Advertise, advertise, advertise. Be prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars on advertising.
Or else become famous or notorious.
Book selling is a highly competitive business venture. Almost everybody has written a book. People getting into their cars all over the world are tripping over boxes of unsold self-published books in their garages.
In Australia, publishers will now only look at manuscripts from literary agents. Most agents have their hands full and many are not reading any new mss. The rare ones who look at new ones request something like the first 20 pages only and warn that it may take several months to get around to reading them.
The companies who cater for self-publishers bring out every trick in the book to get your money without much result.
Sorry to paint a grim picture, BJ but one has to face facts if one wishes to have a book published.
A notorious axe murderer has every chance in the world of having a book published because the public knows their name. Publishers know that if a person is already well-known, any book written by or about them will automatically sell well. It’s good business.
At face value, Bryce Courtenay appears to have been one of those rare people who successfully marketed his own books. My recall is that he was knocked back by a number of publishers for The Power of One, before he undertook the task himself. One of the rumours I heard was that on one occasion he had six or seven paid assistants all board the same peak-hour tram of train carriage and stand up reading his book. Of course, everyone around these people could see the cover of the book and subconsciously would note its popularity.
In fact, according to Wikipedia, he had been a very successful media advertiser before he went into writing – so he had an idea of how to go about it. This is another anecdote from Wikipedia – “Courtenay was one of Australia's most commercially successful authors. He built up this success over the long term by promoting himself and developing a relationship with readers as much as marketing his books; for instance, he gave away up to 2,500 books free each year to readers he met in the street. However, only The Power of One has been published in the United States. Courtenay claimed that this was because "American publishers for the most part have difficulties about Australia, they are interested in books in their own country first and foremost. However, we receive many e-mails and letters from Americans who have read my books and I am hoping in the future that publishers will recognize that there is a market for all my books in the U.S.”
Best of luck BadgerJelly in your endeavour.