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Successful S-P Authors

If you are a relative beginner and wondering what self-publishing means, or even if it matters compared to traditional publishing methods, here is some information about successful self-published authors who will hopefully inspire you. Many of the following authors were offered traditional publishing deals following their success.

Who are the most successful self-published authors? This is not an easy question to answer, as success can be measured in different ways. Some authors may define success by the number of books sold, the amount of money earned, the awards won, the recognition received, or the impact made on readers. However, based on some of these criteria, here are some examples of self-published authors who have achieved remarkable success:

Would you believe that over 100 years ago, Beatrix Potter famously took control of her own work? She was the author of ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’, a classic children’s book about a mischievous rabbit. Beatrix self-published her book in 1901 after being rejected by several publishers. She printed 250 copies and sold them to friends and family. The book was soon noticed by a publisher who offered her a contract. The book has since sold over 45 million copies worldwide and inspired many sequels, adaptations, and merchandise. On her death, ownership went to her publisher and his company still owns all the rights to her work.

One of the most inspiring and recent self-publishing success stories is that of L.J. Ross, who has sold over 4.5 million copies of her crime fiction novels since 2015. Ross started writing as a way to cope with postnatal depression, and decided to self-publish her debut novel, ‘Holy Island’, on Amazon KDP platform. She soon found a loyal readership who loved her blend of romantic suspense and crime fiction, and she went on to publish 19 novels in total. Ross says that self-publishing was the best decision she ever made, and that she enjoys having full creative and business control over her work.

Many of you will have heard of Mark Dawson, who writes thriller novels and earns six figures a year from his book sales. Dawson says that one key to his success was finding a hook that would appeal to his target audience. He created a series of books featuring John Milton, a former assassin who tries to atone for his past by helping people in trouble. Dawson says that he was inspired by popular TV shows like Breaking Bad and Dexter, and that he wanted to create a character that readers would root for despite his flaws.

Andy Weir is the author of ‘The Martian’, a science fiction novel about an astronaut stranded on Mars. He self-published his book as an e-book in 2011, and it became a viral hit, attracting the attention of a publisher and a movie studio. The book was re-published by Crown Publishing in 2014, and they released the movie adaptation starring Matt Damon in 2015. The book has sold over 5 million copies worldwide and won several awards.

The author of ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’, Robert Kiyosaki, created a personal finance book that taught the difference between assets and liabilities. He self-published his book in 1997 after being turned down by several publishers. He marketed his book through seminars, radio shows, and word-of-mouth. The book became a bestseller and has sold over 40 million copies worldwide. It has also spawned a series of books, games, and courses.

Rupi Kaur is the author of ‘Milk and Honey’, a collection of poems and illustrations about love, loss, trauma, and healing. She self-published her book in 2014 as an e-book and print-on-demand after being rejected by several publishers. She used social media platforms like Instagram and Tumblr to promote her work and connect with readers. The book became a sensation and was picked up by Andrews McMeel Publishing in 2015. The book has sold over 8 million copies worldwide and won several awards.

There are, of course, many others and depending how you regard success, this runs into tens of thousands. Realistically, in any field of the popular arts, it is impossible for everybody to be earning millions but hopefully, only a few of you write for that reason. Remember the origins of all those authors who believed in their work and then set about successfully sharing it with readers.


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