HUNTER is here.

Hunter is a short Sci-Fi story set in a dark and desperate world. It is just about 2500 words, which is about the length of a story you'd read in a magazine. I'm not really sure what the appropriate cost is, so I'm experimenting with the Pay What You Want model that seems to be working really well for a lot of artists I respect and admire.

If I sold Hunter to a magazine, I'd probably get around $125 or so (assuming I could get the SFWA professional rate of five cents a word. I figure that at least 125 people will want to read this, so if all of them donated a dollar, I'd feel really good about this, and I'd be able to do it again in the future. If you're interested (and I hope you are) you can download Hunter and pay what you want (even the low low price of NOTHING AT ALL) at Wil Wheaton Books dot Com.

A couple of FAQs:

Is this about the amazing 80s cop drama HUNTER starring Fred Dryer?

No, it's an original work of fiction set in a world I made up. 

Where could I find out more about HUNTER and Fred Dryer?

Oh, I bet Wikipedia will help you with the show and its star.

Don't you mean "it's"?

No, I don't. This rhyme from Strongbad has served me well: "If you want to be possessive, it's just I-T-S … if you want to use an apostrophe, it's I-T-APOSTROPHE-S!"

Can I use something other than PayPal to give you filthy money?

Not at the moment, no.

But PayPal is evil!

I know. Luckily, you can stick it to me and PayPal at the same time, if you want. Yay!

What about Google Checkout?

I'm working on it. Well slap my fanny, I figured out how to use it. Yes, you can use Google Checkout. The only thing is, I couldn't find an option that lets you set your price, so I set it at $2.00, which seems to be the average people are choosing to pay.

Can I download the artwork and use it for the cover?

Yes! I tried to embed the neat image Will Hindmarch designed into the files, but apparently I haven't unlocked that skill yet.

Are you going to expand this story?

Maybe. I know a lot about the world and other stuff that would be spoilery, because I've thought about it a lot, but I don't know if I'm ready to expand this particular story much more. I think I'll be revisiting [spoiler] at some point, though, because it's very intriguing to me.

So I've decided to pay for this. What do you suggest?

A billon dollars seems about right to me, but most people are choosing between 1 and 5 bucks.

Can I print out the PDF?


I bought the [mobi | pdf | epub] but now I want [some other format] do I have to pay you again?

Of course not, but thank you for asking. You're a good guy or girl.

Can I give my copy to a friend?

Yes, but I'd prefer you link them to the Hunter page at Wil Wheaton Books dot Com where they can download their own copy. I hope that this will introduce new readers to my work, and if they're at my virtual bookshelf, maybe they'll check out my other work.

Are you doing an audio version?

I don't know. Maybe in the future.

Isn't Wall of Voodoo an amazing band?

Hell yes! I've been listening to The Index Masters pretty much non-stop for three days.

Will you put this in the Amazon or iBooks store?

Probably not. I'd like to keep it DRM-free and pay-what-you-want.

Okay, that just about covers it. If you like this, please tell your friends.

92 thoughts on “HUNTER is here.”

  1. If you want an easy way to add images/create different eBook formats, I’d suggest you give Calibre a try. It’s listed as an “eBook Manager” but does a great job of converting between formats as well.

  2. Not sure if this falls under the Amazon or iBooks category, but what about Google Books? Have no idea how one would get a book in there, or how to do anything with them once they’re there.

  3. A quick question – would feedback on minor typos, word flow, and the like be appreciated?
    Oh, and based on the PayPal site, it looks like they charge 2.9% + $0.30 for anything that isn’t sent via a PayPal balance if it’s considered a personal transfer. For a Free “Purchase” account, it looks to be the same if you do less than $3000/month in fees, but for a Paid “Purchase” account, you just get paid. Pay before making a sale or afterward, it looks like.

  4. challenge for the day: figure out how to read the .mobi formatted story on my Android phone using the Kindle app. Haven’t found out yet how to import the document into my Kindle library online.

  5. Sweet! I’ll update this as I read along.
    p. 2, col. 2, para. 2: “But if she just stared at him,” seems like it should be “But she just stared at him,”
    p. 3, col. 1, para. : “A small burst of crackling blue energy leapt from her body to his, as quick and bright as a spark of static electricity” should have a period at the end.
    Possible minor stylistic points:
    p. 3, col. 1, para. 6: “Hell, he was more than afraid: he
    was terrified. He couldn’t believe it, but there it was: he was more terrified of this small teenage girl with the strange black eyes than terrified of this small teenage girl with the strange black eyes than he was of the towering alien Gan.” My 6th edition APA style manual says to capitalize the first word after a colon if the thought after the colon is a complete sentence. In both cases, this is true here. However, you may be playing with case in a way that makes him Pyke seem small with the lowercase here where it isn’t expected – in which case, good job, as that’s the feeling I got in reading that paragraph.

