My Twisted Writer Brain…

Did You Know Popular Author Colleen Hoover Self-Published First?

If you’re a writer and/or reader, chances are pretty dang high you’ve read (or heard of) one of Colleen Hoover’s books. Her name has become synonymous with contemporary romance fiction and her writing journey is an inspiration to aspiring authors worldwide.

Why you ask?

Why would you be inspired by someone who writes stuff you’d never read or have any intention of ever reading?

Well, I’m here to tell you why…

Frankly, it doesn’t matter about the books or even the subject matter, it’s about looking at what Colleen Hoover has accomplished in the literary world.

Did you all know that Colleen Hoover started out as a self-published author?

As the story goes, she wanted to write, so she did… boom!… here she is just over ten years later. Here’s a link to all her books.

I’ve read a couple of her books without even realizing the author’s business success behind them. (I really have to start paying more attention to names…ugh.)

Here’s the two books of hers that I’ve read. They weren’t literary genius, but they weren’t complete trash either. Here’s the thing, readers are identifying with the author and characters and that says it all.

Here’s Colleen Hoover’s intro on Wikipedia:

Colleen Hoover (born Margaret Colleen Fennell; December 11, 1979) is an American author who primarily writes novels in the romance and young adult fiction genres. She is best known for her 2016 romance novel It Ends with Us. Many of her works were self-published before being picked up by a publishing house. As of October 2022, Hoover has sold approximately 20 million books. She was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2023.


If this doesn’t give you pause, I don’t know what will.

All of her success and accolades have stemmed from her first steps of self publication in 2011. That’s only 12 years ago! Read that again!

Like omg!

With are you waiting for?

As a writer, you should know that even if your book was picked up by a traditional publisher tomorrow, it wouldn’t hit the shelves until 2025 or 2026 and would probably look nothing like what you originally intended.

Is this a path you want to continue on? Personally, I’m leaning more and more toward the “no” side.

In our world, there’s a huge flaw in the system regarding publication and it lies in the power we give others to set our destiny.

Why do we do that? What lessons can we learn from someone like Colleen Hoover?

Navigating the world of self publishing is daunting.

Everyone has opinions, suggestions, and different experiences.

What worked for one, may prove to be a horror for someone else.


One of the most significant hurdles for writers who self publish is gaining visibility and recognition in a saturated market.

Astute marketing and clever use of social media platforms and influencers can make a huge difference.

Hoover cultivated a dedicated reader base, wrote what she was interested in and was familiar with, and the rest followed.

Please note the word “cultivation”.

I think this is where writers and authors often drop the ball.

To simply toss your book up on Amazon and pray for a miracle is naive. After your family and friends have bought it, who’s left?

You must tend and grow your professional oasis prior to leaping into the deep end. I’m sorry, but marketing is a real thing.

Query Letters, Rejection, Giving up…

Will you allow rejection to define your writing journey?

There comes a time when things need to be taken into your own hands but with a plan in place.

Know who your reader is … that is your target audience and that is who you want to connect with.

Self-publishing can grant you creative control and also foster a direct connection with your readers, which can then fuel your success, but it still takes planning and hard work.

Impact on the Publishing Industry

Learning of Colleen Hoover’s self-publication journey should excite every writer who’s ever fought the fight of trying to catch the attention of a publisher.

Though Hoover’s journey is extraordinary, it does redefine the possibilities for independent authors and perhaps even more importantly, it challenges the norms of the traditional publishing industry.

Readers are making choices to connect with independent authors which is not only key but pretty frikken cool!

Hoover’s success proves that authors can survive and thrive outside the conventional system. No longer are writers beholden to one model and/or unknown professionals within the publishing world who make all the decisions.

Traditional publishers need to rethink their approach and consider the potential of self-published authors.

If you self-pub and have good sales, the industry will find you just as they found Hoover.

I Guess I Will…

I’ve written a couple of books…

Traditional publishing has always been a dream of mine but as time ticks by, reality has crept-in big time. I have an agent, I believe I have an audience, and it’s now time to empower myself to get those books out there.

Stay tuned…

In the Meantime…

Tell me your story. What do you think about the journey of Colleen Hoover? Does it give you hope? or do you see it as hype? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

Check out a few of my other posts…

Three Really Smart Things To Do Before You Publish

Is Traditional Publishing Better?

Why a Writer Needs a Platform


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9 thoughts on “Did You Know Popular Author Colleen Hoover Self-Published First?”

  1. I completely agree that marketing is key to success in self-publishing. (Of course, a high quality book is essential. But without good marketing, nobody will ever get to read even the World’s Best Book!) You do a great job of marketing and “putting yourself out there” so I would think you have a good shot at successful self-publishing if you choose to go that route.

  2. If you’re serious about self-publishing, get familiar with David Gaughran. He has the most sensible advice of any of the dozens of ‘experts’ I’ve checked out. Many YouTube videos plus a website and books. Largely free and hugely worthwhile. He’s engaging but you’ll have to forgive the wild hair. It covers a good brain.

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