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Copyright © 2005 by Open Horizons and John Kremer
Last modified: 03/26/05

The Self-Publishing
Hall of Fame

Mawi Asgedom

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Mawi Asgedom self-published his memoir, Of Beetles and Angels. The book told the story of his journey from war-torn Ethiopia at age three to a refugee camp in Sudan, then to a childhood on welfare in an American suburb, and eventually to triumph as a Harvard graduate, where he gave the commencement address in 1999.

In 2001, he sold rights to that book and The Code (featuring advice for teenagers drawn from his motivational speeches), to Megan Tingley for six figures. As his agent, he relied on Mary Yockey, trade buyer for Anderson's Bookshops, in Naperville, Illinois. Asgedom met Yockey while doing an author event at the bookstore. His sale was Yockey's first as an agent.

Below is his story as told on his web site:

Mawi Asgedom survived civil war in Ethiopia, a refugee camp in the Sudan and overcame welfare in the U.S. to earn a scholarship to Harvard and establish himself as America’s leading authority on teen success.

Mawi is the author and creator of the most uplifting line of teen success products ever produced. His first book, Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey From a Refugee Camp to Harvard, has won awards from both the American Library Association and the Social Studies Council of America. Rounding out his book line are The Code: The 5 Secrets of Teen Success and Win the Inner Battle: The Ultimate Teen Leadership Journal, both used by Time Warner as the cornerstone of their national mentoring program, “Time to Lead.”

His 3 books have sold over 100,000 copies and are used by schools across North America. In October 2004, he released the nation’s first teen-success CD Set, Nothing Is Impossible: The Ultimate Teen Success CDs.

In addition to writing and recording, Mawi has spoken to a quarter of a million students in 25 states. He has hosted a year-long teen series on PBS Chicago as well as appeared on Oprah.

Check out Mawi's fun bio at:


Hall of Fame Entrance


John Kremer, Curator

John is the author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books and editor of the Book Marketing Update newsletter.

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