Thousands of books are published every month, so in an era when it is impossible to hear about all the recently published books, let alone read them, how does an author make theirs rise to the top? If you're lucky enough to have a name already, or a publisher who's willing to float a huge marketing budget, you may be able to rock out with an author tour, well-planted reviews and some blog traffic; but if you're a no name - i.e. a first time author - you've got to be creative.
I heard a few months ago of an author leaving copies of his (self)published novel at various coffee shops around the country. Anyone was invited to read the book and the only payment requested was that the reader pass the book along or share their thoughts about it with others. I don't know much more about this than that - the person who told me the story couldn't remember the man's name or the title of the book - but I was intrigued by the strategy nonetheless. I love a good grassroots literary iniative when I hear about one.
Mark Fitten, author of recently published Valeria's Last Stand from Bloomsbury, has come up with the keen idea of traveling to 100 independent bookshops around the country and chatting the booksellers up about his new book. He's even created a blog for folks to follow his travels, and he's gotten press from the likes of the New York Times. Follow his progress here.