The People Who Work in Publishing

Writer’s Digest Conference is proud to host to the most respected and influential experts in the industry. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain real-world, first-hand knowledge from people who work in every aspect of publishing. They will be on hand to share actionable insights into today’s publishing challenges and demands, help you hone your craft, learn the ins and outs of successful self-publishing, and show you how to turn your manuscript into a contract for publication.

Porter Anderson [More Info]
Journalist/Critic/Writer/Speaker in Publishing
Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson) is a former news anchor with CNN and an Equity actor who has taught theatre courses at the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and Florida State.
His keynote addresses and conference appearances have taken him from the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Brown-Forman Lecture Series (on John Steinbeck and Ann Bogart) to conference appearances at Writer's Digest Conference West in Hollywood; Authors Launch and Author (R)evolution Day in New York; and the FutureBook in London. He writes the weekly (Thursdays) WRITING ON THE ETHER publishing column at and the weekly (Tuesdays) ETHER FOR AUTHORS column at, a publication of Frankfurt Book Fair. He's also a Regular Contributor to Writer Unboxed, a member of the Expert Publishing Blog team at Digital Book World, and a Contributor to Writer’s Digest magazine. His live-text coverage of publishing conferences is followed by thousands – something he started doing during presidential election events as a Senior Producer with  In addition to anchoring with CNN USA, Anderson is a former Senior Chief Editor with CNN-International and Senior Producer with, where he managed the news anchors from the control room of Live. Other news outlets include The Village Voice, The Dallas Times Herald, The Dallas Observer, and D Magazine. Anderson was posted by the United Nations to Rome with the World Food.
Boot Camp: Public Speaking for Writers: How to Turn Your Readings into Book Sales
Jacob Appel [More Info]
Jacob M. Appel’s first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the 2012 Dundee International Book Award and was published by Cargo.
  Jacob’s short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the Hudson Prize and is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press.  His short fiction has appeared in more than two hundred leading literary journals including Gettysburg Review, Prairie Schooner, Virginia Quarterly Review and many others. His prose has won the Boston Review Short Fiction Competition, the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Award for the Short Story, the Dana Award, the Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction, the North American Review’s Kurt Vonnegut Prize, the Missouri Review’s Editor’s Prize, the Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize, the Briar Cliff Review’s Short Fiction Prize, the Salem College Center for Women Writers’ Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award, the H. E. Francis Prize, the New Millennium Writings Fiction Award on four separate occasions, an Elizabeth George Fellowship and a Sherwood Anderson Foundation Writers Grant.   His stories have been short-listed for the O. Henry Award (2001), Best American Short Stories (2007, 2008), Best American Nonrequired Reading (2007, 2008), and the Pushcart Prize anthology (2005, 2006, 2011).   Jacob holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Brown, an M.S. in bioethics from the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College, an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Columbia, an M.D. from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. from N.Y.U. and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He has also won the Writer’s Digest Annual Competition twice, once in 2008 and again in 2012.

Amanda Barbara [More Info]
Development Director
Amanda Barbara is the development director of Pubslush, a global, crowdsourcing publishing platform for authors to raise funds and gauge the initial audience for new book ideas.
Pubslush also operates an independent imprint that acquires books from the platform, and for every book sold, donates a children’s book to a child in need. Amanda earned a bachelors degree in Public Relations and Creative Writing at the University of Miami in Florida. In her free time, she enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her family.

