Think Sideways–Additional Answers

Wow. A lot of questions about that last post.

Let me answer them here:

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Course Feedback
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Some clarification on my “the course will NOT be one-on-one” statement because some is obviously needed. I did not say I wouldn’t be giving feedback. I said I wouldn’t be able to answer individual questions, or to do crits on projects.

I will be answering questions, which is why the first class is going to be very small, and why subsequent classes will also likely be at least fairly small.

In the last lesson of each month, you’ll receive one PDF that is specifically Q&A from the lessons for that month. You’ll mail them to a special e-mail address, I’ll collect and read them all, and answer them in one FAQ sheet that everyone will be able to use. And THAT is why the first class is going to be very small, and why I have to be careful not to take too many people at one time even later. I’ll always be answering questions. Just not one-on-one.

Consider the time this will take if I have even 100 people going through the course and half of them have even one unique question that requires a thoughtful answer per month.

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Lesson Format
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At the moment, this is the lesson format I’ve hammered out. It isn’t carved in stone, but it’s considerably closer to what I’ll go with than my previous three attempts.

The entire course will include:

  • (6) 10-to-20-minute videos (one per month) introducing concepts, building on previous techniques, and giving an overview of how the current month’s lessons will fit into the process;
  • (24) PDF lessons
  • (18) Technique demonstrations
  • (6) Project synthesis tutorials
  • (6) Project development checklists, one per month
  • (6) Q&A pdfs

Each month, the lessons will run as follows:

WEEK ONE

  • Monthly video
    Note: I’ll have one large file for people with fast connections, and a group of small files for people with slow connections, so one way or another, everyone should be able to download these. Worst case, I’ll create some sort of private area where class members with really cruddy connections can view them on their browsers.
  • PDF lesson
  • Technique demo
     

WEEK TWO

  • PDF lesson
  • Technique demo
     

WEEK THREE

  • PDF lesson
  • Technique demo
     

WEEK FOUR

  • PDF lesson
  • Project synthesis tutorial
  • Project checklist
  • Q&A
     

The entire course will be downloadable, and while you’ll receive one lesson each week, you don’t have to start on them or do them until you’re ready.

My own personal example on this: I’m currently enrolled in a year-long course I don’t have time to work on right now. However, it’s a great course (and was hard to get into), so I’m staying enrolled and downloading every lesson as it becomes available. I’ll get started on it when THE SILVER DOOR is done.

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Lesson Length
============

I’m planning for each lesson to be about 10 content pages long. Unfortunately, I know me, and I know that—aside from novels, where I’m pretty good at hitting planned word lengths—I tend to run over. So for lesson length, figure ten pages, but don’t be surprised if they have a bit more to them than that.

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Virtual Classroom
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I’m still debating a “class space” bulletin board where people could work on lessons together if they chose. HOWEVER… moderation takes time if I do it, and it costs extra money if someone else does it, and I’m not sure if it would add enough to the value of the course to be worthwhile. Interacting with other class members will NOT be a required or necessary part of the course.

At the moment, I’m leaning strongly toward NOT including a virtual classroom. Your comments, however, are welcome.

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Criteria For Getting In
=================

“What will be your criteria for getting into the course?”

A fast trigger finger.

At least for the very first class. Registration will open one hour early for priority list members. I strongly suspect, because of its size, that the first class will fill up before general registration opens–if that happens, a sign will go up on the main page saying that the class sold out, and that people who didn’t make it into the first class can sign up for the waiting list and join if someone else cancels. People who are on the Priority list are already on the waiting list (it’s the same list). Individual seats that open up won’t be announced anywhere else.

IF I FIND THAT I CAN COMFORTABLY HANDLE MORE THAN THE SMALL ORIGINAL CLASS SIZE, within a month or two I will set up a second class to allow additional folks in. This is an if, not a promise. I’m very determined not to bite of more than I can chew here, because I’m making a six-month commitment of my time and effort to the people who are taking the course, and if I can’t keep up with the workload, everybody loses.

