A low-priced Self-Pub version of How To Think Sideways?

Discount HTTS for the Self-Publishing Writer?
Discount HTTS for the Self-Publishing Writer?

Self-pub has become the way to go if you want to write and make a living at it. The last few years, my self-pub has paid the bills, and my commercial pub hasn’t. Among commercially published writers, I’m not alone. The majority of commercially published novelists are working a “real” job just to survive.

Successful self-pubbed writers are doing better. You can read sites like http://jakonrath.com/ and http://lethalbooks.com/ and those of other self-pubbed writers who are making a full-time living publishing themselves.

If you aren’t a big name, online self-publishing is the new midlist.

This is the thing I wanted to do with Rebel Tales

…but what grew naturally out of improving tech and online markets is a million times better than what I’d planned. Why? Because YOU control your career, and you get to keep all the money. You’re not splitting it with a publisher who takes almost everything, and an agent who takes 15% of what’s left.

Sales of Kindles and Nooks and iPads (and iPhones) are all up, and these are all instant-gratification bookstores you carry around in your pocket. Or purse. Meanwhile, print book sales are falling, and brick-and-mortar bookstores going out of business.

What You Need To Know To Self-Publish

There are two types of knowledge you need in order to self-publish successfully.

The first is the technical stuff—how to get ISBNs, how to format your own book or hire someone to format it for you, how to price it, etc.

You can learn that ANYWHERE.

The second knowledge you need is a thousand times more important. You need to know how to write books worth reading.

I can teach you that.

So I’m putting together a stripped-down, just-for-self-publishers version of HOW TO THINK SIDEWAYS: Career Survival School for Writers.

How To Think Sideways for the Self-Publisher

The objective of this course is to be about half the price and about 60% the size of HTTS, and to give writers who KNOW you want to self-publish:

  • the writing skills you need to succeed at it, without all the Japanese Bowing Etiquette involved in commercial publishing,
  • to give you the contacts you need to publish your own work professionally,
  • and to get you out there doing it.

Lean, mean, focused.

HTTS Self-Pub will contain none of the stuff on query letters or dealing with editors. NOTHING on manuscript formatting for submission. Nothing on how to write a synopsis or an extended editor outline. None of the walkthrough. None of the frills I threw in like first drafts of my novels. Well, maybe ONE first draft.

It also won’t include on-site workgroups.  To keep the price low, I have to cut somewhere, and setting up and maintaining private workgroups is a major pain in the kiester.  You’ll meet lots of folks in the community.  If you want to create a private workgroup via e-mail on on a password section of your blog, you can certainly do that.

HTTS Self-Pub will include:

All the writing lessons, writing techniques, writing checklists, and writing course videos.

You’ll also get full member access to the following Writers’ Boot Camp boards:

  • Eureka HTTS (you can read this board now to discover what students learn from this course)
  • Renegade Marketing
  • Help!
  • Questions About Your Lessons HTTS
  • Writing Discussion HTTS
  • Idle Chatter HTTS
  • The new Resources for Self-Publishers board, which will hook you up with the folks who do professional e-book formatting, packaging, cover art, editing, and copyediting, writing blurbs, any anything else you need to help you succeed.  (If you OFFER these services, contact me now about getting your place on this board.  Currently I have about 2000 active writers in the private community.)

My objective with this course is to create successful professional career writers in the new Yes-You-Can-Live-On-Your-Writing online midlist.

The full course, with the walkthrough and future upgrades and a multitude of other cool things, comes in two speeds (6 month and 12 month)  and three flavors: Single Payment $399, 6 month subscription 69.95/month, and 12 month subscription $37.95/month.  If your dream is to publish commercially, (or if you want the BIG boost in help you’ll get from the Walkthrough upgrade) this is the course you need. 

The stripped-down HTTS Self-Pub will have one speed and one flavor.  6 months, $37.95/month.

If you’re not, no reply is necessary.

If you are, please post a YES. What I’m trying to do here is get a rough level of interest to decide whether setting up the extra site and revamping the course materials is worth my time.

So all I need to know from you now is, are you interested?


If you’re already an HTTS student or HTTS Grad, you’re getting EVERYTHING in the Self-Pub course, PLUS the walkthrough, the private workgroups, and the Walkthrough boards, blogs, etc. Just log in to get the stuff as it goes live.

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178 responses to “A low-priced Self-Pub version of How To Think Sideways?”

  1. Wednesday Avatar

    I’d buy this version. Your original is out of financial reach for me, no matter how much I try to budget for it in this one-earner household. Thank you for considering doing this, even if you decide not to.

