View Full Version : A Couple of Self Publishing Successes!!

04-27-2006, 04:54 PM
I have noted that people do not believe that a self published novel can have success, because it probably is not good enough to be traditionally published, but i would say that is not always the case.
While it is obviously true that most self published novels are not up to snuff that doesn't mean they cannot be....I would site two fairly recent examples of good stories that were self published and both have become quite successful...

1.) The Celestine Prophecy: by James Redfield was originally self published in 1993 and became a hit with readers and must have been read by the right person so that by 1994 Warner had picked it up for publishing and now its going to be a movie....Pretty successful for a self published effort to start with.

2.) Eragon: by Christopher Paolini was also originally self published by this fifteen year old homeschooled high school graduate from Montana. His family invested in self publishing the boys novel and did legwork to promote it until it was purchased by someones child who was affiliated with a publisher and turned the novel over to them for review and then Random House picked it up through Knopf....Now this fantasy novel has a sequel and another on the way and is about to be released as a movie in December 2006....Not bad for a self published novel to start with.

While I realize that their success came with being picked up by Major Publishing houses...they arguably would not have been if they had not self published to begin with and the "Great Story" was read by the right people in self published book form....I know Mr. Paolini says that after it was picked up by Knopf that more rewriting had to be done and so forth, but still...the story was there and people were enjoying it so it got picked up...

This I believe is the hope of self publishers and P.O.D. people, NOT to manage great success through continued self publishing, but to go on and have a great story picked up and read by the right people and seen for what it could be.
It has happened before and can happen again...Perhaps it is a waste for many to self publish, but if you have a great story and are willing to put the maximum effort to polishing it and putting legs on the marketing and distribution and so forth...there is still hope the right person with connections will happen upon it and it might be given the attention it originally deserved from the big boys, but never got.

Not to be coy, (well maybe...) but I would say not many if any of the Traditional authors who post in here have seen this kind of success or have a movie coming out soon from their own book??

be well friends,
author: The Chronicles of Soone

04-27-2006, 06:13 PM
Those are two instances where self published books were picked up by publishers, but of course, there are thousands (hundreds of thousands) which are not.

But how many of those thousands of self published books are worth being picked up by publishers? Probably some are, but many aren't. And as a reader of many self published books, I can tell you that some of them are as well written as the ones on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, but some aren't.

However, the books on the shelves at B & N, have been edited by professionals. I daresay that none of those books were perfect (and many aren't perfect after printing .......I sometimes find typos there, too,) before they were edited by professionals.

I am very particular about the type of book I read. I only read non-fiction, usually memoirs.

I will read a self published memoir anyday.

I think it all has to do with luck and diligence, even more than the book itself. Just as Britney Spears is famous for being a singer, while there are millions of people who sing better than her who can't make a living at it; that's the way with the publishing world, too.

It's all commercialized .......who you know, what your image is. And it stinks.

It's disapointing that the same shallow world that effects everything else - acting, art and music, also controls the literary world.

If I sound bitter, it's because I am. I wrote a memoir two years ago, and went through bogus agents who tied up my time, then decided to submit to publishers directly. The rejections came sooner or later, big houses said my book was "hip" and "interesting" and "timely" but I needed an agent. Big houses called me on the phone personally and got my hopes up when editors took my book to meetings, but declined because "memoirs aren't selling."

So, again, I went the agent way. Last summer, I sent 3 copies to an agent in Atlanta, who had a good record of at least not ripping people off or charging money. Two weeks ago, she sent me an email that said:

"I have your manuscript on my desk right now. I printed it and asked three people to read it and everyone swears that it is fiction. And I have to explain to them that it is non-fiction: A memoir. lol And they love it. Each one of them has stolen the phrase, "I am in half of a bad marriage and the other half is waiting for me at home." lol

I would like to know if you have found a publisher yet. I hope not. I would like to publish your book and the sequel."


Why would an agent want to publish my manuscript? Agents don't publish manuscripts.

I'm over it. I'm self publishing.
Whatever happens, happens. Everyone who reads my book likes it. It's been professionally edited, has a professional cover and almost ready to print. I'm self employed and I'll travel, spend money .........promote the book myself.

At least I'm doing something other than mailing out queries nobody will read.

04-27-2006, 07:10 PM
It does seem that queries often go unread.

I've sent complete manuscripts out with queries, following the agent or publishers submission guidelines to the letter only to recieve my SASE with the usualy form rejection faster than they could possibly have read the material that was sent.

While at the same time I have independents who are just getting started who will still take the time to read the submission and reply quickly with what page they are on so far and that they have enjoyed the concept and reading so far and seem interested...but one wonders how much more they can do for your book than you could do yourself?

