Some of this is good, good enough that I chose to re-post it, Dell…
1) Set up your author Facebook (or whatever social media you choose to focus on) page. Now set up an ad (or two or three) with the goal of getting people to like your page/follow you on Facebook. You’ll need to experiment with your targeting so you start to get the right audience. That A/B testing could take a couple weeks but that is OK. Then let your ad run. You can literally set your budget for this ad for $1/day (or more). Starting from zero, spending only $1/day, I’ve built followings for brands of 3,000-5,000 good Facebook followers in a year or less. That’s 3-5K real people interested in the brand for $365ish over the course of a year.
Obviously if you can spend more you’ll build more and build faster. But the consistency and the targeting is absolutely the most important thing here.
Learn about Facebook contests. There are specific rules, but you can easily add quite a lot of followers with a good contest with a couple of good prizes.
Now, as you do this, you must provide good, relevant content. You can’t just “buy me, buy me, buy me.” Share memes. Share other authors’ work. Blog. And be regular. If you can do 3 posts per day, do that. If you can do one per day do that. There is nothing wrong with occasionally promoting your books, just don’t be spammy.
Be sure to engage when people comment. Talk to them online. Respond to their requests for information or their comments. Let them know you are a living, breathing human.
Once the list builds, you can start to think about things like bigger contests, paying to boost posts, MAYBE some very specific advertising (you can actually advertise just to your followers, or your followers and their friends, which might be helpful in announcing a new book), etc.
2) Start building an email list. Mail Chimp’s forever free lets you have 2,000 subscribers and you can send 12,000 emails total for FREE. The lowest payment tier, which is, I think, $10/month, has a lot of great things – data tracking, if/then auto responses, etc.
If you start email marketing, don’t go crazy. A romance writer I know sends out a monthly newsletter that is interesting and fun – and focused on other writers (she does run “ads” of her books in the newsletter). She also sends an email blast when she publishes something new. That’s it. She’s not overwhelming anyone’s inbox.
Here’s the thing. Email marketing is a slow slow build. it takes time to build a good email list. DO NOT BUY OR RENT ONE.
Anywhere and everywhere you can, sign people up. If you attend a conference, a writer’s group, anything and anywhere. Also, online, offer things like a free short story, or a free ebook, or something to entice people.
It is going to take time. However, in the long run you will have sales. The time and effort will pay off and that list will be gold for you.
Remember, 100 people who are into the type of things you write is far more valuable than 10,000 who never read the type of stuff you write.
Some people may shoot this notion down, but I have from several self-published authors who are making a living doing this that their email list is their number one sales tool. They’ve been building the list for years, and have been painstaking about it, but their lists now consist of thousands of people who enjoy their books.
3) Don’t get mired down. You are a writer, not a marketer. Pick one or two things (and I highly recommend building the email list as one of them) to focus on. If you bite off too much, you won’t do any of it well. Pick one or two things and do them well.
4) Focus on a good book. When I say a good book, I’m speaking of well-edited, well-formatted book with a good cover, a good blurb, etc. This is in addition to a good story. If you have a good book that is easy to read and error free, the good reviews will come. Unfortunately, so will the bad if your book is all hoked up, or even if it isn’t, in some case.
Hope it helped, feel free to comment and add your own ideas, Dell…