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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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Judith Galbraith started up Free Spirit Publishing by self-publishing her first book. Since then she has built up a company that has published 75 titles and also publishes a catalog that features books from other publishers (Free Spirit had 174,000 direct customers last year!). Free Spirit is one of the Top 101 Independent Publishers.

Because Italian scientist Galileo Galilei published his astronomical findings in his first book The Starry Messenger just ten days after his final observations, he got the major credit for studying the moon and planets with a telescope, even though English scientist Thomas Harriot had first used a telescope to look at the moon four months before Galieo.

Twenty years ago, Margie Garrison self-published an initial print run of 1,000 copies of I Cured My Arthritis & You Can Too!. Since then, she's sold more than 240,000 copies through speaking engagements, media attention, and specialty stores.

In 1977, Marc Allen and Shakti Gawain started New World Library in their Oakland, California kitchen by publishing a mimeographed edition of Gawain's Creative Visualization. The first $800 in sales from that edition helped to keep the company going. When they approached Bookpeople about selling the book, the wholesaler said “Get a spine and typeset the thing, and we'll sell it.” In 2002, New World released a 25th anniversary edition of that book.

In 2001, Mike Gerber self-published Barry Trotter, a parody of the Harry Potter series. With the help of Michael Cader of Cader Books, he soon sold rights to Orion/Gollancz in England and Hodder Headline in Australia for several hundred thousand dollars.

Years after self-publishing his fable The First Forest, John Gile discovered that the National Wildlife Federation had excerpted without his permission 96% of his story along with illustrations in the December 2002 issue of their children's magazine, Your Big Backyard. With the fable generating a largest portion of income for his small publishing company, he had to sue the federation. They paid $350,000 for the infringement. In the meantime, Gile has now sold more than 120,000 copies.

“Nan Talese, senior vice president of Doubleday and the publisher and editor-in-chief at the Nan A. Talese imprint of Random House, sought to acquire rights to The First Forest, but I refused to sell. My ultimate goal is to follow in the footsteps of Bennet Cerf, an author who started a small publishing company which went on to become known as Random House.”

Michael and Marilyn Gilhuly always had a dream to be authors. They thought they had the excellent story, a historical fiction novel based on stories Marilyn had been told by her grandmother. Unable to get the book published, they self-published their manuscript, Call to Glory: The Life and Times of a Texas Ranger. Traveling across Texas, they sold over 4000 copies. One of the copies made it into the hands of the publisher of Longstreet Press, who made them an offer.

John Gindick has sold more than 2 million copies of his self-published music instruction books on blues and country harmonica.

Dr. Roy E Gingrich was a pastor and Bible college professor for over 50 years. He wrote and self-published 100 Bible commentaries that sold over 1 million copies. His sales were achieved by word of mouth though the Southern Baptist Convention and other fundamentalist circles. He also lectured and spoke at hundreds of Bible conferences where he sold thousands of his books.

After poet Nikki Giovanni sold 10,000 copies of her first self-published book, Black Feeling Black Talk, Morrow offered her a contract for future books. Since then, they've sold more than 500,000 copies of eight volumes of poetry and five books of essays.

Collier published a paperback edition of Joshua, a parable originally self-published by Fr. Joseph Girzone, a retired priest. The book, which sold 45,000 hardcover copies in its self-published edition and 100,000 more copies in Collier's trade paperback edition, spawned an entire series of popular novels.

Greg Godek sold more than 750,000 copies of his 1001 Ways to Be Romantic before selling the rights to Sourcebooks Trade. His book has sold more than 1.9 million copies thus far and has spawned a series of related titles.

Author of a previous bestseller (Permission Marketing), Seth Godin self-published his book Unleashing the Ideavirus. First, though, he gave away the book on the Internet, including a tell-a-friend link. More than 200,000 people downloaded the book from his website alone; another 300,000 were exposed to his book from other websites. He then self-published a $40 hardcover. Within a week, his book was #5 on the bestseller list.

Dan Goggin, a little-known actor and composer, wrote the first Nunsense play after some related greeting cards sold well. To date, Nunsense and four sequels have grossed $300 million in ticket sales and earned Goggin $7 million.

Thaddeus Golas originally self-published his classic The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment in 1972. He has since sold the rights to Gibbs-Smith.

