I thought I'd share some techniques that people are using to market their books in cheap, easy and unexpected ways. One website I found (Speculations.com) had some interesting posts Market Chat: Guerilla Marketing for Writers. I recommend reading it - I found some ideas other than the usual "get a website" and "join readers groups" (both of which are still good ideas!)
I liked the idea of having flyers about your book if you're doing a signing (ok, I'm so not there yet, but I still thought it was a good idea. :)) There are also people who slip their bookmarks and business cards in with the checks when they pay their bills - an idea I plan to use. In the website above, there are a couple of interesting posts on getting in good with your local librarian. I've also heard to ask the library if you can leave a stack of your bookmarks on their counter and that most of them are amenable to this idea. They are also usually excited if you offer to teach a workshop about writing. I'm probably too introverted to pull something like that off, but the more gregarious among you may be able to. :)
Taking the library idea a little further, I plan on leaving bookmarks in books that are similar to mine in the library, as if they were accidentally left behind. :) I think I'll slip in a few business cards or markers on key shelves at bookstores, too, if I can get away with it. :)
I also saw a business card for a photographer stuck in the control panel of an elevator once - it got my attention. I took it down in case I needed it for my jacket cover photo. (Always wishful thinking ahead!) :) I decided to leave my cards on elevators also, as well as on bulletin boards at the grocery store where anyone can advertise anything (a good place for flyers too); and in the "lunch drawing" bowls that some restaurants have where businessmen can leave their cards behind to enter into a drawing for a free lunch. (Hey, free advertisement and a free lunch - what's not to love?)
I remember reading about a writer who left a little stack of bookmarks beside her on the table whenever she went out to eat and would offer them to the wait staff. She said they usually loved them and were grateful. Whenever she didn't do that, she'd leave her card or a bookmark with the tip.
Pretty much anywhere people gather is a marketing opportunity - whether on the internet, at a restaurant, library, bookstore or even the doctor's office as Liz Kreger recently discovered. You can read about her experience here.
So let's put on our thinking helmets and night vision goggles and get out there. :) What methods are using or planning on trying to market your books?