Investing in Myself – Courses galore, and some free stuff for you.

There comes a time in any writer’s life where you have to come out of the closet.

I’ve previously regaled anyone reading this blog with my own tale of the first few times I actually spoke the words out loud to somebody who was basically a complete stranger. But when most of my writing life is spent nowadays either knuckled down alone in the writing studio (give or take the odd Australian native wildlife, and an accompanying cat) or on the internet virtually, then it’s an easy thing to get away with. I can just slip back there into my natural introverted cacoon state, and it’s all okey-dokey.

(To be honest, I’m often surprised myself about how easily you guys believe that I am a writer).

Today I took a big step out of the closet, and invested in myself.

Although I’m still wondering where on earth the $1000’s I will need to get a professional editor onto my book will come from, I went out and paid for some courses this week that I equally know are a needed and worthwhile investment for myself.

Courses and Festivals

Living in Sydney has its pluses and cons – there is a yearly writer’s festival – and I did go and see one of the events there, but genre-wise the biggest writer’s conference for me – Thrillerfest, is slightly out of my league right now (or at least out of the country). There are YA writing conferences around the country, but nothing adult fiction-wise with particular genre-leanings, as far as I am aware.

So, although I chose Sydney Writing festival events that I could go to (timing wise, given most were during the school week, my options were quite limited), the only one we were able to go to was for an international children’s author- set inside the Sydney Opera House, no less. It thrilled my daughter to get her book signed – after waiting in a queue for over 2 hours, but did little for my own writing life.

It was, however, the first real (huge) book signing / author speech either of us had ever attended- although we had previously gone to a local children’s author’s latest book launch – on a boat out on Sydney Harbour (see, I told you Sydney has its pluses) where we also got my daughter’s book signed.

Thriller Writing

Today I forked out $400 for attending a 5 week Thriller writing course, put on by the Sydney Writer’s Centre. The same course was available during the festival this year, but set during a weekend day where I just couldn’t get to it in time. I live outside of Sydney CBD, and my train line has a habit of going into maintenance mode on weekends, forcing everyone on the North Shore (above the Sydney Harbour Bridge) to queue for slow buses into the city.

So, in August, I’m going on an evening  thriller writing course, led by a published thriller writer I admire and am keen to meet. The course agenda doesn’t show me that I will learn much regarding structure etc for the genre (but I’m sure I’ll pick up pieces which will help, and hearing things orally, with discussion always emphasises things).

But that’s not what I’m excited to be going for. It’s the fact that I will be meeting other real life people with an interest in exactly my genre, who may live reasonably locally to myself, no matter at what stage in their writing they might be. I have some hopes that I might find a writing partner or something at the course also. Somebody real life. That’s incredibly important to me at this point, it seems.

Another Festival

Locally, my daughter’s school is soon to hold a literary festival – predominantly for children’s authors, of course. I’ve volunteered to help out, and enrolled myself into a brief writing course for adults, and am hoping to attend the opening launch which will force me to dress up past the jeans and Disney-sweatshirts I wear at home (at least they’re not PJ’s!) and actually mingle with some more Australian authors also.

When I say force, I mean it. It goes against my nature to find a great lot of enjoyment out of sharing a room with a bunch of other adults. It taps my energy, and I have a lot of difficulty in hearing voices even close to me, above the general crowd noise within any room. Afterwards I will have to cocoon away to recover a little. But that – I’ve been forewarned – is part of the writing life, and I am prepared to wean myself into it. Perhaps helped by a few cocktails during the evening, to be sure.

More Thrillers

Earlier this week I paid for the Writer’s Digest Thriller Writing Premium Package, which was on discount for members, plus they had a two day sale for July also. The package includes several downloads in PDF form, and a long webinar (video) going through the genre by writer Elizabeth Sims.

There are also several paperbacks to come in about two months, knowing the mailing system between the countries. Those should give our customs department some thought, as there are books on Forensics, Police Procedurals and How to kill somebody with poison.

I apparently managed to pick up one of the last of these July Thriller and Suspense Premium packages, but the WD blog has set aside 20 packages at the US$99 price, as a bonus – so if you’re interested, go here, and quickly.

Fostering Success

And finally, more money I don’t have, but again – well worth it.

This week I also registered for two online courses on Indie Authoring – Melissa Foster (of the World Literary Cafe) has a new business with Fostering Success. I took the CORE package which includes two courses – Building brand, and Marketing. Both courses came with a comprehensive series of videos, bonus handouts, and transcripts of the videos. I got a huge lot of ideas, new knowledge and found a support community that I really appreciate.

These courses are comprehensive, and up to date with the latest in an industry that changes weekly. I give them 5 stars.

Author Branding Freebies


I am halfway through Duolit’s 4 week free course called Indie Authors Rock. The course is designed on a principal of Reader-centric marketing. It’s too late to register onto this course for anybody else now, but the duo – Shannon and Toni, are talking about creating a larger course later on, past this pilot one, which I would also recommend.

In the meantime, you can still sign up for Duolit’s newsletter, and receive a free 35 page ebook “Self-Publishing Basic Training”.

Turndog Millionaire

Matthew Turner, with a website Turndog Millionaire, has brought out 5 free ebooks on Author Branding. He’s calling the Series “How to Build an Author House”. I’ve just signed up and recieved the first – How to Build an Author House – Foundations, in my inbox. I will now be sent the rest, on a weekly basis, I believe.

These have a really nice design to them, harkening back to the house and blueprint metaphor. Reviews suggest that some of the books contain basics, whereas others are quite detailed. Given they are free, I would suggest you have nothing to lose in signing up, and will find some information new to yourself.

Author 2.0 Joanna Penn

You surely know of Joanna Penn as a go-to site for authors. And you have probably already picked this one up, but if not – signup for the newsletter and you’ll receive Author 2.0, and ebook on author platform building.

Tribal Author – Jonathan Fields.

Jonathan Fields is a well-known guru within the industry also. Signup for the TA newsletter, and you will receive a 29 page ebook The Truth about Book Marketing, and a mindmap PDF on the subject. You can also currently download the first four chapters of the Career Renegade book from the sidebar.


Image Credit: this is a snapshot I took last year, taken from peeping through the girders along the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I managed to get a few shots off on my iphone before a security guard came over and aggressively got in the way. I guess I was fussing around too much trying to get a good shot.

You can walk across the bridge – there is a full footpath which is heavily tread by commuters and tourists alike – but stopping for too much time is frowned upon. Just a few days later, a man managed to thwart the security guard’s attention and jump out of a car to somehow scale up the bridge to hang out a large protest banner.

4 thoughts on “Investing in Myself – Courses galore, and some free stuff for you.

  1. Hunter, it is always great to invest in yourself. Don’t forget to get some business cards done too. It did that (through Vistaprint) with my author’s name and web address on it – it does wonders for your confidence to see your name on your own cards :o) Keep up the awesome work.

    1. Karen, you just reminded me completely to put that onto my to-do list and business plan. There are so many things to think about, and cards were something that slipped out of my mind.

    1. Yes, Elizabeth, it certainly did – it was a long course to sit through but the basics you got through were just right for me. Although I’ve written a full thriller novel already, I also find value in having the genre and structure re-emphasised for me – which you did.

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