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In which I dish about moderating a panel of authors.

Did your jaw drop open when you read the title? I know just how you feel. Let me tell you the backstory.

Heather from Age 30+… A Lifetime of Books asked me, I don’t know, back in January, to be on a panel she was doing at the Baltimore Book Festival about book clubs. I’m no expert on book clubs, but my journey to starting my own book club was long and arduous, and now that I have my own I’ve been obsessively interviewing other book clubs to figure out how they work, so while I’m no expert, I actually kinda am. I told Heather I would absolutely do it if I had the money to make it out there. Well, things fell into place and before I knew it I was confirming with her that I’d be able to come. And I was totally stoked! I was going to be on a panel! In front of people! With a microphone! At a book festival!

And then.

Heather emailed me and was like, Respond within 10 seconds of my sending this or you will hate yourself forever! Luckily, I had my email open so I saw it as soon as it came in (oh, who am I kidding? My email is practically a fifth appendage.), and Heather explained that the folks running the Baltimore Book Festival had asked her to moderate a panel…an author  panel, but she couldn’t do it, so she wanted to know if I was interested?



Umm…am I interested in MODERATING AN AUTHOR PANEL AT A BOOK FESTIVAL? Where do I sign, because I’ve already talked to my husband about promising my first born child to you?

So the day of the Baltimore Book Festival rolls around. There’s a ton of bloggers in the DC area, but everyone, I mean EVERYONE, was going to the National Book Festival. So I’m wondering if my panel really happened, since none of my friends were there to see it, but since the shirt I wore still has sweat stains from that day, I’m pretty sure it happened.

But before I can tell you about MY panel, I have to tell you about the panel I was on with Heather, because that happened first.

Book Club ToolkitFirst, this is Heather’s graphic for her panel. Isn’t it awesome?

Heather found great people for this panel. One panelist teaches librarians how to moderate book clubs, and another panelist who is a native English speaker is in a book club that discusses in Spanish books that are written in Spanish. Freaking amazing.

Anyway, Heather’s panel went perfectly! She allowed time for questions, she had books to give away, she had an outline of points she wanted to cover, she kept the panelists on track, and she looked beautiful. There was easilty 25-30 people who attended the panel, which was perfect! Basically, she filled the seats she was allotted.

I can’t say enough nice things about Heather.

Then. THEN. It was time for MY panel. The panel was entitled Fabulous Females of Fiction: Four NY Times Bestselling authors dish about their writing, their characters, and their lives. The authors were:

And then I found out that my panel was on the main stage. THE MAIN STAGE. I think I fainted when I found out.

There was bright lights on us, we had snazzy directors’ chairs, and someone introduced ME! As if I was important and didn’t end up being the moderator on a total fluke!

Unfortunately, I don’t have much to report after this. I ultimately asked 3 questions, but with 4 authors, that’s all we had time for. The time flew by and I did my best not to look like a grinning idiot, but I think I failed at that. I hope I can moderate a panel again in the future. It was so fun, so exhilerating, and so…ADULT.

Also, there was 50+ people in the audience. Pretty cool.

That’s all. That’s all the story I’ve got about my panel. Sorry there’s no pictures! Not only had I left my own camera at home (which was 3,000 miles away), but none of my friends were there to take pictures. But I swear it happened!

Speaking of pictures, I’m going to lift some pictures off other blogs to show you what a great time we had. I couldn’t possibly mention everyone, but I did want to mention a few special people I met (or already knew from another event and was excited to see them again).

heather trish amy

Heather, me, and Amy.

heather nicole michelle

Heather, Nicole, and Michelle.

trish and garret freymann weyr

Garret Freymann-Weyr and me. We geeked out over each other, and she made my day by saying how cute I was. She and I would be so fun together!

These are the only pics I have, and they’re thanks to Heather.

Rebecca is…amazing. She’s hilarious, fun, and smart. Pretty much I want to be her friend, but being across country is frustrating!

I could go on and on about how fun it was to share a hotel room with Nicole, about how Amy is always so fun to hang out with and chat with, about how I couldn’t wait to meet Michelle because she and I spend a lot of time chatting on gmail, about how I got to see Swapna’s house…but I won’t bore you with all of that!

Each blogger meet-up is more fun than the last! The next event I’ll be attending is the LA Times Festival of Books on April 24 & 25, 2010. You should come!


31 Responses to “In which I dish about moderating a panel of authors.”

  1. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    It was wonderful fun as always. 😉


  2. Kathy

    Oh, how I wish I could have been there. It sounds like a wonderful weekend all the way around. I know you and Heather were the best moderators there!


  3. nikki

    Count me in as one who was at National Book Fest. Too bad, I <3 your blog and would have loved to have met you!


