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Acorn Publishing

HOW IT ALL STARTED

Acorn Publishing grew out of co-founders Jessica Therrien and Holly Kammier’s frustrating experiences with the book business.

 

Holly Kammier, a former journalist with a background in publicity, became disillusioned early on in her quest for publication when a traditional publisher expressed interest in her memoir but only if she changed it.

 

Meanwhile, Jessica Therrien had seen great success with Oppression, the first book in her young adult series, Children of the Gods. But when her publisher mislabeled the second book as a romance novel instead of young adult fantasy, fans couldn’t find it, and sales suffered. So the best friends pooled their hard-won wisdom and created an imprint to publish their own books. Kammier’s son suggested the name Acorn Publishing, and the women loved the concept "from the tiny acorn grows the mighty oak."

 

The company’s name proved fortuitous. Acorn Publishing’s first releases were Kammier’s juicy 2015 novel Kingston Court and all three of Therrien’s Children of the Gods novels. Their books did extremely well. Kingston Court hit the Barnes and Noble top 50 list for all fiction. Therrien’s series hit number 3 on the Barnes & Noble teen bestseller list, just behind The Hunger Games.

 

They realized, if they could create this kind of success for themselves, they might be able to do the same for others. To test the waters, they took on a couple more authors. Alyssa Petersel’s award-winning memoir, Somehow I Am Different was named Indie Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, and the Fourth Element series from prolific fantasy writer, Kat Ross, did extraordinarily well.

 

Therrien and Kammier were on to something.

 

As the publishing industry changed and authors' prospects of getting published by the “Big 5” diminished, traditional publishing became less appealing to many authors who wanted more control and faster publication. Since authors tend to value time and space to write more than they care to take on cumbersome functions like ebook conversion, cover and interior design, content and line editing, book distribution, and other aspects of publishing, Therrien and Kammier decided to take advantage of the increasing gap between the world of traditional publishing and the wild frontier of self-publishing.

 

The women's mission was manifold. They wanted to tackle the tedious, complex, and time-consuming tasks and allow writers the freedom to focus on their passions—writing and creating. They wanted to turn promising rough draft manuscripts into professionally published hardcovers, paperbacks, and ebooks available for consumer purchase from the world’s largest retail book outlets. And they wanted to build a collective of books they felt honored to place next to their own manuscripts.

 

Eight years later, with more than one hundred outstanding books under their imprint and a passionate, accomplished staff of industry experts, Acorn Publishing is an author's dream come true.

Holly Kammier
HOLLY KAMMIER
Co-Founder & Acquiring Editor

Visit Holly's Author Website: www.hkammier.com

Holly is the bestselling author of Kingston Court, Choosing Hope, and Lost Girl, A Shelby Day Novel. She is also an accomplished content editor whose authors have gone on to become USA Today and New York Times best-sellers. On faculty with the prestigious Santa Barbara Writers Conference, Holly frequently leads workshops at writers’ festivals and conferences. The former journalist and weather anchor has a professional resume which includes Channel 9 news in Los Angeles and CNN in Washington, D.C.

A UCLA honor grad and mother to teenagers, Holly lives in her hometown of San Diego, close to family and friends. She is an avid reader with a passion for timeless books and gorgeous writing. 

Jessica Therrien
JESSICA THERRIEN
Co-Founder & Best-selling author of Children of the Gods

Visit Jessica's Author Website: www.jessicatherrienbooks.com

Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Her trilogy has been translated and sold through major publishers around the world, such as Editions AdA (Canada), EditionsMilan (France), Dunwich Edizioni (Italy), and SharpPoint Press (China). Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica is also the author of Carry Me Home, a contemporary YA novel, and a kid’s picture book called, The Loneliest Whale. Her award-winning stories can also be found in a published anthology of flash fiction. After growing up in the tiny town of Chilcoot, CA, population 108, Jessica currently lives in Irvine, CA with her husband and three young children.

