After The Panel


I turn off the webcam. It is time for lunch, which I made an hour before. I ran upstairs and grabbed a plate, before running downstairs to work on another assignment. Then I looked at the feedback on a Discord, where the creator of the writing website that I use to complete quests asks questions. I gush like a fangirl and ask about the new duck fantasy creatures. They are majestic, and some with names that bring me joy.

Last Saturday, I joined a panel about writing representation, with accuracy and heart, in fantasy literature. It was a time to express my disappointment in Tamora Pierce for some actions, and wonder if I was rambling too much for each question out of nerves. I brought up the stories that I considered had good representation, and the ones in between. And of course, I referenced a Tumblr blog where I contributed ideas as a moderator. It felt safe to talk about Tamora Pierce’s missteps, and about some of my experiences both hiring sensitivity readers and acting as one.

Doing virtual panels is one way of building up your credentials as a writer, and showing your specialties. It can also be a way to crash and burn if you say something on-camera racist that will proceed to go viral. Then reviewers like me have to delete the reviews of your books and wonder where the red flags are. That’s why it’s important to show up as your best self if possible. If you can’t manage your best, then eighty percent should suffice. If none of you wants to show up, there is no shame in using the mute button at times.

We are a few years into this pandemic. That means that writing and presenting in either conferences or conventions has changed as we know it. The Nebulas are going to be online, and WorldCon will be hybrid. So now is the time to show up as your best self, and prepare to impress, if you are preparing to promote yourself and show your skills.

Virtual panels sae the time and costs on traveling that would otherwise appear. They also seem to be here to stay. So put on your game face and bring eighty percent of your best effort to the webcam. You never know what will happen.