Motivation Monday -- A Hybrid Author's Story
So, there's this guy. An on-again, off-again writer. You know the type, right? Start a story, don't finish. Start a story, don't finish.
He knew it was something he wanted to do, he just didn't have the drive to go the distance. That is until one day, while attending a book conference, he heard someone speak a message that I preach all the time -- You want to write a book? Stop talking about writing. Stop dreaming about writing. Stop talking about how you would write if you had written what you were supposed to write -- Just write.
I don't think there's anything worse than knowing what your calling is but not having the drive to go the distance. To me, that's WORSE than not knowing what it is because then at least you have an excuse.
Anyway, but FINALLY he heard the words that inspired him to write his first book--a book that he wrote because it was something he wanted to read and hadn't seen any like it on the shelves. And it was a good one. So he decided to publish it--went the traditional route and got an offer from a small press. So he snapped it up. Apparently, the "success" he had wasn't what he expected. So when it came to time to write Book #2, he said thanks, but no thanks. I've got this.
His second book was a Sci-Fi thriller. Well, it was more of a story than a full novel. He published it with the expectation of selling a few hundred copies and for a while that's what he sold, until WHAMO--1,000 copies in one month.
At that point, he told himself this is a series worth investing my time into--so he wrote more stories and published five in one volume.
Not only did this series hit the NY Times Bestseller list, he was selling 20,000-30,000 copies A MONTH. Yes, you read that right. A MONTH.
In the words of Yoda, "Quit his job, he did!"
And of course the literary agents, publishers, and Hollywood came a'knockin'. When you're making $150K a month in sales, you certainly don't have to answer. Why give up your ebook rights when you're making more than enough to live on and write full time? Plus, you're getting paid every month. Not twice a year. You have no advance to pay back. You don't have to take your book off the market and have it lose steam when it hits the shelves a year or more later (that happened to me). And you can write whatever you want---on your own schedule.
He turned down multiple 6- and 7-figure deals...that is until Simon & Schuster came along and offered the RIGHT deal. A Hybrid deal, allowing him to keep his ebook rights and self-publish his books on his own terms -- YET -- the publisher had rights to Hardcover and Paperback (ONLY). It was the deal that set the standard for Hybrid authors today.
He changed the game.
The author's name is Hugh Howey.
And his series is called "WOOL."
Click his name to read more.
What did I take from this story?
1. Write the stories you love and want to read! Different is good! I've said that before but it bears repeating. I see TOO MANY author copycatting author authors' work or trying to get in on the latest trends. Write what you love and (with timing and luck and talent) you will find your audience.
2. Hugh Howey turned down multiple 6- and 7-figure deals! I don't think there are many of us who would do that. But he saw the big picture and refused to take a deal he didn't feel comfortable with taking. The point here is ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't have what you want. A "no" that moment, is not a "no" forever.
When I accepted my deal, I was SO AWED by the fact that a traditional publisher wanted to publish me that I didn't think twice about the business side. I understood it, but I wasn't bold enough to ask for what I wanted. You have to be educated to know what you want and bold enough to ask for it!
3. Educate yourself on the business of publishing, traditional and indie, so that you understand what deal is right for you and your future.