I hope lots of emerging writers are finding this OTP site because the promotional ideas being generated are the result of our combined years of trial and error. And success. Right now, I'm actually booking talks and signings through next November.
There are two separate kinds of venues to explore (1) groups looking for speakers; these include Chamber, Writers Circles, Women's Groups and the Rotary, as well as libraries. Your primary objective here is to give a talk and hopefully sell books afterward. You may even get paid for your appearance; (2) pure book signings, in book stores and corporate venues; many corporations invite vendors in as an ongoing "treat" for their employees. Contact the Human Resources dept to find out about their attitudes and rules around this. Also, around the holiday times, there are lots of craft fairs that would welcome an author; table charges are generally minimal and you could share with another author.
Getting these engagements takes time and energy, but it's not difficult. Design fliers and send them to non-profit groups outlining a list of topics you're available to speak on. Get together with a few other authors in your area and offer to present a panel on writing and publishing. For pure book signings, I'd suggest a phone call rather than a flier. For fairs, read your local papers and be proactive in securing a space.
The rule here is the same for all relationships: show up, pay attention, and do the work. It's always worth the effort. -- Patricia Sheehy, author