Notes on the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Conference

Filed under Writing.


This week/weekend I was able to attend the AWP Conference. It’s held in a different city each year and I was excited that of all years (the year I take a break from work and write) it’s in my own city, Seattle!


This was the first non gaming/nerd/geek conference I’ve attended in over ten years. In a previous life, I did attend a few teacher conferences which were more academic, but it had been so long I had forgotten how mellow academics could be – no costumes – no loud video game noises – no booth babes. Still there was much to learn, I am only a small padawan in the world of book writing and publishing. Below I’ve shared my notes on various panels, although there were hundreds more that I missed. I’m only one person. So, if you attended and have some good notes of your own to share, please make a comment and share a link to your info, I’d love to read it.


FRIDAY –  February 27 2012 (I missed Thursday as I had an out of town guest I hosted all day)


Science Fiction and Fantasy by Women of the Pacific Northwest: A Hydra House Reading

Abbey Mei Otis

Louise Marley a.k.a. Cate Campbell

Danika Dinsmore


Tom McCoy from Hydra House a micropress for Science Fiction introduced the authors. He supports women authors, and wants to see them become more successful in this genre and have a louder voice to be heard.


Danika was the first to read from her children’s literature series “Fairytales from the White Forest” there are four books in the series, with the latest coming out soon. Abbey read next a piece called “Teacher”. At first the realistic social economic division between optimistic expectations and reality for children in the public school system seemed far removed from sci-fi/fantasy that I was expecting, but by the end of the piece a fantasy/horror took over. It was a thought provoking piece and Abbey did a fantastic job reading with the various voices of the children and their dialects. Last to read was Louise from a book she had written many years ago, but was still relevant today. A piece highlighting the oppression of women in various countries…particularly where women are forced to wear the veil. All three pieces made me want to follow these women authors and read their work. I highly recommend checking them out. Louise also goes by Cate Campbell for her historical fiction writing and she has a 1920’s placed in Seattle story coming out now.


The Q&A session:


Why did you pick the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre?


Both Abbey and Danika admitted they hate research and it’s easier to make up their own worlds. Danika wrote a whole world book for her fairy series. All three authors admit they read the genre (either Science Fiction or Fantasy) and grew up on it, so it felt natural to write it as well. Danika loves the creative imagination of children, there a blend of reality and fantasy at the younger ages that is so much fun. Wizard of Oz was an example brought up by several for what they read growing up.


What is the difference between self or small press publishing and traditional larger publishing?


Louise had experience in both and said the difference between was across a spectrum of how much quality control you want vs. distribution capability. The larger publishing houses have an ability to distribute farther (more translations, international, .etc) but if you want more control over the cover, or title, or more say in the editing process then go smaller for publishing (self or small press). There is a middle ground that is developing in the industry called Assistant Publishing – this is where you can get help with some of the process, it’s in the middle of the spectrum.


I enjoyed this panel and the readings – I liked that there was a wide representation of the genre, and of experience.


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