It’s July 4th in the United States and we’re celebrating the “big 240,” the 240th anniversary of our founding, a time for midsummer barbecues, family gatherings, parades down main street and a day off from daily work. Good time to go to the beach!
We call it Independence Day because that’s when we decided we didn’t need any adult supervision any longer, and “threw off the yoke of tyranny,” as teenagers say.
And it’s a good time to celebrate independence, the allure of which keeps many of us going through work that sometimes seems endless, or pointless.
I suppose we who are lucky enough to live in the U.S. are independent in a lot of ways. We can move around, buy and sell cars, apply for any job you like, run for political office without asking permission, start a business this afternoon.
“Go for it!” seems to be our national motto.
But then we also dream of a bigger independence, don’t we? An independence that meant we could quit the day job and set sail under our own power, doing what we love and watching the money flow. Maybe that’s the new American dream.
And we know it’s possible, because Jeff and Brian and Marie and Pat and Frank and all the rest of them are constantly in our inboxes telling us how—if they could do it—we can do it too.
Even in the little corner of the universe of self-publishing, independence animates many of our actions, it keeps us up late, working two jobs—only one of which pays—doing stuff we might not otherwise bother with. Putting ourselves out there, crafting a persona, taking a calculated risk.
Finding ourselves with the tools in our hands, we want to use them to get to that promised land. Book after book then will roll out of our word processors, straight to the top of the category lists—we’ll be truly independent.
But even more than that, the dream of independence for writers is coalescing into a reality that’s here-now and very real. We choose when we’ll publish, how we’ll publish, who will help bring that book into the world, how it will be promoted, who we’ll partner with.
It’s all a sign of our new independence.
Writers now share tips on formatting and critique each other’s book covers. You can sit down and write at your keyboard today, and publish what you wrote tonight. You can be savvy and learn how to support yourself from your work.
Independence indeed. Worth celebrating, I say. Independent authors, publishing independently will change the world if left unchecked, and that’s exactly what we aim to do.
Have a great Fourth.
Ed: This is a revised version of an article originally published here on July 4, 2012.