Any independent book reviewer that has been around the block a few times has been exposed to their fair share of self-published novels. Many times, as a matter of fact, reviewing these novels becomes down right painful and there are quite a few independent reviewers out there in the blogging world who will not accept any self-published novels for review at all.
But believe it or not, there have been quite a few self-published novels that went on to be picked up by the big publishing houses. We thought you might enjoy the following list....
A Time to Kill, by John Grisham. That's right....Grisham self-published his first novel when no one else would and sold copies himself. If you happened to run into him way back when and bought one of the five hundred copies he first self-published, it's worth about $10,000 nowadays.
The best-selling fantasy novel Eragon was originally self-published by the author's parents (who was only in his teens when he wrote it). The family traveled around the country, selling what copies they could, until novelist Carl Hiaasen picked up a copy and phoned up his publisher saying, "Holy cow, you guys have got to read this!" Book deal, movie adaptation....you guys know the rest. A signed first-edition (that is, the self-published edition) will net you around $12,000 these days.
Brunonia Barry self-published the first 2000 copies of her now best-selling novel The Lace Reader. Pushing her book to local book clubs and independent book stores led to Harper Collins paying more than $2 million for the rights.
Walker self-published The Bridges of Madison County when no publisher was interested. He sold copies on consignment and even offered a money-back guarantee. (We can't help but wonder if anyone ever took him up on that guarantee?) It's now sold over 50 million copies. 50 million.
Rombauer initially paid $3000 to self-publish the first edition of The Joy of Cooking in 1931. A year later it was picked up by a publishing house and has since sold over 18 million copies. Which version do you have in your kitchen? If it's this original publication, it will pay for quite a few years of dining out.
These books are just a smattering of famous books that began as self-published works. And the moral of this story? Although the gems are few and far between, if you're a serious reader it's worth your while to give some of the self-published books that come your way a fair shake.
And we'll leave you with A Reader's Respite favorite novel that also began life self-published by the author and was later picked up by the publisher Sourcebooks:
Fabulous historical fiction. And just think....if not for beginning life as a self-published novel, we might have missed it!