Thinking about self-publishing? Are you a writer in the beginning stages of your career? Or a more seasoned author wanting to revamp your author business and set up systems to simplify your publishing process?
The Publish and Thrive course by Sarra Cannon at Heart Breathings is a comprehensive self-publishing course. In this review, I’ll go over some of the prons and cons you might be wondering about, and I’ll tell you all about my experience with taking it.
A quick note: I’m an affiliate of this course because I love it and I found it helpful. Much like with the HB90 planning course, I decided to become an affiliate because I like spreading the word about products I enjoy and use in my writing career. This means that I get a small percentage of the price you pay, with no extra cost to you. Thanks!
So, spoiler alert: this is a very positive review of the course - I’ll go into more detail below - but I also added some potential downsides you might experience while taking it, because no course is perfect for everyone.
Who will benefit from this course?
The Publish and Thrive course is great for beginner to intermediate writers and authors who intend to pursue the self-publishing path (or are already self-publishing).
What’s included in the course?
Sarra Cannon’s course consists of five comprehensive modules on gearing up for success, publishing your novels, writing business, marketing, and creating lasting success in your author career. Let’s take a closer look at each of those.
Module One: Gearing up for success
This module takes you through the basics of any author’s career. There are lessons on genre, editing, cover art, social media, author websites, and, most importantly, your author strategy. These are the bare bones of what you’ll need in order to build a solid writing career. If you’re a more experienced author, you’ll be able to go through these more quickly and do a sort of audit of your setup to see whether you’ve missed something.
Module Two: Publishing your novels
This module includes lessons on keywords, metadata, all the minutiae of the self-publishing system, as well as step-by-step instructions for uploading your (finished) manuscript to various online retailers, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books etc.
Module Three: Running your writing business
In this module, you’ll learn how to calculate ROI, to track your business budget, copyright, and more. Not the sexiest of things, but so, so necessary for having a successful career. There’s a special video about cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset that’s particularly useful.
Module Four: Marketing your books
This is probably the most interesting module of the course for some people. The basic premise that Sarra teaches is that every part of your product is a marketing tool. She covers topics like your comp authors, newsletter promotions, preorders, as well as strategies for slow- and fast-writing authors. I love that her approach isn’t based on “how to make a quick buck” but rather focuses on creating the best possible book that will turn first-time readers into loyal fans.
Module Five: Creating success that lasts
If you ask me, this module alone is worth the price of the course. It features videos on time and energy management, goal setting, feeling discouraged, handling criticism, and more. It’s the “thrive” part of the course, and it’s incredibly important for creating a healthy career, not just a financially successful one. Writers, as creatives, are sometimes fragile creatures, and Sarra’s videos are great guidance for times of overwhelm and negativity.
At the end of each module you’ll also find comprehensive Q&A videos from previous rounds of the course. One of the things that’s very good about this course is the continuous support you’ll get from Sarra both during the actual course and later via email or in the private P&T Facebook group. There are so many writers who are willing to help, and Sarra herself is very prompt at answering any questions her students have.
When does the course open?
So far, the course has opened twice a year - in February and August. You can enrol here. She is also offering a special writing bundle that includes her HB90 course (the next round) and comes at a discount. You can also read my review of the HB90 course.
Any chance you will not benefit from this course?
If you’re looking for advice on traditional publishing, meaning you want to get your manuscript to an agent and then have it submitted to a traditional publishing house, this is probably not the best course for you. If you read the module breakdown, you’ll know that a lot of the lessons will still fit, though, especially the ones on crafting great stories, writing in series, setting up your author platform, and the entirety of Module Five, which deals with the more, shall we say it, spiritual side of being a writer (aka thriving when things get hard).
But you won’t find advice on query letters in there, nor a breakdown of best publishing houses or agents to query. This is a course on publishing that presupposes that you kept the creative rights to your works, which means you can do with them what you want, and publish at your own schedule.
Another consideration might be that the marketing module doesn’t include in-depth information on Amazon, Facebook, or BookBub ads. The single lesson on pay-per-click advertising covers the basics, but since there are entire courses devoted to this topic, Sarra has chosen not to include her instructions on these. So if that’s the primary content you want to learn, this won’t be a good fit for you. Check above to see what she does include in the marketing module.
The course is also time-intensive and merely watching the videos will take a significant amount of time. Following the instructions and implementing the lessons might take you months or even years - but that’s just how long it takes to create a good setup for your author career if you want to thrive long-term (no quick fixes and magic bullets here!). I found working through the videos twice was a good idea - once when the course was in progress so I could follow along and participate in Q&As and such, then again at a slower pace to implement specific elements.
To sum up...
Overall, if you’re looking for a comprehensive publishing course that will hold your hand as you start (or revamp and improve) your writing career, you can’t do better than this. There are other courses that either cover parts of what’s included in Publish and Thrive or deal with more specific topics (like advertising only), of course. But this one offers a very good overview of the self-publishing world as well as step-by-step guidance for building specific tiers and pillars of your writing career.
Once again, if you’d like to enrol, you can do so here. If you’re also interested in the HB90 course and would like to take advantage of the special offer - the Thriving Author Course Bundle - head on over to this link (the HB90 course doesn’t begin until just before the start of a new quarter).
I hope you found this helpful! Happy writing, friend!