Like most writers, I hate marketing my work. Even with publisher-backed works, it still falls to the author to do much of the marketing. There is a high degree of snobbery in the publishing world today. After all, it took Rowling years before she was able to realize her phenominal success. But it is even more difficult for indie authors. The assumption is that because a work is self-published, it is somehow not worthy. Sadly, it is up to authors like us to change that mentality through the quality of our work.
I am convinced that the key to getting recognized as an independent author lies in our ability to create a personal brand for ourselves, and the best way to do that is through some of the creative and innovative, low cost strategies used in guerrilla marketing. This technique involves high energy and imagination and focuses on grasping the attention of the public at a more personal and memorable level. Guerrilla marketing is designed to cut through the clutter of traditional advertising so that there is no mystery about what is being advertised. The message is clear and concise. "This book is unique and different from all the others in this genre because ________."
This type of marketing works on the subconscious mind where most purchasing decisions are made. But keeping the book in the mind of the the consumer means repetition is needed. The challenge with any guerrilla marketing campaign is not only finding the correct time and place to launch the operation, but also investing the time to sustain the operation. You must promote regularly. Prospective buyers need to see or hear your message multiple times before it will drive them to purchase your book. You must create a buzz around it so that it will be shared among friends and acquaintances. This increases engagement with readers and improves the likelihood that they will share the memorable experience with others. The key is to reach the most people in your target audience as frequently and inexpensively as possible.
As a final word of caution, beware of expensive programs that promise to make you an Amazon Bestseller. These programs take a fraction of the money you pay them and use it to buy copies of your book. While this may make you a temporary best seller, it usually doesn't affect your long term sales in any significant way.
But take heart. Indie authors and Publish on Demand (POD) is changing the face of publishing in the world. Just 15 years ago, there were legions of travel agencies and agents ready to help busy people with their travel plans. Online travel planning and ticket purchases essentially sent those agencies into extinction. Literary agencies and agents are already feeling the economic heat of self-publishing, and are next on the list. Groups that ignore self-published works will eventually find themselves in the history books along with Western Union Telegrams.