If you’re a self-published author, you have to promote your work. If you can’t pay someone else do do it, you have to do it yourself.
There are some things that are great, some things that are a waste of time, and some you just shouldn’t do. Here are some of each from my experience. A lot of it is about etiquette, because there are a lot of rude writers out there. Unfortunately, the people making the rude mistakes probably aren’t reading posts like this.
Don’t consider other writers as your opponents. Readers aren’t going to choose just one book. They’ll read what they see. If they see your book on seven other sites because you’ve promoted those seven other writers’ books, they’re seven times more likely to buy your book. We’re all in this together.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you want people to review your book, review theirs. If you want people to tweet about your book release, tweet theirs. Until you are a bestselling author, people probably won’t promote you if they get no value out of it.
Don’t keep all your promotions to yourself. Trading promos is an awesome way to spread your influence. Also, people like you better if you aren’t all about yourself.
Do provide people with other value besides what you’re selling. Free, interesting content is like a sample of what they’ll get if they buy your work. The more variety you provide, the more variety you’ll get in your attention.
Don’t tweet or post on facebook like a maniac every 30 seconds to advertise your work. Nobody likes that and you’ll lose all your followers, plus you’ll gain a ton of maniacs like yourself who only want to broadcast like a crazy person. If what you are saying is valuable, people will notice.
Do rotate your promotions between your groups. Poll your facebook friends, run a contest on your blog, tweet your reviews on Twitter, but Don’t broadcast everything to everyone every time.
Don’t promote as if people already want what you have and were just waiting to hear about it. They don’t care and they aren’t impressed. Hubris is ugly. You’ll set people up against you instead of drawing them in.
Do focus on the people who are interested. Give them a little extra, like a beta-reader position or a review copy. They aren’t interested because you are hot stuff and you deserve followers. They like what you do and should be appreciated.
Don’t give your beta-readers your manuscript chapter-by-chapter as you write it. They will get sick of your book right away. You may want to read through your work again and again, but most other people won’t. Keep your work like a secret before you finish and people will want to know more about it.
Do promote in ways you enjoy and understand. You’ll be more natural and likable if you enjoy what you’re doing. If you hate it all, maybe you should save up and hire someone else to do that part.
Excellent advice! I’ve seen some authors who do nothing but push push push their own work but never seem to reciprocate in any way. Okay, that’s how a lot of people are in all aspects of life. But it’s amazing what simple respect and sharing can do.