Having multiple streams of income is important as an author, so maybe you have considered leveraging your expertise to create an online course. Should you? How does it work?


In this episode, Autumn and Jesper talk about course creation from how the Ultimate Fantasy Writer's Guide came to be to the steps you should take when looking to create your first course.


As we announced in the show, our premium one-stop-shot writer's course, the Ultimate Fantasy Writer's Guide is about to open for the first time in six months. If you want to learn to write, edit, format, and publish a book to raving fans, come check it out at https://ultimatefantasywritersguide.com/main/!


Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday. 




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Join us at www.patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy. For as little as a dollar a month, you’ll get awesome rewards and keep the Am Writing Fantasy podcast going. 

Read the full transcript below. (Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).

Narrator (2s):
You're listening to the am. Writing fantasy podcast in today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need an literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them now onto the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt, and Jesper Schmidt.

Jesper (30s):
Hello, I'm Jesper.

Autumn (31s):
And I am Autumn.

Jesper (33s):
This is episode 85 of the am writing fantasy podcast. At the end of last week's episode, we announced that we would be talking about taking a book book off Permafree like autumn did with her book born of water recently, but we decided to delay the topic for next week because we are prerecording a bunch of episodes. She had to carry us through the summer. So waiting one more week for you as a listener, actually gives us several weeks on our end.

Jesper (1m 4s):
And well, that sounded a bit complicated, but the point is that this delay will allow us to collect a bit more data on taking a book off Permafree. So I think that's the way we're going to go right on them. I think so I think it's good data, but at the moment, I think it's more challenges and problems, and I want to give you some encouragement and inspiration. So I think just a few more weeks of tweaking and being ready and complete, you know, compiling the stats and seeing how this is going will make every it'll make much more sense.

Jesper (1m 34s):
It'll be so much more interesting. So I admit I'm the one who said, Hey, can we switch these? So it's all on me. That's absolutely fine. So instead we are going to discuss creating a course as another stream of income for your author business. Is it actually worth the effort? And if so, what can you expect if you go into course creation? So that'll be the topic for today. And it's a, it'll be a fun one too. I look forward to sharing some of the journey we've taken to get to where we're at.

Jesper (2m 9s):
Yeah, absolutely. Before then. So how are things on your side of the Atlantic? No, it's good. I'll be heading off for three weeks of some of occasion this coming Friday, but as you are listening to this, of course, the vacation has already passed. I'm trying to, I guess we're just back to work. That's not fair. Yeah, no that's but I mean, at the end of the day, I would just like to see the weather understanding that is actually summertime.

Jesper (2m 40s):
Now I saw that we just had a student Q and a, and you were wearing a long sleeve shirt. Yeah. It's like, it's almost, it's like the weather thinks that it's early spring now and it's not, I mean, at the point of recording this, we at the beginning of July, so it should be really nice. And it's been raining half the day today and it's pretty damn boring. And actually speaking of rain last week, my youngest son attended a soccer college and it was also raining there, but it was hosted by the national soccer association and he was actually awarded player of the week in his age bracket.

Jesper (3m 21s):
So that was pretty damn cool.

Autumn (3m 23s):
So amazing. Congratulations. Fantastic.

Jesper (3m 26s):
Yeah. Very proud of him really well done. And because there was also a talent scout from the national soccer association there and they were taking potential names for the future youth national team. So given, I mean, they were not, they, they, they were not going to say which names they took that was apparently secret. But given that he was a water player of the week, I w as I said to him, you know, it would be really strange if your name is not on the list that you are, what play of the weekend and not put you on the list, that doesn't make any sense.

Jesper (3m 59s):
So we were told that if they do get on the list, we would probably get a call within the next year or so. And then they would be called in for some testing and extra training to see if they are good enough to get onto the youth national team. So that would be pretty cool if that happened.

Autumn (4m 18s):
I just feel like the buzzing of excitement that he's gotta have, ah, fingers crossed.

Jesper (4m 24s):
Yeah. I mean, it's his biggest dream is to become a professional soccer player. Right. So this is a pretty big deal. I mean, obviously getting into those chest trainings and all that stuff. I mean, there's no guarantees for anything. Right. But just getting the opportunity, at least it shows that he has some, he has the right mental attitude towards it and they recognize that. So that's pretty good

Autumn (4m 47s):
Then obviously some talent as well as the right mental attitude. So that's fantastic. Yeah.

Jesper (4m 52s):
I mean, he's okay at it, but he's not like top challenge, you know, best of the bunch in, in doing tripling so shootings or whatever. I mean, he's not, he's not the best of them for that, but, but what they usually say when, when I, I talked to some of the pro trainers and they actually say that the guys who make it to the pig scene, I mean, if we're not talking like the world-class best players in the world, they also have a huge amount of talent. Right. But right. But the ones who just makes it to a high, pretty high degree of professional level, they usually not the ones with the biggest talents, they are more the ones with the right mindset and understanding that this is a work and you need to take it seriously.

