There is opportunity to advertise in a way that was absent twenty years ago. The internet existed. It was formed and active, but its potential for authors not fully realized. My first novel was published in 2014. That former, critiqued, re-worked, word document, transferred to pdf, and then, at last in book form and in the digital world. Blown away, is an over used expression, but the Amazon site with cover photos, preview chapters, author biography did give that feeling of achievement. Outside of an author’s local pond it is difficult to get noticed, without the backing of a main stream publisher. This is obvious, on reflection, but with over much information you might never get published!
Olympic gold is to be offered a publishing contract. That is the belief, but an author needs sales to get recognition. Understandably without known sales the publisher has no idea whether a novel will be successful. Contract offers improve once you become recognized as an author. Every self-published novel has been submitted for a publishing contract and yes each offered contract has improved. Validation that editors like your novel can be rewarding on its own when you are an unknown author. With poetry you are considered an unknown poet until published in the right poetry affirming magazine. Is that how “anonymous,” became the signature for many poems?
Self-publishing is a gateway to authorship, but reviews should be sought. These for the author’s affirmation. Yes, the reviews mightn’t all be positive, but the reviewers will understand the potential readership. This can be difficult for the author so immersed in the final manuscript and production.
The ISBN listing gives access to your novels and publications. Not all book sellers are able to access through ISBN. As an author you need to emphasise -available at good booksellers. It is seen as troublesome by book shops to source through ISBN. There is no substitute for actually getting copies on the shelf. Main stream publishers will commandeer front of store and front end displays.
Self published e-books can be successful online. Apparently these out perform sales from main stream who advertise digitally- by 60% to 40%. Authors seek print sales. Publishers also, in that the margins are likely to be better.
Authors are in a learning curve and mistakes will be made, but self-publishing is a gateway opportunity. Facebook is a publishing medium. There is the scatter gun effect of boosting to thousands of Facebook uses. These are said to be to a targeted audience and this might work for popular genre novels, but in general Facebook users are on Facebook to self promote in one way or another. They are not necessarily likely to read novels. More specific promotion to organizations and actual readers keen on the author genre are likely to yield better results. Certainly magazine and journal reviews with captioned photos of the novel cover are more likely to capture sales and readership.