Panel: The Future of the Writer

James Scott Bell [More Info]
James Scott Bell is the award-winning author of Deceived, Try Dying, Watch Your Back and many other thrillers.
Under the pen name K. Bennett, he is also the author of the Mallory Caine zombie legal thriller series, which begins with Pay Me in Flesh. Jim has served as fiction columnist for Writer's Digest magazine, to which he frequently contributes, and has written three bestselling craft books for Writers Digest Books, including the bestselling Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure and Elements of Fiction Writing: Conflict & Suspense.
Boot Camp: Writing a Novel They Can't Put Down
Dan Blank [More Info]
We Grow Media
Dan Blank is an author marketing and platform specialist.
He has worked with hundreds of writers helping them to develop their author platforms, grow their careers as writers, and build the skills they need to connect with readers. You can find him at or on Twitter at @DanBlank
Regina Brooks [More Info]
Founder/Literary Agent/Author
Serendipity Literary Agency LLC
Regina Brooks is the founder and president of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC, based in Brooklyn, New York.
Her agency has represented and established a diverse base of award-winning clients in adult and young adult fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature. Her authors have appeared in USA Today, The New York Times, and The Washington Post as well as on Oprah, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, TV ONE, BET and a host of others. She has held senior editorial positions at John Wiley and Sons and McGraw-Hill companies. Brooks is the author of the titles Never Finished Never Done (Scholastic), Writing Great Books for Young Adults (Source Books), and You Should (Really) Write a Book: How to Write, Sell, and Market Your Memoir ( St. Martin’s Press),  has edited over  nearly 100 titles and is blogger for the Huffington Post and Brooks is also on the faculty of the Writer’s Digest University, Harvard University publishing course, The Discovery Channel’s Media Boot Camp for Doctors, The Whidbey Island Writers MFA program and teaches annually at more than twenty worldwide conferences.  She has been highlighted in global media outlets including Forbes, Media Bistro, Essence Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Jet, Rolling Out and Publishers Weekly.  She also is a co-publisher of an imprint of Akashic called Open Lens and the owner of a tea company called Possibiliteas. 
You Should Really Write a Memoir
Jennifer De Chiara [More Info]
Literary Agent
Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
Jennifer De Chiara (Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency) seeks children's books for all ages and all genres, including picture books, middle-grade, and young adult, particularly middle-grade and young adult mysteries and edgy young adult.
She also seeks adult fiction and nonfiction in a wide range of genres, including literary fiction, commercial fiction, mysteries, thrillers, celebrity biographies, memo, humor, psychology/self-help, advice/relationships, parenting, health and fitness, women's issues, men's issues, pop culture, film and television/entertainment, social issues, science, politics, spirituality, cookbooks, history, the arts, design, architecture, fashion, photography, advertising & its history, and how-to books in every category. Actively seeking new illustrators for children's books.
Eric DelaBarre [More Info]
Eric DelaBarre is an award winning filmmaker, speaker, and former ghostwriter for Random House/Harmony Books.
He began his career with Dick Wolf and NBC’s mega-hit drama, Law & Order and is longtime member of the Writers Guild of America. His work has been showcased on HBO, NBC, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz/Encore, and the USA Network.

He is past president of the Boys & Girls Club Council of Santa Monica and the author of the award-winning adventure novel, Saltwater Taffy.  Endorsed by 12 Teachers of the Year, Saltwater Taffy is an adventure novel that not only entertains its young readers, but also educates them on their potential in life.  

A filmmaker by trade, Eric has adapted Saltwater Taffy and will begin filming August 2013 in Port Townsend, Washington.  The film is scheduled to hit theaters June 2014.  Eric lives and works in Santa Monica, California with his wife, Julie DelaBarre and their daughter Emery!
Panel: Self-Publishing in the Real World
Paula Derrow [More Info]
Paula Derrow is a writer and editor in New York.
She has worked as the articles director of SELF magazine, where she edited the Self Expression column as well as investigative, general-interest, and psychology features. She has more than 20 years of editing and writing experience at magazines and websites, including Glamour, American Health, Harper's Bazaar, SELF, The New Yorker and Lifetime Television for Women. She is the editor of Behind the Bedroom Door: Getting It, Giving It, Loving It, Missing It, an anthology of essays by women about sex in real life.
Panel: How to Write for Big-Name Publications
James Duncan [More Info]
Content Editor
F+W Media, Inc.
James Duncan is a Content Editor for the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, editing such titles as Songwriter’s Market, You’ve Got a Book in You, The Kick-Ass Writer, Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Write Your Novel in a Month. He is also a contributor to the Writer’s Digest blog, “There Are No Rules.”
A published poet and fictionist residing in New York City, his work has appeared in dozens of publications, and he is the founding editor of Hobo Camp Review: Poetry & Prose from the Road, a literary magazine celebrating the traveling word. His seventh collection of poetry, The Darkest Bomb of All, is due out from Dog On a Chain Press in 2013, and his debut collection of short fiction, The Cards We Keep, is also slated for a 2013 release.
April Eberhardt [More Info]
Literary Agent
April Eberhardt Literary
April Eberhardt Literary helps authors explore both traditional publishing and the emerging options for self-publishing, including agent-assisted independent publishing.
Rebecca Elswick [More Info]
Rebecca Elswick’s award winning short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including A Cup of Comfort: Dog Lovers II and The Sweetbay Review: Anthology of Virginia.
Elswick is a Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest winner as well as a runner-up for the Virginia Writer’s Golden Nib Contest for nonfiction. Mama's Shoes is her debut novel and was one of 50 semifinalists in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. The novel also received a rare “Mark of Quality” from Writer’s Digest. She is currently revising her second novel.

