Books Track

Fall 2022 Virtual Conference: Books Track

Writing and publishing a book is hard work, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Becoming a published author — for the first or 12th time — can feel daunting. Join us for the shot in the arm you need to push forward, with the support and insight of authors, editors, agents, and publishers. Our sessions, keynote, and snack chats promise to inspire, while keeping your feet firmly on the ground.

Keynote Speaker

George J. Makari, M.D., Ainsfield-Wolf Book Award winner

Wednesday, October 12, 11:00 a.m. – noon ET

Historian, psychoanalyst, and psychiatrist George Makari is the author of the newly released Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and a New York Times Editor’s Choice.

Sessions: Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Tuesday Book Sessions

Here’s the Pitch: How to Craft a Book Proposal and Land a Top Agent

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. ET

Literary agent Anna Sproul-Latimer, who’s represented multiple New York Times best-selling authors, is one of the best in the business. Her clients have included Caitlin Doughty, R. Eric Thomas, Colin Dickey, Alexandra Petri, Olivia Nuzzi, Megan Rosenbloom, Lindsey Fitzharris, and many more. Last year, former ASJA president Randy Dotinga signed with Anna after sending in his first-ever book proposal. In this Q&A with audience participation, Randy and Anna will talk about the do’s – and the DON’Ts– of writing a proposal and finding a top agent.

Anna Sproul-Latimer is founding partner and president of Neon Literary. During her career, she has sold multiple New York Times bestsellers, major book-to-film deals, and foreign translations in more than 50 languages. She represents all types of adult nonfiction — from memoir and history to pop culture, science, and parenting — as well as select literary fiction. Prior to founding Neon, Anna spent nearly 15 years as a literary agent, foreign rights director, and developmental editor at the Ross Yoon Agency. A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Oxford, Anna lives in the DC suburbs with her family.

Independent journalist Randy Dotinga, former president of ASJA, has been a full-time freelance writer since 1999. He writes about health/medicine, politics, books, history, and the odd & unusual for The Washington Post, WebMD, The Christian Science Monitor, Medscape, Voice of San Diego, and many other outlets. In 2019, he spearheaded the successful battle against a new California labor law that threatened the careers of freelance writers. He lives in San Diego and is now a board member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.



How to Break Into Ghostwriting

5:15 – 6:15 p.m. ET

Looking to diversify your writing portfolio with a new income source? Learn how to parlay content marketing, journalism and leadership writing into ghostwriting books, and how to make your body of work shine in order to get your first ghostwriting opportunity.

Dan Gerstein is the founder and CEO of Gotham Ghostwriters, America’s premier ghostwriting agency, and a nationally recognized political analyst. A native of Connecticut, Gerstein spent more than a decade as a speechwriter and communications strategist for Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and served as a senior advisor on Lieberman’s vice-presidential and presidential campaigns. He went on to become a political consultant and commentator in New York, writing frequently for the Wall Street Journal, Politico, and the New York Post and appearing on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. Today Gerstein, 55, spends his time helping CEOs and tech geniuses birth their books, rooting for his beloved Boston Red Sox and Celtics, and taking orders from his boss baby Ella.

Nancy Peske is a ghostwriter, developmental editor, and book publishing consultant and strategist whose clients’ books have been New York Times bestsellers, award-winners, and evergreen sellers. The coauthor of the Cinematherapy series, which USA Today dubbed “a cultural phenomenon,” and the parenting book Raising a Sensory Smart Child, which has sold over 350,000 copies, Nancy specializes in the categories of wellness, self-help, psychology, spirituality, and inspirational memoir and has worked with authors such as Christiane Northrup, Marianne Williamson, John Gray, and Dean Ornish. Nancy lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her family, and enjoys lake swimming, gardening, and watching movies.

Sessions: Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Wednesday Book Sessions

Organizing and Fleshing Out Your Nonfiction Book Idea

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. ET

Do you have an idea for a nonfiction book? An idea is the seed, but you need to be able to build a framework and then flesh out the book bones to successfully produce book-length nonfiction. In this workshop, we will discuss book titles, overarching themes, producing an annotated outline, and adding structure, story, and content. Come with your idea and we will select several, brainstorming potential paths for creating an attention-grabbing nonfiction book.

Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, and speaker. She frequently writes on the topics of personal growth, health, faith, and methods for moving through, and beyond, challenging life circumstances. Candy’s publishing credits include hundreds of articles and stories in numerous print and online outlets:,, Writer’s Digest,,,,,, and Focus on the Family, and three traditionally published nonfiction books, Aftershock: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide, When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life, and her newest, award-winning, Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well.

Sherry Beck Paprocki is an author, journalist and career coach. She writes about ultimate career fulfillment in her latest book, Freelance Fancy: Your Guide to Capturing Spiritual Health, Wealth and Happiness from Gig Work. Paprocki has won five national awards for writing and editing work, including those from the City and Regional Magazine Association (CRMA), the American Library Association’s Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). She has also been named among the Folio’s Top Women in Media and the Folio:100 thought leaders. She is an ASJA past president.


Why Protestors Target Books — And What We Can Do

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET

Protestors increasingly are demanding certain books be banned from schools, local libraries, bookstores, and even prisons because they object to the content within their covers. The nonprofit PEN America documented about 1,600 bans affecting 1,154 titles between July 2021 and March 2022. Even Rep. Jamie Raskin’s book about the constitutional rights of students  appeared on a list of books to be removed from Texas schools. The Supreme Court ruled 40 years ago that school libraries couldn’t ban books simply because educators didn’t like their content, yet the battle has continued. What is behind the protestors’ complaints, and what differentiates the books they are targeting? What can we as authors do to help counter the pressures librarians and teachers face to “cancel” books?

Christina Lyons is a freelance writer and editor based in the Washington, D.C., area and covers a range of political and public policy issues. She was a longtime editor for Congressional Quarterly, including serving as co-editor and managing editor of Politics in America. As part of her business, ByLyons LLC, Christina also writes memoirs and business histories for clients. 


Pat McNees was an editor in book publishing (Harper & Row and Fawcett) before freelancing as a journalist and writer-editor, specializing in life stories and organizational histories, including a history of the NIH Clinical Center. She leads a popular workshop at the Writer’s Center:  ‘My Life, One Story at a Time.’ Links to pages about censorship and book banning can be found in the index to her website Writers and Editors,

CANCELLED – Next Steps: The Path Toward Authentic Diversity in Publishing

Sessions: Thursday, October 13, 2022

Thursday Book Sessions

DIY Book Marketing

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET

Whether you’re traditionally or self-published or you’ve used a hybrid model, you’re responsible for marketing your book. Where should you start? What’s working? What mistakes should you avoid? Join two authors who are enjoying book marketing success in different ways, a social media expert, and a book marketing coach as they discuss how you can promote, publicize, and market your book, regardless of your budget and the publishing path you chose.

Sandra Beckwith is an author and national award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to save thousands of dollars by doing their own publicity, promotion, and marketing. You might have seen her on The Montel Williams Show, or CBS This Morning, or read about her in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or USA Today. Feedspot has ranked her Build Book Buzz website as #7 among thousands of book marketing blogs globally. It has also been honored as a top website for authors and writers seven times. Sandra is an ASJA member and former board member. Learn more at

Lisa L. Lewis is the author of The Sleep-Deprived Teen: Why Our Teenagers Are So Tired, And How Parents And Schools Can Help Them Thrive, described as “a call to action” by Arianna Huffington and “an urgent and timely read” by Daniel H. Pink. The book is an outgrowth of her previous work on the topic, including helping get California’s landmark law on healthy school start times passed. Lewis has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and others, and has appeared on the Today show and WBUR “On Point,” as well as radio and TV elsewhere. She’s a parent to a teen and a recent teen and lives in Southern California. More info:

Amy Rogers Nazerov is a former magazine and newspaper journalist in NY, DC, Chicago and the Bay Area who since 2014 has a been helping authors, writers, and other types of creatives and entrepreneurs minimize the headaches of social media and maximize the good stuff: seeking an agent, chatting with sources, finding inspiration, etc. Find Amy and her company, Spark: Social Media Strategy, on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.