  2. Dee Avatar

    I think this is a great idea! Having already taken the HTTS course (and suggested it to other people), having the opportunity to get a streamlined course designed for the new frontier of publishing will catch a lot of attention. I have some friends who have already gone the self-publishing route for many of the same reasons you have mentioned. And in this tight economy, it never hurts to offer an even better deal than the awesome deal you already offer!

  3. Cynthia Koehler Avatar
    Cynthia Koehler

    Your absolutely right. I am currently enrolled in How To Think Sideways and would love to learn to depend on myself and not
    others for my income. Count me in.

  4. Amy Zebrowski Avatar
    Amy Zebrowski

    Yes, please. I’ve been receiving your Friday tips for several months now, and I love your warm, honest attitude even more than the good advice… I need some structure to get me going, and this sounds terrific.

    I’ll offer proofreading services!

  5. will Avatar

    Yes, I’m interested.

  6. Marcelli Avatar

    It is a wonderful opportunity. I am already an HTTS student and am blown away by the material available, the immense effort, the thought process, and the generosity of you, Holly.

  7. Dave Avatar

    I would definately be interested in this. I’m not sure if it is easier or harder than commercial publishing but, having just started the free 7 week course and just finished the page turning scenes book, via kindle, I am ready for more.

    I don’t see myself hitting the NY Times best seller list so it seems Self-publishing would be the best way to start.

    Also, are more of the books going to be available in a kindle format as opposed to just PDF? I have been doing the exercises at working using my Android phone and a spiral notebook, and the PDFs require a lot of scrolling and zooming in and out.

    Thanks for all the help so far,

  8. WandersNowhere Avatar

    As an existing HTTS student (albeit one that hasn’t started properly yet) AND a person interested in online self-pub, I’ll throw in my two cents; this is DEFINITELY a worthwhile venture for those of us wishing to join the cavalry charge. And I’m once again amazed by your generosity in supplying this for free to existing students. I’ve picked up a lot of things I would have gladly paid full price for through being an existing student, I don’t think anyone alive could say they haven’t gotten their money’s worth and then some back from your courses.

  9. Joseph Plantamura Avatar
    Joseph Plantamura

    I have received email updates from Holly for a few months, but I could not come up with the time to take a course. I’ve been a technical writer and training developer, and I’ve done plenty of official writing. Then, a year before I retired, I thought about writing my own book. I’ve read books about writing novels, synopsis, query letters, and publishing. I thought novel writing was a piece of cake compared to technical writing. I was wrong. After five years, I finished my novel. On the very eve that I was ready to send out my first query letter, I learned about Amazon’s ABNA Contest and CreateSpace self publishing. I put my query letter aside and decided to self-publish my book. Friends and family members read my draft, and I learned that my writing needed improving. I rewrote the book three more times and finally published iton Amazon. My wife loves it, but other authors pointed out problems in my story. Sales have been dismal. I am still not pleased with the book. I don’t feel comfortable marketing the novel when the story isn’t right. I need to learn how to design an interesting plot line and to build credible characters. Yes, I would be willing to take a course that can teach me that for under $40 a month. I gave up Weight Watchers, which costs about the same as the proposed course. If I gain a couple of pounds because of the course, it will be well worth it.

  10. Laurie Avatar

    I think I would be interested in this course, unless a beginning writer would be lost in it. Laurie

  11. Krystie Lees-Smith Avatar
    Krystie Lees-Smith

    If I hadn’t done both HTTS and HTRYN, I’d say yes. Probably for the price, but definitely for the cut out. I never wanted to be traditionally published. I love my job. (I work special needs – both kids and adults) It’s kinda brain/emotionally draining though, and writing is my ‘fix-it’. So while it doesn’t matter if my stories are good, I care about them and want them to be the best I can make them.
    You have helped me to do that beyond what I ever thought possible. Thanks, Holly.

    I rocked up here at 100 odd posts, and to be honest, I did skip a few, so if this has been asked above, just ignore me.
    If I wasn’t a grad, and did want to buy HTTS-Lite, would I be able to upgrade to full at a discounted price? (perhaps the money paid for Lite taken off?)

    Anyway just my two bob.
    Cheers, Krystie

  12. Anna Avatar

    Yes Please.

    It would be amazingly helpful.

  13. Erin Avatar

    I’m a HTTS grad, and I am very interested in this. I’m going to try to self-publish my next novel.


  14. AH Browne Avatar

    I would absolutely love to be able to get it for a discounted price. The biggest reason I don’t get the other courses is because of the pricing. I’ve been reading your emails for over a year now and have to say they’ve been the best at helping me. I’m looking at some of the books you’ve written, but have to get the money together for them. Your work helps a lot of people. I know I’m not the only one who’d love to get it.

