Southwest Florida Reading Festival

The Southwest Florida Reading Festival is a free annual event celebrating the power of reading for over 20 years in the Fort Myers community. The festival features bestselling authors and a variety of activities for all ages.Mar 01, 2021 – Mar 13, 2021 (virtual)
Fort Myers, FL 33901

The 2021 SWFL Reading Festival will offer a new, completely online opportunity for local authors to showcase their work in our Virtual Vendor Marketplace. The online festival will feature virtual components throughout March 2021, with the heart of the digital programming and author presentations taking place from March 1 – 13. The event website will have a soft launch the week of February 22 to familiarize vendors/attendees with the new, online platform.

Registration Information:
2021 SWFL Reading Festival Virtual Vendor Marketplace

Speakers (new)

Welcome our Speakers

The November GCWA will be a ZOOM meeting.
Instructions to follow.

Register early. The meeting will only accomodate 100 people. There will be no charge for our first Zoom meeting. In the future, non-members will be charged.

April O


April’s website:

November 2020

Speaker: April O’Leary
Topic: What Publishing Path is Perfect for You?

Decades ago aspiring authors had only two options secure a traditional publishing deal, or if you couldn’t get one, publish your work yourself for a small fortune. Fortunately, writers have many more publishing paths available to traverse today that include various levels of difficulty. In this presentation, April O’Leary, founder of O’Leary Publishing, will discuss the pros and cons of each path including the amount of time and technology skills required for the author, the upfront cost, the opportunities for distribution and ownership of your work. You’ll walk away with a clear trail guide to help you publish your book with success. See you at the top!

About April
April O’Leary is the founder of O’Leary Publishing, a hybrid book publishing company that serves independent authors who want a book to grow their brand, share a message or build a community. She is the author of six books and the host of the I’m Booked podcast. For more information you can visit and download The Influencer’s Path to Successful Publishing free today.

Meeting: November 21, 2020, 10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon

Past Speakers

October 2020 — ZOOM meeting

 Rebeca Seitz


Rebeca’s company website:

Speaker: Rebeca Seitz
Topic:  New opportunity for your writing — Podcasts

Get your questions answered and learn about a new opportunity for your writing! Throughout her 16-year career, Rebeca’s abiding passion has been helping writers find an audience for their works. This interest led her forays into book publishing as well as film and television development. In 2019, at the behest of friend Micheal Flaherty (Walden Media), Seitz began exploring the podcast industry in depth. In 2020, she released her newly-formed company’s first scripted podcast production, MAKING THE CUT (, based on the memoirs of Dr. Michael Meguid. The show – featuring 99 characters voiced by over 60 actors from studios across the world – quickly climbed into the top 30% of podcast shows worldwide. Rebeca had hit on a new way for her writers to get their stories to the public: the scripted, spoken word. Now, she’s bringing that knowledge to you. According to, 50% of all U.S. homes are podcast fans…and the number is growing. Over 100 million people in this country listen to podcasts monthly. Studios and publishing houses alike have developed divisions specifically to acquire rights to podcast shows. Bottom line: if you aren’t considering a podcast show for your words, you could very well be missing out. Rebeca will share information about the podcast industry and the process of converting the written word into a scripted series. Drawing from her long history in multiple parts of the entertainment business, she’ll also answer your questions about publishing, film, and television paths for getting your work out there.

About Rebeca 

Meeting: October 17, 2020, 10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
Location: Zoom meeting
Register here

Jill Clark


Jill’s blog:

September 2020

Speaker: Jill Clark
Topic: How to Velcro Your Writing and Make It Stick

Jill will provide tips on how to find markets that fit your writing style and genre, how to use social media to your advantage, and creative ways to market your work once it is published.

Jill Clark freelances prose and poetry. Among others, her writing has appeared in Lerner Publications, Pocket Change Literary Magazine, Hedge Apple Literary Magazine, Ariel Chart Literary Review, The Nature Conservancy, and The Henry David Thoreau Institute. She hosts workshops, lesson plans, and activities for children in libraries and schools around Florida-based on characters, themes, or literary techniques generated from her recent publication Loose Balloons.

