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.


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


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