There are a lot of options open to authors now a days when it comes to promotion. The problem is picking what works best. Depending on what you write, and what your comfort level is, will determine how you run the promotional side of things.
Personally I love getting out and meeting new people and trying new things. I love the research that goes into the stories that push the boundaries of what I'm comfortable with. I'm not easily embarassed and I'm kinda loud and playful and hugs from new friends kick ass, so I enjoy going to cons and signings and readings, etc... For people that are shy theses types of promotional gigs are a bit scary and way too intimidating, especially for newcomers. That's okay. there are plenty of other ways to ease yourself out of that shy shell online before you venture out in person.
Free goodies are great but can get really expensive. Vistaprint is a wonderful place to get stuff at a discount or sometimes even free. If you aren't comfortable peddling your cards at local bookstores then look for the review places that are always in need of goodies for their goodie bags. It's a great way to get your name out there.
I know some people aren't fond of yahoo groups but I don't know what I would do without mine. I actually have several. My personal yahoo group, my lesbian writer's group and a critique group.
Host chats, run contests, get in on promotional groups. Just remember, if you aren't willing to tell people about your stories then who will?
Come see me on September 11 in DC at The Crucible from 11am-6pm as part of the fetish flea where I'll be hosting a vendor's table with DL King and Jhada Addams. I'll have free goodie bags, my big goodie box and autographed books with all sorts of yummy, sexy goodness in them. For more info: