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Famous Self-Publishers

Though it took technology to spread it to the masses, self-publishing has a long in 1797 Austen tried to self publishand distinguished history, as this anecdote from Alison Baverstock’s book The Naked Author: A Guide To Self Publishing, illustrates:

“In 1797, a manuscript was submitted to a London publisher by the proud father of an unknown author. First Impressions, a three-volume novel. was offered for private publication; the writer’s family would pay… to mitigate the publisher’s financial risk. The publishing house turned it down.

Revised and renamed, it was finally published fourteen years later to good reviews… [and is] today… a cornerstone of English literature.”

She is talking, of course, of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Here are some more famous authors who chose to self-publish at some point in their writing  life — and not always at the beginning of their careers:

  • Margaret Atwood
  • William Blake
  • Ken Blanchard
  • Robert Bly
  • Lord Byron
  • Willa Cather
  • Julia Cameron
  • Pat Conroy
  • Stephen Crane
  •  e.e. cummings
  • Charles Dickens
  • Roddy Doyle
  • W.E.B. DuBois
  • Alexander Dumas
  • T.S. Eliot
  • Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Zane Grey
  • Thomas Hardy
  • E. Lynn Harris
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Robinson Jeffers
  • Spencer Johnson
  • James Joyce
  • Stephen King
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • Louis L’Amour
  • D.H. Lawrence
  • Rod McKuen
  • Marlo Morgan
  • William Morris
  • John Muir
  • Anais Nin
  • Thomas Pain
  • James Patterson
  • Tom Peters
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Alexander Pope
  • Beatrix Potter
  • Ezra Pound
  • Marcel Proust
  • Irma Rombauer
  • JK Rowling
  • Carl Sandburg
  • Robert Service
  • George Bernard Shaw
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • Upton Sinclair
  • Gertrude Stein
  • William Strunk
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Mark Twain
  • Walt Whitman
  • Virginia Woolf
  • WB Yeats

Do you know any other indie authors of old that we could add to the list? Tell their story in the comments box below.

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This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Don’t forget Arthur Schopenhauer. His mother, who was a well published scholar, used to mock her son asking him how his book (published through the 18th century equivalent of a vanity press), The World as Will and Idea was doing. Today it’s considered one of the classics of philosophy!

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