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Will There Be A Book?
==================

No. This is it. I want to be able to change and update and add things, to keep the Q&A pdfs current, to expand if something cool occurs to me, to add new media if I discover something that will allow me to make points clearer, to help you hit those Ah-HAH! moments faster—and books are lovely, and I love them. But they are static, and not right for this course.

And something that wasn’t asked, but that I’ll answer.

Will those of you who are in the first class be able to receive the updated materials?

Yes.

Will you have to pay extra?

No.

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PRICE
======

Now price, because I know that’s a big deal, and a big concern. And the fact is, I don’t KNOW what to charge. I know I’m planning on splitting the cost across the six months the course will take in order to keep it within the reach of just about everyone.

I know putting the course together is going to be time-and-energy intensive for me, I know this is some of the best stuff I have and it’s all original, based on my life experiences and what I’ve done, and how I’ve learned to use good and bad situations and find opportunities and fix problems in order to stay afloat and published in a very competitive, tough business. Like the little courses I offer through the shop, this isn’t based on anyone’s theory. It’s simply what has worked and what continues to work for me, put into a format you can make work for you.

What is that worth, broken down into six monthly installments? I don’t know, but I’d love to hear your opinions.

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Graduating
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Finally, I’m thinking about designing a T-shirt or a mug or something for class graduates—a sort of class ring for the Sideways Thinkers of the world. You could buy it through Cafe Press or something like it. Is that a dumb idea?

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

38 comments… add one
  • wolverine Jun 4, 2008 @ 10:31

    I’m up way too late, so no long comment. A few thoughts: while $100 a month does sound reasonable, I personally can’t afford it right now, even more so because exchange would make it more than that. However, that wouldn’t matter anyway, because, as a couple of others have said, internationals won’t have a chance for the first round. (I know I will probably be asleep, as Australian hours are *almost* opposite to American.)

    And finally; I realise you haven’t decided on numbers, Holly, but a ballpark would make our ideas more useful I think. If you’re thinking 10-20 people or 100-200 people, the estimates are probably going to change significantly. 10-20 would have to pay more than $100 a month I think, to make it worthwhile. (I do think that, once you’re streamlined it with the first few rounds, you’ll probably be able to increase the size of the group somewhat, but that’s irrelevent right now.)

    Wolverine

  • hollylisle Jun 4, 2008 @ 9:35

    Oh, man. I had a T-shirt like that. All the members of my high school graduating class. I wore it nearly to death, then put it aside to save. And then it got lost in one of many moves.

    I loved that shirt.

  • The Pencil Neck Jun 4, 2008 @ 1:05

    I graduated from the Musician’s Institute way back in ’93. And one of the guys put together a tee-shirt that had all the names of all the graduates in that class on the back with a design (which was an “artified” the jazz standard Joy Spring which most of us had to play a zillion times). I bought three of them. I’ve worn one to the point that it’s raggedy. I’ve got the second one really well broken in and I’m saving the third for later.

    So.

    Yeah. Having some sort of badge of honor for the class is a really cool idea.

  • wisemoon Jun 3, 2008 @ 13:15

    Whoops, I meant “5 weeks *per quarter*” so, ten weeks for the course I took from UCLA Extension. Sorry for the confusion.

  • wisemoon Jun 3, 2008 @ 13:13

    (looks around) Wow. Glad I checked back in here, lots of discussion since I posted my rough idea out into the ether.

    Okay. So in my own defense (as I dodge flaming arrows) I *did* say I was the first person to comment and my estimates might be way off. I did. It’s right there, in print. And I did say the course should be worth “at least” as much as the Writer’s Block course, implying that it could be worth much more.

