September 9-10, 2022

Success strategies and insider advice for writers at ANY stage!

Featuring Keynotes by publisher, ROBIN CUTLER, marketing expert JANE FRIEDMAN, and award-winning playwright, STEPHEN SPOTSWOOD.


Panels and Workshops by Industry experts


and Special One-on-One Sessions:

Pitch to an Agent - Pitch to a Publisher - Manuscript Review -

Amp Up Your Book's FIrst Line

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Prizes Awarded for Best Flash Fiction, Best Short Poem, and Killer First Line

Shepherd University's McMurran Hall

Hosted by Shepherd University, in scenic Shepherdstown, WV.  Only 75 miles from Washington, DC and Baltimore. 

Alan Gibson, Founder and Director of the Manuscript to Marketplace Conference, Lee Doty, Co-Director, Gabrielle Hersey, Webmaster
Inspiring Keynote Speakers

ROBIN CUTLER: President, LMBPN Worldwide Publishing

Transitioning from Self-Published to Indie-Published

Robin Cutler, our keynote speaker from 2019, returns by popular demand to kick off our 2022 Conference!

Robin Cutler is the President of LMBPN Worldwide Publishing as well as the CEO of How To Publish, a consulting service for indie authors and publishers. Robin both created and led the development of IngramSpark, an international, award-winning self-publishing platform from 2013-2020. She has published over 1000 books as Assistant Director at USC Press, and is CEO and founder of her trade imprint, Summerhouse Press. Robin also worked for Amazon for six years. 

Robin served on the board of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) from 2014-2018. She speaks frequently at writing and publishing conferences worldwide including Book Expo America, Frankfurt Bookfair, London Bookfair, SFWC, and NINC to name a few. Robin has in-depth knowledge of indie, academic, and trade publishing and is an expert in content creation, distribution, on-demand models, and author strategies. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Robin now lives in the beautiful mountains of northern New Mexico and enjoys gardening and collecting artwork from her travels.  She is also hard at work developing a screenplay with her daughter, Virginia. Follow Robin on Twitter @rcutlerbookpub or contact her at or

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JANE FRIEDMAN: Business Strategist for Authors and Publishers

The Digital Era of Authorship: Thinking Beyond the Book

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 Writer’s Digest 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.


In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses, Jane maintains an award-winning blog for writers at; her expertise has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York 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 the University of Virginia.

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STEPHEN SPOTSWOOD: Journalist, Award-Winning Playwright

Stephen Spotswood is an award-winning playwright, journalist, and educator. The creator of the Pentecost & Parker series, he is the winner of the 2021 Nero Award for best American mystery, a two-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in LGBTQ Mystery, and a finalist for the Crime Writers Association 2021 New Blood Dagger Award. As a journalist, he has spent much of the last two decades writing about the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the struggles of wounded veterans. His dramatic work has been widely produced across the United States. He makes his home in Washington, D.C. with his wife, young adult author Jessica Spotswood.

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Conference Schedule




3 pm - 5:30 pm: Manuscript Review 
with Dr. James Pate (learn more)

3 pm - 5:30 pm: Pitch to an Agent with Stacey Kondla (learn more)

3 pm - 5:30 pm:
 Every Book Needs a Killer First Line with Wendy H. Jones (learn more)

4 pm - 5 pm: Pitch to a Publisher with Robin Cutler (learn more)      



6 pm: Registration and Book Fair (Atrium)

7 pm - 8 pm: Keynote Address: ROBIN CUTLER (Auditorium)

8 pm - 9 pm: Reception (Atrium)


7:30 am: Registration and coffee (Atrium)

8:15 am - 8:30 am: Welcome and Introductions (Auditorium)

8:30 am - 9:30 am: Keynote Address: STEPHEN SPOTSWOOD (Auditorium)

9:45 am - 10:45 am: Session #1

10 Easy Steps
to Write a Novel

Han Nolan

Ray Sibley and

Sadie Shorr-Parks

What’s Sex Got to do with It?

Lock 38 Authors

How to
Write a
Query Letter

Every Book Needs a Killer First Line

Wendy H. Jones


Jane Friedman

11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Session #2

John Bachner

How to
Write a Series

Robin Cutler

Playwriting and
Short Story Writing:

Reaping Benefits from Each to Enhance Both

Writing in the
Young Adult Genre

Han Nolan,

Wendy H. Jones,

and Jessica Spotswood

How to
Make Money
Business Books

D.W. Gregory

12:15 pm - 1:15 pm: Lunch with Presenters (Dining Hall) Join a Presenter's table and continue the conversation.