Please blog Jill at if you would like her to host an event or presentation, purchase her book at a reduced rate, or if you would like the author and illustrator to personalize the book.

To preview a portion of the book from Amazon select:

Loose Balloons Children’s Poetry Book Jill Clark

Meeting: September 19, 2020, 10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
Location[map] Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library
4820 Leonard Street
Cape Coral, Florida 33904

Bob Geneva Christie

Bob McCarthy, Geneva Kelly, Christie Zarria


August 2020

Publicity and Public Relations:
 Geneva Kelly, GCWA Communications Officer
Geneva will talk about Public Relations, including current efforts to promote GCWA and enlisting support from members. More about Geneva.

Speakers Bureau for Members: Bob McCarthy, GCWA Programs Officer
Bob will discuss creating an online Speakers bureau for members who want speaking gigs. More about Bob.

Zoom Meetings: Christie Zarria, GCWA Special Projects Officer
Christie will give an overview of the Zoom app, which allows virtual online meetings and can be used when physical meetings can’t be held. Zoom can be used for GCWA meetings, critique meeting, and we may also be able to use Zoom to attract speakers from outside the area, thus increasing the speaker pool. More about Christie.

Readings of winning GCWA contest entries.


The Military Museum was a great venue for us in July and the meeting was a success. They are letting us meet there until the end of the year.

Meeting: August 15, 2020, 10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
Location[map] Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library
4820 Leonard Street
Cape Coral, Florida 33904


Geneva Kelly

July 2020


Speaker: Geneva Kelly
Workshop: Writing from prompts

The Military Museum was a great venue for us and the meeting was a success. We had some delightful stories written on the spot from prompts given by Geneva.

Meeting: July 18, 2020, 10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
Location[map] Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library
4820 Leonard Street
Cape Coral, Florida 33904


March, April, and May 2020 Meetings CANCELLED


Ronnie Walter

Visit her website at:

February 2020

Speaker: Ronnie Walter
Topic: 5 Secrets to Make Your Self-Published Book Stand Out in a Sea of Professionals

The difference between a typical DIY self-published book cover and an eye-catching, genre appropriate sales-generator by a professional designer can be the difference between sleepy sales and exciting daily results.

That’s because people DO judge a book by it’s cover.

Author and designer Ronnie Walter will share with you how to identify the visual language of your genre, how your cover can help potential readers discover your book, and also will walk you through the “Crimes of Bad Covers.”

Whether you choose to design your own cover or hire a designer, the more you know about what works (and how to say it), the more your cover will represent the amazing writing on the inside!

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to position your book for success!

Ronnie Walter, artist, writer and business coach for creatives, knows her way around publishing. She is both a self-published author and also has books with several traditional publishers. She is the author of License to Draw—How to Monetize Your Art through Licensing and More, Gruesome Greetings—A Georgie Hardtman Mystery, several gift books, numerous journals and has illustrated and published over 20 coloring books for adults. Her newest book, Gratitude with Attitude—How Journaling Thankfulness for Five Minutes a Day can Change your Life was released in October 2019, and Start here, Start Now, Start Anywhere—A Fill-In Journal to Discover Your Best Year yet! is scheduled for release in April, 2020.

Ronnie lives in Cape Coral with her husband, writer Jim Marcotte and the best shelter dog ever, Larry. She can be reached through her website at

Bob McCarthy & Judy Loose

January 2020

Speakers: Bob McCarthy and Judy Loose
Topic: The 3 Ps of Self-Publishing — PreparationPublishing, and Promotion

Bob and Judy will give a presentation on self-publishing covering subjects and suggestions on preparationpublishing, and promotion of your book.

Bob is a professional writer and editor with experience in both freelance and in-house writing. His articles have appeared in regional, national, and international magazines. He writes web content, video scripts, training manuals, social media content, and collateral material. More about Bob at

Judy worked as an IT professional installing corporate computer systems and managing IT departments for thirty years. For the last twenty-plus years she has owned her own company, Loose Links. She designs and maintains websites, edits and formats books, and creates book covers. She has self-published two novels, The Janus Code and Mangrove Madness. More about Judy at and

Handouts from Bob and Judy’s presentation on Self-Publishing