Board of Experts
The Branding and Marketing Expert
Stephen ("Steve") Colwell serves as CEO and head of strategy for Clarify Media and Completing, two Southern California–based firms specializing in marketing and project management. With over 10 years of hands-on agency experience as a copywriter, brand strategist, and project manager, he brings a broad and deep range of both marketing and operations expertise to the community. From strategy and design to growth and performance, Steve offers a rare mix of creative and analytical thinking toward helping creative professionals, teams, and small businesses accelerate their progress and achieve more. He has led project teams responsible for over $100+ million in annual revenue across four continents. A certified Agile practitioner, Steve is fanatical about helping others work in teams more effectively and operate at their best using the same proven routines practiced by today’s top-performing companies.
The Copyright & Permissions Expert
Mary Jo (“MJ”) Courchesne is the owner and principal consultant of Gryphon Publishing Consulting. A publishing veteran with more than 20 years of experience in trade, academic, and direct-response publishing, she has spent nearly two decades specializing in licensing, subsidiary rights, and permissions. MJ is a frequent and polished presenter on licensing and copyright. When it comes to intellectual property, she firmly believes that everyone from authors to publishers to corporations should know their rights. To that end, MJ instructed in the George Washington University’s Masters in Publishing program for 13 years, first for 11 years as adjunct professor for a course titled Editorial Content, Rights, and Permissions and subsequently as lecturer in a course on copyright. She currently serves on the Board of Experts for the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors and is a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association and the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. MJ has also held memberships with other publishing organizations such as the American Society of Picture Professionals and Washington Publishers.
The Journalism Expert
Kristen Fischer is a copywriter and journalist living at the Jersey Shore. She worked as a reporter and copyeditor for Gannett before launching her full-time freelance business in 2005. Her work has been published in Parents, New Jersey Monthly, Prevention, Woman’s Day, SheKnows, and Healthline.
The Social Media Marketing Expert
Ashley Henyan is a digital marketing consultant, a freelance writer, and the communications director for the American Red Cross of the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake region. Previously, she held leadership roles in digital communications and media relations with the Red Cross in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Ashley has developed curriculum and trained hundreds of staff and volunteers across the United States in courses like Leveraging Your Story on LinkedIn and Social Media Story Telling. She has been invited to discuss social media marketing and brand visibility on various podcasts and with local and national associations. Ashley has played an integral part in award-winning social media campaigns including honorable mention recognition with the PR Daily Content Marketing Awards and numerous Silver Telly Awards for Branded Content. She holds a B.A. in government and politics from the University of Maryland and an M.A. in English and creative writing with a concentration in screenwriting from Southern New Hampshire University, and an MFA in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University. Ashley’s work as a ghostwriter has appeared in national and international publications including Yahoo News, China Global Television Network, and The CEO Magazine.
The Grammar Expert
John Early McIntyre has been a professional editor for more than 40 years, more than 33 of them at The Baltimore Sun, where he has headed the copy desk. John earned an undergraduate degree in English from Michigan State University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a master’s degree in English from Syracuse University, where he was a university fellow. John taught editing at Loyola University Maryland for 25 years. A charter member of the ACES: The Society for Editing, he served two terms as its president. John has presented workshops on writing and editing at conferences and publications in the United States and Canada.
The Freelance Expert
Jake Poinier made the leap into freelance writing and editing in 1999 after a decade of positions in the publishing industry, giving him key insights from both sides of the desk. As the founder and owner of Boomvang Creative Group, he has worked with a diverse array of Fortune 500 and small businesses, consumer and trade magazines, and independent authors. Jake is committed to helping freelancers improve their businesses and shares his knowledge and experiences frequently as a speaker at industry conferences, through webinars, and on his blog.
The Tax Expert
Kajli Prince ("Prince") has over 20 years of experience in small business tax preparation; he is a senior tax analyst and small business certified tax professional in the Centreville, Virginia, Block Advisors office. As a self-published author, Prince holds a special appreciation for NAIWE and its members. One of his passions is sharing relevant information with people and showing them how best to use it for their benefit. Prince is a small business owner of 25 years, and his specialties include emerging currencies (e.g., virtual/crypto currencies), information technology, intellectual property, and business administration.
