I spent a week talking about self-publishing over at UB. The last post was about promotions, which a lot of writers dread. Myself included. Self-promotion isn't easy, but you need to do it.
I dread housework -- but that has to be done, too.
I strongly believe that there is an audience for anything. Any movie, any book, any music album, there's a paying audience out there who will enjoy it. The difficult part is finding them and telling them why your book/movie/album would be enjoyable for them.
Everything about self-promotion ties into either finding your audience, or communicating with them.
And yes, it's a lot of work because there are seven billion people out there and even with all of the internet's gee-whiz social networks, those audiences are hard to find.
And no, it's not easy to communicate why your book is interesting in the small amount of time people will give you before they tune out or are distracted by some shiny thing. There's a dose of luck involved too, which you can't plan for.
They say the first rule of self-promoting is to get out there and be a real person with real interests and real input to give. I'm not so good at that; I read many blogs, each day, and have nothing to add. Move on to the next one. There are many blogs that I simply can't post comments to (I wish I knew why, and yes I've tried to get around it.) There are some online communities that I wander through on occasion, such as Absolute Write. I tweet once or twice a day. I mark books I've read, on Goodreads, but don't have enough opinion to write a review. Pinterest has fallen off my radar for a variety of reasons.
Maybe I'm not a real person with real interests. :)
But my audience is out there somewhere. I know a few things about them: they like stories that move, active characters, authenticity and detail, darkness without being hopeless, and a dash of whimsy.
I just need to find them.