Workshops & Speakers

Meet some major players who are important pieces to self-publishing at RWA's Indie Author Weekend!

Affordable Amazon Ads for Romance Authors

Quinn WardSpeaker: Quinn Ward

Have you heard the myth that running Amazon ads in a popular genre like romance can break the bank? In this session with 6-figure author Quinn Ward, they’ll set the record straight. Quinn will show you what to do before you spend money and how to recognize the tweaks that will convert a small amount of spend into large profit.

Quinn Ward is the six-figure author of over two dozen contemporary gay romance novels, including the best-selling Homeruns Series. They’re the senior adviser at Author Ad School, mentoring students to achieve higher profitability through Amazon Ads and optimized marketing.

The Art of Publicity for Indie Romance Authors

Athena HernandezSpeaker: Athena W. Hernandez

Standing out in a crowded market is difficult—but it’s not impossible. In this workshop, publicity expert Athena Hernandez will share successful case studies, outline opportunities available to you and how to improve your chances of getting coverage in traditional and digital media outlets/platforms, offer guidance on how to prepare for interviews with the press, and leave you with a publicity toolkit you can begin using right away.

With a solid career in publicity and communications and a few magazine publishing credentials, Athena W. Hernandez was lured into creative writing through children’s literature, earning an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

But during a year-long lockdown and nothing but time to explore the possibilities of her writing and to design the creative life she always imagined, she joined a webinar on indie publishing romance novels and the rest is history.

Writing under the pen name Leila Love, her debut contemporary romance novel, Entangled, the first book in the In Paradise series, launched December 2021. Book two, Unraveled, launches in Spring 2023.

Book Cover Design

Speaker: Kate Farlow

We’re always told not to judge a book by its cover, but let’s be real—we do it, and so do our readers.

Your cover is, typically, the first thing to draw a reader in. Which is why you always want to put our best foot forward with an eye-catching design.

In my presentation, I plan to go over all of the basics of great cover design (from DIY vs PRO, to image options and identifying and understanding market trends) so that your book(s) can stand out and make the best first impression possible.

Fueled by her passion to create, Kate (LK) Farlow started Y’all. That Graphic. in 2018. When she’s not drooling over her hunky husband or rounding up their four slightly-feral children, she’s completely immersed n the indie book community. In addition to owning her own design business, Kate is also a bestselling author, giving her a unique insight to the market and trends. And as an avid reader herself, she knows what catches the eye.

Over the years she has worked with debut authors, USA Today Bestsellers, and collaborated with numerous book boxes for covers, logos, swag, and more. Although she calls coastal Alabama home, Kate would much rather be in a quiet mountain cabin, devouring a book in solitude. But rest assured, she will absolutely put that book down and push her own characters aside to design your next breathtaking cover.

Building a Profitable Self-Publishing Business using the BEN-P Method

Siera LondonSpeaker: Siera London

Many self-published authors invest thousands of dollars into crafting their first novel before they have an understanding of the publishing industry, their genre’s tenets, or a long-term book-selling strategy. This presentation is an overview of business decisions to consider when launching your self-publishing career and crafting your novel.
Siera writes heroines you know, heroes you love, and romance you feel. USA Today Bestselling & Award-winning author Siera London pens contemporary and paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and crime fiction. She crafts stories of diverse characters navigating their journeys to love with intelligence, wit, and heart-gripping emotion. When away from the literary scene, Siera travels the world with Mr. Awesome and a color patch tabby named Frie.
She can be found online at or at

Canva Demonstration

AM RoarkSpeaker: A.M. Roark

This After-Hours session is packed with tips and templates helping you Find Your HEA with Canva. How can authors leverage the FREE and PAID versions of this popular program to save time and money? Join us for another of my BYOB(ook) sessions and find out.

An avid bibliophile, A.M. Roark wanted to be a Librarian when she grew up but life had other plans. One hubby, four kids, five dogs, one bunny, two hamsters, and five-no four fish later, she remains an avid reader and is FINALLY a published author!
You can get to know her on all major social media platforms @alexismroark. You have permission to remind her she should be writing instead of posting. #procrastiposting

Her website is constantly in need of an update, but you can reach her there, too:

Demystifying Intellectual Property

Caridad PineiroSpeaker: Caridad Pineiro

As a former Intellectual Property attorney, IP is close to Caridad’s heart. In this workshop, Caridad explains the different kinds of protection an author can obtain to protect their work and also explain the much misunderstood Fair Use Doctrine.

Caridad Pineiro is a transplanted Long Island girl who has fallen in love with the Jersey Shore. When Caridad isn’t taking long strolls along the boardwalk, she’s also a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author with over a million romance novels sold worldwide. Caridad is passionate about writing and helping others explore and develop their skills as writers. She is a founding member of the Liberty States Fiction Writers and has presented workshops at the RT Book Club Convention, Romance Writers of America National Conference as well as various writing organizations throughout the country.

