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Speakers

The industry of self-publishing is a delicate balance of both business and craft. As self-published authors, not only do we need to tell a captivating story, but we also need to know how to find and keep readers.

The ASPC brings to you professionals from both foundations to help you unlock the secrets of success.

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BRITTANY DOWDLE
EDITOR AND OWNER AT WORD CAT EDITORIAL SERVICES

Presenting: Finding Success: Where Networking and Volunteering Meet 

Brittany Dowdle is a freelance editor with over twelve years’ experience in the publishing industry. Specializing in copyediting and proofreading, she has edited the work of best-selling traditionally published authors and award-winning indie authors. Together with her coauthor, Linda Ruggeri, Brittany wrote Networking for Freelance Editors, which won an IBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Award in 2022. Brittany graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Georgia with a degree in English. She is a founding member of the Editorial Freelancers Association’s Diversity Initiative (now Diversity, Equity & Belonging) and helped design the Welcome Program, acting as its codirector in 2019–2020. She continues to volunteer for the Welcome Program and other local nonprofits.

 

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BEN MEEKS
URBAN FANTASY AUTHOR

Presenting: Author Horror Stories: What Not To Do As An Indie Author

Ben grew up in Dahlonega, the biggest small town in the North Georgia mountains. He spent his
childhood appreciating nature and as he grew older was able to have a wide variety of unusual
and exciting experiences. Ben was able to travel internationally, including Europe and India. He
participated in, and won, a martial arts competition, was hit by a ricocheting bullet, and was in a
high speed car chase. He also received a late night phone call from the secret service, who he
hung up on.


Ben appreciates fantasy and scifi in all forms with a particular fondness for shifters. He excels at
creative, outside the box thinking combined with a drive toward realism that gives his work a
unique feel. He wrote the award winning urban fantasy Trilogy, The Keeper Chronicles, about a
wereotter that hunts demons in the North Georgia Mountains.

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LINDA RUGGERI
EDITOR AND OWNER AT THE INSIGHTFUL EDITOR

Presenting: Finding Success: Where Networking and Volunteering Meet 

Linda Ruggeri is a freelance nonfiction editor, writer, and authenticity reader (Spanish/Italian) with a degree in communications and fine arts from Loyola Marymount University.


Together with her coauthor, Brittany Dowdle, Linda wrote Networking for Freelance Editors, which won an IBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Award in 2022.
Born to immigrant parents in Los Angeles, Linda is Latinx and a first-generation American. She loves to travel and has lived in Córdoba (Argentina), Naples and Salerno (Italy), Windsor (Canada), Green Lake (Wisconsin), and Torrance (California).


Linda has run the Mentorship Program for PEN as well as the Welcome Program for the EFA. Besides being an editor, Linda is an avid urban gardener and baker, a writer and a mom, and would gladly trade any night out for a good nonfiction book and sleeping bag in her treehouse.

BOB MCGOUGH
HORROR, FANTASY, AND STEAMPUNK AUTHOR & PODCASTER

Presenting: What You Need To Know About AI As An Author

Bob McGough is an author, podcaster, and indie tabletop game designer from south Alabama. As an author he has been published by a number of small presses in a range of genres, from steampunk to horror. He is best known as the author of his ‘Rural’ Urban Fantasy series, the Jubal County Saga. He also teaches a number of classes and workshops on various aspects of the business of writing.

As a podcaster Bob is the man behind the Tales by Bob Podcast Network. His first show, Books, Beards, Booze, is a conversational style podcast that has run for over 170 episodes. Southern Fried Fantasy, is a completed interview style podcast where he interviews Southern Authors who write genre fiction set in the South. The Tales by Bob Podcast is an inside look at the business side of the writing business.

A long-time freelance writer, he has worked on a number of tabletop and video games. As a huge fan of one sheet and simple rpgs, he has released over 40 games in that space across a number of platforms.