    That said, I think I wasn’t really thinking of this in terms of the college-level online courses I’ve taken. Now that I’ve readjusted my view to include that, I agree with the other folks suggesting a higher price. For instance, I took a screenwriting course from UCLA Extension, that was about $2000 for two quarters (let’s see, that’s roughly 5 weeks or so?). So about $200 a week, I guess if I’m remembering the length correctly (I could be way off though; my memory is like swiss cheese…the parts that are there are tasty but there are lots of holes).

    Hopefully, Holly can find some kind of compromise between the huge expense of a college-level course, and the minor expense of the small-to-medium courses and clinics she’s done so far. As celtfiddler said, she would have to charge at least $100 to really get paid anything close to what she’s worth…so I have a feeling she will end up charging something that is just slightly *below* what she is worth, making this course even more of a bargain for us given the high quality instruction she always provides.

    There, I feel I have redeemed my honor sufficiently. (bow)

    As for the group/bulletin board question, the class I took through UCLA Extension was chatroom based. They posted logs of the chats on a login-protected website, so that members of the class could log in later and download the log. This was useful for those who missed the lecture, but also useful because I kept all the logs and have referred back to them on my own many times. There was also a workshop/discussion session which was also chatroom based, and similarly the logs were posted. That said, it doesn’t seem to fit into your plan as outlined above, but it would solve the problem of international participants in a sense, because although they might miss the actual discussion they could download it and read it on their own and have it to refer to. I like the idea of having an optional Yahoo Group, LJ community, or similar setup for class participants, because like some have already said, I really get a lot out of bouncing ideas off of other people, listening to how other people solved problems, etc. Not everyone enjoys that or finds it useful, but it would be nice to have that option available for those of us who do.

    And if I got into the class, I would even be willing to raise my hand and moderate such a thing. Though whether I can get in, or afford it, is in question at this point.

  • hollylisle Jun 1, 2008 @ 20:54

    I’d already noted that I intend to keep the course within reach of most people, and NOT with the need of financing. 😀

    While the folks suggesting college-tuition-type levels are pretty cool for doing so, I want to make this available to as many folks as I can.

    To briscf, however, I’ll note that I made first-novel money 30+ novels ago, and figuring what I “should” make from the course based on what a first novelist gets paid is irrelevant. If I were a first novelist, the course wouldn’t be worth much of anything.

    And I haven’t given any indication of how many students I’m considering for each class. I haven’t decided yet. 100 is not my number.

  • briscf Jun 1, 2008 @ 16:10

    Sure it’s true, that Holly is putting a lot of time in this course, but my understanding was she was looking at about 100 people per session, give or take. So, that being the case, at $100 per person per month, she would be making $10k per month for six months. Heck, even at $50 a month per person, $5k a month ain’t nothing to sneeze at. That’s way more than a first novel advance for many people. The only writers that make $60k for a first novel are the EXTREMEly lucky ones. I’m not saying Holly doesn’t deserve to make as much money as the next guy, but if the interest is really out there for this course, and it’s price for the mass market, she’ll make a lot dough for her time. Let’s also remember that this was not a one-on-one type course. She will be going a Q&A at the end of each month.

  • celtfiddler May 31, 2008 @ 13:08

    It seems to me that when you’re offering a course like this, your income should be as close as possible to what you would make from using an equal amount of time writing. If ten people sign up for a six-month course at $100 a month, that pays you $6,000 — not much more, last time I checked, than a first-novel advance.

    While the course won’t (or at least, shouldn’t) take up anything like as much time as writing a novel, you’re not exactly at the first-novel earning level. You should be paid what your time is worth. And since this is the first time through, you don’t know how much time and energy running the course is going to consume.

    Given the scope of what you’re offering, anything less than $100 a month seems to me like you’d be short-changing yourself and selling the program short. This in spite of the fact that $100 a month would be an enormous stretch for me personally right now, and I’d probably have to save up for it, and take the course the second (or third) time you offer it.

  • ekcarmel May 31, 2008 @ 8:56

    Holly, I read all the info. here last night and wanted to give myself time for it all to “percolate” before I replied.

