October WordFest examines the changing world of books and book publishing

Book publishing has been in a state of flux for a number of years now, due to the rise of e-books, the consolidation of the large publishing houses, the convenience of self-publishing, and other game-changing factors. At the next WordFest gathering on Tuesday, October 13, two veterans of the book publishing industry will be discussing these changes and future trends, and answering people’s questions.

Laura Stanfill

Publisher Laura Stanfill will discuss what it takes to start an independent press and how she transitioned from a regional Northwest publishing company to a national one in the past year.

Laura is a novelist, an editor, a journalist, and the founder of Forest Avenue Press (2012), which publishes page-turning literary fiction. Her authors include previous WordFest guests Dan Berne (The Gods of Second Chances), Kate Gray (Carry the Sky), Stevan Allred (A Simplified Map of the Real World), and Ellen Urbani (Landfall).

As a community newspaper editor, Laura earned numerous statewide awards for her writing and editorial work, including the Consumer Issues Reporting Award from the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association. A sought-after speaker on the subject of publishing, she has spoken at the University of Oregon, Pacific University, Willamette University, the Oregon Writers Colony, the Manzanita Writers’ Series, Corban University, and Clackamas Community College’s Compose Conference.



Publicist Mary Bisbee-Beek will discuss changes she’s seen in the book business and why it’s more important than ever for authors to connect to their audiences and ways they can do it. Mary began her publishing career in 1979 in San Francisco. In 2003, she joined the University of Michigan Press, where she was the Director of Publicity and the Trade Marketing and Foreign Rights Manager. Later, she joined Literary Ventures Fund, where she worked as a marketing, publicity and foreign rights consultant with various authors, agents, and publishers.

In 2010, Mary relocated to Portland and once again took on independent publicity projects. Through her company, READ A Unique Perspective, she provides publicity, marketing and foreign rights management with a unique outlook for each title and genre. She works primarily in literary fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, photography that leans toward social documentary commentary, and on “readable academic books.” She is also a consultant for Portland State University’s MFA for Publishing program.

There will be an open mic period following the presentations.

The monthly gathering of readers and writers meet the second Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 PM, at Cassava, 1333 Broadway in Longview. The events are free and open to the public.

935883_565758236803712_227947471_nCassava offers a dinner menu for those who wish to enjoy a meal with the readings, as well as local wines and brews.