But, have they REALLY tried "everything?" Probably not. What they really mean is they aren't sure how to move forward. The author may be out of ideas, may not know what the niche market for their book is or maybe they identified the wrong niche market for their book, which is actually common. Sometimes, the niche market for your book isn't what you think it is.
Many authors focus on bookstores at the expense of everything else. With the recent closure announcement from Borders, we can see that bookstores are struggling, too. Bookstores do sell books, and should be a part of every author's marketing strategy. However, it shouldn't be the only place where authors try to promote their books.
Here are a few ideas you may not have tried. Or, if you have tried some of them, this list might serve as a launch point for you to come up with some other ideas you may not have considered. In my experience, there is always something new you can try to promote your book. Even if it doesn't work, at least you can say you tried it.
Contact local book clubs and offer to speak to them about your book.
Contact local schools and offer to do presentations about writing a book, being an author or the subject matter from your book.
Contact local day care providers (if you have a children's book) and offer to come in and read to the kids. Send order forms a week prior to your appearance so parents can order your book.
Contact the local chamber of commerce and let them know you are available as a guest speaker.
Contact your local visitors and convention bureau and let them know you are available as a guest speaker for any conventions or conferences coming up in your area.
Contact your local gyms and fitness centers (if you have a diet or fitness book) and offer to teach a free class (where you can sell your books).
Contact your local Kiwanis, Rotary and Lions clubs. They are always looking for guest speakers.
Contact the organizers of local fairs and festivals and get a booth at their event where you can do readings and sign books.
Contact local museums (if you have a book which deals with history, especially local history).
Contact local public libraries and let them know you are available for signings, speaking engagements, and author events. They may stock your book, but even if they don't you can usually sell your books at the events.
Join writers groups to network and take part in local author events. These are not places to try to sell your books directly. Other members are trying to sell their books, too.
Network on Facebook. REALLY network (with readers). Joining author pages and writing groups is fine, but they are made up of other authors trying to sell their books. You should be trying to reach READERS in these groups.
This is just a short list to help you brainstorm and get started. Do you have other ideas not included in this list? Post them in the comments section! Thanks!