    The lesson format and schedule of lessons for each month are straight forward and the Q&A at month’s end seems a sensible way to me. I like it all very much. I’m not likely to use the virtual classroom, myself.

    Now, on to the tough one…

    While I have bought three of your other courses, I have never bought the kind of big course you are offering here. So, as far as price goes, I have to defer to those who have bought that type of thing from other sources. It has been my experience with you that you go way beyond what others offer (I’m more familiar with books and free websites about the writing process). It’s my opinion that you need to price your course on par with these others in order to get a return on the tremendous amount of time, effort and creativity you put into it. I honestly don’t think $50/month is enough for the course you’re describing. You can’t shortchange yourself. Of course, having said that, I have never been able to put that kind of money into a writing course. I’m very tempted, though, because this is YOU offering it, so I’ll have to consider it some more.

    Thanks, Holly, for all your hard work for our benefit!

  • coraa May 30, 2008 @ 20:02

    With a little more thought…

    I feel ambivalent about a “class space” bulletin board arrangement. I am unlikely to use it; I tend not to get too involved in that kind of chitchat, because if I do it’s really easy to get so involved with the sense of community that I don’t actually do any work. So for the sake of my own productivity, I would be unlikely to take advantage of it — and therefore, just in terms of *me*, it’d be a waste of your time/money to set one up. But I may be alone in that.

    I was thinking about pricing, and when I was taking weekly harp lessons my classes were $140 per month. I think, given that, the $100 range would be not unfair, at least for the first small classes — that’s a bit less than the harp lessons, because they’re not one-on-one, but not too much less, because they require more prep for you (my harp teacher taught out of a book that she hadn’t written, after all).

    I grant you, the $100 would be possibly hard for some people to afford. I could do it, but it’d be tight. Still, I don’t think it’s an unfair amount, when I compare to other regular-lessons type classes.

  • alisons May 30, 2008 @ 13:59

    Sorry, when I said “group” I meant the Q and A sessions Holly mentioned, not a bulletin board. I agree with those who said they’d find that too much of a distraction – I don’t need any more Internet pages to distract me!

  • alisons May 30, 2008 @ 13:58

    I think that the number of people enrolled on the course will make quite a difference to the value, because it must make a difference to how personal any feedback can be (though having a group will itself be helpful, because other people’s questions are often very useful to hear). People have suggested a very wide range of pricing structures in these comments, and obviously Holly could choose to set the cost anywhere along that spectrum. There’s going to be a cutoff point somewhere, above which most people don’t participate because they can’t afford it, no matter how worthwhile the course is. It sounds as if $50/month is a figure that almost everyone agrees is reasonable, but that not everyone feels they could afford, so I would expect that to be the lower end of the price bracket Holly seriously considers, since nobody thinks that excessive. If the price gets into the 100s of dollars, then that in itself will significantly reduce the size of the class, perhaps to a level where everyone who is prepared to pay the cost is able to get a place.
    Perhaps another possible approach would be to have one trial week that was open to a larger user base, so that people could make a more informed decision on whether they wanted to proceed, once they’d got a better idea of how the approach suited them, and then the final participants could be selected from those who still wanted to proceed after a taster session? Just a thought – I appreciate it may not be possible or helpful.

  • vanity May 30, 2008 @ 9:27

    I think I have to agree with zoomerbeth, disregard my earlier comments.

  • LisaM May 30, 2008 @ 8:55

    (Just read back over my comment and thought I’d better clarify what I meant by “…when I take into account the comments of those who are in the know”. I was referring to people who do online courses and know how much they cost.)

  • LisaM May 30, 2008 @ 5:55

    The format for each month looks great, and I like the idea of a Q&A sheet at the end of each month.

