How to make it as a writer: 10 tips from author Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey 10 Tips (2)Hugh Howey is well known in the publishing world due to the huge success of his self-published Wool series, and his subsequent and lucrative signing with Simon and Schuster.

I wasn’t familiar with his work before I saw a tweet by literary agent Rachelle Gardner. I followed a link to his website and there I found his helpful article, My Advice to Aspiring Writers. 

My favorite part of the article reads like this:

“My father at the time wondered why I wasn’t spending all of my time promoting that first book. I told him I had my entire life to promote my works. I only had now to write. … This is going to sound strange, but you are MUCH better off with your 10th work exploding than your 1st work. You’ll never have quiet time to crank out quality material ever again.”

You only have now to write. That’s a great way to look at it.

Hugh Howey’s 10 Tips for Writers

I’ve only read a sample of Howey’s work, but his passion for writing and sharing his stories with the world, as well as his success story, made me curious to learn about his writing life.

At the end of his article, Howey summarized his advice with 10 tips. Here is what he says you should be doing now if your plan is to make it one day as a writer.

1. Write a lot.

2. Write great stories.

3. Publish them yourself.

4. Spend more time writing.

5. Study the industry.

6. Act like a pro.

7. Network.

8. Be nice.

9. Invest in yourself and your craft.

10. Be patient.

Most of this has been said before, but the standout on this list is #3: “Publish them yourself.” You don’t see that advice in most writing tip lists. Yet, Howey is adamant about self-publishing as the way to get started as a writer. He advises every author to “begin their writing career self-publishing, even if their dream is to be with a large publisher.” His article gives the advantages of self-publishing over traditional publishing.

Self-publishing. I’m intrigued. I even downloaded the Kindle Direct Publishing guides to take a look at the process.

Have you read any of Hugh Howey’s works? What do you think about his advice on self-publishing to begin your writing career?

To read his full article for aspiring authors, click here.

Hugh Howey photo credit: Getty Images


6 thoughts on “How to make it as a writer: 10 tips from author Hugh Howey

  1. I love this, Darla! Thank you for sharing! I was just talking to a friend today about how I try to write daily and how it’s more difficult to get that smooth flow when I’ve taken a break from writing! 🙂



    1. Glad you enjoyed this, Margo. Daily writing is the key, even if it’s for only five minutes. I was in a car accident back in March and my injuries made it painful to write for long periods of time. I got out of my routine and I’m paying for it! (Well, one good thing came out of the accident: the settlement I received gave me the money to finally buy a MacBook Air, my dream writing machine!)


  2. Interesting article and good summary Darla. I’ve been dipping my toe into writing fiction. I’ve always said “I’m not a fiction writer” but I’ll never know unless I try! and sometimes academic & business writing can just be a little boring at times.


    1. Hi, Adrienne — Yes, give fiction a try. You might write the story that someone has been waiting to read. Writers today have so more available to us than writers of the past — amazing technology, instant feedback, global readership. It’s an exciting time for writers and I hope you take advantage of it.


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