I feel I should have realized this by now, since I'm 41. But I just had this flash of inspiration regarding advertising.
You can pay to have your book advertised.
(Captain Obvious laughs maniacally right about here.)
I was browsing Goodreads, and an ad popped up on my screen for a book. Flashy. Colorful. Bold. High praise. I thought, oooh, that sounds like a good book. And then I realized the author provided the reviews, the blurbs, the cover...oh. Oh.
The light came on in my mind. If I want to fork out a few hundred bucks or more, I can advertise my book almost anywhere.
Publicity is some percentage popularity, but it always gets its start from advertising.
Twilight got big over years' worth of publicity and word-of-mouth. But it started out as the publishing house choosing to market it.
It made me feel better, knowing that if I'm not happy with sales, then I can choose to influence those numbers by spending money. Not that I have a bunch of money, or even want to put my money there. But knowing that I could if I wanted to, made me feel better.
My marketing plan from the get-go has been that I would write a paranormal romance trilogy, and eventually the first book will be free. It ends with a great hook and engaging storyline. Most readers won't be able to resist buying the next books to see how it all ends. So that's the method I was planning on using which doesn't involve spending money, but actually 'losing' money. I guess in the end, there is always some kind of trade-off. I like feeling that there are other options.
Just thought I would share my late-to-the-party epiphany.