Possible “Writing Business” course, and World Clinic progress #wabwm

The new course concept

I mentioned this yesterday on the Write A Book With Me forum, in response to a writer’s question about publishing.

I had done some initial brainstorming on setting up a short-story to self-pub workshop. In my initial concept, it would have been 11 weeks from basic 10,000 word story start to fully functional writing business. (Scrivener formatting, Ebook self-pub, Kindle, Nook, PDF, CreateSpace, and WordPress estore setup, INCLUDING product setup, covered)
Story planning. Live brainstorming session.

Here was my initial thumbnail sketch:

  • Story start. 3500-word assignment, and how to get it written.
  • Story middle. 3500-word assignment, and how to get it written. My crit on your story start.
  • Story ending. 3500-word assignment, and how to get it written. My crit on your story middle.
  • My crit on your story ending and overall. How to revise.
  • Story revision, titles, final crits.
  • Formatting your print book. Live practice.
  • Formatting your ebook versions. Live practice.
  • Creating your cover art. Live practice.
  • Setting up your products in CreateSpace, Amazon, B&N, and your own shop.
  • Reviewing, self-promo, ongoing process of building your writing business.

HOWEVER, one of the comments related to my thumbnail description made me realize that’s unnecessarily complicating what I think would be a straightforward course: How To Set Up Your Writing Business

Which would be THIS part, which I could do (and the student could keep up with, in six [gruelling] lessons:

  • Formatting your print book. Live practice.
  • Formatting your ebook versions. Live practice.
  • Creating your cover art. Live practice.
  • Installing and setting up your own WordPress-based bookstore
  • Setting up your products in CreateSpace, Amazon, B&N, and your own shop.
  • Reviewing, self-promo, ongoing process of building your writing business.

Again, I’d have to do the first run-through live, which would mean a TINY class size and a pretty high price tag for the first few students, with whom I’d be doing live-online instruction. The students would finish with a book or short story live on their own sites and the big sites (as well as any others they decided to pursue independently), and the process for putting the rest of their work into print.

But I’d be able to record the class and set it up as a lessons / worksheets / demo videos / forum discussion class that as many people as wanted to could take.

The sole prerequisite for this would be that the student had a finished, revised manuscript on hand.

My question is this: Is this something enough people want to do that it would be worth my time to pursue? Do you have any questions about building your own writing business (EXCLUDING TAX STUFF) that I haven’t included?

Yesterday’s progress

1746 words on World Clinic.

Since I’ve only had three hours sleep, and have a migraine, I’m not anticipating anything like that today.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON SPAMMING:

If you post affiliate links uninvited to someone else’s site, YOU ARE SPAMMING. I have deleted the post in this topic where this was done, and will delete any future posts containing affiliate links.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.


208 comments… add one
  • Marti Verlander (marti-v) Oct 9, 2013 @ 13:06

    It looks like a wonderful course already!

    If I wanted anything else from it, it would be a section on marketing, including some ideas on what marketing is more effective or things we can do fairly inexpensively to get the word out, until we build up enough income to afford more help with marketing.

  • Carol Englehaupt Oct 9, 2013 @ 12:04

    Yes, this is a course I’m very much interested in. Right now, I am so immersed in the publishing side and realizing that I’m woefully lacking in skills.

    I don’t know what to expect, or how to know if I’m getting the right service for a reasonable price. Or what I can learn to do for myself.

    I need to be better educated on this topic.

  • Amazingrace Mar 12, 2013 @ 5:05

    Yes, I’m interested, but at this time am so overloaded I need to finish (or at least close to) several projects first. Excellent idea – useful potential.
    Thank you
    Amazingrace

  • Meghan Jan 31, 2013 @ 14:41

    Yes! I’m very interested. I can’t think of anything to add to the bullet points you listed above.

  • Alan Mills Jan 26, 2013 @ 23:44

    Sounds like a cool workshop. Too late for my cousin (or maybe not): She already has her first book up on Kindle and Nook.

    My dad (and soon myself) would love this. One thing you should include: how and where to purchase ISBN numbers.

  • Sarah S Jan 22, 2013 @ 14:20

    This sounds great! Not to mention exactly what I’ve been looking for, as a complete newbie to everything in the self-pub world. I can’t think of anything that it’s missing, my only two questions being: 1) Would/are there any self-pub company recommendations? I’ve come across a lot and it’s a little unnerving figuring out who to trust. Or if they’re needed in general. And 2) how soon can this workshop be available? I’m simply curious and I don’t mean to impose any pressure- I know this is only in the brainstorm stage, not to mention all the projects you have going on right now. I’m only really, really looking forward to it. Have a great day Holly!

