Virtual Client Connections

Virtual Client Connections

Client Connections’ little sister, Virtual Client Connections, offers even more opportunities to land new clients.

VCC is a smaller version of the Client Connections events held during our annual meetings, either in-person or virtually. VCC is held a few times a year, virtually, and attracts clients, editors, publications and agents who are looking for professional freelance writers.

Recent Virtual Client Connections participants include: AARP, Mother Jones, Johns Hopkins Magazine, Psychology Today, Men’s Health, Washington Post Creative Group (WP’s brand page), and National Wildlife Federation.

Only professional members of ASJA can register for VCC. During a series of fast-paced, 9-minute Zoom or phone meetings, registered members pitch story ideas, book proposals or their writing expertise to digital and print editors, literary agents and content managers.

VCC Details

Like Client Connections, a list of participating industry representatives is published well in advance of each VCC event, and registered professional members are given the opportunity to select those clients with whom they’d like to meet. Meetings are assigned first-come, first-serve.

At times, clients will request to meet with marginalized writers, including writers of color, LGBTQ+ writers, and Native American writers. In those cases, signup will open a day early for those writers.

Associate, student, and retired members are not eligible to participate in Virtual Client Connections events.


General Questions

How often does ASJA host Virtual Client Connections?

Virtual Client Connection events are held each quarter.

Who can participate in Virtual Client Connections?

All ASJA professional members who are currently in good standing are eligible to register.

Whom might I be able to meet with?

Top clients, editors, publishers, and agents participate in VCC each quarter. When the participants are confirmed, we announce the list of clients on the ASJA website.

How can I volunteer for VCC?

We are always looking for people to volunteer as a host or host leader to help shepherd the clients and participants through the process. Volunteer hosts and host leaders cannot register for VCC appointments, but they can reach out to VCC clients a week after the event and ask for a meeting. Please email to volunteer.

Registration and Signup

How does registration work for VCC?

Registration for VCC meetings is first-come, first-served.

In the first 24 hours, professional members may sign up for one client only. This allows all members the opportunity to get an appointment. After 24 hours, professional members can register for two additional appointments if available.  

When “Waitlist Only” appears next to a selected client’s name, their spots are filled and you can be placed on the waitlist. If there is no designation, you either received an appointment or are at the top of the waiting list. After registration ends, all participants will be notified of their appointment.

What if I miss the registration period?

We strongly encourage all ASJA professional members take note of the registration dates, which will be announced well in advance. If you miss the registration period, you cannot register.

Why are appointments assigned first-come, first-served instead of by lottery like Client Connections?

We know that VCC is very important to members, and we want to keep offering it regularly. Running the lottery is too resource heavy for quarterly programs. First-come, first-served is less time-consuming and more affordable, and allows ASJA to offer VCC quarterly.

What is the best way to select clients I’d like to meet with?

Look through the client list before hand and identify your first, second and third choices. Be sure to only sign up for clients if you meet their requirements. Since we often have a wide range of rates, pay attention to the pay rate to make sure that the client is a fit for you.

Please do not request meetings with clients if you are completely unfamiliar with the market or do not have the qualifications they seek. Before making your selections research each client you are interested in. Make sure that you are qualified for that particular publication or agency. If members sign up for appointments they are not qualified for, it becomes difficult for ASJA to recruit clients for future VCC events. Clients will only sign up if the writers they meet are a good fit for their needs. 

If you are not available when registration opens, ask a friend or family member to register for you. Give them the link to the registration webpage along with your email, phone, bio, and client choices.

Why are there some low-paying publications invited to this event?

What is low-paying for one writer is adequate for another. Established writers may decide to pursue lower-paying gigs if they are in their wheelhouse and easy to write, with a low “PITA” factor, making their hourly rates worthwhile. Some established writers will accept lower rates if an assignment allows them to branch out into a new specialty or an interesting topic.

It’s also worth noting that clients move frequently. Talented clients at low-paying publications often go on to positions that offer better pay, so writers may decide that networking with clients is a wise use of time. You are free to choose not to meet with any clients whose fees are too low for your business model. We work hard to assess the benefits of each client who is invited to ASJA.

