Well, let's see. I belong to the following writing groups, display, news and blog review sites.
We Do Write
Those are the ones that I can remember off the top of my head. I've been at most of them for several months, if not years. I've had five novels see print, and have listed them with most of these sites. It's so difficult to remember all of my passwords and usernames that I've had to keep a hand-written spread sheet handy just so I could keep track of where I've been and where I have to go, and if I can ever get back in to update my information.
I'm the first one to admit that I can't physically attend to all of these sites and keep them up-dated. I wouldn't have enough hours in the day to handle three or four of them alone. I network as best I can and contribute when and where I think I'll get the best exposure and results. The reader population from all of these groups most certainly is in the hundreds of thousands--maybe even the millions. It's hard to say--they're growing every day with the influx of new members.
Here's my rant and my point. Having had these books online, some for many years, I'm not certain if all that exposure and labor in attending to massive online promotion is having any great significance in sales. It appears that the first purchasers are family and friends, and they might pick up about 75 to 100 copies. Then the book flat-lines. I think it can truly be said now, as I've heard resolutely from my writing peers, that display sites (YADS) are nearly worthless for marketing and promotion. Friends, the only way you are ever going to sell print books is if they are in real brick and mortar stores, stacked on the selves. Period.
That is unless you are aspiring to become an internet whore and spend all of your time in these electronic gulags. And if you do that, tell me, will you ever have time to write a single word of fiction or non-fiction ever again? I've made tons of friends, been proposed to, and found long-lost loves on these sites. Yet it's doubtful I've made more than a handful of sales to these people, and if I have, I don't know where they came from.
So, if anyone ever tells you that the internet is the place to sell books (with the exception of E-books), ask them where they got their information. Just after a recent and in-depth survey, I discovered that the best Amazon.com numbers came from publishers who had distribution and bookstore presence, and garnered reviews from pro publications like Kirkus, Publisher's Marketplace, and Library Journal. Book stores still outsell the internet when it comes to mass-market paperbacks, trade and hardback books.
Tip of the day: Before you even think about advertizing your first published book anywhere on the internet, make sure you have a blog or website in place that has several thousand page reads per day and hundreds of subscribers. That home audience can likely get the ball rolling for you by word of mouth, and account for several hundred book sales.
Mini-rant over. Lesson learned.