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


Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw


Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.


Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/


Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)


Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:


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.


Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.

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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.

Anonymous 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.