I'll start the ball rolling on this.
As an independent author your chances of making a living from your writing are damn small, unless you have enough money or connections to get in the door at some regular publishing house (major or minor).
There are a lot of Vanity Publishing Houses out there and you need to avoid them. They're easy to recognize because they ask for money for everything. An independent publisher won't ask you for money to publish your story. Some won't offer up-front money payments to you and some will.
Some of the independent publishers have some rules in the terms of service that require you to give up some of your rights as an author and give them rights to do as they wish. Always be very wary of such terms with the words irrevocable or mutual agreement in them. Make sure you've examined all the possible ramifications of what the wording says. Some sites have terms that allow them to keep selling you story after you've told them to stop, but because you told them to stop they get to keep all the money from such sales. So check all the terms before you use them.
Another thing to look at is the amount of the sale price you get to keep for yourself. If it's a print copy then it's fair to have the cost of the printing deducted from the sale price before you get your cut. But some sites also deduct a set cost of download rate, even in places where the site doesn't pay a cent for the story being downloaded. Some sites charge up to 75% of the sale price as their cut, thus you get only $0.25 cents in the dollar for what's sold. Many sites selling e-books want to keep 70% and give the author only $0.30 in the dollar, and some then take the taxes for the full sale price out of that 30%, while some take it out before calculating what they pay you. Some other sites are better payers.
Generally, as an independent author you have to do many things for yourself or arrange to have them done. Things like organizing to be in the correct format and set-up for the sale type, editing, proof reading, cover art, story summary - all the box and dice except the actual retail sale and the advertising on that specific site.
With the exception of a few stories I've got prior legal restrictions on, all the stories I've written or co-written are available on Stories on Line with those suitable for the site also copied over to Fine Stories, and all are also available on the self publishing web site Lulu -http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/ernestbywater with some at dpdotcom -https://www.dpdotcom.com/ebooks/ as either PDF files, e-pub files, or print books; options vary between sites and so do some of the content format.
I like Lulu because they take less money as their cut than any others I've seen, as well as offer print and e-book formats. They don't have the media hype that some other sites have, but are growing. Dpdotcom is the first people I published with and there are a few stories there I'm not able to put up at SOL yet, but can put up at Lulu at the same rate of payment (can't under sell them). Where I have final say I keep the prices reasonable, even taking less royalty on some print versions to keep the prices reasonably uniform and affordable.
I just wish to add, anything I can legally publish on SOL and FS are published there and I give them priority to all my stories because I appreciate the service provided to me by the sites. My sales via Lulu et al aren't much, but are enough to make the effort to use them worthwhile.
Now I've said my piece and opened the door, I'm sure others will add their thoughts.
Ernest Bywater, aka Ernest Edwards