Write and [Self] Publish your [Short] Stories: A Manual
4.8 (3 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,143 students enrolled

Write and [Self] Publish your [Short] Stories: A Manual

How to create a self-publish checklist, upload your story to Amazon, and work on ads and marketing!
4.8 (3 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,143 students enrolled
Created by Nathaniel Mellor
Last updated 8/2019
English [Auto]
Current price: $16.99 Original price: $24.99 Discount: 32% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 2 articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
Training 5 or more people?

Get your team access to 4,000+ top Udemy courses anytime, anywhere.

Try Udemy for Business
What you'll learn
  • How to publish your short story.
  • Tips for self-editing your story.
  • How to create a self-publish checklist.
  • How to create advertisements on Amazon.
  • How to create an online and offline presence.
  • An idea for a short story, or an already written short story.


This course will have three main objectives.

First: Provide a checklist on what needs to be done before the publishing stage. This is done with a video per item on the list.

Second: Teach you how to upload your story to Amazon.

Third: Marketing. How to make and run Amazon ads, how to create and build a social media presence, and how to attend book conventions.

At the end of the course, you will have the knowledge to create an e-book, write a blurb, get a cover, master keywords and categories, run ads, and understand how to market yourself.

Who this course is for:
  • Beginning writers.
  • Unpublished writers.
  • Writers curious as to where their stories can go.
  • Writers in general!
Course content
Expand all 46 lectures 01:52:17
+ Introduction
1 lecture 01:06

Welcome to my course! I hope you enjoy it! In this video I give a brief rundown of what to expect in the course. If you have any questions, please ask!

Preview 01:06
+ Type of Story
3 lectures 06:49

What type of story do you have, and what type do you want?

I mention blog posts have made their way into the Amazon Kindle Store, and since I can't link to Amazon products on Udemy, I suggest you search "How to Add a Device to my Amazon Account" and "How to Write a Book.

Most of the results you see used to be blog posts, but with the search function of the kindle (the new kindles will allow you to search, but the first results are Amazon results, therefore, most of the 'blog posts' are Amazon or writing related) the blog posts have become e-books

All this is to say: the idea of a traditional book or story is falling away. e-Books give you the ability to publish anything of any length, like pamphlets or posts.

Go experiment!

Preview 03:19

We talk about how sneak peeks and first chapters fit into eBook publishing.

Sneak Peek and First Chapter

Being one of, of not the biggest, selling category of eBooks, I thought we should talk about them.

Let's Talk Erotica
+ Before Publishing
9 lectures 23:36

The expensive way to edit something is to hire an editor. I recommend searching for reputable editing companies, or finding a private editor. If you need someone, and don't have the time to look, then you can check on a website like www.fiverr.com.

Editing: The Expensive Way

Here we talk about some self-editing tactics such as printing out your story to read a physical copy, and reading your story out loud.

I will add: Editing the story yourself isn't a replacement for an actual editor, but if you're on a tight budget then this method can work.

Editing: The Budget Way

If you're looking to commission a cover designer, you can check here Fiverr or Deviant Art.

If you're looking to buy a pre-made cover, you can try searching for it, or looking through some examples in the link under resources.

If you're looking to do it yourself, think about using a program like GIMP, or websites like freephototool or Canva.

If you are planning to make your own cover, consider posting a few versions to Instagram to get an idea of what people prefer. Or Facebook, if you have a Facebook.

All links are available in the resources.

Cover Design

If you already have a file, and you need to format it, you can use a program like Calibre or Vellum. If you want someone to format for you, you can try looking on Fiverr. A quick search for 'ebook formatting software' will give you a list of available software.


Blurbs can take many forms, and they are the bane of many an author. Like I explain in this video, it's best to have someone else write the blurb for you. Even if a friend does the bones of it, and you go in a tweak it a bit.

To get you started, here are some blurbs from famous books.

Hunger Games: May the odds be ever in your favor. Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death. In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live tv show called Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

Notice how this blurb doesn't mention any character names, and doesn't give you much to work with as far as content. Is it grabbing? Absolutely. Is it accurate? Not entirely. Reading the book will tell you the Hunger Games is more like televised retribution, and less like a tv show, but the wording makes it far more interesting.

The Mars Room: It’s 2003 and Romy Hall, named after a German actress, is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: her young son, Jackson, and the San Francisco of her youth. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, portrayed with great humor and precision.

This one gives us more information, sets the scene and the characters, and tosses in some examples of the trials that are awaiting in its pages.

Washington Black:

Eleven-year-old George Washington Black—or Wash—a field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, is initially terrified when he is chosen as the manservant of his master’s brother. To his surprise, however, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. Soon Wash is initiated into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning, and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human.

But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash’s head, they must abandon everything and flee together. Over the course of their travels, what brings Wash and Christopher together will tear them apart, propelling Wash ever farther across the globe in search of his true self. Spanning the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, London to Morocco, Washington Black is a story of self-invention and betrayal, of love and redemption, and of a world destroyed and made whole again

This one is far larger than the last two, giving us massive amounts of information from story, to characters, to drive, to confrontation.

Pick a book off your bookshelf and look at the back, or inside flap. Look through some books online. What kind of blurb do you like best?

Blurb writing

Bowker is the only place to buy an ISBN. Again, Amazon doesn't require it, and neither does most publishing sites. As far as I know, Ingram Spark is the only company that does require one.


The link to the Copyright Office is in the resources. Again, If you foresee a huge problem with piracy or plagiarism, then it's smart to have your work copyrighted. Otherwise, it's cheaper to wait until a problem arises.


Beta readers are an important aspect of any kind of publishing, and they can be found anywhere. Here are a few links to get you started if you're having trouble finding one locally. I recommend only using a few, and to keep using them on anything you write. They'll begin to understand your writing style better, and offer more specific critique. 



