Writer’s Digest Conference West welcomes some of the most respected, knowledgeable veterans of the writing and publishing industries to help you find your way in this constantly evolving field.

Our speaker list is ever evolving. Be sure to check back often.

Nina Amir [More Info]
Inspriation-to-Creation Coach (author,coach,editor,speaker)
CopyWright Communications

Nina Amir, Inspiration-to-Creation Coach, inspires writers to create the results they desire--publishable and published products and careers as writers and authors. She is the author of How to Blog a Book, Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writer's Digest Books), and a seasoned journalist, nonfiction editor, proposal consultant, blog-to-book coach, and book and author coach with more than 33 years of experience in the publishing field. Additionally, she is a popular speaker on topics related to publishing and writing and the regular writing and publishing expert on the Dresser After Dark radio show. The founder of Write Nonfiction in November, she writes five blogs, including Write Nonfiction NOW! and How to Blog a Book, and has self-published 10 short books. Also a popular human potential and spiritual writer and speaker, in all she does Amir encourages people to combine their purpose and passion so they Achieve More Inspired Results.

Porter Anderson [More Info]

Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson) is a critic, journalist, producer, and consultant. He specializes in publishing and its digital disruption, both at the author and corporate levels. "Writing on the Ether," his weekly column on the publishing industry, is read Thursdays at JaneFriedman.com. His Ether work can be tracked on the Publishers Marketplace news Automat via the ePublishing tab. He's also a standing contributor to WriterUnboxed and to Digital Book World's Expert Publishing Blog. As a journalist, Anderson has worked with CNN USA, CNN International, CNN.com, CNN.com Live, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, the Dallas Observer, and other outlets. In a diplomatic role with the United Nations (P5, bearing Laissez-passez), Anderson was posted to the World Food Programme's headquarters in Rome as its Creative Advisor and Multi-Media Manager. He also served as Executive Producer and Creative Consultant to Copenhagen's INDEX: Design to Improve Life. INDEX is the Danish government's initiative to award international humanitarian design, under the patronage of Frederic, Prince of Denmark. Anderson holds a BA from William and Mary, an MA from the University of Michigan, and an MFA from Florida State University. He has done special readings at the University of Bath (UK). He is a Fellow with the National Critics Institute. He supports the Museum of Modern Art and WQXR's NPR-affiliated live stream Q2 Music in New York. More: PorterAndersonMedia.com

Philip Athans [More Info]
Founding Partner
Athans & Associates Creative Consulting

Philip Athans is the founding partner of Athans & Associates Creative Consulting, and the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other fantasy and horror books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction and the recently-released The Haunting of Dragon’s Cliff and Tales From The Fathomless Abyss. His blog,  Fantasy Author’s Handbook, is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans. He makes his home in the foothills of the Washington Cascades, east of Seattle.

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.

Aimee Bender [More Info]

Aimee Bender is the bestselling author of four fantastic books: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (1998) which was a NY Times Notable Book, An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000) which was an L.A. Times pick of the year, Willful Creatures (2005) which was nominated by The Believer as one of the best books of the year, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (2010) which recently won the SCIBA award for best fiction, and an Alex Award.

Her short fiction has been published in Granta, GQ, Harper’s, Tin House, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, and many more places, as well as heard on PRI’s This American Life and Selected Shorts. She has received two Pushcart prizes, and was nominated for the TipTree award in 2005, and the Shirley Jackson short story award in 2010. Her fiction has been translated into sixteen languages.

Robert Brewer [More Info]
Senior Content Editor
Writer's Digest Writing Community, F+W Media, Inc.

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor for the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, focusing especially on WritersMarket.com and the Writer’s Market Book line. A published poet, Brewer was named Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere in 2010 (visit his Poetic Asides poetry blog on the WritersDigest.com website). In addition to reading at poetry events, he also speaks around the country on various writing-related topics, including how to get published, increase readership, and make money writing. In addition to his popular personal blog My Name Is Not Bob (http://robertleebrewer.blogspot.com), Brewer posts on the WritersMarket.com blog (http://blog.writersmarket.com). Robert lives north of Atlanta in Duluth, GA, with his wife (and accomplished poet) Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five kids.

