As an author there are different ways to market your books for free. Living in the wop-wops as I do, book signings are difficult, word of mouth works to a certain extent but won't have truckloads of your book rolling out the door. A virtual book tour is another great marketing tool and is more about generating a web presence rather than selling books.
There are so many books out there, you have to do what it takes to get yours noticed. Giveaways on Goodreads are an option and usually gets you a few reviews as well. Reviews are also a great way to get your book known. Have a friend with a blog interview you on their blog. Tweeting on Twitter and posting on Facebook helps make people aware of your book, but doesn't necessary make them leap up to buy it. Posting on blogs, writing articles online, and answering questions on sites like Quora.com all help put you and your book out there.
However, it's still not enough.
Joining groups on Linkedin, Kindleboards all help to build your author platform but by themselves do not generate major sales.
Bookmarks, business cards, posters in bookstores and setting up a table in your local shopping mall are all well and good if you live in a place geared for that kind of marketing. Some of us don't.
You can also make book trailers and post them on Youtube.
Freado.com is an awesome book marketing site that incorporated Bookbuzzr where people can play games where they have to memorise your book cover. They also have lots of other useful tools and widgets. I'm particularly fond of the book excerpt widget where the pages turn like a real book. They give you the code to embed on your webpage or blog.
Amazon have a nifty tool called an astore. You can join Amazon.com as an affiliate and set up an astore which contains your books. The instructions on how to do it are very simple to follow on the Amazon Affiliate's site. You then get code that you can embed on your blog or webpage and sales of your books on the astore will net you an affiliate fee and your normal royalty.
From all these marketing tips you can gather that it's best not to put all your eggs in one basket and use only one strategy like tweeting on Twitter. You have to spread yourself thin and do as many as possible to reach heaps of people.
Writing your book was the easy part. Marketing is where the real work comes in, and boy is it time-consuming! You'll find that with all the marketing you have to do you won't have much time left to work on your next masterpiece. If you are running a household and holding down a full-time job it gets even trickier. Time management is the key here. At the start of your week set yourself a small marketing task for each day. Don't try and do all the marketing strategies every day, you'll reach burn-out before you get a chance to sing God save the Queen. Small manageable chunks that are realistic. Don't bite off more than you can chew otherwise you'll get stressed, frustrated and be inclined to give up. You don't want to dry up those creative juices of yours, so factor in some quality writing time each week.
If you have any good marketing tips to share, please add them in the comments.
Have a good one!