Tech Forum and ebookcraft 2018: How many more speakers can we pack in?

A new year, a new batch of speakers to announce for Tech Forum and ebookcraft 2018. We're well on our way to lining up the best conferences we can possibly line up for you. 

At Tech Forum, we've got panels on hot topics like women in publishing and audio-first publishing, plus a presentation on Harlequin's video-centric marketing strategy. At ebookcraft, we're announcing a fireside chat with Ellen Ullman, workshops for learning all about InDesign styles and how to implement them, how to test whether your EPUB files are accessible, and best practices for images in ebooks.  

You can see the past 2018 speaker announcements here and here, or see the full list of speakers announced so far on the Tech Forum website. (But stay tuned for more coming soon; we're not finished yet.)

Like what you see? Don't forget that time is running out to take advantage of our early-bird prices. You've got until Jan. 31, 2018 to get the best deal.

Tech Forum 2018 sessions and speakers

Photos of Tech Forum speakers.

Video Ties That Bind: Charting Harlequin's Video-Centric Marketing Strategy

Larissa Walker is a digital marketing professional with over 12 years of experience developing and executing digital marketing programs in the entertainment, publishing, and retail industries.

Larissa has been part of the Digital Capabilities department at Harlequin for the past seven years. She currently leads the Audience Development team, which is responsible for the Harlequin corporate social media, digital content, email marketing, and digital advertising programs.

Before joining Harlequin, Larissa served as Social Media, Team Lead at Canadian Tire where she contributed to the creation of Canadian’s Tire’s first social media strategy and provided leadership and strategic direction for the social media team.

Previous to that, while with Ticketmaster as the Marketing Services Manager, Larissa led a team providing web merchandising, email, and digital content services, and initiated Ticketmaster Canada’s social media program.

Larissa loves '80s music, the Golden Girls, and David Bowie. She lives in Toronto with her partner plus LeVar Burton & Fizzgig (collectively “the cats”).

Panel: Women in Publishing

(see the previously announced panelists at the link)

Saffron Beckwith has been selling books for close to three decades.

In her book bag is a wonderful assortment of Canadian and international publishers, fabulous kids books, and a little thing called Harry Potter.

Saffron works with the awesome Ampersand team that has offices across the country; the Ampersand reps have won the CBA’s Libris awards more than any other publisher or sales agency in the history of the awards.

As an instructor at the Ryerson, Centennial, and Banff publishing programs she has connected with (and learned from) hundreds of amazing students.

She considers hers to be the best job in the world.

Christen Thomas is Executive Director of the Literary Press Group, a national association of 60 Canadian literary publishers, and serves on boards as Chair of the Book and Periodical Council and Secretary of eBOUND Canada. Previously, Christen worked in various roles for eBOUND Canada, Firefly Books, Formac Publishing, and James Lorimer and Company, in digital, marketing, production, and editorial. Christen is a published poet, roller derby skater, cycling advocate, and feminist killjoy.

Panel: The Future Will Not be Silent: Audio-First Publishing

Kathy Doyle is the Vice President of Podcasting for Macmillan Publishers. She is responsible for the Macmillan Podcast Network, which produces popular podcasts in conjunction with the organization's bestselling authors and book imprints. Current podcasts range from from sci-fi and true crime to literature and self-help. She also oversees one of Macmillan's largest digital networks, Quick and Dirty Tips. QDT produces a dozen weekly award-winning podcasts hosted by subject matter experts on a wide range of topics. Podcasts include the long-running Grammar Girl and Savvy Psychologist. The network has a large web presence, too, which features content from the podcast hosts and a large variety of Macmillan authors.

Doyle joined Macmillan in 2012 with 20+ years' experience developing, managing, and marketing digital information and e-learning products and services as well as podcast operations and distribution. She was a member of the original product team that launched The Wall Street Journal Online and has helped develop and launch some of the world's leading digital properties for media companies such as Dow Jones, Network Solutions, SourceMedia, and American Lawyer Media.

Nastaran Bisheban is a passionate, energetic, and seasoned senior leader in Technology and Project Strategy. She’s a Software Engineer at heart, holding a HB.Sc. in Computer Science, and has successfully rounded out her experience by being both a certified Project Manager and holding a MBA in Leadership with Honours and Distinction from University of Liverpool.

Nastaran has held various leadership positions in organizations such as CGI, CIBC, Siemens, BlackBerry, and Canadian Tire Corporation. She’s driven technology delivery and software development efficiency, improving PMO organizations and helping teams reach their potential.

Nastaran is an active member of CanWIT and the ex-Chair of Canadian Women in Technology South Western Ontario, a division of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) that assists women entrepreneurs, mentors young women, and supports initiatives to increase the number of tech jobs for women in technology.

As VP of Global Technology Delivery, Nastaran leads the largest global team in Kobo to deliver a complex web of software solutions on multiple platforms.

