Monday, November 9, 2015

LCC Tips: Scoring a Panel Slot

by Rochelle Staab, LCC2016 Member at Large

In my newbie conference days I often wondered how authors got seated on a panel to talk about their books and generate interest and curiosity in their work. After all, especially at conferences like LCC that draw a large number of readers, panel sessions are a direct path to attract a new-to-you audience or meet some of your fan base. I wanted in.

I’ve heard one or two published authors say they refuse to register for a conference unless they are guaranteed a panel. Guess what, Too-Cool-for-the-Room? It doesn’t work that way unless you’re an invited guest. The rest of us check the right boxes on the registration form, cross our fingers, and hope to see our names listed when the panel schedule comes out.

The Bottom Line:
  • Do you have to be famous? No. 
  • Do you have to be registered for LCC? Yes, by December 15, 2015. 
  • Do you have to be published mystery author? Yes, with a book released by June 1, 2016. 
  • What about self-published authors? Also eligible.
Before you get all excited and email me directly for a panel slot—forget it. I have nothing to do with LCC conference programming. I’m in the same panel-aspiring boat you are. However, I learned two tricks over the years that I believe help to increase the odds. Because we’re friends, I’m sharing them with you.

  1. Register Early. Think about it. The conference begins February 25. The programming committee will be hard at work creating and populating panels from the pool of registered authors at least a month before. Dive in now! How can you score a panel if your name isn’t in the mix? (Don’t forget to fill out the panel info section for authors when you register.) Are you already registered, but forgot to click the panel info, or just want to up your chances? Then, 
  2. Suggest new session ideas. Programming committees like input, so get creative. Create a new panel you’d like to participate on or moderate—a sub-genre niche, a specialty topic, or a unique area of interest to fans. Email your suggestions to:
These tips won’t guarantee you a panel slot, but why not give it a try? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I wish you luck, and can’t wait to see you in Phoenix!
Rochelle Staab is the best-selling author of the Mind for Murder Mystery series, and winner of the LCC 2013 Watson Award.

1 comment:

  1. I think a session on "Voice" would be useful. Craft is remediable, Story (if it has good bones) can be fixed. Voice sells the book to a publisher and to reaqders. Alas, I cannot be taught, but it can be learned. I have read I don't know how many pages at conferences and the one thing that is lacking in the vast majority is a clear, compelling voice.