Meet Your Literary Community

On Saturday, I warded a table at the Phoenix Public Market’s Meet Your Literary Community event. Highlights from the market, in no particular order:

  • Being among ~50 publishers, editors, agents, writers, and other literary community members from Phoenix and representing our unique, fledgling project. Many thanks to ASU’s Piper Center for Creative Writing for accepting our application!

  • Sitting next to Iron City Magazine. The Piper Center staff knew what they were doing when they sat us next to each other. Iron City was founded in 2014. It’s a journal of art and literature that features writing from incarcerated people and those who work in the prison system. Issue 3 is coming out shortly, and all of their issues are beautiful! “Prison” is definitely in the pipeline as a future theme for wards, and the editors at Iron City were happy to have another literary outlet to recommend to their writers. I encourage everyone to learn more about Iron City’s mission, work, and publications.

  • Practicing the pitch I didn’t even know I had in me. I especially liked meeting writers and seeing the moment when my pitch appealed to them. No form letters, constructive feedback? Yes, please!

  • Selling two magazines. Wait, hold the phone! We sell things now? Shoot, better get some paperwork filed, some ecommerce set up, a subscription service, etc. But yes, I decided that a printed magazine was easier to showcase at an event like this than a digital magazine, so we have print copies now. What.

I sold a couple (thanks, Lawn Gnome Publishing for the first sale evarrr) and gave a couple away. I had to give one to the guy in the firefighter shirt, because Fire.

It was really something to see people walking around with a copy of our magazine; a sort of euphoria, not pride but enthusiastic affirmation. Yes! You get out there and be read! You turn heads and get people interested! You, do the thing! Do the thing and soar! You are good and smart and gosh darn it, people will like you!

The more being published (now printed?!) in wards means to writers, the happier I am with it. For the past 6 months, I’ve been thinking about the future of wards: what’s possible, what’s sustainable, what’s ideal. It’s a learning experience. Spending time with the literary community of Phoenix inspired me to keep learning by doing, knowing I can always check in with others who have solved similar problems and worked similar magic.

I know writing and art can be lonely work, so get out there and find your community, wherever you are. Take a break from self-deprecation and impostor syndrome to spend some time in the real world of encouragement and belonging. You belong!