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How did you publish?

Caged Maiden

Article Team
Hi scribes!

I've decided I need to get some things off my plate and start pushing some of the mostly-finished ones out first. How did you begin publishing? Is it unrealistic to publish a few shorts alone on amazon? Or should I look to making them into a collection of some sort? If you've done collections, how did you group the stories? I think my stuff is all over the board, but I'm interested in understanding what your goals were when you first put work out into the world.

I have a small number of short stories that are ready for me to release into the wild, and i'm not overly concerned with making money (which is why I want to self-publish them instead of sanding to magazines). i'm mostly just interested in retaining the rights to them, because if they're included in magazines or being read by folks collecting for anthologies, it means I can't do anything with them on my own.

Also, my biggest question, perhaps, is how easy is it to edit things later? As in, what if I publish some short stories and later put out a collection which contains a few of them? Can I take down the stories as stand alone ones? Or does it even benefit me to have stories standing alone in any way?

I know a few of you are indie publishers with a lot of experience and while I'm pretty confident in the stories, I don't know the first thing about actually publishing them, though I've read several books that tell you how to make wise choices. They don't really cover short stories, but instead focus more on the self-publishing novelist.

Thanks! I guess I'm just looking for whatever you all think is the "clear winner" in regards to beginning publishing for myself.


1) get a cover for your book(s) that's genre appropriate. Look at the books currently selling well on Amazon in the anthology/short reads section and also in fantasy.

2) write a good blurb for it

3) You can either sell the stories individually at $0.99 or bundle them up for $2.99 or more depending on the word count in the collection.

4) Collections sell better than single shorts. You know, this business is funny. It could go either way for you BUT on average, unknown authors selling single shorts don't tend to do well.

5) This is my suggestion from my own personal experience so take it with that in mind: if you're doing a collection, put it in KU. Your page reads will count as sales and you'll get some cash out of it. If you decide to sell the stories individually, I'd just price them at 99 cents and not put them in KU because you'll get like 10 cents per KU read. Ridiculous, right?

6) Shorts don't sell well. Just the way it is. I'm not trying to be pessimistic but few authors make sales on shorts as it is. Just keep that in mind.

7) If you put them in a collection, then your cover charge will be less.

8) You get 90 days in Select if you decide to go that route. Depending on how you do during that time, you can choose to automatically renew or just go wide in which case, you can do a variety of things like Draft 2 Digital, or just go direct with Barnes and Noble, Apple (which requires mac availability), and Kobo. Google Play isn't taking Indies atm.

9) KU really helps with visibility. Amazon will push those works in KU so as a newer/unknown author this is a bonus. It gives you the ability to play with price, do countdown deals or sales once per work per term.

I can't think of anything else right now except you'd do well in heading over to kboards and learning from the folks there as that forum is almost entirely based on Indie publishing.
There is no single path to publication - everyone's is different. For me it was.

1. First book released through a small press that earned me exactly $0.
2. Getting the rights back and self-publishing which did well.
3. Leveraging my self-publishing success to get the books re-published by a big-five publisher.
4. Signing a second deal with publisher #1 for a new series.
5. Self-publishing a few books to go "hybrid" - using Kickstarter to help fund them.
6. After publisher #1 declined to agree to a hardcover release for my next series, I went out and got publisher #2.
7. These days I release both self and traditional depending on what looks like the best path for a particular book.