We’ve talked about how to have a successful talk: pointers to prepare for the speech and how to conduct the workshop, then how to follow up.
Now ... how do you snag speaking engagements? The fact of the matter is that you have to go after them. Offer your services. Let service organizations know you're available to speak. When you hear of a conference or weekend workshop nearby, send in workshop proposals (months in advance). Call bookstores and offer to speak at a signing. Call every writers organization in your area, small and large, and offer to speak at one of their meetings. Hook up with libraries. Figure out what niche markets fit your book or you. If you're a YA author, call the local schools. If your protagonist is a gardener, look up the garden clubs, shops, and so on.
When you're traveling, contact in advance the local radio and TV stations. See if they could use you. Remember to make you and your subject or book enticing. Think of it from their perspective. What is it about you or your expertise that would make them want to interview you and take up their expensive air time? What's your irresistible angle?
Being able to talk about yourself, your book, or your subject matter is a good way to increase your sales. So, arrange those speaking opportunities, take three slow, deep breaths, and go for it.
5 months ago