There has been a lot of discussion on book marketing lately among authors. Mostly just what works and what doesn't.
The standard things that work are what you've all heard before:
1. Build your writing community profile by having a blog/website, Facebook fan page, Twitter accounts, Goodreads, Google+, Pinterest, or whatever venue you feel comfortable in.
2. Don't go overboard in self-promotion on those sites. No one wants to feel like they're being sold to all the time. Just be yourself and let people get to know you.
3. Make sure the book you are marketing is solid---well-plotted and well-edited.
Nothing new to see here, really. But then some authors were complaining about how hard it is to update their blogs, update Twitter, Google+, pinterest, Facebook, etc. etc., and still find time to write a book and wondered how much good any of that did anyway for their sales.
Here's my take on it (and I'm not saying I'm perfect by any stretch). As an author, I want to share my stories with as many people as would like to read them. In order to do that, I have to reach people that I don't come in contact with every day. The internet is a wonderful tool for that, but it can also be the biggest time-sucker around. It's all in how you balance it.
For example, I blog five days a week not because I'm addicted to blogging, but because I feel like I have writer/reader friends who come by every day to talk and I don't want to miss that visit. I also like the idea of helping each other through the ups and downs of writing because it can be a lonely business and having a little writer support is invaluable. Same thing with Twitter and Facebook. I spend a little bit of time each day with my "friends" and then I turn to my writing. Since my computer time is so limited with small children, I have to be time-conscious, but I think every writer should be time-conscious. Don't let the internet kill your writing time. Self-discipline is a must.
You might think it's easy to just throw out some self-promoting link each day (I see it all the time--Come check out my new book! Come like my Facebook page!) and there's never anything new. They may think they're promoting, but mostly what people are doing when they resort to that is losing potential customers and friends. If that's all you're about, why would I want more of it? Let me see more of the real you and maybe I'll want to get to know your books as well.
The one thing every author HAS to do, though, is spend the time to write something worth reading. It is ten times harder to market something that isn't ready for publication and needed a few more revisions. If your book is amazing, people will tell their friends. Word of mouth advertising is invaluable, but you have to put the time in. It's easy to think when you write The End that you're done, but revision and editing are your friends. Make sure your book is the best it can be so that you have a solid product to market in the first place.
I think book marketing is an individual thing since every author and book is in a different place (first-timers, seasoned authors, indie, traditional, etc.) and each author has a different comfort level with social media and internet marketing. For authors, though, these three basic marketing tools are the foundation of the "have to do" list. Yes, it can be time-consuming for an author, but in the long run, it is worth it, not only for book sales, but also for building a community that will last beyond your newest release.
As a reader, what do you like to see from your favorite authors? As an author, how do you handle marketing?