Thomas Paine anonymously published "Common Sense" in 1776. Within 3 months, he sold 100,000 copies, making it the best-selling work in 18th-century America.
Benjamin Franklin self-published "Poor Richard’s Almanack" and sold about 10,000 copies per year.
Beatrix Potter was turned down by six publishers in 1902 for "The Tale of Peter Rabbit," so she self-published 250 copies.
In 1908, Ezra Pound self-published "A Lume Spento" and sold 100 copies at 6 cents each.
Virginia Woolf started her own publishing company, Hogarth Press, in 1917 with husband Leonard, and self-published her work.
E.B. White originally self-published "The Elements of Style" for his classes at Cornell.
Irma Rombauer self-published "The Joy of Cooking" as a project of the First Unitarian Women’s Alliance in St. Louis in 1931. Now, Scribner sells more than 100,000 copies yearly.
"The Plant" was released on Stephen King’s own website in 2000 as an eBook and was sold for one dollar per chapter.
99-year-old Toyo Shibata self-published a collection of her poems, "Don’t Be Frustrated," in Japan in 2010. She has sold 1.5 million copies thus far, and topped the best-seller list in Japan for two weeks.
Nordin made 18,400 dollars at the end of 2010 on her self-published ebook romances.
Amanda Hocking wrote 17 unpublished novels in her spare time. In April 2010, she began publishing her own books. As of March 2011, Hocking has sold about one million copies of nine of her books, earning her two million dollars in sales.
Steve Almond self-published "This Won’t Take But a Minute, Honey" this year and he encourages all writers to self-publish.
Thanks to Huffington Post, “Heroes of Self-Publishing”