Google. Love 'em or hate 'em, you have to admire some of the interesting things they do, the experiments they try and the initiatives they launch. Here's an article from The San Francisco Chronicle that talks about a Google-hosted author event program. (Thanks to my colleague Mariann B. for sending this one along.) It's a great opportunity for Google employees to hear what the author has to say and it apparently creates a captive audience for potential book sales: The article notes how "At public bookstore events, 10 to 20 percent of the people buy books. At corporate events, 50 to 80 percent buy books and attendance tends to be higher."
As an author, you might be thinking, "sure, it's easy for Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's to get an audience at Google. He's a well-known name and perhaps even a celebrity. I can't compete on that level." While you're probably not as popular as Ben Cohen and you may not get into Google (at first), what about other large companies and organizations in your local community? Are they likely to be interested in a brown bag lunch session, similar what Google is doing on a larger scale? Start there and work your way up to the Google's, Microsoft's, etc. And since there are probably opportunities in your own back yard you won't have to spend money getting there.
I also noticed the Authors@Google site referenced in this article. The site lists over 100 of these videos including many in their Women@Google and Candidates@Google programs. It's a neat way of enjoying one of the Google employee perks without actually working there.