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MILTON J. DAVIS
BLACK FANTASIC AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER

Presenting: Expanding Your Creativity and Diversifying Your Income

Milton J. Davis is an award winning Black Speculative fiction writer and owner of MVmedia, LLC, a small publishing company specializing in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Sword and Soul. MVmedia’s mission is to provide speculative fiction books that represent people of color in a positive manner. Milton is the author of twenty-one novels and short story collections; his most recent the Sword and Soul adventure Eda Blessed II. He is also a contributing author to Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda, published by Marvel and Titan Books and coauthor of Hadithi and the State of Black Speculative Fiction with Eugen Bacon. Milton is also the editor and co-editor of eleven anthologies and his work has also been featured in Black Power: The Superhero Anthology and Rococoa published by Roaring Lions Productions; Skelos 2: The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy, Steampunk Writers Around the World published by Luna Press; Heroika: Dragoneaters published by First Perseid Press, Bass Reeves Frontier Marshal Volume Two, and Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire. Balogun Ojetade. Milton won the 2014 Urban Action Showcase Award for Best Script for our screenplay, Ngolo.

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JENN VANCE
MARKETING DIRECTOR

Offering: 15 Minutes with a Publicist

Jenn Vance can (and does) do it all — from publicity to digital marketing to design, her passion for representing stories in the most strategic way possible shines through in her enthusiastic and thoughtful interactions with authors. She often shares her expertise when speaking with writers groups and leading workshops at book conferences. Her interest in a wide variety of genres benefits our Books Forward authors, as she thinks creatively about everything from true crime to powerful memoirs to nostalgic young adult fiction. She spends time personally connecting with each author’s story and thinking about the best way to make their particular work sparkle. A former newspaper copy editor and page designer, she knows how to best capture the attention of journalists and news staff for Books Forward authors, with her tenacious outreach and innovative approaches. Her talent for design also translates to her love of creating unique materials for custom book swag boxes, book club kits and beyond. Jenn lives outside Atlanta in a household ruled by three orange cats. If you ride in a car with her, she WILL force you to sing show tunes at the top of your lungs.

JERRY WEINER
BUSINESS CONSULTANT & AWC FINANCIAL OFFICER

Presenting: Business Basics

Since graduating with an accounting degree from the University of Connecticut in 1973, Jerry Weiner has experience working with businesses large and small. After spending four years in public accounting, Jerry spent six years at a large Atlanta-based bank before starting a pc-based bank accounting software business in 1982. In 1997, Jerry sold the business to a public company but stayed on until 2001, when he tried to retire for the first time. After six years of community service work, Jerry started another business in 2007, which he sold in 2014. Still unable to find comfort in retirement, he began providing consulting services for small businesses, leveraging the digital world to expand his reach.

In addition to consulting, Jerry runs a non-profit youth baseball organization in Dunwoody, Georgia, provides mentoring to young men needing a positive role model and dreams of publishing his historical novel sometime soon. He also sits on four non-profit organization boards in addition the being treasurer for the Atlanta Writers Club.

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DANIELLE KIOWSKI
CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER & STORY GRID CERTIFIED EDITOR

Presenting: Using Tropes to Enhance your Reader’s Journey

Specializing in helping authors tell fantasy crime and thrillers that are both captivating and unforgettable, Danielle Kiowski has a passion for stories that keeps readers on the edge of their seat. Her goal in her work is to help authors create page turners and to build their skills. Her favorite past time is to be curled up with a good book, unless she's helping you with yours. Whether you're just starting out or you've been writing for years, Danielle will show you how to transform your storytelling and engage your readers like never before.

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MARIE WHITTAKER
AWARD-WINNING ESSAYIST AND FANTASY AUTHOR

Presenting: Time Management

Marie Whittaker is an award-winning essayist and author of fantasy for all ages. She is the creator of The Adventures of Lola Hopscotch. A past finalist for an Indie Book Award, many of her stories appear in various anthologies, including Weird Tales. She enjoys teaching about project and time management for creatives. Marie has worked as a truck driver and raft guide and is now Associate Publisher at WordFire Press and Executive Director for Superstars Writing Seminars. A Colorado native, Marie is a mom to two adult children and Grammy to one who is made of pure magic. Marie resides in Manitou Springs, where she writes and enjoys hiking, gardening, and renovating her historic Victorian home. Marie is an advocate against animal abuse, a dog mom, cat mom, and bunny mom, and habitually adopts rescue animals.

$119.00

DEADLINE TO REGISTER: APRIL 13TH, 2024 at 12:00 PM EST. Walkups at the conference will be welcome (cash or card only, no checks will be accepted).

No refunds after APRIL 1, 2024.

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