    Thanks! Have a wonderful day.

  15. Carla Kelley Avatar
    Carla Kelley

    I am current student of HTTS and I love it! I’d love to know how to self-publish!

    Thanks Holly!!

  16. Emma Avatar

    Hi Holly,

    Yes, I would be interested in doing this course.
    However I’m a bit confused – Would it be part of HTTS or is it a complete separate course altogether?

    Also If I have brought HTTS, would I pay the full amount or could I get a discount – No offense, just due to price wise, it is a lot more money.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.


  17. kenbar Avatar

    Yes, I am definitely interested. I have taken HTRYN and am very pleased with the value my money brought.

    I won’t, however, be able to afford this course for a few months, due to a major expense for a malfunctioning well pump. Please don’t let my delay stop you!

  18. Teresa Meherg Avatar
    Teresa Meherg

    I am definitely interested! Thanks for the help…AGAIN!

  19. Thea Avatar

    I’m already an HTTS student, but if I wasn’t, I would be frothing at the bit to get the self pub version of the course! Go, Holly, go! 😀

  20. TYRONE Avatar

    I think that any (legal and moral \;^p) means of getting HTTS to others is a great one!
    I started the course but life t-boned me into a poverty stricken cadaver. However, I believe that soon my zombified shell will tremble with (pseudo) life and I will again attempt to think…sideways.

  21. Terry Esquivel Avatar
    Terry Esquivel

    I am interested in this course. Please count me in!

  22. Vanna Avatar

    I’d definitely go for it if the walkthrough was a part of it. I find it so much easier to follow/understand the lessons if a clear example is provided to illustrate the points. Just my 2 cents 😉

    1. Holly Avatar

      The walkthrough’s available in the full-price version.

  23. Melissa Pearl Avatar
    Melissa Pearl

    I’d be very interested in a course like that. I am seriously considering self publishing.
    This sounds great 🙂

  24. Ruth Cooke Avatar
    Ruth Cooke


    As someone who currently has no income, I’d have to wait until Christmas to get it, but I did the freebie plot outline course, and that was definitely worth the time and effort I put into it. You’re a great teacher, Holly!

  25. Laura Avatar

    Holly – Since I’m already going through the HTTS program, I don’t think I’m a candidate for the new stripped-down version, but I think it sounds like a great idea and one that a lot of people will be interested in.

    As a side note, I want to say how much I am enjoying HTTS. Enjoying? Not sure that’s the right word — it’s a LOT of work!! I took a chance, based on some other materials of yours that I’d seen, and signed up for the course, paying the full amount upfront. It’s a decent chunk of cash, but I felt like I needed to make that commitment so as to “force” myself to take it seriously and do the work and therefore get my money’s worth. This was my way of pushing myself to make the attempt to fulfill a lifelong dream of writing a novel (or two or three or . . .).

    What I really want to say is that I feel like I’m getting FAR more than I paid for with this HTTS course. Each lesson is incredibly thorough, and you provide so many resources for each lesson, on top of the other resources you provide the “community” – the email tips, etc. For what it’s worth, I really appreciate all the hard work you obviously put into making this course worthwhile and incredibly helpful for those of us who’ve taken the plunge. The amount of material you provide far exceeds what I expected, even at the price you charge. We’ve never met or spoken, but based on what I’m getting for the money I paid, my impression of you is that you are a generous person with a real desire to help wannabe writers fulfill their dreams.

    So . . . thank you.

    1. Holly Avatar

      My objective is—always—to deliver far more than I promise. 😀

      I’m delighted that’s working for you.

  26. Elizabeth J. Baldwin Avatar
    Elizabeth J. Baldwin

    Since you are the only publisher who has ever paid me promptly you bet I’m interested in your course. My experiences with commercial publishers has not been a happy one. I do my job. Fulfill my contract. And then it takes forever (if ever) before I get any money. Gah!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Tell me about it. I’ve had ONE commercial publisher pay me on time. And I’m not naming names right now because I’m in the middle of some rights reversion issues, and they may go from “I recommend them,” to “Run for your lives” any day now.

  27. Janet Kerr Avatar
    Janet Kerr

    This fast-track concept sounds like a great idea Holly,
    Having the HTTS information compacted into another course and revisiting it in a different format is a great way to re-learn and have the knowledge impressed deeply in my mind.
    Thank you so very much for offering this opportunity.
    Count me in!

    1. Holly Avatar

      NO! NO! Everything I’m doing you already get for FREEEEEE! Don’t buy both versions! Existing students and grads get EVERYTHING.

  28. Sheila Path McMahon Avatar

    Hi! I’d be interested in this.

