AWP Boston Survival Guide

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February 21, 2013

AWP Boston Survival Guide

For anyone preparing to attend AWP for the first time, here is a little survival guide for you. Rules of the road.

1. If there is someone very important who you want to meet with at AWP, and you have not already asked them for a meeting, plan on meeting them in Seattle in 2014. You can ask, but most people’s schedules are full now.
2. Ask yourself what the end game is for you and then make a plan for that. With a schedule.
3. If you want to get more work accepted to literary journals, go around buying literary journals and seeing what they are doing.
4. If you want to get a book accepted, make a list of presses you think you like and visit their tables. Buy books, get a catalog, meet whoever is there in an editorial role and then when you get home you can decide which presses to send your work to. Plan on finding four or five possibilities not just one.
5. Do not plan on giving a manuscript to anyone at AWP. Everyone has enough to carry. They will throw it away.
6. Do not start drinking too much the first night.
7. Avoid drinking too much.
8. Keep water in your room which you can carry around with you.
9. Keep food in your room. There is no food at AWP except the chocolate bars sold at the Red Hen table. Half kidding, but generally there is not much food or water. At Frankfurt, they sell food and booze and water everywhere. At Bologna, they serve wine. Damn Europeans are cooler than we are.
10. Make a schedule for yourself every day so that you don’t start to feel you are drowning and then you don’t feel at the end that you did not accomplish anything.
11. If an important person does not recognize you, don’t take it personally. I am amazed anyone besides my husband recognizes me. Oh, two people will know me this year because my daughter is coming to work the booth. Come by and say hi. She’s be the really hot lesbian working at our table.
12. Try not to bring your baby. It’s like bringing a baby to Vegas. And I love babies! But AWP is an insane place to bring your baby. That’s what grandparents are for.
13. Plan what panels you want to attend and arrive early so you can sit where you like. Raise your hand at panels, ask questions.
14. Do not have illegal parties in your room. They will catch you and throw you out. Keep the parties small and on the DL. Like three people.
15. Enjoy yourself. If you can’t have fun, you’re missing the whole point which is to connect with your tribe and remind yourself that you and me, little writers in our caves, relatively unknown, not published enough, definitely not famous enough, we still belong to something. A group of crazy people, but that’s something.

Published in: on February 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] “AWP Boston Survival Guide,” Kate Gale: A Mind Never Dormant: Fifteen tips for an AWP first-timer, including ensuring you have water. You’ll do a lot of walking, and remember I mentioned there are few vendors on site. […]

  2. […] Gale at A Mind Never Dormant has a great AWP Boston Survival Guide, with more practical advice (“5. Do not plan on giving a manuscript to anyone at AWP. […]


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