Here’s our new SuperGuide to conferences and events for independent authors and/or indie book fans taking place in 2018 and into 2019. There’s nothing like meeting fellow authors and notable figures in the space in real life (IRL) so you can collaborate and compare notes.
If I were compiling a list of conferences devoted to indie authors alone, it would be a very small list indeed. But events that benefit indie authors span the gamut from writing workshops to big splashy expos where writers get to rub elbows with avid readers, agents and fellow authors.
My philosophy is simple. Learn as much about writing, readers and traditional book publishing before you set out on your indie journey. Infiltrate before you dominate.
So here’s our first annual SuperGuide to conferences, book gatherings and reader events of interest to independent authors.
Tip: Cut out this cheat sheet and tape it to your office wall. Even if you’re not going, you can follow the hashtags of most of these events on Twitter.
Have others to add? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add them right away!
SuperGuide to Indie author conferences & events
Conferences, book fairs & reader events of interest to independent authors
Major book fairs
|London Book Fair||April 10-12, 2018||West London||Visitors pass: £45 ($63 US)||Meet fellow authors, agents and representatives of audio, TV, film and digital platforms. The Alliance of Independent Authors calls this "the most author-friendly of the big international fairs by far."||londonbookfair.co.uk|
|Book Expo America||May 30 to June 1, 2018||New York||$200/day for authors thru May 11; $315 to include a book in exhibit catalog||Writers, readers and vendors converge at largest book trade fair in the U.S. Meet publishers, bookstore owners and authors, including a few indies. Its New Title Showcase claims to be "the #1 place to launch your new print or ebook title."||bookexpoamerica.com|
|Frankfurt Book Fair||Oct. 10-14, 2018||Frankfurt, Germany||52 euros ($64) for one-day trade visitor pass (until July 31)||Last year's event had 286,425 visitors from 137 countries from the trade industry and general public. Geared to traditional publishers, with 7,300 exhibitors on hand.||buchmesse.de/en|
|*IBPA Publishing University||April 6-7, 2018||Austin, Texas||$295 – $475 non-members||IBPA dubs its event “the premier educational event for indie publishers and self-published authors,” offering more than 30 educational sessions.||publishinguniversity.org|
|The Muse and the Marketplace||April 6-8, 2018||Boston||$385 (one day) to $535||Authors, literary agents, editors and other industry professionals descend on the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston for a weekend writing conference put on by the nonprofit GrubStreet.||museandthemarketplace.com|
|Pathway to Publication||April 12-15, 2018||Madison, Wisc.||$275 - $375||The Midwest's premier writing conference from the Writers Institute offers four days of education, entertainment and writing inspiration. Reps from traditional agencies and self-publishing companies will be on hand.||uwwritersinstitute.wisc.edu|
|*Self-Publishing Conference||April 28, 2018||Leicester, UK||£65 ($90 US)||The only conference in the UK dedicated to self-published authors, this gathering offer sessions on topics such as writing, production, marketing, and distribution. You’ll also find plenty of opportunities to network with indie authors.||selfpublishingconference.org.uk|
|*Sell More Books Show Summit||May 4-6, 2018||Chicago||$499||Jim Kukral and Bryan Cohen of the Sell More Books Show podcast put on a live event for 175 attendees focused on the business of selling books.||sellmorebooksshow.com|
|RT Book Lovers Conference||May 15-20, 2018||Reno, Nev.||$460 - $515; $55-$150 day passes||Formerly the Romance Times Booklovers Convention, RT brings together 800+ authors and 3,000 fans of romance novels as well as bloggers, booksellers and librarians who'll attend 100+ workshops by day and socialize by night.||rtconvention.com|
|The Writer's Hotel||June 6-12, 2018||New York||$3,000||Volunteer editors consult on writers’ manuscripts, submitted beforehand, followed by gatherings in midtown Manhattan hotels. Workshops, lectures, agent pitch sessions and author readings are part of this independent program.||writershotel.com|
|Thrillerfest||July 10-14, 2018||New York||$150 – $1,235||Ground zero for mystery and thriller authors, Thrillerfest includes sessions on writing, publishing, marketing and agent pitches. While the focus is traditional publishing, indie thriller author Joanna Penn says she felt “accepted as an indie, with no judgment around my business choices.”||thrillerfest.com|
|RWA 2018||July 18-21, 2018||Denver, Colo.||$490 - $715||Put on by the Romance Writers of America, RWA is where more than 2,000 romance writers and industry professionals gather to learn, network and boost author careers.||rwa.org|
|*Indie Bookfest||Aug. 9 - 12, 2018||Orlando, Fla.||$25-$60||This sixth annual author/reader event celebrates indie, hybrid and traditional authors and artists. Look for workshops, expert panels and nightly parties.||indiebookconvention.com|
|10 Minute Novelists Writing Conference||Aug. 9-11, 2018||Cincinnati, Ohio||$379||North American writers gather to celebrate writing, learn from experts and socialize with peers. You'll find indie authors in attendance though much of the focus is on getting an agent and publisher.||10mincon.com|
