Below are the different ways of promoting books and I give them a rating of 1 to 10, 10 being the best way and 1 the worst.
- Viral marketing 10
- Free books 3-5
- Book reviewers 2-4
- Virtual book tours 2-4
- Social networks 2-4 (depending on how many friends you have)
- Forums 2-3 (depending on how interesting you are)
- Interviews on the radio, the internet or printed media 2-4
- Press release 1 (if you are an unknown writer, a press release is pointless)
- Paid advertisement on radio, internet or printed media 1 (not recommended)
Whatever you do on the internet, is better than nothing. I have had periods when I was busy writing and was doing nothing on promotion and consequently I sold nothing. But when I started offering books for free, publishing information on social networks ((Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin), sales suddenly began. It is true I could not live from it, but I was very glad it started happening.
As you can see above, the strongest promotional technique is viral marketing. All the other methods demand a great deal of work, but there is a great possibility that you will not be quite happy with the sales results.
In my experience, using only one of the above methods is not good enough. It is best if you use at least two or more methods at once. An example: you offer the book for free, but you promote the news extensively on Twitter and other social networks.
Also, you should never think about paid promotion in the printed media or the radio or anywhere on the internet. It has been a known fact for a long time that people buy books only on the basis of a recommendation. Have you ever bought a book because you saw an advertisement for it? Probably not. You bought it if a friend or an acquaintance recommended it. If you manage to arrange an interview, that is a different story. But that will not be so easy for a novice writer.