Should You Self-Publish A Short Story Chapbook? ǀ Self-Publishing Relief

Should You Self-Publish A Short Story Chapbook? ǀ Self-Publishing Relief

As a short story writer, you may have work that’s been published in literary journals. These stories reached an interested audience and built your readership, but you might be reluctant to let it end there. You probably also have stories you’ve written that you really like, but they weren’t accepted by literary journals. Some journals get 10,000 submissions per reading period, so the competition is fierce! With the traditional publishing market showing little interest in collections, many short story writers have turned to self-publishing. But what if you don’t have enough stories for a full collection? The experts at Self-Publishing Relief have some advice: Self-publish a short story chapbook!


Why You Might Self-Publish A Short Story Chapbook

A chapbook is typically around forty pages long (and can be even shorter). Because of the small size, chapbooks often feature poetry, but short story writers can also publish chapbooks. There are many reasons why you might choose to self-publish a short story chapbook. You may not have enough work available for a full short story collection, which is usually about eighty pages or 40,000 words.

Along with reintroducing previously published stories or presenting other unpublished stories, a chapbook is a great way to get your longer short stories into the hands of your readers. (Many literary journals have word count limits, which makes it harder to get acceptances for short stories over 3,500 words.)

Or you might have a small group of linked stories that you want to present together. Maybe you have a really great short story that ties into an event or season or date, and you want to give that story its own cover and publication and market it in tandem with that event.

A short story chapbook allows readers to sample your work without committing to a full-length collection. And the lower page count means you can sell your prose chapbook at a more affordable price, making it easier for your audience to click “buy.”


A chapbook can also be a smart giveaway for contests or at conferences and literary events. Everyone loves a freebie, and you’ll introduce your writing to a wider audience and build interest for your other publications.

How To Self-Publish A Short Story Chapbook

For the most part, the self-publishing process for a chapbook is similar to publishing a full-length collection or novel, and you would follow the same basic checklist. Your chapbook manuscript should be carefully proofread and properly formatted, and you’ll need a great cover design. However, your chapbook might not be thick enough to have a spine with text. And your manuscript must meet the page count minimum of the publishing platform you are using. For example, your chapbook must be at least twenty-four pages long to publish it in paperback form on Kindle Direct Publishing.

The experts at Self-Publishing Relief have lots of experience with publishing chapbooks (along with full-length collections, novels, memoirs, and nonfiction). We can help you navigate the entire process, from manuscript to a published book you can be proud to put your name on. Schedule your free consultation call today!

Question: What chapbook have you enjoyed reading?



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