It’s Cyber Monday, a great time to buy books on Amazon or at BarnesandNoble.com for the holidays. As I posted yesterday, if you purchase a copy of The Travelers (Saguaro Books, 2016) starting today, Cyber Monday, through December 31, 2016, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to two charities focused on reading and books. And since it’s Cyber Monday and we’re talking about books, I thought it might be nice to tell a little ebook fairy tale.

Once upon a time…

…a man had a story inside him, a story he had to tell. So, he labored and researched. He spoke with experts. And he wrote and wrote. Then he edited and revised furiously, burying himself in the story, laboring over every word and detail. Until, finally, one day, he looked over his story and realized his creation was finally complete. That day, he rose from his desk, triumphant that he’d made his masterpiece. The triumph was short, however. The man didn’t know what to do next. He decided to contact  publishers and pitch his story to agents, in the hopes that someone would see its value. He wrote and called. Only to be met with silence and rejection. The man was sad. But, he was not surprised. His story was unique and heavily based in science and math. He’d always thought it would only appeal to a small audience, if any at all.

He called it a book “by a dork for dorks.”

ebook-3Undeterred and just wanting to get his work out in the world, he sought a new avenue. He decided to self-publish. First, chapter by chapter, he serialized it on his website. Then, the unimaginable happened, people started reading it. Many people. Fans asked that he post the complete story as one book. Eventually he published it as an ebook through Amazon’s self-publishing arm and sold it for 99 cents. Not long after, the news of the greatness of the book spread through the vast reaches of the internet. The previously little-known ebook became the top sci-fi title, selling 35,000 copies in four months. Suddenly, something wonderful happened. They called and they called and they called. Large publishing houses wanted to publish his work. Movie makers sent offers. The man  received a publishing deal and a movie deal at nearly the exact same time. The man was shocked and elated to see his dream came true.

Crazy writer fairy tale, right?

Except, this story isn’t a fairy tale at all. It’s actually based on a true story. This is the story of The Martian by Andy Weir. You may have heard of it. It’s not only is a giant publishing success, it was also made into a movie starring none other than Matt Damon (as charismatic and lovable as always). The movie even made over $300 million at the box office back in late 2015. (I’ve read the ebook and seen the movie. Both are amazing. Although, I’m partial to the book. Isn’t that always the way?)

ebook4The Martian is not an anomaly, though. There are other fairy tales out there  just like it. Here are some other self-published books scooped up by publishers and eventually made into movies.

  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown (When I found this out I nearly squealed out loud.)
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Why am I telling this fairy tale of self-publishing success? Well, I think often self-published books or even books from small publishers are overlooked and the world is missing out on some great stories. So, hopefully this will encourage you to seek out a new writer or book and maybe also give that book to a friend! It’s always exciting to be the one to discover something new and great, to be innovator who can say – I loved that book before anyone else knew about it.

It’s always exciting to be the one to discover something new and great, to be the innovator who can say – I loved that book before anyone else knew about it.

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