Talking to fellow writers, I found it strange how I kept hearing similar advice. Ultimately, you write a book and wonder which path you're going down to get published. Your choices are finding a company to publish your book or self-publishing on a site like Amazon. Occasionally, for new writers, I'll notice others suggesting sites like Wattpad or Royal Road to get practice writing stories and gaining feedback through comments from readers. It seems like the common theme is hoping someone stumbles upon your work. Hope a publishing company finds your book interesting, hope someone finds your book on Amazon or has metadata for Amazon to promote your book.
Something I haven't heard and could even find after actively searching for it is people taking their work and turning it into an audiobook, chapter by chapter uploading the videos to YouTube. As of the first quarter of 2016, Amazon had 300 million active users (YouTube had 1 billion back in 2013 and now has close to 2 billion active monthly users). YouTube is also the 2nd most used search engine in the world (guess who is number 1) and has algorithms that attempt to model a user's behavior in a way that keeps them on the platform as long as possible. While on Amazon and other sites (like GoodReads) you can leave behind a review which can help lead traffic to your work, it can also hurt you considering people can leave behind negative reviews.
You may think "how does this have to do with me?" I'm an amateur writer, finished 1 book and working on a 2nd. I've started since Feb 2018 to upload my chapters, first 5x a week but now 3x a pace I can comfortably maintain. Recently, I've been seeing close to 1,000 impressions a day, where your thumbnail and title is view by a user for more than just a second, and a Click-through rate of 2%, where people click on my videos after seeing an impression, and an average view duration of 6:20 mins (average percentage viewed being 51.1%). Getting to the required amount of subscribers and watch-times isn't going to be difficult and only a matter of time, and my content is great for having more than one advertisement being presented to the viewer. Whenever time jump happens, where a character is walking and then arrives at the destination, a different POV takes place, and etc is where you can insert an advertisement.
I don't think I'm an amazing writer, my series is similar to an Isekai genre light novel, manga, and anime that has romance, fantasy, zombie, and other elements (each book is a different focused genre and based on DMs and comments I receive people like my style). But I'm sure many of you are amazing writers, probably several times better at writing than I am. With people enjoying audiobooks more, something to listen to while they're at work, driving, walking, and home and considering I've yet to find a channel similar to mine, this means that this is an untapped resource for many of you out there hoping to put your content into the world.
When you get to the point where you have a dedicated community, you can use platforms like TeeSprings where you can put your characters, logo, and etc on various clothing and TeeSprings will handle all the logistics while you get the margin you set. Or use Amazon Affiliate links to get a percentage of sales from your readers, they don't have to purchase the item that you're selling but just use your link to make general purchases within 24 hours of clicking the link. There's also sponsorships, like Audible which I'm sure many of us on this subReddit use on a daily basis, where a company will pay you money to advertise their product or service. I have a hard time believing that companies wouldn't want to work with authors who have an audience retention of over 50% (if your story is good and your viewers enjoy the content) and a dedicated community who are already primed for certain products (example: Audible).
I'm not trying to say that it's guaranteed but that's the same with the typical methods an author uses. How much does the average writer make from publishing their work? I tried to find this out and learned that it's not much, after taking out expenses. I found an article from Derek Murphy, "How much does the average author earn publishing their book?" (I don't even know if that' the proper way to cite lol) In the article/blog/whatever, he wrote, "Most don’t come close to breaking even." So… If the typical noob writer isn't going to make that much from platforms that everyone else is using then why not use a platform that has a larger active audience (2 billion) and even if not all 2 billion active monthly users (.5% of 2 billion is still 10 million which I think any noob writer would be excited about) it still means a large number of people are going to be exposed to your work, which any business minded person can turn into money that pays more than using the typical publishing paths.