Generate business with an online class

One of the best ways for authors to put their book to work for them is to create an online class based on it. For example, if you’ve written a book about how to draw, you could offer an online class on the same topic. Or you might branch out a little; a financial consultant who’s written a book about saving for retirement might deliver an online course on saving for your child’s college education.

Online classes are a powerful revenue engine. You usually can charge $47-$197 based on the length of and demand for the course; if you get 10 people a month to take the course, that’s a gross income of $5640 to $23,640 of income a year. Online classes also can be a powerful lead generator. If you offer consulting services, for example, your course will appeal to those who are extremely interested in what you offer, and some of those who sign up likely will hire you for assistance.

Creating a course is not something you can slapdash together by just writing text to read and questions to answer. Most authors who’ve put together an online course spent about as much time on it as they did writing their book. In many ways, creating a course is writing a book. If your course is based on your nonfiction book, though, you probably won’t need as much creation time.

Design your course using the writing process – brainstorm for ideas, create an outline, write a first draft, revise the draft at least a couple of times, and then begin producing it by placing text on a website with photos and shooting video. Before outlining, be sure to review other online courses to see how they are commonly organized; jot down and use ideas you like (such as videos to break up the reading) and nix ideas you dislike (perhaps audio-only portions of the course).

Aim for courses that run at least 30 minutes to three hours; most people are unwilling to pay for a shorter course (Why should they when they probably can watch a free YouTube video on it?) and are unwilling to invest the time in a longer course (Three hours already is quite lengthy in our busy lives!).

While you want to keep your costs down to maximize profits, you also don’t want to sacrifice quality. So, if videos are part of your course but you’ve never put together one before, then you may want to hire someone who has that experience. You’ll also probably need to purchase an app for your website to able to offer an online course, so there also is a small technical learning curve for putting the class together.

Of course, once you create the class, you will need to promote it across several social media platforms, just as you do for your published book. If you don’t, the course largely will go unnoticed. Promote it, however, and if you done a great job putting together a class that interests people, you’ll soon be watching your revenue and book sales climb!


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.