Welcome our Speakers

Past Speakers 2021 | 2020 | 2015-2019 Speakers


Upcoming Speakers


October 2021

Speaker: Royce Gomez King
Topic: Marketing your book before publishing

October 16, 2021, 10 a.m. to Noon

New Location: Map
Word of Life Church
6111 South Pointe Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919

Note: Google maps or your GPS may direct you to the back of the building. The entrance to the parking lot is on South Point Blvd. between Quigley Eye Specialists and Buckets Restaurant.

Marketing your book begins before you publish it! You’ve begun the manuscript, started researching publishing options, and now you’re ready to take that next step to become an author. Whether you self-publish or sign with a publisher, marketing begins before the book is printed. During this workshop we’ll talk about 9 pre-publishing areas that will affect your marketing, and a dozen ways to market your book after it’s published. Join us to learn how to set your book up to be a bestseller.
 

Royce King has been a serial entrepreneur for more than 25 years and is an SBDC Certified Coach, Certified Direct Response Copywriter, and frequent trainer on online marketing strategies. Her education in Nonprofit Management and working with executives extends internationally through speaking and consulting. Her columns and business advice have been published in the Small Business Expert Forum, Huffington Post, Carol Roth, Charity Magazine, and more.

Royces’s Amazon Author Page

 

 


November 2021

Speaker: Claudia Volkman
November 13, 2021, 10 a.m. to noon.

Claudia VolkmanLocation: Map
Word of Life Church
6111 South Pointe Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919

Claudia Volkman has more than thirty-five years of experience in acquisitions, product development, editing, and typesetting, and has worked full-time for several trade publishing houses. Now, as the owner of Creative Editorial Solutions, she assists publishers, authors, entrepreneurs, and speakers with their editorial needs. A Chicago native, Claudia and her husband reside in Southwest Florida with their two charming Corgis.

Claudia Volkman Resume


January Speaker

Speaker: Theresa Siller
Topic: Character Development

January 15, 2022

Theresa Siller Location: Map
Word of Life Church
6111 South Pointe Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919

Theresa Corbley Siller has been a teacher in public schools and dance studios for 35 years. She has been published in two national magazines, Dance Studio Life and Guideposts. Her creative non-fiction essay, “Another Get-Together?” will be in The Magnolia Review Literary Journal, July 2021. Theresa has written articles for The Fairfax County Times and The Chambersburg Public Opinion, and her column, “Rising Stars,” appeared in the Cape Coral Daily Breeze Newspaper.

Theresa published From Torment to Triumph, A Story of Hope, in 2013, about her husband’s struggle with obesity, and the miracle of how he lost over 105 pounds and ran The Marine Corps Marathon on two titanium hips! She then published a story about Forgiveness, in 2019. Meredith’s Triumph, and What Happened at Soaring High Dance Academy? God Happened., were just released on Amazon, in 2021. Currently she is working on a new adult novel about standing up for yourself, and a children’s book about empathy, featuring Southwest Florida Wildlife and How They Feel. Theresa is grateful to God for her husband, Dan, their son-in-law Jesse, and their daughters, Michelle, Caroline and Christyanne.

More about Theresa


Past Speakers

 


September 2021

Speaker: Geneva Kelly
Topic: Writing Workshop

Geneva’s Prompts for Writing from September workshop.

New Location: Map
Word of Life Church
6111 South Pointe Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919

The GCWA Writing Contest is starting soon. If you want to write something for the contest and are suffering from writer’s block, Geneva is full of ideas to get you started. She has created a fun workshop for writers of all genres and capabilities.

Note: Our original September speaker had to cancel due to Hurricane Ida’s destruction.

More about Geneva

 


critique panel

 

August 2021

Panel: Hunter Leake, Christie Zarria, Bob McCarthy, and Jen Yontz-Orlando
Topic:
The Features and Benefits of Being in a Critique Group

August’s meeting features four members of the Gulf Coast Writers Association who have developed and refined their critique group experience. They will share what they have learned about being a member of a critique group.  

The panel will be composed of Hunter Leake, Christie Zarria, Bob McCarthy, and Jen Yontz-Orlando. Their presentation will highlight the features and benefits of belonging to a critique group, including the importance of group diversity, trust and rapport, and the “Do’s and Don’ts” of analyzing a member’s written work. They will also provide personal anecdotes on how their participation in a critique group has affected their writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 


July 2021

Speaker: Cherie Postill
Topic : Improve Your Writing and Sell More Books with Beta Readers – What Every
Writer Needs to Know Before Publishing

PowerPoint and Zoom recording available to members. Contact Christie Zarria.

