Wool, written by U.S. writer Hugh Howey, was self published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing system (it can be purchased from Barnes and Noble too). The series, which can be bought as a single omnibus edition, consists of six novellas – Wool, Proper Gauge, Casting Off, The Unraveling, The Stranded, and First Shift. Wool tells a post-apocalyptic story of a subterranean world inhabited by citizens who are restricted, misled, and forced to “clean” windows in the toxic outer world as a death penalty for “bad” behavior. The underground people get all of their information about the outside world through a single, digital screen.
On GoodReads, Wool Omnibus Edition has an average rating of 4.47 (very high).
“This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.”
Howey self published the book and receives monthly six-figure payments off his 70% royalties – a huge accomplishment for a self-published author and a great argument for “doing it yourself” rather than suffering through dozens of rejection letters from publishers before, if ever, your book is accepted. After Wool’s success, New York publishers approached him with offers for book deals but Howey told them he wants to continue to self-publish so he can maintain the rights to his work. The book’s success has spread to the big screen too. 20th Century Fox has acquired the film rights to the self-published e-book in a fierce bidding competition.
Regarding self-publishing, The Huffington Post explained:
“Fact is that authors no longer need a publisher and more and more writers are awakening to the realization that if you are not a high-profile author who can command large sales, a traditional publisher will do little for you beyond editing and printing your book. The stigma is gone. Publishers will pick up a self-published work if it does well. Readers are really just interested in good stories.”