Friday, March 30 at 6:00 pm

Self-Publishing: Wave of the Future?

Hosted by Carole Owens, with Hester Velmans, Jana Laiz & Melissa Kennedy.

A Berkshire Festival of Women Writers Event.

A look at self-publishing as it has evolved over the years, from a poor second choice for authors to a canny business decision. In the rapidly changing publishing landscape, the stigma of the vanity press has begun to fade as authors discover the value of bypassing the gatekeepers of the large profit-driven publishing companies and strike out on their own. More and more authors these days are embracing cheap e-book technologies and social networking strategies in order to take their destiny into their own hands and find their niche audience.

Carole Owens is the author of The Berkshire Cottages and seven other published books including Bellefontaine: A Historical Narrative, The Lost Days of Agatha Christie, Who Killed Carrie Knox, The Berkshires: Coach Inns to Cottages, Pittsfield: Gem City in the Gilded Age. Owens has written feature articles for Country Inns,  Ladies Home Journal, The Boston Globe Magazine, New England Travel and Leisure, Berkshire Living and more. She writes a bi-weekly column in The Berkshire Eagle and The Berkshire Record. In 2006, she was named Scholar in Residence at the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and between 2006 and 2008 she mounted three exhibitions on Berkshire history: Pittsfield During the Gilded Age, Fertile Ground: Berkshire Artists and Writers and Rockwell’s Vision of Melville’s World. Owens has been a consultant to or featured on A&E’s America’s Castles and City Confidential, PBS Chronicles, Travel Channel Haunted Hotels, History Channel Wealth and Power NE Cable New England Living and more.


Jana Laiz is the author of the triple Award Winning novel, Weeping Under This Same Moon; Elephants of the Tsunami, written to raise money for tsunami relief; and the co-author of “A Free Woman On God’s Earth,” The True Story of Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, The Slave Who Won Her Freedom. Fascinated by other cultures, Jana studied anthropology and Chinese language at University. She is a teacher, a writer, an editor, a publisher, a photographer, a musician and a dreamer. She is passionate about our beautiful planet and endeavors to make a difference in the world and to work with others who feel the same. Her cautionary faerie tale, The Twelfth Stone, a novel for adults and young adults, is making its debut. Both Weeping Under This Same Moon and “A Free Woman On God’s Earth” have been optioned to be turned into films.


Hester Velmans is a novelist, editor, and translator of French and Dutch literary fiction. Born in The Netherlands, she grew up in Switzerland, earned a BA in English from King’s College London and a Master’s from Queen Mary College London. After years spent working for magazines and an international TV news syndication agency in London and New York, she moved to the country to raise her two children, turning to writing and translating full time. Her translation of Lulu Wang’s The Lily Theater was a NY Times Notable Book of the Year, and she was awarded the Vondel Prize for Translation for her rendition of Renate Dorrestein’s A Heart of Stone. Hester’s first book for children, Isabel of the Whales, was a surprise national bestseller. By the time the sequel, Jessaloup’s Song, came along, the publishing landscape had shifted, and she decided to give self-publishing a try.

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