Discussion Panel: Beta Readers & Critique Partners

Speakers: Rebecca Barray, Lynn Lovegreen, Darie McCoy, & Erin Novotny

A discussion with beta readers and critique partners about the process of giving and receiving critiques.

Rebecca Barray

Rebecca Barray
Rebecca Barray is a mommy, writer, reader, book coach, developmental editor, and perpetual student. She spends a lot of time editing, but her precious free time is spent reading, crocheting, and learning as much as she can about anything. She has three energetic children, a fun-loving husband, an antisocial dog, and some very resilient fish.

 Lynn Lovegreen  

Lynn Lovegreen
Lynn Lovegreen has lived in Alaska for over fifty years. After twenty years in the classroom, she retired to make more time for writing. Her young adult historical romance is set in Alaska, a great place for drama, romance, and independent characters. She is a member of two RWA chapters, currently serving as president of AKRWA and member of Rainbow Romance Writers. She has been a member and leader of several writing critique groups over the years. 
When not reading or writing, Lynn enjoys volunteering at her local library, spends way too much time watching PBS, and would gladly run off to Cornwall with the Poldarks.

 Darie McCoy Darie McCoy
Darie McCoy is an independent author of contemporary, interracial and paranormal/shifter romance books.  A reader first, she enjoys reading books across many genres although romance holds a special place in her heart.  Her experience working in a STEM field offers her a unique perspective which she uses in each story she pens.
 Erin Novotny Erin Novotny
Erin Novotny writes as Tobi Doyle, a hybrid romance author, has published over a dozen HEAs with heat and humor, romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries. Tobi is a recipient of RWA’s 2022 Service Award and 2022 PRO Mentor of the Year Award for her content development work on RWA’s Pen to Paper: Guide to Writing Romance program. She’s currently the president of RWA’s romantic suspense/mystery chapter, Kiss of Death. Collaborating with SG Redling at Intensive Genre Workshops, they provide genre writers a writing craft foundation through workshops and retreats. You can find her at and, but really, usually she’s at her desk contemplating if it’s margarita time yet.

Discussion Panel: Freelance Editors & Proofreaders

Speakers: Dawn Alexander, Caitlin Nelson, Sarah Pesce, & Sue Toth

A discussion with freelance editors and proofreaders.

Dawn Alexander

Dawn Alexander
Developmental editor and story coach.

 Caitlin Nelson  

Caitlin Nelson
Caitlin has been editing for self-published romance authors for almost a decade and loves helping writers polish their work to ensure it reaches its full potential, free of distracting errors. She earned a degree in English from the University of Texas and is grateful to be able to combine a lifelong love of reading with a meticulous attention to detail in her career as an editor. She works with bestselling authors as well as those new to the industry and prides herself on maintaining a balance of reliability, flexibility, professionalism, and personal connection with clients. Caitlin lives in her hometown of Austin, Texas, with her husband and son, and she enjoys exploring the area’s natural beauty as well as the city’s culture.

 Sarah Pesce Sarah Pesce
Sarah Pesce is a developmental and line editor, book coach, and owner of Lopt & Cropt Editing Services. She helps new and established indie romance writers turn their publishing dreams into their own happily ever afters. She’s edited over 100 books and worked with a number of Amazon bestselling authors and USA Today bestselling authors. Find her at or @loptandcropt on social media.
 Sue Toth Sue Toth
My entire career has been dedicated to either diving into my own editing or teaching others how to do it well. I taught fiction editing at the University of San Diego and journalism and writing at the college level.

For the past 20 years, my specialty has been in collaborating as an editor with romance authors to turn their books into those swoon-worthy ones that readers can’t put down.


Finding Your Target Audience on Social Media: A Step-By-Step Guide

Amanda LovellSpeaker: Amanda Lovell

If you are a newly published author looking to promote your latest release, this session is exactly where you begin. Where do you go to find romance readers? What is the value of a hashtag? Successful book marketing starts with these practical methods that you can easily pursue to get your work into the hands of the readers who will love it.

Amanda Lovell is the Marketing Coordinator at Big Buzz Idea Group, a boutique association management agency in Chicago that offers a full suite of services to nonprofits. Prior, she devoted seven years to working for a 501(c)(8) nonprofit Czech fraternal society, where she served as the Fraternal Director. There, she was the manager of member events, social media content creator, graphic designer, and Editor in Chief of the monthly magazine.

Formatting & Uploading

Jillian LiotaSpeaker: Jillian Liota

Learn about formatting and uploading your book.

Jillian Liota is a Southern California native currently living in Kailua, Hawaii.

Getting Started with Facebook/Instagram Ads: What Writers Need to Know

Finola AustinSpeaker: Finola Austin

In this talk, historical novelist and Meta creative strategist Finola Austin will talk you through how Instagram and Facebook ads can be a key part of your marketing mix. Whether you're already running paid digital advertising or are new to the world of paid social, the talk will leave you with actionable takeaways for improving the performance of your next campaign.

