This list was
compiled by Dan Poynter, author of
Manual. These authors became famous after self-publishing the now
well-known books that first brought them to the attention of the world.Getting published was no easier for them than it is for anyone
else.But instead of sitting around
waiting for the magic to happen, they had enough faith in themselves and in
their work to take the self-publishing route.Though big publishing companies coined terms like “vanity press” and
tried their best to make it difficult for authors to self publish, these writers
did it anyway.
The Self-Publishing ManualbyDan Poynter has 132,000 copies in print after 12 revised editions
since 1979. The publisher is Para Publishing (Dan Poynter). As a result of
this book, Poynter has been called "the godfather to thousands of books."
A Time to Killwas
self publishedby John Grisham. He sold his first work out of the trunk
of his car.
Self publishingLife's Little
Instruction Bookbrought H. Jackson Brown to the top of the New
York Times Bestseller List where it sold over 5 million copies.
Twelve Golden Threadsby Aliske Webb was rejected by 150 publishers. After self- publishing and
selling 25,000 copies, she signed a four-book contract with HarperCollins.
After deciding to self-publishThe Beanie Baby Handbook, Lee and Sue Fox sold three million copies
in two years and made #2 on the New York Time Bestseller list.
L. Ron Hubbard chose to self-publish Dianetics. Now, ithas been in print more than 45 years. 20
million copies are in print, and it has been translated into 22 languages.
The book started a movement and later a church.
In Search of Excellence
by Tom Peters. He chose to self-publish and sold over 25,000 copies
the first year. Then Warner picked it up and sold 10 million more.
The Elements of Style
by William Strunk, Jr. (and his student E. B. White) was originally self-published
for his classes at Cornell University in 1918.
The Joy of Cookingby Irma Rombauer was self-published in 1931. Today Scribners sells more
than 100,000 copies each year.
The Celestine Prophecyby James Redfield. His manuscript made the rounds of the mainstream houses,
and then he decided to self-publish. He sold over 100,000 copies out of the
trunk of his Honda before Warner Books paid him $800,000. The number-one bestseller
in 1996, it spent 165 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller list.
Over 5.5 million copies have been sold.
After publishingThe One-Minute
Manager, Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson sold over 20,000 copies
locally before they sold out to William Morrow. It has now sold over 12 million
copies since 1982 and is in 25 languages.
Fifty Simple Things You
Can Do to Save the Earth spent seven months on the New York Times
bestseller list and sold 4.5 million copies in its original and premium editions.
Embraced by the Light
published by Betty J. Eadie spent 76 weeks on the New York Times Hardcover
Bestseller List and was sold to Bantam Books for $1.5 million.
Four Louisiana doctors and a former
CEO published Sugar Busters! andsold 165,000 copies
regionally in just a year and a half.
Joe Karbo published The
Lazy Man's Way to Richesand sold millions via full-page ads in newspapers
The 87-page book, The Christmas
Box, took Rick Evans six weeks to write. After getting it published
himself, it did so well he sold out to Simon & Schuster for $4.2 million.
How to Flatten Your Stomachby Jim Everrode sold out to Price\Stern\Sloan. Since then, the book has
sold over two million copies.
Color Is Your Parachute? was self-published by clergymen Richard Nelson Bolles.
Now is has 22 editions, sold 5 million copies, and spent 288 weeks on the New York Times bestseller