Today, self-publishing is easier than ever. With the advent of technology, authors today are able to print and disseminate their work without signing their rights away to a publisher. Believe it or not, the art of self-publishing dates back pretty far. Some very famous self-published authors made the decision to bring their works to market that way, and as a result, achieved real success. Famous self-published authors like Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Upton Sinclair, Beatrix Potter…the list goes on.
One of the most famous books ever self-published was Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain had already had several books published through a traditional publisher, but made the decision to self-publish Huckleberry Finn in 1885. As a result, the author sold over 40,000 advanced copies before the publication date. Ironically, the state of Massachusetts banned the book, and sales shot up even further. A great return for one of the greatest of self-published authors.
Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman, was another famous self-published book. Whitman published and designed the first edition of Leaves of Grass in 1855. The book was printed by the Rome brothers, James and Thomas, and was sold only to two stores, one in upstate New York and the other in Brooklyn.
Due to the controversial content contained in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, it is not hard to believe that he too self-published his famed novel. By self-publishing this novel himself when others would not, the author exposed the horrifying truth of the meatpacking industry and brought attention to unsavory practices, prompting tangible change.
Beatrix Potter, the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, is yet another of the great famous self-published authors. After dozens of rejection letters from publishers, the 35-year-old Englishwoman took it upon herself to assemble some 250 copies of the now-esteemed children’s book in the year of 1901. She not only wrote the book, but also painted the beautiful corresponding watercolors.
A real Cinderella story of self-publishing goes out to Amanda Brown’s novel, Legally Blonde. The book began as a print-on-demand piece and eventually was picked up and turned into a movie.
Today, twenty-something authors like Amanda Hocking are achieving incredible success via self-publishing. Through e-publishing, Hocking jumpstarted her career as a paranormal romance writer. Now she joins the ranks of authors like Nora Roberts and James Patterson, selling over one million of her books through Amazon Kindle.
As with any creative endeavor, there is no real way to determine the ultimate outcome of your efforts, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try. Be inspired by famous self-published authors who found notoriety by becoming self-published writers. By doing so, you may just open the doors to the literary success of your dreams.
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