Much of last year was an experiment in self-publishing, learning the software available, formatting for eBook and print layouts, and navigating the various markets and tools to make the books available for sale. I won't claim to be an expert on all the options. I can describe my experience. At some length.
For the Garbageland eBook, I distributed it through what I thought were the big four marketplaces: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Google Play (generally for Android devices but like B&N the eBook can be read in any eReader). The first two had easy to use websites, interfaces, and reports which I will continue to use (though we'll see about B&N if it survives).
As for iTunes, the reporting interface was fine, but the uploading of books requires one to use an Apple device with an Intel processor. I understand Apple's philosophy of quality control, but an eBook at its most basic is HTML and XML, nothing very threatening. I had to borrow a friend's laptop to get Garbageland uploaded and since sales in iTunes were also in the single digits, decided against the time/effort to upload future releases there.
For print publication I chose Lightning Source, a division of Ingram. Other options would not make the print version easily available to not only Amazon and B&N but to any independent bookstore as well as to libraries (on which I have not yet focused enough time.)
To get the word out about releases I used three methods.
I have a much underused list of family and friends and put out a blast as a good number of them would not have heard about my books through the two other methods below.
I used the blog on my website as well as updating my publishing site Mad Endeavor Books to make announcements.
Both of these probably deserve longer descriptions but I will summarize.
For Facebook I created a 'page' (think they are still called that) for Mad Endeavor Books. The supposed advantage is that once a large number of people like the page, this will somehow translate into a cascading series of links and shares and exposure to friends of people. Haven't really seen that happen yet.
On my personal Facebook feed, announcements there serve to connect with people who are online much more (unlike some of those on the e-mail list) and keep them up to date on what books, stories, etc. are available.
Now, there are a number of social library-type sites. I focused on Goodreads because the volume of readers seemed vibrant and the author tools relatively more sophisticated. What I like most about Goodreads is the contact with potential readers.
I can market my works directly to individuals on Goodreads who have expressed an interest in them or have said they read previous works. In contrast, any paperback or eBook sales are anonymous. I have no idea (well, besides family and friends), who has bought or read for free my works.
I have a lot more to say about Goodreads, but I will save that for next week.