WANACon -- What's the Word from the Blogosphere?

In February 2013, Social Media Expert Kristen Lamb gathered top-notch speakers in the publishing field for an innovative, fully interactive global online writers' conference. What did the blogosphere have to say about the experience? Read on for selected quotes and comments...


  1. The WANA Mama herself, Kristen Lamb, kicked off the blogosphere's attempt to summarize the awesomeness with her post: How Badly Do You Want the Dream. Selected quotes and comments:
  2. WANACon was a huge success, thanks to the tireless efforts of many amazing WANAs coupled with gutsy presenters and courageous attendees.
  3. Candy Havens presenting at WANACon. “If you don’t make your page count, I will find you and punch you.” Inspiring words to live by and proof of why we all love Candy so much.
  4. Cheryl Fassett on February 25, 2013 - 11:45 am Kristen~ I loved everything about WANACon and learned so much. You are an inspiration!
  5. Elen Grey | Deep in B-ville Writing Over the Garage on February 25, 2013 - 12:08 pm I’m still reeling from WANACon… in a good way. I heard a lot of interesting ideas and connected with some innovative creatives. Candace was the bomb. Yes, I’ll use that even if it is old school.
  6. Melinda Primrose on February 25, 2013 - 12:37 pm Wanacon was so amazing! Thanks Kristen for putting it together. I learned so much, so manyt things I didn’t know that I didn’t know about and needed too. I can’t wait for the next one! Suck it up, buttercup is going to be my new motto. It’s time for some growing pains.
  7. Jami Gold on February 25, 2013 - 7:54 pm Major huge congrats for WANACon! It was an amazing success in every way.I’m so glad I could be a part of it. *group hug*
  8. Diana Beebe on February 25, 2013 - 9:55 pm It was a great weekend! All the speakers were amazing. It’s up to us to learn what works for our own goals. I loved connecting with new people and getting to know others even better. I’m inspired, which is what a good conference is supposed to do.
  9. Karen Walters on February 25, 2013 - 11:17 pm Wow Kristen. My post today was on nearly the same thing. We are to follow the path that’s set before us, whatever that may be. Sometimes it’s scary and sometimes downright terrifying but the only way to grow is to take that step and not to give up. Thank you so much for WANACon. It was amazing! I loved the speakers and connecting with other people but one of the best things was not having to wait in line for the bathroom! You did a great job and I can’t wait for the next one!
  10. SweetSong on February 26, 2013 - 12:43 am WANACon was totally amazing and (as far as I’m concerned) a massive success. Thank you so much for bringing that about! I feel like this is all so doable now – and I know where to start! You are amazing.
  11. New York Times Bestselling Author and WANACon Presenter Allison Brennan wrote a whole blog post about her experience: Digital Conference: A New Age. Selected quotes and comments:
  12. This weekend, I was a speaker at WANACon, put on by the tireless and inspiring Kristen Lamb. WANACon is unlike any writers conference I’ve been to! I didn’t exactly know what I was getting into when Kristen first asked me to participate. I just said yes, sure, whatever you want! I thought initially it would be a digital classroom — like a big chat — where I’d post my lecture and then have chat-like discussions. Wow, was I wrong — and in a good way!
  13. The conference was live with speakers. The set up was audio (and video if the presenter wanted it) where the speaker would talk and anyone who had a question with simply ask it. I could hear everyone (they muted their mics unless they had a question) and they could hear me. There was no lag time and the conference was international. There was also a chat window so they could ask questions there or comment on what I was talking about. I spoke about Villains for an hour and a half and the time flew by.
  14. Here, no one could see me (I opted for no visual because I was still in my pajamas!) and I was essentially lecturing. It was weird at first, but I found my rhythm and found the format a lot of fun and very different.
