These days, rarely can an author write a book and expect to get away without marketing it. Publishers expect their authors to sell themselves and their products a/k/a books.
I understand that's the name of the game, so I do my part by making public appearances in the form of book signings, panels, and other doings. I travel just about everywhere on the Internet - on blogs, listservs, social networks, such as MySpace, Twitter, Book Place, GoodReads, and more. During the course of my travels, in person and in cyber space, I've met other authors also scrambling to make names for themselves.
Depending on the publisher, authors can expect a range from minimal to heavy marketing help. Some authors are awarded special placement for their novels on bookstore shelves and tables, color ads in magazines, book tours and more. Those are the exceptions. Most authors understand that the burden of advertising lies on themselves.
At a movie in the Classic Cinema's chain a few weeks ago, I was surprised to come across an unusual marketing ploy by Random House. As my husband and I handed over our tickets, we received Novel Sampler DVDs, featuring excerpts from five teen novels, purportedly the hottest of the season, some with video trailers, one even with a podcast. I surmised Random House was taking advantage of the popularity of the book and movie, Twilight, to reflect favorably on their offerings.
Have you seen any unusual marketing ploys by publishers? What about authors? What have you seen other authors do? And yourselves, do you use the tried and true methods, or have you done something unusual to sell your books? Please share.