I live, I die, I live again.

I live, I die, I live again.

i_live_i_die_i_live_again___mad_max_fury_road_by_cyanidemachine-d8wf7ltI watched that movie again last night with my dudes. Gets better every time. Tom Hardy is just so awesome in that role.

In keeping with the theme… I’ve started to work on BOOK 2 of the American Rebirth Series. I live again.

It’s going to be another long road, I know. (It feels like trekking up a mountain on rollerskates sometimes) But my hope is to finish this book much quicker than HOOD, I’m looking to finish it within a year!

I also want to take a sec to continue being extremely excessively excited about how well HOOD is doing. I’ve been within the top 50 books in the Bestseller lists of Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian for awhile now, and I sold 58 books in the past 3 days, as well as had 19,372 pages read on Kindle Unlimited. Adjusted for KENP my book is 421 pages, so theoretically my book was read cover-to-cover 46 times in the past 3 days (reality is probably a bunch more people read small sections of it)

Regardless, the feeling is hard to describe. Getting reviews from people who loved the book and having people reach out to me on social media is just so gratifying knowing how much love and time I put into this book. Really, it’s better than the sales and the reads and everything else.

I realize it can become annoying talking about yourself as a Indie Author in excess, but I just want to share this with everyone who’s been a part of making this book real. I hope someone I love will tap me on the shoulder and tell me “you’re talking too much” if I get out of hand.

But hey, fuck it. I’m enjoying myself. And I want you all to enjoy yourselves too– readers, friends, family, strangers. Ya gotta enjoy the highs, because you’re going to feel the lows.

I live, I die, I live again. What a lovely day!

-Evan

 

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We Are Our Own Liberators

We Are Our Own Liberators

To hell with recognition.

Any writer who isn’t lying to you will tell you that they dream of winning some breakout author award and standing on a podium thanking people they love, earning praise for a story trapped within them that they wrought perfectly onto page.

Because we’re humans, and we love recognition. We love respect. We love validation. We don’t live in this world alone.

But there’s something far better than that.

To be the one standing on that podium, you generally have to be conventionally published. You have to play the game and you needed to beat the odds just to even have the CHANCE to stand on that podium. And at the end of the day, even if you do stand on that podium, there is no guarantee of future success. Being conventionally published is not some golden ticket.

But we are own liberators, now. I got to watch 12 editors and agents ask to see my book and tell me they didn’t want it. I was not heartbroken, I actually was relieved because by the time I had gotten their responses, I had already researched being self-pubbed as an “Indie Author” vs. conventional publishing.

My mind was already made up. I was publishing my book on my own. Full creative control, full marketing control, high royalties… Basically, you’re your own boss. The book will succeed or fail based on how hard you work at making it great and marketing it well. It’s a shitload of work, but I wanted to do it.

It’s daunting, no matter how you look at it. I have to thank Joanna Penn for talking to me face to face at Thrillerfest, sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm about her success at Indie Authorship and helping me realize that publishing houses need me, not the other way around.

Everyone has rejection stories. Mine barely registered because I was already building my plan. I had seen the light, and it wasn’t being at the whims of people who didn’t know shit about me or my story I had slaved over for years.

Today, my book is on the Amazon top 100 Bestseller list for the Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic categories. #46 and #60 respectively. I’ve sold 33 books today, and it’s 10:50pm or so.

Today is the day that I realized that I have truly found success for myself, that all my hard work is showing something, and that this is just the beginning.

I am a writer lucky enough to live in an era where my success does not lie at the feet of the judgement of some publisher. It lies at the feet of the everyman, the readers who decide if they liked my book or if it sucks, or if it’s just meh.

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Win the crowd. Win your freedom.

I mean, I’m no Maximus Decimus Meridius. But it feels cool to talk like I am. Hell, I even put that quote in the book. Lord knows if that would get past an editor.

-Evan Pickering

 

One month in. . .

One month in. . .

It’s pretty easy to get addicted to looking at your Amazon sales page. I have to admit, I’ve become pretty engrossed in the process of checking the sales page, the reviews, the book‘s overall ranking as well as category ranks… Where it shows up on keyword searches.

It’s pretty fun, I won’t lie. It’s also been nothing short of amazing getting to hear from people about the book. You work so hard on something for so long and you keep telling yourself “keep working, keep improving it and one day you’ll be able to stand by it proudly.”

