Tuesday, April 25, 2006

One Publisher's Report on Wordstock

Wordstock in Portland, Oregon, came roaring back from its newcomer success last year to give a great show. My table was right inside the entrance. The reading stages each took up a third of the north wall of the exhibition halls, instead of in the four corners of the room like last year. The writing and selling workshops were featured in smaller rooms outside the exhibition hall.

Attendance seemed to be down from last year, but still busy for the most part. Last year was a rainy weekend; this year was sunny and warm. Attendees seemed to be in two major groups: those who’d come to attend the workshops and pitch their own writing and those who came to hear the authors’ readings. Last year, the crowd seemed more generally curious and book-seeking. My sales were 23 books this year to 27 last year.

In general, the reading authors included more nationally known authors this year. If any author has been disappointed by audience turnout at a signing, consider the 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon author slot. It pitted Gore Vidal against Carolyn Radziwill (cousin-in-law to Kennedy clan). Vidal had all his seats filled and an overflow standing crowd at his theater, while Radziwill had maybe six people listening to her.

There seem to be many writers and writers’ organizations in Portland. I found the Independent Publishing Resource Center table to advertise all sorts of resources (including computers and graphics programs) for do-it-yourself publishers. It’s a non-profit organization based in Portland and promotes “zines” low-cost, lower-grade publications, usually of a personal nature.

My only wish for Wordstock was that I brought someone to work the table with me so that I could browse and chat more.

Margaret Doyle
Port Gamble Publishing
The Fisherman's Quilt
ISBN 0976 109 905