Many writers express a love/hate relationship with marketing. Smarter people than me have said anonymity is an author's worst enemy. I'd agree. (*shakes fist at anonymity*)
But who is that worst enemy's field marshal? Wearing someone else's mask.
Here's what I mean:
Too many authors, especially indies, are chasing the same brass ring and stomping the same path to get there. Just because something works for an indie juggernaut like J.A. Konrath or John Locke or Amanda Hocking or (insert name here), doesn't mean it will work for me. In fact, I'm likely to fail, and fail epically if I try to be someone I'm not.
Readers appreciate a good experience more than anything. A good experience starts with a good, solid story. "Knowing" an author helps, I think, but it's the icing on the proverbial cake.
My twitter feed is choked with authors saying basically the same thing about their books. Discussion boards are full of the same chatter. Everyone does a blog tour--and while this is a valid way to reach new readers, a blog tour should really try to bring something new and unique to the table. Introduce yourself but be yourself. Whatever marketing one chooses, please, please be you. Be yourself. Make it yours.
In the end, if I'm selling me, I can only sell the "me" I am. If I try to borrow a mask from someone else, it's going to look false. I work with teenagers all day. They're good at sniffing bullshit. So are readers.
Am I a marketing genius? My bank account would say no. Hell no. But I'm not going to get to the Emerald City on a borrowed yellow brick road.
(My path goes a bit wonky through the darkest part of the woods. But I hear there's a secret there, and perhaps I may find it.)