I mentioned that I stuck a couple stories up on Amazon.com and Smashwords. I did this for a couple reasons, neither of which is to make money–at least not directly. I don't expect that either will add much to the family coffers.
A fair price for a short story, at least in my mind, is $.99. That seems to be the going rate, and the royalty on such things, set by the seller, is about a third of that, plus or minus. (I didn't bother to send these to Dan, and that's just because I know it's more hassle for him than it's worth. He gives me a much higher royalty than anybody else, and his cut on something like this is like a dime. I mean, really, he has to track the things for a dime each?)
You have to sell a whole lot of stories earning thirty-five cents a pop to make enough to do anything. Ten of them pay your parking at a meter for a couple hours; A hundred might let you take the grandkids to Mickey D's for burgers and fries; a thousand of them is what? Part of a car note? And probably about what you get if you sold it to a magazine or anthology.
Chances of me selling a thousand of either title in the next, oh, couple years?
Approaching zero. They aren't bad stories, but that's how the market goes.
And yes, there are folks who offer an entire novel on Amazon.com for $.99 and get rich. There are also folks who get struck by lightning or eaten by sharks, and chances of you doing any of these are probably in the same ball park. You could win the lottery, too.
So why do it?
Two reasons: One is for my hardcore fans who might find it interesting. Doesn't cost them much, and there you go.
Second is, like a snowball rolling down a hill, there is a certain amount of inertia added when readers have more things from which to choose. They log on, see the list, and if they like some of it, they might be willing to risk buying more of it.
When I find a writer I like, I tend to buy everything they have available, then drum my fingers waiting for them to get off their ass and write some new stuff. (And yes, if somebody is going to point that finger at me, I acknowledge it–we're a lazy bunch, us writers.)
Just so you know ...