Independence, 2016

by | Jul 4, 2016

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.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Michael Milano

    thanks. you reminded me of the independence day in my country. its meaningful to do that

  2. Lyle Gettings

    independence its a must and they need it for sure

  3. Ernie Zelinski

    To be sure, freedom and independence go hand in hand. Here are a few words of wisdom from people a lot smarter than me who have inspired me to be independent and at the same time sell over 925,000 copies of my books worldwide:

    “The great creative individual . . . is capable of more wisdom and virtue than collective man ever can be.”
    — John Stuart Mill

    “The man who is aware of himself is henceforward independent; and he is never bored, and life is only too short, and he is steeped through and through with a profound yet temperate happiness. He alone lives, while other people, slaves of ceremony, let life slip past them in a kind of dream.”
    — Virginia Woolf

    “For me, the principal fact of life is the free mind. For good and evil, man is a free creative spirit. This produces the very queer world we live in, a world in continuous creation and therefore continuous change and insecurity. A perpetually new and lively world, but a dangerous one, full of tragedy and injustice. A world in everlasting conflict between the new idea and the old allegiances, new arts and new inventions against the old establishment.”
    — Joyce Cary (1888-1957), British author. Interview in “Writers at Work”

    “Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.”
    — Rosa Luxemburg

    “Freedom is the only law which genius knows.”
    — James Russell Lowell

    “History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.”
    — Dwight D. Eisenhower

    “It’s easy to be independent when you’ve got money. But to be independent when you haven’t got a thing— that’s the Lord’s test.”
    — Mahalia Jackson

    “Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Speak your mind even if you are a minority of one. The truth is still the truth.”
    — Mohandas Gandhi

    “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”
    — Albert Einstein

    “The world in general doesn’t know what to make of originality; it is startled out of its comfortable habits of thought, and its first reaction is one of anger.”
    — W. Somerset Maugham

    “Nature never said to me: Do not be poor; still less did she say: Be rich; her cry to me was always: Be independent.”
    — Sébastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort

    “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.”
    — Henry David Thoreau

    “The good ideas are all hammered out in agony by individuals, not spewed out by groups.”
    — Charles Bower

    “The thing is, you see, that the strongest man in the world is the man who stands alone.”
    — Henrik Ibsen

    • Joel Friedlander

      Lovely, thanks Ernie. Enjoy your independence!


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