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Ten Million Eyeballs

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. June, 2011. 237-page ebook download. $20.00.


Self-Publishing Hall of Fame Listings

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In the fall of 2004, Joe Babcock, winner of the Writer's Digest International Self-Published book award, sold rights to his novel The Tragedy of Miss Geneva Flowers to Carroll & Graf with the help of agent Michael Mancilla of Greystone Literary Agency.

After promoting his self-published book, The Truth about Relationships, on more than 800 radio shows, Dr. Greg Baer and his agent Wendy Sherman sold rights to Gotham for its debut list where the book was published as Real Love.

A scrapbooking enthusiast, Wendy Bagley self-published a collection of funny essays on the subject called Scraps. Later with the help of literary agent Jenny Bent of Trident Media Group, she sold the reprint rights to Hyperion for six figures.

After selling 7,000 copies of her self-published first novel A Little Piece of Sky, Nicole Bailey-Williams sold reprint rights to Harlem Moon, the African-American imprint of Bantam Doubleday Dell.

African-American author Michael Baisden has been self-publishing his own hardcover novels and then selling paperback reprint rights to Simon & Schuster's Touchstone imprint. The trade paperback edition of his novel The Maintenance Man hit the USA Today bestseller list.

In 1983, Phyllis Balch self-published her first book Nutritional Outline for the Professional and the Wise Man with her then-husband James F. Balch. That book was later titled Prescription for Nutritional Healing when it was picked up by Avery in 1990.

Cheryl and Peter Barnes started up Vacation Spot Books by self-publishing Peter's children's book, Nat, Nat, the Nantucket Cat, in 1992. They sold the first edition of 5,000 copies within a year and continue to sell about 5,000 copies every year since that time. In 2001, Cheryl met Mattie J.T. Stepanek, a child poet suffering from a rare form of muscular dystrophy, while working as a volunteer at Washington, D.C.'s Children's Hospital. Inspired by his spirit and poems, she went on to publish several collections of his poems. Heartsongs and Journey Through Heartsongs both made it to the New York Times bestseller list after Mattie appeared on Oprah.

Brunonia Barry self-published novel her novel The Lace Reader. In October 2007, it was purchased by William Morrow for more than $2 million.

John Bartlett financed and published the first three editions of Familiar Quotations, the bestselling quote book on the market.

L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz series, self-published pamphlets on chicken farming and decorating dry goods windows as well as Baum's Complete Stamp Dealers Directory, early in his career. For some reason I've been criticized for listing Baum here as a self-publisher because his Oz series is not self-published:

It implicitly extends the cachet of an author's complete oeuvre to one or two works. For example, the cachet of the Oz books (L. Frank Baum) seems to be extended to his chicken-farming manuals, which he did indeed self-publish. I've seen used-car salesmen who didn't display this slickness in false comparisons. — C.E. Petit (but then this blogger never read my entire list of self-publishers and what they self-published so he is certainly as guilty of car salesman slickness in condemning a list without actually reading it).

Jonathan Bayliss, a mainstay of Gloucester, Massachusett's literary inner circle since the 1950's, began self-publishing three innovative novels in his Gloucesterman series starting in 1992. In 1999, the Boston Globe called him “one of the great self-published authors of our time.”

John Bear self-published Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning in 1972 and sold more than 200,000 copies by direct mail before he sold rights to Ten Speed Press in 1983.

In the spring of 2004, attorney Philip Beard was about to write a check for the printer to self-publish his novel Dear Zoe when Clare Ferraro, president of Viking Press, called to make an offer on his book. Beard's bookseller friend, John Towle of Aspinwall Bookstore, loved his book and had recommended it to a visiting sales rep, John Gobble of Penguin. Taking a chance on a self-published title, Gobble read the book and loved it. He, in turn, recommended the novel to Ferraro, who promptly bought the book.

In 1993, Barry Beckham wrote and published the first Black Student's Guide to Colleges. In addition, he developed the Black Student's Guide to Scholarships. These books and others helped him to create the Beckham Publications Group.

Impressionist artist Guy Begin, the Painter of Perfumes, created his own first break by self-publishing his artwork as lithographs, serigraphs, and note cards. He now licenses his artwork to six companies.

In 1985, Paula Begoun self-published her first book, Blue Eye Shadow Should Be Illegal (now called The Beauty Bible), a how-to book on using the right cosmetics. She followed the success of her first book by writing and publishing a second book called Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. A few years later, she also published another follow-up called Don't Go Shopping for Hair Care Products Without Me. All told, these three beauty books have sold more than two million copies in the past thirteen years.

In 1928, Peter Beilenson began publishing books from the Peter Pauper Press using a foot-treadle press in his father's basement to publish books “at prices even a pauper could afford.” For more than 75 years, the press has continued as a family business.