1:15 pm - 1:45 pm: Mingle and Network (Atrium) 

1:15 pm - 1:45 pm: Keri Barnum's Free Advice live from the Atrium Stairs. 

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Session #3 

Free Advice
for Self Publishers

and Prayers:

Writing with Multiple Authors

 Catherine Baldau,

Tara Bell, Ginny Fite,

and K.P. Robbins

Writing a Memoir

Marketing your Book
with Social Media

and Rejection

Pam Clark

Lisa V. Proulx

and Wendy H. Jones

Keri Barnum

Karen Outen,

Donna Hemans,

Melanie Hatter,

and Pat Donohoe

3:15 pm - 4:00 pm: Mingle and Network (Atrium)

4:00 pm - 5:10 pm: Keynote Address: JANE FRIEDMAN (Auditorium)

5:10 pm - 5:30 pm: Awards and Closing Remarks

Expert Presenters
John Bachner
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A wet-behind-the-ears 26-year-old, John created Bachner Communications, Inc., a fledging “organization” that within 15 years employed 40 and ranked eighth among Washington, DC’s top-ten PR firms. Fifty-one years later, Bachner Communications is once again a one-person firm, John serving principally as a writer, lecturer, and consultant to private-sector and nonprofit organizations. While in college (Harvard), he helped create Operation Match, the nation’s first computer-dating company and, at the invitation of Warner Brothers/Seven Arts, he wrote a full-length movie and television series based on his experience; neither was produced. He also penned two books, neither of which was published. But he kept on writing, completing more than 300 books, texts, manuals, and guides published by a variety of organizations, as well as John Wiley & Son, van Nostrand-Reinhold, McGraw-Hill, and Charles C. Thomas. John also has to his credit some 2,500 published magazine articles and columns, plus literally thousands of newsletters, case histories, brochures, and flyers. He has had more than a dozen movies produced. He has written, directed, and produced hundreds of successful television and radio ads. He lectures and leads seminars throughout the United States and beyond, earning a reputation for keeping his audiences’ attention with a fast-paced, often-irreverent presentation style. He is no longer wet behind the ears.

Catherine Baldau
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Catherine Baldau is Executive Director of the Harpers Ferry Park Association, where in her previous position as Publications Specialist, she edited several publications including the award-winning Harpers Ferry Under Fire. Her essays are published in the Harpers Ferry Anthology and “To Emancipate the Mind and Soul,” and her short fiction has appeared in SNReview. Her freelance writing has been featured in Fluent Magazine and other local publications. Thoughts & Prayers is her first novel.

Tara Bell 
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Tara Bell writes of a tween who saves her family from a haunting in the Middle Grade novel The Shell Ghost of San Cristobal. A contributing writer and editor for a local publication The Good Shepherds, Good Town, Good News Paper, Tara graduated from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, with a BS degree in Recreational Therapy. In the early ‘80s she was on the staff for the autistic unit at Grafton School in Virginia. For over fifteen years she has participated as a multimedia artist in The Over the Mountain Studio Tour in Jefferson County, West Virginia. She is a long-time member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.


The website for the book is

Pam Clark
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Pam Clark grew up in a tiny hometown—population, 300. Books convinced her that the world was a wide, wide place. And it beckoned. She became an English professor and lover of travel, roaming through the U.S. national parks as well as Stonehenge, Aztec ruins, Machu Picchu, the oracle at Delphi, the Hermitage, and the Louvre. She is now the author of SHOOT IF YOU MUST, a traditional mystery introducing Lieutenant Tall, Dark, & Handcuffs. She is still conjuring up and solving mysteries, and running off on the occasional adventure.


Visit her at:

Lee Doty, Co-Director of the Manuscript to Marketplace Conference
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Lee W. Doty is the author of Tidal Kin and Last Casualty, novels in the Norma Bergen mystery series published by Headline Books, Inc. She is working on the third novel in her series. Her short stories appear in numerous journals and anthologies, including most recently in Ghost Town Stories Vol. I, a publication of Four Seasons Books. Lee runs the semiannual Wild Writers Retreat for Shepherd University’s Lifelong Learning Program and is Co-Director of the 2022 Manuscript to Marketplace Writers Conference at Shepherd University. Lee received her undergraduate degree from Duke University, her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, and her MFA in Creative Writing from Rosemont School of Graduate Studies.

