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· Keynote Speakers ·

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors, and has previously worked for F+W Media and the Virginia Quarterly Review. In 2019, Jane was awarded Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World; her newsletter was awarded Media Outlet of the Year in 2020.

Jane’s newest book is The Business of Being a  Writer (University of Chicago Press); Publishers Weekly said that it is “destined to become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in publishing careers.” Also, in collaboration with The Authors Guild, she wrote The Authors Guild Guide to Self-Publishing.

In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses, Jane maintains an award-winning blog for writers at JaneFriedman.com; her expertise has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, NPR, PBS, NBC, CBS, the National Press Club and many other outlets.

Jane has delivered keynotes and workshops on the digital era of authorship at worldwide industry events, including the Writer’s Digest annual conference, Stockholm Writers Festival, San Miguel Writers Conference, The Muse & The Marketplace, Frankfurt Book Fair, BookExpo America, and Digital Book World. She’s also served on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund, and has held positions as a professor of writing, media, and publishing at the University of Cincinnati and University of Virginia.

In her spare time, Jane writes creative nonfiction, which has been included in the anthologies Every Father’s Daughter and Drinking Diaries. If you look hard enough, you can also find her embarrassing college poetry.

Mark Lefebvre

Mark Lefebvre is the Director of Business Development for Draft2Digital, a free and author-centric platform that is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2022. Mark has worked in the book industry since 1992, the same year his first short story sale appeared in print. His past roles include President of the Canadian Booksellers Association, Chair of the Professional Advisory Committee for Sheridan College's Honors Degree Program in Writing and Publishing, and Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations for Rakuten Kobo, where he created and launched Kobo Writing Life. He is the host of the weekly Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing Podcast.
 
As an award-winning and multi-nominated author, Mark (who also writes under Mark Leslie) has released more than 30 books that include A Canadian Werewolf in New York, Fear and Longing in Los Angeles, Fright Nights, Big City and the non-fiction books for writers: Wide for the Win, Killing it on KoboAn Author's Guide to Working with Bookstores and Libraries and the co-authored The Relaxed Author with Joanna Penn.

Naima Simone

Published since 2009, USA Today Bestselling author Naima Simone loves writing sizzling romances with heart, a touch of humor and snark. Her books have been featured in The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly, and described as balancing “crackling, electric love scenes with exquisitely rendered characters caught in emotional turmoil.”

She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.