Ten Reasons to Attend the 2023 ASJA Virtual Annual Conference

Susan Mangiero

This year’s virtual conference promises to be a winner, with more than 50 expert speakers, 36 sessions on books, content marketing writing, and journalism, nine informal “snack chats,” three keynotes, and two happy hours.

If you haven’t already signed up, here are 10 reasons why you should attend:

1. Connect with editors.

The conference features multiple sessions where writers can hear from or pitch assigning editors and content marketing managers, including:

  • Pitch Slam: Get Your Essay or Article Idea Assessed in Real Time by Editors from Goal Publications, Tuesday, June 13, 12:15-1:15 pm ET (Journalism track)
  • Finding Opportunities in Brand Journalism, Tuesday, June 13, 12:15-1:15 pm ET (Content Marketing Writing track)
  • What Commerce Editors Want: How to Break into Popular Product Review Markets, Wednesday, June 14, 1:30-2:30 pm ET (Journalism track)
  • Finally Breaking Into Your Dream Markets: Top Tier Editors Give the 411, Wednesday, June 14, 4-5 pm ET (Journalism track)

2. Learn how to work smarter, not harder.

Productivity isn’t measured by how many hours you work, but by how you work in the time you devote to it. These sessions help you make the most of your working hours:

  • Writing a Book and Getting It Done, Wednesday, June 14, 12:15-1:15 pm ET (Books track)
  • Using Accountability Partners to Boost Your Bottom Line, Wednesday, June 14, 2:45-3:45 pm ET (Snack chat)
  • Help! How to Hire and Utilize a Virtual Assistant Effectively, Wednesday, June 14, 5:15-6:15 pm ET (Content Marketing Writing track)
  • How to Streamline Your Writing Process to Save Time, Earn More, And Live the Life of Your Dreams, Thursday, June 15, 4-5 pm ET (Content Marketing Writing track)

3. Gain insights from keynote speakers.

Keynote speaker, Janet Stovall.

Keynoters will discuss more inclusive ways of thinking and working, creating a future-resilient career, and what it takes to publish a memoir. Speakers include:

  • Janet Stovall, global head of DEI at research and cognitive science firm, NeuroLeadership Institute
  • Damon Brown, former ASJA board member and best-selling author and writing coach
  • Ly Tran, award-winning memoirist

4. Meet new people.

ASJA President Emily Paulsen

The conference includes nine “snack chats” that give attendees a chance to mingle while learning about a shared freelance writing interest, whether it’s travel writing, podcasting, or planning for retirement. Mingle some more at the ASJA business meeting and cocktail/mocktail contest, Tuesday, June 13, 6:30-7:30 pm ET. ASJA President Emily Paulsen will give an update on the organization; scholarship committee chair Kristine Hansen will acknowledge the nine freelance writers and students who received scholarships to this year’s conference; and ASJA writing awards co-chairs Dava Steward and Deborah Blumberg will recognize the 2022 award winners.

5. Get help starting or growing your freelance writing business.

New to freelancing or want to take your business to the next level? These sessions can steer you in the right direction:

  • 9-to-5 to Freelancing: How to Establish Yourself as a Freelance Writer, Tuesday, June 13, 1:30-2:30 pm ET (Content Marketing Writing track)
  • You Can Make Six Figures as a Freelancer, Tuesday, June 13, 2:45-3:45 pm ET (Snack chat)
  • Finding your “Hell Yeah” Value Proposition, Tuesday, June 13, 5:15-6:15 pm ET (Content Marketing Writing track)
  • Monetizing Your Expertise: 3 Short and Lucrative Consulting Engagements Writers Can Offer Clients (and When to Pitch Them), Wednesday, June 14, 12:15-1:15 pm ET (Content Marketing Writing track)

6. Get up to speed on ChatGPT and generative AI for writing.

On Wednesday, June 14, stick around after regular sessions end for a “Chatty Hour” discussion of ChatGPT and generative AI writing tools. Hosted by keynote speaker Damon Brown and ASJA member Jennifer Goforth Gregory, this promises to be a lively discussion of the opportunities and challenges associated with this truly disruptive technology. The happy hour is formatted as a meeting and audience is encouraged to participate in the discussion.

7, Perfect your writing

Victoria Clayton

Four veteran journalists will lead a writing intensive intended to help attendees improve your craft by creating more “lyrical, vivid” sentences. The session, “Truth, Power & Beauty: How to Pack a Real Punch with Each Sentence,” runs Thursday, June 15, 1:30-2:30 pm (Journalism track) and features as instructors writers Victoria Clayton, Cynthia Bond, Nina Schuyler, and Francesca Royster.

8. Turbocharge your marketing skills.

Several sessions focus on marketing tactics writers can use to promote themselves and their work, including:

  • Building an Audience for Your Book, Wednesday, June 14, 1:30-2:30 pm ET (Books track)
  • The Power of Social Media to Market Books, Wednesday, June 14, 4-5 pm ET (Books track)
  • The Freelance CV: How to Optimize Your Online Presence, Wednesday, June 14, 4-5 pm ET (Content Marketing Writing track)

9. Learn how to work with your brain, not against it.

Being neurodiverse can be challenging, but it can be an advantage too. In the “Neurodiversity and the Freelance Writer” session on Tuesday, June 13, 4-5 pm ET (Content Marketing Writing track), neurodivergent freelance coach Atlas Katari and freelance journalist Jared Lindzon explain how writers can harness your focus and turn your ADHD or other neurodiversity into a superpower.

10. Chart a new course.

In a rut? These sessions help you explore new writing niches or genres:

  • It’s Never Too Late to Write a Book, Thursday, June 15, 1:30-2:30 pm ET (Books track)
  • The New Era of Travel Writing, Thursday, June 15, 2:45-3:45 pm ET (Snack chat)
  • Finding Your Niche, Thursday, June 15, 5:15-6:15 pm ET (Content Marketing Writing track)

The virtual conference takes place on Zoom Events. With the exception of snack chats, all sessions will be recorded and available to attendees on demand, and for sale to non-attendees later in the summer.

Conference registration is open to ASJA members and nonmembers. Sign up for one day, one track, or the full conference. Registration runs through June 9.

Find registration information and the full conference schedule here.

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ASJA, Freelance Life, Productivity, Running Your Business, Book Publishing, Content Marketing, Journalism


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