Lately, I've been looking at articles/books/newsletters with advice about building a platform and getting people interested in my novels. I haven't read as much as I'd like, only because there aren't enough hours in the day, but there is a lot of advice out there. It all seems to revolve around the same ideas: have a web presence, do blog tours, enter contests, get reviews.
In theory, all of those things are simple enough. I have a web presence with this blog, my Facebook page, my LinkedIn page, my Goodreads page, I'm a member of several publisher-mandated discussion boards, etc. The only thing I don't have that they recommend you have is a Twitter account. Maybe one day.
I do blog tours. I have guests post on my blog, and I post on theirs.
I've entered contests. If you notice on my picture on the right, it has the badges from the Preditors and Editors poll where I placed in the top 10. I've also sent my book into other contests where I didn't win or make the finals.
I get reviews. There are a couple of people I always turn to when a new book comes out because I know they'll read it and give me feedback. I also send it out to others in the hope they'll read it and post a review (rarely happens), and I ask all my friends/family members who've read my book to post reviews on Amazon (some of you are great about doing that, others, not so much--you know who you are).
On top of that, I have book trailers made and I attend conferences where I hand out key chains and postcards with my information. I have yet to do a writing workshop, but it's on my list. Some day I'll have enough money to do that. I've done radio shows. I've had ads in papers, and I've made local appearances.
I've done all the things they say I'm supposed to do, and I think it's helped a little, but I still don't feel like I'm getting the exposure I need. There are a bazillion books and authors out there, each one doing the same thing I'm doing and probably more. It is very easy to get lost and drown in the sea of self-promotion.
It's depressing, yes, and there have been many a times when I wondered why I do it. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I keep telling myself that if I keep going, keep persevering, it will eventually pay off. It has to. Keep doing the tours, keep entering contests, keep sending your book out for reviews. It can't hurt.