#1) Don't waste time promoting to the disinterested....for example, if your husband's friends are over for poker night, waxing on and on about your new erotic menage story with lots of steamy M/M sex might not be such a hot idea. On the other hand, if you join an erotic romance yahoo group, they might be a bit more receptive to your subject matter.
#2) This one is directly inspired by a "blog pirate" at Emily Bryan's site this week. If you visit a blog where an author is promoting her book about Christmas cookies, don't leave a comment (and convenient link to your website) with a blurb about your rocking new book on the history of Bosnia. Rude. Nuff said.
#3) Find supportive, enthusiastic, excited communities who share your joy of romance! There are on-line groups, book clubs, check-out girls at the grocery store. Anyone who appreciates the romance genre is your target audience. I just had a great chat with a bunch of moms at my son's school yesterday who did not know I am a writer. They were so supportive and excited to hear about my new book. Spread the word!
#4) Talk to other writers. Do book trailers work? How about bookmarks and pens? Where does the traffic come from for their sites? Pick the brains of experienced and well-sold authors. They are your best resource.
#5) Make a cool website and blog. Get a facebook account. Give interviews. Write reviews. Talk at your local library, kid's school, or writer's conference. (I actually talked to a bunch of kindergartners about writing, and it was a blast).
#6) Enjoy your promo triumphs...I wrote a comment about Dalton's new book on an erotic romance board, and someone followed the link, checked out the book, bought the book, read the book, and emailed Dalton to tell her she's a new fan and can't wait for her next story. This, my friends, is promotion at its best.
#7) Some sites are warm and fuzzy to readers, reviewers and authors alike. (The AAR boards, for example.) I can leave a comment with my blog url and people actually thank me for the link. Other sites will skewer you like a small rodent and leave your rotting carcass on the road to be picked at by a bunch of vultures. (Can you tell I'm a writer?) The Amazon boards are notorious for their Promo Police. God help the poor schlub who attempts to promote his first novel on the Amazon romance boards. The readers actually make a pact (a freaking pact!) not to purchase said book until "hell freezes over"- and I am quoting from one of the hostile readers. Why the incredible hostility toward new writers attempting self promotion? Not entirely sure, but it's a tough crowd at the Amazon romance boards, so watch your back.
This, my friends, is promotion at its worst. People might ridicule you, your book, and the horse you rode in on. There are some communities where any sort of promotion is frowned upon, and avoiding those places might be advisable.
My final suggestion is stay positive and continue searching for supportive communities. I am a firm believer in what comes around, goes around. If you help spread the word about romance in general, other authors you have read and enjoyed, and show support and encouragement to your colleagues, they will in turn support you and help promote your delightful book when it's your turn to toot. When all is said and done, that's one of the things I love most about this profession.
Promotion Penny (hey, alliteration!)