  29. Nikki Avatar

    Yes, I think that this would be a valuable addition to your course content. Holly, you inspired me to check out John Locke. His book and your decision to self-pub started swayed me. I would absolutely sign up if I weren’t in HTTS week 15 already — as it is, I’m avidly looking forward to it…

  30. Joan Coy Avatar
    Joan Coy

    Yes! I’m already doing it AND MAKING MONEY. Anything that will help me make more money…I’m interested.

    Your courses are fantastic. I’ll sigh up.

  31. Greg Avatar

    Hi Holly

    I was eyeing up HTTS a couple of days ago, for the umpteenth time – weighing up cost against its value to me as someone who has already learnt some lessons of his own through the tried and tested – but arduous – cycle of writing and failing and trying again. 🙂
    I am close to finishing revision of a novel I believe in, and need to decide whether to go self-pub, or ‘conventional’. I appreciate that you feel passionately about self-pub, and its advantages are clear (particularly in terms of career autonomy and how the financial side works), but for those with no previous experience of being published, it feels like jumping without a safety net. (I accept that the cost of said safety net – ie publisher backing – is disproportionate to the support received in most cases!)
    I mention this because my understanding is that this version is the original HTTS with modules irrelevant to the self-pubber stripped out, and I wonder whether you could consider creating an additional module or two to tailor the course. For example, I recently read on your website that you’re trying to get a list of resources together for self-pubbers, and as readily available as info on ISBNs, pricing, formatters, editors and the like may be, I personally would find value in having pointers from someone I trust. An insight into marketing and mindset for self-publishing would also be helpful.
    I appreciate you may intend that some of this be covered by the self-pub ‘Resources’ board you mention, and hope I don’t come across as demanding to make these suggestions! These are my genuine concerns as someone who hopes to earn a living from writing, but who has no practical experience of any part of the publishing world to drawn on. I have a print version of Locke’s book on order, so I’m also aware that you may be trying not to duplicate information of his. In truth, I was excited by your email, but had hoped there would be some specific material for self-publishers.

    I used to post regularly when WABWM was in its pomp, and had one eye on RebelTales too; I was saddened when you felt you had to end that venture. It’s great to see you’ve found another avenue through which to parade the flag for the midlist 🙂

    With best wishes

    1. Holly Avatar

      I’m adding a few new self-pub modules into Self-Pub HTTS. I’m ALSO adding them to regular HTTS. 😀

      But to answer your question, yes. Got that covered. 😀

      1. Greg Avatar

        Excellent. My post got a bit lengthy, and I omitted a sentence acknowledging that adding unique material to the self-pub version might seem harsh on your original HTTS stalwarts, and suggesting adding it too both as a solution, but I could find a way to phrase it without sounding enormously cheeky! No surprises that you were ahead of me in ensuring no-one feels short-changed 🙂
        Thrilled that you’re providing something specific to self-pubbers (not sure I actually managed to ask a question, despite the length of my post!)


        1. Greg Avatar

          ‘too’ needs to lose a ‘o’, and ‘could’ should read ‘couldn’t’. I blame the red wine!

  32. coralmaze Avatar

    Holly, although I think the course sounds like a good idea, as a current HTTS student, I worry that you are already stretched mighty thin and I wonder how you will possibly be able to add yet another course to your workload. I am loving the course and am really moving on my project, but find myself waiting for Walkthroughs, Hotseats, and responses to questions. It gets a bit frustrating. I know you are doing all you can with your health issues (really glad to hear things are getting better!) and I just wonder if perhaps you are just bored with the old and want something new to play with?

    1. Holly Avatar

      This doesn’t add any extra work for me (aside from setting it up.) It’s the same course, with less stuff in it.

      And the self-pub stuff they’re getting I’m actually doing for you guys—they’ll just get to benefit from it.

      I really wish folks would read the info carefully. I said this in the post.

  33. Rebekah Avatar

    I want to know some of that technical stuff–mostly, where to find an ISBN, how to distribute to Apple and Amazon and Sony, that kind of stuff. I hear that Apple requires you to use one of their approved “aggregators” (like Smashwords), but then they own the ISBN, and… no. Just… no.

    If you could put this sort of thing in a quick FAQ or article, it would be especially useful for people like me–because I have no clue what I’m getting into, and I know I’m not the only one, which is why I’m not just going to Google for this.

    Any help is much appreciated!

    1. Rebekah Avatar

      Oops, sorry! Just saw the books you posted for recommendation. That’s great–I’ll look into those.

    2. Holly Avatar

      If you own a Mac, you can publish directly on Apple. Which I do.

