Very few writers know how to promote their own work. That would mean coming out of that semi-dark room—you know the room I'm talking about…it's the one where the bug guy doesn't even bother to spray on his yearly visits—and joining the frightening world of real people.
So, this is how I've handled the daunting world of self-promotion: I have done absolutely nothing. I don't have a Facebook page, I don't have a personal blog, and the thought of contacting family and friends to sell my books makes me crawl even deeper into that bug-filled room. That's the reason I don't use my real name. I don't want any pity purchases.
The one exception to the above strategy has been "free days" on KDP Select (Amazon). Over the course of the free promotion days for the three titles that I had with KDP Direct, I have given away almost 3,000 copies. And I have sold a respectable number of copies of my three books over the last six months or so.
Still, I have ZERO reviews. Not even bad ones. I don't understand. My writing has won several national contests, and I have been represented in the past by two pretty well-known agents (Jeff Herman and Paige Wheeler), so I don't think the lack of reviews is because I'm a bad writer. I'm no Steinbeck, but I'm not bad.
I know that some of this is a result of my refusal to accept reciprocal reviews from authors whose books I have reviewed. I review books simply because they are entertaining and well-written. A reciprocal review is, at best, questionable. They may be true and heartfelt reviews, but how would we ever know. Often, I review books under my real name so that no one knows that "Sean Dexter" has reviewed their work. I would rather have no reviews than one that is payback (positive or negative revenge reviews) for a review I have given.
Not too long ago, I joined Goodreads. Goodreads is a social media platform for readers and writers. I soon learned that most (but certainly not all) of the writers associated with Goodreads have one goal and one goal only: to shamelessly solicit reciprocal reviews. They even have reciprocal review clubs where they take turns reviewing each other's books. I would like to disassociate myself from Goodreads, but I am afraid that I won't be allowed to leave alive. I have taken to sleeping with a Ruger .357 just in case the "Recip Squad" should choose to pay me a late night visit for criticizing them...
Wait, did you hear that? Oh God, I think they're here…