Coming in April: Client Connections

The ASJA Annual Conference in April is just around the corner and with it, its awesome, almost-conference-within-a-conference: the members-only Client Connections.

For those of you who are new to ASJA, Client Connections is our very own speed dating, matching members with editors, agents, and content managers. Last year we had just over 60 clients, who met with and hired many of our members.

As volunteer Co-Chairs of Client Connections, both Erin O’Donnell and I believe very strongly that Client Connections can help build your career as a writer.

Personally, Client Connections has helped my career in several ways. I met three of my top, regular clients through national and regional Client Connections. This past year’s event introduced me to the woman who became the editor of my 14th book. Over the course of my membership, attending numerous events at both national and regional conferences, Client Connections has:

  • introduced me to my agent
  • helped me sell five books (and I didn’t have to do book proposals for three of them)
  • given me thousands of dollars of work

It’s not the only event that has helped me sustain my freelancing business, but it’s always paid off for me. One Client Connections nabbed me a byline two-and-a-half years after the actual event!

Erin O’Donnell and I were very gratified by the success of this past year’s event, and we’re excited about the editors, agents, and content managers who are already planning to come in April. Right now, we have some 20 who have signed on – and we’ll be telling you about them in the coming weeks.

But to reach our goal of 65 clients, we need your help. Client Connections is the result of many, many members inviting, cajoling, tweeting, using other social media, and otherwise reaching out to the editors, agents, and content managers who come to the event. 

We have some amazing volunteers who help with the pre-process – the inviting and the following up with people – and we have some fantastic volunteers who work at the event to ensure that it goes smoothly. And we are always looking for more volunteers to join our team.

The first part of our team is the group we’ve nicknamed the “Content Kings and Queens,” who reach out to folks who are already in our database via email, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Personal outreach from our volunteers also “seals the deal” to bring new editors, new agents, and new content managers to our event. Many hands make light work, and as a thank you to this important contribution, you will get access to our entire database of client contact info, which members don’t see – basically, in return for your efforts, you get all of your marketing for the year done.

Some of these very same people also step up to work the day of the event – to work the desk, to escort editors, to work as bouncers, to bring Berger cookies, etc. And other people only work the day of the event.

These day-of volunteer opportunities give you the benefit of extra face time with the very folks you want to work for. It also makes Client Connections happen. Simply put, without volunteers, it wouldn’t.

If you don’t have time for either volunteer opportunity, we still would love to have you get involved – simply by inviting your favorite editors, your amazing agents, and your wonderful content managers to come to the event. Anyone you love to write for is the kind of person we want to have at Client Connections.

Not only does this give you good karma and also enhance Client Connections, this allows you to enter our Client Connections contest. The member who gets the most people to come to the event can win a free day at the annual conference (or, you could also choose a Virtual Client Connection meeting of your choice, or another prize).

If you have any questions about Client Connections at the ASJA Conference, about volunteering, or about recommending your favorite clients, please email us, Jeanette Hurt and Erin O’Donnell.