  15. They packed a lot into two days — much cheaper for attendees than flying all over the country, paying for hotels, food, and huge conference fees. I can definitely see the allure! And while a digital conference could never replace physical conference in terms of networking, one-on-one meetings, and the camaraderie you build (not to mention seeing friends you only see once a year!), there is definitely a place for digital conferences in a writer’s conference schedule. I would absolutely pay for one if there was a speaker I really wanted to hear from. And … if an attendee couldn’t be at their computer? All register conference members got digital downloads of all the speakers. Pretty darn cool.
  16. Allison Brennan February 25, 2013 at 9:21 am - Reply Thanks for the deeper explanation! I’m glad people enjoyed my presentation (as I said, I love talking about the bad guys!) I also like how you call it a “supplement” to national conference. It’s perfect for that. And of course I’ll come back! Where else can I attend a conference and speak in my pajamas???
  17. Allison Brennan February 25, 2013 at 9:18 am - Reply The other benefit is cost — you get top speakers for far less money than you would spend at a regional or national conference. I still think there is a huge benefit for physical conferences (especially the face-to-face with friends, agents, editors, etc.) but this is a viable program that works for people who can’t get to a conference (cost or location) or want to listen to more speakers/unique information (a lot of the presentations related to digital media, etc.)
  18. Melinda Primrose February 25, 2013 at 10:15 am - Reply Thank you for your take on villans at wanacon! I am definately planning on attending this digital conference again.
  19. Elen Grey February 25, 2013 at 10:34 am - Reply I was excited to see you listed as a speaker for WANACon and to have the opportunity to hear you speak on Villains! I agree with Kristen in her vision of WANACon as a supplement to in-person conferences. And I like that they will be more frequent as, in many respects with the digital age, the industry is changing, and changing fast. It’s also an opportunity for those who cannot get away as frequently to major in-person conferences to keep up. I had no idea of what I was in for going into this online writing conference. The technology impressed me. We had a social gathering the evening before it started. Met in the virtual bar, so to speak. We could all pop on the video cams and see each other face-to-face, if we so desired, and hear each others voices. We had a chat room to congregate in between sessions. We were able to pitch live to agents one-on-one in private classrooms. And who could resist PajamaCon at the end of the conference? I think what WANACon has accomplished is ground-breaking and is only going to improve from one digital conference to the next. And the short answer is — Yes, I would attend a digital conference. And I did! Please come back for another workshop, Allison. We so enjoyed your presentation.
  20. Allison Brennan February 25, 2013 at 2:32 pm - Reply And some authors don’t like to travel, or have young kids or older parents they don’t like to leave for a week at a time. Digital conferences allow them to participate in conferences too!
  21. Widdershins February 26, 2013 at 1:34 pm - Reply Hiya Alison … Great workshop, t’was a hoot, and informative. Your quote about protagonists and villains? Priceless. I’ve been to a few online Cons over the last few years, and while some had live chats, some had forum presentations, some had audio/visual/powerpoint presentations – all very valuable teaching tools – none had all of it on one screen, at the same time. That and the depth of speakers is what made it stand out.
  22. I (Jami Gold) blogged about how WANACon made history:
  23. Okay, an online global writers’ conference. That’s been done before—Yahoo email loops, blog posts, and text chats. Where’s the never-before history? Now imagine all that in a virtual conference center, complete with a “lobby” for chatting between sessions, a private room for agent pitches, social activities to get to know other attendees, live presentations with webcams and screen sharing, real-time question and answer sessions by microphone (or by chat box for the shy). In short, imagine an online conference that felt like an in-person conference—other than the pajamas and fuzzy slippers.
  24. Facebook Presenter Lisa Hall-Wilson shared her experience with her newsletter subscribers:
  25. Guess what I did this weekend? I laid in bed in my jammies and attended one of the best writer's conferences EVER! I chatted with writer friends, asked experts specific questions and got live feedback, and taught about some of my own expertise. I was even able to keep a dinner date with the hubs. That was one of the best weekends I've had in a really really long time.