Author and all-around decent person Michelle Sagara has a long post about how not to be a jerk on a science fiction convention panel (particularly if one is a new and/or self-published author), which I suggest you read if you a) ever desire to be on a science fiction convention panel and b) not be an ass when you are. As a bit of disclosure, Michelle uses me as an example of someone who gives pretty good panel, which is flattering; I do try.
If you can’t be bothered to click through and read what Michelle has to say, here’s the takeaway thing to remember:
The panel isn’t about you. Every attempt to make it about you exposes you as a bit of a desperate ass.
This is often a hard thing for new and/or self-published authors to internalize. But they should make the effort. Fact is, the audience for a panel is going to be more interested in you and your work if you say interesting things on the panel topic, are engaged with the audience and gracious with your fellow panelists, than if you build a table fort of your books and view your fellow panelists as blank ciphers wonk-wonking in Peanuts adult voices keeping you from talking about what’s really important, i.e., you and your book. I know, hard to believe, right? Yet, oddly, true.
That said, do read what Michelle has to say.
Update, 5:51pm: Can’t get the LiveJournal link above to work for you?
Here’s an alternate version of the same post. Whoops, seems to be down, too. Stupid Internets!