I used to think marketing was an American term for doing the weekly grocery shop. Then somehow it morphed into the business of promoting and selling products. Then it took on aspects of satisfyng customer needs even before they knew they wanted whatever it was you were selling. Marketing for authors is something I find particularly difficult. Who knows who the customer might be? They will buy a particular title for many reasons, and may never choose to buy the same author again.
Branding myself sounds painful, but that's what marketing gurus always recommend. Plus which it is difficult to know quite what to brand myself with - am I a Historical Writer? Is that a brand? If I select that label, am I stuck with it for life? C J Sansom has made his name writing about a Tudor lawyer named Matthew Shardlake, but his latest novel is set in the second world war. I've not taken much notice of it, because that era doesn't interest me, thought I have his other novels on my shelves as keepers. For me, Sansom's brand is thoughtful Tudor mysteries and injustices, and I begin to see from his example that writing outside the brand can be dangerous.
Social media always crops up when talking about marketing. To some it is a necessary evil, to others it can be an addictive pleasure. I've been on Facebook for a while, (firstname.lastname@example.org) Twitter not quite so long, (JenBlackNCL) and I visit Goodreads, though not frequently - and I have to say I do not find the latter easy to use. Promotion and excerpts on Yahoo groups for readers offer an easy route to readers, though they remain an unknown quantity. I try to visit a couple of groups every day. I've found they are least busy Friday night and through Saturday till late on Sunday and then everything starts to pick up again. It's often the same for Facebook and Twitter - family time comes first at that time.
'Likes' and 'recomendations' on Facebook I don't yet understand, but must get to grips with someday soon.