Snack Chats

2023 Virtual Annual Conference: Snack Chats

Take a break from speaker sessions to check out the “snack chats.”

Snack chats are informal gatherings where attendees with a common interest come together to learn and share their experiences. They’re led by a moderator host (or two) with expertise on the topic who guide the conversation and answer questions. Snack chats are to the ASJA virtual conference what special interest group lunches are to our in-person conference. This year’s virtual conference features three snack chats a day, covering such topics as accountability partners, setting up a literary salon, podcasting, travel writing, and more. Snack chats are included in the registration fee, and there’s no need to sign up in advance. Anyone who signs up for the full conference or a single conference track can attend their choice of snack chat each day. Register for a single day and attend your choice of the three snack chats offered that day.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

You Can Make Six Figures as a Freelancer

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Many writers hear that freelancers can make six figures. ASJA member Debbie Abrams Kaplan share insights on ways to achieve this potential goal and leads a conversation about what actions you can take to get there.

Debbie Abrams Kaplan has been a 6-figure freelancer since 2018 but freelancing for more than 20 years. She writes mostly about health/medical topics, supply chain and business for both journalism and content marketing clients. Clients range from startups to Fortune 100 companies, as well as trade journals.

Ghostwriting: State of the Market Post-Covid

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Join Gotham Ghostwriters CEO, Dan Gerstein, in a discussion and Q & A about opportunities, trends, and more in ghostwriting.

Dan Gerstein is founder and CEO of Gotham Ghostwriters, the country’s premier ghostwriting agency. With a network of more than 3,000 experienced freelance editorial professionals, Gotham specializes in books, speeches, reports and other sophisticated long-form writing for authors, speakers, and thinkers who need expert help to tell and sell their stories. Gerstein has been writing and communicating professionally for more than 30 years, starting as a local sports and news reporter before spending more than a decade as a political speechwriter, communications, and presidential campaign strategist and advisor, and then working as a contributing columnist for Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and Politico, and political analyst for Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, WNBC-TV, and NY1. He lives with his family in Manhattan.

Podcasting for Purpose

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Former broadcaster and columnist Shauna Rae combined her love of audio storytelling, and her drive to amplify others into a purpose-driven enterprise. In this Snack Chat she shares her story and answers your questions about podcasting.

Shauna Rae is the founder of Radar Media and the host and producer of the Clearing a New Path™ podcast. Clearing a New Path™ aims to build a more united, progressive, feminist, anti-racist rural Canada. She spent 10 years as a radio and TV journalist and 10 more as a newspaper and magazine columnist. She also spent a decade in communications, PR and community engagement. Shauna values integrity, authentic leadership, social enterprise, the sharing of information, empowering others and continuous learning.

Radar Media North Stars:

-Amplify underrepresented voices.

-Facilitate conversations to spark meaningful change. -Ensure humans are treated fairly and get a fair wage.

-Form communities of like-minded individuals that allow humans to live authentically as they move through the world.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Moving into Unretirement

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Whether you’re working full-time or freelance at some point you might be thinking you’d like to retire, but not completely. So, what is Unretirement and where can you find the type of work that will be fulfilling without the stress, and more? Richard Eisenberg and Carl Landau will be answering your questions about how to unretire!

Richard Eisenberg “unretired” from his job as Managing Editor and Money & Work channels editor of Next Avenue, the PBS site for people 50+, in January 2022. The former Executive Editor of Money magazine, he now freelances for outlets such as Next Avenue, Fortune and Wirecutter; writes the MarketWatch column “The View From Unretirement;” helps run the NYU Summer Publishing Institute as its Digital Media Strategies Director; mentors journalists through Columbia University’s Age Boom Academy and the Gerontological Society of America’s Journalists in Aging Fellows program and volunteers for the American Society of Journalists and Authors and Furniture Assist.

Carl Landau is currently hosts of the popular podcast I Used to be Somebody, inspiring 50-plus-year-olds how to build their (Un)Retirement good life, including, of course, a little bit about the virtues of the game he loves — pickleball. He’s also co-author of the Amazon best-selling book, Pickleball for Dummies. He has been an entrepreneur since the age of 26 and has started and sold three successful media companies. Most recently, he was the “Grand Poobah” of Niche Media.

Use Accountability Partnerships to Boost Your Bottom Line

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

ASJA members Lisa Fields and Renee Bacher share and answer questions about how being part of an accountability group or partnering with another writer can help support you and your writing business.

Lisa Fields is a freelance healthcare content marketing writer who specializes in health, psychology, nutrition, fitness, sleep and elder-care content. She writes B2B and B2C content for hospitals, health systems, medical schools and other clients. Her background is in magazine journalism, and she occasionally writes for publications like Reader’s Digest, WebMD and AARP. Lisa lives in South Jersey, in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Renée Bacher is a journalist, content marketing writer and ghostwriter who has covered a wide range of topics from parenting and pets to medical tech, operations management and supply chain challenges. She has used “body doubling” to be more productive for decades without even knowing there was a term for it.

