I am very fortunate to be a part of several writing groups that are invited to book talks, workshops, and book fairs. Here are some ideas that you can use for networking and promotion.
1. We've had the pleasure of being a part of the local Friends of the Library's "Murder at the Library" event fundraiser. We wrote a short mystery for the library staff to act out, and we were asked to host a panel discussion and book signing. Approach your local library or Friends of the Library group about hosting a fundraiser or a programming event that you and your author friends can volunteer to assist with.
2. My mystery writers group has offered workshops and programs for book festivals. We've received rock star treatment at the events, and it's nice to be a part of the event's publicity and book signings. We keep a pool of workshop proposals, panel questions, materials, and handouts that we can use if a new event is seeking submissions or proposals. Look for book festivals, book fairs, and fundraisers in your area.
3. My company has an annual giving campaign, and I donate a book and sweets basket each year. Fundraisers and silent auctions are always looking for donations. This is a good way to build a themed basket to promote your books. And you can always partner with another author to keep costs down.
4. Look for guest blog opportunities. Interviews or blog posts are a great way to promote your blog and books. And many bloggers are thrilled to have the content.
5. Volunteer. It's a great way to do positive work in your community, and it's an opportunity to meet new people. You'll be surprised at the contacts you'll make.
6. Call your local book stores. Many would love to have a panel, discussion, or workshop in addition to a signing.
7. Check with the museums and cultural centers in your area for opportunities. We've done several panel discussions at local museums.
8. Make connections with the colleges and universities in your area. Also let your alumni association know that you'd be willing to do a presentation or Skype with students. We're going to be part of a city Lit Crawl this year that involves several writing groups and universities. (It's like a pub crawl, but with books. There are multiple book readings across the city over a two-day period, and people hop from event to event to see local writers.)
There are a lot of opportunities in your local communities. Sometimes, it just takes making some connections and asking if you can volunteer. Let me know what else you'd add to the list. Best wishes with your book marketing.