  • Lizzie Jan 22, 2013 @ 12:27

    I would definitely be interested in the course.

  • Doran Jan 22, 2013 @ 10:22

    This class comes as the right time for me. Interested in option 2. I am in the process of putting together a book on poetry and desperately attempting to grasp the means and methods to self-publishing.

    The suggested curriculum sounds encompassing enough; there are two other points of interest that concern me that I am curious about.

    1) The use of pen names, any legal requirements, etc

    2) Use of images for commercial use

    How soon would this workshop be developed? How will it affect the prerequisite if my book is a poetry book if at all. Will there be specific amount of pages/words required to be accepted.

  • PD Singer Jan 21, 2013 @ 18:45

    Some of this I am doing already, although I’m always interested in more efficient ways to work. (Just put my 4th story up as an indy.) The store and promo parts, I absolutely need.

  • A. H. Jessup Jan 21, 2013 @ 9:58

    I would be interested, but you surely need to include a deep survey of the machinery already out there such as SmashWords and BookBaby and some of their up and coming competitors. I would think many writers would be more than happy to save the sweat and tears of managing the interfaces to outlets themselves.

  • PapaBear Jan 20, 2013 @ 20:52

    Holly, I am very interested in the course. I have the first book in a series I finished through HTTS, I have gone through several Lessons of HTWAS (waiting for the revisions you were working on before I finish it), currently in HTRYN. Started talking to an Editor and an Illustrator. Already have a website for the series (not a free blogging one, a real one) where I put up info about my series (character descripts, background on the story, etc.). Goal is to finish Revision and to Editor by end of Spring or early Summer and then hopefully to CreateSpace and ePub during the Summer. So I am very interested in the Publishing and Promotion aspect of the course.

  • Kirstie Jan 20, 2013 @ 15:27

    The ebook formatting and creating a Wordpress based bookstore are VERY interesting to me. Of course price is always a factor for me but I’ll keep my eyes on this page for when you know your price so I can start saving up.

  • Meg Jan 20, 2013 @ 9:36

    I’ve got a manuscript that I’m editing currently and wondering whether or not to go down the pub or self pub route when I’m finished. I don’t know about a workshop, but I’d definitely be interested in an e-book or something like that, which would help identify key issues in self publishing and how to go about it. I really liked in your email the proposal to include guidance with formatting print and e-books and setting up your own online shop. 🙂

  • Melba Tolliver Jan 19, 2013 @ 10:57

    I’m interested in the six-week course. Keep me informed. I’ve read recently about some writers publishing their work as serialized e-books. Any thoughts or additional info on this? Or on Byliner.com? I’m thinking of going that route with my memoir. I’m new to your teaching style. What do you suggest for me to get acquainted? I write creative non-fiction, essays, memoir. Thanks and all the best as you create the new courses. MT

  • Eileen Jan 19, 2013 @ 10:42

    Holly,

    Would the e-publishing material be a lot different than what you covered in previous courses?
    In HTRYN (I think it was there) you covered self publishing – websites, formatting, cover art etc – however not a lot about actually finding a printer for paper copies of books.
    Do you use print on demand service or have a print run done?
    Would the info covered be in more detail – or have things changed since you wrote HTRYN?
    Thanks for thinking of new topics and ways to help us.

  • Mila Jan 19, 2013 @ 5:32

    Personally, I’d love such a course, though I’m afraid I’d be unable to afford being in the first round. Nevertheless, being totally new to this, I’d feel much more secure with an experienced writer and self-publisher’s tips guiding me along the way. I’m especially unsure about promotion, but also the technical help you’ve mentioned would be very welcome.

  • April Jan 18, 2013 @ 20:38

    Definitely would be interested in this. I’m not done with my novel yet, so I’d be more interested in it once you’ve done the live course and have it available to purchase for anyone, but this is stuff I’ll need to know in the near future. So, definitely interested!

  • James H. Jan 18, 2013 @ 18:39

    Looking forward to it, Holly! Let me know if you want any help setting up Stripe, the online payment processor.

