Speakers at the 8th Self-Publishing Conference
Details of professionals from across the industry who have confirmed their attendance as speakers at the conference. New speakers will be added as they are confirmed.
Meryl Halls has been Managing Director of the Booksellers Association since April 2018, and has spent her career promoting and supporting booksellers. Her career at the Booksellers Association began with managing events and conferences, and later she became Head of Membership Services, responsible for establishing programmes and campaigns, including the Independent Booksellers Forum, Independent Bookshop Week, the Books Are My Bag campaign, the Children’s and Christian Bookselling Groups, Irish and Scottish initiatives and other BA events. She is Vice Chair of the Independent Retailers Confederation, Policy Board Member of the British Retail Consortium, Executive Committee member of the European & International Booksellers Federation and a Trustee of World Book Day.
Sophie Hannah is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling writer of crime fiction, published in 49 languages and 51 countries. Her books have sold millions of copies worldwide. In 2014, with the blessing of Agatha Christie’s family and estate, Sophie published a new Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which was a bestseller in more than fifteen countries. She has since published two more nationally and internationally bestselling Poirot novels, Closed Casket and The Mystery of Three Quarters. In 2013, Sophie’s novel The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. She has also published two short story collections and five collections of poetry – the fifth of which, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A Level and degree level across the UK.
Bali Rai has written over forty novels about teenagers and children. Born in Leicester, his writing is inspired by his working-class, multicultural background. A leading voice in UK teen fiction, Bali is a passionate advocate of libraries, reading for pleasure and promoting literacy. He has nearly twenty years of experience in working with young people across the UK and further afield and is extremely popular with schools. He has been nominated for and won numerous awards since 2001. Bali has worked closely with The Reading Agency, Booktrust, The National Literacy Trust, Empathy Lab UK and many other organisations, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by De Montfort University in 2014. He also featured on BBC1’s Rebel Writers show and is an ambassador/patron for several high-profile literacy and arts projects. He is a Costa Book Award judge for 2019 and is currently working on two new titles. His latest book is Now or Never – A Dunkirk Story.
Kate Nash runs the Kate Nash Literary Agency, based near Northampton. She has seen every side of publishing and set up her own literary agency so she could do ‘the best job in publishing’. Kate’s reading tastes – from romance to thrillers – are highly commercial. Kate enjoys travel, wine, the theatre and fine art. She is also a trustee of the Catholic Truth Society (CTS), a 150-year-old charity who are the UK publishers to the Holy See.
Clive Herbert is Head of Professional Services at Nielsen, the organisation that coordinates bibliographic data services for the book industry in the UK. He works with publishers to support them in supplying quality, comprehensive data to Nielsen, and advises on data supply arrangements and bibliographic standards.
Paul A Mendelson is a BAFTA-nominated screenwriter, playwright and author. An ex-lawyer and adman, he created and wrote the long-running comedy series May to December, So Haunt Me and My Hero for BBC, created Neighbors From Hell for DreamWorks Animation and the acclaimed Martin Clunes drama Losing It. He has written several original plays and dramatisations for BBC Radio 4. Paul’s first book In the Matter of Isabel (‘a wonderfully funny comic novel’ The Independent), published by The Book Guild, and his movie script were bought by Hollywood within a week of publication. He has since written two more novels, a collection of shorter fiction and two bizarre children’s books, Losing Arthur and The Funnies,both published by The Book Guild.
Cressida Downing has worked in publishing and bookselling for over 20 years. As a freelance editorial consultant, she works for literary agents, publishers and directly for authors. She would buy books rather than clothes or food or make-up, and lives in East Anglia with two children, two cats, and one husband.
Stuart Evers has worked in the book trade for 23 years, first as a bookseller, then as an editor, book reviewer, marketer, and now as Assistant Director UK of NetGalley – the world’s leading pre-publication publicity platform. He is the author of the prize-winning Ten Stories About Smoking, If This is Home and Your Father Sends His Love. His new novel, The Blind Light, will be published by Picador in June 2020.
Sarah Taylor is an account director at Berkeley Communications, the UK’s number-one tech PR agency outside London. She applies her passion for storytelling in all areas of public relations, working with a variety of B2B and B2C clients on a daily basis. With over eight years’ experience in journalism, publicity and marketing, as well as content creation, crisis comms and social media, Sarah works daily to get her clients featured in trade and national media. She also participates and speaks regularly at industry events.
Aidan Morrisey Aidan Morrissey is a lawyer by profession, he left UK Private Practice in 1990 to take up an in-house position with an Italian Company in Milan. Since then Aidan has worked in many countries and has lived, at various times, in Italy, Germany, Brazil, the United States and India, becoming fluent in five languages along the way. He has been a frequent visitor to Egypt and his first novel, The Awakening Aten, twelve years in research and another three in the writing, was published in paperback and ebook by Matador in 2019. Aidan is a member of the Historical Novel Society and organiser of their 2020 conference to be held in Durham in September.
