The world of publishing is undoubtedly changing, and the lines between traditionally published and self-published books is becoming increasingly blurred. With that in mind, I had a flick through Amazon’s list of Bestselling Books in 2015 and found that some of last year’s most popular books have their roots in the self-publishing industry!
Here are three of the biggest self-publishing stories from 2015.
1. Grey by EL James
OK, so James’ titanic series has come very far from it’s humble roots, but let us not forget that the Fifty Shades trilogy started out as self-published fan-fiction. James’ latest instalment retells her already well-known story from the perspective of Christian, and Grey followed the existing trilogy straight to the top of the book charts, selling over 1 million copies in just four days. Whatever you think of the story, there’s no getting away from the fact that James’ novels are one of the biggest triumphs for self-publishing, ever.
2. The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin
Many saw Ehrlin’s self-published children’s book as an “overnight success”, but Ehrlin himself says that it was the result of years of work. In his book Ehrlin makes use of the techniques he has studied as a behavioural scientist to create a story that is, more or less, guaranteed to get your stubborn child to sleep. The Rabbit was the first self-published book to reach number 1 on Amazon’s UK print list, and it is a fantastic reminder that self-publishing successes don’t just happen: they involve a lot of people working very hard for a long time to tell you their stories.
3. We Go to the Gallery by Miriam Elia
This book started out as a prank by artist Miriam Elia, who carefully replicated the visual and written style of old-school Ladybird books to create We Go to the Gallery, a cynical, hilarious account of a family visiting an art gallery. When Penguin threatened legal action for breach of copyright Miriam decided to set up Dung Beetle Limited. By that time her first 1000-strong print run had sold out and copies were reselling for up to £900. Now Penguin is producing their own versions, but Miriam’s “success as a self-publisher has enabled her to rent a studio in London and finance herself for the forseeable future as an artist-provocateur”.
If 2015 has taught us anything it’s that self-publishing is continuing to take the book industry by storm, sometimes working in harmony with existing publishing companies and sometimes rocking the boat. Whatever happens, it’ll be exciting to see the changes 2016 will bring for this exciting and flourishing industry!