This is where I will list ideas I have either thought about or actually executed for self publishing, if that's the path you as a writer have decided to take. The major downfall of self publishing is that you don't get a free publicist. The basis for my ideas came with the decision that "Web exposure" was my goal. Meaning, if someone GOOGLEs you thinking "I just met this person and I want to know more about them." what comes up? How can you make several resources available to your potential fans? Hopefully as my career as a writer blossoms (I like that visual) then this page will get more extensive and helpful for members as well as other potential writers.
Idea 1: Creating a Home Page - Now, I'm not really good at explaining things, or so I've been told (So don't expect a tutorial anytime soon), but creating a good website is the baby step to coming into the internet world. There are several that offer free webhosting, "www.webs.com" is this website's host as well as the host for my personal website. I have found them very easy to use and there haven't been a whole lot of ads (which is one way a web host can become a bother). Also nice, is when you become famous, you can upgrade your website to be just "www.yourname.com" for an annual fee. Content would be your next goal. I recommend having a page for your cover art, as well as a summary, and even a sample chapter(s). You want to hook those who know nothing about you into buying your product (obviously).
Another page I would do would be a resource page, whatever you wrote about you researched right? List some of the online resources you used to create your story. Maybe there were a lot of mentions about rocks, so you would want a list to geology, or perhaps its a mystery, and you can link to an investigation website that covers new age crime solving methods. On your website, you should have a "meet the author" page where you can describe a little about yourself and your family, how you started writing, and what your goals/aspirations are. www.webs.com also have wonderful applications you can add to your website, such as blogs, forums, and a calender, the last being the one I'm going to elaborate on. Having a calender is neat for when you begin getting book signings or book fairs you are attending, or you can list some of the classes you teach or the writers groups you attend (hint hint). Just to name a few.
If time permits, I will research other free websites and increase the list to give you options.
Idea 2: Wiki - There's Wikipedia, the resource everyone and their mother uses, and then there's wiki. Wiki is essentially the same as its longer named cousin, except it can be created by anyone and edited by anyone. Now, this also means just about anyone can come and mess up or delete your page, but I've had mine up, one for each of my stories and one as a bio on myself, and so far no foul play. It's basically like making your own encyclopedia page. An easy way to increase your web exposure.
Idea 3: Business Cards - This is one everyone knows, but the best printing company use maybe not. I have found the cheapest and easiest to use is Vista Prints. For 500 business cards, you pay $10 (In comparison to Staples which charges $75 for 1,000 I think). They also give you e-mails for sales they have all the time so you can probably get them cheaper than that.
Idea 4: Free Giveaways! - Whenever you have an event, other than the business cards, people like FREE. It doesn't really matter what it is but it allows your name to get to more places and increase the chance that word of mouth will work in your favor. The rule for customer service (and I've had my fair share) is a person who has a good experience will tell 3 other people, a bad experience 10 other people. Well if someone gets FREE stuff, they usually tell someone. Overnight Prints is a medium priced way (about $50 for 500) to make bookmarks, brochures, and postcards, designed by you, to help promote your stuff. There are also other websites you can use to make pens, keychains, ect, but these get a little more pricey. If you are interested, search "promotional giveaways" on google.
One addition to the thought of bookmarks and postcards is that not only can you use them for book signings and other events, but I myself have gone to Walmart and Hastings and simply plugged my bookmarks in other books that are on sale that are similar to what I wrote. i.e. For Rising Moon I put them in Harry Potter or Defy the Gods I put them in Percy Jackson. Those books are guaranteed to sell, especially with new movies out, so now that person will know of your book to just in time for when they finished those books. I don't think it can be considere
Idea 5: Book Reviews - There are websites that accept book submissions that they will then review either for free or for a cost. IF you have confidence in your work, getting a review (especially a good one) is a GREAT way to get the attention of those older readers that are used to looking into a consumer report magazine before they buy anything? ( I speak from experience, my grandmother has a magazine for everything). I have been lucky to be reviewed by a couple websites without asking (Two Lips Review and The Romance Studio) who raved about Defy the Gods. I then used this website to search multiple book review websites at once. This is just a start, do some research and find the website that specializes in your genre.