The Disrupt Mentors
The panelists and presenters at Publishing Disrupt are selected based upon their subject matter expertise.
They all share the same goal – to help you improve your book publishing knowledge and make you more successful!
Jim Azevedo is the marketing director at Smashwords, the largest distributor of self-published ebooks, serving over 135,000 independent authors, publishers, and literary agents. Since 2008, Smashwords has helped authors around the world release nearly 500,00 titles and distribute their work globally to top ebook retailers, subscription services and public libraries. Follow Smashwords on Twitter @Smashwords or Jim @jazzervedo.
Sandra Beckwith is an author and national award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to save thousands of dollars by doing their own publicity, promotion, and marketing. You might have seen her on “The Montel Williams Show,” or “CBS This Morning,” or read about her in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or USA Today. Feedspot has ranked her website, Build Book Buzz, as # 7 among thousands of book marketing blogs; it has also been named a top website for authors and writers four other times. Learn more at buildbookbuzz.com.
Kristi Coulter holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she was the Stephen Farrar Fellow and a Hopwood Award winner. She is a former Ragdale Foundation resident and recipient of a grant from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Her new book, Nothing Good Can Come from This: Essays (MCD x FSG Originals), will be available in August. Her work has appeared in the Awl, Vox, Quartz, Marie Claire, the Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
Diane Gedymin is the President and Founder of the The Publisher's Desk, which provides premium author coaching, executive editing, consulting, and book packaging. She is also the publisher of Grant’s Town Press, an independent publisher in Nassau, The Bahamas, where she edited and published Sir Orville Turnquest’s recent best seller What Manner of Man Is This? The Duke of Windsor’s Years in The Bahamas. Gedymin was formerly Sr. Vice President and Publishing Director of HarperSanFrancisco. Before Harper, Diane was with Putnam Berkley Group, as Vice President-Senior Editor and Vice President-Subsidiary Rights. She is the author of Get Published: Professionally, Affordably, Fast. She divides her time between the metro New York City area and The Bahamas
Hobie Hobart, his partner Kathi Dunn, and their team at Dunn+Associates Strategic Design and Branding, create success tools for authors, speakers and experts to help them build their brands and business empires, including bestselling book covers, speaker kits, and information product packaging. Hobie is co-author of Cover That Book: Insider Secrets for Writing and Designing a Bestselling Book Cover and 10 Simple Steps to Creating a Speaker Kit that Books Your Schedule Solid.
Brian Jud is an author, book-marketing consultant, speaker, seminar leader, television host, and president of Premium Book Company that sells books to non-bookstore buyers on a non-returnable, commission basis. Brian is also the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales. Brian is the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Without Worrying About Returns). This is the ultimate do-it-yourself guide to selling your books to non-bookstore buyers in large quantities, with no returns. He also wrote Beyond the Bookstore (a Publishers Weekly® book), a primer on non-bookstore marketing. He is a prolific writer of articles about book publishing and marketing and the contributing editor to the monthly newsletters, Book Marketing Matters, The Sales Informer, The Authority, and Bound to Sell.
Phil Knight is General Manager of Color House Graphics, a full service book manufacturer serving publishers with offset and digital printing and complete binding options. Phil was previously Vice President of Sales and Marketing for BookCrafters, which was one of the industry leaders in short-run book printing. With decades of experience in book printing, Phil knows how the needs of the independent publisher. Phil is from Chelsea, Michigan.
Randy is the Executive Director of the Center for Book Publishing which provides unbiased, expert advice to authors and independent publishers. With over 30 years of experience in the book publishing industry, Randy’s unique background of traditional publishing, book printing, book data and distribution, and on-line media, combined with his broad finance and operations experience, provides him with unparalleled insight into today’s publishing industry. Randy's career in the book industry started CFO at BookCrafters, where he formed Scarborough House Publishing out of the assets of Stein & Day Publishers. He was VP of Operations at All Media Guide, and COO of Muze, and founded PublishNext, which he sold in 2014 before founding the Center.
