How book signings work at PNBA Fall Trade Show

During his talk on May 17, a number of BPNW members asked PNBA executive director Thom Chambliss how the author talks and signings work at the PNBA Fall Tradeshow. These signings form the cornerstone of many popular events for booksellers and librarians at the show, including the “Nightcapper” with free dessert and an open bar.

PNBA routinely receives more applications than they have open slots for these appearances — usually about 150 applications for 90 author slots, said Chambliss. Some slots are specifically reserved for nationally known authors. Others, like the Education Day Luncheon (Saturday, October 13), highlight relatively new regional authors speaking briefly about their new books that would make great handselling and event opportunities for PNBA member bookstores.

The PNBA process requires that they allow publicists until June 22 to send in their author proposals. Chambliss then compiles all the proposals and send them to PNBA’s Selection Committee the first week of July. The Committee returns them to Chambliss, listed in the order of the Committee’s preference, with their choice for speakers at the top. Not all applications are accepted — PNBA looks for a wide mix of authors with broad appeal for their membership.Once those spots are confirmed, Chambliss begins sending out the invitations. The entire process is usually completed by the end of July.

Publishers must pay for the author appearances at PNBA Fall Trade Show and are also required to give away an adequate number of books. Chambliss said that the half hour signing slots average between 30 and 50 free books for most authors.


The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) has now posted their Call for Authors for the 2012 fall show, which will be held at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WA on Saturday, Sunday & Monday, OCTOBER 13 – 15. For more information, see their website:

If you are working with an author who might make a good candidate for an appearance at the PNBA show, please contact Thom Chambliss, executive director of PNBA, directly with your proposals.  Information on how to do this and the form for the author events can be found at