Some Thoughts About Northwest Bookfest

NWBookfest_BPNW_TableIn November, Peter Kahle of 74th Street Productions was one of five members of Book Publishers Northwest who received a full scholarship to attend Northwest Bookfest in Kirkland. Here’s his report about this educational event for publishers and writers:

Thanks to BPNW I was given a scholarship to NW Bookfest 2013, held November 2 and 3 at the Northwest University campus in Kirkland. BPNW purchased a vendors table and provided promotional materials about the organization. Before the weekend was over all the materials had been taken, and I spoke to at least fifty prospective members.

The event was held in the Health Science Building, a modern structure with long hallways where the vendors were set up and multiple classrooms for the workshops. Five sessions of workshops were scheduled each day, with four or five options in each session. Workshop topics ranged from Poetry to Crowd Source Funding for Your Book. Only one workshop per session was open to the general public; so BPNW’s scholarship allowing me free range of all was a big benefit.

I had not attended the previous two Bookfests in Kirkland so I cannot compare the crowd numbers, but severe weather on Saturday, (so severe it forced the closure of the WA 520 bridge from 11-1) undoubtedly kept people at home. The crowd passing the vendors tables ebbed and flowed with the timing of the workshop sessions, but seemed to be there for the workshops more than the vendors.

Looking over the workshops, I was struck by the number who have already spoken at BPNW. The workshops I attended included Building a Bargain Book Trailer (T.M.Franklin), Using Social Media to Market Your Book (Sean McVeigh), E-Books for the Non-Technical Author (Marcia Breece) and Adapting Your Novel Into A Screenplay (Wally Lane). They were uniformly well-prepared and informative, with specific recommendations and lists of resources.

Among other things, I learned that:

· Keywords are more important than the cover for an E-Book (The cover doesn’t matter until the readers get to the actual book page itself, and what brings them there?)
· Always include an image with a blog post (It draws the eyeball, which then is more likely to read the post.)
· ITunes sells royalty-free music for use in book trailers for 99₵
· A book is a book and a movie is a movie. Adapting your own novel into a movie means that you have to be willing to mutilate your own creation to change its form.

Saturday night, the Milagro Cantina hosted Wine and Words, a panel discussion moderated by William Kenower and featuring Seattle 7 writers Deb Caletti, Garth Stein, Erica Bauermeister, Jennie Shortridge and Kevin O’Brien. This was a treasure for writers, the topics ranging from “Jow did you come up with that idea?” to “How does you and your agent assess your career?” Sadly there were only a handful of attendees, but everyone there got full opportunity to get every question answered.

Next year, I think that there needs to be better campus entrance signage. A sign that just says EVENT doesn’t grab the eye. The NW Bookfest signs weren’t visible until the attendee was well onto the campus.

Book Publishers Northwest provides scholarships and other educational opportunities for its members throughout the year. Learn more about how to join here

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