Brian Felsen [More Info]
Brian Felsen is the President of BookBaby, which digitally distributes the works of independent authors, poets, memoirists, and publishers, making their eBooks available to digital retailers worldwide (including Apple iBookstore, Barnes &, Sony's Reader Store, and
He also is the President of CD Baby, the world's largest online distributor of independent music. Previous activities include founding and running one of the largest independent music conferences in the world, composing several classical music works, creating art photography, poetry, and plays, and producing an award-winning documentary film about Turkish military coups d’état.

Jon Fine [More Info]
Director of Author & Publisher Relationships
Jon Fine is director of Author and Publisher Relations for, coordinating outreach to the author and publishing communities, including the company’s grant program which supports a diverse range of not-for-profit author and publisher groups (
Prior to joining, he served as VP and Associate General Counsel for Random House, Inc., where he directed legal affairs for the Alfred A. Knopf division as well as for Random House of Canada. Jon previously served as Senior Media Counsel at NBC, handling content and associated issues for NBC News, Saturday Night Live, MSNBC, CNBC and other divisions; as counsel at King World Productions for Inside Edition and other “reality-based” programming. He is a graduate of Cornell University and of the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a native New Yorker, who now lives in Seattle.
Debbie Harmsen [More Info]
Editorial Director
BenBella, BenBella Books
Debbie Harmsen is the editorial director for the BenBella line at BenBella Books, a Dallas-based publisher. She edits primarily memoirs and business books, including several that have been on the New York Times bestselling list. A publishing veteran, Debbie worked at Random House prior to joining BenBella and has edited and written for magazines, newspapers, and websites. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and an MBA from Baylor University, where she also did her undergraduate work. She has taught college courses, including creative writing and magazine editing, and does occasionally public speaking. She is currently writing her first novel.
How to Become a Regular Contributor to Any Publication
Stuart Horwitz [More Info]
Author/Instructor/Founder of Book Architecture
Book Architecture
Stuart Horwitz is the founder and principal of Book Architecture, a firm of independent editors based in Providence and Boston (
Book Architecture’s clients have reached the best-seller list in both fiction and non-fiction, and have appeared on Oprah!, The Today Show, The Tonight Show, and in the most prestigious journals in their respective fields. Now, Horwitz has mapped out his system in Blueprint Your Bestseller: Organize and Revise any Manuscript with The Book Architecture Method (Penguin/Perigee), named one of 2013’s best books about writing by The Writer magazine. In Blueprint Your Bestseller the same process that has helped writers transform their messy manuscripts into polished books through 22 specific action steps has become available in book form to aid writers in signing with top literary agencies and sealing deals with coveted publishing houses. Horwitz holds degrees in Literary Aesthetics from New York University and East Asian Studies from Harvard University. He is an award-winning poet and essayist who has taught writing at Grub Street of Boston and Brown University. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two daughters.
Extended Session: The First Draft Is the Easy Part - Revision Demystified
A.J. Jacobs [More Info]
Bestselling Author/Journalist
A.J. Jacobs is the editor at large at Esquire magazine and author of four New York Times bestsellers, including The Know-It-All, The Year of Living Biblically, My Life as an Experiment, and Drop Dead Healthy. In addition to his books, Jacobs written for The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, New York magazine and others. He has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He is a periodic commentator on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.
Panel: How to Write for Big-Name Publications
Tayari Jones [More Info]
Tayari Jones’s compelling third novel, Silver Sparrow, has been included in O Magazine's Favorite Things for 2011, Library Journal's and Atlanta Magazine's Top Ten Best Books of 2011, and the best books of the year at and
Her story of a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and the two teenage girls caught in the middle has drawn wide praise, including this from Jayne Anne Phillips: “Jones is a master, and Silver Sparrow is a revelation, alive with meaning, heartbreak, and hope.” Anita Shreve in the Washington Post praised what she considers “one of literature’s most intriguing extended families,” and Pearl Cleage wrote, “With this novel, Jones has found her own dazzlingly original voice.” Jones spent the 2011–12 academic year as a Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard, received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for 2012, and is presently Associate Professor in the MFA Program at Rutgers University.
Cheryl Klein [More Info]
Executive Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books
Scholastic, Inc.
Cheryl Klein is the executive editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., where she has edited a number of award-winning titles, including Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy (an Al Roker's Book Club for Kids selection on the Today Show) and Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.
She also served as the continuity editor for the last two books of the Harry Potter series. In addition, Cheryl is the author of Second Sight: An Editor's Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults, and the instructor of a popular Plot Master Class for Writer's Digest University. Please visit her on the web at,, and @chavelaque.

