Sunday, March 4, 2012

What to do at AWP

This is your chance! Don't blow it!
Skip breakfast. Get a large coffee with extra sugar, you'll need it! Go to the Bookfair when it opens at 8:30. That is when they will least suspect you! Say, "Hello, how do you do?" and then shake their hands and pick up one of their books. Ask what the book is about. Don't listen, it'll only distract you. Then say, "I've written a book like this book," and then hand them your manuscript!

Only go to panels with famous authors. No matter what the panel is about, ask a question during the Q and A. Stand when you ask the question so they'll know you. Smile and use hand movements. The question should be longer than any possible answer. The question should, itself, be an answer. After your question, nod, but don't listen to what the authors say. Remain standing so people forget that you are not in the panel. When the panel ends, shake the famous author's hands, say you love their work, and then hand them all your manuscript!

They all want to read your manuscript because it's wonderful!
Go to book signings. Even though you have just bought the book and have never read the author, go to the author and say, "I really love your work," or "I love your lyrical prose," or "You're my favorite of the authors." Give them your name and ask them to write, "To My Biggest Fan," next to that name. Then hand them your manuscript!

Picture this: All of these tables selling your bestseller!
Skip lunch. Skip water. Skip that panel on craft that your lesser writer friends told you to go to! Go to Kinkos and make more copies of your manuscript, duh. Staple your business card onto the manuscript. Make sure that all of the business cards read: "Writer" instead of "Waiter". Sometimes they fuck up.

Hand your manuscript to publishers. Hand your manuscript to agents. Hand your manuscript to that cute girl to impress her. Hand your manuscript to the man in the suit. Hand your manuscript to the man with the beard. Hand your manuscript to professors, current or former. Hand your manuscript to Dinty Moore.

You: "Dinty Moore, will you read my manuscript?"  Dinty Moore: "Yes!"
Follow Dinty Moore to the bookfair. Follow Dinty Moore to the bathroom. Follow Dinty Moore to his car. Wherever Dinty Moore goes, follow him. You are Dinty Moore's shadow. His reflection. Remember: You are one with Dinty Moore. Remember: Inside yourself, there is a Dinty Moore waiting to bloom.

Go to Dance Party Alcohol Readings because if famous authors are drinking alcohol they will be less resistant to taking your manuscript when you hand it to them.

If you want to be a famous author you have to know how to dance, you dummy!
Dance with a famous author. Say, "I really like your work," or "I really like how you read," or "I really like how you dance." Tell them that you want to be their friend! When they agree, do not hand them your manuscript. Get their contact info first, then hand them your manuscript.

Vomit in a ditch. Wander home. Do not eat. Do not sleep. Definitely do not read. Lie in your bed, with your phone next to your ear. Wait for it. The call. It will change your life. Think about your response. Think about the pause you'll give, feigning surprise, when you hear the voice in the darkness say, "I just read your manuscript. It has moved me to tears."


  1. OMG, where the hell was this post when I went to MY first AWP? I've been stumbling in the dark for the better part of a decade. Thank god THAT'S over.

    At least I've been getting the "blow off the craft panel" part right . . .

  2. You'll be ready at the next AWP, Martin! AND THEN YOU WILL OWE ME BIG!