At the PNBA, author events and a “BuzzBooks” contest facilitate connections

At the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show on Monday, attendees browsed the exhibit hall and chatted with many authors. The breakfast featured 11 “authors on the map” handing out advance and finished copies, the Signature Dish dinner featured 18 authors holding court in high chairs at the dining tables, and the evening ended with a gracious reception at Dystopian State Brewing Company, a converted warehouse space where 16 “town writers” have signed up and networked.

Eager readers lined up for independent presses and Big Five houses and for works in every genre, from historical fiction and lifestyle to picture books and thrillers. Spokane writer Lora Senf shared her chilling tween novel The Slam (Atheneum BYR/S&S), while Neverending Bookshop owner Annie Carl debuted her speculative book Nebula Variations (Extra Solar Press/Vertvolta). Seattle attorney Amanda DuBois signed mystery debut Complications (Girl Friday Books), and Marilyn Morgan touted her non-fiction Pioneer Women of Washington State (Arcadia). Seattle children’s author Suzanne Kaufman shared A friend for Ghost (Neal Porter/PRH), and Stephanie Clifford signed ARCs of The Farewell Tour (Harper), in which a country musician revisits her Pacific Northwest roots.

Booksellers have chosen the novel by L. Bundrock Where the rivers change direction their BuzzBooks title of the year. Published by Blue Cactus Press in Tacoma, Washington, rivers is a love story between two Montana women, one white and the other a member of the Blackfeet nation. “I’m so excited to amplify this amazing story about love, gayness and personal growth,” said Blue Cactus editor Christina Vega.

PNBA BuzzBooks Program enables presses to promote top titles and encourages booksellers to seek out sales reps – a win-win for building connections at the show. Participants are given a list of titles on a punched card and must visit each book’s representative to fill out the card. Once the map is complete, it can be entered into a raffle for three $100 cash prizes, and booksellers vote for their favorite book on the list. The winner is announced at PNBA’s Signature Dish Authors’ Dinner, with word of mouth publicity as the ultimate prize.

Lola R. McClure