Milestones in Self-Publishing

On top of everything else I'm doing, I'm seriously considering writing a couple of books, and I'm leaning toward self-publishing.  A lot of my friends and family are encouraging me, so we'll see how it goes.  It started me thinking about success stories in self-publishing history, those brave writers who struck gold without a traditional publisher.  I did a quick search on self-published bestsellers, and here is what I discovered (courtesy of Wikipedia):

Self-published works that find large audiences are extremely rare, and are usually the result of self-promotion. However, many works now considered classic were originally self-published, including the original writings of William Blake, Virginia Woolf, Walt Whitman, William Morris, and James Joyce.

Spartacus by Howard Fast
(during the McCarthy era when he was rejected by previous large scale publishers)

Elfquest by Wendy and Richard Pini

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

A Choice, Not An Echo by Phyllis Schlafly

The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer

What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles

Poems in Prose by Oscar Wilde

In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters

Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte

Contest by Matthew Reilly

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
(The book was later published by Knopf)

Shadowmancer by G. P. Taylor
(The book was later published by Faber & Faber)

Other well-known self-publishers include: Stephen Crane, E. E. Cummings, Deepak Chopra, Benjamin Franklin, Zane Grey, Rudyard Kipling, D. H. Lawrence, Thomas Paine, Edgar Allan Poe, Ezra Pound, Carl Sandburg, George Bernard Shaw, Upton Sinclair, Gertrude Stein, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain.

All those names are motivation to keep writing and worry about publishing once the manuscripts are complete.  Wish me luck.