4. Trouble-Free Marketing: Can the writer do anything to avoid looking like a newbie dork (about marketing)? How does the little guy get some attention without attracting trouble?
#1 on the Marketing Faux Pas List: SPAMming readers with unsolicited mass-mailed promo.
#2 on the Marketing Faux Pas List: #1, in which you also claim that your penis appears on your cover art.
I am serious. Don't SPAM people. It annoys us. Using your genitals as promo is tacky. Have some dignity.
Blending in with the herd is the easiest way to avoid looking like a dork. Do what every other author in your writer organization does and I guarantee you'll have lots of support and you may even win a shiny trophy or two. This won't do a damn thing for your career, but you'll have plenty of nice friends who like you, and we all know how important it is to be accepted by our peers, right?
On the other hand, if you think that's bullshit, then I recommend you ditch the herd mentality, if not the herd itself, and think for yourself.
Observe successful authors and how they promo their books. In the process, you'll pick up a lot of pointers. Douglas Clegg, Monica Jackson, and Alison Kent are three authors to watch; all of them have distinctive styles and are quite creative in their approaches to self-promotion. Keep an eye on the authors out there whose marketing efforts annoy you, too. Often the worst self-promoters provide a minor public service by showing us what NOT to do.
Once you've got an idea of what works and what doesn't, write up a marketing plan tailored to you. Don't do what the herd does, or copy-cat another author's marketing; focus on your strengths: Are you a charismatic speaker? You might consider making some public appearances and guest speaking to some groups (pick appearance opportunities and groups that other authors aren't doing.) Are you more witty on the page than in person? Start a weblog or write some articles that are original instead of a clone of another author's work. Can you manage a big group of people and answer a lot of questions very quickly while keeping them entertained? Give some interactive workshops or schedule some online chats, but make your topic something other than the standard how-to.
You don't have to be controversial to get attention, and you don't have to resort to desperate measures like the Cover Art Flasher, either. Be yourself, and have fun with what you do, and you'll never hate handling the marketing.
Virtual Press Release Faux Pas
Terry Dean's 7 Internet Marketing Mistakes Which are Destroying Your Business.
Amelia Kassel's How to Write A Marketing Plan and KnowThis.com's tutorial on how to write a marketing plan.