Once you publish a book, it seems like it's time to sit back and celebrate, but nothing could be further from the truth. A published book becomes just one of a billion others on the shelf (or virtual shelf), unopened and unloved. With so many out there, why would someone give yours a chance?
Even if your book is brilliant, it will languish in the wasteland of undiscovered if you don't get it out there yourself. Now, this is not to say push it at every opportunity. That will grate on people's nerves and push them farther from you. And don't tell them how great it is. You'll come off as pretentious and self-congratulating. If it is great, the hope is they'll think so all on their own. And definitely stay away from review sites. Do not talk about your own work on them. There can be no good outcome, unless what you're saying is "thank you" for either a good or a bad review.
Try to take a step back. Your book isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. It's not your fault, and not their fault. They're there to review, or they read your book and had something to say. That's awesome. Think of 50 Shades of Grey. Are the bad reviews stopping E.L. James? Heck, no. It's a case of "keep talking, you're making me famous." What's important is that people are talking about your work. What's more important is that you come off as gracious and put-together.
So, start with your friends. Why? Because some of them will actually buy it and read it. Because they like you. Because you're lucky and you have friends. Facebook is good for this. Do not create an event telling them you wrote a book. I learned that the hard way. Not only will they get the invitation, but they'll be bothered every time someone else comments on the event or decides to go. Sure, they could turn off notifications, but that's annoying. They shouldn't have to change anything to make way for you. Just tell them in a few statuses or messages. It'll go through.
Then, your friends will help you with word of mouth. People that they know, who know of you, from high school, maybe or from other networks, will hear that so-and-so wrote a book. Even if they hardly knew you, they'll be intrigued. Maybe intrigued enough to buy something. And the people that don't know you at all, well, they might buy it too, just because their friend knows an author. (Sometimes people think that's a lot cooler than it is.)
And if you're lucky, and your book is good, those people will tell other people; you know the drill.
- Have a blog. (waves) Write things in it that don't pertain to your book.
- Review other books. This will get you a network in literary circles, and if you're giving reviews, you're getting reviews.
- Ask book bloggers to review your book. (I'll expand on how to do this right next week.) Send them a free copy after you've asked them. Give them a chance to decide whether or not they want it first. This way you're asking, not pushing.
- Take part in book forums on Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, anywhere you can talk books, do it. But don't talk your book, unless it comes up. You'd be surprised how often and how naturally it does. You must be patient. Don't use flimsly transitions, or you'll look like "that guy." You know that guy. The one who thinks he's really smooth and fooling everyone by pretending to be interested, but who's really just there to talk about himself.
The biggest point is, if people don't know about your book, they won't read it. And if they know about your book because that's all you talk about to the exclusion of everything else, they won't read it.
You have to strike the balance.