Josef Marc is the CEO and a co-founder of Publica.com, blockchain for publishing. Josef’s first career was in music and that’s when he first learned how publishing and self-publishing work. He and a partner wrote, recorded, printed, sold and shipped their own music on vinyl records until the manager of The Police, a superstar group, signed them to a publishing deal for his company. Josef has lead teams at DirecTV, Verizon FIOS TV, Archimedia Technology (acquired by GrayMeta), Front Porch Digital (acquired by Oracle), and at Sony.
Josef is a constant reader. He studied in the pre-law curriculum at the University of San Diego.
Josie Parker is the Director of the Ann Arbor District Library. She grew up in Mississippi and earned a BA in English from Auburn University. Josie then went on to earn her Masters in Information and Library Studies from the University of Michigan in 1996. She has worked as a public librarian in three systems in Michigan and has served as Director at Ann Arbor District Library for the past eight years. Josie has served on the boards of the Michigan Library Consortium, the Michigan Library Association, and the Public Library Association. In May of 2010, she was named an Honorary Affiliate of AIA Michigan. Josie strongly believes that librarians must pay deliberate attention to our built environments, and that our obligation to do so is as important to future generations as our efforts to ensure equitable access to information.
Carl Pritzkat is vice president of business development for PWxyz, the company that owns Publishers Weekly and BookLife. Pritzkat oversees all new business, digital strategy and product development for PWxyz and serves as president of BookLife, PWxyz's site dedicated to indie authors. Prior to PWxyz, Pritzkat co-founded interactive media company Mediapolis, inc., where he oversaw projects for The New York Times, Viacom, NPR, Sony, Johnson & Johnson, Volvo and others. He also ran ECM Records for Bertelsmann. He has a degree in music from UCLA.
Victoria is the founder and publisher of Foreword Magazine, Inc., director of Children's Books USA and managing partner in Champagne World Rights Agency. Throughout her career, which includes publishing both consumer and trade magazines, she has concentrated on building communities through an advocacy/service approach. In addition to holding various board positions in the trade, she is a "graduate" of NYU, Stanford and Yale Publishing courses. She also founded Traverse City Reads, a community reading program in northern Michigan that has evolved into the National Writer's Series.
Kate Tilton is the founder of Kate Tilton’s Author Services, LLC, where she has been serving authors since 2010. Kate helps authors of all stripes, from New York Times and USA Today bestsellers and award winners to pre-publication authors, upscale their businesses and connect with readers. Kate has shared her industry knowledge by contributing to The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide (2016) and has appeared in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, RT Book Reviews, Kobo Writing Life and The Book Designer. She has also presented at Book Expo America’s Blogger Con and other venues. Kate serves as the production coordinator for YATL, an Atlanta-based live talk show centered around YA authors & books. A cat-lover and fan of many geeky things, Kate can likely be found curled up with tea and a good book, plotting world takeover, or connecting authors and readers in any way she can. You can find Kate on katetilton.com.
Patti Thorn is co-founder of BlueInk Review, a company that reviews independently published books exclusively. Prior to this, she was a 28-year veteran writer and editor at the Rocky Mountain News. She served the last 12 years of her tenure as chief book critic and editor of the book review pages. The section earned acclaim for its incisive and timely reviews, as well as for Thorn’s weekly column about books and the publishing industry. Thorn is the three-time recipient of first place awards for Arts and Entertainment Criticism from the Colorado Society of Professional Journalists. In addition, she is the co-author of Fun Places to Go with Children in Colorado, published by Chronicle Books. The book has sold over 20,000 copies. She has also served as an independent editor for both fiction and nonfiction. Thorn is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Brad Wilson is an educator who turned his passion for student literacy into a company, Write About. He empowers young authors to share their writing to a safe peer audience through the iPad apps and web platform he created. Brad has been an Apple Distinguished Educator and Technology-Using Educator of the Year (MACUL). Brad is founder and CEO of Write About and 21 Innovate, LLC.