From Wise Ink Publishing Blog:
5. Jane Austen
Unable to get a traditional publisher interested in her work, Austen released both Emma and Sense & Sensibility on her own dime. Later, a publisher took notice and bought the rights to Northanger Abbey, but Austen ended up buying the book back because the publisher was taking too long to release it. If not for Austen's ambition and desire to get her work into the world by any means, England would be short its first modern novelist.