And I thought writing was hard.
Wrong! Maybe because it's the part I enjoy most, but writing seems a dream compared to self promotion. Like most things it's a learning process. I don't claim to know much, and right now I don't have the sales to back up what I'm about to say, but if you are struggling to promote your own work, here is my advice.
I can't imagine there is a writer out there that isn't a member of some sort of social media, but if you're not stop right now and go sign up for one. MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, United Basket Weavers Association . . . something. Go on. I'll wait.
I'm on Facebook, Goodreads, and Kindleboards. Now, I can't say that these places will greatly increase your sales, but they can't hurt. On Facebook I've created an Author's Page that is dedicated to just my writing. That way I can keep my personal life and writing life a little more separate. I also joined a couple of FB writing groups (Indie Authors International & Indie Writers Unite!). They have been a great support to me during my short time as an indie author.
Goodreads is another great place, both for readers and writers, to discuss books, movies, or just life. There is every kind of group to join. You can create an author's page, start a discussion group centered around your book, make quizzes, there seems to be no end.
Also, in the right sidebar I added a section titled "Promote Your Work" that has a short list of blogs that do free reviews, interviews, or allow you to advertise your book. There are two links to free press releases as well. With one press release I got around 200 views on the first day. Did that translate into sales? Not yet, but we'll see.
Joe Konrath has said it time and time again. E-books are forever. That's a long time to make sales. Self promotion can be kind of a crap shoot. It's hard to tell, especially in the beginning, whether you have made a difference or not. But if you do nothing at all, you have no right to complain about your terrible sales record.
Self promotion can make you feel like a wave lost in the ocean (believe me, I know). But you never know when you'll break the surface, and with a little help you just might become a tidal wave.