  4. Steph

    I was at neither the National Book Festival nor the Baltimore Book Festival… I was stranded here in Nashville… but man what an exciting opportunity for you! Certainly one of those “remember for the rest of your life” kind of deals! I am sure you were wonderful!


  5. Heather J.

    Thank you SO MUCH for being on my panel – and for the great recap! And guess what? I have pictures of you with the authors on your panel. 🙂 I’ll email them to you shortly.


  6. Julie P.

    Help! I’m moderating a panel of children’s authors in November. I’d love it if you’d e-mail me some of your questions (if you’re willing to share some ideas.) I’m a nervous wreck and don’t really know what I’m doing!


  7. Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog

    You are also amazing, and I plan to continue this lovefest in the comments sections of our blogs for absolutely as long as possible. And let’s close this continent-sized gap between us, please!


  8. melanie

    Well, nuts. I’m only about 10 miles away and would have been so stoked to see you. But of course, everytime a fun book event is happening, I’m on vacation! Next year?


  9. Natasha @ Maw Books

    SO MUCH FUN!!!!! Put me in the jealousy corner. So excited for you! And what a great opportunity! And fun book bloggers!!!!!!


  10. Hilary

    I had no idea Baltimore had a book festival as well!! Geeze, I hope that and the National Book Festival does not fall on the same weekend again next year. It sounds like you had such an awesome time there though!


  11. Heather J.

    Hilary – Unfortunately, the two festivals are always on the same weekend. 🙁


  12. Aunt Becky

    Dude. That looks like a crazy fun time and I’m not even close to a book blogger.


  13. Care

    You ROCK!


  14. Esme

    Congrats-hope to see you at the LA Book Festival next year.


  15. Jenn's Bookshelves

    How did I miss this!? Oh yea…I was hacking up my lungs. I’m so bummed that I wasn’t able to see you, even more bummed that I couldn’t see your panel!! I’m sure you did an outstanding job, because you rock!


  16. Corinne

    OH MAN. I know this was so awesome. I wish I had been there. I bet you SMOKED it – and main stage too!! Wahoo!!


  17. Literate Housewife

    Trish, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to comment here. I’ve been sick as a dog. I think that my trip to DC didn’t help, but I wouldn’t have changed anything for the world! I am so glad that I got to meet you. Your time at the Baltimore festival sounds so delightful, too. I wish I could have been there to be your witness. LOL!


  18. Melody

    I enjoyed reading this post! I’m glad you all had a wonderful time! 🙂


  19. Sheila DeChantal

    This is so wonderful! You look like (and sound like) you had a blast!


  20. Beth F

    Wow!!! So wonderful and what an opportunity. So glad you were able to jump right on the opportunity. Sob!!!!!! That I wasn’t there.


  21. Jen - Devourer of Books

    Okay, so help me find a reason that I HAVE to come to California in April! My mom went to the LATFOB last year. She wanted me to come but I told her, ‘uh, hello, I’m like 7 months pregnant!’ I would LOVE to head up there since my parents don’t live that far from LA. Of course, if it comes down to being between that and BEA, I’d rather hit BEA.


  22. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)

    Sounds like you had a great time at both panels. I wish I hadn’t missed the book club panel.


  23. Florinda

    Sounds like it all went VERY well – congratulations! And I’ll look forward to seeing you in LA next April :-). I won’t be going to BEA since I already have two NYC trips planned next summer (family vacation in June, BlogHer’10 in August), but I WILL NOT MISS the LA Times Festival of Books!


  24. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

    Congrats on moderating a panel, that sounds awesome!


  25. zibilee

    Wow! Congratulations on hosting an author panel! It sounds like it was a great experience. I would love to be able to attend some bookish events like this sometime, they seem like a great place to connect with some great authors, bloggers, and readers.


  26. sarah pekkanen

    Yay Trish!! Can you post a video? (I’m still laughing over your Nicholas Sparks one…)
    Would love to see you in action, you moderator, you.


  27. S. Krishna

    This was so awesome! Thanks for posting about it. Oh, and my husband said he meant it when he said that he didn’t mind if I came to the LA Festival of Books…but it’s right before finals, so we’ll see!


  28. Jenners

    You are living the blogging dream!!!

    Now I’m going to add this to my list of “amazing things that perhaps I can do someday too”! ; )


  29. Lenore

    Of course I am mega envious! Looking forward to our meeting in Dec!!


  30. Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books

    What an awesome experience – all of it! Hanging out with fun book bloggers, moderating the author panel, being on the book club panel … I loved reading everyone’s posts (and seeing the pics!) about the weekend.


  31. Lisamm

    Jealous!! Sounds like a ton of fun. Great pictures, too!


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