But there is one convention which requires authors to conduct a few un-moderated panels as payment for their tables. Otherwise, one can rent a table in the dealers room ... and be buried in maker's wares.
I know many authors who, for various reasons, disdain of being on panels at conventions, me included. For one thing, one doesn't dare approaching the podium without having done loads of preparation.
I've been on several panels, and I can tell you that they do not play to my strengths. I am not usually shy, but standing there, alone, at the front of the room and acting like an authority on ... something ...?
I would be so much more at ease if I were doing a reading of my poetry, and answering questions about my work and my process. I am well versed there, but that's not what is required in this case.
There is a huge difference between doing a presentation on blogs, and reciting poetry. I've been writing this blog for a couple of years now, but does that qualify me to give a dissertation on blogging?
I recently read a quote by John C. Maxwell, an American author who focuses primarily on issues of leadership. He said, "People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude." Uh oh. Indeed, they do.
Well, I decided to place the "effort and emotional toll" of doing panels on one dish of the balance scale, and weighed that against "an opportunity to reach out to readers and would be readers of verse."
It was soon apparent that those dreaded panels are, alas, a necessary evil. I have had enough of all this fretting and pondering, and of listening to various bits of advice. I've decided to do a few panels...
... at least, for the time being.