Discover the secrets to self-publishing success: How these authors made millions
We are often asked: Can I make money self-publishing?
The answer is yes, there are self-published authors who have been successful in earning significant income from their self-published books. While it is difficult to determine exact figures, as many self-published authors do not disclose their earnings, there are some high-profile examples of self-published authors who have achieved significant financial success.
One example is E.L. James, who self-published her “Fifty Shades of Grey” series first as e-books before they were picked up by a traditional publisher. Originally these were posted on fan fiction websites and it was when E.L James took the plunge to self-publish that her books caught the attention of a traditional publisher.
The series became a global phenomenon and has reportedly sold over 150 million copies worldwide, making James a millionaire several times over.
Another example is Andy Weir, who self-published his science fiction novel “The Martian” as a serial on his personal blog before it was picked up by a traditional publisher and became a bestseller. The novel has since been adapted into a popular film, further boosting Weir’s income.
Self-publishing can be a challenging and competitive field, but with hard work, dedication, and a compelling book, it is possible for self-published authors to achieve financial success and build a successful career as self-published authors.
Those are some big examples. Well I’m going to give you five more including one that will really shock you:
- J.K. Rowling. Yes you heard that right. While J.K. Rowling is best known for her Harry Potter series, which was traditionally published, she has also self-published several books under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The Cormoran Strike series, which was initially self-published as e-books before being picked up by a traditional publisher, has been a bestseller and has been adapted into a popular television series.
- Hugh Howey: Hugh Howey is a science fiction author who self-published his Wool series as a serial on Amazon before it was picked up by a traditional publisher. The series has been a bestseller and has been optioned for film and television adaptations.
- H.M. Ward: H.M. Ward is a romance author who self-published her Damaged series as e-books before it was picked up by a traditional publisher. The series has been a bestseller and has been translated into multiple languages.
- Bella Andre: Bella Andre is a romance author who self-published her Sullivan family series as e-books before it was picked up by a traditional publisher. The series has been a bestseller and has been translated into multiple languages.
- Mark Dawson: Mark Dawson is a thriller author who self-published his John Milton series as e-books before it was picked up by a traditional publisher. The series has been a bestseller and has been optioned for film and television adaptations.
Okay, so those must be outlier examples?
Not true. According to a survey conducted by the Author Earnings website, self-published authors made up a significant percentage of the top-selling e-book authors on Amazon in 2019 with self-published authors accounting for about 40% of the top 100 e-book bestsellers.
The self-publishing industry is a rapidly evolving field, and the success of self-published authors has been increasing in recent years as the technology and infrastructure for self-publishing have improved. I would estimate this figure is much higher today.
Personally, I see this relationship between self-publishing and traditional publishing continuing to grow long into the future. Self-publishing is a great way to get started and to get noticed. Its very similar to the artists in the past who would create mixtapes or gig all over the country to get noticed.
Self-publishing is how you get noticed and then you can get a traditional deal further down the line. The more professionally you self-publish the better your chances of getting a deal are going to be in the future. The more professional and successful your self-published book the better your chance of negotiating a great deal in the future and a bigger advance.