Jesper (5m 35s):
And because a lot of times what happens is as fast, what they tell me is that the ones with the big talent, they think that they don't have to work for it because it's do it. They're the best. Right. And they are the best, but as they progress through the teenage years, they are usually overtaking by the ones who work hard. And that makes me, cause then tell this not enough anymore. Right.

Autumn (5m 56s):
And they're not practicing and they're not, they could be geniuses and one really master it. But instead they're relying on latent talent and not really developing it. Yeah. So, yeah, that's what I've been doing over the past week. That sounds really exciting. Yeah. It's very good. How about you? Oh, Oh, it's been good. I actually had a little bit of cabin to myself. As my husband went up to Maine to get a few last things for this 105 year old canoe, he's been restoring he's in the final legs.

Autumn (6m 32s):
So he came back. So I had some extra work time and that was all good. And I've been making such good progress. The world building slides, I've been hitting easy, hitting easy, a thousand words a day, which considering I'm cramming it in the first thing in the morning. And right before I make dinner, I feel really good to see my story growing. I'm halfway through my first book of a trilogy. And then as I always told you earlier today, everything was going so sailing really smooth on Sunday that something had happened. And that is my Mac computer hit the hard drive deadline and just, Oh my God, it ran out of memory so badly.

Autumn (7m 9s):
I had two gigs left. I couldn't even open Firefox. It was really touch and go. Just trying to find up enough room to save things and move things around when you don't need happening. Right. Yeah. I've got, I would love to talk to Apple why they think that having things saved on it, something really bad happened yesterday. I had stuff I had saved in the cloud must have downloaded accidentally, and it was just horrid, but I managed to fill up free up 26 gig and I'm going to keep working through that. So I think I'll be fine. I managed to get my writing in today while I was downloading files and shuffling stuff.

Autumn (7m 42s):
So life's good. I'm pretty good. And the weather unlike there is gorgeous, the humidity drops. It's a perfect, it's a number 10.5 day as far as weather goes. So sorry. Wow. I could borrow a bit of that from you. I will blow some your way. Thanks.

Narrator (8m 3s):
Oh. A week on the internet with the am writing fantasy podcast.

Autumn (8m 9s):
So actually I was thinking for a start here that there was one thing I wanted to ask our listeners, if that's cool. Yeah. Go for it. Yeah, because basically just like with book reviews, you know, a podcast discoverability is really affected by how many ratings and reviews it has. And quite honestly, we don't have that many. So I was thinking to say to the deal listeners here, if a, if you like this podcast and you don't mind spending just like 30 seconds, can I ask you to leave a rating and review in your podcast app where you are listening to us, please?

Autumn (8m 44s):
You know, each podcast app is different. So I cannot really tell you exactly where to click, but it should be fairly intuitive if you go to your, into your app and find our

Jesper (8m 56s):
Show and look around a bit. I think it should be quite easy to find out how to leave a rating and review. So it really would mean a lot to us if you wouldn't mind doing that.

Autumn (9m 8s):
Yeah. That'd be so wonderful. I mean, 85 episodes were we're not new anymore. So it would be fantastic to have some ratings to go with 85.

Jesper (9m 18s):
Yes, yes. And actually speaking of a things that means a lot to us, I also wanted to, we also wanted to give a huge, thank you to Mary who joined us on Petro.

Autumn (9m 29s):
That's welcome, Mary. It's one wonderful talking to you. We were talking to you before. Cause you've been around for a little while, but Oh, it's so wonderful to have you on Patreon as well. Absolutely.

Jesper (9m 40s):
We try to offer many different bonuses to our patron supporters and not to mention weekly tips on publishing, writing and marketing. So I should think that there's something for everyone on patron that you would find interesting. So for instance, as well, on the $5 tier, you get access to the exclusive monthly Q and a where you can ask us questions directly. And basically we just came off one just before we recorded this one. So that was a lot of,

Autumn (10m 8s):
Oh, it's always so much fun. It's great for the students and great for us. And it's wonderful to be able to give specific feedback just when folks need it in their writing. And we do it every single month and part of it's through Patrion

Jesper (10m 21s):
Indeed. So if you want to help the am writing fantasy podcast going here, you can do so for just a dollar a month and at least go and check out all the rewards that we offer there and see if it's something for you. You can use the link to patron in the show notes. So anything else we need to cover autumn?

Autumn (10m 43s):
No, I would say just still another big shout out already, when, again, time jumping, we would, we're recording this. We're still getting some edits back from the type of Slayer team, but when you're listening to this, the books, the plotting plot development and the workbook and the story idea book I've already been launched, but it's fantastic. They be getting their comments back. Cause you know, what might the one consistent thing, I think almost every single commenter has said. And that has been that they have really enjoyed reading them and really learned a lot.