    I would agree with driftsmoke’s comment that bulletin boards could lure one into ‘chewing the cud’. I’d much prefer to be sitting in front of my laptop working through the exercises from the course and upping my wordcount. 🙂

    When it comes to pricing, that’s difficult; what is the course worth vs what we can all afford. If I make some sacrifices, I could afford $50 a month, but I believe that the course is easily worth more than that, when I take into account the comments of those who are in the know. I would also prefer the course content to be as thorough as possible and have the price reflect this, than have a more affordable price but with watered-down content.

    It’s good to know that there’s no pressure to complete anything in a given time-frame, that the course is downloadable, and that the upgrades are free to those who have already done the course. That’s a real bonus.

    I’m living in Western Australia, so getting into the first round is looking a bit dodgy… (sob)…

    And having a graduation mug and/or t-shirt sounds like a great idea to me.

    Thanks Holly.

  • Deedlit May 30, 2008 @ 5:12

    I thought I’d read what other people are putting before I replied. Everything that you have planned to put in the course looks good and it seems like a good amount of content. I’m not sure how long it will take you to put the materials together each week, so cost is a hard thing to work out.

    Looking at other people’s posts, a fair few people have said around the $50 mark, but that they couldn’t afford to pay that. I’m trying to think of a good comparison, but I’m failing!

    Over here (England), a music lesson would cost around £16 a week, so roughly $32 dollars. The teacher might not have to put the same amount of work in, but it is one on one tuition, so they have to teach a lot of classes a week to make enough money for their business (or sideline) to be profitable. Whereas preparing course material and feedback to queries will take longer, it’s open to more people at a time.

    In also have mixed feelings about a message/bulletin board. It would be quite nice to see what other people are doing, but not everyone can dedicate the time to doing that. Even if it isn’t a course requirement to have contact with anyone else on the course, a class bulletin board might give the illusion that people should. Also, as you said, bulletin boards need moderation. If it’s used a lot it will need a lot of moderation, which would bump the cost of the course up for a non-essential component.

    Another option would be to ask the class participants if they wouldn’t mind their e-mail addresses sharing. I’m doing a distance university course and that’s what they do. That way, if we want to contact each other we can and if we don’t, we don’t give permission for our e-mail addresses to be shared.

  • djmills May 30, 2008 @ 1:41

    Hi Holly

    I have read what everyone is saying and would like to point out two things.

    The many writing courses I have undertaken before are so far below the quality of your Plot, Char, Language and Page Turning Scenes it is unbelievable, I wish I had them before I wrote my first book, so I know this course will be high quality as well, whatever the cost.

    My second point is that only USA people will get in fast enough for the first course because we will all be asleep during the hour when the announcement is made.

    So, I am already disappointed but look forward to the second round of applications.

  • cherylp May 30, 2008 @ 0:10

    For this kind of course, $50 ish per month seems reasonable.

  • zoomerbeth May 29, 2008 @ 21:29

    P.S. A graduation t-shirt or mug or mousepad is a great idea. 🙂

  • zoomerbeth May 29, 2008 @ 21:27

    Hi Holly,

    This looks like a full-blown college course (which is better than most) and I would expect it to be priced the same way. Even though my pocketbook hopes for a $10/month course, in reality a)you charge for what you put in, and we all know it’s worth it or we wouldn’t be reading this; b)full-blown college classes at the university in my town run about $1,350 per course per semester; and c)for the amount of content you’ve outlined that would be undercharging. So I wouldn’t be able to afford it without another student loan, but if your course was offered at the college here I’d gladly mortgage my future for it. 🙂

    You know what your work is worth better than anyone else. Don’t be afraid to charge what it’s worth. If you want to offer a deal that’s also your choice, but don’t short-change yourself.

  • driftsmoke May 29, 2008 @ 19:08

    I like a bargain. I’ll be the first to admit it. When I first read through everything, $50-$75/mo. was ringing in my head. My reasons were mostly selfish. That’s about the outer limit of what I could pay, so, of course, it sounded about right. Can the tuition be paid out by the month? Some stuff sounded like it could, and some stuff sounded like it couldn’t.

