5 Successful Self-Published Authors (Inspiring Success Stories)

Posted on Jul 6, 2023

Avatar Of Christopher Ortiz
Home > Blog > Pro Author, Publishing > 5 Successful Self-Published Authors (Inspiring Success Stories)

The landscape of publishing has undergone a remarkable transformation with the rise of self-publishing. In this article, we will delve into the captivating journeys of five self-published authors who have achieved extraordinary success. 

These stories not only serve as a source of inspiration but also shed light on the vast opportunities and creative freedom that self-publishing offers.

From reaching international bestseller lists to securing movie adaptations, these authors have defied the traditional publishing model and carved their own paths to literary triumph.

Each story is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and strategic marketing in the world of self-publishing. 

Whether you are an aspiring author or simply curious about the possibilities of self-publishing, these success stories will provide valuable insights and practical lessons that can propel your own writing journey. 

This guide to successful self-published authors includes:

  1. E L James
  2. Robert Kiyosaki
  3. Beatrix Potter
  4. Rupi Kaur
  5. L J Ross

Let’s begin looking at just how successful self-publishing can be for writers.

1 – E L James

E L James, born Erika Mitchell on March 7, 1963, in London, England, is a renowned author who achieved global recognition through her self-published novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Breaking the mold, James decided to take matters into her own hands and independently release her book as an e-book in 2011.

To her surprise, “Fifty Shades of Grey” quickly gained a massive following, captivating readers around the world with its steamy romance. Through word-of-mouth recommendations, the novel became a sensation, attracting the attention of major publishing houses.

James’s decision to self-publish not only revolutionized the publishing industry but also inspired countless aspiring writers to pursue their dreams on their own terms. She proved that authors can connect directly with readers, bypassing traditional gatekeepers.

While “Fifty Shades of Grey” is her most famous work, James has continued to write prolifically, showcasing her talent for engaging storytelling across different genres.

2 – Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki, a renowned author and financial educator, has made a significant impact on the world of personal finance through his self-published works. Born on April 8, 1947, in Hilo, Hawaii, Kiyosaki is best known for his groundbreaking book, “Rich Dad Poor Dad.”

What sets Kiyosaki apart is his entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to take control of his own publishing journey.

Frustrated by rejections from traditional publishers, he decided to self-publish “Rich Dad Poor Dad” in 1997, a decision that would forever change his life and the lives of countless readers.

Through his self-published book, Kiyosaki introduced a revolutionary perspective on financial literacy, challenging conventional wisdom about money and wealth. “Rich Dad Poor Dad” quickly gained traction, becoming a New York Times bestseller and propelling Kiyosaki to international acclaim.

Kiyosaki’s self-publishing success has inspired aspiring authors and entrepreneurs, proving that one can carve their own path to success without relying on traditional gatekeepers. He demonstrated the power of self-belief, perseverance, and a strong message.

Beyond “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” Kiyosaki has authored numerous other books, each aimed at empowering individuals to achieve financial independence and cultivate a wealth mindset.

Robert Kiyosaki’s story is a testament to the transformative power of self-publishing. His determination to share his message with the world has not only shaped the financial landscape but also inspired countless individuals to take control of their financial future.

3 – Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter, the beloved children’s author and illustrator, crafted a remarkable literary legacy that continues to enchant readers worldwide. Born on July 28, 1866, in London, England, Potter’s journey as a writer took a significant turn when she ventured into self-publishing.

In 1901, Potter took a leap of faith and self-published her first book, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” Undeterred by rejections from traditional publishers, she decided to independently print and distribute her endearing tale. The response was nothing short of extraordinary as readers young and old embraced the mischievous rabbit and his adventures.

The self-publishing success of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” caught the attention of publishers, and soon Potter’s works were picked up for wider distribution. Recognizing the immense talent and appeal of her storytelling and illustrations, publishers embraced her books, bringing them to a broader audience while retaining their original charm.

Potter’s subsequent works, including delightful stories like “The Tale of Benjamin Bunny” and “The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle,” showcased her unrivaled ability to capture the imagination of young readers. Her vivid illustrations and endearing characters resonated with audiences, solidifying her place in children’s literature.

Beatrix Potter’s journey from self-publishing to wider recognition is a testament to her creative brilliance, resilience, and the timeless appeal of her stories. Her impact on children’s literature continues to be celebrated, captivating generation after generation with her enchanting tales and endearing characters.

4 – Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur, a prominent poet and visual artist, has made a significant impact on the literary world with her powerful and evocative work. Born in Punjab, India, and raised in Canada, Kaur’s artistic journey began to gain significant attention with the self-publication of her debut collection, “milk and honey.”

In 2014, Kaur self-published “milk and honey,” a collection of poems and illustrations that explored themes of love, loss, healing, and femininity. What started as a personal project quickly resonated with readers on a profound level. Through her raw and heartfelt verses, Kaur struck a universal chord, offering a voice to the silenced and shedding light on the human experience.

The success of “milk and honey” propelled Kaur to international acclaim, earning her a devoted following. The collection went on to be a New York Times bestseller and opened doors to further publishing opportunities.

Since her breakthrough, Kaur has continued to release best-selling poetry collections, including “the sun and her flowers” and “home body.” Her distinct style, characterized by concise yet emotionally charged verses and accompanying illustrations, has become her signature.

Beyond her writing, Kaur’s impact extends to her activism, using her platform to advocate for social issues, feminism, and self-empowerment.

Rupi Kaur’s journey from self-published poet to literary sensation exemplifies the power of authentic expression and the profound connection that can be forged through art. 

5 – L J Ross

L J Ross has gained a devoted following with her thrilling crime fiction novels. While little is known about the personal details of the author’s life, Ross’s talent for storytelling shines through her self-published works.

With a penchant for crafting intricate mysteries and complex characters, Ross burst onto the literary scene with her first self-published novel, “Holy Island.” 

Released in 2015, the book introduced readers to DCI Ryan, a charismatic detective navigating dark secrets and intricate crimes set against the atmospheric backdrop of the Northumberland coast.

Driven by her passion for writing and armed with an entrepreneurial spirit, Ross took control of her publishing journey. 

Through strategic marketing and word-of-mouth recommendations, her novels gained immense popularity, steadily growing her readership through her suspenseful plots and vivid descriptions.

Ross’s self-publishing success propelled her to become a bestselling author, with her DCI Ryan series becoming a household name among crime fiction enthusiasts.

Are you inspired by these successful self-published authors?

The stories of these five self-published authors serve as inspiring and transformative examples of the power of self-belief, determination, and creative vision.

Their journeys demonstrate that the path to success in the publishing world is not limited to traditional avenues. 

Through the bold decision to self-publish, these authors took control of their careers as writers and ended up proving that self publishing is not a last resort but a viable option for anyone.

These authors remind us that creative dreams can be realized outside the confines of traditional publishing houses.

So why not follow in their footsteps? Dare to make your dream a reality, and leave a legacy on the world by writing a book.

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.

Get your free audiobook and ebook copy of:

Published: The proven path from blank page to 10,000 copies sold 

Liked this post? Share it with friends!

Interested in working with us?

Book a free strategy call with our expert team!