Charles Dickens self-published A Christmas Carol in 1843.
He was desperate for money. The royalties from his most recent novel, Martin Chuzzlewit, were dismal; his relatives were pleading for loans, his fifth child was on the way. His publisher offered a lump sum payment for Scrooge's tale, which Dickens rejected.
Completing the novel in just six weeks - so that it could be published in time for the holiday season - Dickens oversaw every aspect of the publishing process and only gave final approvals on December 17th, two days before publication.
Determined to make the book a huge seller, he charged only five shillings. The first run of 6,000 copies sold out by Christmas Eve and six more editions sold through before Spring.
So not only was Ebenezer Scrooge redeemed, but Charles Dickens' entire writing career - hanging by the narrowest of threads - was also rescued.