1. Get a blog if you don’t have one. Blogspot.com and Wordpress both have free ones that are very easy to use. Try to get your name if you can (i.e. JoeyWriterguy.blogspot.com). A Web site is essential but a blog is a lot easier to update if you are technologically challenged. Be easy to find.
2. Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace are useful—they aren’t great places to find readers but it helps keep you plugged in. YouTube videos and podcasts can expand your audience if you have the skills.
3. Look for book bloggers, magazines, Webzines, and places that will feature or review your book, or let you guest blog or do an interview. Don’t forget your local press. Write a great two-paragraph description of your book, both for use as your “product description” and to give outside observers the “hook.”
4. Participate in the customer/public forums at Amazon.com, kindleboards.com, and mobileread.com, as well as genre message boards—stay positive, don’t get caught up in personality conflicts. Don’t just dump your plug in there—be a member of the community and engage in conversation.
5. Cross-promote with your fellow writers. Pick an “official release date” for your book and have others mention or plug it on their blogs, Facebook, etc, and in their online communities. It really helps the other writer, and it helps you, too. Work together to offset the lack of a big advertising budget.
6. Be a student of the game—continue learning, be inventive, look for good opportunities, don’t make enemies. Use your new works to promote the older works. Think of yourself as a “Brand,” don’t think of your book as one product—it’s just a part of your overall brand. Build on what you have, and make sure your foundation is solid.
7. Offer freebies or other incentives to get your fan base to help promote you. Make it fun. Give away signed art, sketch cards, silly little things that are unique, even extra books by other authors in your own collection (I firmly believe you shouldn’t hold contests to give away your own books—never give away what you are trying to sell.)
8. That said, consider giving away some short stories, reprints, articles, etc. on Scribd or Smashwords or through your newsletter, ezines, or magazines that may take your short work and need content. Those freebies increase your exposure but don’t diminish your worth.
9. In the digital era, there is really no extra cost to add some advertising or extra content to a product—think about trading space in each other’s newsletters, banner ads, story collections, etc., or swapping guest blog entries with each other. Stick to people whose audience realistically will be interested in your work—romance readers probably won’t dig serial-killer horror, and high fantasy fans probably don’t want mystery novels.
10. Think long term—in the digital era, there’s no reason why your content shouldn’t be out there for an audience for the rest of your life. Slow and steady wins the race.