Ginny Fite

Pushcart-nominated, Ginny Fite is the author of six traditionally published novels: Cromwell's Folly; No Good Deed Left Undone; Lying, Cheating, and Occasionally Murder; No End of Bad; Blue Girl on a Night Dream Sea, and Possession. Her collection of linked short stories, Stronger in Heaven, was shortlisted for the 2019 SFWP prize and a finalist for the 2020 Bakwin Prize. Her short stories have been published in numerous journals such as The Delmarva Review, SFWP Quarterly, and the Anthology of Appalachian Writers. A graduate of Rutgers University and Johns Hopkins University, her communications career included posts in journalism, higher education, government, and industry. She also studied at the School for Women Healers and the Maryland Poetry Therapy Institute. Two more novels, The Physics of Things and Sanctuary, are set for publication from Sunbury in 2022 and TouchPoint Press in 2023.

Alan Gibson, Founder and Director of the Manuscript to Marketplace Conference
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With over four decades in the advertising business, Alan has written and produced television, radio, print, and digital commercials and built his reputation as one of the most creative players in entertainment advertising. 

Not content with writing in thirty and sixty-second formats, he took to novel writing in 2015 and has since published three best-selling thrillers, The Dead of Winter, High Voltage, and Tracked to Kill; two urban fantasies, Summer Thunder and Summer Lightning; one short story, "Killing Time," under the pen name of A.B. Gibson. He also edited Ghost Stories of Shepherdstown, Volume 1.

D.W. Gregory

D.W. Gregory is a playwright who frequently explores political issues through a personal lens. The New York Times called her “a playwright with a talent to enlighten and provoke” for her most produced work, RADIUM GIRLS, about the famous case of industrial poisoning. Other plays include MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN MAN, a National New Play Network rolling world premiere (Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Shadowland Stages, New Jersey Rep); MOLUMBY’S MILLION (Iron Age Theatre), nominated for a Barrymore Award by Philadelphia Theatre Alliance; THE GOOD DAUGHTER and OCTOBER 1962 (New Jersey Rep). Gregory also writes for youth theatre and makes occasional appearances as a teaching artist. For four years in a row, Dramatics Magazine listed RADIUM GIRLS among the 10 Most Produced Plays in American High School Theatre. Recently she has turned her energies to writing short fiction. In 2021, her story “Mr. Kindness” was the first prize winner of the West Virginia Fiction Competition and is published in the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Vol. XIV.

Melanie S. Hatter
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Melanie S. Hatter is an award-winning author of two novels and one short story collection. Her most recent novel, Malawi’s Sisters, was selected by Edwidge Danticat as the winner of the inaugural Kimbilio National Fiction Prize and was published by Four Way Books in 2019. Her debut novel, The Color of My Soul, won the 2011 Washington Writers’ Publishing House Fiction Prize, and Let No One Weep for Me, Stories of Love and Loss was released in 2015. Melanie received a 2019 Maryland State Arts Council grant for her writing. She received a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University and a master’s in writing from Johns Hopkins University. She is a participating author with the PEN/Faulkner Writers in Schools program and serves on the board of the Washington Writers' Publishing House.

Donna Hemans
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Donna Hemans is the author River Woman, Tea by the Sea, and Tree of a Thousand Feet (forthcoming from Zibby Books). Her writing has appeared in Slice, Shenandoah, Electric Literature, Ms. Magazine, and Crab Orchard Review, among others. Donna has received grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Prince George's County Arts Council, as well as residential fellowships from Hedgebrook, Millay Colony for the Arts and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives in Maryland and operates the DC Writers Room, a co-working studio for writers.

Wendy H. Jones
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After 17 years in the Royal Navy and Army and a stint in Academia, Wendy took up writing crime. In January she released the first of her new series, Cass Claymore Investigates. She’s also written the Fergus and Flora Mysteries for Young Adults, and recently published a children’s illustrated book, Bertie the Buffalo. Her original seven-novel series, D.I. Shona MacKensie Investigates, is set in her hometown, Dundee, Scotland, where she currently resides. 

Han Nolan
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Han Nolan is the author of nine young adult novels, including the National Book Award winning Dancing on the Edge. Awards and honors for her other works include, National Book Award finalist, People’s choice award, New York Public Library best books for YA, ALA best books, Library guild Best books, Alabama Library Assoc. best YA novel of the year. Her novel Crazy was performed at the Kennedy Center under the title of Jason Invisible. Her books have been translated into several languages. Her latest novel, Running Past Dark (Simon & Schuster) is due out in Fall 2023. 

Stacey Kondla 

Stacey Kondla is a literary agent with The Rights Factory. She has a variety of clients with works that include adult literary fiction, science fiction & fantasy, rom-com, historical, nonfiction science, children's picture books, middle grade, and young adult titles. Her background includes working as a Field Representative for Scholastic Book Fairs, managing at two different big box book stores, freelance editing, and serving on the organizing committee of When Words Collide (A Festival for Readers and Writers).

