Bill Hobbs has a post about instalanches and Dean Esmay comments on the generally minimal long-term effects of getting a link from Glenn Reynolds. Along with Mr. Esmay, I too share the Commissar's view: instalanches are overrated and don't lead to many new frequent readers. (Although getting linked in Mr. Reynold's sidebar may have; I get hits from there every day.)
As Mr. Esmay wrote, I get more pleasure from being read and linked to by my regulars than from an ephemeral glance by the Instapundit. When a fellow third-tier blogger links to me it's usually to something I'm proud of having written that I put a decent amount of thought into. When Mr. Reynolds links to me it's usually for something inconsequential. For example, he never took notice of the Spherewide Short Story Symposium (or number two) despite all the excellent contributions by many writers. He's never linked to any of the opinion pieces I've written, or really to anything that's my own creation. I don't even email him anymore because I've gathered that he's not interested in the types of things I do -- which is fine, lots of people aren't.
Mr. Reynold's and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. He's always got interesting links, but I hate reading them because they taint my posts for the rest of the day. I don't want to just comment on stories he finds, but once I've read them it's hard to divert my attention. So I generally avoid Instapundit unless I've read everything else and can't think of anything else to do.
So I don't count on links from the major leagues to promote my blog. What I do instead is comment frequently (more or less) on the sites I read and like and go out of my way to find new blogs I haven't heard of and comment on their posts. That's one of my favorite uses of NZ Bear's blog Ecosystem. I remember how happy I was to get comments, readers, and links when I was starting out, so I go down into the reptiles and amphibians and find recently-updated blogs with interesting things to say. I leave a comment or two -- maybe post a link on my site -- and I'll frequently get a link and some comments in return. I think this type of intimate exposure is far more valuable than an occasional instalanche, plus I get to find all sorts of great new writers.
Anyway, your mileage may vary; this is the most effective plan I've been able to come up with, since I have no plans to move to Tennessee (the blogger-heartland of America).