1. Include your website, Facebook page, Twitter handle, etc. in the signature on all your emails.
Include your email and Twitter handle (at a minimum) at the bottom of pieces you publish in journals and magazines too. Let everyone know about your work!
2. Be social.
Many writers find in-person networking terrifying, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is not to think of it as networking. Think of it as getting out of the house. Attend readings, parties, and writers’ conferences. Go to LitQuake events. Sign up for classes. Any time you are out of your house talking to people, you are networking. (Be sure to have a stack of business cards on hand at all times!)
3. Form online communities.
If you really really hate in-person socializing of all kinds, socialize online. The key to online networking is not to friend everyone on Facebook and then blast them with pleas to buy your book. It’s to make friends online. The best way to begin this is to comment on other people’s blogs and Facebook pages and at-reply them on Twitter. If one person sees your name enough times, he or she is going to start a dialogue with you, and you’ll be friends before you know it. And be sure to check out the Insecure Writers Support Group. I don't know a writer who isn't insecure.
4. Support your friends. Buy their books.
If you really want people to buy your book, buy theirs. Don’t borrow them or get them from the library, fork out the $10-$27 and buy their books. You’ll be a friend for life.
5. Use the 6:1 rule.
When posting to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, for every post that says, “Buy My Book” or “Read my story,” post six that are non-promotional. Those posts could be links to books, stories, or articles you love, insights about your life or your writing, events you want to attend, photos of your town, viral videos, whatever you want. People want to be friends with a human, not a PR machine.
What about you, authors? What are the most effective ways you've discovered to promote your books? What has worked for you? What hasn't?