How Client Connections Helped Me As an Editor

Richard Eisenberg
ASJA Client Connections

When you read about Client Connections in the ASJA Weekly newsletter or on the ASJA Confidential blog, you’re typically hearing how useful this part of the ASJA in-person and virtual conferences can be for writers.

After all, the “speed dating” sessions — now in their 20th year — are a fantastic way for attendees who are ASJA professional members to briefly meet one-on-one with editors and agents and pitch ideas.

But I’m here to tell you how great Client Connections can be for the editors.

I can do that because I was fortunate enough to be on the editor’s side of the tables for several years while managing editor of Next Avenue and editor of the site’s Money and Work & Purpose channels.

Finding Freelancers for Next Avenue

All the writers on Next Avenue — the PBS site for people 50-plus — are freelancers, except for the site’s editors who also write there. Consequently, when I was a Next Avenue editor, I was always on the prowl for exceptional writers who’d want to appear on our site.

Often, it wasn’t easy to find them. At the time, Next Avenue was a fledgling nonprofit site many freelancers hadn’t heard about. So, when I learned of the opportunity to meet with potential prospects at the ASJA conference, I eagerly signed up.

Logo featuring the words Next Avenue and four colored squares

It was one of the best decisions I ever made at Next Avenue. I’m delighted to say that some of the site’s best freelancers arrived after their Client Connections pitches.

I’m thinking about people like Deborah Blumberg, Mindy Charski, and the late Erica Manfred, all of whom I had the pleasure to speed-date with at Client Connections. Many other talented writers continue appearing on Next Avenue thanks to their Client Connections appointments.

Planning for ASJA’s 2024 and 2025 Conferences

I left my Next Avenue job in 2022 to start what I call my “unretirement,” which includes freelancing for that site and several others and also gives me time to volunteer for ASJA.

Now, I’m one of the three Client Connections co-chairs, along with the indefatigable Cari Shane and KJ Bannan, who created the event that was once called Personal Pitch and is now known as Client Connections.

Along with our other terrific volunteers, we’ve been furiously updating the Client Connections database of editors, agents, and publishers to ensure all the information is current. We’ve begun sending them invitations to our two upcoming conferences: the virtual ASJA conference September 24-26 and the in-person conference in New York City, February 24-26, 2025.

I’m delighted to say that acceptances are already coming in, along with notes saying how excited the clients are to participate in Client Connections. We’re aiming for at least 40 editor and agent attendees in September.

If you’re interested in getting involved, we’d greatly appreciate your help. If you are an ASJA member and are interested in working on the 2024 virtual conference, 2025 in-person conference, or on Client Connections at either event, log into the members-only section of the website, go to the Volunteer Opportunities page, and fill out the “ASJA Call for Volunteers” form. An ASJA volunteer coordinator will follow up via email.

If you had an amazing experience at Client Connections — as I did — we’d love to hear your story, too. Share your thoughts on the ASJA Facebook page, or email us at

Richard Eisenberg is an “unretired” writer, editor, and podcaster as well as an ASJA member and volunteer.