Or "What I've Learned After 10 Years Of Working In and Around Promotions".
Please don't take this as "Law". It's bits and pieces I've picked up over the years, and I'm always learning new things. That's half the fun! Anyway, I hope this helps you.
1. Get a website! You can't imagine how crucial this is. I've lost count of the number of authors I've come across who don't have a website. You have an average of 9 seconds to catch a person's attention and if they have to go scoring the internet for the information then you've lost them. Keeping it all in one place is easy. You can set up a website using simple services like Blogger and Wordpress. Buying domain names is simple and cheap. Mine cost £3 per year and come from Fasthosts. Nearly all domain companies will allow you to direct it to another address allowing you to hide the original address of the site.
2. Get a Facebook page.
3. Get a Twitter account.
4. Link your Twitter, Facebook and websites together so that they all update one another. This is easy to within Facebook and Twitter. I linked mine using Twitterfeed. Alternatively, you can use something like Tweetdeck to update your personal and professional Facebook and Twitter feeds at the same time. Tweetdeck also allows you to schedule posts for both Facebook and Twitter, which is great if you're going to be away.
5. Get a Rebelmouse account. Rebelmouse pulls the most popular posts from your website, Facebook and Twitter to give you your own, newspaper-like feed. It's still in beta testing but looks like it's going to be a great one stop shop for people who are looking for updates from you.
6. Make stuff. Seriously, make stuff! This is good if you don't have a physical product to sell (i.e. yours is an ebook only product). Take advantage of printers offers and have postcards, bookmarks and whatever else you fancy making up. I use Vistaprint and Print24. Get friends to create artwork for you. Make sure to send them a bit of money, or promise them a link on the back of any material you make with it. Alternatively, go and look on Flickr for Creative Commons licensed photos. Just remember to send the photographer a message asking to use their photo. If they don't reply, move on to the next photo you like. Please, please, please don't just steal it. Photographers are artists too!
7. Get involved in giveaways, especially if you have ebooks (no postage = GREAT!). Bookblogs have several groups dedicated to people offering books up for review. You'll also be able to find websites there as well.
8. If you have a physical product, give one away on Goodreads.
9. Get yourself a Goodreads account and get involved! Get reviewing books and chatting on groups.
10. Offer up your book for review. Take a look on Bookblogs for people who are offering to review books. Take a look at the lists of reviewers on Twitter and Goodreads and offer the book to anyone who reads your genre. Don't just send it to everyone and anyone. Pick carefully and stick to those who like your genre, or like a similar genre. Read their review policy carefully.
11. Social media's great. But don't sign up to a bunch of groups and pages just to plug your book. There are a number of groups and pages which are just for that, but don't sign up to people's personal pages just to leave your link there. The E-Reader House and The Independent Paperback Gift Shop are a couple of great guys who help indie authors.
12. If you want to promote your book on social media and not be seen as a spammer, get chatting to people. It's the best thing you can do, and you never know, you might make a few new friends along the way. It's one of the best things I've done and I've made some wonderful new friends through it. I know they're reading this, so hi, guys!
13. If you can, go to events, even if it's just one a year. If you can, rent a trade table. It's a great way to meet the people who'll read your books and to give away goodies. I did my first one last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I just regret I can't currently do all the ones I'm invited to. One day hopefully!
14. Blog about everything you find interesting. Offer free fiction on your website or blog. It doesn't have to be a lot. It could be scenes from your book. Or it could be complete stand alone short stories. It gives people an idea of your writing style and whether they'll enjoy it or not. Write about the funny, the silly, and the serious. You can find pretty much everything like that right here!
15. Enter your work in to competitions. You might not win anything. Or you might just sweep the top prize! I didn't think I'd get anything yet managed to win two Rainbow Awards. Never sell yourself too short!
16. Contact the local media. Bigger news sites often feed stories from local news media, especially if the story is interesting.
17. HAVE FUN!!! Promoting a book doesn't have to be a drag. You can have a whole bunch of fun and meet some awesome people along the way!
If you have any other suggestions, feel free to use the comments box and we'll put together a post of fresh, new ideas. Thank you for reading and keep smiling!