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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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Maia Hagg self-published her first children's book, My Very Own Name, created a business plan to sell it, and sold $338,000 worth of books in the first year.

Gary Halbert, famous for his copywriting skills, self-published a number of books and was one of the first authors to encourage buyers of his books to sell his books to others (and give them a great deal in the bargain).

In the 1920's, E. Haldeman-Julius, publisher of the Little Blue Books, sold more than 100 million copes of these little books primarily through newspaper and magazine display ads. Each book sold for 5 cents, but you had to buy at least 20 with any order. After selling the 100 million copies, Haldeman-Julius wrote and published The First Hundred Million to tell what he learned from the publishing venture. A complete digital copy of The First Hundred Million is available from

In 1995, Canadians Rosemary and Graham Haley self-published Haley's Hints with a printing of 5,000 copies. That edition went on to sell 191,000 copies. Its revised edition, published in 1999, has sold more than 685,000 copies and hit the bestseller lists in late March 2003.

Dawn Hall sold 650,000 copies of her self-published cookbooks Down Home Cooking Without the Down Home Fat, Busy People's Low-Fat Cookbook, and 2nd Serving of Busy People's Low-Fat Cookbook. With the help of agent Coleen O'Shea, she sold the rights to all her titles plus a new book on crockery cooking to Rudledge Hill Press.

M.C. Hammer (Stanley Burrell), the most popular rap star of the early 1990's, began his career by producing his first album, Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em, for $10,000. Hammer took his name from Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron when he was a clubhouse kid for the Oakland Athletics. Players on the team thought that the young Hammer looked a lot like Aaron so they took to calling him Little Hammer. When Hammer needed money to get started, two Oakland players, Mike Davis and Dwayne Murphy, invested $40,000 in him, with a promise of 10% of Hammer's future earnings. A few years latter, Hammer was able to buy them out. One of Hammer's biggest hits was “U Can't Touch This.”

British novelist Thomas Hardy, author of such classics as Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and Tess of the d'Urbervilles, paid for the publication of his first book.

John F. Harnish, using the pen name of John Franklin to honor his ancestor, Benjamin Franklin, self-published his illuminated essay, The Immortalization of F * * k, in 1972. This is the first time the “F” word was used in the title of a copyrighted work. The infamous one-page essay was printed as a colorful manuscript on parchment stock suitable for framing. Over a million copies were sold and millions more plagiarized using copy machines around the world that helped to spread the word that f * * k is just a useful word. The story about how this infamous essay came to be written and published is told as one of the stories in his first print-on-demand book, Enjoy Often!!!, published by Infinity Publishing in March of 1999. Harnish's third POD book, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about POD But Didn't Know Who to Ask, was published in April 2002 by Infinity Publishing. His popular 606-page epistle provides an insider's view into the publishing industry through the eyes of an author.

Ken Harper sold nearly 9,000 copies of his self-published book, Give Me My Father's Body: The Story of Minik, the New York Eskimo, primarily through his general store on Baffin Island. In spring 2000, Steerforth Press brought out a new edition of the book for the U.S. market. Paperback rights were sold to Pocket books for six figures.

John Harricharan originally self-published When You Can Walk on Water,Take the Boat in 1986. Sales spread by word-of-mouth and the first three printings sold out. The book was then picked up by Berkeley Books and HarperCollins (UK).

Barbara Harris has sold more than 750,000 copies of her self-published cookbook, Let's Cook Microwave. Every time she goes back to press on the book, she has to order another 50,000 copies.

In 1992, E. Lynn Harris self-published his novel, Invisible Life, and sold more than 10,000 copies through beauty salons and black-owned bookstores. He later sold rights to that novel as well as two others to Doubleday/Anchor. His novels have sold millions of copies thus far, made the New York Times bestseller list six times (and counting).

In 1983, Paul Hartunian became the first person in history to sell the world-famous historic landmark, the Brooklyn Bridge (and do it legally). Since then, he has self-published nine successful books, become the guru of reprint rights, and makes five figures for a 90-minute talk.

After self-publishing her novel Illegal Affairs, Shelia Dansby Harvey sold rights to that novel plus another to Kensington Books with help from agent Elaine Koster.

Unable to find a publisher for Good Soldier Svejk in his native Czechoslovakia, Jaroslav Hasek published it himself and sold it primarily in the pubs he frequented. Eventually an international bestseller, it is consdiered by many a classic of 20th century literature.

C.F. Hawthorne self-published her first novel, For Every Black Eye — Revenge: When Nothing Else Works. She's sold 6,000 copies of a self-published novel by lots of hands-on personal marketing.

Novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The House of the Seven Gables, The Scarlet Letter, and other American classics, paid for the publication of his first book.

Louise Hay originally self-published You Can Heal Your Life, then sold rights to another company, and finally went on to found her own publishing company, Hay House, which is now one of the Top 101 Independent Publishers.

Naura Hayden self-published How to Satisfy a Woman Every Time and Have Her Beg for More and made it a New York Times bestseller (63 weeks on the list!). She has sold more than 2.6 million copies.

