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Indie Author’s Writers’ Conferences and Resources

There are hundreds of writers’ conferences each year, each with a different point of view. But what if you’re an Independent Author? It may be harder to find a conference with a specific Indie Author POV. I find that even though Indie Authors are rapidly growing in numbers, most writers’ conferences still focus primarily on the traditional “agent-publisher” business model of writing.

In late 2017, I came across a writers’ conference that had a specific focus targeted towards Indie Authors. The conference was sponsored by Bookbaby, which is full-service publishing company that provides a wide range of services to Indie Authors that include editing, cover design, ebook and print book formatting, promotion and more. {Full disclosure: I use Bookbaby to publish and sell my books, but this article is not to be considered an endorsement.}

In November 2017 Bookbaby kicked off the first of what they hope to be an annual Indie Authors’ conference in Philadelphia. A team of successful self-published authors and industry leaders conducted over 20 workshops, presentations, and panels focused on publishing and marketing books as an independent author. There were over 400 attendees.

We heard talks on how to research your target audience. There were talks on the use of new technology for authors, for example manuscript-editing software such as Autocrit or Grammerly. There were several talks on the business-side of Indie Authorship, which most traditional conferences skip over. Some speakers focused on how to maximize tools such as Goodreads and Amazon Kindle or how to identify target readers and use of social media.

My key take-aways from the Bookbaby Independent Authors Conference:

  • As an Indie Author – it’s all on you. The writing, the editing, the research, the formatting, the publishing, the marketing, the selling – everything!
  • You can’t do it all yourself. Focus on what you do well (hopefully at least the writing) and find ways to get help with other parts of the job. You can barter for services, find low cost services, hire contractors, etc.
  • At a conference that focuses on Indie Authors, you will be able to network with other authors and also venders who can provide assistance in developing your product – your book!
  • The most important take away for me – to be successful as an Indie Author, you have to make your book look like, feel like and read like it came out of a traditional publishing outfit. In other words, it has to look professional.
  • You’re the boss! There is no gatekeeper. You have the key to the Gate!