Best-selling books written by self-publishers

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Writing a book is no easy task, especially if it's you are on your first attempt. The creative process alone can be exhausting in most cases. However, there's much more to writing a book than being creative. A lot of editing, re-writing, tweaking, and more re-writing is involved. However, finishing your book is only half the battle.

Publishing your book with a well-renowned publisher might prove to be harder than you thought. Many of history's greatest authors have been rejected by publishers at least once. Take Stephen King, for example. His first manuscript, "Carrie", was rejected multiple times by publishers. So was J. K. Rowling's first "Harry Potter" book. Regardless of the cause of rejection, it can have a painful impact on the writer.

Luckily, in recent years, the book publishing industry has seen many changes. One of the biggest changes is the rise in self-publishing possibilities. Although self-publishing was once a stigmatized subject, it is now gaining popularity and success among authors and readers alike. Many self-published authors have become best-selling authors in recent years. Here are 5 of the best-selling titles that have been initially self-published.


Probably the best known self-published book around the world, E. L. James' first book of the trilogy was initially published through a virtual self-publish company based in Australia. The book was almost an instant success and James has since written 3 more books in the series. The series has sold over 70 million copies worldwide.


John Grisham's first novel was allegedly rejected 28 times by traditional publishers. Grisham took the matter into his own hands and managed to publish the first 5000 copies through a small private publisher. Although the book wasn't a great success, the success of his next books would eventually led to the republishing of the book by a traditional publisher.


The debut novel of Lisa Genova was rejected by multiple publishers before Genova decided to ignore her literary agent and self-publish it. The initial success of the book led to it being republished by a traditional publisher. It was eventually translated into more than 25 different languages. A film adaptation starring Julianne Moore was released in 2014.


James Redfield sold his first book out of the trunk of his car. The book was a great success, and although it received controversial reviews, he managed to sell almost 100 thousand copies before being contacted by a traditional publisher. Currently, the book has been translated into more than 30 different languages, and has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.


During her period of group home working, Amanda Hocking wrote 17 novels. In 2010 she decided to self-publish 9 of these books as e-books. By the time a year had passed, her books had sold more than 1 million copies worldwide. Her success brought her more than $2 million, an amount which was unheard-of for self-published authors, at the time.

Image: © Artislife | Adobe Stock

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