In today’s new normal, writers are scrambling for alternative ways to interact with colleagues and readers. No longer able to meet in person with critique partners, schedule bookstore appearances to promote a new launch, or participate in conferences or workshops, writers have turned to videoconferencing software and apps in an effort to stay connected. But with so many options out there, which videoconferencing platform is best for writers? The tech experts at Web Design Relief have the scoop on the pros and cons of the latest videoconferencing software and apps.
So put on your nicest shirt (no one will see your sweatpants and fuzzy slippers) and let’s get started!
The Best Videoconferencing Software And Apps For Writers
ZOOM has become the most popular videoconferencing choice during the quarantine, in part because it works across lots of devices and operating systems. One author can call into ZOOM on an iPhone, another can join through a PC, and a third on an iPad, along with ninety-seven additional participants, effortlessly.
Because ZOOM allows a large group of people to participate in a single videoconference, it’s a great option for critique group gatherings or impromptu networking events—as long as the event doesn’t last longer than forty minutes, which is the limit for the free option. Paid options are available for as low as $14.99 a month and include unlimited minutes and many more features.
This high-quality videoconference software stands out for several reasons. Paying a fee for use is voluntary, and the suggested amounts are less than the cost of a cup of coffee. The income from these small contributions supports this company’s dedication to keeping high-quality videoconferencing software free or low cost for small businesses that can’t yet afford pricey options.
FreeConferenceCall.com features include:
- Videoconferencing with up to 1,000 participants
- Screen-sharing images from your computer—your book cover design, perhaps—to everyone else in the video chat
- Recording and playback, which is handy if you’re opting to record an informal Q&A in place of a cancelled in-bookstore event
Because this videoconference option has no session limits, it’s great for workshop presentations for your local writer’s chapter, lengthy critique group meetings, or an open-ended editorial meeting with your publishing team.
Skype has been Microsoft’s videoconference software for nearly twenty years. Previously, using Skype required downloading their software. However, with the onset of the pandemic, Skype has introduced a new option: Skype Meet.
Skype Meet hosts can start a free meeting on a Skype web interface for up to fifty people, with no sign-ups or downloads required. In contrast to some other options, the familiarity of the interface may be a boon to authors who feel challenged by newer interfaces.
Google Hangouts is one of the few successes that originated from the now-defunct Google+ social media platform. The software is simple. If you have a Gmail account or use Google as your preferred search engine, access is easy. Best of all, video calls with Google Hangouts are free in the US and Canada.
Google Hangouts only allows ten participants, so this option may be best for casual chats with your author buddies, or directed calls with your developmental editor, book formatter, or cover designer.
Authors who use iPhones, iPads, or other Mac devices updated to iOS 12 or higher have the option of using the FaceTime app for casual video conferencing. You can connect up to thirty-two people on one call. It’s a great way to network with writing colleagues who are across town or across the globe.
Facebook Messenger Rooms
Facebook recently rolled out its latest messenger chat upgrade called Messenger Rooms. These dedicated video chat rooms can host up to fifty people and are free to use. While you can create the room right from your Facebook account, attendees do not have to have Facebook accounts in order to join the video chat. You can also lock your Messenger Room for more security.
Video Conferencing And The Future Of Publishing
Considering the advantages of remote connection, videoconferencing software and apps will continue to reshape the publishing industry and open up new and innovative ways for you to collaborate on projects, market books, and connect with your readers.
And when you’re ready for your videoconference, try out one of these virtual backgrounds for videoconferencing featuring well-known bookstores!
Question: How have you used videoconferencing software or apps to keep in touch with your writing colleagues?