Celebrate Self-Published Authors on Indie Author Day

Posted by Danny on October 7, 2016
October 8 is Indie Author Day and to mark the occasion, we're celebrating independent authors and the books that have put them on the map. We reached out to self-publishing platforms Smashwords, Outskirts Press, Lulu, Wheatmark, BookBaby, Kindle Direct Publishing, and Blurb to discuss each platform's biggest success stories and the books that continually top their bestseller lists. You may recognize a few of the books below (The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window was a Goodreads Choice Award nominee), but you'll likely discover something new, too! Find out why these books have worked well for each of the self-publishing platforms and be sure to check out Kindle Direct Publishing's Powered by Indie list while you're at it.

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Midnight Soul
by Kristen Ashley

Self Publishing Platform: Smashwords. Jim Acevedo, Smashwords' marketing manager, told us that [Kristen] "quit her day job to become a full-time author before her books started breaking out. [She] spent 16-hour days perfecting her craft, updating her website and growing her fanbase via social media."

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The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window
by Kirsty Moseley

Self Publishing Platform: Smashwords. Acevedo said that "[Kirsty] "experimented" with sharing one of her stories on Wattpad and ended up gaining 7 million reads. Her self-published debut novel, The Boy Who Sneaks in My Window, was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award finalist, Best YA Fiction. She's one of [Smashwords] most consistent top performers."

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Letters, to the Men I Have Loved
by Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol

Self Publishing Platform: Outskirts Press. Elizabeth Javor, director of sales and corporate marketing at Outskirts, heralded this book as "a passionate exploration of poetic love. Letters, to the Men I Have Loved is a perennial monthly bestseller by actress, poet, and Instagram celebrity Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol."

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What She Feels
by Chidozie Osuwa

Self Publishing Platform: Outskirts Press. Javor told us that "another frequent entry on the Outskirts Press monthly bestseller list is this poetic volume of inspiration and emotion from Nigeria-born-turned-Baltimore mainstay Chidozie Osuwa."

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Chop Wood Carry Water
by Joshua Medcalf

Self Publishing Platform: Lulu. Jessica Carswell, social media marketing manager at Lulu, loves that Joshua's self-help book was packaged as a "coming-of-age story in which a young man learns to get out of his own way in order to achieve his goals."

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The Anatomy of Being
by Shinji Moon

Self Publishing Platform: Lulu. Carswell said that "Traditional publishers are not taking many chances on poetry these days...poets have recently discovered both a new home and big financial rewards by independently publishing and distributing their work."

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The Enabler
by Angelyn Miller

Self Publishing Platform: Wheatmark. Grael Norton, director of marketing at Wheatmark, explained that this book "was originally published by [traditional publishing houses, but] has sold more than 40,000 copies since [Wheatmark] republished it, which goes to show that books that help people solve the challenges in their lives will often find great success."

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Motivating the Middle
by T.J. Sullivan

Self Publishing Platform: Wheatmark. Norton told us that "T.J. Sullivan has a successful speakers bureau for folks who speak at colleges and universities. This is a classic example of publishing a book into a well-defined "author platform" that the author has spent years developing prior to publishing."

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The Silent Silhouettes
by Sarah Jessica Curtis

Self Publishing Platform: BookBaby. BookBaby was the platform of choice for Sarah Jessica Curtis, who was just 14 years old when she finished the book. Curtis researched other, traditional publishing platforms but felt like BookBaby "was the perfect place to go."

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Colors of Immortality
by J.M. Muller

Self Publishing Platform: BookBaby. Tom Laverty, BookBaby's business development manager, told us that J.M Muller is one of the platform's bestselling authors and that Colors of Immortality is "having success in both print and eBook formats."

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by Donna Mabry

Self Publishing Platform: Kindle Direct Publishing. As of 2015, Maude was the top nonfiction Kindle Direct Publishing book of all time. Adrian Liang, senior editor of Trade Books at Amazon, says "if you read and liked Hillbilly Elegy, try Maude."

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A Light Bulb Symphony
by Phil Kaye

Self Publishing Platform: Blurb. Kent Hall, marketing manager at Blurb, noted that A Light Bulb Symphony is "the first book of poetry by Project VOICE founder Phil Kaye. It's one of [Blurb's] top sellers and [their] best-selling poetry book.

Interested in publishing your own book? Click here for tips from successful self-published authors.

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Gail (new)

Gail Kelly The Christmas eve letter, by Elyse Douglas
Just had to say if you words about this book. I knew that it was a time travel themed book which always interests me, so I thought I'd take a look. Long story short, fast read couldn't put it down. I was drawn in almost immediately by fast moving, intriguing plot. I couldn't wait to see how the mystery was solved. Very satisfying five stars from me!

message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy Kristen Ashley is at the top of the list! Fuck yeah!

message 3: by Suz (new)

Suz For Fantasy readers who are interested in excellent indie published work I recommend Intisar Khanani. Excellent stuff. Also Jasmine Walt and Annie Bellet, too.

message 4: by Bill (last edited Oct 08, 2016 09:27PM) (new)

Bill Hsu Why isn't everyday Celebrate Indie Author Day? It is in my house. And we celebrate the ones who aren't "bestsellers".

message 5: by Lisa (new)

Lisa I don't know about best-selling as a recommendation, but I won't read any S-P book that isn't recommended by someone I trust. I have just put aside a really sad specimen (#NoNames,NoPackdrill) because it was such an excellent concept for a story, spoiled by lame writing and a predictable plot that followed the blurb on the back cover. A good editor could have made a terrific book out of it, but I gave up after a hundred pages, because life's too short for badly-written books. It's a shame though, because I admire the effort and initiative behind the book...

message 6: by RavenNeverMore (new)

RavenNeverMore What exactly makes these "bestsellers"? What is the criteria that has to be met? I know of a lot of indie books that deserve to be on this list. Why isn't Createspace mentioned, only KDP? Are these only ebooks?

message 7: by Moon Babe (new)

Moon Babe What about Wool by Hugh Howey who is self-published? Or The Martian by Andy Weir which was originally self-published? There are tons of fantastic self-published books in all genres.

message 8: by Keiry (new)

Keiry Ko Seems interesting.

message 9: by Scott (new)

Scott Hi everyone. Being an indie author means we don't get the advertising that publishing houses spend thousands of dollars to achieve. Even on wonderful sites like Goodreads, many of us get overlooked.
On behalf of indie authors, I'd like to thank you all for the support you give us.
I'd like to advertise my YA novel Making Tracks. I have included a link to its Goodreads page. If you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy it and would love to know what you think.

message 10: by Angela (last edited Oct 11, 2016 08:45AM) (new)

Angela Auten Being a self published author. I feel like it should be about books that aren't recognized yet.

I have been sharing my writing on Writerscafe which is much better than Wattpad to be honest. They copyright the writing for you. I don't think Wattpad is that great. Also you should mention Createspace and NookPress (Barnes and Noble.) I always publish my books on Nook first because they have an easier system to write books on than Amazon, but that's my opinion.

I will be promoting my book myself.

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