Maris Kreizman [More Info]
Editorial Director
Donald Maass [More Info]
Literary Agent/Author/Instructor
Donald Maass Literary Agency
Donald Maass heads the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York City, which represents more than 150 novelists and sells more than 150 novels every year to publishers in America and overseas.
He is a past president of the Association of Authors Representatives, Inc., and is the author of several books of interest to fiction writers, including Writing the Breakout Novel, The Fire in Fiction, and The Breakout Novelist, and Writing 21st Century Fiction (all from Writer's Digest Books).
Kristen McLean [More Info]
Book Futurist, CEO
Kristen McLean is a book futurist, consumer zoologist, and idea omnivore. She is also the founder & CEO of Bookigee, a Miami-based company that develops groundbreaking tools and innovative analytics to help the $28B book publishing industry meet the digital future.
Their first product, WriterCube, helps authors discover their audience & marketing opportunities. Additionally, she is the co-chair of O’Reilly Media’s Author (R)evolution Day project, and she speaks nationally and internationally about the future of authorship, books, and publishing. When Kristen isn’t building her company or speaking about the future of publishing, she’s on the prowl for great coffee and interesting conversation.
Paula Munier [More Info]
Senior Literary Agent and Content Strategist
Talcott Notch Literary Services
Paula Munier, Senior Literary Agent and Content Strategist at Talcott Notch Literary Services, boasts broad experience creating and marketing exceptional content in all formats across all markets for such media giants as Disney, Gannett, Greenspun Media Group, and Quayside.
She began her career as a journalist, and along the way added editor, acquisitions specialist, digital content manager, and publishing executive to her repertoire. She most recently served as the Director of Innovation and Acquisitions for Adams Media, where she headed up the acquisitions team responsible for creating, curating, and producing both fiction and nonfiction for print, eBook, eShort, and direct-to-eBook formats. Her specialties include mystery/thriller, SF/fantasy, romance, YA, memoir, humor, pop culture, health & wellness, cooking, self-help, pop psych, New Age, inspirational, technology, science, and writing. Paula is very involved with the mystery community, having served four terms as President of the New England chapter of Mystery Writers of America as well as on the MWA board. (She’s currently VP of that organization.)