What Makes an Article an ASJA Award Winner

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Chat with this year’s ASJA writing contest winners to find out what makes a winning article and how you can submit your best for the next writing contest.

Deborah Lynn Blumberg is a freelance writer and content marketer specializing in business and finance and health and wellness. She got her start at The Wall Street Journal, reporting on financial markets during the height of the credit crisis. From there, she worked in marketing and communications at J.P. Morgan. Now, she tells the stories of the people and companies changing our world for the better. Clients and publications include: The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, The New York Times T Brand Studio, J.P. Morgan, Mastercard, Stanford University, AAA, and the American Heart Association. She’s working on her first novel, inspired by the true story of how her great grandparents saved a group of refugees from the Holocaust with the help of a world leader.

Michele “Wojo” Wojciechowski is a national award-winning writer, author, and humorist editor, speaker, and stand-up comedian. Her work has appeared in publications/websites including Esquire, Vanity Fair, Parade, Reader’s Digest, PBS’ Next Avenue, Discover, AARP, Family Circle, Baltimore Magazine, and many more. Since 2003, she’s written the humor column, “Wojo’s World,” and she’s also the author of the humor book “Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box.”

Merlisa Lawrence Corbett is a journalist and author who writes about tennis, sports in society, small business, home and garden and general interests. She is the author of the biography, Serena Williams: Tennis Champion, Sports Legend, and Cultural Icon. A former tennis columnist for Bleacher Report and reporter for Sports Illustrated, Merlisa also covered sports for the Pittsburgh Press, Staten Island Advance, Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

How to Organize a Literary Salon—and Why You Should

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

ASJA member Karen Bannan explains how she, Iyna Caruso, and other ASJA members on Long Island, NY, started a literary salon. Karen and Iyna will be available to answer questions on how you can start a salon in your area and the benefits of doing this.

Iyna Bort Caruso is a New York Emmy Award-winning scriptwriter who specializes in content marketing and interpretive tour writing for museums, cultural institutions, and destinations.

The New Era of Travel Writing

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

This snack chat will be about travel writing, new trends in the industry, and how to be responsible travel writers both environmentally and ethically.

Jennifer Billock (she/her/hers) is an award-winning writer, bestselling author, and editor. She edits the Kitchen Witch Newsletter. She is currently dreaming of an around-the-world trip with her Boston terrier. Check out her website at

ASJA Chapter Meetup—Everything You Wanted to Know About Starting or Growing an ASJA Regional Chapter

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Would you like to start an ASJA chapter? Are you looking to revitalize your ASJA chapter? Join us to chat about how you can create or revitalize a chapter in your area.

Sharon Elaine Thompson, GG, FGA, BFA, has written for jewelry industry trade journals on a variety of gemological, manufacturing, mining, and business topics for more than 30 years. She has developed educational materials for the Gemological Institute of America and the Diamond Council of America as well as high school textbook materials for Glencoe McMillan McGraw-Hill. Sharon has written young adult science books, including Death Trap: the Story of the La Brea Tar Pits; and Built for Speed: the Extraordinary and Enigmatic Cheetah. She writes women’s fiction under the name of Liz Hartley and copyedits work for other writers.

Spencer Boos is currently serving as ASJAs Membership Associate. He has extensive association experience, as he interned with an association for aging American citizens, serving as both an Administrative Assistant as well as a Member Service Representative. Spencer graduated from Iona College in 2022 after receiving his BA in History and minoring in Political Science. Spencer was born in Islip, NY, where he resides.


Early Registration – Through May 15, 2023
$275 – Full Registration
$200 – Single Track Registration
$125 – Single Day Registration

Regular Registration – After May 15, 2023
$325 – Full Registration
$245 – Single Track Registration
$175 – Single Day Registration

Client Connections (members only)
$65: Bundled with full conference registration
$75: Bundled with single track registration
$85: Client Connections only

Non-Member Rates

Early Registration – Through May 15, 2023
$325 – Full Registration
$245 – Track Registration
$175 – Single Day

Regular Registration – After May 15, 2023
$375 – Full Registration
$285- Track Registration
$225 – Single Day

Check out our tracks!

Content Marketing Writing Track

From blog posts to white papers, our content marketing track will get you primed for more clients and more assignments. Whether you’re an experienced content writer or just branching out into this lucrative field, you’ll get up-to-the minute insights, featuring some of the most accomplished and knowledgeable freelance writers and clients in the country.

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Books Track

Writing and publishing a book has never been easier, but it can still be a confusing path. Sessions in this track offer insights relevant to both first-time and veteran authors on craft, planning, marketing, and the business of books, so you can deliver your best work and build an audience eager to read what you write.

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Journalism Track

The journalism industry and profession have changed dramatically in recent years, especially for freelance writers. Our journalism track offers tips and techniques for continuing your career and building your business, and our speakers and session leaders will get you ready for what’s coming next.

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Full Conference Details

Learn from the best and most successful professional freelancer writers in the country

Our keynote speakers, expert-led sessions, and small-group discussions offer insight and connections in the worlds of freelance journalism, content marketing, and nonfiction books. Click below for full information.