The 2016 Master Class conference committee and programming team is thrilled to share our preliminary lineup of speakers.

As is traditional with the NINC conference, we’ll be adding to this list in the weeks and months to come, but this will give you an idea of the direction we’re going with this year’s event.

Fauzia Burke

Fauzia Burke is founder and president of FSB Associates, a digital marketing firm that specializes in books, both fiction and non-fiction. They have long been known as innovators in the field of digital book marketing, responsible for the very first web-based book publicity campaigns, from Sue Grafton’s first author website to the online marketing for The South Beach Diet.

She comes to us with high recommendations from our media partner, Porter Anderson, and our own Lou Aronica. Her website alone is chock-full of information regarding every aspect of presenting your work to the public with maximum impact. A great way to get to know her is through her blog,

One of her articles about online marketing mistakes that authors make will appear in the May edition of Nink.

Mark Dawson

Independent thriller author Mark Dawson has become an expert in using Facebook ads and mailing lists to boost his sales onto the bestseller lists.

He teaches super-popular and effective classes on the topic and has become a much sought-after speaker. He has concrete strategies for boosting an author’s visibility and we are lucky to get him all the way from the UK.

Read a great interview with him through Reedsy, one of last year’s corporate sponsors.

Jennifer Barnes

Author and professor Jennifer Barnes has a Ph.D. in psychology and currently works at the University of Oklahoma, where she is one of the world’s foremost experts on the cognitive science of fiction and the psychology of book fandom.

She has published over a dozen young adult novels, and her first book came out while Barnes was still an undergrad at Yale. In February, Nink ran her article on “The Science of Fiction,” exploring how intense moments in the plot of a story affect reader satisfaction.

You can get to know her better through her Tedx Talk.

Richard Marek

Richard Marek is an institution in the traditional publishing world, responsible for editing household names including Robert Ludlum, Thomas Harris, and more.

He has now successfully transitioned to independent editing and ghostwriting for bestsellers such as James Patterson. His history with taking books to the next level spans nearly fifty years.

To get to know Marek, check out this interview with him at

F. Robert Stein

F. Robert Stein of the law firm Pryor Cashman is a friend to NINC who has been at our conference before and we are thrilled to have him again.

His bio on the firm’s website says it best: “On behalf of authors, literary agents, and book publishers, Bob resolves disputes, negotiates settlements, drafts contracts, and prepares collaboration and publication agreements. He has represented authors Johanna Lindsey and David Baldacci in copyright infringement cases. Bob also reviews book manuscripts prior to publication for libel, copyright, and other potential issues.”

He has insight into not only the book world, but into Hollywood as he has been legal counsel for a host of documentary films, including several Oscar nominees.

David Vandgriff

Best known for his popular publishing blog, The Passive Voice, Vandgriff is a contracts attorney who has specialized in intellectual property litigation.

He has a wide range of knowledge concerning legal matters related to the publishing and technology industries, as well as the latest scoop on legal issues and current events in the publishing world. If you aren’t already a frequent visitor to his blog, you should check it out.

Ed Masessa

Ed Masessa is senior manager of product development at Scholastic Book Fairs. His specific responsibilities include the selection of books in the fantasy, adventure, sports, and graphic novel categories, chosen from more than 100 publishers.

Masessa is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and attends several reading, library, and graphic novel conventions every year.

Because of the nature of his job, he has direct exposure to the reading habits of children at the grassroots level. He is also the author of several books including The Wandmaker’s Guidebook, a New York Times #1 Bestseller, and The Time Traveler’s Journal.

Bios, photos, and further information will be posted on the website and new speaker announcements will first be posted to NINClink.

The conference committee has heard a few rumors that people are concerned we will not be as focused on business this year. This is not true: as you can see, we already have top talent coming to speak on business, marketing, and legal issues.

Your conference committee understands NINC’s business focus, but we are also responding to members who have, for some time, asked for us to bring back discussions on craft, albeit at a higher level than you’ll get anywhere else.

That’s what NINC does best. We are working hard to present a balanced and comprehensive conference that will appeal to as many of our members as possible.

People have also asked about special programming for author assistants. We are in the very beginning stages of planning and we have an assistant-led programming committee organizing now.

The programming will consist of at least six workshops or panels (two each day) and at least two Night Owls for assistants only. Notice that I said at least. We are trying to strike a balance between offering programming specifically for assistants and giving assistants the option of attending main conference workshops that might apply to their jobs.

Assistant registration will be capped at 50 because of space limitations. So if you are thinking of registering your assistant, now is the time. 

Julie Leto is the immediate past president of NINC, current Conference Chair, and a Florida native. She graduated with degrees in speech communication and English (creative writing) from the University of South Florida and has published nearly fifty novels.

Posted by Heidi Tretheway

Filed as: Conferences, Industry Guests, NINC News