Autumn (11m 18s):
And like, yes, this is exactly it. It's funny. Almost all of them apologize. I was like, well, I was doing this for the edits and you know, to help you out with the typos, but I really learned a lot and you know, they're almost apologizing. I'm like, no, this is why we wrote this. This is fantastic. This is the whole point. So it is wonderful to see because here we are prelaunch recording this to know that they're really helping writers and I cannot wait to see them released to the world partially because I'll also be done with the formatting. So.

Autumn (11m 48s):

Jesper (11m 49s):
Absolutely. Yeah. And I guess we could also just mention that the, all the time jumping here and us not being very timely with what's happening, meaning that we are prerecording a lot. That's basically just because of the summer holiday. So this is actually the last episode that we are prerecording that much ahead of time. So basically we now have enough in the bank to carry us through the weeks of vacation ahead. And then once we start recording again, then we can be a bit more timely with what we mentioning on the, on these podcast episodes, because then we don't have to bang up a lot of episodes at a time anymore.

Jesper (12m 29s):
I think so. Forgive us for vacations. At least I hope so. I am not apologetics for a vacation. Everyone needs some time off

3 (12m 38s):
And onto today's topic.

Jesper (12m 40s):
So on this podcast here, we have often talked about multiple streams of income and we even have two and a pen on episode 66 to talk about this very topic. And one such extra stream of income is to create an online course. And since this is something that we do, we thought it might be worth recording an episode to share a bit about our experiences and give you some further insights as to whether or not recording a course or publishing course, creating a course, whatever you want to call, it could be something for you to aim for us will be it now, or maybe later on in your career.

Jesper (13m 22s):
Absolutely. It was, it's definitely an interesting experience. You should. There's a lot to go through and a lot to ask yourself, like, if this is something that you want to try and there's everything from the technology technological aspects to, you know, are you comfortable teaching and what do you have to teach and do you know enough to teach it? Those are all questions. I'm sure they're going to be going through your mind of how do you even get started? It sounds great from the outset, but when you get into the nitty gritty, there's a lot to unpack.

Jesper (13m 54s):
Yeah. Yeah. And diva, I think there's a lot of different topic areas here that we can cover upon. I have a few different ones marked out in my list of things that we can talk about. But, but I think actually before going there, there was one thing I really wanted to mention before we got to find to the weeds here. Okay. What does that, because, well, basically I feel like we should mention how you have insights and you have something worth to share.

Jesper (14m 25s):
And we all do, even when we don't think that we do, and I'm saying this upfront, because many will often think like, well, who am I to consider teaching anything? I'm not the world's most foremost expert on this subject. And while that might be true, remember that we've all acquired some skills that someone else haven't. So you might think that something is easy and perhaps you would even be thinking, well, everybody knows this, but the fact is that not everyone does.

Jesper (14m 57s):
So I'm just saying it because don't let your decision on whether or not to create the course be influenced by whether or not you feel like you are enough of an expert. So I'm not trying to say that anything is a subject for costs. And I'm also not saying that anybody can teach any kind of subject, but I'm just addressing the mindset of you putting yourself down here. Because if that's the only reason you're ignoring this potential extra revenue stream, then please stop doing that part at least.

Autumn (15m 27s):
Yes. Do you have something, something you do is more knowledgeable to some, you could help someone else, whether it's a course or whether it's you're mentoring somebody online or just answering a question, you have some skill that is worth considering as you know, could you do something else with it, use it as an income stream or, you know, if you're just really generous, helping other people out.

Jesper (15m 50s):
Yeah. So I have, let me see here. I have a number of different areas, but they no particular order so we can dive in wherever we want, but I don't know if there's any, is there any place you prefer to start or do you just want to me to go down the list here?

Autumn (16m 6s):
I think because if I were going to start, I would probably go towards the technology cause that's what I have set up, but I could definitely say just with everything else. I don't know if you have on your list, how you learn to do online courses, if that's what you're going to do, because that was definitely something I went out and got help on and spend quite a lot of money learning how to do these suckers. So if that is one of your areas of topics, if not, I definitely want to add it in that way.

Jesper (16m 36s):
So maybe you can just start with that one.

Autumn (16m 39s):
Sure. So I will say that I, when I first considered online courses, it has been after I had taken actually Nick Stevenson's course, your first 10 K readers. So he had taught me a lot about book marketing, but I realized I'd already been blogging and helping other authors. And I think that's sort of the light bulb moment when you realize, Hey, I'm already doing this. Can I, can I get paid to do this too? I have a really unique viewpoint on how to do something. And I thought about it, but even, you know, I know technology, I had a blog, I do websites, but I know how to do a course.

Autumn (17m 15s):
So I've actually taken not one but two courses on how to build online courses. And if you want to know what those are, if you have any, you want suggestions, you know, just drop a line in the comments and I can let you know some good options that are out there for learning to build a course, but definitely it is a whole new ball game. So even if you think, you know what goes into it, there's some great ways of getting stepped around to learn how to build online courses and not get too lost in the weeds.