Sandi Schwartz is the founder and director of the Ecohappiness Project; author of the parenting book Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer; co-author of the children’s book Sky’s Search for Ecohappiness; and freelance journalist specializing in environment/sustainability, mental health, wellness, and parenting. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, National Geographic, Library Journal, Booklist, Yahoo!, Good Housekeeping, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Scary Mommy, and more. She began her career at the United States Environmental Protection Agency and National Academy of Sciences. Learn more at

Pitch Slam of Non-Fiction Editors and Agents

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. ET

Ever wondered what makes an agent or editor keep reading a query or pitch letter? Or what makes a best-seller and what’s a flop in the book world? Journalists with passion for a topic and experience covering it are perfectly positioned to pitch non-fiction books. Get real-time feedback from editors and agents actively looking for non-fiction book ideas–from memoirs to biographies of thought leaders, plus guides to a variety of topics–in this fun, pitch-style session. Details will be forthcoming this fall about how to submit your idea for consideration.

Susan Shapiro, moderator, freelances for the NY Times, Washington Post, WSJ, LA, NY Magazine, Salon, Elle, Oprah, Wired, and New Yorker online. She’s the bestselling author/coauthor of several books her family hates like Five Men Who Broke My HeartLighting UpUnhooked and her recent memoir The Forgiveness Tour. She lives in Manhattan where she uses her writing/publishing guides The Book Bible and Byline Bible to teach her  popular “instant gratification takes too long” courses at The New School, NYU, Columbia University and in private classes -now online. Follow her on Twitter at @susanshapironet or Instagram at @Profsue123

Cara Bedick (Chronicle Prism, an imprint of Chronicle Books) brings an unmatched level of enthusiasm and entrepreneurship to her projects, resulting in numerous bestsellers, including The Little Book of Hygge, Fit Men Cook, and Intuitive Eating for Every Day. She is currently working with journalist Emily Grosvenor on Find Yourself at Home, a conscious approach to shaping your space and your life.


Cherise Fisher (Wendy Sherman Associates Literary Management) began her career in publishing more than 25 years ago. Over the course of her career as an acquiring editor at Simon & Schuster and Editor in Chief of Plume (an imprint of Penguin Random House), she has edited and published several national bestselling and award winning authors. As an agent, she is interested in working with novelists who have multiple compulsively readable yarns in their head (both historical and contemporary), memoirists who showcase the diversity of human experience, and non-fiction writers who seek to provoke, inspire, and educate. Her intention is that all the books she helps bring into the world are relevant, enduring, and help readers maximize their life.

Victoria Savanh is an acquisitions editor publishing commercial business books at Wiley with a decade of trade publishing experience. She was previously at Penguin and Tin House and while attending Portland State University, was a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. At Penguin, she worked on numerous bestselling and award-winning titles. She is based in Portland, Oregon and formerly lived in New York City.


Regina Brooks is the founder and president of Serendipity Literary Agency, the largest African American owned agency in the US. She represents award-winning clients in adult and young adult fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature. Brooks was Publishers Weekly 2015 Starwatch Honoree and Writer’s Digest magazine named Serendipity Literary Agency as one of the top 25 literary agencies. She is the author of Essences Magazine’s quick pick children’s book, Never Finished Never Done, Writing Great Books for Young Adults, and You Should Really Really Write a Book: How to Write Sell and Market Your Memoir. She has been highlighted in several national and international magazines and periodicals, including Publishers Weekly, New York Times, Forbes, LA Times Essence Magazine, Writers Digest Magazine, and a host of others. Brooks was named Woman of the Year by The National Association of Professional Women, and is a winner Stevie Award for Women Entrepreneurs. She is currently the Vice President of the Association of American Literary Agents, a board member of the Association of a Writers and Writing Programs, and a member of the Council for the National Book Foundation. @SerendipityLit @reginalbrooks


5:15 – 6:15 p.m. ET

What should you include in your book contract—and what should you delete? From rights to royalties, advances to indemnities, getting this legally-binding document right is critical. And complicated! Get schooled by a publishing law attorney who counsels writers.

Joseph Perry is an attorney who counsels authors, editors, agents, publishers, and other creatives in the book and magazine publishing industries. He is also the founder of the literary agency, Perry Literary, Inc.

