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A Survivor’s Guide to #AWP15

It’s one of the largest annual gatherings of creative writers, publishers, and educators in the United States–usually well in excess of 10,000 attendees–and the largest such event for literary writers. Once again I’ll be attending the AWP Conference & Bookfair, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ annual extravaganza. This year the hordes will be […]

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Why I Left my Literary Agent

It was the hardest professional decision I ever made. Harder than leaving a stable think-tank job to join a start-up as its CEO. Harder than walking away from that successful start-up four years later to answer the call of an art-committed life. After three years of labor, with the finished memoir in hand, I chose […]

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What the Heck is “Indie” Publishing?

I’ve been involved in varies capacities in the publishing industry for twenty-five years now, as a writer and editor and policy advocate. I never could have imagined the transformations that have occurred in both technology and business models. And yet I repeatedly find myself confused by the use of the term “indie” in the context […]

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AWP Nugget: What You Missed at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference

I’ve returned from snowy Boston and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. It was a mixed bag for me. There were a couple of sessions that were really solid, and I met a handful of interesting editors on the Bookfair floor that I may follow up with at some point. I also attended […]

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MFA Nugget: How Much is Too Much?

BOSTON — In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell cites a scientific study that sought to determine if consumers equate more with better. They set up displays of various jams in a supermarket that customers could sample. When there were only six selections, a lot of people stopped. When there were two dozen, nearly everyone kept […]

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AWP Nugget: The Bubbling Debate over Self-Publishing

BOSTON — The fireworks didn’t come during the panel session, which is a good thing, because every square inch of the floor was covered by attendees. Pyrotechnics in rooms violating fire codes never end well. But the figurative fireworks came that night, assisted with alcohol. I refer here to the third rail of our modern […]

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AWP Nugget: Takeaways from Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott

BOSTON — If you’re given an hour to sit down and listen to two Nobel-Prize-winning writers, you do so. I am still in my infancy when it comes to my understanding and appreciation of poetry and poets, but I made a point to attend the Thursday evening 8:30 pm keynote with Seamus Heaney and Derek […]

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AWP Nugget: Tips for Writers Looking for the Tenure-Track Teaching Job

BOSTON — You love to write. You need to earn a living. Why not teach what you love? You’re not the first person to think of that. Every person with an MFA has entertained that fantasy, and many more writers beyond that. Here at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs 2013 conference, four writing […]

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AWP Nugget: Hey Writers, Let’s Meet Up in Person in Seattle in 2014!

BOSTON — One emotion I have always felt at the AWP creative writers conference is jealousy. Jealousy of the talent and success of the panelists and readers. Jealousy of the way so many writer attendees approach literary editors on the Bookfair floor without fear. But, mostly, jealousy of how so many attendees have made the […]

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AWP Nugget: Left-Brain Planning for a Right-Brain Conference

The process of creating art fires neurons in the right side of our brains. Planning and organization processes in the left side. Planning the most creative use of one’s time at North America’s largest literary conference requires whole-brain thinking. Every artist I interviewed  on my cross-country U.S. road trip understood the role of planning in […]

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