Plenty of authors out there dream of writing the next, great bestseller. Some dream of fame and notoriety. Others dream of the financial windfall that this would represent. For others still, it’s just a question of making a lifelong dream come true.
Regardless of what your intentions are, self-publishing can give you the opportunity you have sought after all your life. You can get your stories out there so that millions of people can enjoy the same dreams.
So, here are three self-publishing success stories to get you motivated. Perhaps you never thought that these international bestsellers started as self-publishing endeavors. Yet, they are now stalwarts of popular literary culture.
50 Shades of Grey
Perhaps you’ve heard of this book? Perhaps you’ve seen the film? In case you haven’t, you might want to check it out.
British author EL James wrote the first draft of this book as a single-volume standalone novel in 2011. The story is loosely based on the Twilight vampire series. The first edition was published in eBook format. It was largely successful though it wouldn’t enjoy massive success right away. The author went back to the drawing board and reworked the original manuscript. It was then released as a three-part series in 2012. The rest is history.
Once the series took off, it was then packaged into a print-to-order format in Australia. Vintage Books later picked up the license for the saga. From there, the 50 Shades series became a worldwide phenomenon. The moral of the story is that self-publishing can serve as a gateway to international success.
The Celestine Prophecy
The Celestine Prophecy is one of the most popular self-help books of all time. The story is based on humans’ connection to the divine being that links us all together. The book did not fall into the cult status that many such books get shoved into. It became a successful book in its own right.
James Redfield, its author, went about the entire printing and publishing tasks himself. He did all of the sales and marketing tasks, as well. Early on, the book sold 100,000 copies. This was a considerable feat back in 1992. It was even more astonishing when you consider that the internet was still in its infancy (Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994).
The book would go on to enjoy bestseller status in 1996. From there, it should roughly 20 million copies worldwide. The Celestine Prophecy is a testament to how good books only need a nudge in the right direction
Still, Alice is a novel about a fictional character named Alice who suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s. The book’s author, Lisa Genova, is a Harvard-trained neuroscientist who set out to write a book on Alzheimer’s from the caregiver/patient’s perspective. Given that the literature available on the subject is written by clinicians, it offers very little support to both sufferer and caregiver.
The ironic part is that the book was rejected by every literary agent the author spoke to. One agent warned the author that self-publishing would destroy her career. Ultimately, the book was self-published in 2007. After extensive self-promotion and guerrilla marketing tasks, a mainstream publisher picked up the book. From there, it enjoyed a long run as a paperback and a highly lucrative audiobook deal.
With these examples, it’s clear that bestsellers can come from anywhere. So, if you think you’ve got one in you, don’t hold back. You’ll end up doing the world disservice but keeping your book to yourself.