Our people make the difference.
Mascot’s staff is experienced in the various disciplines that converge in the world of publishing. From industry strategists, to marketing gurus, to creative types, to grammar nerds, to bean counters, we have the right people in the right positions to help authors navigate the nuances of the publishing marketplace.
We Love Books
While Team Mascot is composed of individuals offering unique backgrounds and skill sets, there’s attributes that we all share: We’re passionate about books. It’s this appreciation for the written word that provides important context and perspective to our work and enables us to offer knowledgeable direction to our family of authors.
Publisher, CEO, AuthorNaren Aryal is the co-founder and publisher of Mascot Books and Amplify Publishing. After starting his career as a Washington lawyer, Naren launched Mascot Books in 2003 with the publication of his first book. As an author himself (How to Sell a Crapload of Books: 10 Secrets of a Killer Author Marketing Platform), Naren appreciates the opportunities and challenges facing storytellers. As a publisher, he’s well-versed in the market factors that determine a project’s ultimate level of success. Naren’s more than fifteen years of publishing experience have made him an expert in the editorial, production, distribution, and marketing arenas. He’s passionate about staying up-to-date on industry technology and trends and is a respected commentator on anything publishing-related.
Director, AcquisitionsKate spends her days doing her dream job: reading manuscripts and getting to know authors. She loves helping authors find their niche in the publishing world so that they can see their words come to life in print. In her free time, you can find Kate cheering on the Virginia Tech Hokies—her alma mater. Outside of football season, she’s known to spend her days floating the James River or disappearing into the nearest trailhead for an early morning hike.
Acquisitions EditorBen enjoys helping aspiring authors achieve their dream of publishing their books and enjoys working with so many different projects and genres. He received his B.A. in Communications with a Concentration in Media Production & Criticism from George Mason University. He greatly enjoys film, television, and books, especially ones that make him chuckle. He is excited to join the Mascot team and show off his ping pong skills in the office!
Acquisitions EditorWorking with books is Jess’s dream job. Ever since she was little, she knew her passion in life was to help authors publish their stories. When she was a creative writing student at University of North Carolina Wilmington, she experienced the writing lifestyle and adored working with her classmates to achieve their publishing dreams. Graduating with her B.F.A. and publishing certificate allowed her to pursue her goal of helping authors put their stories in front of readers. She loves spending her days reading manuscripts, chatting with authors about their work, and exploring the wonderful northern Virginia area.
Acquisitions EditorEmily is a reformed academic who joins Mascot after an initial career in higher education. As an educator, she loved helping students improve their writing and develop their storytelling skills, and she is thrilled to be working with authors pursuing their dreams of publication. Emily loves spending her days discovering new manuscripts, talking to authors, and helping them bring their stories to life.
VP, Author ServicesKristin’s role at Mascot is to make sure everything runs smoothly. She manages the creative hustle of both the production and marketing departments, overseeing a wide variety of titles across multiple genres. The limit does not exist for this fearless leader, as she also works with authors throughout the production process to bring their book ideas to life. A loyal reader of both fiction and non-fiction, she enjoys working on novels, memoirs, and everything in between. Kristin graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) with a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Psychology. In her free time, you can find her taking Buzzfeed quizzes, rewatching her favorite TV shows, and searching for nearby concerts to attend. She can always be relied upon for a sarcastic zinger mid-conversation.
Director, ProductionAs a word-loving, detail-oriented, coffee-addicted reader and writer, Nina found her home as a senior production editor at Mascot Books. Prior to moving to the Washington, D.C., area, she worked in editorial at a New York publishing house. Her favorite part about her job is helping authors see their book dreams realized, from the very beginning conceptual stages to the final printing, and everything in between. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh (Hail to Pitt!) with a B.A. in Writing and a B.A. in Communications, and attended New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute before beginning her career in publishing. A reader of all things and a writer of some, Nina’s favorite books include The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace and Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. When she’s not lost in a book, you can find her doing yoga in her living room or cooking in her kitchen. Nina lives in the D.C. area with her husband and her incredibly vocal, smart, snuggly miniature pinscher, Teddy.
