You have chosen to self-publish which means that how successful you are is directly correlated to how active you are in marketing. You do not have an entire marketing team and publicist purchasing ad space in magazines/newspapers and setting up book signings. You have to make that happen. If you do nothing, your books will not sell. Thus, get creative!
Who is your audience? How can you sell to them?
If you’ve written a young adult book, get in contact with local schools and see if they would be willing to let you come do talks about your book. They probably won’t let you sell your book on school grounds, but if you generate enough interest—and provide marketing materials such as takeaways that route to a professional website—you could earn yourself new readers.
If you’ve written a nonfiction history book about a particular region, say, the American Southwest, get into contact with tourist centers in those key states. See if you can partner with them to present your findings.
If you’ve written a fiction book that takes place in the Catskill Mountains, look for venues, such as resorts, in that area and start reaching out.
Make friends and always be pleasant. You are no longer an author; you are a brand. Market yourself and your book.
Create takeaways, marketing materials that you can pass to someone. Ideally, we want someone to be enthralled with our books on the spot and to purchase a copy right there. But people are busy. They are running late to pick up their kids, or they don’t carry cash, or they hate chitchatting with strangers. Give them something they can take and review at home.
I recommend authors create glossy postcards as takeaways. Make sure to include social media and website information so readers can look you up. That’s why it’s so important to have a professional-looking website. If you send an excited reader to a website that appears immature, they will assume your book is not worth their time. Spend money on yourself and your work.
Reputable websites to create marketing materials include:
The UPS Store