I'm coming to the conclusion that most of what is written about author marketing is fiction and is written by people trying to sell the author a service. I have set up a web page and a Facebook page, posted to Facebook to encourage people to my page, obtained good reviews from on-line reviewers, posted details of the book on numerous web sites, built up a big list of Facebook friends and Linked-in colleagues, taken part in on-line group discussions. persuaded book shops to take copies on consignment, had articles about me published in local newspapers and took part in a Book Fair which included an author talk. From all of this the only e-book sales have been my son and a friend and the only book shop sales have been friends. I have sold most by direct contact with people who know me with the exception of the Book Fair where a small number were purchased by people I did not know.
Talking to other authors I suspect that the strategy that works is to build up a list of followers, but this requires the author to have several books. It does not work for the first. Authors give away their first book to accumulate the first names on their list, adding the names of friends and others they are able to sell the book to. When the second book is published it is offered to the people on the list. Hopefully they will purchase it and also tell their friends about it. Gradually the list can be built up until by the third or fourth book sales are starting to be significant. That is hardly an attractive strategy for a first-time or one-book author.
I am concentrating for the moment on author talks because these generally result in a number of sales, even if it is small. Libraries and service clubs like Rotary and Probus are usually happy to have me give them a talk.
All of this results in small numbers of sales but getting onto the best-seller lists is highly unlikely.
What I need is a reviewer in a national newspaper or on TV to urge people to buy my book, but all the free books I have sent out to reporters and presenters have disappeared without a response. The only feedback I have had is that they are not interested in self-published books. Those reviews that do appear are largely the result of a lot of persuasion by agents or publishers' media relations teams.
This is all a little depressing but I will keep going. Ever the optimist I hope I will hit upon some magic trick that will propel my book into the sales stratosphere. It's really only an extension of the optimism and self-belief that got me started writing a novel in the first place.