Snack Chats

What’s Your Passion? Bone Up and Get Assignments You’ll Love

Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Separate registration required and is open now. Snack chats are $10 for members, $20 for non-members.

Registration limit: 25 people

Whether you love real estate, nursing, history, architecture, wine, finance or any other subject, here’s one universal truth: If you know what you’re talking about, you’ll have an audience. Editors will see that you’re grounded in the material, know where to find the most relevant information and the right experts, and that you’re the best writer to get it all across to their readers.

For Mary Mihaly, who will lead this discussion, the best route to monetizing her strong interest in wine was a series of wine and spirits certifications; they led to articles and editing gigs, content marketing for wineries and trade associations and, soon, a book. The group will talk about how and where to get the credentials to spin your passion into assignments, the kinds of markets and organizations you might  approach, and first steps going forward.

While Mary Mihaly’s specialties include health and travel, it is her six wine and spirits certifications that are shaping her publishing future. They have helped her land assignments with Playboy and The Robb Report, a regular editing gig with The Points Guy, and an editor-in-chief job with a regional wine magazine. She’s also finishing a wine-focused book proposal.

Her 700+ articles have appeared in prestigious publications such as House Beautiful, Miami Herald, New York Post, Global Traveler, Seventeen and Nature Conservancy, and she’s authored, ghostwritten or edited more than 20 books.

Outside of publishing, most of Mihaly’s clients are nonprofit organizations. They include St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, whose commemorative 150th anniversary book she wrote. She also has worked with Ronald McDonald House, the Immigrant and Refugee Storytelling Project, the National Hemophilia Foundation, KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the Ohio Department of Tourism.

Get your Scriviner Questions Answered

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Separate registration required and is open now. Snack chats are $10 for members, $20 for non-members.

Registration limit: 25 people

Trying to use Scrivener to write your book but confused and frustrated? Feeling you’re not using the program to its full extent? This Snack Chat is a Q&A with ScrivenerVirgin Anne Rainbow. (You ask, she’ll answer.) Here’s your chance to discover how Scrivener can support how you write, edit and publish your book.

Anne Rainbow is a highly respected writer, teacher and mentor. Although Anne calls herself the ScrivenerVirgin, she is now recognized as a Scrivener expert. Her blog, ScrivenerVirgin, encourages writers to use this sophisticated writing tool for their journey from blank page to self-published book. Anne also offers online training for writers: a free 14-day Scrivener course, plus Simply Scrivener Special one-on-one sessions. Anne’s ebook Editing the RedPen Way: 10 Steps to Successful Self-Editing aims to eliminate editing overwhelm and provide a structured approach to editing. Anne also hosts online writing workshops and manuscript review groups, and residential writing retreat weekends.

The Power and Potential of Twitter—and How it Can Drive Audience for Your Other Writing

Thursday, October 13, 2022, 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Separate registration required and is open now. Snack chats are $10 for members, $20 for non-members.

Registration limit: 25 people

How can you build your audience on Twitter? What are the rewards and risks? This discussion will offer valuable insights on expanding your public profile and breathing fresh life into the full array of your journalism and storytelling. This will include concrete suggestions for the kinds of posts that drive engagement and the value of publishing platforms such as Substack.

Steven Beschloss is an award-winning writer, editor, journalist and filmmaker, and a top social media influencer. His articles and essays have been published by The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Smithsonian, The Economist/Economist Intelligence Unit, National Geographic and dozens of other print and online outlets. Beschloss also serves as the founding editor of Transformations, an online magazine of narrative essays and a publishing channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books, and writes and publishes America, America, a newsletter focused on politics, society, democracy and justice. In addition, he is the founding director of the Narrative Storytelling Initiative at Arizona State University and a professor of practice with a joint appointment in ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and College of Global Futures.

Don’t miss out

Register Today!

Full Registration: $190 Member    $275 Public

Track Registration: $85 Member    $125 Public

Session Registration: $25 Member    $35 Public

2022 Spring Conference Attendees: 50% off Full and Track Registration, Coupon Code: TWICEASNICE

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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.