Jesper (17m 48s):
Yeah, I think that's fair, but maybe you could also add a bit, a bit about more the technical side of things. You know, what kind of things do you need to set up from a technical perspective in order to actually release a course and having people login through a portal where they've paid to get access to and then they can watch the what's each of the modules online and all that stuff. Maybe you can say a bit more.

Autumn (18m 12s):
Yes. So that's definitely part of it. I, there are two types of courses. So you can do sort of a live online one like through zoom. There's a lot of people right now on zoom doing live courses, or you can do these prerecorded courses. And most people end up doing, you know, a small combination of, of both doing a live one. I've run both. And I definitely prefer the less stress of having a prerecorded course. And to do that though. So you're going to need a website with a URL.

Autumn (18m 43s):
It's gotta be something different from your current blog or your current website, or at least it's gotta be a sub domain because course material needs a specific theme. It's all these videos. It's a lot of stuff. And you don't want that on a website, like say where you're selling your books or you're selling, you know, something else or just blogging because Oh, the one can slow down the other. And it's just a nightmare. You don't want to do that because these things need to be fast. And you're going to need a plugin of some sort that protects your data.

Autumn (19m 13s):
This is something you don't want to skimp on. You don't want people to be able to hack it. And you don't want people to access stuff that they haven't paid for. And you want it to be friendly so that when they haven't paid for it, it directs them, you know, to where you go and buy the course, instead of saying, Hey, bad, bad, bad you. So those are important things. And while you're doing that, so you're going to need you. Can't just host your videos on YouTube because as I'm sure you've noticed YouTube likes to insert other things like paid advertising. Could you imagine taking a course, you just paid like a couple hundred dollars for, and there's advertising for something on it.

Autumn (19m 49s):
Oh my goodness. It'd be so embarrassing to me. I was creating this course. So you're going to need something like Vimeo someplace that hosts your videos that you know, they're not going to stick on advertising a lot. If you're not hearing this, there's a lot of stuff I mentioned that said paid setting up a course is not cheap. You are investing hundreds of dollars, not only in equipment to do the recording, you're going to be doing, you know, you want a good microphone. You want a good sound quality, but you also want to pay for a good URL, good software, a good theme for the course, there are our websites.

Autumn (20m 26s):
Like I think, think, terrific. There's a few other ones that will host your course for you and take away some of this pain, but then they're getting some of your money as well and you have to fit their requirements. So there's a lot of pluses and minuses, but the very least, unlike writing a book where you need a way of writing and to pay an editor and a cover artist, you're going to be looking at some startup fees. So when you're thinking about going into this, you know, schedule a thousand $5,000, this is what it's going to take just before you even make any money.

Autumn (21m 0s):
This is going to be something you're going to have to put some money in the time and investment into.

Jesper (21m 5s):
Yeah, it's, it's an investment indeed. Right? It's something. But of course, once you've set it up, then you can keep adding more cost stuff onto the platform that you have and so forth. So it becomes easier over time. Right. But I think it's similar to when we were talking about editing in a past episode where we said that when you're first starting out quite a chronically, you need the developmental editor then. And that's the most expensive one. And then later on in your career, you don't maybe don't really need it. And then that's when you have the money for it, but you don't need it anymore.

Jesper (21m 37s):
So that's the irony of the whole thing.

Autumn (21m 39s):
It really is. This is a one of those ones where you're going to be hurting a little bit up front, but once you get it going and I will both fully admit, it's not like you're going to relaunch one chorus and make tons of money. A lot of it comes down to just for like writing books, marketing, and growing your audience. All those steps are going to apply to doing a course as well. And so the investment just like with your books, it might not come on the first course, it might come on the third, the 10th, or at least, you know, not this year, next year.

Autumn (22m 10s):
So those are some things you need to weigh as well as the time commitment. I mean, I think to me as a writer, that was my biggest gasp I was writing. I was, I released four books in one year and then I think I was writing another one and I decided to do this online course. I built the ultimate fantasy writers guide. It took months. And that was before you and I teamed up. I still, I tell you stories about time. I was hold up working on this thing by myself.

Autumn (22m 40s):
And this is why you find a partner. I highly advise finding a partner to do this.

Jesper (22m 46s):
No, but that's actually also one of the categories I had listed here is the effort. Because even even bigger, even when you told me before we started doing our joint courses and recording those, you told me in advance that this is a lot of work. And even though you set, so it still took me by surprise how much work goes into it. It's incredible. The amount of work you need to put in. So I'm not saying that to scare anybody off. I'm just saying it because I think, well, I cannot underline it enough that it requires more effort than you think you might think that I can put this cost together in two months.