Finola Austin, also known as the Secret Victorianist on her award-winning blog, is an England-born, Northern Ireland-raised, Brooklyn-based historical novelist and lover of the nineteenth century. Her first novel, Bronte's Mistress, was published by Atria Books in August 2020. By day, she works in digital advertising in New York as part of Meta's Creative Shop, advising some of the country's biggest brands on their Facebook and Instagram ads. Find her online

Where's My Book? Increasing Your Book's Discoverability

Speakers: T.B. Bond and Siera London

This is a deeper dive into keywords and metadata for book launches. We will talk about how to increase discoverability on Amazon and how to get your book in front of more readers' hands.

TB Bond

T.B. Bond
TB. Bond has been writing, drawing, and web designing for years. When she is not doing one of those things, she’s reading and watching anime. Nerdtastic to the core she’s a Whovian, Trekie, Otaku, and probably a whole host of other things.
Currently, she lives with her husband, a fellow nerd, in Virginia.
E-mail T.B. Bond or follow her on twitter @neverStirred.

 Siera London  

Siera London
Siera writes heroines you know, heroes you love, and romance you feel. USA Today Bestselling & Award-winning author Siera London pens contemporary and paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and crime fiction. She crafts stories of diverse characters navigating their journeys to love with intelligence, wit, and heart-gripping emotion. When away from the literary scene, Siera travels the world with Mr. Awesome and a color patch tabby named Frie.

She can be found online at or at
Repped by Latoya Smith / ArtHouse Literary Services


Where on Earth is My Next Favorite Author?: Metadata, Keywords, and Search Engine Optimization

TB BondSpeaker: T.B. Bond

This workshop is designed as an introduction to author searchability and online presence, i.e., helping readers find you on mega-sites such as Amazon and Facebook.

T.B. Bond has been writing, drawing, and web designing for years. When she is not doing one of those things, she’s reading and watching anime. Nerdtastic to the core she’s a Whovian, Trekie, Otaku, and probably a whole host of other things. Currently, she lives with her husband, a fellow nerd, in Virginia. E-mail T.B. Bond or follow her on twitter @neverStirred.

Write a Blurb with Snap, Crackle, and Pop

Reana MaloriSpeaker: Reana Malori

Does the idea of writing a sizzling, enticing blurb for your book give you hives? Have you felt that churn and swirl in your stomach when it’s time to put on your marketing hat?

After all, you became an author to write amazing stories and bring your characters to life. After writing a book full of romance, vivid background scenes, and dynamic characters, how can you be expected to boil that down into 150 words? A blurb can’t do your book justice anyway… they just need to read it.

If only it were that simple.

Writing a book blurb that will entice a potential reader to buy your book is the holy grail of author marketing. A well-written blurb is a sales pitch for your book. It should sound interesting, engaging, and represent the premise of the story without giving too much away.

In this program, we’re going to delve into how to craft compelling, enticing, and high-converting book blurbs. Creating a sizzling blurb for your book is both an art and a science, and a lot of fun when done right. No lofty, general concepts. We will have “how to” practical examples, so you can begin creating, or updating, your book blurbs immediately.

USA Today bestselling author Reana Malori pens gripping multicultural/interracial contemporary romance novels full of love, steam, and suspense that will pull you into her world. You’ll want to run away with these smoking hot book boyfriends and find a happily ever after alongside heroines you’d love as a best friend. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy!
Reana began her writing journey in 2009, releasing her first novella, To Love a Marine. Since then, she has published more than 35 books, to include Weekend Fling, Finding Faith, Odin’s Honor, and Secret Devotion. She currently resides in Montclair, Virginia with her husband and two sons who keep her busy laughing, having fun, and making sure she doesn’t take herself too seriously.

Reana is also known publicly as Lee Mariano, an HR Consultant, Speaker, and Life & Success Coach for women.

Your Writing as a Business: Expenses, Pricing, Competition, Value!

Pankaj AminSpeaker: Pankaj Amin

This module will delve into how we can look at our writing and craft as a business if we want to do so. Specifically, we will look at concepts, such as unit economics, one-time versus recurring costs, and budgeting in order to determine how one might choose to invest funds toward a book venture. We will take examples of expenses, such as cover design, marketing and advertising, and print costs to understand how these will drive your decision-making.

In addition, we will look at major drivers of book pricing strategy, such as costs, competition, value, scarcity, and distribution channel in order to develop pricing strategies that work best for your product positioning. 

Finally, this discussion will be very interactive – so please come with your questions as well as your answers to share with the group.  

Pankaj is founder and managing director of SC Ventures, which serves as advisors, investors, and board directors for companies across a number of industries, including telecommunications, consumer products, and healthcare. 

Pankaj is an adjunct professor in the MBA program at Rutgers Business School, where he has taught a number of Entrepreneurship courses in the Management and Global Business section. Pankaj earned his Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.