    I’ll say this. I’d rather Holly charge what she wants to get for the course than I would see her scale down the content. Or, at the very least, I’d like to see what both versions of the course would include before a final decision was made. I would hate to know she was doing a bunch of work for way less than she intended to be paid for it. Besides that, if her audio course and clinics are anything to go by, she really has some great ideas. I’d like to learn all I can–if I can even get in.

    My experience with online writing classes and message boards associated with them:

    I took two online writing courses through Ed2Go. Each of the six week courses included two weekly lessons of about ten pages each, an assignment from each lesson, and a quiz for each lesson. Students posted assignments and questions on a class message board. We took the quizzes in a different format, and they were automatically graded. For what the courses cost ($100/ea.), I felt like I got my money’s worth. I wrote a complete novel using the techniques I learned. It wasn’t a good novel, but I think that is the necessity of a first work. And since I’ve yet to produce anything else…obviously, I need way more help. 🙂

    I said all that to say that I like Holly’s idea for having a Q & A with a resulting FAQ that everyone can use. I think that format will be as, if not more, helpful than the quiz and assignment format I used for the other classes.

    As for a class message/bulletin board, I have mixed feelings. Sometimes seeing what other people think can give you a whole new perspective on concepts. Sometimes you can also waste way too much time chewing the cud in such places. It’s a fine balance.

    Either way, I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  • hopefulauthor May 29, 2008 @ 17:08

    Hey Holly,
    I think what you have outlined and suggested for the course would give everyone lucky enough to take the course a leg up in thought process. It sounds like a winner.
    I also think $50 to $75 is very fair.
    There are many writing courses out on the market that cost far more without the same kind of content and I would say original thought. That is what I think is so special about your course is that it comes from you a working author and you have a way of creating your other courses that are much more personal and in my case connect with my thought process much more than the other courses I have taken.
    I think whatever you decide interest will be there as well as support!

  • worldsapart May 29, 2008 @ 16:35

    I concur with much of what has already been said. Another vote for $50/month (even though I couldn’t afford that right now), availability of a “basics” version, and an online group of some sort (though I prefer the format of the MSN groups to those available on Yahoo…even a community on livejournal would work).

  • vanity May 29, 2008 @ 16:12

    Even though I can’t afford it, I agree with the sentiments that the $50 / month is reasonable.

    My own guestimate was in the same range as wisemoon’s (I figured $20 per month), but that was just because I was taking my own finances into account, not what the course would be worth.

    Given that, I’d prefer a more expensive course that I cannot participate in right now (but perhaps sometime in the future), rather than a lower priced one, which wouldn’t be as good.

  • cmcampbell May 29, 2008 @ 15:19

    I think $50 a month is reasonable. I would hate to see content cut from the course. I want everything that you can throw at us. 🙂

  • Kerr May 29, 2008 @ 14:00

    Hi,
    If you are worried about too many questions please don’t. I was a distance education tutor marker for university students for five years and had some 120 students per semester and only about 5% were right there asking questions and about 15% that wanted to engage in some way.
    I like the idea of having a lower price for basics as I like to work on my own.

    Yahoo Groups would be good. E-mails come in at your own request and so information keeps dribbling in which I like.
    Will you be going on a monthly basis for paying?
    And, finally, when do you want to start this course Holly?

  • Katze May 29, 2008 @ 13:45

    Hi,

    I would pay 50$ a month, too, even if it is a lot of money. I know that your courses are worth it.

    Have you thought about doing two versions of your course? One the way you planed it, the other with just the basics for a much lower price (about 15-20$ a month) but without your personal input?

    Cat

  • coraa May 29, 2008 @ 13:45

    I’d be willing to pay up to $50-75 a month for a course of that nature. I realize that I am privileged in that I can afford that, but it seems reasonable for the amount of content offered, and I would be willing to pony up.