James Gordon Bennett self-published the first edition of the New York Herald newspaper on May 6, 1835, using $500 of start-up capital, a basement office, an a sole employee (himself). By 1860, his newspaper had the largest circulation of any newspaper in the country.

Pierre Bennu sold rights to his self-published book Bullsh**t or Fertilizer to Andrews McMeel. Rights have also been sold to digicube and Japan.

Todd Bermont is author and self-publisher of 10 Insider Secrets to Job Hunting Success and 10 Insider Secrets Career Transition Workshop.

In 2000, author ReShonda Tate Billingsley had a story to tell and sent out a flood of query letters trying to interest agents in her novel, My Brother's Keeper. “I tried to go the traditional route and sent out letters to agents,” she said. That didn't work. So she decided to self-publish. Within a year, she and her friends had sold 15,000 copies and one of the larger publishers, Simon & Schuster, came calling. Now she has a contract with them to publish nine more books in the next two years.

Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson originally self-published The One-Minute Manager so they could sell the book for $15.00 at a time when all the experts were telling them that they'd never sell the book for such a high price. In a three month time, they sold over 20,000 copies in the San Diego area alone — and then sold the reprint rights to William Morrow. The One-Minute Manager has sold more than 12 million copies since 1982 and been published in 25+ languages.

31-year-old British author Marc Blaney self-published Two Kinds of Silence to the sound of silence. So he decided to submit his book for the Somerset Maugham award (for young authors) so he could tell booksellers that his book had been entered for the award. Well, he won. He was flabbergasted: “I didn't expect in a million years to win.”

In 2000, after getting 70 rejections for his comic novel, screenwriter John Blumenthal self-published a trade paperback of What's Wrong with Dorfman?, which was selected by January magazine as one of the 50 best books of 2000. He went on to get more major reviews and finally sold the book to St. Martin's Press for a nice sum of money.

In the 1970's, American poet Robert Bly self-published many of his poetry books and translations through his own publishing company.

Richard N. Bolles originally self-published What Color Is Your Parachute as a small typed guide for Episcopal priests who needed to readjust after leaving the priesthood. Later he sold the rights to Ten Speed Press. The book has now spent 288 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and returns to other bestseller lists (such as Business Week's) each year when a new edition comes out.

Since 1973, Australian dietician Allan Borushek has sold more than 11 million copies of his self-published calorie counter books and other products in the U.S. and Australia. About 8 million copies were sold in Australia, which is an amazing feat considering that Australia has a population equivalent to Texas.

Former Major League baseball pitcher and bestselling author Jim Bouton decided to self-publish Foul Ball through his Bulldog Press in 2003. The book, an account of his efforts to preserve the oldest minor-league ballpark in the U.S. (at Pittsfield, Massachusetts), was originally sold to Public Affairs but after an editorial dispute, Bouton decided to self-publish.

Ruby Ann Boxcar, Trailer Park newspaper columnist and website host, self-published her first book, Ruby Ann's Down Home Trailer Park Cookbook, via POD through iUniverse.com. The rights were quickly snapped up Kensington/Citadel Press which has since gone on to publish Ruby Ann's holiday cookbook. Ruby Ann is known as the Dame Edna of the double-wide world. She is a crowd pleaser. At regional bookshows, she autographs and kisses every book before handing them over to booksellers.

“I self-published my book The Down Home Trailer Park Cookbook: A Twister Of Tasty Treats through the iUniverse print-on-demand program and took it to the BEA in Chicago in 2001. After several offers on account of that trip, I decided to take up the two-book offer from Kensington Publishing. They re-released it last May under its new title, Ruby Ann's Down Home Trailer Park Cookbook, and the second book, Ruby Ann's Down Home Trailer Park Holiday Cookbook, comes out around the middle or end of October, 2002. And after the last BEA in New York, I signed a new three-book deal, which allowed me to quit my job and work as a writer only. Everything is goin' great, and I have to give you credit for some of this. When I first decided to self-publish, I picked up your book, 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, which iUniverse recommended, and read it from cover to cover, markin' the sections that I felt would be good for me. I took a lot of your ideas and crafted 'em so they ! best fit me and my book. It was on account of you mentionin' the BEA that I asked my rep at iUniverse about goin'. They finally said that if I paid for my way there and paid for my hotel and expenses, they'd get me and my assistant a pass to get into the BEA. So anyways, thanks for the tips, thanks for allowin' me to realize a dream, and thanks for changin' my life.” — Love, Kisses, and Trailer Park Wishes, Ruby Ann Boxcar

A former staff member for a mainstream publisher, Charles Boyle self-published his novela 24 for 3 as well as three other books using a cheque for £2,000 left to him by an uncle. His novela, published under the female pen name of Jennie Walker, won the McKitterick Prize for best first novel written by an author over 40 from the Society of Authors. His novel was recently republished by Bloomsbury with a blurb from Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones.

