I brought exactly one copy of The Slaves Have Names with me to AWP. Just one copy to donate to my alma mater’s alumni publications collection. I will be dropping off that copy as soon as I can today that I’m done, and I can get rid of that weight – both of the book and the responsibility.
Now, before you marketing wizards tell me that I should be promoting the book everywhere, let me say that I’m not shy about talking about the book and handing out business cards, and I’ve made a commitment to myself to talk to more writers I admire and more journals I respect – all with business cards in hand.
That said, I do not want to be a person who walks around with a copy of my book packed loosely at the top of her bag so she can take it out when the first mention arises. I don’t want to spend my whole time here wondering if I can sell a copy or two or such and such writer might want to read and then review a free copy. No, I don’t want to be that woman.
Instead, I want to have real conversations with real people about this thing we love called writing. I want to learn about how they market (today’s panel on Post-Publication Marketing and Platform Building should do the trick), and I want to implement those techniques in the proper places. I want to sit in panels – like the one I plan to attend today about The Ethics and Practices of Assuming the Voices of Others.
I want to sit with my friends over coffee and good food and talk about our lives, and I want to make new friends. I want to walk the streets of this amazing city with P and know with all of myself that my time is so well-spent.
In short, I want this conference to be about me and the other people here – not about my book. Because it’s the people that matter, the people bent hours over computers and notepads tying words together like lifelines.
If you’re at AWP, what do you hope to do while you’re here?