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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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In 1776, Thomas Paine self-published Common Sense, a 46-page pamphlet that sold over 500,000 copies and helped to draw more people to fight for the American Revolution.

Pati Palmer and Susan Pletsch Foster founded Palmer/Pletsch Associates in the early 1970s to write and publish sewing books. Their first book on how to sew a then-new fabric, ultrasuede, was sold primarily through fabric stores. One of their books has sold 900,000 copies.

18-year-old Christopher Paolini self-published the first book of his fantasy trilogy, Eragon, with the aid of his parents in February 2002. He spent a year hawking the book at various festivals, schools, and bookstores, often selling 100 or more copies. When the book began attracting a lot of attention, Paolini sold rights to the entire trilogy to Knopf Books for Young Readers in a major deal worth half a million dollars.

George Pappadopoulos self-published two books on his favorite game: Blackjack's Hidden Secrets: Win Without Counting and Blackjack's Hidden Secrets II. The first book is the #1 blackjack book in America, with sales of $150,000 in 2002.

Mark Pearson put together a successful program to create and launch his book Europe from a Backpack. Inspired by a class at the University of Washington Business School, he assembled stories from 400 people, raised capital, got an endorsement from travel guru Rick Steeves and a sponsorship from travel website, and lined up Independent Publishers Group for distribution. IPG CEO Curt Matthews told Pearson that he only makes two phone calls a year to new authors and one of them was to him.

Cheryl Peck self-published a collection of essays about gay life in the Midwest, Fat Girls in Lawn Chairs. Warner Books bought the rights to republish the book in the spring of 2004.

John Penberthy, author of To Bee or Not to Bee, sold $40,000 worth of foreign rights for his self-published book. With the help of an agent, he then sold hardcover rights to Sterling Publishing for the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia markets.

Eric E. Pete's first novel, Real for Me, was the featured selection of many book clubs and reached #1 bestseller status at various bookstores. His second released novel was the Dallas Morning News bestseller Someone's In the Kitchen. His next novel, Gets N.O. Love, was released by NAL.

Business consultant Tom Peters self-published In Search of Excellence and sold more than 25,000 copies directly to consumers in the first year. He then sold the rights to Warner, whose edition has gone on to sell more than 10 million copies.

Jo Petty paid a vanity press to publish the first printing of Apples of Gold. A few years later, in 1965, she sold the rights to C.R. Gibson Company, a gift and stationery company. In the next 20 years, 3.7 million copies were sold.

Diane Pfeifer has self-published a number of titles. Her bestseller, Gone With the Grits cookbook, has sold more than 400,000 copies.

Dr. Thomas Phelan, author of 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12, has sold more than a million copies of the book since 2984.

Bill Phillips used his savings to self-publish a nutrition guide in 1987. That guide gave rise to a nutritional supplements empire that made him more than $150 million in 1998.

Mary Ellen Pinkham self-published her bestseller, Mary Ellen's Best of Helpful Hints, and then sold the rights to Warner Books, which continues to sell the book.

Turk Pipkin sold many copies of his self-published novel, Fast Greens, via reviews in golf magazines and word of mouth. A literary agent then contacted him and sold the movie rights for the book to Warner Bros. and reprint rights to Dial.

Recipe sleuth Gloria Pitzer has spent three decades cracking the recipes behind well-known fast foods. Her latest breakthrough is cracking the Original Pancake House's Dutch pancake recipe, after 10 tries. She self-published nine recipe detective books before selling rights to the tenth to a major publisher.

Sisters Greta and Janet Podleski self-published (with the help of Dave Chilton) their Looneyspoons low-fat cookbook and sold 750,000 copies in the first two years. It was one of the fastest-selling cookbooks in Canadian history.

In 1827, American poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe, author of the poem “The Raven” and short stories such as “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Fall of the House of Usher,” paid a printer, Calvin F. S. Thomas, to publish 50 copies of Tamerlane and Other Poems, a 40-page pamphlet-sized collection of Poe's poetry. The book did not carry Poe's name as author, but was credited "By A Bostonian."

Brenda Ponichtera has done a wonderful job of promoting her Quick & Healthy cookbooks, which have sold more than half a million copies.

British poet Alexander Pope, author of the satirical mock-epic poems The Rape of the Lock and The Dunciad, paid for the publication of his first book.

When publisher Frederick Warne rejected The Tale of Peter Rabbit because of the costs of printing the illustrations, Beatrix Potter self-published a limited edition of 250 copies in 1901. When Warne saw the finished book, he finally saw the commercial possibilities and brought out a commercial edition of the book with color illustration in 1902. The book has now sold more than 40 million copies.

Melvin Powers, publisher of Wilshire Books, has self-published a number of his own titles on mail order marketing, self-publishing, and success. In addition, he has sold millions of copies of other authors' titles that his company publishes.

Dan Poynter self-published his classic Self-Publishing Manual in 1979 and has gone on to sell more than 130,000 copies over eleven editions. He calls it “the book that launched a thousand books.”

Roger Price and Leonard Stern self-published an entire series of Mad Libs books that have sold almost 150 million copies and helped establish their publishing company, Price Stern Sloan (which they later sold to Penguin Putnam).

French author Marcel Proust paid to publish the first 1,500 pages of Remembrance of Things Past, a seven-part novel published between 1913 and 1927. His work is considered among the greatest works of modern literature.

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. 237-page ebook download. $20.00.

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

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