    • Holly Jan 19, 2013 @ 14:45

      For now, at least, I’m happy with PayPal. But thanks.

  • Michelle Jan 18, 2013 @ 15:47

    I’d be very interested too, but for the larger class as I have sight issues which forces me to work fairly slowly. Looking forward to both this and World Clinic.

  • Yolanda Washington Jan 18, 2013 @ 14:15

    Holly, I would LOVE this course, depending on the cost of it. I am lost right now trying to figure out all the different aspects of self-publishing a finished work. Definitely will be keeping tabs on this one. Thanks!

  • Ruth Cooke Jan 18, 2013 @ 13:47

    I would definitely take this course. Go for it!

  • Pauline Jan 18, 2013 @ 12:35

    Yes, I need this.

    I would suggest a piece devoted to copy editing/editing/proofing yourself. Or how to find a reputable/inexpensive individual to complete that step for you.

  • Grandma Becky Jan 18, 2013 @ 11:06

    Yes! Most definitely I am interested! I have some children’s books people have been telling me I need to get published. Sadly, due to finances, I’ll need to wait for a later course. Holly, you are awesome!

  • Eric J. Adams Jan 18, 2013 @ 10:49

    Yes, I’m in

  • Diana Hawkins Jan 18, 2013 @ 8:09

    Sorry, I’m on the run and had to skim, so may repeat what others already said.

    I’ve had to go through the process to set up a publishing business myself.

    I did see the cover art mentioned…definitely needed. Where to find good cover artists and how to work with them is really helpful.

    Also, we are adding Kobo books in our formatting…sorry, I’ve been busy so not sure if you’ve tried them and already decided not to use them. I think they have a buggy system that takes patience, but the customer service reps are quick to work with me. The reason I point this out is because we had a lot of requests to bring our books out in this ereader. I’m in process of formatting books for it now.

    On getting your books printed, a run down of choices would be good in this series. We use Lightning Source Inc for paid POD and their distribution service for main books and one of the free POD services you’re covering already for the secondary books.

    Hope that helps. I’d be very interested in your course. I’m sure there’s bits I’ve missed in my own process to pick up from your experience. And I know people ask me questions all the time so I’d be able to recommend it to others.

  • Connie Cockrell Jan 18, 2013 @ 5:43

    I’d love to participate in this course and in the first course besides. However, the copy editing, etc., part of the process worries me. I have self pubbed one book but didn’t have the professional editing, copy editing others say are critical. I did use your How to Revise Your Novel course to help me though so it wasn’t all loss. So, if there is a spot in the new course for the editing, copy editing part, that might be good. Otherwise the whole thing sounds fantastic.

  • gabby Jan 18, 2013 @ 4:54

    Both courses sound great.

    Even if I don’t go the self-pub route, it would still be useful to me (I’d still want to setup a website to promote my work. And I’d love to know how to self-pub/format the books.)

    I second Rebecca’s comment from 1/17 at 7:32am: “how to set up a store on my website, how to get my book into the other formats, how to market, how to write effective cover blurbs, and how to create a great cover (what makes an effective cover, where to go to get the best deals for images, etc.).”

    This would be all very helpful–knowing how to make the book look and sound professional so that people want to take a chance on your self-pubbed work.

  • M Wentz Jan 18, 2013 @ 4:11

    I would be interested in the self-publishing business course, option B. I’m looking into traditional and self-pub as options right now. Your course would have to be a little more involved than what I could already learn for free on the internet. I was intrigued by the technical info and how to set up my own store, for example.

  • Kim Jan 18, 2013 @ 3:22

    How To Set Up Your Writing Business would be a knight on a horse scenario for me right now.
    I am coming to the end of the edit on my novel, YAY ME and yet OMG I am so sick of it :-P.
    About price and the like ~ 4 years ago I decided to roll the dice on me and for me. I’m about out of funds but I’m here to learn and to create my success so, “Lead on!”.
    You will have an installment plan?

  • Ann Beardsley Jan 18, 2013 @ 3:13

    I like the short story concept. I have a novel that isn’t quite there yet, so maybe it’s a disguised short story. Instead of forcing it to be longer, I need to condense it. And the business end of it would definitely be needed. So in short, I’d sign up.

  • Julian Adorney Jan 17, 2013 @ 22:41

    I would be interested in the business course, and in your tutorial/course on how to write a short story (lessons 1-4); but maybe they’d be better as separate courses?

