AWP. AWP. I’ve heard those initials over and over again for years. Finally, I will get to learn what they are all about.
Recently I traded in one professional organization, International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), for another, Association of Writers & Writing Programs. The former, along with PRSA, has been instrumental in my professional career in communications for the last 15+ years. But as I shift my focus and time from business to passion (fiction writing), I’ve had to let my IABC membership end and have joined AWP.
Besides a job board and publications, AWP offers THE publishing conference/trade show for the writing world – where writers, agents and publishers network, learn and possibly make some deals. This year it is in Washington D.C., in February, just a few weeks away.
I am traveling to the conference with a fellow writer, Chris, who is also an AWP newbie. Neither of us know exactly what to expect so I called up my friend Tim to get the scoop.
His most useful comment was to know what I want to get out of the conference ahead of time. It’s okay not to have an agenda, he said, but think about if you want to network, attend panels and other workshops, or socialize informally after events. Now I plan to do some research on the speakers and panels to get a feel for who will be there.
I realize I don’t really have an agenda, other than to meet as many writers and publishers as possible – to expand my knowledge of the writing world beyond my beloved friends from Goddard/Clockhouse Writers Conference and the few I’ve met in Cleveland. To me, AWP is the big leagues and I’m ready to enter that level now.
I want to see:
- Is it really only about who you know or do talent and passion still count?
- Can you tell which writers are in it just for the money and those who feel the calling?
- Is publishing as cutthroat as “they” say or are there more than just a handful of publishers out there who care about product at least as much as profit?
Basically I want to see how it all works. Tim said the conference can be overwhelming and I can understand that. I just wanted to know a bit ahead of time what to expect. I’ve been to trade shows for my role in professional communications and they are usually fun, but I am there representing someone or something else.
This time it is all about me and that is bit intimidating.