Patrick Brown [More Info]
Community Manager and Author Program Manager

Patrick Brown serves as the Community Manager of Goodreads, the largest book recommendation website in the world. Prior to heading up the Goodreads online community, Brown was an independent bookseller at Book Soup and Vroman's Bookstore. With an intense interest in group interaction online and a love for books, Patrick helps connect people with one another and with their passions. Currently Brown heads the Goodreads Author Program and Customer Care Team. He supports and cultivates one of the largest literary presences online by answering member questions and growing the Goodreads Community through social communication. Brown also develops events and products for the Goodreads website.

Eric DelaBarre [More Info]
Seven Publishing

Eric DelaBarre is an award winning filmmaker, speaker, and ghostwriter for Random House/Harmony Books who began his career with Dick Wolf and NBC’s mega-hit drama, Law & Order. Eric is a longtime member of the Writers Guild of America and 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 ‘tweenage’ adventure novel, Saltwater Taffy. Endorsed by twelve Teachers of the Year, Saltwater Taffy not only entertains its young readers, but also educates them on their potential in life. The book recently received a Gold Award from the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Awards. Eric lives and works in Santa Monica, California with his wife, Julie DelaBarre and their daughter Emery.

Rob Eagar [More Info]
Wildfire Marketing

Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors and publishers sell more books and spread their message like wildfire. He has assisted numerous New York Times bestselling authors and is author of the new book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire. Find out more about Rob’s advice, products, and coaching services for authors at: www.BookWildfire.com

Grant Faulkner [More Info]
Executive Director
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of the Office of Letters and Light, best known for putting on National Novel Writing Month. He received his B.A. from Grinnell College and his M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. He has published in The Southwest Review, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, PANK, Gargoyle, and The Berkeley Fiction Review, among others. He’s the founder of the lit journal 100 Word Story and is currently finishing a novel and a collection of stories. He believes quite simply that everyone is a writer—that we create our world through the stories we tell—so he now enthusiastically prods nearly everyone he meets to write a novel and feel how life can be transformed through a daring creative act.

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 & Noble.com, Sony's Reader Store, and Amazon.com). 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 P. Fine is director of Author and Publisher Relations for Amazon.com, 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 dedicated to fostering the creation, discussion and publication of new writing and new voices (www.amazon.com/author-grants). He joined the company in January 2006, and subsequently led business development for Brilliance Audio following its acquisition in 2007. Prior to joining Amazon.com, 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; and as a litigation associate at Debevoise & Plimpton, where he focused on copyright, libel, internet and other media-related matters. He is a graduate of Cornell University and of the University of Virginia School of Law. Following law school, he served as Judicial Clerk for United States District Judge Sam C. Pointer, Jr. He is a native New Yorker, who now lives in Seattle.

Jamie Ford [More Info]

Jamie Ford is the New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, which was an IndieBound NEXT List Selection, a Borders Original Voices Selection, a Barnes & Noble Book Club Selection, Pennie’s Pick at Costco, a Target Bookmarked Club Pick, and a National Bestseller. It was also named the #1 Book Club Pick for Fall 2009/Winter 2010 by the American Booksellers Association. Hotel has been translated into 32 languages and remains on the New York Times list to this day.

Lindsey Grant [More Info]
Program Director
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Lindsey Grant is the Program Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) an international nonprofit event that encourages writers of all ages to draft a novel during the month of November. Lindsey holds a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in English and Creative Writing from Mills College in Oakland, California. She co-authored Ready, Set, Novel!, a writers workbook from Chronicle Books, and is currently working on a books of essays about her time as a professional dog walker.

Steven James [More Info]
Steven James

Steven James has penned 30+ books spanning the genres of psychological thrillers, prayer collections, dramas, monologues, a nine book series on creative storytelling, YA fantasy, and inspirational nonfiction. He has received wide critical acclaim for his work including four Storytelling World Honor awards, two Publishers Weekly starred reviews, and 2009 and 2011 Christy Awards for best suspense. His latest thriller, The Queen, is a finalist for four 2012 writing awards: a Retailers Choice Award, a Christy Award, an International Thriller Writers Award, and an ECPA Book Award.

Steven earned a Master’s Degree in Storytelling from ETSU in 1997 and is an active member of International Thriller Writers, the Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, and International Association of Crime Writers. He is a contributing editor to Writer's Digest, and he has taught writing and storytelling principles on three continents. He lives in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife and three daughters. When he's not writing or speaking, he's rock climbing, playing disc golf, or slipping away to a matinee.

