When I speak to authors who are struggling to gain traction for their books, I like to ask them what has worked for them, however small the scale. In my experience, most authors have done at least one thing that has led to a few sales. They have also usually tried a few tactics that were a big fat bust. (I certainly have!)
Then I tell them two things:
1) Do A LOT more of whatever you did that worked.
2) Share what you;ve learned on your blog, website, Twitter account, etc.
Many authors have no idea what to blog or tweet about, so their social media feeds are a stream of announcements that sound painfully like the following:
Tweet #1: BUY MY BOOK!
Tweet #2: MY BOOK IS ON SALE!
Tweet #3: MY BOOK IS AMAZING!
Tweet #4: BUY MY BOOK!
When I see Twitter feeds like that, I immediately tune out. However, imagine a Twitter feed that intersperses useful information and encourages user interaction in between promoting the author’s work. For example:
Tweet #1: Here’s how I sold 10 signed books in one afternoon (include link to a blog post).
Tweet #2: Hi fellow authors, I tried selling my novel at a book fair, but I felt like it was a waste of time and money–have you had better luck? Please respond!
Tweet #3: Exciting news! My novel (name) is on sale today for just (price). Click here if you’d like to check it out (include hyperlink to Amazon page).
While book promotion is important, no one likes a chest-beater. Remember that a fair amount of those who read your posts are probably in the same boat as you, i.e., fellow authors. Respect your audience by sharing more than selling, and you’ll probably get better results.