Australian Susan Hayward founded Hayward Books in 1983 to publisher her bestselling series of gift books, A Guide for the Advanced Soul, Begin It Now, and Bag of Jewels.

Hugh Hefner self-published the first issue of Playboy magazine on December 1, 1953. Since then, his Playboy empire has grown to include TV shows, a mansion, many Playmates, calendars, videos, and more.

In 2003, two Hollywood screenwriters, brothers Justin and Jason Heimberg, self-published The Official Movie Plot Generator, which contains 30 pages of 3 flaps that allow anyone to generate 27,000 different movie plots. Some potential plots include: A cop who doesn't play by the rules becomes a nanny for an aristocratic family in the feel-good comedy of the year. Or: Bigfoot fights crime shown in spectacular 3-D images. Or: The ultimate crime-fighting indestructible cyborg raises a baby and, in the process, learns the true meaning of Christmas. It allows you quickly to pitch your own bad movie.

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway, author of such classics as The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea, and For Whom the Bell Tolls, paid for the publication of his first book.

Keith Herrell, one of the nation's top motivational speakers, self-published his first book, Attitude Is Everything, to excellent sales. He went on to sell his second title to HarperCollins for an upper-six-figure price.

The British novelist Susan Hill has for many years been successfully publishing her own books out of a Cotswold barn.

In 1958, Clifton Hillegass borrowed $4,000 to self-publish a guide for Shakespeare's Hamlet. He sold 58,000 copies of the first Cliff Notes in that year. He went on to publish hundreds of Cliff Notes booklets that high school and college students came to rely on for helping them to study and write reports. He eventually sold his company to John Wiley for millions of dollars.

In 1998, Gareth Hinds self-published a graphic novel version of Bearskin: A Grimm Tale. Soon after, he self-published a graphic novel of Beowulf as three separate comics. In 2000, he compiled the comics as The Collected Beowulf.

In 2004, Liz Bicknell, associate publisher of Candlewick Press, read a Boston Globe article about a teacher using Hinds’ Beowulf to teach the epic poem. Bicknell tracked down Hinds and invited him to a meeting with editor Deborah Noyes Wayshak. Candlewick published Beowulf in 2007 to critical acclaim and support from teachers for using the book in the classroom.

Michael Hoeye self-published his first children's book, Time Stops for No Mouse, and sold so many copies that he ended up selling rights to that book and two others for $1.8 million to Putnam/Puffin in a heated auction involving three other major publishers.

In 1990, after selling his Bookstop bookstore chain to Barnes & Noble for $45 million, Gary Hoover founded Reference Press (latter renamed Hoover's Inc.) as a reference book publisher, beginning with a book called Hoover's. In 1995, the company moved into the online world with the launch of Hoover's Online. In December 2002, he sold Hoover's Inc. to Dun & Bradstreet for $117 million.

In 1968, after taking eight years to write his novel about the Korean War and after getting more than a dozen rejection letters, Capt. Richard Hornberger chose to self-publish M*A*S*H under his pen name of Richard Hooker. In 1970, his novel was made into a movie, with a screenplay by Ring Lardner Jr. and directed by Robert Altman. The movie was the third highest-grossing film of 1970.

Mr. and Mrs. Hockey, Colleen and Gordie Howe, self-published their sports autobiography and... Howe! in 1995 and have sold almost 135,000 hardcover copies since then, thus raising almost $1 million for charitable causes. Although their book is self-published, it is probably the bestselling hardcover hockey autobiography ever published. Check out their website at

Chris Howell, a retired British schoolmaster from Somerset, produced No Thankful Village, a fascinating study of the Great War's impact on the home front that attracted newspaper attention and sold well.

After his work first appeared in a science fiction magazine in June 1950, L. Ron Hubbard self-published his book, Dianetics, which founded a new church (Scientology) and sold more than 20 million copies in the past 45 years.

In 1988, Cheryl Willis Hudson and her husband Wade Hudson began Just Us Books ( to publish books in their Afro-Bets series. Since then, they've built one of the best publishers of children's books for African Americans.

John Hughes privately published his book on Family Wealth about keeping human, intellectual, and financial capital in the family for a hundred years or more. After the book became a word-of-mouth phenomenon among high net worth individuals and investment planners, he sold the rights to an revised expanded edition to Bloomberg Press for a nice sum of money.

After self-publishing his novel, The Hearts of Men, Travis Hunter sold reprint rights to the Strivers Row imprint of Random House. His book, which made the Essence bestseller list, originated as material for discussion at a book group he ran for underprivileged children in Atlanta.

In 1983, Dan Hurley began his career as The 60-Second Novelist when he carried his 1953 typewriter and a director's chair to a spot on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois and began writing 60-second novels “while you wait.” As of 2000, he had written more than 25,000 such novels!

Gary Hustwit started Incommunicado Press in the early 1990s by self-publishing his book How to Release an Independent Record. Since then he's published many more books, created a store in New York City, and co-founded, a multimedia Internet company which distributes downloadable digitized spoken word audio.

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.

Copyright © 2016 by self-publishing expert John Kremer

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