  • Charlene Jan 17, 2013 @ 21:09

    Hi Holly,

    I would be very interested in doing something like this, especially in setting an eBook up for the different formats available online, for example, Kindle etc.

  • Marie Jan 17, 2013 @ 20:43

    I’d be interested, Holly. I’m planning on self-publishing and I’m almost ready to get my book out there. Besides my manuscript, I have my cover art, website, and a trailer set to go but I’d still be interested in hearing about cover art and building a website from you. I am glad your course would cover formatting for both e-book and print as well as getting everything into CreateSpace, Amazon, etc. because I’m about ready to tackle that. The promotional aspect of the class are going to be especially valuable. I would like to have a better understanding of what I can do before I publish as far as setting up a presence on sites like GoodReads etc. when I don’t have my book out yet and what I have to wait to do until I actually release the book. Additionally, I would like you to consider adding some of the practical business aspects of self-publishing to your class. Do you have specific best business practices that you follow? I’d like to know what those are so I start off in the right way in this area. How do you track your sales for instance. Do I need to set up a separate bank account? Some authors create their own little publishing company and incorporate. What are the advantages of that when you’re self publishing? What about things like ISBNs? And copyright – even though your piece is copyrighted when you put your fingers to the keyboard, there are some advantages to formally copyrighting anyway. I’d be interested in what you have done in all these areas and why. I enjoy your course and look forward to hearing more about this!

  • Elle Jan 17, 2013 @ 20:33

    As part of the “own shop” component, could you include how to set up an affiliate program?

    • Holly Jan 18, 2013 @ 4:46

      Nice idea. I could add it as an option. 😀

  • Carol G. Jan 17, 2013 @ 18:09

    It would be great if you did this “Writing Business” course! I’d be able to join only if there’s no charge. If there’s a fee, I wouldn’t be able to get involved.
    I’m a beginner writer, so I need help with creating dialog, characters, and description with the story.

    -Carol G.

    • Holly Jan 18, 2013 @ 4:47

      I’m afraid this course won’t be for you.

      • Carol G Jan 19, 2013 @ 20:23

        I’m dismissed that quickly? Ouch! It just depends on how much the fee would be, and I don’t feel I’m not that experienced to start this course.

        • Holly Jan 20, 2013 @ 8:55

          Carol, you said, “It would be great if you did this “Writing Business” course! I’d be able to join only if there’s no charge. If there’s a fee, I wouldn’t be able to get involved.

          That’s not asking the price. That saying, If this course isn’t free, I can’t do it. That is very specific information.

          THE COURSE ISN’T GOING TO BE FREE. I wasn’t being dismissive. I took you at your word, and answered the question you asked.

          If, in fact, you actually wanted to know what the course was going to cost, you needed to ask THAT question.

          And the answer to that question, which I’ve answered elsewhere in this thread, is “I don’t know, because I’m not sure which elements I’m going to need to include, or how much time it’s going to take me to include them.

          • Carol G. Jan 20, 2013 @ 18:53

            I apologize, Ms. Holly, I honestly wasn’t trying to start an argument or start off on the wrong foot. I wasn’t aware that I was going to get a response, because I’m just a fan of your work, so I was caught off guard when you did respond, but that’s a silly excuse though. [And I don’t mean that as an offense, either.] And yes, you did answer the questions that I asked. I’ll have to wait until your final decision on the pricing if I can do the course. Thank You for replying back.

  • Melissa Wilkinson Jan 17, 2013 @ 16:54

    I would be very interested in this type of course!!!

  • Jay Jan 17, 2013 @ 16:54

    Hi Holly, This sounds like a great idea – there are many sites with bits and pieces of instruction and guidance but a process-centred guide from formatting to selling would be, I think, a very useful resource. I’ve recently published my third novel as an ebook and on CreateSpace as a POD paperback, but I would certainly appreciate a course of the kind you’re considering, especially the selling end and setting up a viable little e-store on one’s site. Thanks. Jay

  • Lauren Ruiz Jan 17, 2013 @ 16:09

    As a freelance editor, I’m definitely interested in this. I’d love to be able to refer my self-publishing customers to one place where they can find all this info.

  • Laraine Jan 17, 2013 @ 16:01

    I had no problems self-publishing my books, Holly, but I learned (over twenty years ago when my husband tried Amway) that I couldn’t sell a glass of water to a man dying of thirst in the desert. Ergo, I need to know how to market and promote my books.

