One of the most important steps to selling stories or novels is name recognition.
I'm of the opinion that the best way to get name recognition is to sell short stories. Short story anthologies and magazines are one of the few places where first time authors can send unsolicited submissions and expect to get a fair reading. Once you start appearing in A-list magazines, people will start to recognize your name and look for what else you have to offer.
Be forewarned, though--this is hard work. There's a lot of competition, and people usually get a lot of rejections before their first sale. And previous success is no guarantee of future success. Each story has to stand on its own. I've only sold a handful of stories so far, and I consider myself as making reasonably good progress at building a writing career.
I haven't tried to self-publish any novels on Amazon--I want to try traditional publishing first. I have put a couple of short stories on the Kindle (see my author page
). These are stories which were published in magazines first, and were only put up on Amazon when the rights reverted to me because they were not freely available from the publisher. As you can tell from the lack of reviews (you can feel free to correct that), my small progress at publishing stories has yet to net me a lot of name recognition.
Still, I am making progress. I have a significant story coming out at Black Gate
very soon (EDIT: Now out.
), and I have something else in the works. I'm also continuing to submit stories to the magazines. Most importantly, the more I write, the better I become at it, and the more publishable my stories are.