You’ve just outlined one of the absolute hardest aspects of self-publishing. The Sparkler staff has over 25 years of collective experience in the publishing field and we’re still working day and night to answer that question effectively for this magazine. :)
But here are some places to start:
1.) Join a community of other self-publishers. Offer to read their stuff if they’ll read yours, review their stuff if they’ll review yours, etc.
2.) Try and get some good visuals. Invest in a piece of art(s) or cool graphic(s) that catch the eye. And then, using that…
3.) Buy ads. Join Project Wonderful, for example, and browse around for sites that may have similar audiences, and then put a good, striking ad for yourself on them.
Word-of-mouth and reviews are fantastic, but they’re hard to predict or plan around. But if you buy ads, YOU can decide when and how people see you. It’s a good way to get yourself out there a bit if nothing else is working. Ads were shockingly effective in our Tokyo Demons days…and then it helped get the word-of-mouth ball rolling.