How To Self-Publish Short Stories On Amazon KDP

How To Self-Publish Short Stories

Can you self-publish short stories on Amazon KDP? Yes, you can.

There are many sites online where you can publish your stories for free. If you are a new writer, it’s a great way to find readers.

However, if you want to earn money from your writing, the best route is to self-publish your short stories as a Kindle ebook.

But before you jump in, you need to make sure that your short story ebook complies with the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) guidelines.

Tips to help you self-publish short stories

Short stories are short. True.

But what is the minimum word count for a Kindle ebook?

It’s a question that authors have asked many times.

However, Amazon KDP is quite vague about the answer.

The only mention is on the Guide to Kindle Content Quality page.

You need to scroll way down the page to the heading, Disappointing Content.

content too short

In the list, all it states is content that is too short.

However, over the years, many bloggers and publishing advice sites have agreed that 2,500 words seem to be the minimum.

You can read this article from 2013 to see that it has been a long-asked question.


Self-publish short stories in collections

Is there an easy way to overcome your ebook being rejected by KDP because the content is too short?

Yes, there is.

All you need to do is compile your short stories into a collection.

You should probably aim at a minimum of 5,000 – 7,000 words.

What if you don’t have enough stories to get to 5,000 words?

Well, perhaps it would be best to write a few new stories to boost your word count.

Short Kindle ebooks can sell quite well.

But you always need to offer value to an ebook buyer.

As a rule of thumb, somewhere between 10,000 to 15,000 words is a good target.

A new option from Amazon is Kindle Vella.

It states that episodes must be between 600-5,000 words.

But it is more suited to publishing a book, chapter by chapter.

So unless your short stories are closely interrelated, it is probably not the most promising option.

Let’s look at what you can do.


How to price your ebook

Generally, the price for short ebooks is between $0.99 and $2.99.

A price that is higher than this is not going to be attractive to book buyers.

If you want to make money when self-publishing short stories, you have to offer good value.

It’s always better to sell 100 ebooks at $0.99 than none at $4.99.

Another consideration is Kindle Unlimited (KU). When you publish your ebook, you can enroll in Amazon KDP Select.

If you do, you will be paid per KENP page read from KU readers. But as your book is short, you won’t earn much from each read.

Kindle Unlimited Edition Normalized Page count (KENP) pays between $0.004 and $0.005 per page.

If you enroll your ebook for KU, perhaps $1.99 – $2.99 is the sweet spot. KU subscribers may not see value in reading a $0.99 ebook.


What do you need to self-publish your stories?

If you don’t have an account with Amazon KDP, you will need to register.

You can use your existing username and password if you have an Amazon account.

You will need to complete your author or publisher details, how you want Amazon to pay you, and your tax information.

Once your account is set up, you are ready to publish.

There are only two files you need.

1. Your ebook interior

The easiest is a Word document in docx format.

You can also use Kindle Create to format your ebook. It will prepare an export file that you can then upload to KDP.

2. Your ebook cover

There are many online apps where you can create an ebook cover for free.

The best one, in my opinion, is Canva because it gives you more options and a better resolution.

Once you have your cover and interior files prepared, you are almost ready to self-publish your short story Kindle ebook.


Three tasks before you publish

One trap many new authors fall into is not having all the information they need when starting the KDP publishing process.

When you do this, you will be guessing or adding information quickly and with no thought.

There are three things you absolutely must do before you start.

1. Your book description

When your book appears on Amazon, its description is your first selling point. Make sure you write a description that will encourage people to buy your book.

Writing a book description is not a quick and easy task, so take your time and make sure it’s fantastic.

2. Select your categories

You need to select three categories (genres) that are not only suitable for your book but also not highly competitive.

In practice, you should avoid header categories such as romance, science fiction, and poetry. You need to drill down to more specific genres.

3. Select your seven keywords

Your selection of seven keywords is vital in attracting readers to your book from an Amazon search.

A keyword is not one word. You need to use phrases of between three to five words.

keywords and categories

For a more detailed explanation, you should read our in-depth article about choosing the best keywords and categories to help you sell your books.


How to promote your short ebook

You might be lucky and get a few sales without promoting your new ebook.

But it is rare, so be prepared to do a little bit of extra work to get your ebook out there and in front of readers.

There are many ways you can promote your book for free in just a few minutes.

You will also have Amazon book promotion tools that you can access through your KDP dashboard.

The expression that the harder you work, the luckier you get is apt for promoting and selling books.

One other point you should think about is starting your book promotion before you publish your book.

If you select the option to set your book to pre-order, it gives you time to start your promotion before your book is available.



There’s nothing to stop you from self-publishing your short stories and trying to make some money from your writing.

Just be aware of your KDP word count, and try to offer good value to readers.

There are thousands of Kindle ebooks of poetry collections published on Amazon.

So there’s no reason you can’t do the same with your short stories.


Related reading: How To Easily Format A Poetry Ebook Before Self-Publishing

2 thoughts on “How To Self-Publish Short Stories On Amazon KDP”

  1. This is an excellent website that is easy to understand for the neophyte KDP writer.
    I have put together a short novella that I am loading into KDP. The story does not use a Table of Contents.

    However, the absence of a TOC creates an error that I have not been able to resolve. I suppose I could install an unnecessary short one. But, I have seen a few short works like “Themes and Variations” by David Sedaris that do not use one, so there must be a way around this issue. Can someone offer a solution?
    Cheers and Thanks.

    1. Interesting question, Andris.

      KDP Help seems to encourage a table of contents, and I can’t find any information about how to publish without one.

      But you could try uploading a doc file instead of docx or epub. It’s an old file type, so it might work. No guarantees, though.

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