This year has been interesting, to say the least. And the next few months might prove to be even more interesting. But instead of focusing on what you might not be able to control, let’s shift toward what you can. With all of the challenges 2020 has presented, this year has also introduced new opportunities for writers.
One of those opportunities is networking and growing as a writer through a larger number of online events. The world has gone virtual, which is good news for the artist. Even big events like the New York Pitch Conference see the value of online opportunities and are creating hybrid options for the future.
I’ve rounded up a few of the online writing resources you should be taking advantage of right now. Some of the following are free while others have a ticket price. Still, the accessibility has been greatly increased with the reduction of travel, meals, and lodging costs.
Dominican University of California’s MFA low residency program has extended an invitation to writers and front line workers to attend their virtual Writing for Health and Healing Retreat. This is a free two-day event that they offered once in the spring and once in the fall. To stay informed of an upcoming virtual event like this one, follow them on Facebook. During the one held in October, the comment was made that they have enjoyed opening up the program in this way to others and may continue doing so post-pandemic.
Virtual Writing Conferences have created accessibility to a larger audience and reduced the overall cost of attending. Check in with your local writer’s association and discover how they will be conducting their next conference. The Florida Writers Association (FWA) just completed a successful online event full of workshops, an award ceremony, and opportunities to connect with agents and publishers.
There are a number of writers conferences that have always been 100% online. You can rest assured they’ve already worked out the technical challenges and know how to manage the Zoom rooms and dropped connections.
Literary and Book Festivals have also gone virtual allowing you to hear directly from authors worldwide, within your genre and your niche. This is an opportunity to see and hear what resonates with others and find comp books and future audiences for your work. Here are a few upcoming ones:
You can find valuable resources and connections at non-writing events as well. Think outside of the box. eCornell has been offering some significant Keynote events on racial justice, law, technology, politics, sustainability, and more. Whatever your niche or the topic of your latest book is, now is the time to take advantage of connections you can make online.
One great way to find virtual events, in writing or your specific niche, is on EventBrite.
Here are a few writing ones coming up:
Individual authors have also expanded their reach with the tools of social media and eCommerce platforms during our extended stays at home.
Maggie Stiefvater, a bestselling New York Times novelist, was teaching writing workshops around the country. Now she is online, and her seminar is available for download on Etsy.
Jonathan Mayberry, another NYTimes bestseller and 5-time Bram Stoker Award winner, connects with other writers and fans through weekly Facebook Lives, where he takes questions from the audience.
Follow your favorite authors; many of them are more than willing to answer questions and share their experiences.
Regardless of what event you choose, there are a few things to remember.
#1 Zoom fatigue is a real thing. Do not overbook your schedule in front of the computer. Give yourself breaks.
#2 Create a quiet space where you can focus on the conference. Stay engaged and focused. You won’t get the full value if you are multitasking.
#3 Just because an opportunity is there doesn’t mean you have to take it. Don’t forget to set time aside to write.
#4 Have conversations on social media and in the chat room with other attendees. You never know where one conversation may lead.
Rick Lite of Stress Free Book Marketing, stands at the forefront of the ever-changing book industry. He is a seasoned book marketing professional with over 15 years of experience in the industry. Rick’s expertise comes from tirelessly working on new and innovative ways to market his own books and CDs with his company and parent company, Stress Free Kids. Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and growth, Rick works closely with authors to create custom, robust book marketing programs. His easy-going manner provides “stress-free” support and comfort to authors going through the book marketing process for the first time. Rick is quick to share his knowledge and “insider tips” for a successful marketing campaign that will lead to increased exposure, awareness and most importantly, sales.