As an author I spent years looking for free marketing techniques which would help me to sell my books. As a struggling beginning author, I had no idea at first how to even get started. Almost 2 years after the publication of my first book I can say with confidence I have found six techniques which have garnered me book sales, and will work for you too. I'll even let you in on a technique that I found garnered me no sales at all!
1. Offer a monthly newsletter that has useful content besides just information about your books. I have found that having a newsletter that offers something to both potential readers, and either aspiring or already published authors has increased my newsletter membership and sold more of my books.
2. Offer free reads. There is one thing that as both a reader and an author will make me stand up and pay attention; offer me something useful for free. People love getting something for free! My only piece of advice regarding this is just make certain that what you are offering is high quality. If you offer a story you wrote 10 years ago that does not reflect your current polished writing style, this is not going to get you book sales for your current books. Either write something new, or do polish up something you have already written, so it reflects your current style.
3. Have at least one of your free reads available through your publisher. Some publishers give writers the option of offering stories for free. Potential fans and readers do scan book catalogs for free reads, and sometimes publishers will advertise the free reads as well. If someone reads the free read you made available through your publisher, and they liked it, they are going to be much more likely to come back and purchase the books you have for sale.
4. As further incentive for someone to sign up for your free monthly newsletter, offer at least one free read (Or do like I did and offer two or three!), either a serial where you post a chapter a month (I've found this to be very helpful when it came to making sales!), or a novella. I started out checking my member list every day for new members and then sending them my freebies via e-mail, that is until I found the Files section in my yahoo group! Now I have all of my freebies in the Files section and all new members can just go there and download all my freebies to their computer. This saves time for you, and your new subscribers.
5. Write articles similar to this one on different aspects of being a writer, and the publication industry. Once you have done so, publish them in a few free high profile article directories such as E-zine Articles.com (my favorite), or Articles Factory for example. Because of the danger of duplication within the search engines I don't suggest publishing duplicate articles at more than two places at a time.
6. Get your books reviewed. I can't stress this one enough as it is one of the most important ways to get the word out about your books. There are many places online you can have your books reviewed for free. Do not pay someone to review your book! There are some very reputable organizations out there such as Coffee Time Romance (who incidentally review all different genres and even non-fiction; not just romance) and The Romance Studio to name two.
Strangely, the one technique which did not garner me many book sales that I am aware of, and which many beginning authors try is sending bookmarks with information about their books to book conferences. I've even heard some horror stories about authors who had friends that were at the conference talking about how they saw the other person's bookmarks laying on the floor, or in the trash. If you can afford to have pens, or calendars or other more original/different items that are more likely to be picked up and taken home made, then by all means do so and send these items. From what I've heard though, bookmarks aren't getting picked up anymore. If you follow the six techniques I've listed here, you will find your book sales do increase, and you will have many happy new readers as well!
Regina Paul is a full-time author. She has four books available, Getting Out Alive, a science fiction romance, Illara's First Christmas, a holiday novella which is a continuation of Getting Out Alive, The Mark of the Guardian, a free fantasy romance novella, and Destiny's Choices, a romantic suspense recently released from Amira Press. To find out more about Regina and her books you can visit her website http://www.reginapaul.com