Panel: Retailers Bridging the Digital Divide

(see the previously announced panelists at the link)

Martha Sharpe is the owner of Flying Books, a tiny chain of tiny bookshops nestled inside four different businesses in downtown Toronto. She also recently founded the Flying Books School of Reading & Writing, is a consultant for, and is on the editorial board of Brick Magazine. As publisher of House of Anansi Press and editorial director of Simon & Schuster Canada, she acquired and edited the work of many acclaimed and bestselling Canadian and international authors.

State of the Publishing Nation 2018

Noah Genner has an extensive background in independent bookselling, software, and business development. As the leader of BookNet Canada he orchestrates a skilled team of technical, policy-oriented, and client-focused staff to provide new data management services and supply-chain initiatives to the Canadian publishing, library, and book retail sectors.

Before working at BookNet Canada, Noah ran his own technology and software development consulting business, servicing a wide range of clients including book publishers and printers. Prior to that, Noah was Director of Software Development for consumer market research leader Compusense where he oversaw the development of a variety of software services used by numerous Fortune 500 companies worldwide.

Noah serves on the Board of Directors of the Book Industry Study Group, eBOUND Canada, Livres Canada Books, and EDItEUR.

ebookcraft 2018 sessions and speakers

Photos of ebookcraft speakers.

Ellen Ullman in Conversation

Ellen Ullman is the author of The Bug, a New York Times Notable Book and runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the cult classic memoir Close to the Machine, based on her years as a rare female computer programmer in the early years of the personal computer era. She lives in San Francisco.

Oh, the Places ebooks Go: An ebook's journey from creation to circulation

Rose Donohoo has been with OverDrive for eight years. She leads the Content Services Team, which is responsible for working with OverDrive's many publisher partners and maintaining their eBook, audiobook, and video catalogs.

Her first experience with metadata came from nonprofit fundraising. That experience led to a Master of Library and Information Science with a focus on digital libraries, which further fuelled her passion for quality metadata in service of readers.

So You Think You Can Style?

Erica Gamet has been involved in the graphics industry for nearly 30 years. She is a speaker, writer, and trainer, focusing on Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, Apple Keynote and iBooks Author, and other print- and production-related topics. She is a contributor to InDesign Magazine and; has spoken at the InDesign Conference, PePcon, the iBooks Author Conference, and Making Design in Norway; and she offers online tutorials at and through her own YouTube channel. When she isn’t at her computer, she can be found propelling herself around on two wheels in Colorado or the Pacific Northwest.

Is Your EPUB Accessible? Put it to the Test!

Romain Deltour is a software developer for the DAISY Consortium, a non-profit organization committed to enable equal access to information and knowledge regardless of disability.

After having worked at INRIA in the Web Adaptation and Multimedia team, Romain joined the DAISY staff in 2006, where he led the development of automated accessible publishing tools and contributed to IDPF’s EPUB Working Group. He’s also one of the primary maintainers of EpubCheck, the conformance checker for EPUB.

Nowadays, Romain’s focus is extending to automated evaluation of ebooks’ accessibility, as well as the future of Web publications. As an active member of W3C’s Publishing Working Group, Romain firmly believes in the web’s potential to enable a truly inclusive publishing ecosystem.

Matt Garrish has been working in publishing for as long as he can remember, and writing and editing digital publishing standards for over a decade. His addiction to specification writing began with the DAISY Consortium, and soon spread to IDPF and most recently to W3C. He is the general editor of EPUB and the forthcoming Web Publications standard, and takes a special interest in accessibility. Some of his efforts to make publishing more inclusive include contributing to the development of accessibility metadata in, co-authoring the Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA module, and participating in the development of WCAG 2.1. He has also published books on EPUB accessibility and best practices. When not working on standards, Matt is helping the DAISY Consortium develop accessibility conformance testing and reporting tools for EPUB. He’s often hard to find online as the rest of his time is occupied fielding an endless litany questions from his inquisitive young daughter who thinks daddy’s job is sooo boring.

Images in Ebooks

Naomi Kennedy is the Senior Manager for Ebook Development at Penguin Random House. A master at process automation, she is charged with developing tools to improve Penguin Random House's ebook production workflow and helping others with their ebook woes. Previously, she worked for New York University Press after completing a MA in Economics from the University of St. Andrews and a MSc in Publishing from New York University. You can follow her adventures in knitting and cat adoration on Instagram.

We Tear Apart Your Ebooks: How, Why, and What You Can Do to Stop Us

(see the previously announced presenters at the link)

Laura Brady is an ebook developer, the principal of Brady Type, and the editor-in-chief of EPUB Secrets. She consults on workflow, tools, specifications, and production best practices. In her spare time she helps plan ebookcraft and follows the Blue Jays. She also probably tweets too much.