  34. Helenee Avatar

    Mrs Lisle,

    If a ‘Yes!’ from a person who, after following your online ventures for a year and a half, finally bought HTRYN-LITE for a measly $5 counts, then please count me in.
    Presently, I cannot afford but the basics of life (or even less) and a professional website which I’m setting up, but I have set my mind on purchasing a course of yours – I hope within the next year. The one you are proposing is exactly what I would wish for.

    Thank you

  35. Mel Avatar

    Yes please!

  36. Ruth Ellen Parlour Avatar

    YES. If I have the money to spare!

  37. Jude Faerron Avatar
    Jude Faerron

    Definitely interested!

  38. Jack Randall Avatar
    Jack Randall

    Big fat yes from me. The only reason I didnt do the original HTTS was because i felt i would be paying for alot of stuff I wouldnt use and this stipped down version is perfect for me. I definatley dont take it for granted that I am one of the few people my age who has the time and money to do this. Very excited.

  39. Jennifer Avatar

    yes, Yes, YES!!

    I’m already a HTTS student and I am enormously glad I signed up and will be getting all the self pub info!

  40. JimS Avatar

    Could be interested. I already wotk with a teacher, so the teaching elemnt is not a priority. I’m interested in the nuts and bolts of publishing.


    1. Holly Avatar

      The biggest problem MOST self-publishers face (and will continue to face) is that you may be self-publishing your work, but you still have to have professional story-telling skills to succeed.

      This course is the nuts-and-bolts of writing publishable fiction—storytelling. While I’m including the self-publishing skills I’m getting as I publish myself (and which my regular HTTS students are also getting), if your storytelling, idea generation, plotting, characterization, motivation, and other essential writing skills are already at a publishable level, you can get basic self-pub info from:
      Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing
      How to Price Ebooks for the Kindle
      How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months

      So mine is unlikely to be the course you want.

  41. ibonekoen Avatar

    I’m interested.

  42. Jamie Wilson Avatar
    Jamie Wilson

    YES. Absolutely.

  43. Zach Ricks Avatar

    A quick word regarding the money issues people have been citing above.
    I took HTTS at a time when money was pretty tight for us also. I took the whole course, and did the 12 month track because of the lower per-month cost. It was a sacrifice, but we found places where we could save, and made it a priority, and we were always able to take care of things. It’s interesting to me that when people are really committed to a course of action, the resources appear.
    I’ve said it in various forums, and I’m sure I’ll say it again in other places. The material Holly puts together on motivation ALONE was worth the price for me. I’m constantly going back and referring to it. If there’s any way to get the resources together to take this class, and you really want to write, I would encourage you to do it.

  44. Charlotte Babb Avatar

    yes. Need help with revision. Can help with formatting, artwork, proofreading.

  45. Silvia Avatar


  46. Anika Avatar

    It sounds interesting but as I’ve already taken HTTS I’m unwilling to pay that for duplicate material. I think I paid $37 a month for HTTS. If there was a way to purchase the self pub sections for HTTS students then I might be interested but of course it would depend on the price.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Anika, as an HTTS graduate, you automatically get everything in the Self-Pub course, PLUS the full walkthrough, ALL the boards, and everything else. If you haven’t logged into class in a while, you’re missing a LOT.

  47. kathi robb harris Avatar

    can you fix my typing?????

    1. Holly Avatar

      Nope. That you have to do yourself. I recommend Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.

      Unless you were asking the copyeditor, and your reply was misplaced…

  48. MaryBeth Thayer Avatar
    MaryBeth Thayer

    I am interested. Currently at a crossroads in my life and I am daring to dream again! The cost per month is a bit prohibitive at the moment but if this is what God wants me to do He’ll provide the financing.Self publishing has been one of the way out dreams on my list of possibilities and with your program it looks like it could become a reality.

  49. Marti Verlander Avatar

    Holly, I’m interested in offering proofreading services for writers.

    I’ll also offer in the near future Write the Fight Consulting Services for Writers, for those who need help with fight scenes, based on 18 years and a 5th-degree black belt in Ryu-Te Karate.

    1. Holly Avatar

      FANTASTIC! Thanks. I’ll be posting links to the private Resource Provider sign-up and board as soon as Margaret and I have the member area set up.

  50. kathi robb harris Avatar

    I almost missed the answer to the math question and I used to teach advanced algebra!

    yes, go for the course. I had to discover along the waay the pros and cons of self publishing. Now I am most interested in self marketing!
    Samashwords has the bst ebook publishing tools, but you still have to market yourself.

    kathi h

    1. Holly Avatar

      It’s supposed to be just single-digit addition and subtraction. Is other stuff sneaking in there?

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