Cherie Postill

In my workshop I show you how to identify, qualify, locate, and utilize an incredible writer’s asset know as Beta Readers. They are often overlooked and frequently misunderstood. You will learn the definition of beta testing, how to identify your beta readers, and why every writer needs them. I introduce a process that results in a comprehensive manuscript critique, including actionable feedback. We discuss the techniques and tools used to beta test your manuscript for optimal results.

The methods outlined in my workshop will give you a competitive advantage and make you a better writer. In today’s crowded market, your manuscript needs to stand out more than ever. Once you have followed my process, not only will you be assured your story is perfect for your target readers, but you will also know precisely who your ideal readers are. You will learn where to find your target readers and how to utilize their talents to help you sell more books and attract a loyal fan base.

You will also get reviews, referrals, and book comps (comparable titles) from your beta readers to use in query letters, on your book cover, and in promotional material.

Cherie Postill is a writer, a marketing professional, and a speaker. She is the author of How to Train a Beta Reader and Sell More Books, a nonfiction guide for writers. Cherie presents workshops to writers across the country, teaching her unique strategy and step by step process. Her debut fiction novel for middle-grade readers, and the first in a planned series, Cory Summers and the Wrath of Naytas, is scheduled for publication in Fall 2021. Her upcoming humor/adventure novel for middle grade readers is targeted for release in early 2022. Ms. Postill is on the board of the St. Louis Writers Guild where she holds the title, VP of contests and works as the liaison for more than 21 school districts. She teaches workshops for writers in grades 4th – 12th, and is an active member of the St. Louis Publishers Assoc. When Cherie is not writing or presenting, she enjoys time with friends and family, reading, camping, hiking, cooking, and mentoring aspiring writers. You can learn more about her writing at www.clpostill.com.  She loves to connect with readers and fellow writers and welcomes your emails at cherie@clpostill.com. Find out what she is up to at https://twitter.com/postillc, and www.facebook.com/Cherie.Postill.


June 2021

Speaker: Lucille Ponte
Topic:
Copyright or Copy Wrong?
The Basics of Copyright for Authors

What are my rights to my creative works as an author? Can people use the contents of my books and stories without my permission? Are there limits on my uses of another’s creative works in my books? In this educational talk, author and former law professor Lucille Ponte will help unravel the mysteries of the basics of copyright and address issues of copyright registration and infringement of creative works.  Her presentation will also consider key defenses to claims of copyright infringement, such as public domain and fair use. A great opportunity to learn more about protecting your rights to your literary works. (for educational purposes only, not intended as legal advice)

A legal educator for more than 31 years, Lucille Ponte taught a wide range of business law and intellectual property courses. She published textbooks on dispute resolution and contract law and wrote scholarly articles on copyright, trademark, and legal policy. She previously served as in-house counsel for technology firms and governmental agencies in Massachusetts. As a fiction author under the pen name Bridges DelPonte, her legal mystery, Deadly Sacrifices won a Royal Palm Literary Award (2d place – unpublished mystery) from the Florida Writers Association. She has also published an underwater fantasy novel, Bridles of Poseidon, a children’s book, The Little Dusties – The Roar of the Silver Dragon (with illustrator, Michelle Bakay), and numerous short stories in anthologies. She is represented by Kelli Martin at Wendy Sherman Associates, Inc., a literary management firm in New York. To learn more about Bridges, check out her author website: bridgesdelponte.com


May 2021

Kathleen SweeneySpeaker: Kathleen Sweeney
Topic : How To Create Professional Looking Images to Market Your Books and More with Book Brush

May 15 2021, 10:00 a.m. to noon

Join Kathleen Sweeney from Book Brush for a fun live walk-through of the Book Brush tools. Get ready to embrace the marketing side of writing & see why authors say Book Brush saves them both time and money! Learn how easy it is to use Book Brush to create your own eye-catching marketing images for all things social media. Plus explore video effects, create Box Set images, design your own book covers, animation and more! Kathleen will share handy tips & tricks along the way and have time for Q & A, too.

Bio: Kathleen is the Manager of Marketing and Customer Service at Book Brush. She has over 19 years of client service and business assurance experience. She thoroughly enjoys working with authors and helping them create eye-catching images. She lives in central Illinois with her husband and three busy boys. Her hobbies include reading and turning socks right side out. 

The page to register for additional free sessions: https://bookbrush.com/book-brush-demos/
Our blog page: https://bookbrush.com/blog/ 
 

April 2021 Zoom meeting
GCWA Writing Contest

Winners submission here

April 24, 2021, 10:00 a.m. to noon
Zoom meeting

Winners of the writing contest will be announced and authors will read their winning submissions.


