A Look at Self-Publishing Success Stories

Happy New Year! Now is the time to rejuvenate and get motivated for the year. And to help, here are some success stories.

It’s hard to be an indie author. There’s often depressing news about how ebook sales are going down and people are getting tired of digital, or how people are buying coloring books but not ebooks. And sometimes, startups that help hybrid authors shut down, leaving authors stranded.

So it’s nice to hear about the success stories. People who work hard for long periods of time and eventually make it in some way. These are the kinds of stories that keep me going, and give me hope. Plus they always have great takeaways to learn from.

According to Nathan Barry, author Samuel Hulick made more than $37,000 from his self-published book. He did this by finding a target audience willing to pay to solve for a problem, validating his idea, and building a list. He also offered advance reader copies for review, used email marketing, and partnered with companies to offer discounts on his book.


Adam Croft, author of Her Last Tomorrow, has been able to pay off his mortgage in 20 weeks by selling more than 150,000 copies of his book in 5 months. He also won a book deal with Amazon, according to The Guardian. He writes full time and has published 9 books since 2011. Also according to The Guardian, a new report from Enders Analysis “found that 40 of the 100 top-selling ebooks on Amazon US in March were self-published.”


Stephen Holmes, a dad who wrote a bedtime story for his two daughters, recently self-published that story, The Great Hot Air Balloon Adventure, and sold 2,000 copies to the airline Virgin Atlantic. According to The Guardian, “he decided to ‘try his luck’ and send the book to Virgin Atlantic, he was shocked to discover that the company loved it, and ordered 2,000 copies to give away on night flights.” If people like the books, Virgin plans to order more for more flights.


Last, Sylvain Neuvel, author of Sleeping Giants, got a movie deal for his self-published novel (which a traditional publishing house has since picked up). According to the Wall Street Journal, Sylvain sent out a lot of query letters, got no replies, and decided to self-publish. He got a rave in Kirkus Review, which led to Josh Bratman of Immersive Pictures contacting him, which led to Sylvain getting an agent and a traditional book deal.

Have you got a self-publishing success story? Please share in the comments!

This story was originally published August, 2016


2 Replies to “A Look at Self-Publishing Success Stories”

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