Bestsellers and Self-Publishing

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Bestsellers and Self-Publishing: The Magnificent 7

Here are the stories of seven bestselling writers, their millionaire successes and how they used self-publishing to achieve international success in no time.

Any writer can tell you that finishing a novel is only half the job, because getting a book published by a publisher is almost always more difficult (and tiring) than writing the book. For this reason, more and more authors are resorting to self-publishing, i.e. direct publishing.

The leader of this change was Amazon, which has a self-publishing program, as well as Kobo and others, which allow writers to publish their books for free. Not only that: for any author, directly testing the mood of the public and building a following of fans online today is very easy, just like James did, before self-publishing her “Fifty Shades of Gray”.

So what can stop any aspiring writer from publishing their work online, skipping the traditional publisher? Little or nothing, and this is demonstrated by these “magnificent 7” who have become famous and millionaires by publishing their ebooks as independent authors and taking care of the relationship with their readers online. Here they are, in order of success.

7th – Michael J. Sullivan – The Riyria Chronicles

The Riyria Chronicles is still one of the most successful self-published fantasy / sci-fi of all time. The Riyria Chronicles is a fantasy-epic series of six books, translated into 14 languages. The first book in the series, The Crown Conspirary, was published in 2008. In 2011 Sullivan was hired by Orbit (the fantasy branch of Hachette), relying on the fact that he had already sold 70,000 copies of his own.

6th – HM Ward – Damaged

One of the greatest authors of the romantic genre right now is HM Ward, the writer of the Ferro family saga. Her first book, “Damaged”, was self-published as an ebook on Amazon and became the number one best-seller in the New Adult genre. It has continued with the series, and since its debut in 2011 has sold over 4 million books. Ward has always rejected proposals from publishing houses and is still an independent ( indie ) author today. He is always at the top of the New York Times bestselling authors list.

5th – Barbara Freethy – Daniel’s Gift

best seller label

Here is a writer who had a successful career in the traditional publishing field, before moving on to self publishing. Freethy reports on his website that he chose to switch to self publishing because many of his books had gone out of print, but he felt there was still an audience for those titles. He was right, not least because its mix of romance and suspense is one of the fastest growing markets, particularly in ebook format. Also, she liked the fact that an ebook could exist forever, in the sense that it doesn’t have a “shelf life” (it doesn’t have a life limited to printed copies). Freethy gave up working for a traditional publisher and now all of his books are available as ebooks through Amazon, Apple iBookstore, and Barnes & Noble.

4th – Lisa Genova – Still Alice

Lisa Genova is a neuroscientist and her debut novel, Still Alice, tells of a woman with an early form of Alzheimer’s disease, who must learn to cope with the way her life it’s changing. Genova self-published her book in 2007 with iUniverse, then it was acquired by Simon & Schuster in 2009. Lisa Genova has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 40 weeks, and has been translated into 25 languages. There was also a film adaptation, starring Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin, and Julianne Moore. Other books from Genoa have been published by traditional publishers.

3rd – Amanda Hocking – Trylle Trilogy

One of the first writers to exceed $ 2 million with self-publishing of ebooks was Amanda Hocking, who made headlines in 2011 with the My Blood Approves and Trylle Trilogy series. By 2011, Hocking had sold over one million copies of its nine books, averaging 9,000 copies per day. Although already very popular as a self-publisher, Hocking decided to sign a traditional publishing contract with San Martin Press in March 2011. The contract, estimated at $ 2 million, included a series of four books on the subject of the paranormal. Meanwhile, Trylle Trilogy was optioned for a film adaptation.

2nd – Hugh Howey – Wool Trilogy Hugh Howey

Sci-fi series started out as a short story, but decided to develop the story as a series after successfully posting it on His series follows the stories of characters who live underground because the outside world is toxic. The original series is divided into 9 books, republished in print by a traditional publisher like Simon & Schuster, who offered him “a six-figure contract” to have also the copyright of the digital editions, still in Howey’s hands.

1st – Erika Leonard James – 50 Shades of Gray

50 shades of gray books

James is awarded the first place for the most lightning-fast bestseller ever recorded in the history of publishing: thirty-one million copies in a few months, and for having beaten the record considered unparalleled Harry Potter. James started the online trilogy with the collaboration of a large group of fans. In a second phase he developed his famous erotic trilogy in an original form. James self-published the first book both as an ebook and in print-on-demand through Coffee Shop. The book spread rapidly, demonstrating a high appreciation for the erotic component in female fiction, also thanks to the discretion of online purchases and reading on tablets. The trilogy has become a worldwide phenomenon and a film adaptation is underway. The series has been widely criticized for being poorly written, but that hasn’t stopped millions of people from buying her novels.