Five years after I jumped in the indie publishing waters, I still see new writers debating which method of promotion works the best. Especially when comes to advertising newsletters, such as Bookbub, eBookSoda, Pixels of Ink, etc., results can vary wildly. Couple that with expectations of winning the author lottery, it makes me want to *facepalm*.
How many methods work? Therein lies the problem. Here's what I've learned since 2011:
1) There is no magic bullet. No perfect form of advertising. You will drive yourself insane and broke trying to find it. Do your research and stay within your budget.
2) Don't do what everyone else is doing.What used to work doesn't work anymore because of oversaturation by all the writers before you. By the time you learn about it, the ROI on that form will be shrinking to zero.
3) Don't be afraid to experiment. What works for Superstar Indie may not work for you, and vice versa.
4) Only do the forms of promotion that you're comfortable with. If you hate tweeting, it's a waste of your time, and your discomfort generally comes across to the public.
5) The only, and I do mean ONLY (assuming you've mastered the art of storytelling), method of spurring additional sales is to publish your next work. This method freaks out new writers because it means OH MY GOD! MORE WORK!
Um, yeah, if you want to sell more books, you need to put out more books. That concept eludes most people who believe they want to be writers. Yes, sometimes a person can write that one book that sets them up for life, but that's not always the case.
Take J.K. Rowling for example. How many of you had heard of her in 1997 when the first Harry Potter came out? I didn't learn about Harry Potter until 2000 when I was asking for book recommendations from other parents. 2000 was the year the fourth book in the series came out, not the first book.
Word-of-mouth takes time. When many new indie writers don't get immediate sales with their first book, they give up instead for writing the next book. Or else, they continue promoting that one book until their readers are sick of hearing about it. If someone likes your writing, you need to give them more product to enjoy. Your readers aren't going to buy the same title over and over again.
Unless you release three or four books at the same time, don't worry about promotion. If you do release a bunch of books at once, then by all means go to town on promotion, but only do what you can afford. Good luck!
1 hour ago