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7 of the Most Famous Self-Publishers You Should Know About

Publishing Spotlight

Looking for proof that self-publishing changes lives? Keep reading!

7 of the Most Famous Self-Publishers You Should Know About
Table of contents

Chances are there are way more self-published books on the market than you realize. Even some of your favorite books might have been self-published without you ever noticing. But the coolest thing about self-publishing is that you don’t have to gain even half the success and notoriety of the New York Times bestselling authors to make life-changing income. 

In this article, we'll take a look at seven of the most famous self-publishers and how you can follow the same roadmap to your own success. 

Fast forward to the road map! To access the exact step-by-step framework to making money online with Amazon, head over to our free webinar ASAP!

The Evolution of Self-Publishing

The definition of self-publishing is the act of an author publishing their work independently, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. Self-publishing has come a long way, especially with AI improving day by day. In the past, there was no other option than to go through a traditional publishing house or fork up a ton of cash for vanity presses to print your books. And now, NONE of that is required…like at all. 

When Did Self-Publishing Become a Thing? 

The printing press came about during the 15th century, which allowed books to be printed in mass quantities. But self-publishing still wasn’t really a thing, and you could really only get a publishing deal the traditional way. Printing and publishing were simply way too expensive and time-consuming, a trend that would last centuries. 

Then, by the ‘90s, Print-on-demand (POD) technology changed everything. People were finally able to print and distribute their books without having to invest large amounts of money upfront. This made self-publishing more accessible to the general public. And then, of course, came the internet. Now, anyone who has the drive to publish a book can, and you can get paid fairly for it, too!

Technological Advancements in Publishing

The introduction of eBooks and online retailers like Amazon KDP has completely changed the game for the publishing industry. Now, you can publish their books digitally and reach a global audience without having to worry about printing and distribution costs.

And, of course, we need to mention artificial intelligence. AI already has so many uses, and it’s getting better every single day. Here are just a few “use cases” that might be helpful as a self-publisher: 

  • Idea generation: AI tools can analyze trends and suggest book ideas based on popular topics and genres that are currently selling well.
  • Writing assistance: Some AI tools offer basic writing aids like grammar and spelling checks, as well as more advanced features like suggesting synonyms and generating drafts of full paragraphs and chapters.
  • Book cover design: AI programs can generate book cover concepts and mockups based on keywords, genres, and trends in book cover design.
  • Keyword research: AI performs keyword research to identify popular search terms related to your book topic to optimize titles, descriptions, and marketing.
  • Book description optimization: Machine learning algorithms analyze successful book descriptions in your genre to provide suggestions for improving your book's description.
  • Marketing plan creation: AI tools can conduct audience analysis, outline promotion strategies across different channels, and generate a high-level marketing calendar.
  • Email campaign automation: AI can help create email campaigns to promote your book launch and new releases.
  • Social media post generation: AI can draft customized social media posts and graphics tailored to different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • Sales reporting and analytics: AI is built into certain publishing platforms to provide data on book sales, rankings, reviews, and more to help you optimize your publishing efforts.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking for the future of publishing, check out Publishing.ai ;) 

Success Stories of Famous Self-Publishers

Who needs a traditional publishing house anyway?

Here are some of the most famous self-publishing success stories in both fiction and nonfiction.

Fiction Successes

Beatrix Potter - "Peter Rabbit"

Beatrix Potter self-published "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" after being rejected by several publishers. The book went on to become a beloved classic, with Potter eventually publishing over a dozen more children's books.

Margaret Atwood - “The Handmaid’s Tale” 

Before Margaret Atwood became known for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” she actually self-published several of her own poems. Now, some of her works have even been turned into award-winning TV series. 

Lisa Genova - "Still Alice"

Lisa Genova self-published "Still Alice" after being rejected by multiple publishers who didn’t like her topic. The novel, which tells the story of a woman with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, was eventually adapted into an Oscar-winning movie. She wrote about her experiences in this blog post called “Self Publish or Perish!

