I would LOVE to tell you stories about the lovely, amazing serendipitous promotional things that have happened to me - save I'm not entirely sure I promoted much of anything except that I got to flail around doing my 'FANGIRL' dance. See. Just before my first book came out, one of my favorite authors in the world, Nalini Singh, asked me to guest blog for her. After I'd stared at her name in my in-box and tried not to pass out, I jumped at the chance. She and her readers both were so gracious and kind to me. I'd really like to be in a position to return the favor some day. In case the Gods are listening.
I've done blog tours since, but maybe it is the curse of the pathetically geeky and vaguely socially awkward. Being charming in blog posts (some people will say 'ever') is maybe not my strength. I'm also hampered by the fact that I find it dreadfully difficult to track any kind of meaningful result back to a blog tour. In my search for promotional mojo that doesn't annoy an entire Twitterverse full of people, I've had a marketing folks tell me that material THINGS were the only way to go from a promotional standpoint. I've had other people laugh and say, "Oh, honey. Don't waste your time or money on things! It's all about (insert social media shtick du jour)." I've been told to be my geek-tastic self. I've been told to forget that in favor of building a platform based on things I don't do particularly well - interacting with people like the whole of the internet might not be looking on, judging me while I'm talking without the safety-net of a script. (Yes, some of us became actors because we're desperate to be told the right things to say when. We're super invested in always knowing our lines.)
I have had two things happen that I didn't consider promotions at the time, but which both brought Twitter followers out of the woodwork: Anthologies. The first was Tales from the SFR Brigade. The second was Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword. Note that I can't say I saw any boost to book sales from either. The only bumps I noticed were to the number of people willing to hang with me on Twitter, but you know? I'll take it because I've since gotten to talk with a few of those people and discovered they're geeks, too. My tribe.
So maybe the advice that your best promotional tool is your next book really has some merit. Which means I should get back to that.