Teasers work, usually. Depending on how/where you publish, you may get a few pages displayed for free anyway. Amazon and others do this - "Click here for a free sample" and the reader (potential buyer) sees the first however many pages.
Janice Peacock (also a BC member) has done a great job with marketing her two novels. Using the characters from her novels, she wrote a short story with a Valentine's Day theme and just released it, along with going on a huge blog tour. The short story was free or 99 cents depending on the day, as I recall. This was essentially a freebie to introduce you to her characters. Ideally, you would then buy the two novels. They're very good. If you like cozy mysteries, you should check them out.
Good luck with your work!
Haven't been on here much lately. I'm working on a group marketing site, writing copy, gathering ideas, learning, and I will register for my own WordPress site this weekend. I'm saving my loonier ideas for that one.
Marketing, yes indeedy. Here's how I plan to do it:
1. Have a teaser ready. (My novella/my faux-children's books.)
2. Get my site up. (Excerpts of the novella, lots of graphics, I'll try to create games for kids using my characters.)
3. Promote my site. (With mailers, bumper stickers, advertised give-aways of a paper doll of my cat character). I hear feedback that the paid ads aren't selling books. But if they get a good response to free fun stuff, that's good enough for me.
My novella will be maybe ninety-nine cents. But I want a teaser for my teaser. I'm going to plaster Sly's adorable, smug face anywhere I can. Yard signs! I just thought of that. Yard signs on the properties of anyone I know who will put up with it. High school productions plant their adverts all over every Spring. Local craft shows too. I've even seen hair salons post Valentine Day specials on what is clearly town land. Worth a try.
When my site is really tricked out, really ready, I plan to go down to Times Square and hand out flyers.
--edited by Mimi Speike on 2/19/2016, 2:55 PM--
What I'm trying to say is, thinking in terms of a giveaway teaser is the minimum effort. I think you have to get way more creative. This always has been a long-shot world, and it's only getting worse. If ever we needed to think outside the box, we do now.
Not just “worse”, but much worse — in the sense that everything that used to be “outside the box” — Twitter, online promotions, free books, etc. — is now very firmly “inside the box”.
Taking up the concept of Free: that didn’t even used to be an option. Even for used bookstores. A book — almost always the fruit of hundreds of hours of work — was never worth Nothing. Now, Nothing is almost the default standard, as authors give away books left and right. If you’re Amazon Prime, you can read Free the rest of your life.
I’m very much attracted to the Lottery model. No matter what the odds, someone always wins the lottery. Likewise, a few self-published authors will break through and achieve success. While the vast majority — even though they do everything right, waking up each morning with a will and a way — are left with worthless tickets.
Those who believe in Luck will depend on luck, and those who believe in Destiny will wait for Destiny to tap them on the shoulder. But as far as Silver Bullet-style marketing solutions, I just don’t see them. It still comes down to a lot of little things you do every day — and a lot of little, fortunate things that need to happen for a book to start paying off.
— Nate Briggs (SLC)