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.
Senior 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.
Senior 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!
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.
Production EditorA lover of puns and stories, Nicole is excited to fulfill 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.
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.
Senior 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.
Retail SpecialistA born and bred Marylander, Caitie graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Go Big Dawgs!) with a B.A. in Media and Communications and a minor in Psychology. During her time at UMBC, she became involved with the campus musical theater club where she did everything from singing and dancing to writing and directing. She was even in a student-written and student-led parody musical about a popular Disney TV show. With her position at Mascot, she is excited to help connect people to great books. When she is not working or trying to make a dent in her to-read pile, Caitie can be found binge watching an entire series of a TV show, listening to one of her favorite comedy podcasts, or taking a well-deserved nap.
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)!