I had a discussion with a novice writer the other day about the merits of publishing with a small press. My conclusiuon, don't do it. I'm talking specifically about royalty based payments and more about books than short stories. I've been ripped off more often than I've been paid. My first novel, The Two Devils, had sales, though I'll never know how many as I never once saw an earnings report. And I was never paid a dime. The reality is that an out of state publisher is out of reach if they breach a contract. The costs of trying to enforce a contract are more likely to exceed what one would collect. So, more than likely, you're writing for free. I no longer believe small press publishers can be trusted and, unless you're just happy to get published, there's no point in getting published at this level. I am convinced you are far more likely to get ripped off than get paid. Most contracts are not worth the paper they are written on.
There's a publisher in Denver that has an enormous trail of broken contracts, yet people still line up to get published there. I've offered to serve that publisher for free if anyone would sue them. So far, there have never been any takers.
Short stories are a more complicated matter. There are so many different types of projects that it's harder to make a generalization. I've mostly been paid for short fiction, though there have been rip offs there as well.
More on this to come...