Senior Production EditorDaniel fell in love with books at an early age and never looked back. As a senior production editor, he is thrilled to help authors take their ideas and transform them into completed books. He loves helping all the parts—editing, illustration, design, and production—come together into something magnificent! Daniel graduated from Messiah College with a B.A. in English, with a Writing Concentration. He likes all kinds of stories, but his favorites to read—and write—are science fiction and fantasy. His debut middle-grade fantasy novel, The Zanna Function, was released in 2018 from Jolly Fish Press. When he’s not working on his own fiction projects, he teaches swing dancing and hunts for cheesy movies to add to his collection.
Production EditorA lifelong learner and compulsive reader, Rachel spent much of her time over the years in bookstores. Her experiences reading and working in these hallowed places taught her to understand the publishing field from all angles. As a production editor at Mascot, Rachel taps into her creativity and passion for storytelling in order to become her authors’ fairy godmother. At the end of the day, Rachel loves nothing more than to see stories come to life in print. When she’s not working, Rachel devours non-fiction works ranging from theoretical physics to the developing sociopolitical landscape, although she’s also been known to indulge in sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian novels. Her library of books is matched only by her television and movie collection. Rachel attended Virginia Commonwealth University, earning dual degrees, graduating with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Psychology, as well as earning minors in British Studies and Religious Studies.
Production EditorA lover of puns and of stories, Nicole is excited to fulfil her lifelong dream of bringing books to life. This Oreo and pun fanatic enjoys dabbling in poetry and scriptwriting in her free time but loves that her role as a production editor with Mascot allows her to work in all kinds of genres. Nicole graduated from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi with a B.F.A. in Creative Writing and a B.A. in English and cherishes the uniqueness the Deep South has to offer. When she’s not composing her next pun, she is either traveling the world with her husband in search of the best coffee nook or checking off her movie watch list.
Production EditorLauren has been working and playing with the written word since she was only a few years old (her first short story was about the final thoughts of a melting ice cream cone). A love of the art and substance of the English language has been at the core of her personal and professional ambitions for decades. Since her early forays into the realm of writing, she has worked on all sides of the process: by furiously researching, analyzing, and copy editing, Lauren helps writers create polished, original books. She believes in the power of communication to get things done, and throws herself into every project to make sure it is better than when she began it. Lauren has a B.A. in English from The College of William and Mary, and is currently pursuing her M.A. at George Mason University. Before joining the Mascot family, Lauren was the Press Coordinator at NextStop Theatre Company, and brought to life myriad academic texts for university professors in her capacity as a research assistant. She loves exploring the American South, particularly its rural landscapes, small towns, and used bookstores. Sometimes, she dreams in cartoons.
Creative DirectorWorking with Mascot since 2004, Danny routinely awes authors (and Naren!) with his many talents. His contributions include award-winning illustrations, snappy print and web design, eye-catching covers, eBook conversion, web games, and app development. Danny is proud of his alma mater, Auburn University, where he graduated with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and Illustration. War Eagle! And if you look carefully, you can see Danny in every book he illustrates as he always includes a caricature of himself. It’s a perk of the job.
Director, Graphic DesignerPowered by copious amounts of coffee and epic film scores, Ricky approaches book design with strategic thought and fervor. He can always be found researching industry trends and applying that knowledge to the visual identity of his next project. When depicting each author’s visual ideas for their book, he strives to improve upon them and think outside the box. Ricky received his B.A. in Graphic Design from West Virginia Wesleyan College. When he’s not designing books, Ricky likes to work on monograms for baseball hats and hand-lettered drawings. His favorite part of the job is working on children’s books that he can take home and read to his daughter. Ricky keeps up-to-date with the graphic design world by studying design theory and consistently listening to podcast interviews with his favorite designers. He is always looking to implement new keyboard shortcuts and automated computer functions to speed up his workflow.