Jesper (23m 22s):
Well, yeah. Most likely you can. It's not until you get into, well, you need to create all the, all the slides. For example, if you're doing a screen sharing thing, you create all the slides. You need to record the whole thing. You need to know what you want to say. So usually you need to put a script together upfront at at least to know what you're going to say on every single slide so that it's coherent and it makes sense. And then once you're with all the recording, then you have to start editing the whole thing, which takes probably, I would say twice to three times, as long as it takes to record it.

Jesper (23m 55s):
And then yeah, then you need to upload it. You need to put all the technical pieces together to put it in a, in a, in a nice order on so that the students who then log into the platform can actually click on module one, for example. And then this year old re relevant video stair and so on. So it's, it's just, it's a lot of work. That's more than you think

Autumn (24m 15s):
It really is. I, I think it's sort of like, you know, building a house or something. They say it's going to take one and a half to two times as long as you think, and probably be at least one and a half to two times as expenses of you as you think. So it is definitely. I know when I, like I said, when I hit it, I think my writing crashed. I just, if I touched something fun to write the entire time of making that course and getting ready to go, I would be shocked. I really definitely stalled.

Autumn (24m 45s):

Jesper (24m 46s):
For me or the last couple of months. Right? I mean, I've been recording our free self publishing course. So for the last couple of months and I have not done any writing it, that's the only thing I do while you're editing our nonfiction books. That's all the things I've been doing. Nothing else. It takes forever. And that's true. I mean, we like doing it, so it's not a complaint whatsoever. It's just, I'm just stating the truth here. So the people go into this with open eyes, you know, understanding that it's not something you can easily sort of do with your left hand over there while your hand right hand is writing something.

Jesper (25m 17s):
It's not like that.

Autumn (25m 18s):
No. I mean, if you're going to try to keep your, you know, if you're a fantasy author and you're trying to keep your books going while developing a chorus on something, have, I don't know, maybe we're gonna teach some people reading or something like that, but something about fantasy or whatever you want to teach, it could be something that we have speed reading, maybe not even related to books. You're gonna have to be really good at budgeting your time to be able to keep both projects going, because the course building can become overwhelming because there are so many little, it's a network of things you need to do and create and put together.

Autumn (25m 54s):
And if you're not technologically savvy, you're going to be learning. You know, you're either going to want to hire someone to do it, or you're going to be learning some stuff that might not come fast to you. And so it's a huge hurdle and there's going to be something that's going to stall you and you're going to have to stop and scratch your head and maybe get some help. And definitely take that as a, as a warning. I think, I mean, when I was first started, I had a full time job. I was writing, I was doing this was that as Mary and I was just like, you just wanted to throw everything up in the air and run away and say, what did I do?

Autumn (26m 26s):
But you know what, three, four years later, I'm like, this is awesome. We came up with our character building chorus. I mean, we did that in less than a month. We created a course, but that's because we had three years of experience doing this. So it was not like it came out of left field and it was a short course. So gosh. Yeah.

Jesper (26m 44s):
Yeah. So maybe while we're talking about courses or so, and all that stuff, maybe a good thing to just talk a bit about this as well. How do you figure out what you could be teaching about in your course? So, as I said before, you know, it's not like you don't have to have a PhD in the topic that you want to teach. I think it's much more a matter of trying to find things where your skills and life experiences serve your will and then maybe build a list of things that you could potentially teach.

Jesper (27m 17s):
But the underlying thing here, and that's coming out of everything, we just mentioned about how much work it is that you have to be passionate about the topic that you want to teach. If you don't have passion driving you you're, you're, you're probably not going to finish the course and making it available for students because you're going to die somewhere in the middle of the process there, because it's so much work, right. It has to be because you love it and you want to teach it. And that's why, what you're going for. Yeah.

Autumn (27m 48s):
Yeah. If you thought writing a book was hard, build a course. So that's a real, if you really want to challenge yourself, build a course, but again, it do it because sort of like with writing, not because you think you're going to be a New York times bestseller, but because it is something you are passionate about and you do want to share, and you really think you can help people a unique view on how to do something that you don't see being taught out there as a great reason to write a course, just it can like really Aspro saying is you don't have to be the world's best expert.

Autumn (28m 20s):
You have to have a way that's understandable that you can break it down and teach it to someone. And if you have people come up to you saying, you know, could you teach me how to do this? Or, you know, so, and so said that you taught them how to do this. And they really, you know, are understanding it really well. And could you share that with me? Look at those things. Those are wonderful gifts that not everyone has. And if you can share that with someone that is fantastic, you can change someone's life either a small way or a big way. That's

Jesper (28m 50s):
Wonderful. Yeah. And I would also say a bit of a business advice here is that once you have a topic in mind of what you would like to teach, try and go on search a bit on the internet to see if there's already something similar out there. And the logic sort of words works the other way around here than what you might think. Meaning that if you find some stuff out there, some other causes that are already teaching this similar topic, that's actually a good thing because it's a sign that there is a market for it.