  6. I sent you $2 for this, but after reading PhD_B’s comment above, I decided to offset the fees by adding another $0.67, then I realized that I should’ve actually added $0.68 because I got the fees/percentages out of order. Curse my lousy math skills!
    Aaaanyway… Great story, as always! I look forward to hearing more from this universe. :)

  7. Now that I’ve finished the story, I also want to comment on the content before enumerating the remaining nits I found to pick so as not to be a dick. DAMN. A nice job of getting inside the character’s head and giving the reader a visceral sense of what’s going on. You, sir, have nothing to fear about your fiction writing. At least, not in my estimation.
    And because I was reading too slowly, I need to post the rest as a separate comment :)
    A small formatting issue:
    p. 5, col. 1, para. 2: “::What?::” seems like it should be in italics to be consistent with the previous formatting.
    Possible minor stylistic points:
    p. 5, col. 1, para. “::Pentat:: Nina ’cast, ::It’s done. I’m coming in.::” – I think that the “Nina ‘cast” might need to be in standard type if it’s meant as a “dialog” tag. However, I may be misreading the intent of that passage.

  8. That was thoroughly enjoyable, sir!
    I find it hard to get enough of (good) stories about dystopian futures. I’d be well pleased to read more in this setting!
    (I tried to calculate the amount to send in USD so that it would be an even amount for me here in New Zealand. Not that it’s a compulsion. Nosiree.)

  9. I’m lazy, so I generally let Smashwords embed images for me, and then download the files from there to distribute elsewhere. Sometimes I need to go back in to fix internal formatting, but I haven’t figured out a simpler way to put covers on epub books.

  10. Re: Cover
    I generally hand code epubs (because I am crazy) but as you are comfortable with Calibre this method may solve your problem:
    Select the entry for Hunter in the central pane of Calibre
    From the top toolbar, select Edit Metadata->Edit Metadata individually. In the pop-up menu that opens, under Book Cover (middle pane) select Browse and go to the location of the cover image on your hard drive. You should now see your cover in the Book Image pane. Select Ok (bottom right of the popup).
    Now for the weird bit. To “really” have the cover as part of the exported ebook file, You have to RECONVERT the file.
    So, just make sure you still have the entry for Hunter selected in the central pane of Calibre, and from the top toolbar, select Convert Books->Convert Individually. You don’t need to make any real changes in the pop-up menu that appears, just choose epub or mobi as Output Format in the top right-hand corner and press Ok.
    When you select Save To Disk, the resulting epub and mobi files should have the nice cover inside. (The exported pdf should too, but it will probably be pug-ugly).

  11. Oh, Sci-Fi, (No! Not “syfy”), how you never cease to thrill me.
    That was really quite an enjoyable story, WilW, the first non-blog thing of yours that I’ve read and I guarantee it won’t be the last.

  12. Wil, your story captured my attention (heh) from the get-go. Very well done; I am left wanting to know more. I hope you will have more stories to tell about this world in the near future!

  13. Wow
    You really need to lock “Mr Self-Doubt” in the basement. You are an amazing writer, fiction or non-fiction. I’m not a huge sci-fi literature fan, but this story was fantastic. Keep up the great work, Wil :)

  14. I agree with all the praise. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sorry to only be able to donate $0.65; It was the remaining balance on my account. More sorry now that PayPal apparently also takes a cut of it.
    Keep writing. You give us (or at least me) the confidence to do the same.

  15. I donated $2. Haven’t read the story yet, because I’m busy with school and work. Might read it this weekend, or next.
    I felt kind of cheap only donating $2, even though you wrote that it was about average. If I enjoy the story, it’s probably worth more than $2 to me. On the other hand, I really like some of the SF and Fantasy magazines (especially the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), and though it may be unlikely to happen in the short term, I’d hate to see a situation develop where the best authors make more money selling stories directly, so the magazines decline and perhaps fold.
    I suppose I could have taken the option of reading the story first, then donating what I think it’s worth, but then I’d have *really* felt cheap.
    [No offense intended to anyone that paid $2 or less, or read the story before donating. I’m only relating how I felt about my own donation, and not making a value judgement about anyone else’s donation.]

  16. Wil, I pinged you on Twitter. Hunter was really good. Before I knew I was at the end and left hanging…
    Dude, you need to cast off the shackles of fear and unworthiness and allow your self the freedom to JUST WRITE.
    You CAN do this, Wil. The K-Mart ‘blue light special’ was early evidence and now Hunter is just further proof.
    Congratulations, man. Job well done. Seriously.

  17. Neat-o coolio. I gleefully chipped in five bucks. $2 for me and $2 for someone else who downloaded w/o paying. Plus $1 for a post you wrote over ten years ago. I was googling to find a schedule for my favorite local Talking Heads cover band, Houses in Motion. Instead I found this .

