If you want to build a career writing what you love that is not only sustainable, but brings you joy – then this course is for you.
I’m going to be reviewing and discussing a course called Publish & Thrive run by Sara Cannon at Heartbreathings. Make sure you stick around till the end where I’ll go through how you can get a discount on a thriving author bundle, as well as give you all the links you may need!
Sara has a decade of knowledge and experience in the self-publishing world with more than 25 novels under her belt. Not only is she truly passionate about helping other authors succeed – and I’ve seen the evidence of this since I took her courses, she knows what she’s talking about: she’s sold more than a million books and she’s built Heartbreathings from the ground up to help authors like you and me.
I love sharing things that will help others, but I will only share things that have truly helped me. This is one of those things.
When you’re just starting out, or you’ve started but you’re not quite sure of anything, every penny can be extremely important – I like to know exactly what I’m getting to know if I’ll benefit – so that’s exactly what I’m going to detail here. She does have a great introduction page that goes through what the course is about too.
Now, if you’re wondering ‘Rhian, just get to the point, how much is it?’ I hear you, so we’ll start with price.
Last year, the course went through a complete overhaul and Sara re-recorded everything. As alumni to the course, I get lifetime access and I receive all updates for free (which you will too if you join us). But this means the price is now $499. She does offer payment plans for 6 and 12 months. So $90 for 6 months and $45 dollars for 12 months.
I know, that seems like a lot, but compared to a lot of courses I’ve seen out there, this is incredibly reasonable and I have the benefit of knowing the value inside the course, which of course, helps me make that statement.
So small background into WHY I took this course. I took this course January of 2021 – I was on sick leave because of my pregnancy with my daughter and I could barely move due to physical issues I had. I’d sort of published two books so incredibly terribly but I knew without a doubt, I wanted to pursue publishing seriously. I wanted this to be my career so dang badly, but I had no idea what to do, what was important, and I felt incredibly overwhelmed by everything out there. In comes Sara Cannon and her Heartbreathings channel. I had been following her for a while and had just taken her HB90 planning course. Game changer. I was feeling more empowered because of that anyway, so I decided to go for the Publish & Thrive course. It sounded to me like a great ‘one-stop-shop’, something to build foundations for my career which I knew I was missing. I loved the idea of life-time access so I could dip in and out as I needed too, and I knew from HB90 that Sara is very attentive and involved. And to be honest, she’s just a really nice person!
The first thing to expect when joining Publish and Thrive is a pre-course assignment called ‘Your ideal life’ this is super important as while it can feel like ‘journaling’ the questions really get you to think about what success means to YOU. Everybody’s version of success and their ‘why’ will look different, doing this helps to set you on the right path towards your dreams and ‘can’ help to stop thinking about comparing and competing with other authors and instead seeing them as colleagues and friends. Honestly, I have never been in a ‘work’ environment with such supportive friends. If you find your people, you’ll be cheered on and celebrated for all YOUR wins. It’s great. You’ll also get a link to the facebook group which is not only an amazing tool, but where I have met many an online friend! I have several whom I consider I’m close with but have physically never met – some are all the way across the world from me! But I’ve never been happier.
Finally, there will then be a live kick off call on Saturday 3rd February, after which module 1 is unlocked!
The way the course runs is that each week a new module opens, there’s a live q&a at the end of the week (you can submit questions to this, or if you haven’t finished the module, you can still attend and get a wealth of information!) and then the next module is unlocked. The live q&a’s are then put up on the course site (last years are there) for you to go through at your own pace. Alumni get access to all at once as it’s already been unlocked for us.
Module One: Foundation for success
Module one titled ‘foundation for success’ and covers all of the topics below. Even if you think you know everything, I guarantee you won’t, and these videos really go into depth about all these basics. There’s a lot of helpful insider knowledge (Sara has contacts everywhere!) and she stays up to date, collates new updates and processes in the author world, so she can then share it with us. You’ll see there’s a bonus video in the pre-course information. This was a masterclass she did for alumni (there’s a few scattered within the sections of the course) which she does live, and then adds onto the course site so information is constantly staying as up to date as possible because the publishing landscape changes often and quickly.
