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 started a “fake” 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.
Seven 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.
Co-Founder & Best-Selling Author of Kingston Court
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/writing coach whose authors have gone on to become USA Today and New York Times best-sellers. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 .
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.
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 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 started working Cyber Security in 2008 but has been working in IT doing tech support since 2001. He has been 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, fishing, hiking, biking, and technology. Julian is supporting all of Acorn's Information Technology needs as our IT Consultant.
Lacey Impellizeri-Papenhausen is a seasoned event coordinator and the Best-Selling author of “Your Words Count: A Writing and Editing Planner to Help You Finish Your Book”. She is also certified in Content Marketing, Project Management, and Graphic Design.
When she’s not writing or coordinating Acorn Publishing events, you can find Lacey devouring a true-crime novel, re-creating her Italian Grandfather’s famous recipes, or enjoying cake for breakfast.
Lacey lives in San Diego with her fiancé, James, and their adorable dog, Sophie.
Lindsey is a young, experienced content editor with a fresh perspective and a passion for helping writers on their journey to becoming published authors. A lifelong lover of stories from all walks of life, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, the College of William & Mary graduate with a degree in Government and Creative Writing, has a strong desire to expand the scope and diversity of published works. Lindsey believes that stories from all perspectives need to be heard, and that voices which often are silenced should be uplifted. Through her editing, she aims not only to preserve the author's unique voice, but to help tell their story in the most impactful way possible. She has edited such bestsellers as The Walls of Orion by T.D. Fox, A Light to Kill By by Mikel J. Wilson, and Home Sweet Home by Robert M. Kerns. When she's not busy ensuring manuscripts shine, Lindsey loves spending time with her dogs, keeping up with the newest movies, and drinking coffee with friends.
Public Relations Representative & 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.
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.
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.
Kayla is a graphic design major in her senior year at the Savannah College of Art & Design. She's earning her minor in Advertising and Branding. 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 plans to work in the publishing industry designing book covers. When she's not reading or working on graphic design projects, she enjoys photography, riding her horse Milo, and buying too many houseplants for her apartment.
Social Media Coordinator
Sydney is a student from Irvine, California who loves to study English and contemporary literature. From an early age, she became enamored with stories and developed an affinity for writing. After years of developing her narrative voice, she recently finished her first novel Souls in the Wall, a collection of short stories. As the founder and Editor-in-Chief of her school’s literary magazine, Crossroads, Sydney is committed to supporting other writers and helping them achieve their full potential. When she’s not writing or reading, you can usually find her playing lacrosse or soccer, chasing a local news story for her school paper, walking her cat Hermione, or watching her favorite TV shows (The West Wing and Gilmore Girls).