In Part 2, I want to talk about more honest ways to get your name out there in a positive way, largely focusing on being a nice person in public.
How often have conversations about Neil Gaiman included the info that he's a really nice guy? I'm guessing it approaches 100% because he's a real nice guy. (I once saw him give a talk in a small room and someone's cellphone went off and she took the call and he didn't like it but he didn't make a deal about it at all.)
We could probably make a pretty good list of artists who are nice vs. artists who are jerks: Scalzi, Saladin Ahmed, Brandon Sanderson--all nice people who engage with their public, in blogs (Scalzi), on Twitter (Ahmed), through podcasts (Sanderson).
(By contrast, a friend went to a Robyn Hitchcock show; and the next day ran into him (at a White Stripes concert) and said what a great show it was and Robyn's response was "I know, I was there." Which might be fair, but isn't particularly nice.)
God knows I don't want a world where everyone is nice. But it is a pretty good method for getting your product consumed in some way. So, instead of sockpuppets pushing your work, you make sure that your target audience thinks of you in a fuzzy, warm way.
Give them something free and show them that you're interested in them: blog, Twitter, podcast, even a webcomic. (I just bought Kate Beaton's book and I've bought from Dorothy Gambrell before because I love their comics and I wanted to give back.)
That last might be the most surprising: if you give away your product, you may be able to get something back.
I wish we had some data on this, but for now, anecdata will have to do, so... have you ever been inclined to buy a product because the producer was nice?