Here we go again, sliding into the book vortex known as the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, or AWP. This year’s cluster-duck quacks to life in 3 weeks up in Boston, where the wompus will nest (amongst other places) at Bookfair Booth 1111. Stop by and fluff your feathers with us if you’re in town, and watch this spot for news of flash mobs and other mischief (just kidding… kinda).

This all puts me in the mood to remind everyone of one of my favorite blogs, Bookshelf Porn, where you can glory in some of the funniest and most extreme booklover photos.

Here’s a compelling Kickstarter request from an innovative small press, “Launching Books Non-Destructively: New Anomalous.” I can’t vouch for their new releases, I haven’t yet had the pleasure, but Anomalous Press has a mission that hits my sweet spot and maybe yours, too.

There’s been some chatter today amongst small presses headed to Boston, boiling down to the various challenges of making the AWP bookfair work on a budget. The conference and bookfair keep growing like a fungus, it’s like a small city now (last year registration capped at 11,000 so from this year forward, the conference takes place at convention venues.)

None of this is necessarily good news if you’re an economically marginal small press (or just an introverted writer). Maybe you’ve decided to pony up the several thousand dollars to cover your bookfair stall, lodging and travel, even a couple beers over the course of the week. Then you start hearing about all the add-on fees. Those of you who’ve ever had an exhibtor space in one of these extravaganzas know exactly what I’m talking about but for the uninitiated, for example, $25/day for emptying the wastebasket. (They give you one empty a day free, then charge for each additional… I took to keeping our basket upside down to avoid passing booklovers heaping in their trash and sending us into trashcan overtime). You want an electrical outlet, an internet connection, a little help humping your inventory in from the car? Prices start at three figures and go up quickly. So today, several presses were sharing tips on how to move inventory in and out without incurring either unwieldy fees, or the wrath of security personnel whose mission is to keep us coloring inside the lines.

I encountered a different version of this color-between-the-lines mentality when setting up a cross-arts event for this year’s bookfair (posting soon). Chalk it up to my remarkably tenacious naivete, I was flummoxed that everybody didn’t immediately grasp the wisdom and the inherent joy of criss-crossing literary arts with other artistic endeavors. Go figure.

Happy February, book lovers! Hope to see you in Boston…

with extra February hugs,