|Writer's Digest Conference||Aug. 10-12, 2018||New York||$199 - $499||Editors of Writer’s Digest put on this annual conference devoted to craft, career and creative inspiration. Pitch to agents in the hallway or at the Pitch Slam.||writersdigestconference.com|
|When Worlds Collide||Aug. 10-12, 2018||Calgary, Alberta, Canada||$50||When Words Collide is a festival for readers, writers, artists and publishers of commercial and literary fiction, including genre, YA, children's books and poetry.||whenwordscollide.org|
|Penned Con||Sept. 20-22, 2018||St. Louis||$10 - $155||Here’s a family-friendly event focused on meeting your favorite authors (with two days of signings) in a relaxed setting while raising money for autism research.||pennedcon.com|
|*NINC (Novelists Inc.)||Sept. 26-30, 2018||St. Petersburg, Fla.||$325 for industry guests through Aug. 15||The Novelists, Inc. conference brings together multi-published, multi-genre authors who publish traditionally, independently or both. Indie author speakers include Mark Dawson, Joanna Penn and David Gaughran. Must join NINC to attend.||ninc.com|
|Digital Book World||Oct. 2-4, 2018||Nashville, Tenn.||$895 – $1,595||Attendee breakdown: 33% big publishing houses; 20% small to mid-size presses; 15% university presses; 10% corporate publishers, 10% trade associations, nonprofits & advocacy groups — and 2% self-published authors.||digitalbookworld.com|
|InD'Scribe Con and Book Festival||Oct 4-7, 2018||Burbank, Calif.||$35 – $225||This first-time event from InD’tale magazine promises, workshops, interactive panels, parties and opportunities to interact with authors and industry professionals.||indscribe.com|
|Creatures, Crimes & Creativity||Oct. 5-7, 2018||Columbia, Md.||$140 - $255||C3 Con is the gathering spot for readers and writers of mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal.||creaturescrimesandcreativity.com|
|*Indie Romance Covention||Oct. 10-13, 2018||Lebanon, Tenn.||$150 authors, $35 readers||IRC offers three days of workshops, panels and an afternoon book signing. You’ll find a mix of indie, hybrid and small-press authors among the attendees—about 45 authors and 55 readers.||indieromanceconvention.com|
|Florida Writers Conference||Oct. 18-21, 2018||Orlando, Fla.||Registration opens April 1||Devoted to the craft and business of writing, this conference offers more than 70 workshops and panels for attendees ranging from beginners to published authors.||floridawriters.net|
|Tribe Conference||Oct. 26-28, 2018||Franklin, Tenn.||$299+||A gathering of writers, artists, and creatives who want to grow their craft and get visibility for their works.||tribeconference.com|
|*20Books Vegas Conference||Nov. 6-8, 2018||Las Vegas, Nev.||Not announced||Put on by indie publishing impresario Craig Martelle, 20Books is about “indies supporting indies with the belief that a rising tide floats all boats.” Some of the top names in self-publishing will be on hand as well as aspiring authors and everyone in between.||20booksvegas.com|
|*20Books Bali||Jan. 4-6, 2019||Bali, Indonesia||$3,500||This all-inclusive event from indie events organizer Craig Martelle will offer advanced 301-level sessions for authors in an idyllic, family-friendly location. Mark Dawson and Chris Fox will be the main speakers; most of the sessions will be roundtable conversations.||Not announced|
|Maui Writers’ Retreat||Probably mid-Jan., 2019||Lahaina, Maui,||$700 tuition; $1,400 includes private room (2018 prices)||Open to prose writers and poets and featuring two faculty members, this retreat provides a week of immersion in writing amid the hibiscus, plumeria and sunsets of Lahaina.||kahini.org|
|San Miguel Writers' Conference & Literary Festival||Feb. 13-17, 2019||San Miguel, Mexico||$575-$795 (2018 prices)||This prestigious bilingual literary gathering attracts 750 participants—distinguished authors, established and emerging writers, industry experts and teaching pros—from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Europe for workshops and master classes.||sanmiguelwritersconference.org|
|San Francisco Writers Conference||Probably mid-Feb. 2019||San Francisco||$845 (2018 price)||Attendees will join 100+ presenters and fellow writers from around the world in an event designed to help writers with the craft and business of writing.||sfwriters.org|
|Genre-LA Creative Writing Conference||Probably late Feb. 2019||Los Angeles||$149 - $499 (2018 price)||This 20th annual event gathers more than 30 best-selling authors of genre novels, literary agents, editors, publishers, industry experts, Hollywood veterans, educators and publishing professionals.|
|*Smarter Artists Summit||Probably late Feb. 2019||Austin, Texas||$799 (2018 price)||Meet fellow “authorpreneurs” who are going through the same challenges and hear some of the top names in indie publishing offer strategies and advice.||smarterartistsummit.com|
|AWP Conference||March 27–30, 2019||Portland, Ore.||$150-$315 (2018 price)||The Association of Writers and Writing Programs, the largest literary conference in North America, attracts more than 15,000 writers and readers and 800 exhibitors for four days of readings, panels and writing lectures.||awpwriter.org|
|*20Books||July 2019||UK||TBA||After the successful 20Books London event in February, author-organizer Craig Martelle will soon be making an announcement about a new UK location for a 20Books event next year.|
* Indicates conferences that cater primarily to self-published authors.
