My publisher recently asked me to share my experience attending a number of writing conventions that have gone virtual this year…
We may not quite be in the dystopian, fully augmented world of ALWAYS GREENER just yet. But virtual writing conventions have been growing like never before, and they’re an absolute blast.
The vital health measures needed to mitigate the damage of COVID-19 have obviously disrupted traditional conventions, book fairs, and festivals around the world. They’ve also cancelled signings and other events planned by those of us trying to launch books during this period. So it’s been with great pleasure that we’ve seen volunteers and members of the writing community step up to launch virtual events, in all sorts of different formats.
Virtual writing conventions aren’t entirely new, and some were planned long before anyone suspected we might be facing COVID-19 confinement. The WriteHive Convention, for instance, was a long-planned, large-scale virtual convention that took place two weeks ago—and was absolutely brilliant! I was lucky enough to be asked to do a live feature interview since ALWAYS GREENER was selected as the WriteHive Book of the Month for April (the recording should be up on their YouTube soon!).
Organizing online author readings has also gained popularity fast. The Our Own Write Virtual Book Festival accomplished that with style and grace last week, bringing authors from all over the world together for a scheduled marathon of readings, with well organized Q&As and all the help we needed on the technical front to make it possible. It was my first Twitter Live broadcast, and many other authors’ first time as well, and the organizers made it both easy and super fun!
Other online conventions are trying to reproduce every aspect of the traditional convention experience, with vendor tables, signings, and cosplay contests on top of the panels and readings. QuaranCon 2020 is one of these, running last weekend. We got a vendor booth there, and my “Scientifically Plausible Worlds” panel later is now available on YouTube!
The major yearly conventions have in a large part gone virtual as well, especially in SFF. The 2020 Nebula Conference is entirely virtual this year—meaning that, like many, it’ll be the first time I get to attend! Same for WorldCon 2020 at ConZealand. Both of these conventions are pulling out all the stops to fully seize the opportunities of a virtual convention format, and I’m very excited to take part in both events.
A huge thanks to everyone who has worked to make all these virtual events possible! Authors and readers who haven’t taken the plunge yet to attend a virtual con are missing out on a great opportunity to connect and have a great time.