It Pays to Shake Hands at AWP
June 29, 2013 § 3 Comments
AWP can be overwhelming, especially if you’re fresh in or fresh out of a graduate program, and wondering who the hell you would possibly impress with your random spattering of pubs. There seem to be so many, many people trying to do the exact same thing you are, and so many, many of them are doing it better, getting published more, and they’re all standing around having awesome conversations with each other. You might be tempted to just stay in your hotel room and rock back and forth slowly. But you probably shouldn’t.
The thing is, though–once you’ve gotten over the nerves enough to shake hands with whoever it is you’d like to impress, you’ve got to follow up. At the end of the AWP panel on book reviewing, I introduced myself to the Slate editor, then immediately, like the freaking Flash, dashed to the hotel coffee shop and wrote pitches for three different upcoming books I was excited about, and had it in his inbox perhaps even before he left the panel room.
Will this work every time, or for every person? Shit, no. I’m just saying, when my fiance kept reminding me to “get out there and network,” I’m glad I didn’t just roll my eyes and say “yeah, OK, with who?” Because not only would I have incorrectly used “who” instead of “whom,” I’d have missed out. Let this be a post-grad lesson to us all.