Mary Kole [More Info]
Senior Literary Manager
Movable Type Management

Mary Kole is a Senior Literary Manager at Moveable Type Management. She came to literature from a writer's perspective and started reading at ABLA to see what it was like "on the other side of the desk." She quickly found her passion there and, after a year of working behind the scenes, officially joined the agency in August 2009. In her quest to learn all sides of publishing, she has also worked at Chronicle Books and earned her MFA in creative writing at the University of San Francisco in 2010.

Mary has spoken extensively for organizations like Writer’s Digest and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the 2012 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. She blogs at www.kidlit.com, which Writer’s Digest named as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers two years in a row. Mary is also the author of the forthcoming book Writing Irresistible Kidlit.

Richard Krevolin [More Info]

Rich Krevolin is a veteran teacher, author and storyteller. A graduate of Yale University, Professor Krevoliln holds masters degrees from from both UCLA and USC. He’s taught writing classes at USC Cinema/TV School as well as UCLA Film School, Ithaca, and Pepperdine. His students have successfully sold novels, film scripts, TV shows and more. He is the author of Screenwriting in the Land of Oz and The Storytelling Book.

Paul S. Levine [More Info]
Literary Agent/Lawyer
Paul S. Levine Literary Agency

Paul S. Levine “wears two hats”– he is a lawyer and a literary agent. Mr. Levine has practiced entertainment law for over 29 years, representing writers and other creative types in the fields of motion pictures, television, interactive multimedia, publishing, and advertising. In 1998, Mr. Levine opened the Paul S. Levine Literary Agency, specializing in the representation of book authors and the sale of motion picture and television rights in and to books. Since starting his literary agency, Mr. Levine has sold over 80 fiction and non-fiction books to at least 30 different publishers and has had many books developed as movies-for-television and feature films. Mr. Levine represents thrillers, mysteries, women’s fiction, and literary fiction, as well as nonfiction with a focus on self-help, how-to, relationships, memoirs, health, women’s issues, pop culture, new age, and business. For both fiction and non-fiction books, his biggest successes have been with authors who originally self-publish their books and then wish to have their books republished by a major publishing house.

Sara McBride [More Info]
Municipal Liaison
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) - Los Angeles

This will be Sara McBride’s tenth year participating in NaNoWriMo. She is the Municipal Liaison for Los Angeles. As a Caltech staff scientist in Biology, she’s published several scientific articles in top peer-reviewed journals. She’s also published several non-fiction feature pieces in magazines ranging from The Scientist to whiskey lover’s Fine Expressions and is a contract travel writer for Trazzler.com. From NaNoWriMo, she has developed a young adult murder mystery series, and is currently finishing her first two novels in a comic adventure series about a travel obsessed lab technician with a knack for stumbling into vacations where all guidebooks are rendered useless. She hopes to find an agent in the coming year.

Stephen Blake Mettee [More Info]
The Write Thought Inc.

Stephen Blake Mettee is the founder of Quill Driver Books and The Write Thought. During his fifteen years at the helm of Quill Driver Books, Mettee shepherded two titles into Book-of-the-Month Club selections and one onto the New York Times bestseller list. QDB has been recognized by industry periodical Book Marketing Update as one of the "Top 101 Independent Book Publishers" in the United States and by Writer’s Digest as one the 100 most new-writer friendly book publishers in the U.S. The Write Thought publishes a digital book series that revives a number of the best out-of-print books on writing and publishing (The Classic Wisdom on Writing series) as well as books in a host of other genres. In 2012, The Write Thought launched a unique book publishing venture which gives selected literary agents and editors their own imprint.

Mettee serves as chair of the board of directors of The Independent Book Publisher’s Association the nation’s largest book publishing association and the leading advocate for independent presses. He regularly presents on writing and publishing nationally and internationally. Mettee has published scads of nonfiction articles on subjects ranging from parenting to business. He has content edited more than 150 books, is the author of The Fast-Track Course on How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal, Second Edition and editor of The Portable Writers’ Conference: Your Guide to Getting Published. Mettee is always in the market for exceptional fiction and nonfiction manuscripts in nearly any genre. You can reach him at Mettee@TheWriteThought.com.

Dana Newman [More Info]
Attorney and Literary Agent
Dana Newman Literary, LLC

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.

Keith Ogorek [More Info]
Senior Vice President Marketing
Author Solutions, Inc.

