3. Budget Marketing: What can be done about marketing for writers with a $2k advance?.
1. Get as much marketing and marketing support as you can (politely) wrangle out of your publisher. Ask your editor and your agent for marketing ideas and advice. Find out if you've been assigned a publicist, make contact if you have and ask their advice. Ask your editor if there is a more established author at your imprint who would be willing to place an excerpt of your novel in the back of their next book. Talk to pros you know at your publisher or who write in your genre and ask them for ideas and advice. Contact your local booksellers, meet store managers in person and see what they're willing to do to help hand-sell your book.
2. Think outside the bookmark/widget/con circuit box. Example: Last week I met author Ed West at a local quilt show. At these shows you usually find quilts, quilters, quilt shop booths and quilting demos by the local guild, but never authors, so it was a nice surprise to meet him.
Mr. West set up a table with his books and talked to ladies as they made the rounds. He had a reproduction quilt from his novel set up as a backdrop behind the table, and he and his wife (I assume that nice lady was your wife, Ed) were dressed in period costumes. He happens to be a warm, marvelous speaker and an expert on period quilts and quilting, and sold three books in the five minutes I stood there listening to him.
3. Use the Internet; it's free. Set up a weblog, they're free. Become active in the author blogging community. Jump in discussions (like this one) about budget marketing and brain storm. Do the same at writer communities with discussion boards. Add a link to your web site/weblog to your signature block. Put up excerpts from your book on your web site. Have interesting contests to giveaway galleys, ARCs or final editions of your book. Answer author surveys (the one I answered for Mad Max Perkins led to a featured interview on his blog.) Don't SPAM anyone, but make yourself available for interviews to bloggers and other publishing-related web sites.
4. Use the media. Send out a press release to local, state and national media. If you do this, read up on press releases and how to write them (also see PR Web link below) effectively. Write articles for trade web sites and magazines about your author experience and submit them for consideration (free promotion which you get paid for, and most allow you to put a web site link in your end-of-article bio.)
5. Invest only in promotion that a) you can afford and b) is proven to boost book sales. I wish I could give you a list, but most book advertising services promise a lot and don't deliver much in the way of statistics. As with suggestion #2, look for something unique that makes you stand out from the pack.
About.com's article Low-Budget High-Impact Marketing Plan.
PR Web's How to Write a Press Release that Gets Noticed by the Media.
Voices of Hope's .pdf format article Self-promotion on a Shoestring.