Graphic DesignerJasmine considers herself a jack of all trades when it comes to creativity. Her pursuits include book cover and interior designs, digital painting, videos, and three-dimensional modeling. She also dabbles in fiction writing and is Mascot’s resident printer whisperer and solver of minor computer problems. In her free time, she fights hordes of evil in her Dungeons and Dragons group, reads Korean web comics, and binges TV shows full of swords, magic, and political intrigue. Jasmine earned a B.A. in New Media Design from Queens University of Charlotte, North Carolina. She moved to the D.C. area to study Game Design at George Mason University but soon found herself at Mascot Books!
Graphic DesignerFrom a very young age, Morgan knew she wanted to pursue a career in the arts. She grew up finding beauty in hidden ways and now loves unearthing the potential in authors’ visual ideas. She earned a B.F.A. in Graphic Design from James Madison University. During her time there, she was fortunate enough to experience the art and culture of Austria and Poland, which she uses as a well of inspiration in her work today. Morgan is now happy and at home working for Mascot Books, creating exciting content and expanding her skillset every day. You might even see some of her original drawings featured in Mascot’s various books. She enjoys making the recipes from the many cookbooks she works on, and sometimes her dog, Tuck, sneaks a taste when she’s not looking.
Graphic DesignerMatthew is an innovative graphic designer and digital painter, best known for his abstract covers and work in Photoshop. He graduated from the Art Institute of Washington with a B.A. in Graphic Design and began toying with personal design projects, which included laying out his neighbor’s book. He soon found he had a knack for it and went on a quest to find a job where he could put his talents to work. Thus, he joined Team Mascot! Now he creates unique designs catered to each individual book he comes across. Legends say he has many names: Matt, Matthew, Matty G, McFly, PBG, and Gonsalves. Matthew is also known for his preposterously high standards for food and critical analysis of French Fries, which are his favorite food.
VP, MarketingErin came to Mascot after almost 10 years of building one of the most distinctive brands in craft beer. Her career began, though, with a book. Right out of college, she ghostwrote a book on online engagement on behalf of the two partners of a digital marketing agency. While she wrote, she facilitated agent and publisher negotiations and knew that one day she would return to the publishing world. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a B.A. in English and journalism, and was the executive editor of The Review, UD’s student newspaper. When she’s not going down the rabbit hole of a randomly-fantastic memoir or true crime podcast, she’s chasing her crazy young son around downtown Leesburg, Virginia with her patient husband and even-more-patient dog.
Marketing ManagerChris has a passion for promotion and loves helping creators make their visions viable. He has gained extensive marketing experience through promoting and managing his band The Duskwhales over the past ten years. He graduated from George Mason University with a B.A. in English and a Creative Writing concentration. When he’s not working, Chris is probably carrying a large amplifier up a flight of stairs or watching a Caps game.
Marketing ManagerAnna-Marie is a book and coffee lover originally from Richmond, Virginia. She graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a B.A. in English and creative writing. After college, she completed the Columbia Publishing Course and spent a year in New York City, where she became even more hopelessly in love with books and coffee. Anna-Marie and her equally bookish twin sister run a bookstagram account. When she’s not reading, Anna-Marie can be found either baking something chocolatey or hiking with her fiancé.
Marketing ManagerBridget is a lover of all things media, and is excited to have found her home here at Mascot. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2018 with a B.A. in Media Studies and Spanish. When she is not working, she can be found going to concerts with her boyfriend, dancing, and playing with her two adorable kittens, Jessie and Joni.
Director, Bookkeeping and AdministrationDebbie has been with Mascot for almost ten years, and during that time has set up the policies and procedures that have helped the company stay organized during a time of incredible growth. Authors love Debbie as she’s responsible for generating the author sales reports and royalty checks every month. In true bean counter fashion, Debbie gets really excited about spreadsheets (especially those containing nifty formulas)!