Writing Conferences: How Do I get on a Panel?

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  • #202283
    ConnieCockrell
    Participant
    • Topics - 90
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    This morning I read a MarFisk post that she’s on several panels at BayCon in San Franciso in late May. I’ve read other posts by several FM authors that they participate on conference panels as well.

    How do you get to be on a panel at a conference? Do the organizers look for a particular set of skills or experience?

    #240502
    Magic Seeker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 97
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    I don’t know about BayCon, but many conventions beg for panelists. Write to the one you’re interested in and volunteer to speak. It’s probably too late for BayCon, but they might need a last-minute substitute.

    Happy writing,
    Deb Salisbury
    The Mantua-Maker, Quality Historical Sewing Patterns and Books
    www.mantua-maker.com

    The Art of the Hoop: 1860 - 1869, Dress, Sewing, and Clothing Care Advice
    https://www.mantua-maker.com/a---1860s-fashion.html

    Dead Wizard's Loot: Wizard Whitewing #1
    http://www.djsalisburybooks.com/Dead-Wizard-s-Loot.html

    #240503
    MarFisk
    Moderator
    • Topics - 572
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    I had been going to BayCon for years, and participated in their writing workshop. I was chatting with the woman at the table when pre-buying my next year’s ticket and my anthology publications came up. She said I should be a guest. It was a real eye-opener because I guess I hadn’t really thought of myself as real yet even though at that point I had three traditionally published short stories.

    So I dragged together my courage and asked if they’d be interested. They were :).

    Basically, my tips would be:

    a) It helps if you go to the con, but not absolutely essential.
    b) Go to the website for the con you’re interested in and they usually have a link to offer to be a guest. Each con is different so you do need to find out what being a guest means, and go through official channels because most cons are volunteer organizations with a lot of moving pieces so you want to be in the right slot or you’ll be overlooked. Also, it doesn’t hurt to remind them closer to when the guests are being announced if you asked the previous year. When you ask to be a panelist, don’t just state your resume. Talk about your areas of interest and what you think you bring to the table.
    c) Here’s what I think is the real trick to both enjoying it and being invited back: be friendly, flexible, and helpful. Well, that’s how I normally am, but it leaves a good impression and makes people interested in seeing you back. For example, sometimes the reason you’re on a panel isn’t immediately clear. Think on the topic given and even ask the moderator if you need some guidance. Try to contribute something to the discussion. Often you’ll be surprised at how much you have to contribute once a discussion starts.

    But most important of all: do it because it’s fun. Con goers are savvy folks. If you go there to market, people will be turned off. If you bring your stuff and put bookmarks on the freebie tables, people are often delighted, but panelists who use their introduction and closing, or worse the topic itself, as a sales pitch bring nothing to the conversation. (Speaking as a panelist, moderator, and con goer :)).

    She remakes mechanical devices, and he dreams of becoming a steamship captain in The Steamship Chronicles. Book 1 is free in eBook.
    https://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/the-steamship-chronicles/

    #240504
    ConnieCockrell
    Participant
    • Topics - 90
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    Thanks Magic and MarFisk. It’s always been a mystery to me. I thought they asked the author. Good tips. I’ll start researching to see what might fit.

    #240505
    Magic Seeker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 97
    • Replies - 1,298

    I just found a blog post that mentions this:

    “Conference organizers are very busy and overworked people. If you can suggest a great topic when you submit a proposal to them, the odds are getting invited to the conference go up.”

    http://blog.janicehardy.com/2015/05/four-ways-to-prepare-for-book.html

    Happy writing,
    Deb Salisbury
    The Mantua-Maker, Quality Historical Sewing Patterns and Books
    www.mantua-maker.com

    The Art of the Hoop: 1860 - 1869, Dress, Sewing, and Clothing Care Advice
    https://www.mantua-maker.com/a---1860s-fashion.html

    Dead Wizard's Loot: Wizard Whitewing #1
    http://www.djsalisburybooks.com/Dead-Wizard-s-Loot.html

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