How to Create a Course or Workshop from a Book

Manuscripts
6 min readApr 3, 2023

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by Lizette Warner, Ph.D.

Have you ever wanted to create a course or workshop? Are you a published author and would love to have other avenues open for launching an associated intellectual property besides your book?

While you don’t have to be a published author to create a course or workshop, those who have a book or two under their belt have a few advantages, including owning the intellectual property of their book, and therefore, their course content. There are, however, a few myths authors believe that can hinder them in the creative process of building a course or workshop. Whether you are a published author or not, this article will help you understand how to create a course, workshop, or program from a book.

Two Lies and a Truth

  1. Workshop creativity is only for non-fiction authors
  2. Successful courses, workshops, or programs should be based on the book
  3. Author skills are for writing books and not courses or workshops

Can you spot the truth?

The Lies

Workshop creativity is only for non-fiction authors

Workshop or course creativity isn’t for non-fiction authors alone. There are courses people would line up to take, from those looking to learn the mechanics of writing stories to those wanting to add to their professional arsenal of tools for the workplace. Topics such as,

  • learning to write short stories
  • storytelling principles for meetings
  • storytelling to rock your presentations
  • creative writing
  • how to write a poem, and
  • storytelling fundamentals

are all enviable courses or workshops people would take.

Do any of those courses entice you to sign up? The scope for workshops is only limited to your creativity and willingness to create workshop or course content.

Successful courses, workshops, or programs should be based on the book

Lie. Check the list of workshops above. None of them need to be the title or content of the book. As an author, you have storytelling, copywriting, editing, and likely visual skills. Any one of those could be turned into a workshop or course that people would find value in.

Workshops can come from the content of your book, but they certainly don’t have to come from your book — or only come from your book alone. I created a course from my book, Power, Poise, and Presence: A New Approach to Authentic Leadership, that came out of a single paragraph within it on authentic leadership teams.

Authentic leadership teams resonated with my audience and was a concept I nurtured in my coaching business. The paragraph in my book spoke about professionals and leaders getting career help. Authentic leadership teams were one source of such help, a team of like-minded peers that gather periodically to challenge, share, and grow together. The team stays together for a year or longer, and the power of the atmosphere they create is in growing, sharing, challenging, and holding each other accountable.

Deciding on a workshop topic is critical and shouldn’t be something you develop in isolation. Lean on your audience to help you discover what is most important to them. I, for example, kept hearing my readers felt supported in reading my book and that having exercises they could do in the community was one of the things they liked about it, so I knew what focus a workshop or course on.

Don’t let yourself be limited in creating a course or workshop directly from your book or one inspired by it. I created two courses from Power, Poise, and Presence but only one is taken from the actual text in the book. The other course developed from what I was learning from my coaching friends, that they were struggling to build, launch and grow their businesses. I created the Road to Five Zeros in response to what I was hearing my coach and business owners were struggling with in growing their businesses.

The Truth

Workshops, courses, and programs do not have to be taught in your book to be successful

Workshops, courses, and programs do not have to be taught in your book to be successful. If you’ve written a book, you have marketable and transferrable skills greater than the 99% of people who have not written a book (Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics). To be a successful workshop, course, or program creator requires additional skills beyond those learned through authorship, such as determining your consumer and their needs, identifying your course or workshop subject, testing the market, setting your pricing, and building and launching your course or workshop.

Steps for Success

Determine Your Consumer

Identify who your consumer will be along with what their needs are. If you have an author group, this is a great place to start determining their wants and needs so you can write copy that speaks directly to them. You’ll also want to do market research to determine potential competition for your product and the current product demand.

Identify Your Course or Workshop Subject

Once you identify your consumer and their needs, you’ll want to determine what kind of course or workshop will best satisfy those needs. You’ll want to do additional competitive intelligence and pair your course or workshop with the skills you are naturally good at, aligning it with a subject you have a passion for.

Be careful, however, when using a book or books to create a course, workshop, or program, especially if you don’t own the rights to the book. There are ways you can use other’s intellectual property to create a course and you’ll want to ensure to explicitly credit their work and not pass it off as your own.

Test the Market

After identifying the course or workshop subject, you’ll want to do alpha or beta testing with your ideal audience to find potential pitfalls, as well as any unique advantages your course may have over other existing courses. You’ll be able to collect testimonials and product reviews critical for widespread adoption and generate early excitement for your course by creating fans that can help you launch your product.

Set Pricing

Having done your competitive intelligence and tested the market, you’ll be ready to set your course or workshop pricing. This can be a confusing place for entrepreneurs, and it can be helpful to seek the guidance of business professionals to make sure you aren’t over or under-selling the product.

In my business-building course, we spend extensive time determining how to price your services and programs. In general, you’ll want to consider,

  • Cost of goods
  • Competitor pricing
  • Subscription-based model
  • Premium product
  • Live or hands-on workshop
  • Evergreen or recorded workshop
  • Free to premium levels
  • Your value-added time

Build and Launch Your Course or Workshop

You can pre-launch your workshop and build the course out with your launch subscribers or build your course and launch it with a larger audience. Either way, the important thing to note is that you have options.

When you pre-launch a course or workshop, you can tailor the content to your customers, ensuring the material meets their needs. Once you meet the needs of your direct audience, it’s highly likely you will also meet the needs of other similar consumers and you’ll be ready to launch your course or workshop more broadly.

You can also build your course out with alpha and beta testing and have a traditional launch to your audience and beyond.

Bottom Line

You don’t have to have a non-fiction or self-help book to create a workshop or course from your book. You don’t even need to base your workshop or course directly on your book. Your workshop can be related to the skills you acquired and strengthened through the process of becoming a published author, which conveys its own credentials and standards upon you.

Be sure to craft the workshop with your customers in mind. Set yourself up for success by using your audience to help refine your content even when pricing your workshop.

Check out my Coffee Chats episode with Manuscripts to learn more.

About the Author

Lizette Warner, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, and business coach with years of healthcare experience who turned her skills into developing business leaders after discovering a passion for getting people through leadership crises and renewal. Lizette is the creator of Authentic Leadership Teams and the Road to Five Zeros, where entrepreneurs and coaches go to build, launch, and grow their dreams. Power, Poise, and Presence: A New Approach to Authentic Leadership is her debut nonfiction book and her mission.

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Manuscripts

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