    • Holly Jan 20, 2013 @ 10:01

      I’m including self-promotion in the course.

  • Victory White Jan 17, 2013 @ 15:58

    I would be interested in the publishing course. I’m debating whether to try self publishing and learing how to do it without a huge monetary investment would be one answer.

  • Bill Polm Jan 17, 2013 @ 15:45

    (I’m a new HTRYN student, by the way)
    I know one thing I would find helpful is such a course (in addition to wht you already have) would be guidelines for deciding what story ideas would be salable, which would interest potential readers.

    This, to me, is an important aspect, although it might be difficult to put together, given the many genres. But I don’t think it would need to be long.

    Important because when you self-publish you want to spend your time and money well–not on hopeless fiction pieces that would likely not sell no matter how much they were promoted.

    • Holly Jan 18, 2013 @ 4:50

      I’ve covered making your story salable—and what constitutes salable fiction—in How to Think Sideways and How to Revise Your Novel. That’s outside the scope of this particular course.

  • Susanne Jan 17, 2013 @ 15:34

    This sounds great. I’m interested.

    Thanks.

    Susanne

  • Kathryn Kistner Jan 17, 2013 @ 15:30

    In the Business course, will you be discussing how to get people to sign up to be on your mailing list? What delivery service to use? What to put in a mailout? How often to mail to them? Is it even necessary? (Plus the answers to related questions that I haven’t asked?)

    • Holly Jan 20, 2013 @ 9:02

      Yes. Mailing lists are frequently looked down on by folks promoting social media.

      They’re better, though.

  • LKT Jan 17, 2013 @ 15:06

    I would definitely be interested in something like this. I’m not in a position to help you through your concept phase, but would be all over purchasing the final product.

  • meham Jan 17, 2013 @ 14:58

    Definitely a timely offering and I’m up for it. I have a couple of short story collection-worthy plans that I would love to be able to put on my about-to-be revamped Wordpress themed site. Love that you are including how to put images in the documents.

    My only problem with being part of the beta group is timing–what time of day the live work would be.

    Sign me up, otherwise!
    m

  • Autumn Macarthur Jan 17, 2013 @ 14:50

    Holly, fabulous timing, I just quit my brain sucking Day Job to write full time and need to get my stories out there and hopefully selling as fast as they are edited up and fit to be read. I know what an excellent teacher you are from HTTS, and would love this course.

    I’d need to be in the second wave of students too though, I can’t afford the live sessions. The tradeoff for more time to write is zero salary for a while!

    I’d find it helpful as part of the course to know what you tried and found unhelpful, so I don’t go down some of the same dead ends trying to cut costs. Not just what you use now, but the rationale as well.

  • Kathryn Kistner Jan 17, 2013 @ 14:42

    Yes, I’m definitely interested in the Business Course.

    I was able to get Scrivener for $20 by finishing 57,000 words in Camp NanoWrimo in August (2012). The half-price Scrivener reward was what kept me going!

    • Holly Jan 20, 2013 @ 9:03

      That’s COOL. I had no idea Scrivener did that.

  • Claudette Jan 17, 2013 @ 14:13

    I’d be interested in such a short course, Holly, sometime in the coming months. I’m up to eyeballs in commitments right now, though, too. This looks to have everything I really need. I’ll be glad to see when it goes up for use.

    Good luck on all those details. As for anything I’m particularly interested in other than what you’ve outlined, I think you’ve covered about everything I can think of at the moment; except, of course, how to sqeeze six more hours a day into the clock.

  • Heather Gale Jan 17, 2013 @ 13:28

    Hi Holly, so pleased to see you have such great responses and I too am a ‘yes, very interested.’
    However, I have a kid lit at 1400 WC which may not work for your trial?

    Someone had also mentioned art work earlier and you’d replied that it would be fairly easy.
    Is there any software program you prefer to use? I happened to hear about fifty three yesterday and it’s free to try.

    I’ll be waiting at the gates on announcement day 🙂
    Heather

    • Holly Jan 20, 2013 @ 10:03

      😀 There’s definitely enough interest for this to be worth my time.

      So I’ll do the course.

      Not sure when, yet. I’ll still need to dig through responses, make sure I answer related question, and at the SAME time, make sure I don’t get sidetracked into duplicating information I’ve already included in other courses.

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