Laua Taylor
LAURA TAYLOR
Senior Consulting Editor & Ghost Writer

Veteran Consulting Editor and Author LAURA TAYLOR is a permanent faculty member of the Southern California Writers' Conference, a member of International Thriller Writers and the Authors Guild, and one of the original 25 Founding Members and served on the Board of Directors of Novelists, Inc. Her 20 years of editorial expertise extends across all fiction genres, non-fiction, academic texts, memoirs, and screenplays. The recipient of more than a dozen national writing awards and endorsements of her writing by creative luminaries Pat Conroy and WEB Griffin, she also holds a B.S. Degree in Criminal Justice from California State University at Long Beach.  

Leslie Ferguson
LESLIE FERGUSON
Director of Quality Control, Publishing Coordinator, & Editor

Leslie Ferguson is the author of When I Was Her Daughter, an award-winning memoir about how grit, hope, and luck lead a lonely, lost girl to the place she was always meant to be. An International Memoir Writers Association board member, Leslie enjoys her regular involvement with the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild, So Say We All, and Poets Underground. Leslie holds an MA in English Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University and is currently working on her second book, a novel about one woman's quest for intimacy, truth, and love. After two decades of teaching, this Southern California native has settled in San Diego, California, where she is passionate about helping other writers achieve their dreams. She also loves good whiskey and lives happily with one husband and two cats.  

Jessica Hammett
JESSICA HAMMETT
Senior Publishing Coordinator & Ghost Writer

With a background in theater and film, storytelling is always at the forefront of Jessica’s heart and mind. While living in Los Angeles, pursuing a career in screenwriting, Jessica became passionate about creating a healthy community for women living in the city. She wanted women to not only gain leadership skills and confidence to go after the life they want, but have a strong support system to help them get there. Thus was born “She is Heard”, a movement to help every woman in the world know her story matters. 

 

Recently, Jessica completed her Master’s in Peace and Justice at The University of San Diego, where she focused on how narratives and creativity can impact resiliency for women peacebuilders. Highlights from her program included being selected as a representative at the 2018 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, creating an arts-based component to the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice’s Women Peacemakers Program, and meeting with multiple social enterprises focused on peacebuilding in Bogota, Colombia. 

 

Jessica is currently working on a couple of her own books, and co-editing a friend’s incredible memoir. When she’s not writing or dreaming up ways to pour into the community, she loves walking by the San Diego Bay in her neighborhood, playing tennis, and drinking wine with her incredible husband, Kris, in their old, charming apartment. 

Molly Lewis
MOLLY LEWIS
Consulting Editor

Molly is a Postdoctoral Fellow in English at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She has a PhD in English from Baylor, a master's degree from the University of Edinburgh, and a bachelor's in literature and writing from Wheaton College. She has worked in communications for two non-profits in southern California and managed an independent publishing firm. When she's not editing, she's baking, reading intelligent books, and watching less-than-intelligent TV . 

 
Debbie Kennedy
DEBRA CRANFIELD KENNEDY
Copy Editor & Interior Book Designer

Debbie, with an extraordinary eye for detail and design, has been formatting book interiors for the last decade, and performing high-quality proofreading, typesetting, page layout, prepress, and merging for the past forty years. Her passion blossomed early. A lifelong voracious reader, Debbie became fascinated with the symbols and lines on all kinds of printed pieces even before she learned letters. She got in trouble several times as a child for “writing” spiral characters all over her bedroom wall and in her parents’ books.  The almost-native Californian lives in San Diego with her author husband, David Kennedy and, when she’s not making books more beautiful, she enjoys hiking, gardening, and creating jewelry.

Dorene Uhrich
DORENE UHRICH
Illustrator & Illustration Mentor

Dorene Uhrich has been an artist her whole life. She began her career as a children's book illustrator with Acorn Publishing and has taken on several projects for Acorn authors including, The Loneliest Whale, Sammy's Flame, and Jen's Hens Make New Friends.

In addition to illustrating books for authors, Dorene mentors those who have the talent to illustrate their own work but need guidance with software, layout, and other technical aspects of the process.


