Advertising - Promoting - Marketing
Recently I read a post from an author who seemed discouraged. After publishing his work he was worried because no one was buying his book. He had self-published and was expecting quick sales (as we all have done). Unlike traditionally published authors, self-published authors have a lot more work ahead of them after writing their manuscripts. We might have software to help us through out such decisions as formatting, editing, and book covers. But, we don't have individualized teams helping us through this process, let alone the rest of the work to be done after publishing your work.
After you have finished tormenting yourself with edits and formatting, self-published authors have to decide on a book cover. Either you can go with the robot fabricated covers through your provider (I published through Amazon, so Createspace has a coves to pick through). You can also upload a cover, which you have to figure out the dimensions and so forth. If you are lucky and you have money to put out on a book cover, you have to do your research and communicate with the artist. Once the cover is out of the way, you get the rush and excitement of sending your work out into the world. It's alive!
During all this time, I have noticed other authors really engaging their readers and supporters by posting and sharing with them through this journey. Then, once your book is live, now the time consumption begins. If you haven't already, get involved in your genre's groups out there in the internet land (Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, etc.). Be careful though, don't over do it all in one sitting. Groups and moderators take offense when you are straight-up pimping your work. This process takes time and cultivation, during this process you also can gain insight into other tips and tricks from other authors, writers, and bloggers. Again, if you have money booking tours, blasts and blitz's are a crucial step towards increase sales within the self-publishing realm.
Beware when promoting your work! Especially on your personal social media links. If you are making 20 promotion postings about your book, chances are people are going to start ignoring you. This is dangerous because when you do have something really exciting to share (don't get me wrong, your book is definitely exciting) people will dismiss it or glance right by your posts. I fell into this trap in the beginning, when I first started out. I was trying to post to various forums and groups in mass messages. I learned the hard way, read the rules and suggestions of the groups and forums before posting. Sometimes they have a specific schedule for self-promotions. There are plenty of self-promoting sites though, so don't worry.
Another great way to get some street cred are with street teams, interviews, and reviews. Street teams are individuals that specifically help you to promote your work. I'm still working on my team, currently I have nearly 10 regular Twitter followers who retweet my tweets for me. Interviews are great, my first interview I was contacted for the interview and was both nervous and excited. Reviews are a must, especially for us Amazon self-published authors. I don't think there is anything wrong with asking everyone you know to leave a review. Most blog tours state that reviewers (those reviewing your book) should leave reviews in various different places (that helps). Share, post, pin and tweet the link and ask for reviews. There are a lot of blogs out there that will review for free, sometimes you just have to make the effort to contact them to inquire their availability.
After you publish your work, Createspace gives you various marketing advice. Some is free and most you have to pay for. They have great links with valuable information about advertising, promoting, and marketing. I know a lot of authors do amazing things like swag bags and giveaways to help promote their books. You can go to Cafepress, Vistaprint, and Etsy to start navigating your way through the swag universe. Who doesn't love to win things?! These are great marketing tools. You can create great gear to share and give away that is both advertising your product, promoting your brand, and marketing through extended networking. Most importantly put yourself out there, connect with your target audience and have fun!