I’m back from five hectic but fantastic days at the AWP conference in Chicago. Those who went (and even those who didn’t go) are likely tired of hearing about the conference and the book fair, but I felt the need to throw my hat into the round-up ring:
1. The people at the conference this year were, with very few exceptions, very friendly and kind.
1a. I don’t know if the snow storms last year were to blame for the stand-offish attitude at the DC conference, but I will take Chicago any day. I love that Midwestern niceness.
1b. LAR contributors are the best people in the world.
2. I saw fewer beards this year. Are we over the beards at this point?
3. Chicago is not goofing around with that wind. I lost one earring and a hat to the elements.
4. Panels on how to promote your book/zine/site/etc. are played out, friends. Unless you’re completely new to the world of publicity and promotion, you can ignore these panels completely. You’ll do better to walk around the book fair and meet people.
4a. A guy on one publicity panel I attended–and I am not making this up–suggested that the more degrading the publicity approach, the better. Dude told a very detailed story about plaster-casting his own nether regions as a publicity move. I (and quite a few others) stood up and left.
4b. If you plaster-cast your naughty bits, I don’t think we can be friends any longer.
5. I was given more hugs than business cards this year. I think that means I’m doing something right.
5a. Spend time meeting people and making real connections at conferences like these. Knowing people beats networking every time.
6. I was mistaken for Eloise Klein Healy. I felt inexplicably proud.
7. Mark Cull, publisher of Red Hen Press, is the hardest-working man in publishing.
8. I have learned not to have the audacity to be female in the presence of a strange guys with infants, as guys with infants will first hand you their offspring, then walk away while the offspring vomits on your sleeve. True story, friends. I’m still not quite over it.
8a. If you are a stranger, please don’t hand me your baby. Both the baby and I will thank you.
9. I am too old to stay out late.
10. I must be getting very old indeed, because when one guy on a panel was feigning disaffection for the writing world, I wanted to pat him on the head and say “cheer up, little one.”
11. I am incredibly happy to be a writer and a journal editor, and I feel galvanized by the energy of the 9,999 other writers at the conference.
12. We sold out of all the LAR Issue 11s that we brought to Chicago, and went through the bulk of Issues 10, 9, 8, 7, and 6.
12a. Thank you to everyone who became a subscriber! You, our readers, keep us in print and keep indie publishing going strong.
See you next year in Boston!