Self-publishing is fantastic, and so much easier now thanks to the internet. Whether you release your book into the world as an e-book or a physical book, self-publishing is a brilliant way to get your work out to readers without going down the traditional route of publishers and agents.
But for some writers, self-publishing has opened more doors than they ever expected. Here are three stories of massive self-publishing success.
Hugh Howey – Wool
In 2011, Hugh Howey wrote the short story Wool and decided to publish it through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing system. It had been previously published by a small press but it wasn’t until it hit Amazon as a self-published story that it really gained popularity. As more people read it Howey wrote more of the story, eventually turning it a full-length novel and, eventually, a trilogy.
In 2012 Howey signed a six-figure publishing deal with Simon and Schuster for Wool, but he insisted on keeping the sole rights to sell the book himself online. In the same year 20th Century Fox bought the rights to make it into a movie. Not bad!
Mark Dawson – The Black Mile
Dawson had previously had a book published by Pan Books but few people ever noticed it. His first self-published book, The Black Mile, looked like it too was destined for obscurity, so he decided to give it away on Amazon for free. Over one weekend he sold over 50,000 copies.
This gave him the incentive to start writing a series about an assassin called John Milton, and since he started in 2013 he has self-published six Milton novels and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. He reportedly writes every day on his four hour commute to and from London, and makes in the region of £290,000 a year!
Andy Weir – The Martian
This novel about an astronaut stranded alone on Mars started life as a free serial on Weir’s own website. His readers asked that he put it all together on Kindle, so he released it as a 99p e-book and watched it hit the Kindle bestseller list.
Since then the book has reached number 12 on The New York Times bestseller list and Weir has sold the book rights to the Crown Publishing Group. Pretty sure you’ve heard of this one? You probably have! The blockbuster movie, starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, is due to be released next month.
We might all dream of these heady heights of success, but remember, it all starts with your story.
Think you’ve got a good one? Hire an editor and make it the best it can be, before you send out it into the world!