goals vs. Dreams

About Kate Tilton:

Kate Tilton has been in love with books for as long as she can remember. Kate believes books saved her life and strives to repay authors for bringing books into the world by serving as a dependable author assistant. A cat-lover and fan of many geeky things, Kate can likely be found curled up with the latest Doctor Who episode, plotting world takeover, or assisting authors and readers in any way she can. Kate is also a self-proclaimed Twitter addict. You will find her hosting #K8chat, her own creation, every Thursday night on Twitter from 9-10pm Eastern.

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  1. Replies
    1. Hugh is an amazing guy. I'm really glad I've been able to meet him in person and learn from him. :)


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