Friday, August 17, 2018

Professional Polish for the Indie Publisher 
Step Two: Become an Expert

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

When I was a newly-wed I stumbled across a book at the library about how to become a professional speaker. I devoured it while sitting on the dryer in the communal laundry room of our little apartment complex. I knew with every fiber of my being that this world of professional speaking was the only one in which I could be a fully happy professional adult.

The trick was, to get into the world, you had to be an expert.

I was an expert in nothing.

I had a bachelor’s degree in history--focus “Western Hemisphere,” a job assisting the Josten’s travelling salesmen with his caps, gowns, and class ring sales, a small taste of success as a playwright, a year of Bible school, and some short term mission trips on my CV. None of that qualified me as an expert. So, I returned the book to the library sad that I’d never get to do the thing I was sure God had created me to do.

A few years later I was a new mom with a cute baby. I was very bored, so I started a blog. The only thing I had added to that CV in those few years was a half a year as the world’s worst fundraising and development officer for a school I didn’t like and a few years selling stuff at Bed Bath and Beyond. And the internet told me: To be a successful blogger you have to be…an expert in something.

Eventually, I gave up on blogging. 

I replaced it with novel writing which changed my life. I fell in love with indie publishing, devoted myself to it, became an expert, and began to develop my life as a speaker…

All of that is to say: I get it. 

I was not an expert and all of my hopes and dreams seemed to hinge on becoming one. And here I am, telling you to be an expert. But hear me out, it’s worth it.

You can add that extra level of professional polish to your life as an indie author by becoming an expert at what you do. 

Find the aspect of the career you adore the most and learn everything about it.

This could be anything from plots, to characters, to your genre, to the area you set your books.

You adore something about this world of fiction or you wouldn’t be writing. Find that thing you love, become an expert in it, and start teaching it. 

Don’t know where to start? Tweet it! You’ve got like 4oo characters on Twitter now, so use ‘em. Or make Youtube videos. Or Facebook live about what you love. The point is, learn it, then share it. 

Develop a body of content about your expertise, then guest blog. Again, like the business name and logo, you are creating a wealth of material for readers or other authors to find online when they Google you. Why? Because it transforms you from “self published author” [said with a shudder by all and sundry] to “professional writer.”

So…what do you love most about writing? If you could become an expert on one area, which would you chose?

Professional Polish for the Indie Publisher Step 2: Become an Expert - @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Tips for the #IndieAuthor: Find an aspect of the #writing career you adore the most and learn everything about it - @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (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. Such a timely post. I've been thinking about this for a few months now. Hmm. Maybe the trick is to actually do something about it. LOL. Sp appreciate your thoughtful words.

    1. You are so welcome! Starting is often the hard part. :D But since all you have to do is spend more time on something you love, once you get going it's not so bad. Of course, "expert" is a moving target! The closer I think I get the farther away I find it actually is. :D

  2. I find marketing so stressful it's hard to love it. But I do enjoy working with kids. So I worked up my nerve and asked the librarian at my local library if I could do writing workshops for tweens and teens. I've done three series now and I'm preparing an adult program. So I did find something to love about marketing.

    1. That's awesome! I love that outside of the box thinking, especially because it is such a great thing to do for the kids. :D