Mcsweeney's quarterly concern

Man, I’m getting frantic. I haven’t even looked at any feeds today, I’ve been posting stuff I’ve had up in tabs since yesterday, and I’m already over my deadline to stop blogging. Plus, I smell, which is probably something i should rectify, and I have some paperwork to do which makes me wonder if I’m even going to get to do any novel writing today what so ever.

There’s been some debate in the comments of this post as to whether self-publishing has any value. Yesterday I stumbled across some things that are pertinant to the arguement.

Aside from the classic stories about famous authors 50 or more years ago who met with success after choosing the vanity press, and the good number of nonfiction books that have consistently sold well over a span of time, you don’t often hear about contemporary books or authors hitting it big with self-publishing. Are writers deluding themselves into thinking they can be successful without a Big House to guide them?

So I went online to identify successful self-published novels. Here’s a starter list of 20 from many I found in a quick search on the web. Measuring success, of course, is subjective, and I’ve not read most of these books, but reviews by way of,, Kirkus and Amazon seem fairly consistent.

Yes, self-published novels can bring in good sales and decent incomes. They can also lead to a writing career for those authors who started out in the self-published arena. Take a look for yourself.

[ Self Publishing: There is a right way and a wrong way]

In the list itself there are two books that I have actually heard of; one being ‘legally blonde’ which was turned into a movie with reese witherspoon (and spawned a sequel) and the other i actually own! A heartbreaking work of staggering genius by Dave Eggers. Now, I know a little of where Eggers went after this book and amongst other things founded a publishing house, mcsweenys, who do a quarterly journal (who produce some truely lovely books, like the one pictured above which i used to own, and has an eccentric online version from which i’ve posted), a monthly journal called The Believer and who does a whole bunch of other stuff as well.

So, from a self-published book he has garnered himself a pretty sweet career. So there.

Also, check out this interview with someone who self-published a book and had some sucess and critical acclaim with it. He goes into, amongst other things, why the book was self-published to begin with.

[ How to self-publish the right way: Here’s one writer’s take ]