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Joan presents online and in-person workshops suitable for writing groups of any genre or experience level. She has presented for many RWA chapters, Savvy Authors, and the Self-Publishing Meetup group. Check each course below for the current schedule.

Online Courses

Between “The End” and the Upload

Congratulations! You’ve completed your story! You’ve decided to take control and self-publish. Rock on!

Where you go from here? How do you get your book on the shelves, electronic or bricks & mortar? What do you need to know before you announce your release date?

In four weekly, Zoom-based sessions, we’ll walk over the stepping stones between typing “The End” and clicking the upload button on a vendor’s or distributor’s website.

Topics include the six steps to self-publication:

  1. Polish: Types of edits, DIY tools, finding an editor.
  2. Prepare: Between cover designers, formatters, narrators, there are lots of ways to spend your money before you’ve made a penny of royalties. How much is too much?
  3. Protect: Copyrights, ISBNs, piracy.
  4. Print: Trimming, binding, bleeding… what horrors await you behind those portals?
  5. Price: Competition is fierce, pricing is tough. Crunch the numbers.
  6. Publish: The many ways can you sell a book; direct, bookstores, libraries. Go wide or exclusive. To print or not to print.

To Put It All Together, included in the course is a 79-page handout with to-do lists, data sheets, and a comprehensive publishing schedule.

Available as a group class, minimum 10 registrants. Contact Joan to discuss terms and schedules.

Can’t wait for a class? Get the book!

Mastering Word for Fiction Writers

This definitive online course is the perfect complement to creative writing. It will save you time, energy, and money by teaching you how to use Microsoft Word with power.

The two self-study course packages, follow the life cycle of a book from rough draft, through editing and critiquing, and on to submission to contests or agents and editors. If self-publishing is your chosen path, there are courses for converting your manuscript to an ebook or print book.

The lessons include:

  • best practices for Word setup and usage,
  • in-depth explanation of the Word techniques,
  • working documents for doing the step-by-step exercises,
  • review documents to check your work,
  • six custom Word templates.

In the core competencies package (12 lessons in two courses) for ALL writers, you will master:

  • Styles for consistent text and chapter headings,
  • Navigation Pane to click from chapter to chapter, scene to scene,
  • automatic Table of Contents to create a synopsis in THREE steps,
  • AutoFormat and AutoCorrect to speed up your writing,
  • Spelling and Grammar settings customized for fiction writers,
  • Track Changes to enjoy hassle-free critiques and beta reads.

Or go hard-core and register for the Complete Mastering Word for Fiction Writers package that includes all 32 lessons in all five courses.

  • Section Breaks to create a clean contest entry or agent/editor submission,
  • Compatible layout to convert your manuscript to an epub or mobi file,
  • Page Layout and custom Styles to design a beautiful print book to sign with pride.

Plus, you can get a personal review of your formatted files to make sure you did it right!

Plus, continuing online support with the instructor or a private Facebook group.

For your convenience, choose a single payment or monthly payments.

What’s Teachable?

Teachable is to online courses what WordPress is to websites, a respected, well-funded, and well-supported platform for course creators to present incredible workshops. Find out more here.

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In-person Workshops

5 Must-have Word Techniques to Do It Yourself

Every author dreams of a successful book signing where readers can’t wait to get into their story. But once the reader gets past a gorgeous cover, what does she see? Boring, hard-to-read text that turns her away? Or well-spaced, interesting text that nudges the reader into your story?

During this one-hour PowerPoint presentation followed by Q&A, you will discover the five essential Word techniques to craft a professional print book.

3-Step Sneaky Synopsis

Your story is 50,000+ words, crafted, honed, and polished. Now you want to send it out on the contest circuit or off to the hands of an agent or editor. You need to attach the dreaded synopsis. But how do you distill all those words to less than 1,000 for a synopsis?

The preparatory homework assignment is:

Open your work in progress (or any fiction book project, really) and add one sentence, maximum 20 words, to the beginning of each scene that states the most important action in the scene and the outcome of that action. e.g., Kathy arrives home with her daughter Hayley, doubting her welcome, and her aunt Yola lets her in. Yes, this seems like you’ve done the work of writing the synopsis, but this is only the beginning.

During the first portion of the three-hour presentation, you will learn to use the power of Microsoft Word to create a synopsis in three sneaky steps. There are two participation options for this portion of with this workshop:

1. Watch and learn as Joan works through a live example.

2. Charge up your portable computer, or whatever you have Microsoft Word on, and bring it along for some hands-on training.

During the second portion, we’ll review the principles of writing a synopsis and see if your new creation will catch the attention of judges, agents, and editors. If you’d rather not bring your computer, please bring along a printout of just your summary sentences.

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Questions? Booking?

Joan is available for groups, conferences, and panel discussion.