EDITED to add:
The initial responses to this post made me wonder if people would be interested in more intense, short-term workshops if they were held in their own hometowns. The arrangements for this kind of thing would be less complicated in some ways, and way more complicated in others. So I’m adding a second question, which you’ll find at the bottom of the post. You can post another answer in response to this second question, in which case you’ll be entered into the drawing twice.
ORIGINAL QUESTION: I could use some feedback on an issue I’ve been trying to sort out for a while, and so this post and at the same time, a drawing. One name will be drawn at random, and that person will get all six Wilderness novels in either kindle/mobi or epub format, which ever they prefer. I’m going to keep this open for a couple weeks in the hope it will get more than a few responses.
- One response per person
- You must check back to find out if you’ve won; I won’t go chasing you. If I don’t hear from you within two weeks of announcing the winner, I’ll draw another name.
- All I’m looking for is a thoughtful reply; no need to write a dissertation.
So here’s the situation:
For a couple years now I’ve been wondering how I could best organize teaching an independent fiction-writing class. A real face-to-face, in person class.
I have done some research. For example, England’s Guardian newspaper is currently sponsoring a class in writing historical fiction. Spots for twelve students, taught by an author who has won an award for her fiction; the course meets for one three-hour session a week for twelve weeks. The cost of this is a whopping £1,500, or about $2,500 at current conversion rates, which works out to about $200 a session.
Now, the class sponsored by the Guardian is being offered in London, which means the pool of prospective students is very deep. Even so, I find it hard to imagine that people would pay this much. On the other extreme there is one local in-person class that was offered last year. The course is more of a series of lectures/discussions by local authors, each of whom (it seems from the announcement) took one session. In this case there is one three-hour meeting a month for six months at $399, which works out to about $66 a session. The information about the course doesn’t indicate how many spots were available.
This is, of course, less than the London course, but for a very different format. And $66 each session still feels like a lot to me.
My pool of prospective students is way, way smaller than London. I live about two hours away from Seattle, and one hour away from Victoria BC.
Using a twelve-week, once-a-week, three-hours-a-week model, the pricing might fall out somewhere in this range:
If I were offering the following:
- an introductory class that meets twelve times over three months
- ten students
- three-hour sessions each meeting
- materials for readings and exercises supplied
- taught by me, based on materials I’ve developed while teaching creative writing at the university level.
If you were in the market for such a class and lived in the area, what would feel fair to you in terms of price, and (equally important) how much could you comfortably pay?
How would you feel about a one-weekend (two day) course close to your home, with something like the following structure:
- Two three-hour sessions each day (12 hours total), broken up by breaks/lunch
- Ten students
- Materials supplied
- Taught by me, using a combination of lecture, short writing exercises, and discussion that would be carefully structured. This could be designed so it would be of interest to both less and more-experienced writers.
(1) If something like this were to be offered, what would you be comfortable paying for the seminar itself, with materials (but without meals or anything of that kind)?
(2) If an individual wanted to (a) recruit participants and (b) find a reasonable venue, then the seminar fee would be waived for that person. Thoughts?