Paula has also served as both co-chair and Agents and Editors chair on the New England Crime Bake committee for seven years and counting. And she’s an active member of Sisters in Crime. A well-published journalist, author, copywriter, and ghostwriter, Paula has penned countless new stories, articles, essays, collateral, and blogs, as well as authoring/co-authoring more than a dozen books, including Fixing Freddie, 5-Minute Mindfulness, and A Miscellany of Murder.
Kristin Nelson [More Info]
Pesident/Senior Literary Agent
Nelson Literary Agency
Being an avid reader practically since birth, Kristin is equally happy reading a Pulitzer prize-winning literary novel for her book club as she is reading a sexy historical-romance.
She established Nelson Literary Agency, LLC, in 2002 after the literary agent she was working for expressed dismay that Kristin wanted to represent genre fiction–gasp!–as well as literary novels. Forming NLA was absolutely the right thing to do. When she is not busy selling books, Kristin plays tennis and also enjoys playing bridge (where she is the youngest person in her club). She can also be found hiking in the mountains with her husband and their dog, Chutney.
Kristin is looking for a good story well told. How you tell that story doesn’t need to fit in a neat little category. For specifics, check out her examples on our Submission Guidelines page and read about Kristin’s latest sales at Publishers Marketplace.

Dana Newman [More Info]
Literary Agent/Lawyer
Dana Newman Literary
Dana Newman is an independent literary agent based in Los Angeles.
She’s also a transactional and intellectual property attorney, advising creators and businesses on contracts, copyrights, trademarks, and licensing. She focuses on practical and narrative nonfiction books in the areas of memoir, biography, business, parenting, lifestyle/wellness (health, mind body spirit, fitness), and popular culture by authors with a substantial platform. On the fiction side, she looks for character-driven stories of interest to women that are both literary and commercial.
Caitlin O'Hanlon [More Info]
Engagement Manager
Caitlin O'Hanlon is an engagement manager at Wattpad, the world's largest online community of readers and writers.
She works closely with amateur, self-published and traditionally published writers to help them understand the changing face of the industry and the benefits of the digital publishing realm. She has worked closely with bestselling authors like Marian Keyes and Cory Doctorow, as well as Wattpad success stories like Abigail Gibbs and Liliane Carmine.
Keith Ogorek [More Info]
Senior Vice President, Marketing
Author Solutions, Inc.
Keith Ogorek brings a unique set of experiences to his role as Senior VP of Global Marketing.
He has held positions in banking, product development and as a creative director for a multi-national ad agency. He has also authored two indie published books, A Clear View and Eli the Stable Boy, which gives him a view of the business as an author. He has been a presenter at BEA’s DIY Publishing Conference, the San Francisco Writers Conference, AARP and The American Library Association Writer’s Conference. He also has been a webinar presenter on the Author Learning and Writer’s His blog is followed by those who want to stay abreast of major changes or events impacting indie authors.
Gina Panettieri [More Info]
Literary Agent
Talcott Notch Literary
Gina Panettieri (Talcott Notch Literary) represents a full range of adult and children's fiction and nonfiction, with a particular interest in young adult fantasy, young adult realistic fiction, middle-grade humor, adult mystery and thriller, women's fiction, cookbooks, memoir, history, popular science, parenting, true crime and health and fitness.

