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Bury St Edmunds author Rachel Churcher on finding success without a publisher, as her novel Battle Ground tops Amazon chart

An Amazon chart-topping author is celebrating a ‘amazing time’ for fiction writing after finding success without a publisher.

Rachel Churcher, of Garland Street, Bury St Edmunds, chose to go it alone when her young adult dystopian-future storylines were dismissed. Insiders felt her Battle Ground series, which follows teenagers caught up in a futuristic British civil war, was too close to the Hunger Games. While Suzanne Collins’s trilogy found phenomenal success, publishing houses felt the industry had moved on.

“They were saying this was ‘last year’ and they were looking for the next big thing,” said Rachel, a former magazine writer.

Rachel Churcher said her five-book dystopian series Battle Ground was influenced by political turmoil and Brexit.
Rachel Churcher said her five-book dystopian series Battle Ground was influenced by political turmoil and Brexit.

“But I talk to young people and I know there is an audience.”

Rachel also found publishers were cold towards her five-book series having been completed in advance - which left them powerless to make any plot or character changes for commercial reasons.

Rachel founded her own imprint Taller Books without any experience or training, and has needed to complete all marketing for the series.

“It’s demanding,” she said.

“I’ve worked in magazines but I have never done this side of it and I’ve had to learn everything from zero. It is more than a full time job. But it was not a tough decision. This was the story I wanted to tell through five books.”

To achieve her vision, Rachel has worked at a prolific pace - writing all five books and a prequel short story in less than two years.

But the hard work networking at writing events and finding an audience online has paid off.

In July, Battle Ground, book one in the series, reached number one on the Amazon chart for young adult/action adventure genre. And earlier this month, the sequel False Flag also reached number one.

Book three, Darkest Hour will be launched on October 17.

Rachel said: “I think it is am amazing time to be a writer.

“The industry is in transition.

“We are going from a place where it is five or six publishers running everything to where the authors can go directly to the readers.

“We can put our work out there and build out own relationships with readers. They are signing up to mailing lists and interacting.”