10 self-published novelists who made it big in 2011

As any author can tell you, getting a novel published through traditional means is hard enough – but self-publishing and then working to build up buzz for big sales by yourself is even tougher. But here are 10 novelists who struck it big last year, pushing their self-published e-books all the way to The New York Times bestseller list.

1. Nancy C. Johnson

Johnson made the bestseller list the week of Feb. 20 with her novel "Her Last Letter," a thriller about a young woman named Gwyn, who finds a letter from her sister, who died in a hit-and-run accident. The letter from Gwyn's sister Kelly says that she was having an affair with her sister's boyfriend and fears she may be murdered. Gwyn and her other sister Linda both married their boyfriends since Kelly's death: Did one of them kill Kelly, or is it a previous boyfriend? Or someone different altogether?

1 of 10

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.