  • chris_rs May 29, 2008 @ 13:37

    I take courses at the Gotham Writer’s Workshop. Their 10 week course which includes a written lecture weekly, assignments which are critted by teacher and two larger assignments are $395 ($365 for returning students) plus a $25 registration fee. They regularly fill their sessions.
    It appears that you would be providing a lot more information (more stuff over a longer period of time) but not giving the one-on-one feedback which really increases the value of the class. I saw that you will be answering questions once a month. Based on this, I would agree with briscf that $50 / month is probably reasonable. If you give people the opportunity to bail out after the first two months, you would get feedback on what needs to be fixed and would reassure people that they are not stuck if the course isn’t what they hoped for.

  • Rae May 29, 2008 @ 13:36

    Forgot to say about money.

    Patricia Kay does intensive small 8 week writing classes which cost $175 which she limits to 25 students. I believe she uses yahoo loops to deliver these class but I could be wrong.
    (http://www.patriciakay.com/classes/index.php)

    If you’re looking to go small and limit numbers then I would expect it to be priced at $200+. Gotham Writers charges around $400 for a six to ten week class. Class sizes are limited to 14.
    (http://www.writingclasses.com/)

    If the price is going to be at those levels then you might want to consider including some kind of carrot – sign up and you’ll also get 50% discount on plot clinics for instance.

  • briscf May 29, 2008 @ 13:21

    I meant to say that I would be willing to pay up to $50 A MONTH for your course. Sorry.

  • WanderingAuthor May 29, 2008 @ 13:20

    First of all, your method of dealing with questions sounds better than answering individual questions. If I understand you right, you’d be answering all the questions that cropped up, but sharing the answers with everyone. More efficient for you, if two people ask the same question, and better for the students, since they’d see the answers to questions they hadn’t thought of.

    Before I read Holly’s answer, I already thought comparing this to the Writer’s Block course was way off-base. (Sorry, wisemoon; no offense intended.) This is a huge, complex course. I’ve seen online courses with as much materiel, but not one-tenth as intriguing, going for several thousand dollars. Those courses never tempted me; this one does. (And most of those promise far more than they can deliver: Holly delivers.)

    A per month charge of $250 would be a bargain for something like this – six months would only be $1,500. Other courses on this scale can be $2,500 or more. Make it $100 a month, and it just might be the biggest steal on the Internet. Of course, can I afford that much? Not right now…

    I know a lot of the rest of you can’t either, and you probably want my head after seeing the figures I just posted. But remember, Holly is giving up a pretty good chunk of six months’ time for this. And putting a lot of work into creating the course, and the cost of creation. The need for smaller courses means the cost / hourly return of the course is spread among fewer people. Fair is fair. We just have to figure out how to be fair, and still get the course we want. 🙂

    I do have an idea. It is going to be hard to get into this course anyway. Perhaps you could set up a way to pay in advance, smaller payments; when you get paid up, you get a slot in the next class. Or, even if that is too much trouble, once we’re warned, we can start saving, slowly. I’ve done it a few other times for things I wanted badly enough, and this course is worth it! The few people with lots of spare cash will grab the first class, those with a bit less will grab the second, the rest of us will just have to wait a while.

    Two other points: I don’t care about the bulletin boards myself, but know some people are able to get more out of a course if they can interact with others. Then again, that would push the price up… I’d prefer a BB system, where you log in or not as you choose, over Yahoo Groups. which stuffs your inbox with mail you may or may not want (including every little side chat anyone starts up).

    A little graduation t-shirt or mug sounds cool – even both! If I can spring for the course, I can manage the cost of both of those at Cafe Press.

  • briscf May 29, 2008 @ 13:20

    Holly:

    You put a lot of work in this course. And of course the time to do this course while in session. I’ve paid anywhere from $25 to $50 for a writing course (a four week course), so I would be willing to pay up to $50 if I felt like I was getting my money’s worth. The problem being I wouldn’t know that ahead of time. But from a few of the other courses I have taken of yours, it just might be worth it.