Jeremy Thompson is the founder and MD of Troubador Publishing Ltd, with over 30 years experience in commercial and self-publishing. He founded the Matador self-publishing imprint in 1999, launched the Self-Publishing Conference in 2013, acquired The Book Guild Ltd for Troubador in 2015 and launched the Indie-Go.co.uk website providing production, editorial and marketing services to indie authors. Jeremy regularly speaks at conferences on self-publishing, including the London Book Fair, Self-Publishing Conference, the Winchester Writers Conference and the Westminster Media Forum.
Joe Shillito graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in History. While at university, he also worked as a duty editor for OurWarwickshire, an online self-publishing heritage resource. At Troubador he now specialises in typesetting and page design, leading the Production Department in staying on trend and ensuring that design and skill levels are high. In his spare time he enjoys reading and writing, as well as playing trombone with a number of local groups.
Jack Wedgbury obtained a first class degree in Creative Writing and English Literature. He was awarded the Creative Writing Portfolio Prize for his final year project and continues to write in his spare time. Jack is currently the Senior Designer at Troubador, with responsibility for overseeing the creation of cover designs and ensuring that the design team is up to date with design trends in the industry.
Sophie Morgan has a degree in English Literature with Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, and before joining Troubador she balanced a job in retail with her career as a published romance writer (under a pen name). Sophie is a Marketing Controller at Troubador, working on trade and media marketing across a range of fiction and non-fiction titles.
Andrea Johnson worked at WH Smith for eight years, running various departments including Children’s Books and the Kobo Ereader department. She joined Troubador’s Digital Services Department in 2017, where she works on the production of ebooks, audiobooks and the company’s podcast.
Megan Lockwood-Jones has worked at Troubador since 2013, and now leads the Digital Services Department. She advises authors at events such as the London Book Fair, the Self-Publishing Conference and at Matador’s Experience Days. Megan coordinates the publishing and marketing of ebooks and audiobooks, and works on the company’s podcast.
Philippa Iliffe graduated from De Montfort University, Leicester with a first-class degree in Arts Management. She worked in arts marketing at De Montfort University before joining Troubador as the Marketing Controller for The Book Guild Ltd. In her spare time she enjoys performing in musicals and sings in her family band.
Rosie Lowe is Assistant Production Manager at Troubador Publishing, working with self-publishing authors to bring their manuscript to the market. She undertakes both text and cover design work herself, coordinates production work on up to 10 new titles published each month, and is responsible for arranging overseas print ‘on demand’ distribution on new titles.
Chelsea Taylor is Production Manager at Troubador Publishing, overseeing the book production process from typesetting and layout through front and rear cover design, guiding authors from manuscript to print. She heads a team of eight staff responsible for the production of over 600 new titles a year, and is herself a very experienced book cover designer.
Alexa Davies is the Assistant Marketing Manager at Troubador Publishing, responsible for marketing a range of titles across non-fiction, fiction and children’s titles to the retail trade and media. Alexa is also in charge of the company’s social media accounts, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, ensuring that the various channels’ content reaches the widest possible audience for authors’ books.
Stephanie Carr works in ebook marketing at Troubador Publishing. She is responsible for marketing ebooks to e-retailers and wholesalers, marketing to the media, organising online ebook advertising and coordinating submission to e-retailers for promotions. She also co-hosts the Matador quarterly podcast.
Joshua Howey graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2017 with a degree in Media Production. He spent the following years working in the film and sports journalism industry before joining Troubador. Josh specialises I working with text, taking a manuscript from raw text through design, typesetting and layout to being print ready. Outside work, Josh enjoys frequent trips to the cinema and a game of football at the weekend
Andy Vosper is the Sales Director at TJ International, a book manufacturer producing titles for a diverse range of publishers in the UK and internationally. He has over 30 years’ experience in book production and has been working with publishers across academic and trade markets, establishing long-term relationships in quality book manufacturing.
Cathy Grindrod is a Derbyshire writer of memoir, poetry and plays. She has published five collections of poetry, including Laureate Lines, poems written during her tenure as Derbyshire Poet Laureate. Her plays Swing, Always in the Afternoon and Cuckoos have been performed in the East Midlands – the latter produced by New Perspectives. In collaboration with composer James Redwood, she also wrote the libretto for More Glass Than Wall, shortlisted for a BBC Radio 4 Composer of the Year Award. Cathy is an experienced facilitator, mentor and writer coach, and was awarded an Honorary MLitt by Derby University in 2014 for her work enhancing wellbeing through writing across Derbyshire communities. She is currently running the Arts Council funded project Mind the Gap, for women writing important and challenging life stories, and also directs The Writer Highway, a programme of support for writers of all levels of experience.
John Sailing has worked at the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain for the last two and a half years where he provides specialist advice to members on a variety of copyright and contract issues. He is also a passionate campaigner and runs the Guild’s campaigning activity, focusing on protecting writers rights and promoting equality.
The speakers at the conference are all experienced professionals with specialist skills across the self-publishing industry. They can offer a wealth of information spanning decades and will provide information and advice covering:
- Book Production (Typesetting, Cover Design)
- Marketing (Books and Ebooks)
- Analysis on trends within self-publishing
- Insight into specialist publishing fields
- Workshops on specific topics