Karen Outen

Karen Outen’s short fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train Stories, The North American Review, Essence magazine, and the anthologies Where Love is Found and Mother Knows: 24 Tales of Motherhood (both from Washington Square Press). Her essay “Fear Will Not Save Us” appeared in the June 17, 2020 issue of Scoundrel Times, and her essay “On Typing and Salvation” appeared in the anthology From Curlers to Chainsaws: Women and Their Machines (Michigan State Press, 2016). She is a 2018 recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award and has been a fellow at both the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan and the Pew Fellowships in the Arts. She received an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she was awarded Hopwood Awards for her fiction. She has taught writing at the University of Michigan and at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and has been a visiting writer at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She is publishing her first novel: Dixon, Descending, following two brothers who leave their lives behind seeking to be the first Black American men on Mount Everest—and how their futures, and the futures of their family and community, are irrevocably changed; exploring ambition, survival, masculinity, grief, and our responsibility toward one another. This novel will be out in spring 2024 to coincide with the Everest climbing season!

Dr. James Pate
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James Pate has taught at Shepherd University since 2010. He has been published at Black Warrior Review, New Delta Review, storySouth, Occulum, Superstition Review and Berkeley Fiction Review, among other places. His collection of essays on contemporary Gothic poetry, entitled Flowers Among the Carrion, was published by Actions Books in 2016. His novel Speed of Life was published by Fahrenheit Press in 2017.

Lee Anne Post
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Lee Anne Post is the pen name for co-authors Catherine Baldau, Tara Bell, Ginny Fite, and K.P. Robbins. Stories by these award-winning authors have appeared in numerous journals and individually they have published nine novels. They have worked as reporters and editors, in politics and philanthropy, and in advertising and educational institutions. Having met in a writer’s critique group for over five years, they were spurred by their collective grief and then admiration as they watched Parkland students deal with the aftermath of that shooting.

Lisa V. Proulx

Lisa V. Proulx is an award-winning and international best-selling author, an award-winning speaker and storyteller, an editor, and a publishing consultant with Indie Author Consulting. Throughout the year she’s been involved in writing workshops, book and speaking events, and is a core speaker for the annual Reader’s Favorite Book Awards in Miami. She also spent 20 years as a feature writer and columnist for a Maryland newspaper. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies and two national magazines, Woman’s World and The Barefoot ReviewIn 2019, she was appointed as the first president of the Maryland Writers Association, Frederick Chapter. Lisa feels life is too short to write in just one genre, so her books span from horror to memoir to inspirational. She also writes rock and roll romance under the pen name Veronica Moreau and is writing her 15th book under her real name.

Learn more about Lisa on her website:

K.P. Robbins
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K.P. Robbins creates strong female characters in her two traditionally published novels, PMS: The Power & Money Sisters and The Stonehenge Scrolls. Her short stories have been published on and in the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Virginia Writers Centennial Anthology, and Art Prize Anthology, among others. A former Washington, D.C., advertising executive, she holds a degree in journalism from West Virginia University.

Ray Sibley
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Ray Sibley is a teacher, a poet, and an avid gardener. He has a Doctorate in Performance Studies from LSU. His doctoral dissertation focused on contemporary American spoken-word poetry. He has been teaching Creative Writing, Literature
Interpretation/Performance, and Theater for the last thirty-five years. He moved to Shepherdstown, West Virginia 2016.

Sadie Shorr-Parks

Sadie Shorr-Parks teaches writing at Shepherd University. Her nonfiction has recently appeared in Sierra Nevada Review, Appalachian Heritage, and Witness Magazine, where her essay “Attic Bats, Modern Love” received a nomination for the Pushcart Prize. She has published book reviews with The Iowa Review and Southern Literary Review. Her poetry collection, Honey Month, is out now.

Jessica Spotswood

Jessica Spotswood is the author of the fantasy trilogy The Cahill Witch Chronicles and the contemporary novels Wild Swans and The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls. She is the editor of the feminist anthologies A Tyranny of Petticoats and The Radical Element and co-editor of Toil & Trouble. Her most recent novel is Great or Nothing, a World War II-era reimagining of Little Women, co-written with Joy McCullough, Tess Sharpe, and Caroline Tung Richmond. Jess lives in Washington, DC, where she works for the DC Public Library.

Conference Committee Members: David Borchard, John Deupree, Tom Donlon, Patricia Donohoe, Betty Ellzey, Kendra Goldsborough, Madge Morningstar, James Pate, Lisa V. Proulx, Lisa Taka


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