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Self-Publishing Hall of Fame
Featuring Famous Self-Publishers

John Kremer's Self-Publishing Hall of Fame — This book features the stories of hundreds of famous self-publishers who have gone on to great success. It also features tips from many of the hall of famers on how to do what they did. I publish this book as an ebook because I’m continually adding new heroes to it. May, 2011. 360-page ebook download. $20.00.

Self-Publishing Hall of Fame Listings

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Relentless Aaron, born DeWitt Gilmore, wrote a number of books while in prison for check fraud. When he got out of prison, he self-published his books, including his first novel Push. He sold more than 100,000 copies out of his van before he was offered a six-figure deal from St. Martin's.

Carol Abrahamson self-published 250 copies of Not 3, But 21: The Investor Relations Audience Every Public Company CEO Must Understand and then gave away all 250 copies to potential clients. As a result of that one action, she booked 100 new corporate clients resulting in over $2 million in consulting revenues.

Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip and book series, self-published an original ebook, God's Debris, early in 2001 as a way of testing the market for a new book. As a result, he was able to get an “unusually good deal” from his regular publisher, Andrews McMeel, when he sold them the book rights.

English author Sade Adeniran self-published her novel Imagine This and a year later won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for best first novel, Africa region.

Carole Aebersold and daughters Chanda Bell and Christa Pitt self-published The Elf on the Shelf and made it into a #1 bestselling children's book and elf set. Since the set was first created in 2005, they have sold 1.5 million copies. Their Elf Training Camp video received 145,000 views in its first month on YouTube.

In 1998, Arthur Agatston, author of The South Beach Diet, began by self-publishing several hundred pamphlets outlining his diet ideas for patients. Several years later, with the help of an agent, he sold rights to Rodale. Within a year, the book had sold almost seven million copies.

Julie Aigner-Clark founded the Baby Einstein company to produce early-learning videos, DVDs, and audio CDs for babies and toddlers. Many of the products feature poems written by her. The company has won many awards for its products and has sold more than 8 million copies of its videos and other products. In November 2001, she and her husband sold the company to Disney for $25 million.

Nigerian writer Christopher Albani was jailed in his home country for publishing some of his books. A number of his books were banned in Nigeria before he sold right to his first U.S. novel, GraceLand, to Farrar Straus Giroux with the aide of agent Sandy Dijkstra.

Craig Alesse began Amherst Media by self-publishing his own how-to photography books. His company is now one of the premiere how-to photography publishing companies in the world, distributing to photography stores across the country.

Debbie Allen sold 40,000 copies of her Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters and then sold reprint rights to McGraw-Hill. In addition, she sold rights to a new book, Positively Fearless Selling, to Dearborn Trade. An international speaker and consultant, she helps businesses to out-market, out-sell, and out-profit their competition.

Marc Allen, publisher of New World Library, chose to publish his own book, Visionary Business, after publishing many other bestselling titles, including Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

In 1962, trumpeter Herb Alpert and his partner Jerry Moss formed A&M records with $100 apiece. One of the first albums they produced was the gold-selling Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass's Whipped Cream & Other Delights, a classic record of the mid-60s. They built A&M into the nation's largest record company not owned by a conglomerate before finally selling out to Polygram in 1989 for $500 million.

Judith Appelbaum originally self-published How to Get Happily Published, then sold the rights to Harper Collins. The book has now been through many editions and has sold more than 500,000 copies.

Mary Appelhof self-published Worms Eat My Garbage. Her first edition sold more than 100,000 copies. In 1997, she published her second edition.

Mawi Asgedom self-published his memoir, Of Beetles and Angels, which told the story of his journey from war-torn Ethiopia at age three to a refugee camp in Sudan, a childhood on welfare in an American suburb, and eventual triumph as a Harvard graduate, where he gave the commencement address in 1999. In 2001, he sold rights to that book and another nonfiction book (featuring advice for teenagers drawn from his motivational speeches), to Little, Brown for six figures.

Stephanie Dircks Ashcraft never expected to sell thousands of copies of the book of recipes that she and her husband once assembled by hand in their small living room in Utah. She created the first copy of 101 Things to Do with a Cake Mix as a college class project, then a few months later began teaching a cooking class based on the book at a local supermarket. Her students pleaded with her to put all the recipes together in a book, which led to her first print run and several subsequent reprintings. Over 7000 copies of Stephanie’s self-published version sold locally in Utah, the Intermountain West, and on the web. In August 2002, Gibbs-Smith published a new edition of the book and gave it national distribution. By mid-October 2002, the book had hit #9 on the New York Times paperback advice bestseller list.

Tami Oldham Ashcraft former her own publishing company, Bright Works Publishing, to self-publish her story of surviving Hurricane Raymond out in the Pacific Ocean (Red Sky in Mourning). After selling more than 8,000 copies of her edition, a literary agent discovered the book while biking on the San Juan Islands. Several months later, the agent sold the reprint rights to Hyperion for half a million dollars.

Bestselling Canadian author Margaret Atwood self-published her first volume of poetry Double Persephone in 1961, the year she graduated from college. The print run was only 200 copies. Atwood has gone on to become a bestselling novelist and short story writer.

Please note that the self-publishing of Atwood's first book did not necessarily lead to her becoming a bestselling novelist. A sad, sad critic seems to think that's what I was implying.

In 1838, John James Audubon completed his monumental The Birds of America, which was “large and nearly as heavy as flagstones, large enough to require two people, one at each end, to turn the thick, luxurious pages.” The world had never seen anything quite like Audubon's drawings which presented life-size birds in their habitats—soaring, swooping, singing, and killing. Audubon self-published his book by selling subscriptions and then issued the book in four installments. While he spent years camping out, making the drawings, and compiling his great work, his wife supported him with her teaching.

Douglas Austin, president of Austin Financial Services, has sold more than 125,000 copies of five editions of his Financial Institution Directors’ Liabilities and Responsibilities since 1984.

Visit for more detailed listings of selected honorees. Or read the book below for the most detailed and complete listings.

John Kremer's Self-Publishing Hall of Fame — This book features the stories of hundreds of self-publishers who have gone on to great success. It also features tips from many of the hall of famers on how to do what they did. I publish this book as an ebook because I’m continually adding new heroes to it. A great motivational and educational tool! May 2011. 297-page ebook download. $20.00.

Copyright © 2016 by self-publishing expert John Kremer

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