Our guest post is from Alexa Bigwarfe, founder of the Women in Publishing Summit, among other fabulous writerly things. Today, she shares her insight into why you should attend an online writing conference. Do you want to attend her online conference? Click on my affiliate link here to register.
Let’s cut to the chase right up front:
As authors and professionals, continuing education, development, and connections to the right people are critical to our success.
But it can be incredibly expensive to travel regularly to in-person events. Or maybe you have health or familial reasons why travel is impossible.
The rise of the online writing conference has essentially removed all obstacles to learning, growing, and finding community.
As the founder of an online writing conference, each year, I consider if I should move to an in-person event. I get asked regularly, “When will the Women in Publishing Summit be an in-person event?”
Every time we pose the question, the overwhelming majority of our attendees say they would not be able to attend an in-person event.
So my answer for now is never. 🙂 Although we do plan on adding in some in-person events, we have found that our community thrives on the online platform.
The benefits of attending virtual conferences are a-plenty!
Networking connections and community
These are critical to growth and development, support, and the encouragement we need as authors and publishing professionals. I would not be anywhere if I didn’t have my community support. There is not only the moral support but also connections to the right coaches, editors, graphic designers, marketers, beta readers, and opportunities to create wonderful collaborations.
The online/virtual conference must provide some type of community growth opportunities to gain this. If there are no live events, networking sessions, or community areas included in a particular online event, you may want to skip it and look for a different one. The community growth and connection are core concepts of an optimized experience.
I’m a single mom to three kids. Extended travel can be challenging. You might have budget restrictions, health restrictions, or other challenges that make traveling difficult. With a virtual event, you don’t have to travel, buy new clothes, leave your family, or any of the stressors involved in going to in-person events.
Skill growth & education
The publishing world is evolving continuously. Not only that, as you move through the process, you need to learn an entire new set of skills. Working on your craft should be a constant goal. And then, you’ll add in book marketing and business development skills. A virtual event will also expose you to the tools and resources available to help you do all of these things. To continue excelling, you’ve got to continue learning.
Low risk of cancellation and access to recordings
Natural disasters, global pandemics, illness, etc, can cause your event (or you personally) to be canceled. Yet, during the pandemic, the Women in Publishing Summit played on, regardless of world events. And if you get sick or life happens, everything is recorded, so you can watch, rewatch, and continue to learn from the recordings. No more furiously scribbling through a session so you capture every moment because, with an online writing conference, you can watch the replay.
Unlike in-person events, an online writing conference can be less physically and mentally draining. If you’re an introvert and have energy issues when it comes to being around too many people or taking in too much information, you can take breaks and come back when it works for you. And again, you don’t have to stress about missing any content because it’s all recorded.
Overall, the greatest benefit is flexibility. You can get training and access to knowledge, resources, people, and content without rearranging your life and busy schedule. If you choose, you don’t even have to change out of your pajamas! You can watch on your own schedule, from wherever you want.
Virtual events can still feel very real and have the same, if not greater, impact when done well as an in-person event. Yes, it’s true, you can’t hug your favorite people, and there is certainly something to be said for having the opportunity to go to dinner or have late-night discussions over wine, but many virtual events do their best to offer sessions that mimic those experiences as much as possible.
Will 2024 be the year you decide to attend a virtual conference? We welcome you with open arms to the Women in Publishing Summit Community and hope to see you at our events—either our annual conference in March or you can join us in monthly free webinars and training!
Alexa Bigwarfe, Women in Publishing Summit Host, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host, Publisher, Champion of Women
Alexa Bigwarfe is an author, speaker, publisher, and author coach. She enjoys connecting authors and women in the publishing industry to the resources they need to progress in their journeys. She has worked with and supported thousands of authors through her conferences, training programs, webinars, podcasts, and publishing support services. The Women in Publishing Summit launched in 2017 when Alexa noticed a need for representation of women and diversity in the online publishing conference world. It is her goal to create an environment that not only provides top-of-the-line training, but builds community for connections and creates a space to recognize the accomplishments of women in the publishing industry. Empower. Encourage. Support.