Additional events for indie authors and/or indie book lovers
Above we didn’t include the second-level international book fairs in Bologna, Italy; Beijing; Buenos Aires; Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Paris; Guadalajara, Mexico; Prague, Helsinki and Hong Kong. Online, one event worth checking out for sure is the upcoming Self-publishing Advice Conference (formerly known as ALLi’s Indie Author Fringe), which takes place April 14, 2018, in concert with the London Book Fair.
Additional reader events and writers’ workshops and conferences include these notable events. Keep in mind that this is a sampling and not a comprehensive list — there are hundreds of writing events and workshops around the globe.
- Norwescon, the Pacific Northwest’s Premier Science-Fiction and Fantasy Convention, March 29 – April 1, Seattle-Tacoma, Wash., $40-$85.
- Michigan Writing Workshop, April 14, 2018, Detroit, $169.
- Las Vegas Writers Conference, April 19-21, 2018, Las Vegas, Nev., $500. Put on by a nonprofit, the event attracts agents and publishers from across the country and provides a networking and critiquing forum for writers of all skill levels.
- Pikes Peak Writers Conference, April 27-29, 2018, Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Seattle Writers Conference, April 28, 2018, a full-day “how to get published” writing event in Seattle.
- SFWA Nebula Conference, the 52nd event from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, May 17-20, 2018, Pittsburgh, $206.
- American Society of Journalists and Authors Conference, May 18-19, 2018, New York, $269-$499. The event attracts some 500-600 people each year and focuses on helping independent writers succeed.
- Origins Game Fair, June 13-17, 2018, Columbus, Ohio. Gamer conference includes a large author seminar program.
- Hursley Park Book Fair, June 23-24, 2018, Hursley, UK. Family event for indie authors with talks, readings, book signings and competitions.
- Jackson Hole Writers Conference, June 28-30, 2018, Jackson Hole, Wyo., $375 price through May 12, 2018.
- Westercon, or the West Coast Science Fantasy Conference, July 4-8, 2018, Denver. Regional science fiction and fantasy convention founded in 1948.
- WorldCon, the World Science Fiction Convention, Aug. 16-20, 2018, San Jose, Calif., $50-$230, featuring the Hugo Awards. The five-day event is attended by thousands of writers, artists, fans, editors, publishers, academics and dealers.
- Ellcon, lesbian fiction conference, Aug. 23-24, 2018, Bristol, UK.
- Killer Nashville International Writers’ Conference, Aug. 23-26, 2018, Nashville, Tenn., $379.
- Bubonicon 50, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, Aug. 24-26, 2018, Albuquerque, N.M., $40.
- Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Sept. 6-9, 2018, Denver.
- Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival, Oct. 15-22, 2018, Vancouver, B.C.
- GayRomLit, Oct. 18-21, 2018, in Portsmouth, Va., $225. An annual retreat that brings together the people who create and celebrate LGBT romance books.
- Surrey International Writers’ Conference, Oct. 19-21, 2018, Surrey, British Columbia, $199-$649.
- Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference, Oct. 26–28, 2018, Pasadena, Calif.
- Independent Authors Conference, hosted by BookBaby, Nov. 2-4, 2018, Philadelphia, $249.
- Philadelphia Writing Workshop, Nov. 17, 2018, Philadelphia, $169.
Additional 2019 events
- Writers Conference of Minnesota. Latest one was held Feb. 17, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn.
- Seymour Agency Writer’s Winter Escape Cruise, Feb. 18-22, 2019, out of Miami for Nassau in the Bahamas and Cozumel, Mexico. A working writer’s retreat that both published and unpublished authors the opportunity to pitch NY editors and LA film producers, attend sessions and network with other industry professionals.
- Sleuthfest. Latest one was held March 1-4, 2018, in Boca Raton, Fla. Annual gathering of mystery, suspense and thriller writers sponsored by the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America.
- Stokercon, put on by the Horror Writers Association. Latest one held March 1-4, 2018, in Providence, R.I.; cost was $200-$225 in 2018.
- Atlanta Writing Workshop. Latest one was held March 10, 2018, in Atlanta, Ga., $169.
- Left Coast Crime. March 28-31, 2019, Vancouver, Canada, $300 CAD until Dec. 31, 2018.
- DragonCon. Aug. 29 to Sept. 2, 2019, Atanta.
- Publishing conferences & book fairs: What’s in them for self-published authors? (Debbie Young of ALLi)
- Authors, Don’t Waste your Money: Book Fair Bewares (David Gaughran at ALLi)
- Authors: Think Twice Before Paying to Exhibit at Book Expo (Jane Friedman)
- What Mystery Conventions Are You Going To in 2018? (Mysteristas)