The only thing seems that maybe you have the right to say "I'm traditionally published", not self published which has such a stigma......and of course much of the stuff being self published and P.O.D. is garbage that somebody just wanted to put between two gallery covers.

But your right, Traditionally published novels do still print with mistakes not found and many will languish around and never sell anything as dust piles on them in a warehouse somewhere.

Its sort of like, as you said, the music business where famous artists who appear to have had a lucky break, but really show little real talent for singing, are then trashing others like the American Idol winners who obviously have talent, can sing like crazy, but have stigma placed on them for winning success through a competition, (that honestly really is putting them through the ringer, having to do everything well...)

I know I hope to gain interest in my own novels from traditional publishers if possible but no matter what I will publish it if thats what it takes and if its good and I can reach a target audience thats thinks it is good then maybe it will do okay...

Be well,
Author: The Chronicles of Soone

04-28-2006, 05:13 AM
what does this have to do with paying markets?????

aka eraser
04-28-2006, 05:36 PM
what does this have to do with paying markets?????


I'm going to move it to Conventional Self-Publishing.

Tsu Dho Nimh
09-07-2006, 01:38 AM
2.) Eragon: by Christopher Paolini was also originally self published by this fifteen year old homeschooled high school graduate from Montana. His family invested in self publishing the boys novel and did legwork to promote it until it was purchased by someones child who was affiliated with a publisher and turned the novel over to them for review and then Random House picked it up through Knopf....Now this fantasy novel has a sequel and another on the way and is about to be released as a movie in December 2006....Not bad for a self published novel to start with.

It's easy to self-publish when dad owns a publishing company! Paolini's parents ran a publishing company before the kid wrote the book. The publishing company was founded in 1997, the Eragon book was published in 2002. Paolini International L.L.C., had already published two books critical of cults (the parents MET at a cult compound), and one on Montessori teaching.

(edited because I delete the wrong success story)

Anthony Ravenscroft
09-07-2006, 02:43 AM
James, you probably mean well, but you've been woefully uninformed, & haven't taken five minutes to inform yourself. All you're doing here is regurgitating the usual vanity-press propaganda, usually ladled out to convince writers to part with some cash.

1. The Celestine Prophecy. Has already been made into a movie that's been released, to roughly the same hoopla as Left Behind the Movie. (That is to say, exceptionally popular with the audience that was already buying the books, & almost nobody else.) The dates you cite are highly suspect, since Warner claims their first edition was released January 1, 1993. The whole "Celestine" movement has been described by watchdog groups as bordering on cultic behavior. Redfield shut down his life & became a full-time lecturer, traveling the nation endlessly for years -- only those prepared to do that should pretend this has anything to do with them. Same with the 1,500 copies Redfield gave away (out of his own pocket) in the first 6 months alone, something few could afford. I can't find the article, but I was told that Redfield spent more like 8 years building up a base for this book, not the few months you imply. And, in the end, "CP" has never been promoted, marketed, or handed out as "a novel": it is an introductory parable to a system of belief.

2. Eragon. You forgot to mention that Paolini's family owned a printing company. And absorbed all the costs. (And probably "adjusted" his manuscript.) And ditto for hiring professionals to design the book. And do the art. And the publicist to flog the HECK out of "look! look! it was Self-Published by this remarkable little kid! all by himself!" (How many damnable lies can you spot?)

Any physicist can demonstrate that it's not impossible for a rock to roll uphill all by itself -- it is, however, reallyreally unlikely.

Commercial success from a self-pubbed novel is not impossible. But your odds of winning Powerball are far better, & a lot less work.

10-24-2006, 06:30 PM
try going to http://www.penpress.net
and looking up alfie's adventures
they sold 320,000 copies, and this is a self published book. yes they sold them all to one client (virgin) so this was a targetted, self published book, but i would say with that any copies its likely to be a commercial success.

12-07-2006, 11:11 PM
I am very new to all of this but I want to get my message out to the universe. I am willing to pay to do it. I have an advanced degree in English and Literature and I don't need anyone to edit my work or tell me whether it is good or not. Either the public will appreciate it or it will not. I really do not care. My hero is the poet Emily D. and she never had anything published in her lifetime. I believe that some very important literature was not appreciated at the time it was written. However, I do feel an obligation to make it available to the public, perhaps for future generations. Do I sound nieve or do I have illusions of grandiosity? Perhaps. But it is my money and my time and my life and I do not choose to let anyone, especially a book publishing company who does not know me, my value or my mission determine the fate of my ideas.