Far too many would-be marketing advisers for authors focus exclusively on the tried-and-true and the hyped-up-new. See, there’s this idea that there are marketing strategies that work for everyone.
I can think of two: a website and signings.
Every author should have a website. Every author should make him or herself available for book signing events.
Everything else is relative.
The best marketing plan starts with you, the author. Who are you? Why did you write this book? What are your interests? Okay, what are your relevant interests? How do you find the books that you read, especially those that are like the book that you wrote? How can you use this information to reach out to other readers?
One of my regular commenters is a gamer and a sci-fi writer/reader. These things go together. Gaming is relevant to science fiction. But combining these interests to reach out to readers is not a tried-and-true or a hyped-up-new approach; it’s tailored to her interests, to her writing, to her. And that’s why it’s almost guaranteed to work.
I, on the other hand, am an autism advocate and a fantasy writer/reader. These things don’t really go together. Or do they? I am not the only one who is interested in both autism and fantasy. I know this, because I’ve met others who are—some who are writers and some who don’t write, but read voraciously. Widen that out to disabilities advocacy, and you get an even wider pool. And, because my views on disability/differences influence my writing, even when they don’t dominate my writing, the connection is relevant.
You don’t find these connections and possibilities by planning your marketing around what’s tried-and-true or hyped-up-new. You find them by planning your marketing around yourself and your work. Let everybody else stick to the same-old, same-new stuff. Break ground by being yourself. You might not reach as many people doing these unique things, but you’ll reach people who are more likely to invest themselves in your work. And they’ll reach out to people, and those people will reach out to people, and on and on and on it goes as more connections are made and more ground is covered.
That’s called “going viral,” by the way, which is something that is organic, meaning it can’t be forced. It has to be earned.