Beta Readers

I will add to this list as the time goes on, but for now, it's a great starting place.

I have this at the end mainly because you would have already done most of these things, but if you need something to print out, or have on your phone, this can work!

Running through the Final Checklist
+ Getting Started on Self-Publishing
2 lectures 01:47

A very quick introduction video on getting started with the actual publishing.

Getting Started

Logging in an navigating the home screen.

If you're having trouble finding the site, here's a link to it. (https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/)

Logging in and Homescreen
+ Section One: Details
11 lectures 14:02

Going over adding in your language and title. Very simple, very quick.

Language and Title

If you have a series, or are publishing another edition, I discuss it here. If this is your first story, you don't have to worry about this section.

Series and Edition

How to add in yourself as the author, and others as contributors. Like stated in the video, if you add in other contributors, it will appear as if there were multiple writers until the customer searches in the description section for the author.

If you want to publish a story or book under a pseudonym, Amazon allows you to do so without any difficulty. Simply enter a different name in the 'Author' box and that name will appear as the Author. Your name, and your KDP info will not be associated with the Author's name in any way. So you don't need a new email or website, unless you want to make one!

Author and Contributors

A quick introductory video to the description section. The in-depth look is below.

Introduction to Description

A quick video on publishing rights. If you wrote the story, you have the rights. If you didn't write the story, you should only publish it if you have permission, or it's public domain.

Publishing Rights

A very brief introduction into keywords. The in-depth video is below.

Introduction to Keywords

A brief introduction to categories. the in-depth video is below with the keyword and description videos.

Introduction to Categories

Quickly going over adding in a grade level, or age range, if applicable. If you're not writing specifically for young adults or children, you won't have to worry about this section, and just leave the settings at the default.

Age Range/Grade Level/Pre-Order

An in-depth look into the description section.

In the resources, I have a link to the Amazon Description Generator, and the KDP help page.

Preview 03:06

An in-depth look into keywords. In the resources I have the link for the KDP Help page.

Keep in mind, use the keywords people will search for, or what you would search for. So, 'military novel' instead of 'novel about military.'

In-Depth: Keywords

An in-depth look into categories.

If you're story can fit into a small or underused category, consider placing it there. If it achieves any sales, that will push the book into the 'Best Selling' Category, which will give your story a huge push. To find out what categories are small, simply look at the best selling books of that category, and find out their Amazon Sales Rank, then take that sales rank, and enter it into the KDP Calculator (Here: https://kindlepreneur.com/amazon-kdp-sales-rank-calculator/) completely free. It will tell you how many sales you need per day to achieve the #1 rank.

In-Depth: Categories
+ Section Two: Content
5 lectures 11:23

How to upload your manuscript, and what Amazon looks for when it reviews your manuscript, such as blank pages and unchangeable font.

Upload your Manuscript

How to upload a cover you already have. If you want to look into their cover designer program, check the video below.

Upload your Cover

Clicking launch previewer to make sure your story is as it should be, and adding in an ISBN if you bought one.

Launch Previewer and adding an ISBN

A look into how to use the Amazon Cover Creator.

How to use Amazon Cover Creator

A quick video on the guidelines Amazon requires for its covers, should you make your own cover.

Cover Creation Guidelines
+ Section Three: Pricing
6 lectures 12:55

A brief look into the KDP Select program with an in-depth look below.

Introduction to KDP Select

Do you have the rights to sell your story in every country? If you wrote it, you have them!

Royalty Rights in Different Countries

Let's take a look at what we talked about in the video.

35%: You make 35% of the list price on any price between $.99 and $200. You are not charged 'Delivery.'

70%: You make 70% of the list price on any price between $2.99 and $9.99. You pay $.15/MB as a 'Delivery' cost.

In the Resources section, I added a link to their own breakdown of the costs associated with pricing.

Pricing and Royalties

We look into the Kindle Matchbook Program.

Matchbook Program

Looking into the Lending Program and hitting Publish.


Lending Program and Hitting Publish

An in-depth look into the KDP Select program and the pros and cons that go along with it.

In the Resources section, I added in Amazon's in-depth look at their KDP Select Program.

Preview 07:14
+ Ads and Marketing
2 lectures 20:00

In this video we cover the basics of creating an ad, and how to build a keyword list. There are tools out there that I can't link to, unfortunately, because they are paid tools. But if you have money and no time, there are tools that can help the keyword list building.

Like I said in the video, your login is your Amazon and KDP login.

Preview 12:34

In this video we look at the ad graph which will display once your ad achieves impressions and clicks. I walk you through how to navigate the statistics, and understand the information presented. It's pretty self-explanatory, but a little guidance never hurt!

Taking a Look at the Ad Graph
+ Alternative Publishing
2 lectures 05:30

Draft2Digital is a great program to help you format your story, and act as a sales platform. Like I said in the video, it does cost 15% of your income, so keep this in mind before using it!


Competitions and writing magazines can be a great place to also enter your writing!

+ Your Presence
2 lectures 07:44

Building a social media presence is important, but not as important as a website. Need some help to get started? Check out Wix, Weebly, and Wordpress for free websites with website builders.

Social Media Presence

In this video, we talk about how to build an offline presence.

If you're looking to buy something to hand out, like bookmarks or business cards, try www.vistaprint.com.

If you're looking into going to conventions, here's a little list of things you'll need to get you started.

  1. Table

  2. Tablecloth

  3. Book Stand

  4. Chair

  5. Your Books

  6. A great attitude!

If you're looking for some websites with a list of conventions, try starting here (Also available in the resources):

  • https://fancons.com/events/

  • https://aalbc.com/events/list.php

Unfortunately, the best way to find out about book conventions is by going to book conventions.

Offline Presence