Can VCC events include more clients?

VCC has a lot of moving parts and requires many volunteers. We have learned the hard way that our team can successfully manage VCC with 8 to 10 clients. When we try to include more clients, it becomes a frustrating experience for clients, volunteers and members. From time to time, we do have more clients, but that is not typical.

Before and During VCC

What happens during a VCC meeting?

Clients simply want to learn a little bit about you, your background and your expertise. Some are seeking writers with a platform and a following. Others want to hear specific pitches and ideas, and of course you might want to present a book idea to a literary agent. 

How will I meet with clients?

If client is meeting you via Zoom, you will receive a link (at the email you provided during registration) before your meeting. At the instructed time, you will log onto Zoom. Clients who choose phone meetings will call you using the number you provided during registration.

Can I request a phone meeting? Can I request a Zoom meeting?

Some clients prefer one or the other, so we give them the choice. You cannot request to change a phone meeting to Zoom or a Zoom meeting to phone.

How long are the meetings?

Meetings last nine minutes. Time limits are strictly enforced to insure the client can connect with the next person. You must conclude your meeting at the end of the allocated time. Please be kind and considerate of the clients and agents and your fellow members by honoring the time limit.

How should I prepare?

Please do not take VCC meetings in busy areas with a lot of noise or distractions. Put barking dogs, children, and significant others in a remote room, outside, or away from your office to minimize noise and distraction. Minimize background noise as much possible so the person on the other end is not straining to hear you.

If you are pitching, practice so it can be delivered in the time allotted, making sure there is also time for introductions, questions, and follow up. Your meeting must conclude at the end of nine minutes, even if you have not finished delivering a pitch. 

For phone meetings:

  • Check your phone to make sure it is charged and that you have good reception. 
  • If you are using a headset, ensure that it is in good working order. 

For Zoom meetings:

  • Setup and test your Zoom connection to insure the audio and video are working. 
  • Use a headset with boom microphone for best audio quality. 
  • If using a headset, be sure you can hear the incoming call. You may have to leave the headset microphone unplugged until the call comes in so you can hear the incoming call alert. 
  • Use a wired connection to the Internet for best reliability. 
  • Change your camera’s background if necessary; many cameras do not focus solely on the person in front of camera. You don’t want anything embarrassing or distracting in the background. 
  • Practice using Zoom if you are not familiar with it, especially on how to answer an incoming 

What if there are technical problems?

In the case of technical problems on Zoom, the client will call the telephone number you provided during sign up and your meeting will take place over the phone instead of Zoom. An ASJA volunteer will also be available, via email or phone, during your appointment time to answer questions and offer assistance.

What happens if a client is unexpectedly unavailable at the appointed time?

From time to time, clients are late for appointments. In that event, we ask for your patience, grace, and courtesy. Clients may be stuck in traffic or in a meeting that ran long. If this happens, we will let you know. We encourage you to use this time to breathe deeply and prepare for your meeting. If clients have to miss a meeting with you, we will do our very best to arrange an alternative time for you to connect.

What do I do if I cannot make my scheduled appointment?

We know that emergencies can come up. If that happens, you must let the VCC chairs know as soon as possible, so that your meeting can be assigned to another member. If you cancel an appointment, you cannot reschedule, and we will not replace your appointment with another or refund any part of your registration.

Why did the writer’s fee change between the client’s written description and our meeting?

Clients fill out the descriptions about their publications and their pay rates themselves; we do not interview or fact-check them. Sometimes a publication changes its pay rates or clients mistype their information. Mistakes happen, and situations change. Both are out of our control.

Is there a code of conduct governing the event?

Yes. By participating in Virtual Client Connections, you agree to act in a courteous and professional manner. This is a fast-paced event that must run smoothly to allow for successful meetings. Deviating even slightly from the rules (trying to remain at your meeting longer than the allotted time, for example) is very disruptive and unkind to both your clients and your fellow members. Anyone who violates the rules outlined here will not be allowed to participate and may even be prohibited from participating in future events.

You also agree that you will not contact directly any participating VCC client before the date of the event. This undermines ASJA’s credibility with our client participants.

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