Nonfiction Triumphs

Robert Kiyosaki - "Rich Dad Poor Dad"

Robert Kiyosaki self-published "Rich Dad Poor Dad" in 1997 after being turned down by traditional publishers. The book, which offers personal finance advice based on Kiyosaki's own experiences, went on to become a best-seller and spawned a series of follow-up books.

Irma Rombauer - "The Joy of Cooking"

Irma Rombauer self-published the first edition of "The Joy of Cooking" in 1931. The cookbook, which has since sold over 18 million copies, has become a staple in kitchens around the world. She also had her daughter help her revise the book and publish several new editions. 

David Chilton - "The Wealthy Barber"

David Chilton self-published "The Wealthy Barber" in 1989, a financial planning book presented in a narrative style. Unlike some of the other self-publishers on this list, Chilton didn’t have any difficulty with getting recognized by the traditional publishers—he simply didn’t believe in them to begin with. 

Tim Ferriss - "The 4-Hour Workweek"

Tim Ferriss has self-published half a dozen books on various self-help and business subjects over the years, landing him on the bestseller list time and again. 

Is Non-Fiction Better Than Fiction? 

We’re not saying that non-fiction is better than fiction, but one might be better suited to your financial goals

Let’s get something straight. When you step into the publisher role, you get to make all the final decisions about what to publish, when to publish it, and where to publish it. If you want to work on children’s books, poetry, and sci-fi novels, no one can stop you! 

There are plenty of people who have found success with writing and publishing fiction. That said, our AIA course has been time-tested by thousands of self-publishers all over the world and focuses on non-fiction books. Our proven process has already generated our students over $50 million collectively in royalties. 

You can read more success stories here.

Challenges and Considerations in Self-Publishing

Here are some of the most common challenges, considerations, and cons of self-publishing you should keep in mind:

Dealing with Rejections and Criticism

Unlike a traditional publishing house which often has a team of professionals helping with editing, design, and marketing, self-publishers have to oversee the whole process themselves. This means that you are responsible for ensuring that your book is well-written, well-designed, and well-marketed. You may face criticism from readers if your book is not up to par.

To overcome this challenge, you need to be prepared to put in the time and effort required to make your book the best it can be. This may involve hiring an editor, cover designer, and marketing professional to help you. You should also be open to feedback and willing to make changes to your book if necessary.

Time Commitment

From writing to editing to promotion, self-publishing requires a time investment that some underestimate. But the thing is, without a boss to answer to, you’re 100% in charge of your timeline. Maybe you work best in short spurts over the weekend. Maybe you prefer scheduling time to work on your publishing business when your kid goes down for a nap. There’s no right or wrong way to make this business work for you!

The Stigma Around Self-Publishing

Some people believe that self-publishing is only for those who can’t get traditionally published or that self-published books are of lower quality than traditionally published books. The thing is, there are thousands of successful self-publishers who have already proven them wrong. 

You’ll meet them in the next section. 

Meet the AIA Students Who Tried Self-Publishing and Never Looked Back 

If you think you’re not “rich enough” or “smart enough” to try self-publishing, hopefully these stories will give you a dose of inspiration and prove to you that none of those things matter. 

Marc tried all the side hustles and businesses you could imagine, wasting thousands of dollars on leads that went nowhere. See why he finally decided to stick with self-publishing. 

Lesley is a super mom who kept plenty busy between being a mom, a full-time nurse, and a personal trainer. She still found time to launch her self-publishing business which went on to earn her thousands of dollars in her very first few months. 

Before self-publishing, Daniel went through some really dark times dealing with his addiction. After turning his life around, he was able to make $500 right out the gate and create a better future. 

See What Self-Publishing Is All About

There are two ways to go about self-publishing. 

Option A: Go through years of trial and error, potentially racking up thousands of dollars of bills trying to figure everything out on your own. 

Option B: Follow the exact blueprint that’s already generated over $50 million in book royalties for its students. Get all your questions answered and guidance every step of the way, from generating profitable ideas to getting book reviews post-launch. 

The choice is yours. 

The best part is the blueprint doesn’t cost a penny. All you have to do to claim yours is head on over to our free publishing pro webinar

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