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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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After selling 70,000 copies of his self-help book, Life's Greatest Lessons, Hal Urban and his agent sold rights to Fireside/Simon & Schuster in a good deal.

“Just wanted you to know that the Book Marketing Blast-Off Seminar was everything we could have hoped for. You did a great job.... Besides being a good book marketer, you're a good man.... Thanks for your knowledge, wisdom, warmth, and sense of humor.” — Hal Urban, author, Life's Greatest Lessons, Or 20 Things I Want My Kids to Know


D. J. Vanas, with the help of agent Jimmy Vines, sold rights to her self-published book The Tiny Warrior to Andrews McMeel.

Joe “Mr. Fire!” Vitale has done it all. After having several books published by mainstream publishers, he got fed up with their poor marketing efforts and self-published his next books. Turbocharge Your Writing went though 13 editions and sold 25,000 copies. The Seven Lost Secrets of Success went through 9 editions. And Spiritual Marketing is his #1 bestselling book at Amazon. He also contributed to the New York Times #1 bestseller, The Secret.


Kathryn Wall self-published the first two books in her Bay Tanner mystery series via iUniverse. Her books were picked up by a small local press. Soon, everyone in the low country of South Carolina were reading the novels. One of those people was the mother of Linda McFall, an editor of the Minotaur line of St. Martins. Linda read the books, fell in love with them, and offered a nice deal to Wall for Book 3 of the series.

Before he began editing and publishing Reader's Digest magazine (and building a huge fortune doing so), DeWitt Wallace wrote and published a 128-page book called Getting the Most Out of Farming. It listed and described the most useful and practical bulletins and reports produced by state and federal departments of agriculture. He sold the books traveling door-to-door in a five-state area.

Ila Wallen self-published her book, The Moon in My Room, as the first in a series of Willowbe Woods Campfire Stories from Bent Willow Publishing. Her first book signing event at her local Borders drew 250 people and resulted in the sale of more than 100 copies. That book went on to sell thousands of copies and set the stage for additional books.

Michael Werner and Thomas Warrner wrote their first computer training book in 1988, bundled it with a disk, and sold it via direct mail. Three million copies and 20 titles later, they hired other writers and then sold their company (InfoSource) to Blackwell Publishers (UK) in 1993.

Top Shelf, one of the top independent publishers of graphic novels, was begun in 1995 when designer Brett Warnock self-published a comics anthology. Top Shelf has since sold more than a million copies of the books it has published.

Joanne Watson originally self-published How to Help Your Husband Make More Money, So You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom and then sold the rights to Warner Books.

Aliske Webb self-published her novel, Twelve Golden Threads: Lessons for Successful Living from Grama’s Quilt, and went on a two-and-a-half year tour of quilt shows to sell the book. Soon thereafter, HarperCollins signed her to a four-book contract for a healthy sum. Now as publisher of BookMice (, she is helping other authors to get their books out to the public.

Michael Webb began by publishing a small 8-page newsletter of romantic tips and ideas. From that small beginning, his relationship business has grown to include six bestselling books on romance, including The Romantic's Guide: Hundreds of Creative Tips for a Lifetime of Love.

Schoolmaster Noah Webster sold almost 100 million copies of his little self-published Blue-Backed Speller during his lifetime. Later, after working more than 25 years, he produce the first American dictionary, featuring 70,000 words, including many uniquely American words such as applesauce, bullfrog, chowder, hickory, and skunk.

John E. Welshons sold 17,000 copies of his self-published book, Awakening from Grief, after working for 25 years as a counselor, teacher, and lecturer on grief. He then sold rights to the book to Inner Ocean Publishing, who gave it a fall 2003 national send-off via a 21-city tour, national print campaign, and national radio tour. For more about the author, see his website at

In 1973, Tony and Maureen Wheeler self-published Asia on the Cheap. The company they founded, Lonely Planet, now publishes more than 650 titles covering all areas of the world, more than any other publisher. See

American poet Walt Whitman self-published many editions of his collected poems, Leaves of Grass (first edition published on July 4, 1855). While Whitman didn't get wealthy from self-publishing, he did become known as America's poet. His Leaves of Grass continues to sell thousands of copies every year — 100 years after his death!

Madeline Wikler and Judyth Saypol Groner began Kar-Ben Copies by self-publishing My Very Own Haggadah in 1974. By 2002, that first book had sold more than two million copies.

After writing his first play, Vera: or the Nihilists, Oscar Wilde self-published a book of poems. Critics made little of his first play and his poetry; nonetheless, he went on to write several great plays and books, including The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest.

Roy H. Williams self-published his The Wizard of Ads and later sold rights to Bard Press, which went on to sell 26,000 copies of the book. Several years later, Bard published his second book, Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads, which became a business bestseller.

k.j.a. Wishnia self-published her first mystery novel, 23 Shades of Black, which was nominated for Edgar and Anthony awards. She sold the rights to her second novel, Soft Money, to Dutton.

Stephen Wolfram shipped 50,000 copies of his first self-published book, A New Kind of Science, during its first week of publication. It hit #1 at even before Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times reviewed the book. By the end of one year, the book had sold more than 150,000 copies.

Teri Wood self-published her first novel True to the Game in 1998 through her own Meow Meow Productions. She sold 70,000 copies from the trunk of her car.

Caroline Woods was a junior in high school when she finished writing Haunted Delaware: Delightfully Dreadful Legends of the First State. She is the youngest author to self-publish with Infinity Publishing. Her book and academic standing helped her to win a full four-year college scholarship to the University of Virginia.

British novelist Virginia Woolf self-published her first few books and survived to become a famous author. Her stream-of-consciousness style of fiction was featured in Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse.

Christopher Wright, writing as Johnathan Rand, has self-published a series of eighteen children's books under the Michigan Chillers and American Chillers taglines. He and his wife drove around their part of the state selling books to gas stations, restaurants, gift shops, and hotels where tourists could buy the books. Doing this, they sold more than 5,000 copies in the first month and a half. By March of 2003, they had sold more than one million copies of the books in the series.

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.

Copyright © 2016 by self-publishing expert John Kremer

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