Not only did Hans Christian Anderson
self-publish his first two books of poem as well as a travelogue and another
book (First Attempts), but he also paid to have his first book of fairy
tales published as well. That first book, which contained four fairy tales (The
Tinder Box, Little Claus and Big Claus, The Princess on the Pea, and
Little Ida's Flowers), became his first bestseller. He soon followed that
book with another book of three fairy tales (Thumbelina, The Naughty Boy,
and The Travelling Companion).
The first book he self-published in 1822, First Attempts, was done
while he was still in school. It was so unsuccessful that the pages end up being
sold as wrapping paper.
The Danish publisher for most of his books, C.A. Reitzel Publishers, was paid
by him to publish the first fairy tale book. But, as the books sold, Reitzel
continued to publish all of Anderson's books up to and past his death in 1875.
Born the son of a cobbler on April 2, 1805, Anderson ended up being the most
famous author of Denmark, celebrated by the Queen and many nobles. His birth
date is now celebrated around the world as International Children's Book Day.
Among his other famous stories were The Little Mermaid, The Emperor's New
Suit, The Brave Tin Soldier, What the Moon Saw, The Ugly Duckling, The Snow
Queen, The Red Shoes, and The Little Matchseller.