Keith 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 Center.com and Writer’s Digest.com. His blog www.indiebookwriters.com is followed by those who want to stay abreast of major changes or events impacting indie authors.

David Rozansky [More Info]
Flying Pen Press

David Rozansky started in the book business as a freelance writer, became a journalist, a magazine editor, a public relations writer, and a magazine publisher. After gathering twenty years of experience from every different area imaginable, David launched Flying Pen Press, an independent publishing company. He is also the host of numerous weekly Twitter chats and Q&A sessions, as well as the author of the forthcoming book Fishnets & Platforms: The Writers Guide to Whoring Your Book.

Katharine Sands [More Info]
Literary Agent
Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency

Katharine Sands is a literary agent with the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. She has worked with a varied list of authors who publish a diverse array of books. She is the author of Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent's Eye and is well known throughout the country for her “Pitchcraft” workshops and conference sessions. Katharine is actively looking for new authors and likes books that have a clear benefit for readers' lives in categories of food, travel, lifestyle, home arts, beauty, wisdom, relationships, parenting, and fresh looks which might be at issues, life challenges or popular culture. She also represents authors of fiction and memoir.

Victoria Lynn Schmidt [More Info]

Victoria Lynn Schmidt is an author, instructor, and explorer of creativity. She’s the author of numerous books that enable writers to think differently about the craft while offering them practical tools to explore things on their own. She is the author of 45 Master Characters, Story Structure Architect, the bestselling Book in a Month, Advanced Writing Techniques, and the forthcoming A Writer’s Guide to Characterization.

Phil Sexton [More Info]
Publisher and Community Leader Writer's Digest
F+W Media, Inc

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 has sold to Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon and most every other major book retailer and wholesaler. He is the author of A Picture is Worth 1000 Words, Legends of Literature and The Writer’s Lab (Oct 2012).

K.C. Sherwood [More Info]

K.C. Sherwood was born in New Jersey in 1973. She graduated magna cum laude from Ramapo University in 1995 with a B.A. in history, from which she derived her love of the past. After college she gained employment as a U.S. Customs officer and, seeking warmer climes, transferred to San Diego to work at the southern border. She also did a short stint as a federal background investigator before leaving government service for the private sector. She is the author of the young adult book Midnight at Moonglow’s and lives in Chula Vista, California with her husband and three children, where she continues to dream up fantastic adventures.

Elizabeth Sims [More Info]
Author and Contributing Editor
Writer's Digest Magazine

Elizabeth Sims is the author of numerous mystery and suspense novels, including the award-winning Damn Straight. She writes frequently for Writer's Digest magazine, where she is a contributing editor. In addition, Elizabeth is a popular instructor at workshops and conferences across the country, and as a former bookseller and regional director for Borders, she brings to publishing the eye of one who has seen the industry from every angle.

Elizabeth's formative years were spent reading crime novels and making gunpowder in the basement with her chemistry set. Now, as a published crime author, she's living proof that studying literature and misbehaving with reactive compounds can work out. Currently she’s under contract with Writers Digest Books for her next title, You’ve Got a Book in You. She loves to help aspiring authors get good! A journalist and former bookseller, Elizabeth belongs to several literary societies as well as American Mensa. www.elizabethsims.com.

Chuck Wendig [More Info]
Novelist, Screenwriter, and 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.

Victoria Zackheim [More Info]

Victoria Zackheim is the author of The Bone Weaver and editor of five anthologies: The Other Woman: 21 Wives, Lovers, and Others Talk Openly About Sex, Deception, Love, and Betrayal, For Keeps: Women Tell the Truth About Their Bodies, Growing Older, and Acceptance, The Face in the Mirror: Writers Reflect on Their Dreams of Youth and the Reality of Age, He Said What? Women Write About the Moments When Everything Changed, and Exit Laughing: How Humor Takes the Sting Out of Pain. Victoria adapted five essays from The Other Woman anthology and created a play, now in development with The Berkeley Repertory Theatre and scheduled for a four-week production in February 2013. She is story developer and writer of the documentary film Tracing Thalidomide: The Frances Kelsey Story (in production), and writer for Where Birds Never Sang: The Story of Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camps, to be aired nationwide by PBS. Her screenplay Maidstone has been optioned by Identity Films. She teaches Personal Essay in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is a 2010 San Francisco Library Laureate.