It’s awesome to be here, now.

So in typical stats nerd excitement, here is my graph for exactly one month:

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I’ve been pretty happy with the results of my marketing. Though as with everyone selling a book, it’s pretty hard to tell what sales are the result of marketing and what is just organic buys. I think I’ve done pretty well getting it visible so far, though.

By the numbers:

Books sold: 196

Kindle Unlimited pages read: 91,599

That’s 6.3 books bought per day and 2,955 KU pages read.

Now I’ve got a Goodreads Giveaway going, so let’s see what that does!

Happy reading e’rebody!

-Evan Pickering

 

HOOD is real. Paperback launch detected.

HOOD is real. Paperback launch detected.

Unlike Sauron, Hood can now take physical form!

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That’s right, HOOD, Book 1 of the American Rebirth Series is now available in Paperback!

It’s pretty damn cool to hold it in hand, I won’t lie. Print on Demand is a pretty magical thing.

So for all of you purists and non-kindleites out there, you too can journey alongside Hood and Whiskey through the post-civilization America.

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Next goal: Audiobook. Ah gad.

-Evan Pickering

 

My One and Only Review: The Last Of Us

My One and Only Review: The Last Of Us

I’ve been trying to pinpoint what it is about The Last of Us that makes it groundbreaking work of gaming and storytelling both.

To answer it, I have to ask a question:

Why do we all need stories and storytelling? It’s nearly as fundamental a human need as eating and sleeping and love. Remove all stories from your life (be it a loved one telling you about their day or a great epic of history) and the silence that follows it will be deafening. Maddening. Unbearable.

Because without stories we are alone. Without them we live one solitary life, confined to our own heads.

Perhaps this seems like a long and unnecessary aside for a video game review. It’s not.

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The reason why The Last of Us shakes the earth underneath your feet after you’ve played it, is for the same reason all great stories change us. Through it, we live out another life. A breathing, pulsing life.

The life of The Last of Us is real. It occupies time and space. If not in your reality than in your mind and in your heart. It carries with it a great weight of the everyday life of a select few people in the shattered remnants of the world, of bad jokes and angry fights and heartfelt bonds and awkward silences.

It is not overt; it does not scream in the face of the player/viewer and dazzle with shock and flash. The great beauty of this game is that you walk with Joel and Ellie and everyone else who passes through their life, in spectacular yet tragic landscapes, in peaceful normalcy and under great duress. It might be a walk through beautiful woods and other times it is a bleak, wet subway tunnel infested with ‘zombies’ crawling in the dark. Gun in hand, you tread softly ahead with four bullets and a brick, a fatherly off-hand protectively extended to Ellie. All you think as a player is “How am I going to make it through this?”

You want to survive because you cannot bear watching these characters you love come to harm, and you desperately want to claw your way out the other side into daylight to see them reach their destiny, whatever it may be.

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You see yourself in everyone. There are no heroes and villains. There are only people, and they are flawed and real and keenly relatable. Every single one of them.

On top of it all, the gameplay has been perfected to align perfectly with the mood, the feel of the game. It’s survivalist, it’s desperate and raw and very, very real. You can’t superman through the fights, running around taking bullets and gunning people down 1v20. You have to survive. You have to be tactical, quiet, deliberate, patient. Or you die. Sometimes all you can do is run.

The gameplay is the story. The story is the gameplay. Not many video games can achieve that. The only thing I could say is that the story is so incredibly good, you might find yourself longing to complete the gameplay just to find out what happens. MIGHT. But honestly, you LOVE the fact that you have to fight your way through their journey. The satisfaction of surviving in this game is very, very real. (I recommend any gamer worth their salt playing the game on Hard or Survivor for the first playthrough. You just have to. Trust me. The gameplay is too forgiving and takes away from the fictive dream a bit if you play normal or easy.)

I’ve played through the game around seven times. And I NEVER replay games that much. I just love the story, the world, the feel of the game so much I find myself drawn to it and thinking about it on an everyday basis.

I also won’t talk about a potential spoiler things that happen in the game, but suffice it to say through playing the game and living alongside the characters, It has permanently changed the way I look at my own life.

That’s the best thing I could say about any game, any movie, any book, any story. Period.

Do yourself a favor. Play TLOU. You’ll never regret it–that’s a promise.

-Evan

My novel, HOOD on Amazon Kindle