If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Seven Characteristics of a Great Panel Moderator

Last weekend Jan and I attended Magna cum Murder in Indianapolis. I found most of the panels well run and the panelists thoughtful and interesting. Two panels stuck out from the rest. One was extremely well moderated; the other, not so much.

Here are six things the exemplary moderator did well:

1.       Before the panel started, the moderator had clearly done his homework. He was familiar with each of the panelist’s writing. Before the conference he provided the panelists a list of areas he planned for them to discuss.
2.       He began the discussion with a description of the panel and a very brief introduction of himself.
3.       He provided a short introduction to each of the four panelists (the conference provided longer bios in the conference book).
4.       He varied which panelist discussed each question first. His introduction of the topic often included specific reference to the panelist’s work (the advantage of homework).
5.       He asked other panelists to comment on interesting observations one of them had made, often choosing a panelist with a different perspective (another advantage of doing his homework).
6.       He never interjected himself into the conversations, except to provide transitions between panelists or to introduce a new topic for discussion.
7.       He never provided his opinions, disagreed with the panelists, or offered elaboration on their answers.

The exemplary moderator acted as a lubricant for the discussion. He did his job so well, one of the panelists commented on it and audience gave the moderator an ovation. In contrast, the less-than-satisfactory moderator failed on a number of accounts.

1.       The moderator surprised the panelists by asking them to introduce themselves, when the previously announced game plan had been for the moderator to make all the introductions.
2.       The moderator’s introduction of himself lasted longer than the introduction of the panelists.
3.       For each topic discussed, the moderator provided his own answer after the four panelists had talked, and used each answer to self-promote.
4.       The moderator read each of ten items on a handout he had already provided the audience.
5.       When it came time for questions from the floor, the moderator answered questions directly.

A moderator’s objective should be to make the panel run smoothly and help make the panelists look good. Solely based on their performance as moderators, I’ll be buying the first person’s newest mystery, and never buy the other moderator’s books, no matter how good they might be, based on their hijack of the panel. I suspect most of the audience feels the same way.


~ Jim

6 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

I've never been on a panel, Jim. But as a member of the audience, I can relate. There's nothing worse than a self-promoting moderator. A moderator's job to me includes helping to promote the panelists and to do that, like interviewing, you must know the authors' work and direct questions to the author whose writing best exemplifies the answer. A moderator who doesn't do research, is like an uninformed interviewer asking canned questions that don't illuminate the author's work to the audience.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

EB,

You make an excellent parallel point about interviewers. I had not thought about that when I wrote this piece, but the research is something you do so well in your interviews.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Good topic, Jim. Like E.B., I've never been on a panel, but I'm going to save your comments for a time I just may be on one.

Shari Randall said...

Great information, Jim. This will be filed away - just in case.

KM said...

Thanks, Jim. We all know that some panels go well & are very interesteing, & some seem to kind of fizzle instead of sparkle, and here you have helped us understand why and given us some guidelines for both benefiting from panels and perhaps being on them.

Kara Cerise said...

Good observations, Jim. I will also save this information.