Online Writers’ Conferences: My Writing Community Wish List

One of the big things I’m hoping will come out of the pandemic and self-isolation is more internet-based writing conferences and book events.

People have certainly tried to build writers’ conferences in Nebraska… but they never seem to take. The Nebraska Summer Writers’ Conference had a good run, but it’s been on hiatus for a while. Right now, I’m rooting for ConStellation. They’ve managed to bring an agent or two in. They’re more sci-fi and fantasy oriented than a lot of conferences. And they do appeal to the general public, as well as writers and artists in the genre. (Let’s all wish them luck for rescheduling after the pandemic.)

Deep breath.

Writers’ conferences are expensive.

And the further they are from where you live, the more expensive they get.

If you lived in the town where the thing was happening, it could be a long-weekend and conference fees.

If you don’t… Well, it adds up. You’re not just pitching one conference over another. You’re trying to convince people to spend their valuable vacation time in one particular place. Their family’s vacation time.

The end result? Well, conferences aren’t all that accessible to certain demographics. Money’s a real issue, and not just for people below the poverty line. So’s childcare. (Yes, mommy wants to take a vacation. To SCHOOL! Cue the evil laughter.) And putting something on in a location that isn’t already a tourist destination? Basically impossible.

Covid-19 may be the great moment to change all that. Conference I can attend from my living room? Yes, please.

I’m already able to do so much over the internet. I’ve taken classes, and joined a writers’ group. I can schedule consultations with agents or editors who live somewhere out in the stratosphere. Why not a whole conference?

Writer’s conference without the hotel, the driving distance, the jet lag, the vacation time spent sitting under the fluorescent lights?

Without giving up a vacation that is actually… a vacation?

It would be better for me. I think it would be better for a lot of people.

The pandemic is forcing people to give it a chance. To think about how they can do something like that. To think beyond… well, we’ll reschedule in July… or August… or December.

It’s the kind of thing that might work really well.

I’m looking forward to it.

Feedback from you? Please?

Did you ever travel to go to an out of town writers’ conference? What was your experience? Tell me what you would do over? What would be the first thing you’d skip, if you could have the seminars and the connections over the internet? How would you do this?


  1. A.S. Akkalon


    I love the idea of online writers’ conferences. I’ve never been to a writer’s conference for some of the reasons you mention. An online conference would be so much more accessible for a huge number of writers. It’s true some aspects would be hard to recreate online, such as random conversations that happen to pop up between people who wouldn’t otherwise meet, but if the choice is no conference or a conference with a few new limitations, I can’t believe no conference is the better option.

  2. Reply

    I’m thinking of attending the Willamette Writers Conference online this summer. There’s still some cost, but it’s a lot cheaper without airfare, hotel, and restaurant meals added on.

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