I think the above is too pessimistic, heavycat!heavycat said:This is just this week. (Paraphrasing other threads here)
1. Select has run its course.
2. Twitter and Facebook are time sinks (as is all social media, presumably)
3. Paid advertising is a waste of money (Except Bookbub, but only if you're one of the few and anointed in advance)
4. Book review sites don't drive sales (So don't bother soliciting reviews)
5. POI and ENT are too clogged with submissions to care about your free book (see above)
So, for the author who is just starting out, there's no reliable way to market their book, no matter how hard they work. Every marketing option is followed up with a credible "don't bother" from someone on this board.
What am I missing?
I haven't tried BookBub, yet, but I had some success with and ENT "bargain book" paid ad over the summer. I don't think most book review blogs drive sales directly -- and it is hard to get those reviews -- but it's a very nice addition to your metadata to be able to put some great quotes in the editorial reviews section of your book page. I just did a Select run and got picked up by both ENT and POI. In the wake of the giveaway, I'm getting a lot of new mailing-list sign-ups, and those are golden. Twitter and Fb are useful for engaging with fans once you have them; for people who enjoy the platforms and use them well, I think they can be very useful (see Nathan Lowell's use of Twitter, Dannika Dark's use of Fb).
I don't think it's impossible to be successful at this game, even for newcomers like us. It's certainly not guaranteed -- plenty of good books don't find their readership. But that's true in the trad pub world, too.