Online conferences are the new range, thanks to isolation and quarantining. This shift has affected the writing community harder than most. “As authors, we’re already pretty solitary in nature. Our creation process is a solo one, and our job contains unique struggles that most don’t understand. For that reason, the community aspect of writing conferences has always been a sort of guiding light – an opportunity to connect with others who understand our psychology,” said Inkers Con founder and bestselling author Alessandra Torre.
Traditionally, author conferences are held in major cities, with anywhere from 50 to 5,000 authors in attendance, and include classes, marketing and finance dilemmas, and craft. The classes range from outlining strategies to more unique, genre-specific topics like crime-scene processes and chemistry building between characters. Inkers Con, a Dallas-based conference, went completely digital this year, a transition that was made easier thanks to its history. “Unlike other author cons, we have always had an online component, and designed the conference so it could be watched online or in person. Having that infrastructure made a shift to completely digital easy, and was a format our audience was already accustomed to,” said Torre.
Attendance exploded in 2020, and the digital interaction was more than triple that of recent years. Inkers Con hosted live and pre-recorded events, held office hours with retailers such as Amazon, Apple, and Kobo, and attendees organized more than fifty of their own workshops.
Torre started Inkers Con after growing a significant following from authors on social media. The Alessandra Torre Inkers Facebook group of nearly 14,000 members all work together to share information and knowledge about writing, business, and marketing. In 2021, Torre will launch Inkers Mini-Con, a taste tester for the annual conference. Attendees will receive access to five online presentations focused on writing, mental health, diversity, social media and business.
The future of in-person conferences in 2021 is unknown. Torre plans to return to a live format in Dallas, but with fewer attendees and less live events, while maintaining the robust and expanded online experience. “The pandemic taught us how to embrace online interaction and learning, and we’re retaining the best of those experiences as we move forward,” said Torre.
Find out more about Inkers Con and Inkers Mini-Con at www.inkerscon.com.