Not only do you write, but you have a lot to say. How do you find opportunities for author panels, workshops, and other speaking engagements? Note these are often an investment of your time, energy, and money, and you may not get to sell books at every event. But you are meeting people and talking about your work. A lot of times, I see my ebook sales spike after an event. People may not have bought a book at the event, but they did later. Here is what has worked for me.
Join a writers’ group. I’m a member of two groups that keep a database of volunteers who will speak to schools, colleges, libraries, and other groups.
Offer to speak at book clubs. Get the word out on your website and newsletter that you’ll visit or Skype with book groups. Tell all your reader friends. Contact your library and local book stores to see if they have book groups that would be interested in writer visits.
Get to know your librarians. Many are looking for programming ideas, and they need speakers or people to lead workshops. Our mystery group writes a murder script each year for our local library’s fundraiser. They have an event where the audience tries to solve the mystery, and the authors discuss and sign their books.
I speak to school groups and English classes because I want to encourage young writers. Usually, this isn’t an opportunity to sell books, but I always have bookmarks, pencils, or swag for each kid.
Connect with other writers in your area to see where they do appearances. See what they recommend. This gives you insight into venues, how the events do publicity, and the audience that you can expect.
Connect with other writing groups. They often need speakers or instructors for workshops and conferences.
If you attend a conference that has panelist opportunities, sign up. I love meeting fellow authors and talking about books. These usually have book signing opportunities too.
Google writing events or conferences to see what is offered in your area.
Be creative. I’m in several themed anthologies, and we did signings at wineries and wine shows or the book that was wine-themed. We have some pet expo signings lined up for our dog-themed anthology this year.
Talk to your friends who are in clubs and organizations. Many of these are looking for speakers for their monthly programming.
If there is a fee to register or a cost to rent a table, you need to weigh the cost and your investment of time. Think about sharing a table with another author to keep the cost down. Also, when I do handouts for workshops and speaking engagements, I always make sure my website, newsletter, and social media links are listed.