Arts and Entertainment

Silverdale Barnes and Nobles offers local authors a breath of exposure

Kitsap is quite the literary community. Numerous writing groups permeate the county and a healthy handful of local authors have been published by big name publishing houses.

Recently, two different Bainbridge authors made Top 10 on the New York Times Bestsellers list.

But it’s never easy for an aspiring local author — something the folks at the local corporate bookseller Barnes and Noble understand well. Which is why the store, located in the Kitsap Mall, will be hosting a signing party for a half-dozen local authors and their work this weekend.

“It’s very difficult for a first-time author — especially in some ways when they take a self-publishing route or for a first-time author who’s not published by one of the classic big volume publishers — it’s very difficult for them to get any kind of exposure for their book,” Barnes and Noble community relations manager Ruthanne Devlin said. “It’s even more difficult during times like this.”

Just as with many American industries, the publishing industry has felt the national recession. Which means less chances to be taken, meaning less chance of exposure for unknown authors.

For quite some time, Devlin said she’s had the thought in the back of her mind of showcasing some of these local unknown authors, “who certainly have the skills and books to recommend.” But it just became a matter of how.

The store couldn’t afford to give each virtually unknown author their own book reading, but bringing them all together for one mass signing was more feasible and also possibly better for the authors by virtue of cross-promotion. So they set out to create the inaugural Festival of Local Authors.

It’s an event they’re hoping will become annual.

This year’s half-dozen featured authors come from across the genre spectrum — from novels to poetry, science fiction to political action thrillers.

One of the most successful underground authors on the docket — D.L. Pekarek of Federal Way has been hand-selling his Sci-Fi trilogy “Alcent” for years.

“That’s how they say Steven King started out with his first book in New England,” Devlin noted. “He couldn’t even get into a book store ... so he traveled around the country, hand-selling out of the trunk of his car.”

You never know when the next Steven King might be peddling his book out of the back of his car, ignored by the big-name publishers and booksellers — which is probably part of the impetus for Barnes and Noble’s inaugural Festival of Local Authors.

But supporting local scribes isn’t something new for the local corporate bookseller. In addition to the occasional local author reading, Barnes and Noble also helps school programs and non-profit community organizations raise money through Barnes and Noble-sponsored booksales.

FESTIVAL OF LOCAL AUTHORS

Feb. 21 at the Kitsap Mall Barnes and Noble in Silverdale, six local authors will be in-house signing and talking about their books, including:

Natalie Newport of Seabeck with her action/adventure/romance novel “Ninja Nanny”

Mary McKay of Hansville with her novel “The Letters” and a children's book “Lost in the Alps."

John Kersaw of Bremerton with his novel “Nine Dragons.”

DL Pekarek of Federal Way with his sci-fi trilogy “Alcent” “Alcent Adventure” and “Mysteroius Alcent."

Lawrence Mroczkowski of Silverdale with his poetry collection “Everlasting Dreams."

Byron Holcomb of Bainbridge with his political action thriller “Call of the Blue J."

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