Another study that I mentioned before from PubTrack documented the book-buying behavior of 40,000 people from 2010 to 2011. According to this study, about 22% of book buyers said they bought a book because they liked the author, 11% bought a book because it was part of a series, and 8% bought a book because a friend or relative recommended it. Thus, these three categories that involve a direct or indirect familiarity with the author, accounted for 41% of book sales.
So what is a no-name author to do to generate sales of his/her book? The obvious answer is to build a platform and make yourself known. However, people have to not only know you but also be able to read your work. If they like you and your work, the sales will come when you sell your books. And the best way to do this is to give out free samples of what you write.
On sites like Scribd and Goodreads, writers can post samples of their work and share it online. You can gain a group of followers, and you can make friends, and contact friends of friends. Then use Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook to give out free samples of your work and direct people to your website. It is a process that for most writers will not happen overnight so if you have not done it yet, it is time to get started!