Taking Time for Quality

I have had the wonderful podcasting opportunity to pick the brains of two leaders in Science Fiction publishing, Hugh Howey (author of WOOL OMNIBUS), and Robin Sullivan (Head of Ridan Publishing).

AudioTim 32: Hugh Howey, Author of WOOL OMNIBUS is 50 minutes of awesome discussion with Hugh about how a story about post-apocalyptic survival in a silo could create an army of fans and a movie option with 20th Century Fox.

AudioTim 33: Indie Publishing Panel with Hugh Howey and Robin Sullivan is 97 minutes of inspiration from two people who started from the bottom and worked their way into creating/selling major best selling books.

One piece of advice that they each emphasized was the importance of quality over quantity.

It really made an impression on me. As I fantasized about being in their position, being able to quit my day job by selling a story that would sell tens of thousands of copies a month, a new level of patience formed in my brain. Suddenly, the tasks my editor gave me to break down each scene, (goals, conflict, and resolution; each character’s wants; how the technology is working/how they perceive it to be working), no longer became a burden on my time, but an opportunity for me to turn my work into six figure quality. I’m not writing for the money, but I am trying to produce the quality of stories that will earn that kind of money. As you’ll hear Robin say, these bestsellers aren’t there by accident; they have a strength in quality that impacts enough people, that they are bought and produce fans en masse. That’s what I want.

As you’ll hear Hugh say, writing is a hobby of solitude. The fan base he’s discovered is what makes this a dream come true for him. Not once did he mention things he’s bought, but time and time again, he mentioned how joyful he is to have such dedicated and cool fans.

Michael and Hugh both have such large, and dedicated fan bases because they took the time to put out quality work. That’s what I aspire for. Even though I have a deadline (July) to turn this fourth draft in, I’m still taking the time–and seeing the importance of doing so–to make sure each and every scene shines.

It’s important that we recognize what it took for the writers whom we look up to to get where they are. Hugh had eight or nine products out on the market before Wool became his major bestseller. Michael didn’t hit it big until his third novel was out. The advice there is not to rush to get to piece nine, or novel three, but to make everything you put out the best quality work you can, then have each piece build your audience through word of mouth.

And now it’s back to polishing up more scenes.

About Timothy C. Ward

Timothy C. Ward is a former executive producer and Hugo Nominee of Adventures in SciFi Publishing. He has been broke and lost on the other side of the world and now dreams of greater adventures from his keyboard in Des Moines, Iowa. This summer, he released his second Sand Divers book, Scavenger: A.I., where two parents use an ancient technology to fight a reproducing A.I. while trying to resurrect their deceased infant, and a new series that begins with Godsknife: Revolt, an apocalyptic battle for godhood in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss. Sign up for his newsletter for news, sales, giveaways and more: http://www.timothycward.com/newsletter/.

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