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10 Most Successful Self Published Authors

Self-publishing is on the rise, and with it come some of the most successful authors of our time. From Stephen King to Margaret Atwood, self-publishing has enabled these authors to make a name for themselves and reach a wide audience.

10 Most Successful Self Published Authors

Here are the ten most successful self-published authors of all time – have you heard their stories?

1. Andy Weir

Andy Weir became a success thanks to his hit novel The Martian. Before selling 3 million copies and being made into an Oscar-nominated movie starring Matt Damon, Weir was convinced traditional publishers would never pick up his book.

So instead of giving up, he took matters into his own hands and self-published it on Amazon. 

This proved to be a brilliant move, as the book became an instant success and Weir soon signed a lucrative publishing and film rights deal.

Thanks to this shrewd decision, Andy Weir has become an inspiration for other aspiring authors who want to make it on their own without relying on the traditional publishing route.

2. Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki is one of the most successful self-published authors of all time. He is the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which was first published in 1997 and has since sold over 40 million copies in over 50 languages across 109 countries. 

After facing rejection from numerous publishers, literary agents, and distributors, Kiyosaki decided to self-publish his book instead – a decision that proved to be a brilliant move as it went on to become an international bestseller. 

His success has inspired countless aspiring authors who want to make it on their own without relying on the traditional publishing route.

Kiyosaki’s story serves as a testament to the power of self-publishing and hard work; it’s truly an inspiring tale for anyone looking to put their thoughts into words.

3. EL James


E.L. James’ controversial series, Fifty Shades of Grey, was released in 2011 and has become a massive success, selling over 100 million copies in 52 languages across 150 countries.

James used Twilight as a starting point and with a few changes to the characters and story, she decided to self-publish the first installment of the trilogy. This decision proved to be a great move!

Within a few short months she received a traditional publishing deal and saw unprecedented success with her novel.

Her amazing determination serves as an inspiration for any aspiring authors out there looking to make it big without relying on traditional publishers. EL James’ story proves that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible – even if you’re self-publishing!

4. Wayne Dyer

Wayne Dyer, is a successful author and wrote his first book Your Erroneous Zones back in 1976. He initially only printed 4,500 copies, but then became one of the most popular books of all time. In fact, it has sold over 100 million copies across the globe. 

What’s even more impressive is that he traveled around the country promoting it and gave away free copies to people so they could experience his words for themselves.

His dedication and hard work paid off in a big way – proving you can still achieve success without traditional publishers if you put your mind to it.

Wayne Dyer’s story is definitely an inspiring one for any aspiring author looking to make their mark on the world!

5. Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter was a self-published author and has left her mark in history, despite the incredible odds she faced. Born into a wealthy family in the late 1800s, she was constantly told that women couldn’t be successful writers. 

But Beatrix refused to let her gender define her, and set out to make a name for herself as an author. In 1902, she self-published The Tale of Peter Rabbit and its success was quite unexpected. 

Despite only having printed 250 copies, people loved it so much that within a year, she had sold over 20,000 copies and eventually 45 million copies to date!

Beatrix Potter is definitely an inspiration to all aspiring authors – showing us what’s possible with determination and hard work.

6. Stephen King

Stephen King is the most successful self-published author of all time and he released his debut collection of short stories entitled People, Places, and Things. This was published through his own company Triad & Gaslight Books. 

Despite only printing about 10 copies, Stephen’s work was soon in high demand and today it remains a collector’s item. Since then Stephen has gone on to become one of the best-selling authors in history with over 350 million books sold worldwide!

His success is an inspiration to any aspiring writers out there – proving that no matter your age or background, you can achieve greatness if you put your heart and soul into it.

7. Mark Twain

Mark Twain is one of the most iconic authors of all time and a great example of self-publishing success. He published two books independently in 1884, the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 

Despite initial skepticism from publishers, both books were huge successes and have since become classics. In fact, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was so popular that it was even adapted into an opera in 1999! 

Although Mark Twain was already an established author when he decided to take his publishing into his own hands, his decision to go solo proved that self-publishing can be a successful route for authors who want to maintain full control over their work.

8. Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is one of the most celebrated authors of our time, and at the top of our list for successful self-published authors. Before her worldwide success with The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood self-published a book of poems called Double Persephone in 1961. 

Not only did this book gain critical acclaim, it also won the Governor General’s Award, making it one of the first major awards given to a self-published author.

Since then, Atwood has continued to be an advocate for self-publishing as a viable platform for independent authors who want to take control over their work and its distribution.

9. Lisa Genova

Lisa Genova is a shining example of the power of self-publishing. After her novel, Still Alice, was rejected by commercial publishers multiple times, she decided to take matters into her own hands and self-publish it in 2007. 

Her story resonated with readers and the book soon gained international recognition. In 2009, Simon & Schuster picked up the book for republishing and it went on to become a New York Times Bestseller.

It was later adapted into an Academy Award winning film starring Julianne Moore. Genova’s success proves that with hard work and determination, authors can find success without relying on traditional publishing outlets.

10. Irma S. Rombauer

Irma S. Rombauer’s story begins as a simple self-publishing endeavor and ends up becoming a kitchen staple.

In 1931, Rombauer published her first cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, in an effort to support her family following the death of her husband. Initially, she printed 3,000 copies out of pocket which were sold directly through mail order or door-to-door sales. 

Eventually, the book gained enough traction to catch the attention of a traditional publishing company in 1936 who picked it up and went on to sell over 18 million copies worldwide.

To this day, The Joy of Cooking is one of the most beloved cookbooks around and is credited with making home cooking accessible to everyone. Irma’s success story shows that even a small idea can turn into something big if you put your mind to it!

Advantages Of Self Publishing

Self-publishing offers authors a number of advantages, allowing them to take control of their work and have direct control over the publishing process.

By taking the self-publishing route, authors have the ability to make all the decisions about their book without relying on a publisher to make those decisions for them.

This includes the ability to choose the design, layout, and cover of the book, as well as the ability to price and market the book however they see fit.

Another advantage of self-publishing is that authors are able to keep a larger share of the profits generated from their book.

Rather than having to split the profits with a publisher, self-published authors can keep all of the money earned, giving them much more control over their finances. 

Additionally, self-publishing also allows authors to get their book out into the world much faster, as they are not reliant on a publisher to approve their work and go through the publishing process.

This allows authors to get their work out to their audience quickly, and can result in a much faster return on their investment.


Self-publishing is a great option for authors who want to take control of their work and make all the decisions about their book without relying on a publisher. The success stories of Margaret Atwood, Lisa Genova, and Irma S. Rombauer prove that it can be done! 

Self-publishing offers many advantages, including more control over the design and distribution of the book as well as the ability to keep a larger share of the profits.

With hard work and determination, self-publishing can be a great way for authors to find success with their work.

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