I just returned from Mayhem in the Midlands in Omaha. Great mystery conference. One thing I've really learned to do after all these mystery cons is to be a good moderator and a good panelist.
I moderated a YA panel. Beforehand, I asked the panelists for questions and fortunately they send me lots because I know nothing about writing for that audience. I knew two of the men on the panel from previous Mayhems and fortunately met the other young man before the panel. I made sure that each person had equal time to speak to each questions--and cut off someone who was a bit on the long-winded side.
One of the panels I was on, had two superstars--the toastmistress and guest of honor as panelists. I knew the room was crowded because of them. When I did speak, I mainly gave one-liners and made people laugh.
I was also on a panel about religion in mystery. Because I'd taken the time to read books by the two authors I didn't know (and they were young and nervous), I was able to make comments about their books as well as mine. (William Ken Krueger attended this panel and was kind enough to tell me that I was a great panelist. Since he's one of my favorite authors, I appreciated his praise.)
The most fun panel wasn't really a panel at all, it was called a Conversation with Authors. Radine Nehring had prepared some great questions, and she, Nancy Pickard and I sat in a circle with the audience around us. That was lots of fun and I think everyone enjoyed it. I've read almost all of Radine's books and I'd purchased Nancy's latest and read it. Knowing how and what they both write helped a lot with the conversation.
I sold more books this year at this conference than ever before, so I must've done something right.