5 Famous Authors who made it big with Self-publishing
The self-publishing method has seen monumental growth in its popularity within the past decade. It has turned countless writers into authors. Budding writers prefer it over traditional methods for the autonomy it brings to them. Self-publishing today is widely known as the “new wave” in the publishing industry.
It has been popularly held that self-publishing emerged when traditional publishing houses were crumbling under the pressure of handling a large number of manuscripts. However, the truth is that the self-publishing method has always been around. When Charles Dickens decided to self-publish A Christmas Carol, it became a huge success. From Emily Dickinson to Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf, self-publishing as an option to debut one’s book has been in vogue for ages. Therefore, if you’re mulling over whether to opt for this method while publishing your next book, here are some success stories that will convince you that there is truly no better!
- Rupi Kaur
If today you find Kaur’s poetry adorning everyone’s Instagram feed, there is a reason why this is so. She expresses that as a “20-year-old, brown woman from a working-class immigrant family”, she didn’t grow up with many financial resources and networks. When she was trying to get her book published, she was constantly told there is no audience for poetry. She says- “the literary world didn’t even see me”. This is what motivated her to self-publish. Social media proved to her that there is an audience for poetry. In no time, she had sold almost 10 million copies. Her books Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers have given birth to an era of “Instagram poets.”
- Margaret Atwood
Did you know that the writer of The Handmaid’s Tale began her career by self-publishing a collection of poems? At the age of 20, Atwood self-published a now award-winning book of poems called Double Persephone. Containing only seven poems, Atwood’s book was an immediate success. With close attention paid to themes like the suffering of women, her later speculative fiction novels only further solidified her reputation as a feminist figure. In an interview, Atwood was asked what she would describe as her greatest reward as a writer: “The first poem I ever got published was a real high. All the other things that have happened since then were a thrill, but that was the biggest.” Her words confirm that self-publishing is one of the most rewarding experiences for a new writer.
- John Grisham
Here’s the story of how Grisham became a household name for thriller novels. His first novel, A Time to Kill, was rejected by almost every publishing house he approached. His fate turned around when an independent American publisher granted it a 5,000-copy printing deal. The novelist sold them himself from the trunk of his own car. The novel went on to become a huge success. Today, almost all his novels have remained consistent best-sellers and some have even been made into successful Hollywood films.
- Amish Tripathi
Tripathi is one of the most popular writers of the historical fiction genre in India. His story will give hope to every budding author. After his book was rejected by publishers more than twenty times, he decided to self-publish the now world-renowned The Immortals of Meluha. This decision, he claims, was the turning point in his career. He actively took part in the publishing process. His experience in business management and marketing allowed him to devise creative strategies to market his book. Today, Amish’s Shiva trilogy is considered one of India’s most successful series.
- Jamie McGuire
After the disheartening experience of having to submit to the whim of every publisher, the writer of A Beautiful Disaster claims proudly that “I am the captain of my own ship”. So, what changed? She decided to take hold of the reigns when it came to publishing her book. She published her book online, and within three months, her book sold over 30,000 copies! Owing to her success as a writer, several “giants” in publishing tried to approach her. However, McGuire has not looked back and has continued to self-publish her subsequent works which have become New York Times bestsellers.
Today, self-publishing is the most popular method of publishing out there. It allows the writer autonomy over their work. While there are countless reasons for this phenomenon, foremost is that self-publishing offers independence from mainstream publishers. Technology has contributed to the growing self-publishing movement and writers can now reach their audience directly through online channels. The above stories show how even our most beloved writers earned their footing in the global literary arena by self-publishing their works. Like them, you can also fulfil your dream of transforming yourself from a writer into an authorpreneur!