Pitch Slam Session #2
Zachary Petit [More Info]
Writer's Digest magazine
Zachary Petit is an award-winning journalist, the senior managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine, and co-author of A Year of Writing Prompts: 366 Story Ideas for Honing Your Craft and Eliminating Writer’s Block.
Alongside the hundreds of articles he has penned as a staff writer and editor, covering everything from the secret lives of mall Santas to literary legends, his words have appeared in National Geographic magazine, National Geographic Kids, Melissa Rossi’s What Every American Should Know book series, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and many other outlets. At WD he has also served as executive editor of the newsstand magazines Writer's Yearbook, Writer's Workbook and Writing Basics.
Panel: How to Become a Regular Contributor to Any Publication
Barbara Poelle [More Info]
Literary Agent
Irene Goodman Agency
Barbara Poelle began her publishing career as a freelance copywriter and editor before joining the Irene Goodman Literary Agency in 2007, but feels as if she truly prepared for the industry during her stint as a stand-up comic.
Earlier this year, she became the informative and entertaining Funny You Should Ask columnist for Writer's Digest magazine, and in every issue she now fields reader-submitted questions about the writing life, publishing, and everything in between, delivering honest answers with good humor and expertise. As an agent, she has found success placing thrillers, literary suspense, historical romances, humorous/platform-driven nonfiction, and upmarket fiction, and is seeking her next client in those genres—but is passionate about anything with a unique voice. Visit the agency online at and find her on Twitter @Bpoelle.
Funny You Should Ask—Live!
Linda Pressman [More Info]
The Grand Prize Winner in the 20th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Contest, Linda Pressman is a freelance writer, speaker, blogger and editor.
She has worked as both the short story and blog editor for Poetica Magazine, a print and online literary journal focusing on contemporary Jewish thought. Her work has appeared in Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers; Poetica Magazine; Znine, the literary magazine of the University of Texas - Arlington; and in the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. Her work has also appeared in two anthologies, the Maricopa Anthology and Mizmor L'David, a compilation of work by children of Holocaust Survivors. She blogs at Bar Mitzvahzilla, one of the top 30 Jewish blogs on JBlog, and on Open Salon. She has a Bachelor's degree in History, completed all coursework towards a Master's in History, and holds a Master's Degree in English, with which she's taught college as an adjunct.
Jessica Regel [More Info]
Literary Agent
Jean V. Naggar Literary
Jessica Regel (Jean V. Naggar Literary) represents children's book writers and a select list of adult writers. In children's books, she represents young adult and middle grade writers of all genres, but specifically fiction with genre elements, such as fantasy, paranormal, gothic, horror, suspense, magical realism, romance, or humor.
In adult books, she represents novels that bridge the gap between literary and commercial. She especially likes humor, modern love stories, international fiction, and quirky/edgy fiction. She also represents nonfiction titles in the humor and memoir genres.
Frank Rivera [More Info]
Art Director
Adams Media
Frank Rivera is the Art Director for Boston-based Adams Media, a trade book imprint that publishes more than 250 works of both fiction and nonfiction each year.
Frank oversees the conceptualization and execution of the designs for each of these books, many of which are national bestsellers, including Why Men Love Bitches, Please Stop Laughing at Me, The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, Knock ‘Em Dead, and many others.
Chuck Sambuchino [More Info]
Writer's Digest Books
Chuck Sambuchino is an editor and a writer.
He works for Writer's Digest Books and edits two annual resource guides—the Guide to Literary Agents and the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. Chuck’s first humor book, How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack (, was released in 2010 and has been featured by Reader's Digest, USA Today, the New York Times and AOL News. His second humor book, Red Dog / Blue Dog: When Pooches Get Political (July 2012) has been featured by Political Wire and the Huffington Post. His Guide to Literary Agents Blog ( is one of the biggest blogs in publishing. In addition, Chuck has written two other writing-related titles, is a freelance editor, and was recently included in a FORBES Top 10 list of "Social Media Influencers: Book Publishing."
Panel: Ask an Agent