Dorene lives in the woods with her husband and son where they chase their dogs and admire the view. She can often be found planting seeds, sewing, and cuddling in front of the fire.

kat ross
KAT ROSS
Consulting Editor

Kat is the bestselling author of more than twenty novels across multiple genres. She won the 2022 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal for her Nightmarked series and loves exploring new worlds on the page. Before turning full-time to fiction, Kat spent fifteen years as a features editor and holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. Her first book, a dystopian YA thriller, was sold to a traditional imprint through an agent, but like Holly and Jessica, she ultimately grew frustrated with the glacial pace of the publishing industry, as well as the lack of control authors have over covers, marketing, etc. In 2016, she connected with Acorn to release her fantasy trilogy, The Fourth Element. It was a great success and she never looked back!

Kat adores working with both new and established authors who want to hone their craft. Her goal is to ensure that your words flow smoothly and your story keeps readers turning the pages late into the night. When she’s not writing, editing, or playing around with fantasy map-making, Kat enjoys desperately needed non-butt-in-chair-time by practicing yoga and hiking. She lives in Connecticut with her teenage son.

Julian Smith
JULIAN SMITH
IT Consultant

Julian began specializing in cyber security in 2008 but has been working in IT doing since 2001. CISSP certified, he has served as a security operations analyst for multiple financial institutions, a Fortune 500 medical supplier, and Sempra Energy, a North American energy infrastructure company. He is a Microsoft Certified Professional, Certified Novell Administrator, as well as Comptia A+ and Comptia N+ certified. He loves spending time with his family and enjoys fishing, surfing, hiking, and biking. Julian is supporting all of Acorn's Information Technology needs as our IT Consultant.

Evelyn Lawhorn
EVELYN LAWHORN
Publishing Coordinator

Before she graduated from the College of William and Mary, Evelyn worked as a communications intern in Washington, DC for a civic engagement and education non-profit, sparking her initial interest in writing and editing. She has since worked as a Contributor and Programming Advisor for Baltimore Cocktail Week where she was tasked with drafting and editing all published materials, and in 2019 received her first writing credit in a local magazine. She hopes to become a ghostwriter as well as a biographical author in her own right. A semi-pro baker, lover of non-fiction, and crossword puzzle enthusiast, Evelyn lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her dog Blanche, named for the eponymous Golden Girl.

Joshua Youmans
JOSHUA YOUMANS
Author Assistant & Website Designer

Tech wizard and experienced website designer, Joshua is a psychology major studying to become a licensed therapist. He plans to specialize in working with children on the spectrum. In his spare time Josh enjoys reading, drawing, and playing video games.

NICO SEIDITA
NICO SEIDITA 
Publishing Coordinator

Raised on Percy Jackson and Goosebumps, Nico has always found the magical world of fiction enticing. After studying the craft of storytelling within the performing arts, he now plans to turn his passion for literature into a long-term career. The New York native lives in sunny Los Angeles, where he is pursuing an MFA in popular fiction writing and publishing at Emerson College. While he appreciates all kinds of stories, horror has his heart, and he’s a spirited advocate for more diverse representation in the genre. When he isn’t reading, you can typically find him watching scary movies, dancing to pop music, or strategizing how to win every  board game he plays. 

 
 
Kayla Toris
KAYLA TORIS
Graphic Designer

Kayla is a graphic designer who has earned her BFA from the Savannah College of Art & Design. The New Jersey native has been an avid reader since middle school, and by the time she reached high school, she had made it her goal to read one hundred books a year. All these years later, she's still going strong. Kayla's favorite genres are fantasy, YA, romance, and historical fiction. Thanks to her passion for all things books, she decided to work in the publishing industry designing book covers, promotional materials for authors, and interior formatting. When she's not reading or working on graphic design projects, she enjoys photography, riding her horse Milo, and exploring with her Great Dane puppy.