Jesper (29m 22s):
If you're the only one in the world with a course on this particular puppet, a topic here, you can probably, well, maybe not, but that might be a chance that you are so unique that there is not really a goal, a good goldmine for you to open here. It's, it's more like a, a case of, there's not enough interest out there for this particular topic. So try to see does something exist already? And if it does then yeah, that's a good sign and you're good to go. Yeah.

Autumn (29m 51s):
And it actually gives you a wonderful opportunity. They say to look for what's called pain points. So to look for in blogs and comments reviews, look for where people are saying, I wish they'd covered this, or I have this problem. And I just wish someone would help me solve it. Those pain points, those are so valuable. Those are give you going to give you ideas, deeper ideas on you're already having selected this topic. You can start making a list of those saying, Oh, these are what people want answered.

Autumn (30m 23s):
And that will help you develop a course.

Jesper (30m 26s):
Yeah, that's true. And I think there's important point there as well in the sense that you need to be crystal clear in what the key learnings are for the students who takes the course, because in an online environment, like we're talking here selling courses online, you know, people are clicking around. That's S you know, we, you and I do that as well. You know, when you're searching for something, you click around on different websites. If it's not from the landing page that I arrive at, if it's not crystal clear within a couple of seconds that this one is speaking to me, it's telling me that I'm getting exactly what I want.

Jesper (31m 5s):
I'm gone as quickly as are right there. Right. Just clicking. This is not the one move on. And that's the way that the online environment works. Right? So you need to, you need to keep that in mind and what I would also say, and maybe we can tie this into another point that I wanted to make about audience, but I would say that in our experience, it's actually mostly the people who we get onto the email list in the earliest stages of the process that ends up buying the cost later on.

Jesper (31m 41s):
So for example, we do offer some free videos to people so that they can see our teaching style and they can get a feel for cost material and sort of understand the style of our teaching. And then if they think that it's helpful before we even ask them to buy something, like, for example, the ultimate fantasy writer's guide, which is our premium course for writers. So, and I'm saying that because like with writing or building an author career online courses are not a get rich, quick scheme at all.

Jesper (32m 20s):
You know, it takes work and it takes time to build an audience in whatever niche that you have chosen to do some teaching in. And that alone is an incredibly amount of effort. And I can see as well. I mean, we've had quite some sex success with running ads and basically getting loads of people onto our email list. That way, you know, when we opened the ultimate fantasy writers guide, we only do that twice per year.

Jesper (32m 51s):
And then we have run some Facebook ads leading up to those opening times and directing people onto our email list where we then give them some of those free videos that I mentioned there too, to get so that they can get a feel for our teaching style and, and, and the quality of the course. But what we do see is that most of the time they won't buy the course. At that point, they will actually just stay on the list and then they might stay there for a year, sometimes, maybe a year and a half, and then they will buy the course, like two cycles later when they've gotten a lot of emails from us in the meantime, over the year, maybe we've given them lots of valuable stuff on the email list.

Jesper (33m 34s):
Like we always do. And that's totally cool. You know, there's nothing wrong with people signing up to the list and then they decide not to want to buy it. That's absolutely fine. But I'm more saying it from the perspective of the course creator that you need to have in mind that while you can advertise your course and you should, it does not mean that people will buy it straight away. Anyway, it might take time.

Autumn (33m 56s):
Absolutely. It can take, I think that this is one of those things where having that in mind, like you cannot get frustrated and then go delete your entire email list or something. It's a, you know, as long as people are opening emails and you're providing them interesting and informative material, that's what you need. It's going to take time to get them around, to trust with courses, especially with this is not a two 99 or a four 99 novel. This is something that's going to cost you no money, be it $20 or $2,000.

Autumn (34m 28s):
It's going to cost someone money. And the higher it is, the more they're going to have to trust you that you're really going to deliver on what you're asking, you know, what it's going to cost them. And so you gotta, you know, what, whatever you're selling has got to be worth the amount of money to this person to put it in, and that trust not come. You know, maybe you've got something fantastic and they'll willing to open up their wallet the first week, but most likely, especially in today's current pandemic, recessive world, you're going to have to ask people to really trust you.

Autumn (35m 4s):
And you're gonna got to deliver some really good information so that they will be happy with what they're getting. And that's probably gonna take a lot of getting to know you time. So expect to be putting yourself and your information out there in such a way that you can be building that trust and letting people know whatever it is that you're good at and what you can teach them. You really can deliver on that.

Jesper (35m 29s):
Yeah. And you touched a bit on pricing there, so maybe that's where we could go next. So to talk a bit about how do you know what, how to price your cost basically. And I think that, again, we talked about market research a moment ago, right? Check out. What if there's other people teaching the same thing out there, and that will give you an idea about what do people normally charge for a similar kind of course, but again, probably the opposite of what you might think here, put yourself at the top of that price range, because, and I don't know why does this, maybe you do, and maybe you can elaborate a bit more often, but for some weird reason, the people who buy products that are cheap are also the ones who complains the most.

