You know who gets noticed? People who aren't afraid to make a fool out of themselves!
People love to point and laugh or gasp or get fired up. And if you want your books to be noticed, that's some of the attention you are seeking. I may have a few books published, but I still worry that I will be dropped if my numbers don't rise to a certain level. What level is that anyway?
It all boils down to getting a lot of people to like your style - your product has to be interesting enough to gain some fans. Once they are fans, they will want to spread the word. People like others to join them and like what they like, so they will tell more people!
But finding that loyal fan base is the hardest part (look at Firefly! And they had a ton of fans!). So here are some avenues to fans to consider:
Elusive Agents - I started with this route. I queried till my inbox cried from all the rejections. Then I finally found a winning query (or my perfect match through an editor. It's hard to know the formula, but I know timing has a lot to do with it too) Recently, I've been encouraged to seek representation. So, maybe it's time. A good agent has connections in the industry and can get you farther than you can go yourself.
Crazy Cons - You have to go meet the people and be someone they will like. I always encourage authors to go to book events, especially in your genre. And sometimes getting noticed means putting on a different persona. I'm not saying change yourself, but enhance your attributes. If you can bake - bring it and label it! Again, a happy medium between friendly and obnoxious - just enough moxie to be seen. Your book will not speak for itself among a sea of other pretty books.
Does it Pay to Advertise? - It depends on what you can afford and what you're advertising. On websites, I find it annoying. And I don't want to annoy others so I haven't tried it. I have looked newspapers and I take advantage of free announcements of events, but I don't know how many people use the paper (even the online ones) anymore - and it seems the ones who do aren't searching for an obscure book signing... but free doesn't hurt! I also looked into radio - more expensive than you might think. Could be worth it if I had a $1000 lying around.
Honest to Goodness Reviewers - Many people listen to reviewers. And it doesn't take much to be one. Just read a book and give your opinion! The trick here is to find a popular reviewer who has time to fit you in, and I don't want to pay for a review. It just doesn't feel right, though I've heard some are honest and worth it. I recently took some advice to look at top Amazon reviewers who liked my genre. I respectfully offered a book or two for them to read and review, but I never heard back. It's so hard to ask for reviews - I feel like a blind girl with my cup full of pencils...
Do You Youtube? - Stunts, shocking videos, humor, podcasts, interviews. There are so many ways to put yourself out there these days! And most are pretty easy to produce. My acquisitions editor always has fun ideas to embarrass himself for the sake of a little publicity. He even interviewed me on his regular podcast - here it is, if you'd like to listen. I myself am trying something out that will hopefully be appealing. Chapter one of my anti-princess story should be out soon... We'll see how this goes!
There are so many ways to be noticed. It's hard to put yourself out there, but if you can take yourself a little less seriously and not worry about how you look or if you mess up, big things can come of it! Don't be afraid to try anything! The worst that could happen is you get a thumbs down - but even that is worth the effort. It tells you what not to do, and at least someone noticed! Brainstorm and go for it!!