Wow, I just glanced at what's been posted already and I feel like a fish out of water. I was just going to list "Things I've done." But, heck, ya'll gave brochures on what to do...lol. All good advise and I've done several of them.
I'm not sure I've hit on anything that really works or is the BANG that caught a lot of interest. One thing I do is promote with other people. It spreads the cost and the advertising around. Sure, we're all on a lot of the same loops, connect with the same people, but there are still areas where I might hit and they don't or vice versa.
I also do a lot of contests, I always have. On my website, on my blog, with other people. I don't think I go cheap on the prizes either. I usually do nice ones. My website contest is on-going. I ask people to sign my guest book. I usually ask a question for them to answer (Like: if you were on desert island, which 5 items would you want? What's your favorite ice cream flavor? Or this month's "Who's your favorite heroine - real or fictional?") I love reading the answers. I post what the monthly prize is and draw on or after the first of the next month.
Usually, on my blog, it's just 'post a comment, any comment on any posting.' I will draw from those who post at the beginning of the next month. For August, I'm doing something different, people have to go to the "Click to Give" website and hunt up an item they have for sale in their store. It's a great site for good causes and I'm just doing it to promote the site.
The third type of contest I participate in is with other authors. Anywhere from 6 to 24 people. It usually involves people going to our websites or blogs and finding the answer or clue to a question. I have found that if you make it too big or too long, people will lose interest. I'd say stick with 12 or less people and less than 2 weeks long. The point is to get people to go to your site and learn more about you and your books. You want to make it easy for them to find the answer or clue. People will get frustrated if they can't find it easily enough and get ticked off. Not a good thing to do when you want them to like you. Don't get cute and hide the clue or answer, but don't splash it on your home page either......I know I've quit doing a contest because it was too frustrating to find the answer. But you do want them to look around your site, see what you have out there that's published. So be careful not to make it either too hard or too easy.
I also belong to a group of gals in my area who are with the same publisher (The Wild Rose Press). We call ourselves The Roses of Houston....though we don't just promote books through TWRP, some of us are published elsewhere and include those in our promoting. One thing we do is goodie bags for various conferences. We pull in together for the cost of the bags, the goodies and the postage. We also put promotion and other writing tips up on our common blog http://www.rosesofhouston.blogspot.com/. And we hold regular contests. Right now, you can win a $50 Amazon Gift Card......check it out.
The hot dusty town of Salvation, Texas has more than its share of secrets in 1873 when Laura Ashton's stage rolls into town. Sheriff David Slade has no idea what baggage his mail-order bride is bringing into his life. Throw in the nightmares from his Civil War days and he's got more than courting to contend with. Laura's a woman ahead of her time, a woman trained in medicine. And she's got a will that could move mountains. Unfortunately, the only mountains in Salvation are in Sheriff Slade's memory. Can the determined doctor heal his pain, or will the dark secret in her past turn up to steal his Salvation Bride?
Anna Kathryn Lanier