Danielle Fischer
DANIELLE FISCHER
Interior Book Designer

Danielle Fischer is a USA Today and International Bestselling author with two Iowa awards. In 2017, she started writing her first book on a tablet and published as an indie author three months later. These days she has written and published 77 books in multiple genres, with a deep love for creating worlds and characters that can never exist. When she's chained to her desk, she enjoys mentoring young authors, writing for charity, and making book pages stunning as a creative outlet. After the work day is done, Danielle indulges in her baseball obsession, reads, hikes, and creates new recipes from scratch. She and her family of four live in Iowa. 

Marci Clark
Marci Clark
Consulting Editor

Marci Clark, a seasoned editor with over two decades of industry experience, resides in the Midwest with her husband and a herd of rescue pets. Her academic background includes a Master of Science in Publishing, a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, and another in Public Relations.

Beyond her editorial role, Marci is a versatile author, captivating readers across genres under various pen names. Marci's devotion to animal rescue, her creative endeavors, and her culinary explorations add a touch of sparkle to her introverted life. 

 
 
Anna Williams
ANNA WILLIAMS
Author Assistant

Growing up in a rural Arkansas town, Anna always had had an interest in the unknown and whimsical. Eventually becoming fascinated with Shakespearean literature and performance arts, Anna decided very early on to pursue a career supporting the arts. Shortly after receiving an associate degree in general arts, Anna moved to San Diego to pursue a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass media with hopes to work in the publishing industry. In her free time, Anna enjoys reading high fantasy novels and manga, as well as being an avid table-top gaming fan. 

Lily Anderson
LILY ANDERSON
Intern

Lily is a communications major minoring in political science and psychology at the University of San Diego. While growing up in rainy Washington, she took an early love to reading. It wasn’t long until Lily developed her own mini library in her room, and she still cannot be caught without a book on hand. As she continued her education, Lily realized her best bet was to combine her favorite thing—reading—and her strongest subject—writing—and enter the publishing industry. As an intern with Acorn Publishing LLC, Lily is excited to gain experience in the field and continue learning about the wonderful world of books. Lily also enjoys listening to music, running by the water, and exploring sunny San Diego.

AMANDA ARIGANELLO-ARAUJO
AMANDA ARIGANELLO-ARAUJO 
Intern

A flight attendant and an aspiring marketing expert, Amanda earned her graduate certificate in film and multiplatform storytelling from Humber College in Ontario, Canada. Her love of reading took off with the release of the Harry Potter series, when she speed read the books to finish them before her friends. What Amanda enjoys most about reading is that books transport her to places and times she otherwise wouldn’t get to experience. As an intern at Acorn Publishing, Amanda is focused on learning more about the publishing industry. When she's not nose-deep in a new story, you can find her about 30,000 feet in the air, bouldering, or soaking up the sun with friends.

Daisy Flores
DAISY FLORES
Intern

As a child, Daisy avoided reading at all costs. But when she hit junior high, down the rabbit hole of reading she went. On many nights, she found herself immersed in a good book only to look at the clock and realize she would have to survive the day on three hours of sleep. English was her favorite and easiest school subject, so it seemed logical for her to get a degree in it. Upon entering college, and many (many) hours of research later, Daisy realized what she could do with her favorite subject and love for books: work in the publishing industry. She graduated from CSUF with a degree in English after obtaining three associate degrees from her local community college. Daisy enjoys reading most genres, but her favorites are romance (dark romance to a certain extent) and fantasy. When she isn’t reading or spending her time as a bookseller for Barnes & Noble, she’s ten episodes deep into her new favorite K-drama or catching up on recent manga chapters.  

 
Zala Jambrovic Hatic
ZALA JAMBROVIC HATIC (she/her)
Intern

Zala is a Slovenian writer and editor with a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Edinburgh. She is the chief editor of The Selkie, a literary magazine that champions and supports traditionally underrepresented writers. Her short stories have appeared in Hillfire Anthology, From Arthur’s Seat, and others. After living in France, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, she has settled in sunny San Diego, California. A full-time bookworm, she enjoys discovering new fictional worlds and creating her own. 

 
 
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