- Welcome to module 1
- Successful indie author mindset
- The readers journey
- Algorithms and how vendors work
- Your publishing strategy
- The importance of genre
- Writing books that sell
- Series vs standalones
- Editing your books
- Effective cover art
- Book and series titles
- Descriptions and taglines
- Wide vs exclusivity
- Using pen names
- Module 1 review
- LIVE Q&A call
Module 2: Publishing your books
Module 2 is about physically publishing your books. It covers not just putting your books on different sites, but all the meta data, keywords, formatting and numbers. A lot of numbers! She even has walk throughs of most vendors so you can visually see what it should look like when uploading your book. I found this module helpful because a lot of this information isn’t necessarily clear or concise when going it on your own, but it is SO incredibly important. These are the first building blocks to treating your writing like a business which is what I wanted in order for this to become my career.
- Organising you metadata
- Keywords and categories
- ISBNs, ASINs, & other numbers
- Formatting for ebooks and print
- Amazon’s kindle direct publishing (KDP)
- Apple books
- Barnes and Noble press
- Google play books
- Kobo writing life
- Draft2digits and other 3rd party aggregators
- Ingram spark
- Publishing serialised fiction
- Libraries and bookstores
- Selling direct
- Module 2 review
- LIVE Q&A call
Module Three: Business of Writing
Talking of business, Module three focuses on the business of writing. I’m talking taxes, bank accounts, tracking data, budgets, ROI and more. And again, if you’re hoping to be successful and thrive as an author, this is key to that. Most of this stuff I hadn’t even thought about, let alone had planned for. I wouldn’t have even known to look into half of this stuff! What you don’t know, you can’t do. This module has helped me set myself for this to become a career, not just a hobby. And hey, there is nothing wrong with a hobby, but a career needs more discipline and structure to survive long term. Now a lot of the financial parts are heavily based for US authors as Sara is from there. She does provide links for you to start looking at things in your own countries and I’ll be sharing more about this side of things for UK authors over on my youtube channel. For instance, we can sign up to become a ‘Sole Trader’. So, if you’re interested, make sure you subscribe to that!
- Welcome to module 3
- Structuring your business
- Your business mailing address
- Taxes and bank accounts
- Physical inventory vs digital goods
- Your business budget
- Tracking sales and income
- Calculating sell-through
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Protecting your work
- Estate planning
- Insurance for indie authors
- Module 3 review
- LIVE A&A
Module Four: Introduction into Indie Marketing
Module four then is an introduction into indie marketing (there’s more in module 5!). This was definitely a module I was interested in and sort of knew was something I needed to do, but how? I had no clue. In nearly all of these videos she gives some sort of tips and advice as well as practical need-to-know information and is a great springboard for investigating what may work for you. You may find not all the videos mesh up with your vision, for example, I don’t think I’ll ever rapid release. But going through that video helped me to see the pros and cons and analyse that against MY version of success and dream life. If may not be the same for you. There was also a masterclass on Amazon’s A+ content which was really helpful! I managed to do it for one of my books but haven’t got round to doing it for my newest yet. I should but jeez, the list is long people!
- Welcome to module 4
- Your author platform
- Creating a website
- Effective newsletter strategy
- Social media marketing
- Launching your book
- Using pre-orders
- The 4-step indie marketing framework
- Pricing your books
- Promo and deal sites
- Other paid advertising
- Rapid release strategy
- Marketing standalones and non-fiction
- Finding your comp authors and books
- Module 4 review
- BONUS masterclass: Utilising Amazon’s A+ content
- LIVE Q&A call
Module Five: Marketing Tools and Strategies
And so linked to module four, we move onto module five which goes through tools and strategies for marketing. Again, some of these things I hadn’t even though about or heard of so it was great to understand what things I might have available to me. Like with module four, by going through all these different tools and strategies, I was able to assess which ones might go well with my version of success and what I want out of my career. There were also some really great videos on how to manage time, especially if you’re a slower writer, and I particularly loved the re-launching a series – which is what I did with my soul bound series. I was able to pull everything I learned here and then apply to my own series which was re-branded and re-launched. That was when I truly started making this a business and treating it as such.
