Friday, April 21, 2017

What Indie Writers Can Learn From the Great British Baking Show

by Traci tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

What Indie Writers Can Learn From the
Great British Baking Show
Have you fallen in love with The Great British Baking Show yet?

The hugely popular British baking competition is available on Netflix for our viewing and learning pleasure.

The premise of the show is simple: There are some great home bakers hiding in Great Britain. Let’s see who is the best!

Regular folks who love to bake end up on a reality competition where they pit their skills against baking challenges designed by two experts.

The home bakers have to walk the line between creating exactly what the judges have asked for (they are baking biscotti while I type this. Season 3, episode 2) and showing something original to the judges that set them apart as better than average.

They are not constrained by the demands of their culinary training, since they have none. They are limited only by their imagination and experience.

They are, in essence, indie bakers. If they bake a plate of biscotti for church fellowship, it might be the most delicious biscotti at the event, and their friends and families may praise it highly. But will it stand up against the other best home bakers from around the Kingdom? Will it impress the judges who are culinary trained and know the difference between the right way and the wrong way?

Your writing contributions might be the best stuff in your company newsletter, your blog might get tons of hits, but how will your books stand up to the biggest judge of all—the Amazon reviewers? Can you deliver an experience that satisfies obsessive readers used to the highest quality traditional fiction while also proving that your own unique, non-traditional style is worth launching?

In The Great British Baking Show, sometimes the biggest disaster (such as the cake in season 3 episode 1 that collapsed because the mousse hadn’t set) does not get you sent home. But you can’t make the same mistake twice. The judges let the baker stay, but they gave her feedback that she had to take to heart, or she would be out next time.

If you are brave and independent of mind, and take your home-baked fiction to the judges by self-publishing it through the many sites available, you will receive feedback.

You might be crowned star baker and go forward from strength to strength. But you might find out that your mousse hasn’t set yet.

Like the baker on the show: don’t give up. Go forward. Go home and practice (the bakers don’t live in some kind of crazy compound on this show! They get to go home for the week between episodes!) Write. Write and write more. Edit. Repair the mistakes in your book. But whatever you do, if you hear from the judges that your writing needs to improve: improve it. This is the genius and blessing of the indie writing life. On the one hand, if you continue to sell the first title, you are stuck with the reviews, but you are not stuck with the mistakes. You can rewrite and republish. Check out reviews on my first book Foreclosed: A Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery for a serious example of what I mean. But you can also pull that book, and hide it away while you improve your skills on a new story.

The big difference between The Great British Baking Show and indie publishing (besides the obvious) is that there is only one winner on the TV show. For indie writers, everyone who keeps on writing, no matter how rough things started out, wins.

What Indie Writers Can Learn From the Great British Baking Show - @TraciTyneHilton (Click to Tweet)

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. Great article. Thanks! I love that show. So much mouth-watering drama! There is an entertaining American version, too, I think it's on hulu!

  2. Ooh, thanks for the tip on the American version. I'll have to look it up! I have to laugh at myself sometimes, I get the most encouragement from these competition reality tv shows!