The guy who said build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door probably didn’t account for two million other people making mousetraps. Some of them really good traps.

My first attempt at promotion was the “like swap.” And the “fan swap.” You can probably guess what these are. It’s the “Barney” approach to marketing–I like you, you like me. It didn’t work and I was warned by one of my colleagues on the forum that this sort of thing attracts attention. From Amazon, not readers.

Next was the Facebook ad. That little icon to the left is the area Facebook gives you for graphics. Anyone can do a full page ad in Vogue but just try to make an impression in 100 by 72 pixels.

Facebook is a lesson in the law of large numbers. I started by targeting an audience of over 29 million. After 30,000 impressions on 15,000 Facebook users I got six clicks. Only Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos know if I scored a sale. I learned the first principle of advertising: focus. I narrowed the audience to just 5000 interested in espionage novels and tracked the totals like the end of an eBay auction. Just 2500 users have seen my ad an average of 5.5 times. I got one click.

Second principle of advertising: Facebook’s not working for me. No permanent damage, though. The campaign has set me back $8.58 so far.

Third principle of advertising: cheap is cheap for a reason.

There’s an indie author who published for the first time this year and is now on the NY Times best-seller list and a movie in the offing. In other words, living the dream. Never wrote a thing before her first book. Never spent a dime on promotion. She tells her story here.

Key takeaways:

1) Write good stuff.
2) Know your genre.
3) Make your work available.
4) Generate buzz.
5) Interact with your fan base.
6) Work like a draft mule.

Step-by-step, like baking cookies.

UPDATE: The Girlfriend Experience is now on Goodreads!