There's a new kick in the writing circles geared toward self-promotion called "Street team." Basically, writers ask a group of fans to do simple things like pass out bookmarks and other promotional items to book stores, coffee shops, reading groups and friends. Buy their books the first week they're out to help boost them on the bestseller lists. Talk the books up to friends, family and even sometimes random strangers.
A few years ago, Jane at Dear Author wrote a cautionary post about forming street teams. I found the discussion in the comment section (pro an con) to be pretty enlightening.
Like any author, I need all the promotional help I can get, but I don't earn enough advance to pay for a publicist or do a lot of marketing and promotion. At the same time, it's against my nature to ask for my readers to put themselves out to help me.
However, there are things that I, as a fan of other authors, don't mind doing to help them out. So if you like my books and you don't mind doing any of these things, please feel free to help me out if you're so inclined.
1. Buy the book the first week it becomes available nationally.
eHarlequin puts our books out a month early, and while I like to think that people love my books so much they just can't wait, I would be more likely to make one of the big bestseller lists (mosly likely USA Today) if everyone waited until the debut week to buy the book. Making a list is a very good word-of-mouth tool.
2. Request the book at your local library.
This doesn't do a lot for sales, but it does get my name out there as a writer.
3. Go to Amazon.com and "like" my books, especially my ebooks. Also scroll down to the tags for the books and click the ones you agree with. This helps my books get attention, as it helps with their rankings.
4. If you liked the book, please leave a brief review on Amazon.com. Reviews are like telling a friend you liked a book. You don't have to go into a lot of detail. Even a simple "Loved this book, one of my must-read authors" will do. But be honest. Put it in your own words. Give the rating you think it deserves, even if it's not 5 stars. Readers looking for books sometimes pick the book with more reviews because they figure if that many other people are reading it and talking about it, it must be worth checking out.
5. If you frequent blogs like Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Dear Author or any of the bigger writing blogs, and there's a question like this one at Smart Bitches, asking for examples of books where the widowed hero/heroine truly loved their dead partners (rather than "I never knew it could be like this" moments where the past love is sort of disrespected), feel free to mention my books if you think they fit. (At least two of the Cooper Justice books would fit the bill. So would my first book).
The main thing is, do what you're comfortable with. If you're not comfortable with any of it, I'm perfectly content if all you do is buy my books.