    Also, why won’t you sell the course as a stand alone? Sometimes I just like to buy the course materials for the info and just work through it myself. Is your participation really necessary? I’m in no way implying that you are not in any way important. I was just wondering ’cause maybe if you just sold a stand alone course, it might be more affordable to some AND some people won’t have to feel left out because they weren’t able to sign up fast enough.

    But regardless of all that, THANKS for all that you do.

  • hollylisle May 29, 2008 @ 12:57

    A note on the Writers’ Block course. That is 6 ten-minute MP3s and one PDF. It’s a small-medium course.

    Price-wise, not in the same ballpark at all.

    If that’s the price people are hoping for, I might have to cut way back on what I plan to do for this course.

  • Rae May 29, 2008 @ 12:57

    I think that you should consider setting up a free yahoo group for class students to ask questions. That way students could interact with each and the same question won’t get asked twice because everyone can see what has been asked. You could just say you will only check the loop at a certain time. You could also get a couple of the students who were trustworthy to act as moderators for you. They would deal with any problems that crop up.

    I’ve taken a lot of paid online classes in the last year and most of them were run using the free yahoo groups. The ones that used bulletin boards didn’t feel quite so stimulating. It was probably due to having to go to quiet bulletin boards as opposed to email digests coming into your inbox with lots of chatter.

    I also think that your worry about half the class asking unique questions is a bit unfounded. From what I’ve seen the majority tend to lurk. Usually more than 60% of them will never post after the intial hello. I’ve been in classes that had close to two hundred people and I’d say at most only a third of the class ever posted anything. Usually you’ll get a flurry of activity in the first couple of days, weeks or even months then life seems to intrude and a lot less people are posting. I suppose like all distance learning/ part time study there is a high drop out rate.

  • alisons May 29, 2008 @ 12:53

    I completely understand that you need to limit class size, and that first come, first served is as fair a way to do it as any, but since not all of us are in the USA, I just wondered if there was any way to facilitate applications from those in different time zones. I mean, I’m in the UK, so USA mornings and early afternoons I’m awake, but not US evenings; but you may have people who want to participate from Asia or Australia, where the opposite will be true. I suppose it’s just one of those things and we’ll have to hope for the best ; )
    With regard to price, I agree with wisemoon – I would pay a monthly cost roughly equal to the “Character” clinics or thereabouts; if it got much over that, I would have to think whether I could justify the expense.
    Thank you for asking for our views on this.

  • dialyn May 29, 2008 @ 12:19

    I’m disappointed that there will be no book and no way for me to participate, but I know you have to do what is best for you and the majority of the students. It is a huge project and sounds like it will be well worthwhile to those who can, and perhaps I’ll be able to in the future should my circumstances change (specifically time to devote to it and a way to overcome my deep adversion to watching videos on computer screens 🙁 – sigh). I wish you all well in this endeavor.

    By the way, for all those anti-PowerPoint presentation people, there is a very good slide show (sorry) on this topic at Brain Rules (http://www.brainrules.net/) which explains why PowerPoint presentations are often so painfully boring, and how presenters can improve them.

    Dianne

  • wisemoon May 29, 2008 @ 12:15

    Hi Holly. Price. Well I think it should probably be at least as much as your Writer’s Block course, which is about $60. If you split that up, that’s $10 a month, which is pretty affordable. If you figure this course is more time-intensive and therefore worth more than the Writer’s Block course (and I’d buy that idea), then say you charge…oh, $80-100 total. Split over 6 months, that’s…oh some ungodly unending decimal, so let’s round off. $13-ish to $16-ish per month.

    Sorry, my math brain is handicapped. So…I guess if you average that to about $15 a month, over 6 months, you’d get a total price of $90. I think that’s reasonable, but that might still seem too low for you, I don’t know. I think my logic is sound but I’m the first person commenting so I don’t know what criteria other people might think of.

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