Super short-ish post ahead! Why so short if this is one of the most important stages you ask? The answer is simple. I've only just arrived here myself after months of shopping around, testing the waters and procrastinating at all of the previous steps (newbie author insecurity can be such a handicap!).
Well, at least you're finally here. You're ready for oodles of information on promoting and getting discovered... but you aren't sure where to go first. In spite of all the great info to be had at these awesome resources (Novel Publicity, World Literary Cafe and the Indie Book Collective), I'm going basic. I'm just going to suggest that you start at the place you buy books (or are most influenced to buy books). If you're a new writer you are probably also a reader (or you should be). So where do you get the books you like to read? Where do you hear about them first? If it's on a famous best seller list (example NYT best sellers), you'll probably have to scale your sights down - at least for now.
Do you get book reading suggestions from your friends? From Goodreads or a similar book club group?
Then you should make yourself known at those places. Ask a friend to read your book, suggest it to other friends and list it at their book club. Make sure you're on Goodreads as an author and link your blog. Make lots of new friends.
Think about the bookstores you buy at - and how do you choose your books? If it's Amazon - you're in luck. Amazon is easy. You make your author page. When you buy books there - what sells them to you? Reviews? Price? Free? So make sure you get your book reviews posted there. Do you only buy cheap books? Stick your book somewhere in that price range. Free books? If you're on the Kindle Select - you can make your book free for a while.
If you don't buy from Amazon - say it's Smashwords or Barnes and Noble - or other online e-book retailers - it's still the same thing. Get reviews of your books posted there.
Do you get books from the library? Offer them a copy of yours. If you've got your own ISBN and you formatted your own .epub or .mobi file - it's far more likely your book will get accepted and then loaned out if you give it to the library for free. If you only went through something like Smashwords, B&N or Amazon - see if you can gift them a copy. There are rules to be followed for book donations and e-book lending is relatively new for libraries (not all are equipped for e-book lending but some are). Libraries aren't all the same - you'll have to check out your own local library to see how it's done. Just make sure your e-book is filled is filled with links to your other books, your website, and all your other social platform author pages.
I've added very little information here. Like I said - it's just the basics. There's a lot more out there - and again - I strongly suggest the author support groups I've listed all along in these posts. They have tonnes of tips. The only thing I'm a little reluctant to push are all the social platform promotions suggested - the tweeting, the Facebook, the blogs. Do you really pick up the books you want to read there? Other than Karma building - I have to say honestly that those are not the places I look for books. Although the blog hops/tours and e-book love fests out there are great for promotion and getting discovered - but who wants to only give away books for free?
I'd really like to know what everyone out there thinks... so feel free to leave a comment. What do you think? Where do you buy your books?
(Oops this wasn't all that short-ish a post after all - sorry!)