Self-Published Bestsellers

Although self-publishing is nothing new, technological advancements (especially e-books, e-readers, and wireless digital distribution) have made it so much easier. We are living in an age now when anyone of us has a realistic chance of having our writing read by a large audience.  Here are ten examples of books that became bestsellers, whose authors originally paid for publishing their manuscripts out of their own pockets.

The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock
In 1987, biophysicist Dr. Stock struck a cultural nerve with his collection of thought-provoking questions that became talking points at parties or thought exercises for individual readers.

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
The discovery of an ancient manuscript leads to a spiritual journey.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Written when he was just 15 years old, Paolini delivered a fantasy epic.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
A major motion picture based on this erotic series that has gone mainstream is about to hit theaters.

The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer
Back in 1931, Rombauer was a struggling homemaker when she paid to print 3,000 copies of this cookbook, which went on to sell more than 18 million copies.
The Shack by William Paul Young
Young was an office manager and hotel night clerk. His Christian novel has been on bestselling lists and has won numerous awards.

The Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Even back in 1902, self-publishing was a path to success, as evidenced by these famous British children's books.

A Time to Kill by John Grisham
This was the legal thriller that launched Grisham's career, and he originally published it himself.

What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles
This guide for job seekers is a perennial classic, revised every year since 1975, five years after Bolles paid to publish it.

Wool by Hugh Howey
Starting as a short story, this is one of the latest examples of the inspirational potential of self-publishing as it's become a major science fiction literary achievement.

Do you have a book you've been dreaming of writing? What's your excuse for not doing it?