Northwest Bookfest and Me

Sep 21, 2011 | 3 comments

“Dear Medora”

     Some time ago my publisher asked if I would be willing to participate in the Northwest Bookfest 2011 being held in Kirkland in October.  I discussed it with Nyel and, though we know from experience that most of these opportunities don’t really gain much in book sales, we decided (as we usually do) that the exposure would probably be worth the drive up and back.
     I didn’t hear anymore and assumed, correctly as it turned out, that the Bookfest movers and shakers had made a different choice and I wouldn’t be needed after all.  Then, yesterday, I received another message from WSU Press.  There had been a last minute cancellation and could I be on the panel concerning research & writing family history.
     I had mixed feelings for sure, this time.  It’s always hard to be second (or for all I know, third or fourth) choice.  But, our calendar is free that weekend and Seattle Linda said, “Sure!  Stay with me!”   So, I said “Yes”.  Now, as it turns out, the ‘panel’ consists of one author (me) and a librarian who will speak about the online databases available for family research.
     We have attended Bookfest in past years – way back when it was just getting started and was conducted in a huge warehouse-like building down at one of the piers on the Seattle waterfront.   Judging from their website, the venue is upgraded but the format is much the same now as it was then. The two-day event (October 1st and 2nd) involves hundreds of authors, more than fifty author panels, writing and publishing workshops and family workshops.  Authors run the gamut from the unknown (like me) to the likes of Ivan Doig.
     Now that I have agreed, of course, there seems to be some question about the book sales.  The bookstore connected with Bookfest prefers to get the books directly from me rather than getting them from WSU Press (presumably saving them the hassle of returns which, in itself, doesn’t sound hopeful) so would I please take some along and they will reimburse me?  And then I can pick up the unsold copies on my way out?
     Since I’m scheduled to present on Sunday at 3:00 and planning to arrive around 2:00, and Bookfest closes down entirely at 6:00, it all seems fraught.  Nyel and I are now discussing whether we should just bite the bullet and go up for the entire weekend.  How do I get myself into these things, anyway?


  1. Jan

    Ivan who???

    I feel your pain, Sydney… I, too, have been in this type of situation and always just “suit up and show up.” And amazingly, with the right attitude along, I often meet wonderful people, some who have become very good friends, mentors, and even book buyers! 🙂

    • sydney

      I agree. I guess that’s what keeps me saying “yes.”

  2. Susan in Seattle

    I wish we would be in town that weekend to hear your panel, but we’re off to Arkansas to do research on another side of the family. Bookfest authors and panels are always interesting and I hope the new venue works well.


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