D.L. HavlinMarch 2021 Zoom Meeting

Speaker: D. L. Havlin
Topic: Building a Platform for Both Non-fiction and Fiction Authors

What’s a writing platform? It’s not built on the top of telephone poles, but it is a requisite for non-fiction authors and a valuable addition to the fiction writers marketing arsenal. This class deals with the way to build one, a legitimate one, in the field which you wish to write. Is a doctorate necessary? No, but a real, thorough, and defensible knowledge of your subject matter is critical. Ways to construct that “pulpit to preach from” are offered in this class.

DL Havlin is an unretired businessman who has traveled a large portion of the world, having visited over 100 countries.  He managed offices in places like London, Singapore, Frankfort, Acala Spain and many more.  He has visited the jungles on the Sepic River in New Guinea, the Buddhist temples in Bangkok and the Babi Yar Monument in Kiev. In his travels he has discovered that humans have very similar appearances but their cultures make them as distinct as visitors from another planet.

He’s been writing 30+ years. DL writes historical, literary, women’s mainstream, and suspense/mystery novels.  He has ten books published. The latest is Escaping Skeletons, a mystery/suspense series.

He is represented by the Seymour LiteraryAgency and Taylor & Seale is his current publisher. His books, manuscripts and short stories have won 14 awards, including five Royal Palm Literary Awards from the Florida Writers Association.  

www.DLHavlin.com 


February 2021 — Zoom meeting
author panel

Subject:
A panel of authors will discuss the pitfalls of publishing (the good, the bad, and the ugly).

Bob McCarthy: All publishers are not created equal. Some homework tips before you sign a contract.

Rick Pullen: The ups and downs of the writing life. You’re on top one minute and plunge to the depths the next thanks to the vagaries of the book publishing business.

Marty Ambrose: Dodging the Pitfalls of Publishing Today:Finding an agent, Working with an editor, and Marketing a book.

Carol Kennedy: Don’t Forget Who Your Readers Are And Don’t Forget Who Will Actually Be Purchasing Your Book

Judy Loose: Lessons learned while working with an agent. Do your research before signing any contracts.

 


GCWA January 2021 – Zoom Meeting

Eric Simmons

Speaker: Eric Simmons
Subject: How to get your book into libraries

Eric’s third book, “Getting Your Book Into Libraries,” which he will be discussing today, evolved from his well-received article, “How To Get Your Book Into Libraries”  The article is currently the top Google search result, excluding Ads, out of over 2 billion, on the subject of “getting your book into libraries.” In his book,which opened at #1 on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” in the Library & Information Science Category,  Eric breaks down his strategy and methodology for contacting Libraries.  “Getting Your Book Into Libraries” is believed to be the first book ever written on how self published Authors can get their books into libraries.

Since Eric began introducing his books to Librarians two and a half years ago, 117 Libraries, including 7 of the Nation’s largest, have ordered 157 copies of his books. Using email as his primary means of communication, 114 Libraries or 97% of his customers purchased after receipt of, on average, 3.7 emails.
Eric’s Bio…


November 2020 — ZOOM meeting

Speaker: April O’Leary
Topic: What Publishing Path is Perfect for You?
April O

April’s website: www.olearypublishing.com

presentation:

Decades ago aspiring authors had only two options secure a traditional publishing deal, or if you couldn’t get one, publish your work yourself for a small fortune. Fortunately, writers have many more publishing paths available to traverse today that include various levels of difficulty. In this presentation, April O’Leary, founder of O’Leary Publishing, will discuss the pros and cons of each path including the amount of time and technology skills required for the author, the upfront cost, the opportunities for distribution and ownership of your work. You’ll walk away with a clear trail guide to help you publish your book with success. See you at the top!

About April
April O’Leary is the founder of O’Leary Publishing, a hybrid book publishing company that serves independent authors who want a book to grow their brand, share a message or build a community. She is the author of six books and the host of the I’m Booked podcast. For more information you can visit www.olearypublishing.com and download The Influencer’s Path to Successful Publishing free today.


