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Passion, People and Principles

Self Publishing: Shining Examples?

post # 426 — September 7, 2007 — a Strategy and the Fat Smoker post

I was thinking about whether there are recent examples of established authors who decided to self-publish their latest works.

Unless my information is wrong, I think both Jim Collins (Good to Great in the Social Sector) and John Kotter (Our Iceberg is Melting) first launched these books as self-published, although in both cases they subsequently accepted offers from publishing houses. I don’t know why.

Does anyone else have recent examples?


Fiona Torrance said:

Hi David –

Have you read “The Publishing Game” – a book about self-publishing? I found it quite an interesting read.

I’ve written an article on my blog (http://bizblogreview.blogspot.com) recently about “Social Media and Corporate Responsibility” – I’d be interested to know your thoughts.

Kind regards,


posted on September 7, 2007

Stephanie West Allen said:

This Time I Dance was orignally self-published. I believe some of these have done well http://cipabooks.com/awards.htm . The Celestine Prophecy was first self-published, as was Fine Art of Small Talk. A list of several here. Several more are described in this very old article “The Rise of the Self-Published Best Seller.”

posted on September 7, 2007

Dennis Howlett said:

A variation on that is what Seth Godin and Robert Scolbe did by publishing their stuff as WIP online and then handing over to a publishing house. The same was done with The Cluetrain Manifesto. It’s a proven model that works very well if you can establish a reliable and active network. That should not present a problem to you David as you have a track record and you have an active community that respects your track record.

posted on September 8, 2007

Javid Jamae said:

In the software world, the authors of The Pragmatic Programmer (Andy Hunt and David Thomas) decided to start self publishing. http://pragmaticprogrammer.com

posted on September 9, 2007

Vikram Rajan said:

Well, I am in the process of being published… so I’ll be a shining example soon!

As you know, the mainstream publishing industry is in peril: They definitely help with book distribution, but publishing has gone digital… fueling the self-publishing surge. Mainstream publishers also expect the author to do much of the grassroots marketing & personal branding.

Since we’d market our book anyways, the real advantage of a big-box publisher is the distribution access. There are really only two major companies that distribute books to B&N, Borders, Amazon, and your local mom’n’pop bookstores (if your town has any left): Baker & Taylor -and- Ingram.

If you’re in their catalogs (now electronic inventory), then B&N will offer to order it for you under no obligation for you to buy… they will just stock their shelf with a copy. If you’re not in Ingram’s (or B&T’s) catalog — you are virtually non-existent… that is, you are only -virtually- existent.

Ingram has decided to get into the boutique, digital, self-publishing industry… they launched LightningSource.com a few years ago. They are very reasonable in cost, provides full binding (“perfect binding”), hardcover & softcovers, with no minimum orders! Best of all, they will include you in the Ingram catalog… thus providing full distribution (and fulfillment) to bookstores and your website buyers.

I hope it helps…

~ Vikram


posted on September 12, 2007