- Welcome to module 5
- Knowing your ideal reader
- Your reader funnel
- Author pages to set up
- Getting reviews for your book
- Influencer marketing
- Marketing for slower writers
- Creating marketing images
- Cross promotion ideas
- Running giveaways
- Box sets
- Kickstarter for authors
- Relaunching a series
- Creating your publishing strategy
- Module 5 review
- LIVE Q&A call
- BONUS masterclass: social media marketing
Module Six: Thriving as an Author
The final module is all about thriving as an author (and thankfully shorter than the previous module!) but includes a whole array of things to consider going forward. It might seem like you don’t want to touch on this stuff, it might not ‘seem’ important, but this module really show cased how important our mindset is and gives practical tips and advice on how to thrive as an author in this industry. It also pulls everything you’ve learned from the above, and guides you through creating your own gameboard strategies and publishing roadmaps tailored to you.
- Welcome to module 6
- Managing your time and energy
- For love of money
- Taking advice from others
- Gameboard strategy
- Setting goals
- Organising your data
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- What to do when you’re discouraged
- How to handle criticism
- Being a professional
- Managing burnout
- How to trust yourself
- Your indie publishing roadmap
- Top 7 tips for thriving
- Module 6 review
- LIVE Q&A call
Lastly, there is an incredible resource called the publish and thrive index. This is a game changer. Say you just want to check a fact or look something up quickly, you can type in what you’re after and it will bring up slides with the information you’re looking for. Some videos are quite long and you may not have time to go back through the whole video, this index helps with that. Or perhaps you can’t remember where something came in the course, the index will help you. It’s brilliant.
For the audio orientated amongst you: the videos have also all been converted into podcasts! Some videos are better suited to watching as there are slides and walk throughs, but it’s a helpful addition to the course for those who like to listen on the go.
In summary, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I absolutely think this course is worth it. The knowledge gained, the insider tips and advice, the lifetime access, the facebook group with Sara and a lot of other alumni’s all working together – is just a brilliant resource for all authors. Even if you think you know things and have a couple books out (like I had) I guarantee you’ll still find this course helpful and help take you to the next step. If you want your dream life to become a reality where you get to write what you love, then this is the course for you.
Now I did promise a way for you to save money with a thriving bundle. The Publish and thrive course is $499, the HB90 planning course is $199 but if you sign up with the bundle, you get $99 off. If you’ve done HB90 then you can sign up to publish and thrive and get the $99 dollars off that (and if it doesn’t work – just email Sara and she’ll sort you out with making sure you get that $99 dollars back! I promise she’s super helpful and her right-hand woman, Renee, often gets her emails and will happily sort you out too. Renee is a friend of mine, brilliant at her job and an absolute gem. You’ll be hearing and seeing more of what she does when you’re inside the group!)
I hope I’ve done this course the justice it deserves, if you have any more question pop them in the comments so we can chat! Don’t forget all the links you’ll need are below and they are affiliate links so they don’t cost you any extra but if you chose to use them, you’ll be helping to support me too so thank you!
Both links will take you to a comprehensive introduction page about the course from Sara herself.
Publish & Thrive course: https://heartbreathings.teachable.com/courses/publish-and-thrive?affcode=145068_ass1oibo
Thriving Author Bundle (Publish & Thrive and HB90) https://heartbreathings.teachable.com/courses/thrivingauthorbundle?affcode=145068_ass1oibo