While COVID is a scary thing (well, more scary than it should be, based on the level of “expertise” at the helm), there *is* one kinda cool thing to come out of it as a reader. So many author events and festivals and Cons have gone virtual, which means – I can actually “go” for the first time. Now, as a bookseller, I get that this is less than ideal – particularly for debut authors. Which is jut one reason why I’m doing my best (especially on Twitter) to help get the word out. However, as a reader, there’s a new equal opportunity availability that just wasn’t there before. And it’s been super exciting to see how different folks have stepped up and really helped to not only get the word out about upcoming titles, but to create these amazing virtual festivals. Talk about lemonade out of lemons!
One of the ones I’m *most* excited about just released their schedule yesterday. And I am NOT ASHAMED to say that I already signed up for a majority of the panels. And honestly, that is another thing that has – by necessity – changed with the virtual setting. Rather than having to pick and choose between panels, because there are usually at least a couple happening at a time, we can attend them ALL. I’m wondering (hoping?) if someone, somewhere isn’t taking note of this, and even after life starts getting back to normal, at least one large virtual con becomes the norm. I WOULD EVEN PAY FOR THIS, PEOPLE. *ahem* Just sayin’.
Anyway, Y’allWest has become Y’allStayHome, and I AM HERE FOR IT. Considering the amount of panels I signed up for, I mean that quite literally. But there are some REALLY awesome panels and authors and books on the two days that this is happening. There are even some giveaways that are gonna happen! I know that something like this is a *lot* of work, and I give the HIGHEST kudos to the folks that decided to make it a thing. And it’s not just this one, either! Here’s just a partial list of virtual bookish events:
April 25-26 – https://www.yallwest.com/schedule
NOVL CouchFest 2020
April 20-24 – https://www.thenovl.com/blog/2020/4/9/couchfest-2020-schedule
April 24 – https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/articles/virtual-con
Social Distance Book Fest
April 25 – https://twitter.com/SocDistBookFest
Random House Book Club: April Happy Hour
April 29 – http://www.randomhousebooks.com/event/rbc3/
Even CoNZealand is going fully virtual, though they’re still working out the details – https://conzealand.nz/blog/2020/03/25/conzealand-special-announcement
Basically – it’s a whole new world out there, and I hope that once COVID has become less of a threat to the world and organizers are working on planning their next year’s events, they really take a step back and pay attention to what was able to be accomplished virtually during this time. Give some thought to those of us who may not be able to travel to all these awesome events, but would certainly LOVE to sign up for a virtual panel (or…umm…13). It *is* possible to have in-person WITH virtual, and that would be such an exciting bonus for those of us who will be able to get all dressed up but have nowhere to go.