In 2000, Good Books, a family-owned publisher of books on Amish and Mennonite cooking, published the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook by Phyllis Pellman Good and Dawn Ranck. Good is the wife of Merle Good, publisher of Good Books. The slo-cooker cookbook sold more than 300,000 copies in its first year and hit the New York Times bestseller list.

English poet George Gordon, Lord Byron, sixth Baron Byron of Rochdale and author of such classics as Childe Harold, The Prisoner of Chillon, and Don Juan, paid for the publication of his first book. He died at the age of 36 while fighting for Greek independence from the Turks.

In 2005, Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams self-published 2,500 copies of their young adult fantasy novel Tunnels and began hawking them to booksellers. In time, they drew enough attention to sell reprint rights to major publishers around the world for a cumulative total of more than a million dollars in advances. In mid-2008, they sold movie rights to Relativity Media for more than a million dollars.

Bill Goss, self-publisher of Luckiest Unlucky Man Alive, wrote the just released There's a Flying Squirrel in My Coffee: Overcoming Cancer with the Help of My Pet from Simon & Schuster. Goss now hosts a regular 30-minute show on the Discovery Channel's Animal Planet called “Bill Goss & Rocky the Flying Squirrel” that airs in 120 million homes around the world twice a month every month. The show always promotes both of Bill's books.

Since 1992, Kim Gosselin has sold more than 1.5 million copies of her self-published books, largely via premium sales. Having no money to publish her first book, Taking Diabetes to School, she sought out pharmaceutical companies that might want to use her book as a premium. Her first sale of 15,000 copies allowed her to cover all her costs of publishing as well as set up her publishing company, JayJo Books. As of the end of 2000, she had 16 titles in print.

Lynn Grabhorn sold 18,000 copies in six months of her book, Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting, out of her garage — with no returns. Rather than go out and speak on the road, she sent letters to 400 metaphysical bookstores offering each 20 free copies of her book. Most took her up on her offer. Then, when they sold out, they had to reorder. After selling 18,000 copies, Lynn sold the rights to Hampton Roads, which gave the book a national launch.

John Graden, publisher of Martial Arts Professional magazine and author/publisher of Black Belt Management: How to Open and Operate a Successful Martial Arts School and The Martial Arts Q & A Book, grew his business into $4 million annual sales in less than five years.

In 1995, Michael Graham self-published his first book, Banned from Public Radio. Since then, he's self-published another book, Clinton & Me: How Eight years of a Pants-Free Presidency Changed My Nation, My Family and My Life, which Warner Books picked up as an ebook.

Thomas Greanias originally published his adventure novel Raising Atlantis as a popular web series and then as a bestselling ebook on In 2004, with the help of agent Simon Lipskar at Writers House, he sold the rights to that novel and one other for six figures to a major publisher.

Greenleaf Book Group grew out of the success of Clinton Greenleaf III's self-published book, Attention to Detail: A Gentleman's Guide to Appearance and Conduct, which sold out two printings before being purchased by Adams Media. Since then, Clint has written several more books in the series for Adams, including A Gentleman's Guide to Etiquette. After other self-publishers approached him for advice, he founded Greenleaf Book Group in 1997. This distribution and marketing company now represents more than 150 presses.

Zane Grey, the father of the adult western novel, originally self-published. His first successful novel, The Heritage of the Desert, earned enough money that he was able to move his family to California from Ohio. Grey wrote more than 60 westerns, nine fishing stories, three chronicles of his ancestors, and a biography of young George Washington as well as juvenile fiction and baseball stories.

Susan Griffith self-published the leading book on work abroad, Work Your Way Around the World, before going on to publish a line of books about working, studying, and volunteering abroad under the imprint of Vacation Work Publications:

According to one source, John Grisham self-published his first novel, A Time to Kill. The truth is that the novel was published by a smaller publisher. Nonetheless, Grisham was actively involved in promoting his first novel, selling many copies out of the trunk of his car as he traveled around the South.

After selling 5,000 copies of her self-published first novel Like Boogie On Tuesday in a single month, Linda Dominique Grosvenor sold reprint rights to Black Entertainment Television's African-American women's fiction imprint Sepia.

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. 256-page ebook download. $20.00.

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

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