All right, Squiders! Today we’ll start talking about methods for self-publishing a short story. Unlike “traditional” publishing, there is not really a submission process for self-publishing, since the only gatekeeper, in most cases, is yourself. You decide you’d like to publish something; you go for it. The only thing to consider is the best method/location to do so.
NOTE: Because there are no gatekeepers for self-publishing, you are responsible for the final product. That means that your cover, your editing, your formatting, etc., all reflect on you. You may find it beneficial to hire professionals for areas you may be lacking in, or to otherwise improve your skills in order to ensure that your final product meets the quality standards expected by readers.
Self-publishing locations for short stories fall into the following main categories:
- Online fiction/book websites
- Online retailers
- Short story collections
The easiest way to self-publish a short story a short story is to post it on your blog or website. For a journaling website such as Tumblr, LiveJournal, WordPress, etc., you can include a short story as its own post, which, depending on the platform, may then be shared by your followers.
Some authors also include a short story section on their author websites. This is a place where they collect the short stories they have available to be read through their site, making it a static page people can visit.
WARNING: Many publications consider posting a story on your blog or website as the first publication of that story. That means that if you later decide you’d like to sell that story to a magazine or anthology, they will consider the story already published, and will consider your submission a reprint, which may be a harder sell, if the publication takes them at all.
Online fiction/book websites
Many websites exist where you can post your original fiction of varying lengths, including short stories. Often these are websites where you create a profile and all your works are collected under that one name. There is often a community aspect to them, with readers/other members being able to favorite stories and leave comments.
While there are a large number of these sites available of varying sizes, popularity, and focus, the major ones are Wattpad, FictionPress, and Figment. Some sites are more focused on critiquing and reviewing than on building readership, so make sure you understand a website’s main goals before posting your work.
Some fanfiction-based websites such as Archive of Our Own also allow original fiction to be posted, though it may be harder to find.
Book websites where people can track the books their reading and rate them, like Goodreads, may also have sections where authors can post short stories or excerpts from longer works.
Question, Squiders–do you think I need to specify that these are non-paying markets, that their main purpose is to build readership and get feedback? Or is it obvious?
Anything I’m leaving out here?