Jesper (36m 22s):
And I don't know why that is, but it is just so that if they get a very cheap cost, that then they'll start complaining about the one thing that they don't like instead of the 99 things that was great. And they, they learned it's just the premium premium students who are willing to pay the premium price for courses are also the ones who are much more serious about it. And as well, and that is probably the most important aspect of this whole thing about pricing is that because they pay more for it, there is also a very much higher likelihood that they will actually go through all your cost material and they will do the learning and only then will then they start, they will start talking to other people about this cost that they took.

Jesper (37m 6s):
Whereas the ones who buy a course for $29, for example, they will probably not take it. Maybe they will skim through one module and start complaining about something in that one module without having seen the whole thing or whatever. I don't know, but pricing matters not only in determining how much you're going to earn, but also what type of audience you are building.

Autumn (37m 28s):
Absolutely. I mean, goodness knows I have a couple of graphic design courses and even I think a marketing course and something else, and I pick them all up for probably less than $20. I always pick them up on when they're on sale and stuff. And you know, I don't think I finished, I finished one of them, I think, but those courses, I paid 500, 601 case over a thousand dollars for, I finished those. I did the homework so,

Jesper (37m 55s):
Well, at least you're not the ones who complain.

Autumn (37m 57s):
No, I was never the one who was complaining. I'm just one of the ones that just kind of never get around to finishing it. It's sort of like this whole symptom we talk about with free books. If you're giving away a free book, you probably it's just going to be sitting on someone's e-reader and they never get around to it. So you have to watch out for that. So, you know, check out the competition, see what they're doing with their pricing. And you're going to see a range you're going to see, especially like the master classes that are out now. I think it's Neil Gaiman teaches writing for $99 as well for the amount of time and effort and work you're going to put in this.

Autumn (38m 32s):
You're probably going to charge more than nine, $9 and you might, Oh, I can not compete with, I know Jane Patterson has one. I can not compete with that as an author, you're going to be teaching something different and you're probably are going to put, you're putting a different price tag on it, and that's fine because you want to be on the higher end, but you're because you're not Neil Gaiman or James Patterson, you're going to have to build up that trust with your audience. And once you do, they will be there. It won't matter what, what the price point. Well, no matter a little bit, you don't want to be on the like three times the highest other one you want to be within the upper end of the range you find.

Jesper (39m 9s):
Yeah. And I, and of course, I mean, all of this goes without saying that we, of course assuming that the course you're building is of high quality, not only in the stuff that you're teaching, but of course also in the way that your entire course, all the modules are structured in a logical fashion, sort of people can follow through and they understand what you're teaching. I mean, we assuming all of that, but maybe I have to say that out loud as well, that it's not a matter of putting some

Autumn (39m 36s):
Half-assed and then charged $500 for it. You know, that's not gonna work, that's not gonna work. And again, if you have, if you haven't taken a lot of online courses and again, they're expensive. So it's kind of hard. They take a lot of time, but if you haven't taken a lot than taking at least one course on how to build these courses, there's a whole methodology, there's a psychology to it. And there's a technical aspect of how to do it. So it's organized. And so that students will be learning from it. And that they'll be most likely to get to the end because of course, that's the goal.

Autumn (40m 6s):
You will, you're doing this, not you, hopefully, you know, yes, that's a revenue stream, but hopefully because you want people to actually finish it and go on and do something great with it. So you want to make sure you know, how to actually teach. And if you're not a teacher by nature and you don't know how to organize, to teach to students, definitely look into how to do that before you try to put something together because it's not throwing paint at the wall and seeing what sticks, it doesn't work that way.

Jesper (40m 35s):
No. And I as well, when it comes to marketing your course and building that audience, I think one of the things that we have actually found very helpful is to use affiliate marketers. Isn't it?

Autumn (40m 45s):
Yes, they are wonderful. When you can get a peer to buy into what you're doing and selling and to put their name on and say, yes, this is good. And send it out to their audience. Ah, it's an exponential increase in your reach and your trust people, you know, they're saying they have an audience that who trusts them. And they're saying that you're good guy. Oh, that's wonderful.

Jesper (41m 11s):
Yeah. I mean, I've heard some of the experts say that affiliate sales should only be considered like the icing on the cake and it should not be the main driver. And I mean, it's not the main driver for us. And of course I can only speak for our experience. Maybe, maybe we're the odd bunch in the flock. I don't know. But at least for us affiliate sales are making quite a number of, of the sales and not, not the majority, but it does make a difference. It does. It's not, it's, it's more than just icing on the cake for sure.

