As far as short stories go, there are some pre-prescribed methods on how you should go about promoting your stories. It's generally suggested that you use magazines (or e-zines) to your advantage. Submit your story to the magazine and if they accept it and publish it you get a little bit of freelance money plus a way to introduce your work to new readers.
Once the one year (or whatever) contract with the magazine is up, you are free to publish your short story on your own as an ebook. Then you use the usual internet promotion methods to further yourself as an author.
I feel like this is good advice and not at all a bad way to go. However, I decided almost as soon as I first published that I'm not going to listen to it. Here's why:
I want to see if it's possible to just be a self-published short story writer. I kind of want to test the system. There's a lot of chit and chat about how ebooks could revitalize the short story. I want to see if this is true or not.
I feel like I'm as good a candidate as any for an experiment such as this. I really don't like writing novels. I could see myself writing more novellas but 80,000 word epistles are not my cup of tea. Plus, the topics I choose to write about don't have immediate appeal (as in, they're not about sparkly vampires). I was also unpublished before I self-published my first ebook. So in terms of name recognition, I started from scratch with no cult following already buying my stuff.
But I do have a secret weapon: I can be extremely patient if the situation calls for it. I have also already set up my own private teaching studio business. So I've literally experienced the process of "word of mouth" kicking in if you give it enough time.
Basically, I want to try this my way and see if it works. I don't want to be a novel writer that just crams short stories in here and there to help sell more novels. I don't want to speedily pack together 100 short stories in an effort to make a collection that is novel-length. And I don't want to spend most of my time submitting to magazines and writing by their guidelines.
Every story that I write is designed to be stand-alone or a complete experience. I only put together collections if there is a connecting theme. I want to see if all of this eventually appeals to a targeted niche audience.