October 2020 — ZOOM meeting
Speaker: Rebeca Seitz
Topic:  New opportunity for your writing — Podcasts

 Rebeca Seitz

Rebeca’s company website:  justonec.com

Get your questions answered and learn about a new opportunity for your writing! Throughout her 16-year career, Rebeca’s abiding passion has been helping writers find an audience for their works. This interest led her forays into book publishing as well as film and television development. In 2019, at the behest of friend Micheal Flaherty (Walden Media), Seitz began exploring the podcast industry in depth. In 2020, she released her newly-formed company’s first scripted podcast production, MAKING THE CUT (makingthecutpodcast.com), based on the memoirs of Dr. Michael Meguid. The show – featuring 99 characters voiced by over 60 actors from studios across the world – quickly climbed into the top 30% of podcast shows worldwide. Rebeca had hit on a new way for her writers to get their stories to the public: the scripted, spoken word. Now, she’s bringing that knowledge to you. According to PodcastHosting.org, 50% of all U.S. homes are podcast fans…and the number is growing. Over 100 million people in this country listen to podcasts monthly. Studios and publishing houses alike have developed divisions specifically to acquire rights to podcast shows. Bottom line: if you aren’t considering a podcast show for your words, you could very well be missing out. Rebeca will share information about the podcast industry and the process of converting the written word into a scripted series. Drawing from her long history in multiple parts of the entertainment business, she’ll also answer your questions about publishing, film, and television paths for getting your work out there.

About Rebeca 


September 2020
Speaker: Jill Clark
Topic: How to Velcro Your Writing and Make It Stick

Jill Clark

Jill’s blog:  www.jillswriterscafe.com

Jill will provide tips on how to find markets that fit your writing style and genre, how to use social media to your advantage, and creative ways to market your work once it is published.

Jill Clark freelances prose and poetry. Among others, her writing has appeared in Lerner Publications, Pocket Change Literary Magazine, Hedge Apple Literary Magazine, Ariel Chart Literary Review, The Nature Conservancy, and The Henry David Thoreau Institute. She hosts workshops, lesson plans, and activities for children in libraries and schools around Florida-based on characters, themes, or literary techniques generated from her recent publication Loose Balloons.

Please blog Jill at www.jillswriterscafe.com if you would like her to host an event or presentation, purchase her book at a reduced rate, or if you would like the author and illustrator to personalize the book.

To preview a portion of the book from Amazon select:

Loose Balloons Children’s Poetry Book Jill Clark


Geneva Kelly

July 2020

Speaker: Geneva Kelly
Workshop: Writing from prompts

The Military Museum was a great venue for us
and the meeting was a success. We had some
delightful stories written on the spot from
prompts given by Geneva.

 


Ronnie Walter

February 2020

Speaker: Ronnie Walter
Topic: 5 Secrets to Make Your Self-Published Book Stand Out in a Sea of Professionals

Visit her website at: 
http://ronniewalter.com

The difference between a typical DIY self-published book cover and an eye-catching, genre appropriate sales-generator by a professional designer can be the difference between sleepy sales and exciting daily results.

That’s because people DO judge a book by it’s cover.

Author and designer Ronnie Walter will share with you how to identify the visual language of your genre, how your cover can help potential readers discover your book, and also will walk you through the “Crimes of Bad Covers.”

Whether you choose to design your own cover or hire a designer, the more you know about what works (and how to say it), the more your cover will represent the amazing writing on the inside!

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to position your book for success!

Ronnie Walter, artist, writer and business coach for creatives, knows her way around publishing. She is both a self-published author and also has books with several traditional publishers. She is the author of License to Draw—How to Monetize Your Art through Licensing and More, Gruesome Greetings—A Georgie Hardtman Mystery, several gift books, numerous journals and has illustrated and published over 20 coloring books for adults. Her newest book, Gratitude with Attitude—How Journaling Thankfulness for Five Minutes a Day can Change your Life was released in October 2019, and Start here, Start Now, Start Anywhere—A Fill-In Journal to Discover Your Best Year yet! is scheduled for release in April, 2020.

Ronnie lives in Cape Coral with her husband, writer Jim Marcotte and the best shelter dog ever, Larry. She can be reached through her website at www.ronniewalter.com


Bob McCarthy & Judy Loose

January 2020

Speakers: Bob McCarthy and Judy Loose
Topic: The 3 Ps of Self-Publishing — PreparationPublishing, and Promotion

Bob and Judy will give a presentation on self-publishing covering subjects and suggestions on preparationpublishing, and promotion of your book.

Bob is a professional writer and editor with experience in both freelance and in-house writing. His articles have appeared in regional, national, and international magazines. He writes web content, video scripts, training manuals, social media content, and collateral material. More about Bob at gulfwriters.org.

Judy worked as an IT professional installing corporate computer systems and managing IT departments for thirty years. For the last twenty-plus years she has owned her own company, Loose Links. She designs and maintains websites, edits and formats books, and creates book covers. She has self-published two novels, The Janus Code and Mangrove Madness. More about Judy at judyloose.com and gulfwriters.org.

Handouts from Bob and Judy’s presentation on Self-Publishing