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

Self-Publishing Hall of Fame Listings

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Norman F. Dacey self-published the bestseller, How to Avoid Probate.

In 2001, Lisa Daily self-published Stop Getting Dumped. With the help of publicist Sherri Rosen, she got so much publicity for the book that she was able to sell the rights to Penguin for a very nice sum.

Diana Dalsass, author of five cookbooks published by NAL, Norton and Contemporary, self-published The Butterscotch Lover's Cookbook, under her Buttercup Press imprint so she'd have more control over its design.

In 1973, Bill Dalton self-published A Traveler's Notes: Indonesia. By the time he sold the company he had founded, Moon Publications, it had published almost 100 titles and was the largest American publisher of guidebooks for independent travelers.

Half African-American, half-Blackfoot Jamise L. Dames sold more than 30,000 copies of her first novel Mamma's Baby, Daddy's Maybe. The novel even made the Essence bestseller list.

Dennis Damp founded Brookhaven Press to self-publish The Book of Government Jobs, which has now been through 8 editions.

After Craig Danner made a big impression at regional trade shows in the Pacific Northwest and northern California, booksellers began ordering his self-published novel Himalayan Dhaba. The book was then named as a Book Sense 76 pick. In a heated auction, Dutton won the right to republish the book as a hardcover for a high-altitude six-figures.

Renny Darling of Royal House Publishing sold more than a half million copies her first cookbook, The Joy of Eating.

In 1933, Charles Darrow invented the game of Monopoly. Parker Brothers had originally rejected the game because of “52 design flaws,” so Darrow produced the game himself and quickly sold 5,000 games to a Philadelphia department store. The rest is history. Parker Brothers changed their minds and took on the production and marketing of the game. More than 200 million copies of Monopoly have been sold thus far.

Mary Janice Davidson began by publishing her romance novels as e-books at, a website featuring saucy romantic fantasies. A friend of hers brought her novels to the attention of Cindy Hwang, an editor at Berkley, who liked one of them enough (Undead and Unwed) to offer a three-book deal.

Max Davis originally self-published his book, Never Stick Your Tongue Out at Momma, then sold the rights to Bantam Doubleday Dell. As a self-promoter, he sold more copies of the BDD edition than the publisher did. He sold the rights to his next book to Penguin Putnam.

In 1998, Verna Burger Davis self-published her memoirs, My Chosen Trails, at the age of 96. Her granddaughter, Amy Martin, and son, Jim Davis, with financing by Verna, set up the publishing company, Deep Creek Press. Verna did all of the writing about her life through the 20th century. The first printing sold over 2,000 copies and, in 2003, she was preparing to go to a second printing with an additional chapter, detailing the ensuing five years and the changes that being an author brought in her life.

Afrikadzata Deku has self-published 40 books, including Sacred Verses for My Afrikan Queens, The Power of Afrikan-Centricity, and The Afrikan Truth.

When Kathleen Dexter self-published her fairy tale love story, Fifth Life of the Catwoman, it was chosen as a BookSense 76 pick. The book was then sold to Berkley where it once more became a BookSense 76 pick.

Don Dible originally self-published the New York Times bestselling book, Up Your Own Organization.

In 1978, train buff Chuck Ditlefsen self-published his first calendar, Those Magnificent Trains. Since then, he has built his company, Cedco Publishing, into one of the fastest-growing companies in America (it made the Inc. 500 list in 1998).

Ben Dominitz self-published several books, one on free travel (Travel Free) and another on romance, before completely establishing Prima Publishing, one of the largest of the independent small publishers. In less than fifteen years, he built a company that had published well over 1,500 titles, had more than 140 employees, and competed with New York publishers on an equal standing. Prima was sold to Random House in 2001.

Jim Donovan sold 85,000 copies of his Handbook to a Happier Life in 1997 and then, in 2002, sold reprint rights to New World Library who continues to sell it today. Additionally, his second book, This is Your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal, is published in over 20 countries with more than 200,000 copies in print. A sought after motivational speaker, he helps people realize that within them is the power to change their lives.

In 1847, black abolitionist Frederick Douglass began self-publishing a weekly newspaper called The North Star. The newspaper later became Frederick Douglass’ Weekly. Douglass published this newspaper from December 1847 through May 1863.

Laura Doyle originally self-published The Surrendered Wife. Once it became the bestselling book in Washington state, she sold reprint rights to Simon & Schuster. The book went on to become a New York Times bestseller.

Roddy Doyle self-published his first novel The Commitments. As he noted in an interview, “It was easier when I wrote ‘The Commitments’ and published it myself; it got space on the tables of all the bookshops because there was very little else happening. Now there’s such a wealth of writing that it’s almost impossible to figure out the people who are really worth reading.”

After Canadian writer Oriah Mountain Dreamer's prose poem The Invitation appeared on dozens of websites, agent Joe Durepos helped her to sell the rights to the poem in book form to Harper SanFrancisco in 1999, where it became a bestseller and has been translated into more than 15 languages around the world. Prior to that poem, she had also self-published a small chapbook of poetry, Dreams of Desire, in 1995.

American civil rights leader William E.B. Du Bois, co-founder of the NAACP, self-published The Moon in 1906. He went on to edit the Crisis journal from 1910 to 1932 as well as write other books, including Color and Democracy, that promoted the concerns of African-Americans.

Doug DuBosque and his wife Susan Joyce started Peel Productions to publish and promote several children's picture books that Susan wrote and Doug illustrated. In the process of promoting those books via author visits to schools, they uncovered the how-to-draw market. Since then they've expanded into publishing Doug's drawing books for kids, including Draw 3-D, Draw Cars, Draw Ocean Animals, Draw Rainforest Animals, Draw Desert Animals, Draw Grassland Animals, Draw Insects, Draw Dinosaurs, and Learn To Draw Now. They have sold more than 6 million copies of the 60 tiles they have published, both their own books and those of other authors and illustrators.

In a little over two years, author Laura Duksta and illustrator Karen Keesler sold 179,000 copies of their first book, I Love You More. Available now in 46 states, the book sells best through eclectic gift shops, art galleries, children's boutiques, and great independent bookstores. In March 2008, their book, now published by Sourcebooks, hit the New York Times bestselling book.

French novelist Alexandre Dumas, author of such swashbuckling romances as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, self-published some of his first books.

Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first African-American poet to achieve national prominence, published his first poetry collection at the age of 21 after being invited to read his poetry at the 1893 World's Fair. Before that he had published an African-American newsletter, the Dayton Tattler, with the help of his classmates Wilbur and Orville Wright. He went on to publish many more collections of poetry, several novels, librettos, and scripts. He is known as the poet laureate of African Americans.

In 1989, Cyndi Duncan and Georgie Patrick began C & G Publishing by self-publishing Colorado Cookie Collection, a collection of favorite recipes collected over ten years from cookie exchanges held in their homes. During their years of publishing, they have won eight Evvy Awards (from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association) and a Benjamin Franklin award for Nothin' But Muffins.

Hale Dwoskin and Lester Levenson sold more than 20,000 copies of their self-published book, Happiness Is Free: And It's Easier Than You Think, via their website and various online bookstores. To promote the book, Dwoskin began by emailing thousands of his former students at Sedona Training Associates. Their response was to propel the book to the top of the list at

Visit for more detailed listings of selected honorees. Or read the book above 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. 258-page ebook download. $20.00.

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

Copyright © 2016 by self-publishing expert John Kremer

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