Thanks to the new ePublishing paradigm, where publishing something someone somewhere might want to read, the short story has been given new life where previously it might only be found in zoo like anthology collections in or in subscriber periodicals. Getting a short story into one of those periodicals was just as difficult as landing an agent and then selling a manuscript to a publisher; and far less lucrative for the author.
When I first took opportunity to evaluate my own writing I did what every aspiring author does, purchased a copy of publishers weekly and a copy of Writers Market for Fiction to find magazines who bought and published short stories. If you can be discovered in one of these, you might be on your way to some notoriety and have some publishing credits to your name. What did the author make on that short story sold? Depended on the magazine and the author. Maybe fifty bucks? Usually you were giving the rights to publish the story away for free and an exclusivity agreement that the story will not be published by any other entity for a year or more and they also had the rights to archive that story as it appeared. You might be able to get the rights back eventually and sell that story somewhere else. You might never get the rights back. That was then, around the 2001 time frame when I was shopping for someplace to publish my short stories.
Now, enter today where a short story can easily be published on KDP or in SmashWords and find someone willing to pay to read it. It means much more than money but meets the same discoverability goals that one might have hoped for if they publish their short story in a mag. They can be stand alone titles, though I know of many who publish theirs in anthology format, and they can be a consumable means to introduce yourself to a wider audience.
At 35% royalty over the lifetime of the product (much, much better than a one time publication in a monthly even if that monthly is available online) and a reach that is really unlimited, the advent of the new eBook publication and distribution streams make dusting off old material an option where they may have never had an opportunity before.
Two Struck Images is just such a story for me, written seven years ago based on an experience I had with my brother at the 135th Chickamauga Reenactment in Georgia, it has become a method of introduction to my other work and a small showcase for me as a writer/story teller. I won’t claim special genius for it, just that it was a joy to write and now a joy to publish.
And a few other recommendations of my own:
The Red Pond At Shiloh: A short story
The Red Badge of Courage and Four Stories (Signet Classics)