Without the camaraderie surrounding in-person author events and conferences, it can be difficult to stay connected with other authors during this time. In this article, we go over tips for how to virtually connect with the author community through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Months after bookstores first closed and social isolation started, virtual events are going strong—and many platforms have worked out some of the early issues that made the experience less than engaging.
Looking for an event to attend? At Penguin Random House, we’ve been collecting a list of virtual book events, author Q&As, and more happening each week through Books Connect Us Live. This page is updated daily, and if you miss an event streaming live, you can check back at that link to watch the recording.
If you’re looking to host an event, take a look at our recent marketing tips:
- How to Use Live Social Video
- Tech Tips for Participating in a Remote Video Interview
- How to Promote Your Virtual Event
Create Content Together
This is a great time for collaboration with other authors. If you are looking to explore new types of content creation (such as a podcast, newsletter, or video series), consider joining with other authors along the way. For example, author Marissa Meyer recently created The Happy Writer Podcast, which features conversations with authors about the projects they’re working on and their journeys to publication, with a slight focus on positivity and bringing joy to the sometimes stressful writing process.
Another example of author collaboration can be found on Books Connect Us: The Podcast, a series that pairs new authors together to have unique conversations. This series shows that any time authors are in a room together—even virtually!—they can create fantastic and insightful content that’s perfect for readers.
Connect with Authors on Social Media
Not surprisingly, social media continues to be one of the primary ways authors connect. From Instagram to Twitter, Facebook to YouTube, and even TikTok, there’s a community out there waiting to welcome you. Wake up early to write with #5amwritersclub on Twitter, browse the millions of #AuthorsofInstagram posts on Instagram, or if you’ve been looking to dip into the waters of video production, consider joining AuthorTube, which aims to be an inclusive, diverse place for storytellers of any kind.
Assemble an Online Writing Group
Staying productive can feel impossible at times, and the stress of deadlines may hit a little differently this year. One way to ease the stress while connecting with other authors is to start an online writing group with your colleagues. Set up a Facebook group, Google chat, or Slack channel and work together to keep track of one another’s milestones.
A popular tip in the writing community is to employ the use of writing sprints or productivity sprints to help you meet your goals and deadlines. For a few productivity tools that might assist your group, check out this popular article from 2017, 11 Apps and Tools to Make Your Writing Sessions More Productive.
Meet Up for Virtual Coffee Chats
One great way to keep in touch with other author friends would come as no surprise in an alternate timeline: Just meet them for coffee! There’s a tendency to downplay virtual meetings with your colleagues as unproductive, but in a time where our social connection is limited, there are many benefits to casual online coffee chats.
Take a cue from some slightly more traditional workplaces. Finding a time to meet with author friends virtually around coffee, lunch, happy hour, or even online trivia night is a great way to stay connected and talk about the unique pressures authors are facing during this time.
No matter how you choose to stay connected, remember that the author community is a valuable resource, especially when we must remain apart. Any opportunities you can find to keep in touch with old colleagues, meet new ones, and share ideas and experiences are great for becoming a stronger and more informed writer!
Phil Stamper-Halpin is Senior Manager, Author Platforms & Publishing Development for Penguin Random House