Friday, December 16, 2016

Why Should an Indie Go to a Writing Conference?

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

I think it is no secret that the highlight of any conference is hearing an agent or editor say “Send it to me. I’d like to read more.” It’s that first step towards success that so many writers for so many generations have waited for.

But not indies! We write, edit, and hit publish with no middle men. What would the point of conference be? 

Reasons Why

1. We can start with the first action of an indie: we write. And what conferences offer to writers is training. Classes from experts that push you and challenge you. I would have never ended up with the naked fight seen in my unpublished WIP if it hadn’t been for a James Rubart class on high concept! Now, I did cut the scene out, but writing it and pushing my idea to the limit and beyond was a great experience for me. One I might not have tested without someone explaining how, why, and when to keep pushing the idea. Conferences offer writing classes from beginner to career professional, so no matter your experience you can learn.

2. Moving on to the second action: indies edit. Rather, we self-edit and hire editors. At conference there are often classes to improve your self-editing. But there are also contacts. Freelancers. Other authors who can recommend people. In my opinion, the author/editor relationship is a hard one. Not only do you need an editor who is frankly a genius, you also need one you get along with. I don’t do well with editors who mother me or who are sarcastic in their comments. I want “just the facts, ma’am.” I don’t need to be coddled, but I also don’t like a disrespectful attitude. So I need to chat up other authors on the reg to find people who I will enjoy working with.

3. And the third action of any indie worth their salt: we publish. How can a conference help an indie publish? After all, the point of this is that we are independent!

Connections, my friend, are invaluable. You can, will, and should continue to publish your stand-alone titles. But right now the hot thing is box sets with other authors. A group of 12 Christian indies all just hit the USA today best sellers list with their box set. You can connect online in Facebook groups and the like (and should) but you can meet these authors in real life, laugh together, cry together, work and plot together, at conferences.

Bottom Line

If you stay home and only connect online, you can have a long, satisfying, and successful indie career. But if you go to a conference you can learn, grow, and connect with writers and editors who will make your writing career deeper and stronger.

If you can afford the money and time, you cannot afford to stay home. ­­­


Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Plain Jane Mysteries, The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries and the Tillgiven RomanticMysteries. Traci has a degree in history from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, two busy kids, and their dogs, Dr. Watson and Archie Goodwin.

More of Traci’s work can be found at


  1. Hey Traci, good ideas! I like the boxed sets idea--how do you know so much?
    BTW, have you been to any of the OCW conferences? Catch the one-day confs. if not the Summer Conf.
    Have a great!

    1. In fact, I have! I taught coaching class at the OCW conference this summer.

      As for how I know so much, lol, years and years of study, research, and experimentation!

  2. Excellent post, Traci. My personal situation may leave indie publishing as my only option if I want to see my novels in print or digital. I appreciate your insight.

    1. You are very welcome. There is a lot of opportunity in indie publishing, and if done with care, it can open many other doors as well! God bless your endeavers.