To be successful you must SELL yourselfPut it this way - no one is going to sell anything for you. Once you've sold to friends and family (bless them), and unless you have a dynasty, the main job remains undone - to sell to strangers.
That's right, previously unknown people will need to know about and then be enthusiastic enough to buy your book. And there will need to be a lot of them; many, many people, who will hopefully give you MONEY in exchange for your efforts.
Why else are you writing? Not for yourself surely - although that holds its own peculiar attraction - but TO BE READ. So, even if you don't intend to give your stuff away (which is not such a dumb idea, at least while you build your audience), you have to learn to SELL and MARKET.
The Internet can help youThere's been a revolution in marketing and promotion. And it's being lead by social media. People no longer react to be badgered or interrupted. Instead they want to be engaged, to feel part of your project. So you have to tell them your story and interact with them.
And you don't have to wait to get involved. Even if you don't yet have a book to promote and sell, you can get started. In fact, it may be better that you haven't got that finished article yet. You can go ahead and create INTEREST. Make mistakes, try things out, different approaches to the same goal.
Which is to sell books.
Imagine the ocean is going to be the only place left to live. You'd want to get on it, wouldn't you? As the land recedes and the waves lap on the last beaches. While the cliffs crash into the sea and rivers overrun the land, whether it's on a surf board or a cruiser, you'll need to get on it in order to survive.
Not waving but drowningYou don't want to be left on the shore. To paraphrase the words of poet Stevie Smith, you don't want to be 'too far out all your life, and not waving but drowning.' You want to join the party, but you're unsure how to proceed.
Twitter, blogs and Facebook are your first friends. Then try other stuff, like Pinterest and Stumbleupon. Write an article or too, and put them on Hubpages. But first you may have to get out of thinking 'it's not for me'. What's not for you? The world has opened up. Millions of wide awake eyes. Billions of ears. All looking for a message. Your message.This is exciting. Whatever you're selling, you need to build your online identity.
And you need to start NOW.