Paths to Publishing with The Porch

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Paths to Publishing with The Porch


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The path from aspiring writer to published author requires tenacity, intention, and planning. The prestige and support structure offered by traditional publishers continues to be a desirable path for many writers. Yet, with the proliferation of professional, low-cost printing options and the ubiquity of e-books, self-publishing is on the rise and here to stay. No matter which path they choose, authors need to build a team around them. Panelists, including a literary agent, attorney, editor, publicist, and two authors, will help navigate the benefits and challenges as well as the legal and business issues along the path from idea to manuscript to publication. Presented in partnership with The Porch, Nashville’s independent center for writing.

This course has been approved by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education for a maximum of one (1) hour of general credit.


Dan Foutz

Assistant General Counsel, HarperCollins


Jennifer Chesak

Jennifer Chesak runs an indie publishing and editing business, Wandering in the Words Press, to help authors cut through industry red tape, take control of their royalties, and get their books to the masses in a polished and professional manner. Jennifer earned her Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and has had a storied career as a freelance adventure and medical writer for several international publications. She is currently working on a fiction novel set in her native state of North Dakota. Read her work at

Claire Gibson

An Army kid who grew up at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Claire Gibson is a writer and avid reader whose work has been featured in The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor, among many other publications. Her debut novel, Beyond the Point, is forthcoming from Harper Collins' William Morrow Books, April 2, 2019. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband Patrick and their son, Sam. Visit her website at

Margaret Riley King

Margaret Riley King is an agent in the Literary Department at William Morris Endeavor, where she began her career after graduating from Princeton University with a BA in History and a Certificate in Theater and Dance. She represents both literary and commercial fiction, young adult and middle grade, some narrative nonfiction and memoir and lifestyle titles in the areas of food, psychology, health, faith/spirituality, and well-being.

Her recent and upcoming projects include: bestselling author Glennon Doyle’s memoir, Love Warrior, which debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and was selected as an Oprah Book Club pick; Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Chloe Benjamin’s novel, The Immortalists; award-winning civil rights advocate and interfaith leader Valarie Kaur’s debut, Revolutionary Love; Pantsuit Nation edited by Libby Chamberlain; and NYT bestselling author Ann Kidd Taylor’s new novel, The Shark Club. A selection of clients includes Jacqueline Woodson, Nadia Bolz-Weber, the Robertson family of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, Laura Moriarty, Khalida Brohi, Cammie McGovern, NYT bestselling author, and world-renowned yoga instructor Rachel Brathen, Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Minivan and Newbery Award winner Sheila Turnage.

Julie Schoerke

A public relations expert with 30 years experience, Julie Schoerke specializes in developing winning book publicity campaigns for authors and publishers. But it’s her infectious smile, always-positive attitude and die-hard support that welcomes authors into the JKS family. Her hallmark is creative campaigns that fit the lifestyle of the author. She’s been on the forefront of industry trends, being among the first to work with book bloggers, to produce and creatively distribute book trailers, and to secure book sale numbers reporting for indie authors to hit bestseller lists. And, in bucking trends, she reinvented the book tour to be more author-friendly. Julie is frequently interviewed on radio, literary blogs and asked to speak before audiences of all sizes. Most recently invited by The University of Chicago, Sarah Lawrence College, Decatur Book Festival, and James River Writing Conference among others throughout the United States, her advice and ideas for promoting books are endless, current and inventive.

Lily Wilson

Lily Wilson believes that storytelling is a powerful force for good. She has read her work in many of the storytelling shows in the Nashville area and continues to see stories as one of the best ways to open new perspectives, connect humans, and along with humor, help keep us sane. Her first book, “In the Glow of the Lavalamp” was published last year and is available where books are sold. Lily lives and works in Nashville.

Ginny Smith Younce

Ginny Smith Younce is an executive editor at Penguin Press/Penguin Random House. A native of Macon, GA, she lives with her family in Nashville. Ginny is a graduate of Yale and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and she has also worked at Ecco/HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. She has worked with authors including Celeste Ng, Nate Silver, Pamela Druckerman, Jonathan Haidt, Greg Lukianoff, Sherry Turkle, and Andrew Delbanco.

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