There’s a report in today’s New York Times about the rise of self publishing. The story is partly about writers taking control of their own work, partly about a new business model for publishing, and partly a good old-fashioned tale about underdogs. Check it out.
Here at Wordstock we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of self-published books that have been pitched to the festival in the past three years. We also noticed that several self-published titles were finalists for the Oregon Book Awards last year. Clearly, this has become more than a movement.
In the spring of 2008, we received a phone call from a young man named M. Glenn Taylor about his new novel. It was his first; we’d never heard of him. The book was going to be released in June, he said, and he was interested in finding out how writers went about getting on the program at our festival. Wordstock is committed to giving a stage to new voices, so we were intrigued. He sent us a copy of the book, and we were impressed with the voice and movement of the prose. We called back and asked him to join us, and he did, and we were never sorry. The panel on “place” that he sat on was terrific, and the reading he gave from that new novel was exceptional. “This guy’s going places,” we thought.
It seems the National Book Critics Circle agrees. Today the NBCC announced the finalists for its annual book awards, and the nominees in fiction include superstars like Roberto Bolano, Marilynne Robinson, Aleksandar Hemon, Elizabeth Strout — and M. Glenn Taylor, for his novel The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart. Congratulations to Glenn!
Today the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association announced the winners of their 2009 Book Awards, and we were pleased to see that Wordstock authors dominated the awards! Four of the five winners — Dave Boling, John Laursen, Floyd Skloot, and Garth Stein — were guests at Wordstock this year and performed to standout crowds. Our congratulations to all of the winners and nominees on a job well done!
Well, it’s official: Wordstock 2009 will be held October 8-11, 2009, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Mark your calendars right now!
Yes, this is a few weeks earlier than it has been in the past. The reason? Our venue is booked up solid during our regular week in November. And Wordstock has grown so big in its four short years that this October weekend was the only time available that had the space to house us. So, we’re going to be a little earlier this year. One benefit of this move is already apparent: The large majority of author tours take place in September and October, which means we’ll have many more writers to choose from for this year’s event!