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Self-publishing: there is a right way and a wrong way

 Writer’s Digest ‘s Zachary Petit covers both ways in this latest entry at his blog, PromptlyWhich prompted me to ask the question, “Do people really write successful self-published novels?” After all, the latest buzz surrounding them could really just be the same “you, TOO, can publish!” jibber-jabber meant mostly as a strategy for preying on the hopes of writers.

Aside from the classic stories about famous authors 50 or more years ago who met with success after choosing the vanity press, and the good number of nonfiction books that have consistently sold well over a span of time, you don’t often hear about contemporary books or authors hitting it big with self-publishing. Are writers deluding themselves into thinking they can be successful without a Big House to guide them?  

So I went online to identify successful self-published novels. Here’s a starter list of 20 from many I found in a quick search on the web. Measuring success, of course, is subjective, and I’ve not read most of these books, but reviews by way of Goodreads.com, LibraryThing.com, Kirkus and Amazon seem fairly consistent. 

Yes, self-published novels can bring in good sales and decent incomes. They can also lead to a writing career for those authors who started out in the self-published arena. Take a look for yourself. 

  1. Nat, Nat, the Nantucket Cat by Cheryl Barnes & Peter Barnes
  2. Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown
  3. The Kin of Ata are Waiting for You by Dorothy Bryant
  4. One of Ours by Willa Cather
  5. Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles: A Spy Novel (Sort of)  by Will Clarke
  6. Fifth Life of the Cat Woman by Kathleen Dexter
  7. Queenmaker: A Novel of King David’s Queen by India Edghill
  8. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  9.  Blinking Red Light by Mister Mann Frisby
  10. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  11. The First Forest by John Gile
  12. Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
  13. The Last Open Road by Burt S. Levy
  14. Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link 
  15. Bad Attitude by Leopold McGinnis
  16. Mama by Terry McMillan
  17. Temptation by Victoria Christopher Murray
  18. One More Moment in Time by Elizabeth Anne Ryan
  19. Let That Be the Reason by Vickie Stringer
  20. 23 Shades Of Black by K.J.A. Wishnia
Creative Commons image: "Dave Eggers at the 2007 Brooklyn Book
Festival" by David Shankbone. This file is licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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