Jesper (41m 42s):
But of course, I guess it also depends on which affiliate marketers that you're getting. And also of course, how big an audience do those people have and how well do their audience trust them? When they're saying this is a good thing you should consider buying this stuff, you know, do they trust that person enough to say, okay, I'll give it a try. Because again, as we talked about, these are premium courses, so then they're not cheap. I mean, we're talking probably like four or five, $600 for access to a cost, right?

Jesper (42m 12s):
So it's usually not something you buy off of somebody, you have no clue who they are. Right. It takes time. You, you, you built the audience. And then at some point, as I said before, with our email list, right? I mean, they've been on our emails list maybe for a year. And then they feel like, okay, you know, we've been giving enough good quality content here that we feel comfortable that, that we can buy the course. And, but of course, I mean, as we also do with our courses, we do give a 30, 30 day money back guarantee. No questions asked to anybody.

Jesper (42m 43s):
So if they do sign up for the course and they don't like it, just let us know and we will refund the money and no questions asked. That's absolutely fine. Yeah.

Autumn (42m 51s):
So then I mean that money back guarantee is a huge way of building trust with people. When you're asking them to put out that much money is to know, you know, this is something that I can try out and enough, I realize it's not going to fit. That's fine. And yeah, it's something that you do.

Jesper (43m 8s):
Yeah, indeed. So I don't know, what's there more topic areas or should we sort of get into, well, actually we, at the point of this module on, well now I'm in complete a cost methodology here. I'm talking about modules instead of podcasts throughout this podcast episode. That was what I was trying to say. We mentioned our premium costs, the ultimate fences writer's guide a couple of times.

Jesper (43m 40s):
And actually it just happened. So as well that we will soon here on the 31st of August, open the doors for another batch of students for the first time in six months. Yeah.

Autumn (43m 51s):
Hey, I always love this time of year.

Jesper (43m 54s):
Yeah. So indeed we only opening a twice a year as we've explained. Right. So we wanted to mention it here since it is very much on topic of what we've been talking about throughout this. I was just about to say module there again. I meant episode,

Autumn (44m 10s):
We've both been doing slides on courses. So no wonder we have module and sessions and lessons in our heads, but yes, it is wonderful that the guide will be coming out again. So this is our premium course that steps you through from idea development, to how to write a novel character's, world-building how to grow an audience, how to edit format, the book and how to design an author platform. Or we tried to make this a OneStop if you're going to do a course on how to write in the market books, this is the course.

Autumn (44m 46s):
And that's what we did.

Jesper (44m 47s):
And we have students who have said, yes, this really does work. Yep, indeed. And we have included a link in the show notes. So from there you can sign up if you're interested. And as we just said, there was a 30 month, but I'm trying again, 30 day money back guarantee. No questions asked. That was what I wanted to say. I guess I'm getting tired now,

Autumn (45m 10s):
Which is it's late for you. So that's only fair, but I was laughing cause I was the one who couldn't speak before we started recording.

Jesper (45m 16s):
Yeah. But I actually have a testimonial signed sound, clip queued up. And that also prevents me so that I don't have to talk anymore. So I put the, I think I'll just going to play that for us as a lead out here.

Autumn (45m 42s):
Hi everyone. I'm Katherine. I'm currently working my way through the ultimate fantasy writers guide and I've been finding it very helpful. One of my main problems has been plotting. I had a very hard time getting my plot to go through and have continuity after going through the workshops for the plotting section I have now got a full plot and have begun writing. It has been very helpful for me and I'm sure you will find it very helpful too. Thank you.

Jesper (46m 14s):
Hi, I'm Jan, do you read fantasy author? And I just watched autumn bread's a launch day module. It was a really informative, had a lot of great information. She had ideas I hadn't ever thought of before. Really excited to implement her ideas and launching my own book. Thank you, autumn.

Autumn (46m 39s):
I highly recommend the ultimate fantasy writers guide because it's one of the best programs I've ever seen. It not only covers pretty much everything about writing from start to finish, including fan bases and staying confident and everything. It also has things like languages and naming your characters based on that. And it has Matt making it. It's just so excellent.

Jesper (47m 7s):
So that was a few words from former students. And again, there was a link in the show notes, if you are interested so you can go and check it out and all the details will be listed on the page that you arrive at, where you can see everything you want to know X,

Autumn (47m 25s):
And we hope to see you there. And if you happen to be listening to this after course has gone and launched, we do do this every six months. So there are ways just you send us a comment. There are ways of getting on our email lists, like the starter kit that you can watch and get to know us and get on our mailing list. And that way you won't miss the next time we launched the course. Okay. So next Monday we will be back on track and talk about what we intended to talk about today as well.

Narrator (48m 1s):
If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support the am writing fantasy podcast. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Ottoman Yesper on patrion.com/and writing fantasy for as little as a dollar a month. You'll get awesome rewards and keep the M writing fantasy podcast going, stay safe out there and see you next Monday.

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