I'm assuming that none of the readers of this blog are best-selling authors yet (although I'm hoping Jennifer Armentrout will still stop by after she becomes one), but the main point of this article is that all authors MUST promote their books in order to sell them.
Author events like tours and book signings aren't cost-effective unless the author is well-known enough to attract a crowd. Most writers at the start of the careers need to focus on building a readership in other ways. Fortunately, thanks to the series of tubes known as the interwebs,* this can be done from anywhere on Earth. And probably from the International Space Station, too (I kinda want to read a blog from the ISS).
*double-bonus points if you recognize the origin of this term
So, new writers, start with a blog, website, or Facebook fan site. Give your readers a good reason to stop by--either by offering contests, giveaways, useful tips... or content so entertaining that it's a reward in itself. It does take time, but it's an effective way to build interest in your book, and it's cheaper than advertising. It also builds "buzz," which is true interest, rather than "hype," which is paid for. Most people these days have spent their entire lives bombarded by advertising, so we've built up a tolerance to it. Either we're suspicious of it 'cuz, yeah, like Sea Monkeys really turn into little Caucasian nuclear families in that plastic container with the magnifying bubbles:
Or we tune it out so it won't overwhelm us:
If you want people to care, you need to connect on a personal level, whether you're a wicked famous author or a newbie with a self-pubbed debut. The only difference is, if you have a 7-figure advance from St. Martin's, you can hire a personal assistant to help you with it.
Speaking of self-promotion, you only have one more day to post your awesome line to the Spring Writing Contest!