Stewart Brand self-published the first editions of The Whole Earth Catalog before selling the rights to a larger publisher. The Catalog, famous for widely disseminating the first photograph of the earth from space, was the bible of the back to the land movement. More than one edition of the Catalog hit the New York Times bestseller list.

Hilery Bradt self-published her first award-winning guidebook and now publishes a growing list of travel guides by other writers under her imprint, Bradt Travel Guides.

Engineer Marshall Brain began by publishing his work as a hobby on his website http://www.HowStuffWorks.com. This site features colorful easily understood illustrations and simple explanations to describe how things work, from how a black hole works to an expresso machine to plasma TV to Christmas lights. The site has grown to a business with more than 20 staff, numerous spin-offs, and $20 million in annual revenue. Two volumes of How Stuff Works have been published by John Wiley.

Jeff Brauer started On Your Own Books in the basement of his parent's house. He had begun working on his first book, Sexy New York (a Zagat-like guide to the kinky places in New York) while still in law school. In 2002, while still running his Brooklyn-based publishing company, Brauer also ran for Congress from a district on the east side of Manhattan.

David Brody self-published his book Unlawful Deeds via iUniverse's print-on-demand program. He sold almost 3,000 copies in his home area of Boston, Massachusetts while doing 26 bookstore appearances. At one point, his book hit #8 on the Boston Globe bestseller list. His book is probably the first print-on-demand book to hit a bestseller list.

Amanda Brown used First Books to publish her first novel Legally Blonde as a print-on-demand book. Her self-published book was made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon. A year and a half after the movie was made, Plume published her book, with an additional chapter on what's next for Elle Woods. Yup, her self-published edition came out before the movie, but the New York publisher waited another year and a half before publishing its edition.

H. Jackson Brown originally self-published his Life's Little Instruction Book. Soon thereafter, the book was bought by Rutledge Hill, a local publisher, who went on to sell more than 5 million copies. The book made the bestseller lists in both hardcover and softcover and continues to be a great seller around graduation time every year.

In 1984 Steven E. Browne self-published The Video Tape Post Production Primer and sold more than 3,000 copies in two years. He then sold the rights to an established publisher where the book went through four additional editions. He is now finishing work on his fifth self-published book, Getting That Job in Hollywood, and his sixth self-published book, his second novel.

The father of English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, author of Sonnets from the Portuguese, paid for the publication of the first 50 copies of her first book. She was 14 at the time.

After being dissatisfied with the results of regular publishers, Dorothy Bryant and her husband Bob established Ata Books to self-publish her next four novels, all of which didn't fit the acceptable mold of current publishers. Here's what Pat Holt of Holt Uncensored has said about Bryant: “With Ella Price's Journal, for example, Bryant anticipated the movement of middle-aged women returning to college in droves; The Kin of Ata was the first of many spiritual-mentor novels by such writers as Carlos Castaneda, Lynn Andrews, Dan Millman and others; with Prisoners, Bryant foresaw the trend by liberals such as Norman Mailer of sponsoring the release of convicts they knew nothing about, and didn't want to; her novel, The Test, was among the first books to recognize the dilemma of middle-aged baby boomers caring for both their own kids and their own aging parents; A Day in San Francisco was her portentous 1983 novel about a mother's concern over her gay son and what Dorothy calls ‘a liberation movement gone astray’ (only a year before gay bowel syndrome was recognized as a disease called AIDS).”

Nick Bunick, an Oregon businessman, self-published The Messengers by Julia Ingram and G.W. Hardin. This nonfiction book tells the true story of Bunick and his experiences with angels and reincarnation. Self-publishing the book at the end of 1996, Bunick spent $160,000 promoting it. Through his marketing efforts, more than 20,000 copies were sold in a few short months in the Portland and Seattle areas alone. A few months later, he sold the rights to that book and a sequel for $1,000,000 to Pocket Books. Did his efforts pay off? You do the math.

After Edgar Rice Burroughs became rich and famous as the author of the Tarzan books, he formed a publishing company where he published more books including some of his own.

William Byham self-published the bestselling business book, Zapp: The Lightning of Empowerment. The book has sold more than 2.5 million copies in self-published and Crown Publishing editions.

Visit http://www.SelfPublishingHallofFame.com 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! June 2011. 237-page ebook download. $20.00.


Inspired? Then do it. But first read 1001 Ways to Market Your Books.


Copyright © 2012 by self-publishing expert John Kremer
Email: JohnKremer@bookmarket.com

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