A Special Thank You to CWIP’s 2019–2020 Speakers

By Bernadette Fortuna on Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Due to COVID-19, this year’s CWIP Annual Spring Reception was unfortunately canceled. The event has always been a wonderful gathering to honor the work of our volunteers as well as a time to mingle with old friends and meet new members. The pandemic, however, did not stop CWIP from proceeding with events! After starting the year with in-person events, we forged ahead by making the remainder of our events webinars.  

As we close out the 2019–2020 programming year, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our speakers. Each speaker generously shared their expertise with us and the publishing community and inspired us to move forward in our individual publishing journey. With heartfelt gratitude and the intention to celebrate each of our speakers, board members, and mentors at a later date, CWIP thanks the following speakers:

Carol Fisher Saller (www.carolsaller.com) — Carol’s talk From Yourself to the Shelf took writers on the journey from submission to a printed or digital product in preparation to deliver a work to readers. The event helped writers and aspiring editors understand the copyediting and proofreading processes. Writers also learned how to work well with editors. Not only was Carol the voice of the Chicago Manual of Style’s online Q&A; she served as chief copywriter for the 16th edition and consultant on the 17th and now writes for Fiction+ on the CMOS blog. She is a leading voice on style, a creative writer, and young adult novelist, and was a long-time manuscript editor at the University of Chicago press.

Janet Burroway and Rosellen Brown (http://janetburroway.com/ & https://rosellenbrown.com/) — Janet and Rosellen, two acclaimed authors, compared and discussed their personal experiences with researching how to write literary fiction in historical settings during their talk, The Art of Creative Research in Writing Historical Fiction. Rosellen covered her latest book, The Lake on Fire, which is set in Chicago at the time of the Columbian Exposition. Janet talked about her just-finished novel (working title Ambient Light) which follows the life of a WWII orphan from the age of 11 to 70. Janet also spoke about her panoramic western Cutting Stone, set in the Arizona desert in the 1910s.

Sara Connell (www.saraconnell.com) — Sara is a master coach helping writers, editors, and entrepreneurs find success in their chosen field. Her talk, Design Your Dream Career and Make it Happen, covered four key points of breakthroughs to make your dream career a reality. Sara has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, the View, FOX Chicago, NPR, and Kate Couric. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Tri-Quarterly, Good Housekeeping, Schlock, IO Literary Journal, Psycobabble, and The Bangelore Review. Her first book, Bringing In Finn, was nominated for ELLE magazine 2012 Book of the Year.

Helena Swyter (https://www.sweetercpa.com/) — Helena discussd tax basics, personal finance, and financial planning during her talk, Taxes and Bookkeeping for Writers and Freelancers. The event was beneficial for writers and freelancers by giving them a space to ask questions about complicated financial topics. Helena helps her clients in the United States and abroad build their businesses from conception to incorporation and growth. Clients rely on her expertise to understand tax procedures and build their businesses.

Anne-Marie Concepcion (https://senecadesign.com/) — Anne-Marie, a noted ebook and publishing workflow expert, demonstrated current solutions and best practices in getting your book online in her talk, Jump In! Ebook Publishing in 2020. She presented information about main ebook formats such as EPUB, Kindle, HTML5, and Multi-Touch books. There was plenty of discussion about free commercial ebook design, production, and editing tools including InDesign, Sigil, Calibre, Kindle Create, iBooks Author, and Pages. If you felt more comfortable having a provider produce and distribute your manuscript, she discussed Draft2Digital, Ingram CoreSource, and Blurb. Anne-Marie gave us an informative webinar!

Pat Helmers (www.salesbabble.com) — Pat shared his podcasting expertise in his talk, Publishing and Podcasting: How to Start a Podcast and Grow Your Audience. Pat shared the different types of podcasts and why podcasting is relevant for marketing a business. If you had no idea where to begin, Pat explained the technology including the equipment, hardware, and audio recording software. Pat hosts his award-winning podcast Sales Babble (selling secrets for non-sellers) and is the author of the Selling With Confidence sales system. As founder of Habanero Media (www.habaneromedia.net), Pat teaches companies how to grow their business through the magic of podcasting—a medium which has gained greater relevance in the current social distancing environment.

April Eberhardt (www.aprileberhardt.com) — April gave us solid information about what types of manuscripts agents are looking for and how to become an agent in her talk, Literary Agent Discussion: Advice and Answers. She explored securing an agent, what the Big 5 publishers look for, the different forms of publishing and the role agents play in that, and how to become an agent. Lots of great questions drove the discussion to other publishing topics as well. April is the founder of April Eberhardt Literary.

Nancy Hall (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/wild-indigo-counseling-chicago-il/228957) — Nancy’s timely Mental Health Awareness Discussion sought to help us adapt to this “new normal” of this quarantine and self-isolation. CWIP was pleased to have Nancy moderate this important discussion during Mental Health Awareness Month. Nancy spent 15 years as a senior editor at McGraw-Hill prior to earning a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northeastern Illinois University. She is the owner of Wild Indigo Counseling and a staff counselor at The Awakening Center in Chicago.

This past event year presented some phenomenal speakers. The 2020–2021 programming schedule is sure to be just as exciting! If you have ideas for future events, please feel free to reach out to Nikkia Hurlbert, CWIP’s Event and Programming Director, at nikkiahurlbert@gmail.com

Have a relaxing summer. Stay safe and stay creative!


Bernadette Fortuna is a budding freelance copyeditor. She recently completed the Editing certificate program from the University of Chicago Graham School. She was an accountant for several decades and chose to turn a layoff into an opportunity to tap into her creative side.  Bernadette also holds a master’s degree from Catholic Theological Union in Hyde Park.

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