Shoot for the moon. You might end up on Mars.


Just a quick note today about little projects that turned out bigger than their creators could’ve ever imagined.

Last year during a road trip in Vermont, I stopped in an independent bookstore and came out with two books that had caught my eye. Both were orange-tinted sci-fi books released by major publishing houses. One was Wool, by Hugh Howey. The other was The Martian, by Andy Weir.

Both books have been enjoying huge success. Wool has over 10,000 reviews on Amazon. (Most books are lucky to make it to double-digit reviews.) The Martian has even more—almost 17,000 reviews!—and, as you probably know, is about to hit movie theatres with an all-star-cast, major release by Ridley Scott.

What you may not know, and certainly what I didn’t know that day at the Vermont bookstore, is that both of these books started off as self-published e-books.

The big publishers only scooped them up for print runs after the books had achieved massive momentum all through their own effort—or rather, Howey’s and Weir’s efforts. These books started from nothing.

Read this story about how Andy Weir, just a regular dude who’s too petrified to even board a plane, carefully thought out a trip all the way to Mars. And then, of course, saw his own life shoot into the stratosphere of incredible success. You can’t help but be inspired by this kind of stuff.

And it looks like Ridley Scott’s next movie might just be Wool. They’re fixing up the script right now. Guess Scott just has a thing for sci-fi stories with humble origins!

Anyway, definitely check out The Martian before you see it at the theatre. It’s a great book with a fun voice for the protagonist.

OK, I guess it’s never just a “quick note” when it comes to my ramblings, regardless of my intentions. But here are a couple of genuinely quick notes about my latest goings-on:

1) I just had a sci-fi story accepted to the literary magazine aois21 annual, which will release next month, and

2) the Local Author Fair at the Portsmouth Public Library (NH) last night was a big hit! I sold a few books, made a few new friends, and remembered just how much fun it was to do author events. I plan to do a lot more in the near future.

Author: Jeff Deck

Author and administrator of this site.