  18. I second the desire for a dead tree version and for another look into the world you’ve created. I put in my $2.00 but I liked it so much I think I shall go back and put in two more. Thank you for writing and sharing your work and your life with all of us!

  19. You are pretty amazing, Wes, er.. sorry, Wil. Didn’t read Hunter yet (you said it’s in a dark world – a bit hesitant to immerse in it, I need a bit of light in the moment) BUT I will read it, because you are so interesting to read and you have some nice vibe. I had a bizzare dream that I was friends with Wesley Crusher, yes, your character from Star Trek:TNG (my favourite show on Earth), and, as it was rather unexpected (the dream) I thought I’d look up what the actor who played Wes is doing and somehow you are so much like Wes, intelligent and great person (I think, I am almost completely sure). By the way, Wesley Crusher is awesome,
    anyway, I will read your writings, and yes, I will pay (not billion dollars, not even a million).
    By the way, being good friends with Wesley was very nice, I wish it was real…

  20. I thought it was ok. I felt like the syntax was a little elementary. The entire story felt a little tentative to me. I suggest never using the verb, “to get” as you did on the second page of the pdf: ” “…that Earth got hit harder…”.
    I liked the idea of the story, of the characters, of the world. I would like to read more. I would buy a book or read more stories, because I think there is something interesting in this beginning. Good job.

  21. Got this downloaded to my Kindle for later reading…I just finished “The Day After” during my lunch break at work, and I have to admit it was one of the best pieces I’ve read in some time. Judging from the comments I’ve read thus far, I’d say my $10 was well spent in this case. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  22. Regarding “its” and “it’s” I always followed these simple instructions I found on the interwebs:
    It’s “its” when it’s “its own”; it’s “it’s” when it’s “it is”.

  23. I pressed the ‘Donate’ button and entered 20 in the ‘amount’ field. It was kind of a pain to have to type in name, address, and card info. I pressed ‘Review & Continue’. Some sort of error. I pressed ‘Update Total’. Whereby all my name, address, and card info was then erased.

  24. Very enjoyable read, and I hope we will seem more of this story, or similar in the not to distant future.
    Oh. and “Bad Wil!” (in tone of voice for telling off a dog who stole your biscuit) You should not be so hard on yourself or worried, that short was entertaining, gripping, and many other words ending in ing.
    You can write, You can write well. Have you considered being a writer :o)
    Now go get yourself a guiness, then return to write more!

  25. Thank you for making this available in multiple formats. Getting into the Kindle on my iPad could not have been easier, unless you came here and did it for me. I tossed in an extra buck just for making it that easy..
    For iPad/iPhone users, just browse to and click on the .mobi, it will ask you if you want to open it in Kindle.. Choose yes, and there it is. like magics.

  26. I’ve never used PayPal before, and they take a few days to set up… and Google Checkout wouldn’t let me increase the quantity. My credit card statement is going to look like I have a jittery trigger finger after ordering five copies. I hope Checkout doesn’t charge you per transaction like PayPal seems to.
    Your writing is fantastic; can’t wait to see your next piece! Keep on inspiring schlubs like me to write and you’ll start a revolution in the literary market – I’m diggin’ this PWYC model. Paying $12 CAD for a novel Americans are paying $8 for makes me angry, but $10 for a short story in ePub format somehow doesn’t because I know the author is getting the money – not just the poorly set-up, rudely-staffed store.

  27. If anyone would like to read this on their iPhone’s iBooks app (and didn’t try JasonR’s method, which I didn’t read before trying this myself — doh!), this works:
    1. Download the ePub version;
    2. Drag it in the iTunes “books” section;
    Optionally, 3. Right-click on the book in iTunes, select “Get Info”, open the “Artwork” tab, download the image from the website and add it there;
    4. Sync your iPhone;
    5. Open iBooks in your iPhone and there it is!
    Looking forward to reading it!

  28. Awesome! I’ll be paying for this as soon as I’m not at work. :) BUT, I’d also love to Flattr this. Can I, please please please? I think it might be just your kind of thing? :)
    (If I knew how to not sound like a bloody spam comment I would… >_<)

  29. A future FYI…as an independent publisher/writer, if you opt to sell on Amazon, you have the option to offer your work DRM-free…and with what indie writers are doing on Amazon now, you’d probably make a small fortune with your book length material…

  30. I have a question. I made a donation using my phone, but I cannot download the book to my phone(maybe because I’m not near wifi right now).
    When I’m on my home computer I’m going to download it to the comp and THEN put it on my phone. Which format would be easiest/fastest/bestest for this?
    I have an android phone, I have both kindle and an e-reader, if that helps you help me.

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