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Sessions & Speakers 2019

Publishing & Marketing Sessions

ARIELE SIELING – Your Book, Your Way: Step-by-Step Self-Publishing 

Recent changes in the publishing industry have made self-publishing a viable way to publish a book and build a writing career. Ariele Sieling is author of thirteen self-published kids and science fiction books, and a publishing coach for those looking to self-publish their own work. In this presentation, she takes a closer look at strategies for creating a book that is both a quality product and affordable for the writer. She discusses the pros and cons of self-publishing, the right--and wrong--reasons for choosing to self-publish, tips for preparing a book for publication, and how to avoid common pitfalls--all interspersed with tales of her own.

Ariele Sieling writes all the time, by day for companies and non-profits, and by night for mysterious readers both near and far. She pursues all kinds of writing, from short stories and essays, to newspaper articles, newsletters, classroom curriculum, and novels. She also serves as a guide and coach for those beginning the process of self-publishing. She is the author of the science fiction series', The Sagittan Chronicles and Land of Szornyek, and kids book series Rutherford the Unicorn Sheep. She lives in Baltimore with her husband, three cats, and a dog. 

PAT VALDATA & KIM ROBERTS – Residencies & Fellowships

Pat Valdata is a poet and novelist with an MFA in writing from Goddard College. Her publications include two poetry books, Where No Man Can Touch (winner of the 2015 Donald Justice Poetry Prize) and Inherent Vice; the chapbook Looking for Bivalve; and two novels, Crosswind and The Other Sister. She is an adjunct professor who teaches creative writing for the University of Maryland University College and the Salisbury University Center for Extended and Lifelong Learning. She lives in Crisfield, Maryland.

Kim Roberts is the author of A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston (University of Virginia Press, 2018), and five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). She co-edits the journal Beltway Poetry Quarterly and the web exhibit DC Writers’ Homes. Roberts has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, HumanitiesDC, and the DC Commission on the Arts, and has been a writer-in-residence at 18 artist colonies. Poems of hers have been featured in the Wick Poetry Center’s Traveling Stanzas Project, on the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day Project, and on podcasts sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Arts.

DIANNE L. PEARCE – Don't Die with Your Secret: Completing Your Work for Publication 

Have you recently started writing? Have you been writing forever but never had time to fully commit because of work, raising children, building your life? Getting published is hard. The average age of authors who have their debut novel published is mid-thirties. What do you do when you've passed that age? Do you skip publishing simply because you may not be the preferred demographic? Do you keep your writing to yourself or face the daunting task of working as much at the publishing as you do at the writing? How do you keep going in the inevitable face of rejection? Don't die with your secret! No matter your age, the world needs your story. Come and learn how to build a community of support and find inroads into the world of publishing. Discuss when to put your work in the hands of an agent and how long to leave it there. Learn how to build a fan base for yourself. Meet other mature writers who will discuss their publishing journey with you, how they decided to let their baby go, and use local resources to help them find a home for their stories. Participants are asked to bring a writing sample to share.

Dianne Pearce possesses an MFA and an MA in creative writing. She has been teaching writing classes to adult students for over twenty-five years. In 2015 she founded The Milton Workshop, and in 2017, Devil's Party Press, a publishing house that specializes in showcasing the work of mature writers.

SOPHIE MOSS – Secrets to a Successful Writing Career 

Want to quit your day job and write full time? In this session, Sophie will share her story of how she took control of her writing career, found the courage to treat her books like a business, and built a worldwide fan-base of loyal readers. Yes, it’s all about writing a great book. But what about after that? How do you find the confidence to invest in yourself as an author and share your work with the world? Sophie will explain how to use social media to build relationships with potential readers, how to recognize industry trends and when to act on them, which advertising sites deliver the best return on investment, and how to maximize exposure for a book to drive sales and generate buzz.

Sophie Moss is a USA Today bestselling author of six novels, three of which are set on a fictional island in the Chesapeake Bay. Her most recent series, the Wind Chime Novels, are a collection of standalone love stories that explore economic, social, and cultural issues that are particularly relevant to the Eastern Shore. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She lives in Maryland, where she’s working on her next novel. When she’s not writing, she’s testing out a new dessert recipe, exploring the Chesapeake Bay, or working in her garden.

ALLY MACHATE – Perfecting Your Author Platform

In today's highly saturated book market, a strong marketing campaign requires that authors have a solid platform to get the kind of attention necessary for reviews and sales. But what is a platform, what is it used for, and how do you build one? How does it affect your book deal, or whether you get one at all? How does it help you sell more books, whether you self-publish or have a publisher? Learn how to evaluate the “planks” you already have and design a blueprint for building a bigger, stronger platform—the most critical tool in your toolbox after the book itself.

Ally Machate is the founder of The Writer’s Ally, an award-winning business that offers expert writing and editorial services to business professionals, publishers, agents, and authors. Ally is a bestselling book collaborator, award-winning editor, and expert publishing consultant who loves using her insider knowledge of the publishing industry and wealth of experience to lead serious authors toward publishing success. Since 1999, she has supported countless authors on their publishing journey and takes pride in serving as their books’ best ally. Grab Ally’s free gifts and learn more about her services at www.thewritersally.com and www.allymachate.com.

KENTON KILGORE – Hand-Selling Books, Your Author Platform; Making Money & Winning Fans

You can make money and win hardcore fans by selling your books in person, but there’s much more to it than just signing copies. Author Kenton Kilgore walks you through every step of how to successfully hand-sell books, with lots of do’s and don’ts that he learned from extensive experience. Among the aspects that Kenton discusses are picking the right venue, what you’ll need to bring, setting up the display, and his “one-spoonful-at-a-time” selling technique. If you’re an introvert (or just shy), he’ll show you how to overcome that so you can easily engage with potential readers.

Kenton Kilgore writes young adult science-fiction and fantasy that you'll feel. He is the author of the novels This Wasted Land, Lost Dogs, and Dragontamer’s Daughters; as well as Our Wild Place, a children’s picture book. Kenton and his family live with too many dogs and cats in Stevensville, MD. Visit kentonkilgore.com for more.



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