In the past I have written about developing followers and the benefit of this, especially for new writers or those looking to self-publish. Many writers wrongly assume that securing a publishing deal will launch them to fame and fortune, as well as a multi-book contract with the publishers. That they need not do anything to help market their book besides interviews. This is not true at all, and it is even harder now to get recognition for your work because publishing companies are having to cut back and therefore take on less new writers - and do less in the way of marketing and promotion. If your book flops, it's harder to release another one. Whether you self-publish or get traditionally published, you need to have an audience to sell to.
The internet has made this infinitely easier, as you can set up your own website, Facebook fan page, Twitter account, and locate contact details of local radio stations and newspapers to either interview you or mention the book. But there is little use in web pages if no one knows what you do, because they won't follow it. Being proactive is the way forward, and one of the best ways to do this is not only be accessible, by replying to emails and tweets, but to let people relate to you. Twitter is indispensable in this way, as you can post what's on your mind, what you like, don't like, what things mean to you and so forth. In doing this, people can get to see the real you and many people will purchase your work simply because they like your personality - either to support you just because they feel they know you, or because you've intrigued them enough that they think it may be of interest to them. Blog about your favourite works, how life inspires you, what you're currently reading or what a particular section of your book is about. On your website, post extracts of your book and have a feed of your Twitter updates so people can find it easier. With the internet, the sky's the limit with how far you can take things for publicity and promotion. If you self-publish, this will help you to shift some units. If you're traditionally published,the company will be impressed by your efforts and dedication, and you will be shifting copies from your own hard work. Such dedication can help you secure a more lasting contract as the publishing house will be more willing to nurture your career.
Of course, though, none of this matters if your writing is so poor that no one will recommend it or buy a second release. Of prime importance, therefore, is working at becoming a better writer. Some people are born with the talent of being able to write complex and gripping stories, but the rest of us need to work hard at it. One of the best ways to learn how to be a better writer, and for story inspiration, is to read. Read anything you can get your hands on, be it fiction, non-fiction, biographical, science-fiction or fantasy. Broaden your horizons and read whatever comes your way. Being an accomplished reader will pave the way for you to be an accomplished writer.