Yes it is a changing world especially for writers and authors. As you probably know already the big Traditional houses are merging with smaller imprints and it's getting harder to find a regular traditional publisher. You can't even approach one of them without an agent. If you are published by one you can consider yourself extremely lucky. Remember there are a lot of publishers out there. some good some bad. If you are paying to be published you are self-published.
What is a self-published author to do to get his or her book out there and noticed?
First and foremost it must be the best it can possible be. After my first book was out for two years a customer showed me where I had spelled the same word two different ways. In the same paragraph. Ouch, that hurt. Here I was selling it and it's the first time anyone had showed me my error. Just this past weekend a friend was looking over another book and I'd slipped up and my dyslexic fingers had made a grammar error.
The moral is to never edit your own work. I re-published the first book with a different illustrator and fixed my spelling error. The other book I've fixed and have to upload again.
Authors are not perfect but our book have to be.
The changing world of publishing has made it possible for authors to self-publish, by passing the traditional houses. Technology has made this possible. without this new technology most of the self-published authors would be waiting for years to see their book in print.
I work with some very talented authors who will largely go unnoticed because they choose to go self-published.
You have to do your own marketing. There is no way around it.
Recently on a trip by plane up to Massachusetts i was sitting next to a woman who was listening to an audio book. I talked a bit to her and told her that I was working with someone to produce my first audio book and gave her a rack card for my recent book