Last week, we had our first experience at AWP. I had heard many stories from friends who’d attended before, most of them bad/nightmare/horror stories. And considering all the personal stuff I’d been dealing with last month or so, I was quite nervous about AWP14.
Well, surprise, surprise. We had a fantastic and productive trip. And I had a bucketload of fun.
Our main objective at AWP was doing our PUBLISH! project with our friends at Kaya Press. We took our typewriter and stapler and stamps with us, ready to unleash our underground publishing extravaganza on the literary masses!
From the moment we set up shop, the typewriter hardly stopped tock-tock-tocking. One after another, random people walking past our table stopped and with little nudging, put down their insecurities and wrote.
Each day, we had a different prompt.
Day One: Where are you now?
Day Two: Who were you then?
Day Three: What happens next?
And each day ended with a book launch party for You Can Too, edited by the individuals who came to the party. We paid them with whiskey.
We had joked that we were going to launch a hundred authors during AWP. By the time we were done on Saturday afternoon, we had published 100 writers during the three days!
It felt great to have other authors we respect and other publishers we admire stop by and participate in PUBLISH!, complimenting us on the innovative (typewriter! stapler! innovation!) activity. We even had someone from AWP come by on the last day and thank us for creating such an interactive table.
Writ Large Press and Kaya Press definitely left our marks on the conference. For those who wrote and published books with us during the conference, I am confident they will always remember it.
But it wasn’t just us. I was lucky enough to be on a couple of panels, one that was about publishing in Los Angeles, and I was struck at how much is being done out here in LA, no matter how hard people in SF and NYC and everywhere else try to not admit it.
I want to do one of those roll call type things where I list all the great and cool people I saw and met, but I’ll hold that off until next week. I’ll talk a little more about the panels too then.
For now I just wanted to say: we did good.
Los Angeles, I think you can be proud of us. Of all of us.