I like to attend events that I may have to do in the future and study the people doing them for tips (anyone else do this?). So I'll go to loads of booksignings and take notes on how authors handle them. Do they read from their book and how much? Do they start or end with a Q&A? Do they talk about their publication journey or tell funny stories about how they came up with the idea for their book?
This past weekend I had the chance to see fellow Deb, Saundra Mitchell, on a panel at Printer's Row in Chicago. The panel was called Young and Restless and authors: Jacquelyn Mitchard, James Kennedy, and Sally Nemeth, participated alongside Saundra.
(Saundra is the blonde.)
The event lasted for about an hour and there was a moderator who kept things moving along-- posing questions to the authors and then giving each author a chance to answer. The authors talked about marketing to teens, pacing, and what they wish they had known then (totally great question for a panel! I love hearing what obstacles authors ran into so I can prepare) and ended with a Q&A from the audience.
When you're a debuting author, like myself, I highly advise going to the various events that you may be participating in in the future. They sound sort of scary when you just hear about the event (or maybe that's just me. Before seeing a panel the idea of being on one gave me a little shiver; but really it looked like a fun, relaxed time. It was more like being in on a conversation with a lot of knowledgeable people. Except they sat in a straight line behind a table and we sat in the audience. :-) ) but seeing other people do it first will definitely calm the nerves!