Hugh Howey is a writer of dystopian end-of-the-world-as-we-knew-it books that are quite good. He is self-published and he is incredibly successful at selling his books – primarily on Amazon. Here is the blog post I wrote last summer reviewing his book and the article in the Wall Street Journal WOOL - A Self-PublishingTriumph. To many writers he is their hero and now their guide through the labyrinth that is the ebook and self-publishing.
And he is, like the little boy and the naked emperor, one who is not shy in pointing out what may be really happening in the world of independent publishing and ebooks.
On February 12, 2014, Howey published a lengthy manifesto that challenged the big New York publishing establishment and dearly held beliefs about where independent publishing and self-publishing, especially ebooks, stands and where it might be going. He also challenges the large traditional ebook retailers to publish the facts and figures about what is really going on in the ebook world. The 7K Report is causing quite a kerfuffle in the independent and traditional world. Challenges to the data and its crunching by both sides is as much of the story as Howey's report is.
Much of what is causing all the angst is that no one from Amazon to Scrivener is willing to go public with real factual numbers regarding sales, especially ebooks. They point to Howey and repeat the famous line from the Wizard of Oz about not paying attention to the man behind the curtain.
There are two stories about Howey here. The first is the data and its acquisition and how Howey got it, and the second is what he did with it after it was complied. To hear him tell it no one wanted to touch the report. The excuses were the usual, "It's too long and who really cares." When Howey posted the 7K Report on its own website it had over 30,000 hits in a day. Yeah, no one really cares.
In a lengthy, interesting, and incredibly worth the time YouTube video, Howey discusses the report and its data with Self-publishing Roundtable, Episode 32.
Howey says that the top percentage of self-published authors are doing much better than the top percentage of traditionally published authors – makes you think for a minute about what's really going on out there.
Howey is pro-writer and is challenging the publishing industry to better respect and better pay the authors who are their only reason for being. His goal is to push the writer to the front of the publishing queue not the back where we have been placed by the traditional publishing industry. I have seen this in the arts world and other allied industries – most especially in the art publishing industry. The artist is the last to make the big bucks. Look how music was changed by iTunes – suddenly even the lowliest garage band can now make money and get exposure. Same is true for writers.