There’s no doubt that the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference and Novel Writing Conference will be different in 2020. And, of course, I’m disappointed to not see you all in person (though one thing I’m not disappointed about missing—freezing cold conference rooms followed by sweltering hot NYC in August or Pasadena in October!). In addition to controlling the temperature, there are other reasons why I’m excited for our virtual conferences.
- Two conferences in one: For the first time, you don’t have to decide which conference is right for you based on which city you can travel to. With the All Access pass, you’ll get access to ALL the keynotes, and ALL the sessions.
- The Keynotes! Have you seen our keynotes for 2020? Chuck Wendig, whose novel Wanderers is a much too accurate prediction of our current political/pandemic situation, opens #WDC20. Jasmine Guillory, whose contemporary romance novels sparked my current obsession with HEAs, opens #NWC20. And in a blockbuster dual-keynote, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen and Booker Prize-shortlisted author Maaza Mengiste will be in conversation with each other.
- Virtual Pitch Slam: As an introvert who fears public speaking more than I should, Pitch Slam has always seemed nightmarish. Standing in line outside the Pitch Slam room, nerves shot from all the anxious energy of others worrying about flubbing their pitch in front of their dream agent. Not so with our Virtual Pitch Slam! Pre-recording your pitch means you get to perfect it before uploading it and you don’t have to miss sessions while waiting in line for your time spot.
- The Romance Panel: Featuring Casey McQuiston (Red, White, & Royal Blue), Talia Hibbert (Get a Life, Chloe Brown), Kate Stayman-London (One to Watch), and Alexis Daria (You Had Me at Hola) answering all our questions about writing steamy, authentic, down-to-earth romances. Need I say more?
- Book Publishing Trends in 2020: Jane Friedman and Guy Gonzalez are two of the smartest people working in publishing. Between Jane’s Hot Sheet newsletter and Guy’s work with The Panorama Project, these two stay on top of the trends. Their insights on the way the industry is fairing in this turbulent year is not to be missed.
- Networking, But Less Awkward: I’m awkward at networking at our live events. Trying to have a meaningful conversation while rushing through the crowds to get from one room to the next is tough. At our virtual event, we’ll have chat rooms for specific genre groups that you can pop into between sessions so you know you’ll find people interested in the same thing you are.
- There’s Still a Conference Bookstore! I always leave WDC and NWC with a stack of books by our speakers purchased from our independent bookselling partners. This year, we’ve set up a WD Bookshop.org storefront with lists of books by both Annual and Novel speakers. By supporting these authors with a purchase, you’ll also be supporting independent booksellers across the country.
I can’t wait to see you all at the WD Virtual Conferences where you won’t be able to tell if I’m secretly wearing sweatpants!
Editor-in-Chief, Writer’s Digest