For the Indie author, it's a daunting task to self publish. Most of us know this going in. Big name publishing houses have many people to do the job that we try to do on our own. Self publishing is so much more than just the tedious formatting for various platforms.
Even before the book is finished is the time you should start thinking about marketing. I usually start on the cover first. In an effort to keep costs to a minimum, I try to find photos or pictures that are free to use, with or without giving credit to anyone. I like to try and make a composite of several pictures/photos so it reflects a hint of what's inside. It takes time to get it positioned correctly and look good. Then of course, you add the text, the title and your name. The rule of thumb with all of this is that it should be able to be viewed as a thumbnail. Care in choosing the fonts to use is important as well. You need it to grab interest long before the book is available. I happen to have a program that makes my job a little easier for putting this all together. (PhotoShop 7)
Writing a good blurb is almost as important as the book itself. Take time to do it well. You want to be able to spark interest without giving too much away. There is a difference between a synopsis and a blurb. It seems that there for a while everyone was using questions in their blurbs. I was never a fan of this. I think telling enough of the story to have the reader ask their own questions is better. If it's a mystery, be mysterious, if it's a romance, inspire love, it just that simple. Don't give details, but say enough to hold interest, one or two lines usually doesn't cut it.
More people are becoming techy and I am seeing a lot of videos cropping up. Like a movie trailer, it helps the reader visualize what the writer is trying to accomplish. Finding the right content is the laborious part. For the writer with no budget, free photos are the best to use. You can use part or all of your blurb to describe what the viewer is seeing. The last component is the music. You have to be very careful about copy right infringement. With this trend in video making, there have been several artists who have allowed authors to use their music for free as long as they get credit in the video. This is a win-win situation because they are getting exposure as well. A great simple program that is free to make your own video is Microsoft Movie Maker, I have tried several and this one has a lot of options to use.
With these tools you are ready to do interviews, posts, articles, etc. Its time consuming, yes, but hopefully by the time your book is ready to upload to the site of your choice, you will have readers waiting for it.
Indie authors are a brave bunch in the seas of thousands of books to be read. I admire the ones who take the time to put out a great product that stands up to any of the ones coming from the publishing houses.