The Public Relations and Book Marketing Expert
Marcia Rosen (aka M. Glenda Rosen) is the author of 10 books including The Senior Sleuths, the Dying To Be Beautiful Mystery Series, and her latest offering (which she wrote with her son Jory Rosen and was a 2021 New Mexico–Arizona Book Awards winner), The Gourmet Gangster: Mysteries and Menus . She is also the author of The Woman’s Business Therapist and award winning My Memoir Workbook. For 25 years, she was owner of a successful national marketing and public relations agency and also facilitated numerous writing programs. She continues to work with aspiring author clients, providing manuscript reviews and advising them on book development and marketing, as well as writing articles, appearing on author blogs, and presenting writing programs on Zoom and in person. She was co-presenter of “About Being an Author” for The National Steinbeck Center. She is a member of Sisters in Crime Albuquerque (2022 vice president), Southwest Writers, Women Writing the West, Central Coast Writers, New Mexico Book Association, Public Safety Writer’s Association, and National Association of Independent Writers and Editors—for which she is also a current board member.
The Self-Publishing Expert
Authorpreneur Brian Schwartz is the creator of the award-winning 50 Interviews series. More than 500 authors have trusted Brian and his team to publish their work. The mission of Brian’s practice is “to bridge the gap between self-publishers and traditional publishing by applying the proven strategies and techniques of successful independent publishers.” To meet this objective, Brian launched AuthorDock in 2016 to provide authors an all-in-one secure portfolio management tool to manage deadlines, extended teams, and critical resources. Brian is also the developer of PubWriter, a click-to-publish publishing platform used by authors to create their own web hubs for publishing, promotion, and sales.
The Novel Writing Expert
Greg Smith is a writing coach, editor, and publisher. He founded the Agile Writer Workshop in 2011 with the mission of finding a method to help beginning writers complete a first draft in 6 months. The Agile Writer Method is based on the writings of experts in mythology, screenwriting, psychology, and project management. His seminars on the Agile Writer Method have informed and delighted thousands of writers, scholars, and university students. Agile Writer authors have written over 50 first draft novels and 10 published novels. Greg is a developmental editor for novelists and memoirists. He also coaches authors through the self-publishing maze. Greg runs the popular Agile Readers Book Club where new writers can get a beta read from a dozen or more readers.
The Networking Expert
Ruth Thaler-Carter has been a full-time freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and desktop publisher for more than 30 years. She has been published locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally in, and does writing, editing and proofreading for, publications, associations, nonprofits, websites, service firms, and businesses. She sold her first freelance articles when she was still in high school. Renowned as a skilled networker, Ruth is active in about a dozen professional associations, serving as a newsletter editor, webmaster, publication author, speaker/presenter, blogger, program host or planner, and chapter leader. In 2006, Ruth launched the Communication Central “Be a Better Freelancer”® annual conference to help aspiring and established freelancers find greater success and connections with colleagues. Ruth is the owner and editor-in-chief of the An American Editor blog and received the Philip M. Stern Award of Washington (DC) Independent Writers for service to freelancers; the Writers and Books Big Pencil Award for teaching adults and contributions to the literary community; EFfie awards for writing, editing, and newsletters; and the APEX award for feature writing. She was also an IABC/DC Communicator of the Year.
The Book Cover Expert
Tamian Wood, winner of numerous print and cover design awards, uses art, photography, typography, and digital collage techniques to create book covers that sell. She works with several publishers and a growing number of indie authors. Tamian’s most famous client to date is Pope Francis, whose Encyclical Letter won first place for cover design. With over 25 years in the design trenches, she is also a partner member in good standing with the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and a co-judge for a monthly cover design contest at Discovering Diamonds Historical Fiction Review site. Tamian has a weekly featured post (Critique Corner) at the Writers of Non-Fiction Facebook group. And she is the director of the LinkedIn group, Authors’ Resource. Tamian holds degrees in computer science and graphic design technology and is a proud member of Phi Theta Kappa National Honour Society.