Does self-publishing mix with the AWP Conference?

Last week the AWP Conference took place in Denver, Colorado.  AWP is the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and their annual conference is one of the largest of its kind in the country.  An estimated 5000-7500 guests and exhibitors flock to the conference each year, which is held in various venues across the country. Last year it took place in Chicago and next year it takes place in Washington D.C.

The Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado was the venue for the 2010 conference, which is just a stone’s throw from Outskirts Press, on the outskirts of Denver in Parker.   I attended the conference personally and Outskirts Press donated 5,000 copies of one of my books, Self-Publishing Simplified, for the AWP Conference goodie bags.

After all, if the exhibitors are any indication, this is a great place to reach writers. For example, the publishers for Writer’s Digest and The Writer were both there in person and I was pleased to finally meet them in person, considering our 5-year sponsorship of the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition Collection and the on-going advertising we place in The Writer magazine.  All wonderful people.  Some of my associates and friends from CIPA and SPAN were there as well.

Since I had never been to the conference before, I went somewhat incognito, to get a sense of the conference, the seminars, the speakers, and the attendees. The idea of sponsoring, exhibiting, or speaking — or a combination thereof — at a future conference has been suggested to me several times. Attending this one in Denver provided an opportunity to see if that would make sense.

And the verdict? It will depend upon results of the tracking code we put in the pages of the 5,000 free books we supplied. 

And I’ll end this post with a related suggestion – if you give away free copies of your book or service or product for the purposes of marketing, always be sure there is a mechanism in place to track the results.