Earlier in 2020, I did a post on AWP vs ACES for conferences, but now, I’ve attended the inaugural DV Con conference. Since it was during a pandemic, they took a different approach that I hope AWP and ACES continues.
DV Con was open specifically for diverse voices, including POC, LGBTQIA+ community, Deaf, blind, etc. No one on the panels looked the same. I got to hear from so many voices that I’ve never heard from before. Also, most attendees said that they never could attend a conference before. It was great to see different people be able to get this opportunity.
“Your voice has power and it has value and we want you here.” – DV Con
The organization was mind-blowing. A few days beforehand, people who signed up could hop into DV Con’s Discord. They had about eighteen different channels for people to introduce themselves, find critique partners, help center, etc. In one channel, writers got to ask questions and get direct feedback from literary agents.
After the last panel, they added more channels so writers could connect with others in their genre. My Discord notifications were going off the wall before, during, and after the conference.
Connecting to other writers
I got to connect to at least a hundred writers or more on Twitter. I’m now in two break off Discords—one for fantasy and one for SFF. We also have a spreadsheet for critique partners on Google Spreadsheets.
At AWP and ACES, I hadn’t been able to connect with others as much. I’m an introvert who doesn’t like to interrupt conversations. When I had a conversation, they never wrote or worked in the same genre as me and left to another panel. It was hard to get a connection going. However, with Discord, we get to continue the conversation even after the panel ends.
The panels on YouTube were all great. Each had about five people from various backgrounds talk about books. All the panelists were passionate. They also had smaller videos where writers gave tips. Every video has closed captions, and workers corrected them soon afterward if need be. I linked the channel above. They mentioned that the videos will be up for about the next couple of months, so others can enjoy them as well.
Even though DV Con was 100% virtual, it had a great bookshop through bookshop.org. It separated the panelists’ books by panel. It was easier than going around on the bookshop floor, passing the book I’m looking for without realizing it.
That’s the best part. It was 100% free.
DV Con was a great conference. I’m glad I got to go. I hope I can go to the next one!