#AWP16 Panels for the Emerging Writer

March 30, 2016

Are you an emerging writer or first-time attendee at AWP? We custom picked twelve panels especially for you. 

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We’ve packed our sunglasses, business cards, and bags of candy for AWP, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs that’s happening this week in Los Angeles. If you read “The Official Masters Review Survival Guide to #AWP16,”  you know the conference can be daunting for first timers. The schedule of panels and presenters can be especially overwhelming. You’ll find everything from war stories to SoCal poetry, but finding exactly the right panel for emerging writers can be a big task. That’s why we combed through the many stellar panels and handpicked twelve panels especially for writers getting started in the field. Check them out below, then come tell us about them at booth #959.

The Basics

Hey, we all need to start somewhere. The following panels are a great introduction for writers navigating the submissions and editing process. From submitting your work to journals, to facing the business end of a red pen, to landing—or not landing—an agent, these panels should give you the confidence (and insider tips) you need to get your work out there.

You Sent Us What?
The gist:
What happens to your piece once you hand it over to Submittable? Perhaps a better question is what your piece should look like before you send it. This panel will let you know what submission editors look for when your piece lands in their lap.
The deets:  Room 518, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level | Friday, April 1, 2016 | 9:00 am to 10:15 am

The Other Side of the Slushpile: Agents on Agenting
The gist: With an extended question-and-answer period, this panel aims to desmystify the literary agent. What do they do? How do you meet one? And hey, will you read my manuscript
The deets: Room 502 B, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level | Saturday, April 2, 2016 | 9:00 am to 10:15 am

Without Representation: Authors Who Sold Their Literary Debuts Without an Agent
The gist:
On the flip side, many debut authors have landed a book deal by going their own way. Carl Luna, Wendy C. Ortiz, Will Chancellor, and Chelsea Hodson will share their journey toward publication.
The deets: 
Room 518, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level | Saturday, April 2, 2016 | 9:00 am to 10:15 am

What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Redline
The gist: Okay, full disclosure, TMR web editor Kjerstin Johnson is on this panel designed for writers intimidated by the editor’s quill. Fear not—these expert editors will assuage your fear of receiving notes.
The deets: Room 512, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level | Thursday, March 31, 2016 | 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Your First Book

You did it. You landed a book deal—now you just have to write the damn thing. Head to some of these panels for advice on what’s next.

First Books: What to Expect When You’re Expecting
The gist:
Five award-winning and best-selling authors discuss what happens after your baby’s released to the world. Celebrate, commiserate, and learn from folks who have been there.
The deets: Room 406 AB, L.A. Convention Center, Meeting Room Level | Thursday, March 31, 2016 | 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

The Perfect Self-Released Book: What Elements Are Essential, and Will All This Money and Work Pay Off in the End?
The gist:
Self-released books are a new publishing frontier and a great opportunity for new readers to get their work into the world. But what do you need to know for your title to stand out in a sea of mediocre material? Learn how to make your self-published book work for you.
The deets: Scott James Bookfair Stage, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One | Thursday, March 31, 2016 | 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Demystifying the Market: Multiple Paths to the First Book
The gist:
Poets, take note: this panel is all about publishing your first poetry collection. Poets discuss the varied ways they were published with different strategies and notes from the field. Come to think of it, prose writers could probably learn a thing or two here, too.
The deets: Room 503, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level | Thursday, March 31, 2016 | 9:00 am to 10:15 am

Identity and the Publishing World

Sure, there’s the business end: submitting, editors, agents. But there’s more to the publishing world than what’s on the page. Our identities intersect with everything we do, including the writing world. These conversations are just as important as those on marketing or craft.

Creating Opportunities for Writers of Color: A Continued Urgency
The gist: Creatives from Willow Books and VONA/—including Diem Jones, the executive director—discuss the challenges, urgency, and opportunities for writers of color today.
The deets: Gold Salon 3, JW Marriott LA, 1st Floor | Thursday, March 31, 2016 | 10:30 am to 11:45 am

An Office of One’s Own: Literary Agents on Equality, Gender, and the Business of Creating Books
The gist:
Women can be best-selling authors but are still pigeonholed behind doors. This panel will look at how gender plays out in the publishing world.
The deets: Room 406 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level | Thursday, March 31, 2016 | 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

We Got Here as Fast as We Could: Debut Authors Over 35
The gist: When was the last time you saw a “Forty Under Forty” collection? Never? That doesn’t mean emerging writers have to be young writers. Hear from folks who published their first books after or in their thirties.
The deets: Room 407, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level | Friday, April 1, 2016 | 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Conference Tips

You know you’ll be in a community of your peers at these two panels devoted to the awkward interactions and feelings that come at large literary conferences. Sadly, these panels on managing imposter syndrome and introvert networking are at the same time.

In Case You Think You Don’t Belong Here: Imposter Syndrome and AWP

The gist: Imposter syndrome is the feeling that despite your accolades and hard work, you still don’t feel like you belong. When you’re surrounded by accomplished authors and writers it can be even tougher. Here are some tips to keep those feelings at bay and build up confidence and self-worth.
The deets: Room 403 A, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level | Thursday, March 31, 2016 | 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Networking for Introverts

The gist: There’s a joke at AWP that everyone else feels just as awkward as you do. Of course we do, we’re writers! But to market a book—or yourself—you will have to put yourself out there. Find out how at this panel of shy writers who made it big.
The deets: Room 502 A, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level | Thursday, March 31, 2016 | 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Don’t forget to stop by The Masters Review table, #959  at the Bookfair. We’d love to meet you, talk shop, and hear how your conference is going. Don’t forget to check out our other #AWP16 coverage here.

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At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year-round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

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