As every author knows, it's not enough to write a fantastic novel with great characters. The truth is you could have written the next great novel, but if the readers don't know it's out there, then it doesn't matter what you wrote. That's a fact and probably one that authors think about as much as they think about their next book.
Marketing your newest release takes a great deal of effort especially if you are an indie author and this is your first book. It's not enough to upload the book to Amazon and Barnes & Noble because your book will be listed along with the other hundreds of thousands other books they sell. That's where tags come into play. Tags you ask? Yes, tags are the labels you assign your book during the uploading process, i.e. thriller, science fiction, fantasy, assassin. You want to list the tags that best describe your book so when readers are searching for a book in a particular genre, your book will be listed.
Next comes reviews for your books. You want to get your book into the hands of as many reviewers as you can that handle your particular genre. You're probably thinking, where do I start to even find these mythical creatures called reviewers? There is a thread on Kindleboards.com of people who offer reviews. Click here: Reviewer thread This is just a partial list. There are many bloggers who have review sites as well. Once reviews start showing up for your book, it helps readers figure out if your book is something they want to spend money on and read.
While you're trying to get your book reviewed, you may want to join a few forums so readers and other authors can get to know you better. Kindleboards.com, Nook forums, Amazon forums, Bestsellerbound forums are a few. As you can see, there are lots of places to check out and read, but be careful with your time. These places are full of fun and engaging people and threads and you can easily find yourself wondering how you just spent the past 3 hours on a particular board.
While you're trying to get book reviews and getting known on the boards, you'll also want to take advantage of the blogging sites that offer author interviews. These are another great way to get exposure for your book. I've done a number of author interviews myself as well as host many more here on Two Ends of the Pen. Kindle Author and SyriaSays.com are two that come to mind.
Next comes the question of buying advertising for your book on different sites. You should use your best judgment when it comes to buying advertising and only buy a sponsorship on one site at a time. That way you can judge whether or not a particular sponsorship ended up bringing you in any sales. There are a number of sites that offer sponsorships/advertising including Kindle Nation Daily, Kindle Author, Red Adept, Frugal eReader and here. Each site has its own pricing structure as well as what the sponsorship actually includes.
Also, don't under-estimate the power of social media. If you're not already on Facebook, sign up and set up an author page or a book page. Create an account at twitter and start connecting with others. You might want to start a blog of your own or create a website.
While you're trying to do all of the above, do you have anything left over to write your next book? That's the question I wonder about. My own experience has been that my writing suffers when I'm doing too much marketing, but it's a catch-22. If you don't market your book(s) enough people won't know who you are and if you spend too much time marketing, you won't get as much writing done.
So, how do you balance marketing and writing?