The myths and the stigma surrounding self-publishing can make any writer nervous—is it truly worth it to self-publish your book instead of going through the route of traditional publishing houses? Will you get the returns, the recognition, the readership you deserve via self-publishing? In fact, according to Amazon, thousands of self-published authors are now earning royalties of over $50,000, and some even hitting six-figure salaries.
Here is a list of 4 authors whose self-publishing journey landed them among some of the most famous authors in the world.
1. L. J. Ross
L. J. Ross self-published her debut novel, Holy Island, using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) services in 2015. Since then, she has self-published 19 novels (18 of which topped bestseller charts), with over 5.5 million sales. She was also the first self-published author to be shortlisted for the British Book Awards.
“The benefit of remaining independent is that you can take your own creative and business decisions, so I chose to leave them both in because I preferred the story,” says Ross, who turned down many offers from traditional publishing companies to publish her books.
2. Rachel Abbott
A brilliant thriller writer, Rachel Abbott self-published her first book, Only the Innocent, in 2011 and immediately topped the Kindle charts within 3 months. In fact, her subsequent novels gained such traction that, in 2015, Amazon named her the UK’s bestselling independent author of the last five years.
According to Abbott, self-publishing – if done correctly – can be more profitable for the author than traditional publishing, but only if you are willing to dedicate your time to some extensive marketing!
3. Mark Dawson
Unlike the above authors, Mark Dawson began his literary journey by traditionally publishing his first two books—and yet, sadly, the thriller market was too competitive, and his book got lost amid a thousand others. But he didn’t let that stop him. Once he switched two self-publishing, he was able to market his books in the way he preferred and has now sold over 4 million copies of his books.
“Self-publishing has enabled me to build the career that I always dreamed of having, with the ability to make decisions for my own books that might not necessarily have been taken by larger organizations,” says Dawson, reflecting on the failure of his first two traditionally published books. He went on to gain a seven-figure income through his book sales.
4. Ashwin Sanghi
Ashwin Sanghi, now one of India’s best-selling thriller writers, started off his writing career by self-publishing The Rozabal Line in 2007, even before the Kindle era. This book is a combination of Indian mythology, history and religion, gaining much recognition among South Asians.
“That first year as a self-published author taught me the value of good editing, cover design, search marketing, and social media presence. It taught me the value of reader feedback and the criticality of retail distribution. My future success as a traditionally published author was, in part, from the learnings as a self-published author,” says Ashwin Sanghi, speaking to Kirkus Reviews. He has also gone on to publish two novels in collaboration with world-renown thriller writer James Patterson.
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.