How to Self-Publish a Short Story for Beginners

Are you looking to get your creative juices flowing? One way is to start writing short stories. Short stories are a great way for new writers to explore their creativity, and for more established writers to flex their skills.

In this article, I’ll show you how easy it can be to self-publish a short story with these simple steps and how you can make money publishing short stories!

How Much Does It Cost To Publish A Short Story?

The cost to publish a short story can vary depending on the number of pages, cover type, and other features. For an average novella (50-70 pages), you should expect to pay $1-$2 per page in printing fees. Good quality printing may run upward of $3-$5 per page. Cover design can also affect the cost significantly.

If you simply wish to self-publish an ebook of your short story, however, the costs will be significantly lower.

How Do You Self-Publish A Short Story?

You can self-publish a short story in two ways: by printing it on-demand or publishing an ebook. For the former, you’ll need to find a printer that offers this service and upload your manuscript file (.doc for Microsoft Word documents) and any cover images (.jpg, .png or high quality .pdf). Once you’ve done that and the order has been finalized, your short story will be printed on demand.

For ebook publishing, there are a number of different ebook publishing platforms available to you. The requirements are a lot less stringent than when printing on-demand. For most platforms, you can upload and even sell your ebook for free.

One of these platforms is the giant, Amazon! Amazon offers a print-on-demand and ebook (Kindle) service for self-published authors.

How Do I Self-publish A Short Story On Amazon?

It is very easy to self-publish a short story on Amazon. The first thing you need to know is if you are using the print-on-demand service, then your short story needs to be a minimum of 24 pages for Amazon’s printers to approve your listing.

You also will need a cover file (.jpg, .png or high quality .pdf) and to upload your manuscript and set a price.

To get started, sign up at Amazon, then log in to your account. You will need a .mobi file for Kindle and an epub file if you want it on other ebook reading devices such as the Nook or Sony Reader.

You can download the Kindle Ebook Creator or use a free conversion tool online.

Once these are done and uploaded to Amazon (remember 24-page minimum), you will need to set a price and save your work.

Now you can preview the cover of your book.

If you are using Amazon’s print-on-demand service;

  • Upload your manuscript file (.doc)
  • Upload a cover file (.jpg or .png or .pdf)
  • Generate a free barcode or upload your own
  • The Amazon KDP team will then review your work before it goes live on the site.

Do Short Stories Sell?

Short stories do sell quite well, and in a variety of genres as long as the quality is good. The only caveat is that it can take more time for them to find an audience.

Short Stories are less of a commitment than investing in a full-length novel. However, publishers have reported that “paper short” (which they define as any work shorter than 100 pages) might be the next frontier for digital publishing.

The main thing is finding your audience and finding an angle that allows you to consistently produce stories for that audience while growing it. I would recommend starting with short fiction or working on a series of short fiction stories and seeing how that goes before moving up to publishing a full-length novel. 

Where Can I Submit Short Stories For Money?

As an author of over a hundred published stories, the answer to this question is tricky. My answer might sound biased, but I think there are so many great platforms to submit stories nowadays that it makes the question irrelevant.

Besides Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Program, which lets you post your story free of charge and get paid for every time somebody downloads it. There’s Wattpad, where users can upload their original work for people to read online for free or as a premium service with upgrades available at $4.99 USD per month.

That leaves sites like Medium and Tumblr both popular hubs where authors can post work they’re proud of without high barriers between publishing and reading content create a variety of potential audiences just waiting in the wings.

However, you cannot sell them on those two platforms; instead, you use those platforms to grow an audience and sell them on your own platforms like your own blog or website.

In my opinion, this is the best way. As you are completely in charge and keep 100% of the profit.

Using platforms that already have solid traffic and niche audiences is a great way to kickstart your marketing.

How Many Pages Should Be In A Short Story?

By name, a short story in literature is any piece of prose fiction that could be read in one sitting and typically has fewer than 20 pages. The average range for this type of work would be between 2000-8000 words or less (although it can vary greatly). Generally, anything more than 8000 words is considered a novella.

After novella-length stories, you are in the territory of novels.

Novel-length means the work has at least 50,000 words; anything less would be considered either a novella or long short-story (if it’s around 20,000 words).

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