Writing a novel is only half the battle. Getting a publisher to give you the opportunity you think you deserve is far more difficult than any obstacle you could encounter writing your book.

The numerous self-published authors emerging on the market today, however, prove that writers do not have to conform to the unchanging ways of the traditional publishing arena in order to achieve the success they desire.  In fact, some of the top earning authors in the world today are self-published authors.  This grave demand for ebooks signifies a thirst for new blood in a literary arena untamed by the restrictions that have kept the publishing field tethered for so long.



As a result of the advent of the digital age, the traditional publishing arena continues to struggle financially.  Meanwhile, self-publishing is taking advantage of the proliferation of information technology to bring to the world the sort of literary material traditional publishers have been ignoring for decades.  

Who are the top-earning self-published authors of 2015? Is your favorite on the list? You’re about to find out…ChatEbooks lists down some of the more prominent self-published authors that earned the most sales in 2015.

E.L James

E.L James is one of the biggest names in the entire publishing industry today though a surprising number of readers would dispute the rationale behind her fame and fortune.

James is the author of the highly successful “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, a series of novels that started out as Twilight fan fiction and which have attracted as much intrigue as they have hate. Initially posted on various fan fiction sites as well as her own website, the stories were eventually developed into an erotic trilogy that James self-published, creating the global sensation that is “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey’s dystopian sci-fi series “Wool” started out as a short story before coming to Amazon as a series of highly popular self-published novels. The multi-volume opus rocketed Howey’s name in the Amazon Bestseller List. “Wool” spent two weeks in the New York Times Ebook Fiction Bestseller List and received the Kindle Book Review’s 2012 Best Indie Book Award in the Sci-Fi/.Fantasy category. Howey has turned down some rather hefty sums from traditional publishers in favor of maintaining his self-publishing approach with the aim of retaining the rights to his novels.

Amanda Hocking

Hocking’s “My Blood Approves,” a vampire romance series and the “Trylle Trilogy,” a girl’s journey towards self-discovery in an urban fantasy setting, made her one of the first highly successful self-published authors in the Paranormal/Young Adult fiction genre. She has complemented the success she enjoys online by signing a very lucrative deal with St. Martin’s Press, a conventional publishing company. All her previously self-published books in the “Trylle Trilogy” were also sold to St. Martin’s.

Lisa Genova

Genova’s success in the self-publishing arena can be attributed to “Still Alice” – the trained neuroscientist’s debut novel about a Harvard professor learning to cope with the early onset of Alzheimer’s. There are over 2.5 million copies of “Still Alice” in print, and it has been translated into 36 languages. The massive success of Genova’s novel has, over the years, attracted interest from Hollywood, with “Still Alice” being adapted into a film in 2014, further attracting attention towards her self-published novel.

H.M Ward

Ward is one of the biggest names in New Adult Contemporary Romance at the moment. The author of the “Ferro Family Saga” has written many bestselling novels over the years. Her continuous efforts to resist offers from traditional publishers have not diminished her success as one of the most promising self-published authors. Ward has made it her mission to lift other indie authors up and that includes launching a new publishing company called HM Ward Press.

If you’re thinking about joining the community of self-published authors, I hope you’ll find the success of the some of these top earners both encouraging and motivating as you embark on your journey!  


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