Some humble self-publishing tips from my experience so far: Note. I wrote this initially in reply to a wonderful post on Hugh Howey’s website here.Step one: Write the very best book, novella or short story you can. Make it clean, make it professional, whatever it takes.
You have written the very best book you can, right? If not, return to step one. Your books won't announce themselves. Amazon does not shelve your ebook on a display for passers by to see once you have uploaded it for the Kindle. The world will not know your book exists until YOU begin shouting it out from the mountaintops.
The Voice: If you want to have your work read, you need to find where the readers for your genre are and tell them about your book, individually if you have to. Each and every reader you find is a wonderful thing. Not for the two dollar and something cents in royalties, but for their voice. You want them to enjoy the experience of reading your book, and this assumes you have done your very best to write an enjoyable, clean, and professional (appearing) book. Remember step one?
To gain their voice you must tickle that nerve. Once you have, and it may not happen, as Hugh Howey says, until the 10th book or more. On the eve of releasing my third book I can see this now, and I am not saying that I am there--though for a few precious first readers I am. I made something they enjoyed. Their gift to me is their voice.
They may take the time to write a favorable review, or simply give it a Like. They may post about your book on their blog or facebook page, or to their reading group. They may tell some personal friends about your book, some may even put a copy in their friends hands for you--or lead them to a point of sale for your work. That is what gets you read. This is the start of your network.
Treat these readers well, be accessible to them. Ask them if they would like to beta or alpha read for your next book, but make sure you tell them to pull no punches.
The actual shouting: Spend a few minutes of your day looking for more of these readers. Don't spam for them in any forum. Make one announcement for your book on any given forum that allows you to do so, follow their guidelines to the letter. If it is allowed, be sure to make working links in your announcement that take readers directly to a point of purchase for your book. Once you have made your announcement, introduce yourself--most all of these forums have a place to do this as well. Mention a few of your favorite books (not your own) and authors you enjoy (Hello HUGH!). Do not, under any circumstances, start plugging your work. You are there to engage with these people. Some will be readers, some will be other authors doing what you are doing.
Improving: You are going to learn something when you get engaged with these groups. You are going to learn their likes and dislikes--write what you want, and write to improve. Keep those likes and dislikes in your mind and you will improve, increasing the likelyhood that your next book may reach a few more readers and return a few more voices.