Special thanks to Andy Weir for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – The Martian: A Novel
Andy Weir was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel. – From Andy’s Homepage
#1 – What was the impetus for The Martian?
I was imagining a manned Mars mission, putting it together in my mind. Naturally, you have to account for failure scenarios and have plans for what the crew could do. I realized those failure scenarios made for a pretty interesting story.
#2 – The book has been celebrated for its realism and attention to detail. Why was getting the facts right so important to you?
I’m a science-minded guy and I write for people who are also science-minded. I really get taken out of a story when I read something that’s wildly inaccurate to known science. So I wanted to keep to reality as much as possible.
#3 – Mars has always held such a fascination to our storytelling and in sci-fi. What do you think draws our interest to this red planet?
It’s the next obvious step for us to explore. We’ve been to the Moon. Mars is next.
#4 – The book was originally self-published. Was this always the plan? How does the success now compare to that first publishing?
Originally the book was just a serial I posted a chapter at a time to my website. Once the book was done, people started requesting that I make an e-book version so they didn’t have to read it in a web browser. So I did and posted it to my site. Then other people emailed saying they want to read the e-book, but they aren’t technically savvy and don’t know how to download a file from the internet and put it on their e-reader. They requested I make a Kindle version they could just get through Amazon. So I did that as well. I set the price at Amazon’s minimum allowable price of $0.99. More people bought the book from Amazon than downloaded it for free from my website. Amazon has a truly amazing reach into the readership market.
The book sold very well and made its way up various top-seller lists on Amazon. That got the attention of Julian Pavia at Crown. He told his colleague David Fugate (a literary agent) about it. David ended up becoming my agent and Julian offered me a book deal. It was a whirlwind of activity because 20th Century Fox optioned the movie rights that same week.
I vastly prefer traditional publishing to self-pubbing. Publishers know how to market and publicize books. I’ve sold 30 times as many copies of the book through Random House as I did on my own.
#5 – The film of the book is coming out. What has the process been from your point of view? How does it feel to have your ideas appearing on the screen?
It’s amazing. It’s like having all my dreams come true.
#6 – Are you working on any new books/project you can tell us about?
I’m working on my next book now. It’s a more traditional sci-fi novel with aliens, faster-than-light travel, and telepaths, etc. It’s tentatively titled “Zhek” and it should be out in mid-2016
[Image Credit: http://www.andyweirauthor.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Andy-Weir-Author-Photo-Cropped.jpg ]