Phil Sexton [More Info]
Writer's Digest
Phil Sexton is the Publisher of Writer’s Digest.
Over more than 20 years in the book business, he has served in numerous capacities, including Vice President of Sales for F+W Media, Sales Director of Adams Media, Director of Merchandising for United Magazine Company and Independent Bookseller. He is the author of A Picture is Worth 1000 Words, Legends of Literature and The Writer’s Lab (Oct 2012), and co-author of The Writer’s Book of Matches. He is also the co-founder and co-editor of the much loved (and sorely missed) literary journal, Fresh Boiled Peanuts.
Susan Shapiro [More Info]
The New School, New York University
Susan Shapiro is a Manhattan journalism professor who has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Nation,, The Daily Beast, Psychology Today, Glamour, More, Marie Claire and Writer's Digest. She's the author of the books Five Men Who Broke My Heart, Lighting Up, Overexposed, Speed Shrinking and Unhooked, and co-author of The Bosnia List, forthcoming from Viking.
Panel: How to Write for Big-Name Publications
Elizabeth Sims [More Info]
Author/Contributing Editor
Elizabeth Sims is a prize-winning author of short stories and novels, including the Rita Farmer mysteries and the Lillian Byrd crime series.
She writes frequently for Writer's Digest magazine, where she is a contributing editor. Elizabeth is a popular instructor at workshops and conferences across the country and is experienced in both traditional publishing and self-publishing. She has worked as a reporter, photographer, technical writer, bookseller, street busker, ranch hand, corporate executive, and symphonic percussionist. Watch for her next title, You’ve Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams, coming soon from Writer's Digest Books.
Quit Your Day Job - Seriously!
Jessica Strawser [More Info]
Chief Editor
Writer's Digest magazine
Jessica Strawser is the chief editor of Writer's Digest magazine.
In her diverse publishing career spanning over a decade, she has been an editor for several nonfiction book imprints; served as managing editor of Personal Journaling and assistant editor of Xavier magazine; worked as a freelance writer, editor and writing instructor; and even dabbled in marketing and public relations. She blogs regularly on WD's There Are No Rules ( and welcomes the chance to connect with writers and readers on Twitter at @jessicastrawser.
Panel: How to Write for Big-Name Publications
Adriana Trigiani [More Info]
Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for her hilarious and heartwarming novels.
Adriana was raised in a small coal-mining town in southwest Virginia in a big Italian family. She chose her hometown for the setting and title of her debut novel, the critically acclaimed bestseller Big Stone Gap. The heartwarming story continues in the novel's sequels Big Cherry Holler, Milk Glass Moon, and Home to Big Stone Gap. Stand-alone novels Lucia, Lucia; The Queen of the Big Time; and Rococo, all topped the bestseller lists, as did Trigiani's 2009 Very Valentine and its 2010 sequel Brava, Valentine. Her latest and biggest bestseller is The Shoemaker’s Wife.

Adriana's novels have been translated and sold in more than 35 countries around the world. Trigiani's novels have been chosen for the USA Today Book Club, the Target Bookmarked series, and she's now officially a regular with Barnes & Noble Book Clubs, where she has conducted three online book clubs. Adriana speaks to book clubs from her home three to four nights a week. Perhaps one popular book critic said it best: "Trigiani defies categorization. She is more than a one-hit wonder, more than a Southern writer, more than a woman's novelist. She is an amazing young talent.”

Central Keynote: Your Writing Life

Jeanne Veillette Bowerman [More Info]
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Online Community Manager
Impasse Productions, LLC
Jeanne Veillette Bowerman is the Editor and Online Community Manager for with a weekly column to keep screenwriters motivated to succeed. She’s written several spec scripts, including the adaption of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Slavery by Another Name, with its author, Douglas A. Blackmon, which is currently in development. Jeanne is one of the founders of ScriptChat, a Twitter screenwriting chat, where screenwriters come together to learn, and the president of Impasse Productions, LLC.  
Joanna Volpe [More Info]
Literary Agent
New Leaf Literary
 Joanna Volpe (New Leaf Literary & Media) is re-opening to submissions in the spring and on the lookout for solid fiction in the following genres: women's fiction, thriller, horror, speculative fiction, literary fiction and historical fiction.
  Joanna prefers her fiction dark, in tone, style and even in humor. Some recent reads that she enjoyed are: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, World War Z by Max Brooks, The Breach by Patrick Lee, and The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas.
Panel: Ask an Agent
Chuck Wendig [More Info]
Screenwriter/Novelist/Game Designer
Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He's the author of Double Dead, Blackbirds, and Dinocalypse Now (a novel supported through crowdfunding), and is co-writer of the short film Pandemic, the film HiM, and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. He lives in Pennsylvania with wife, taco terrier, and tiny human.