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South Carolina Writers Association invites you to explore indie authorhood from finished manuscript through sales and marketing. In one day, we’ll walk the journey of an independent or self-published author. We invite you to join us and hear from these awesome faculty:

Joe Hall, Editor

Fern Brady, Inklings Publishing

Liliane Milgrom, Author

Karen Upson, Girl Friday Productions

Alexa Bigwarfe, Write|Publish|Sell

Mariah Sinclair, Book Designer

Marcus Amaker, Poet Laureate, Charleston, SC

Elizabeth Ducie, Author

Tara Alemany, Emerald Lake Books

Pam Sheppard, Editor & Book Marketer

Dawn Michelle Hardy, The Literary Lobbyist

Indie Author One-Day Virtual Camp Faculty

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Tara R. Alemany

Tara R. Alemany is a multi-award-winning author, speaker, business consultant and publisher as well as a serial entrepreneur. Although she’s started many businesses during her career, her favorite by far is Emerald Lake Books, which she co-owns with her best friend, Mark Gerber. This hybrid publishing company specializes in working with positive people who have an engaging, exciting or entertaining message to share with the world. Alemany’s latest book, Publish with Purpose (April 2019), reveals the unique process developed by Emerald Lake Books to help their authors set and attain their own goals. To learn more about her inspirational works, visit

Marcus Amaker by Diana Deaver, Black male with green foliage in background

Marcus Amaker

Marcus Amaker (he/him) takes daily naps, and is the first poet laureate for Charleston, South Carolina. He 's also an opera librettist, an electronic musician and an award-winning graphic designer. He's an Academy of American Poets fellow, and his poetry has been recognized by NPR, The Washington Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Garden & Gun, The Kennedy Center and more. His tenth book is Hold What Makes You Whole, from Free Verse Press. His original opera with composer Gillian Rae Perry, The Weight of Light, will premiere at the Chicago Opera Theater in 2024. His 40th album, a machine & its threads, will be released in 2024 by an electronic music label based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Alexa Bigwarfe

Alexa Bigwarfe is a USA Today best-selling author, publisher and founder and CEO of Write|Publish|Sell. Bigwarfe owns three hybrid publishing houses, Kat Biggie Press, Chrysalis Press and Purple Butterfly Press, a children's book publishing company. She enjoys working with authors in all capacities. Her courses and training focus on author professional development, platform growth, and fun, creative ways to market books.

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Fern Brady

Fern Brady is the founder and CEO of Inklings Publishing. She began her professional life as a foreign correspondent and taught for 15 years in Alief ISD. She has published numerous short stories, two children's picture books and a couple of poems. Her debut novel, United Viddenwhich is book one in her Thyrein’s Galactic Wall Series, was given a glowing review by Dr. Who Online, the official site of the fandom. Love’s Call, which is book one of The Dragon and His Kitten, was released in 2023. She also has a graphic novel collaboration, Mr. Landen’s Library, with the amazingly talented Rosa Maria Garza. She has returned to the leadership of the Houston Writers Guild, with whom she served as CEO for four years previously, and is a full-time teacher again for Cy-Fair ISD.

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Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie has run her own small business since the 1990s and has an MA in Creative Writing and an MBA. She writes her Author Business Foundations books so writers can spend less time on their business systems and more on their writing. She presents regularly at the Women in Publishing Summit, Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and literary festivals in the southwest of England, where she currently lives. Since 2011, she has published more than 20 titles under her own imprint, Chudleigh Phoenix Publications, and coaches new indies through the process of getting their books "out there."

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Joseph Hall

Joseph Hall is a freelance developmental editor of speculative fiction and select non-fiction. He works closely with individual authors, literary agents, publishers, the Algonkian Author Salon and the Writer’s Digest Second Draft program to refine manuscripts and provide structural feedback in line with mainstream industry standards. For more information, check out his website at As a writer, Hall is currently working with his agent to publish his debut novel, STEELHOUND, an adult fantasy heist story. His work takes great inspiration from his two favorite authors, V.E. Schwab and Brandon Sanderson, and in his spare time he also enjoys designing tabletop roleplaying games. 

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Dawn Michelle Hardy

Dawn Michelle Hardy is a creative strategist who understands that promoting authors is rooted in discoverability, granting access and taking an entrepreneurial approach. Her body of work with fiction, nonfiction, children’s book authors and poets earned Hardy the moniker “The Literary Lobbyist” from Ebony magazine. Hardy is a frequent podcast guest and conference presenter who teaches platform building, proposal writing and the best practices for securing a traditional book deal. She has served as a member of the NAACP Image Award Literary Committee, has been profiled in Forbes and has been interviewed by Esquire, Poets & Writers, Black Enterprise and Access and Opportunity with Carla Harris on various topics concerning the book industry.

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Liliane Milgrom

Liliane Milgrom is an author and professional artist. Her debut historical novel, L’Origine, has won seven awards, including the 2021 Publishers Weekly Selfies Book Award and the Indie Reader Discovery Award for Best Adult Fiction. L’Origine traces the riveting odyssey of a painting so scandalous it was kept hidden for a century and a half, surviving revolution, war and human greed. Born in Paris, Milgrom grew up in Australia, lived in Israel and now resides in the U.S. She adheres to the credo that one should write books that one would want to read.

White woman with dark background

Pam Sheppard

Pam Sheppard is a publishing consultant, metadata specialist and developmental editor with over 25 years in sales and marketing with Big Five publishers, including Simon & Schuster, Random House and Crown Publishers. She has discussed plot with the best editors in the business, helped create proprietary book products, and sold to savvy book buyers across 10 states. Sheppard spent nine more years selling for over 40 mid-sized and small publishers as a commissioned representative. All of this overlapped with 20 years of editing, consulting and teaching new and experienced writers for their independent and traditional publishing projects.

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Mariah Sinclair

With 30 years as a graphic designer, Mariah Sinclair excels as a book cover artist, designing over 1,500 captivating covers, including many bestsellers. With a passion for supporting authors, Sinclair specializes in designing book covers for self-publishing authors, helping them create impactful visuals that capture the essence of their stories. She also volunteers as an art docent, inspiring young minds with art history. Having lived in diverse locales such as San Francisco, southern California, Arizona and Texas, she now resides in New Orleans, infusing her work with a vibrant blend of artistic influences.

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Karen Upson

Karen McNally Upson has been with GFP for eight years, joining Girl Friday Productions after working with the team from the client side. She came to Girl Friday Productions from Amazon with five years’ experience working for Amazon Publishing and its retail hardlines division and with more than 10 years’ experience prior to that managing and driving cross-departmental projects with large revenue and customer-facing impact. Upson is passionate about helping authors achieve their goals and ensuring an excellent client experience. Her areas of expertise include end-to-end book production, complex book design and illustration management as well as all stripes of print management.  

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