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How To Turn Your Book Into An Online Course
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How To Turn Your Book Into An Online Course

If you think about it, every book ever written requires explanation. Even the most popular book in the entire world, the Bible, needs A LOT of explanation. The chances are good that your book does not represent the exception. Readers always like to get more information about particular sections, chapters or statements within the books they read.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could create a place for them to get these explanations through an online course? If you’ve already invested countless hours in writing and publishing your book, it can be disheartening to see low sales numbers. If this is you, this is another great reason to look at turning your book into an online course.

What would it be like to charge $100 to $5,000 for your book? That might seem impossible, considering it’s already difficult enough to sell your books at a low price. However, online courses designed from books can sell for 50 times as much as the original book!

Your readers may love your book, but the chances are good that they have specific questions on applying certain portions to their lives. If you can answer those questions, you add a ton of value for your readers, a value that they will pay for.

So How Do You Get Started? Take A Look At These Important Steps!

Step One: Understanding The Differences Between An Online Course And A Book

Online Course

Before you get too far along in the process, it is essential that you understand the differences between books and online courses completely.

Here Are Few Key Points To Get You Started:

1. Tone

Any good writer understands the importance of tone and how to develop it throughout a book. Tone is the key to keeping the reader connected to the story. In an online course, your tone should be very different. Think about how an audiobook “feels” to a listener.

An audiobook simply translates the written word into audio. There should be no change in tone, and the individual reading aloud should be focused on maintaining the original tone throughout. Online courses portray an entirely different feeling than audiobooks.

While tone remains very important, it will need to be altered when you transition to the course. That means that tone should be a major point of focus for you as you proceed through the next steps.

2. Focus

Another major difference between a book and an online course revolves around the depth of the content. Books offer value by fully exploring a topic in its entirety, while online courses create value by making actionable points. An audiobook maybe 15 to 20 hours in length, while the course behind that audiobook maybe 4 to 6 hours long.


This means that you will need to spend a lot of time considering the best ways to focus your content on making the best online course. Where you may have written 20 pages discussing the history of a topic in your book, you will need to provide a few actionable points relating to that history of your online course.

3. Specificity

A good book contains tons of great ideas and intriguing stories. These ideas and stories help readers to grow and learn. They change the way people think about the topics. However, the application of these ideas can be quite difficult straight from the book. This is where an online course comes in.

An online course’s value is directly related to how well it can turn these stories and ideas into actionable points. Basically, your book plants the seed, and your online course shows readers how to grow that seed into something that actually impacts their lives.

For example, an online course about the power of networking should include software tools, step-by-step guides, and even email templates. The book that the course was based on may discuss general networking concepts and why certain steps are important to an individual’s career.

The course just turns these concepts into immediately actionable information. To learn more about the differences between books and online courses, check out some example courses based on books you’ve read in the past. Obviously, you should make sure that the online courses you choose are successful and popular.

Step Two: Building Your Online Course

Online Course

There are many different ways to build an online course from a book, but this proven process is straightforward and practical. It can also be applied to almost any book in almost any industry.

1. Choosing Your Format

The right format of your online course depends on your content and intended audience. While a text-based course can be successful, it may be best to mix in some other format styles. You can also focus on video throughout your course with live filming.

This format gives you a lot of flexibility and adds a personal tone to the course. If it makes sense for your content, you could also use screen recording sessions that allow you to teach the audience through a program. You can also use slide recordings with audio to teach the audience.

The addition of bonus content (like expert interviews for example) and PDF handouts can add value to the course. Most successful online courses use a mix of these formats. You will also need to decide on your course length. This also depends on content and audience.

If you can accomplish everything the audience wants to learn in two hours, go for it! If not, set-up your course to last as long as you need. As you consider the length and structure of your course, start thinking about how you can create modules that bring the audience through one major milestone each.

Each video or section of content should focus on a single clear step in the process. For example, you could have one module for setting up a website, another for writing initial content, and another for marketing the website. Then, video #2 for your first “setting up a website” module could discuss web hosting set-up, and video #5 could be about the configuration of WordPress.

2. Transforming Your Manuscript Into Your Course Script


This step is all about cutting the fluff and altering the tone as we discussed earlier. The course you create must be able to get your audience from point A to point B. It should take them from where they are now to where they want to be. Your entire course script needs to reflect that simple process. If you maintain good focus, you can turn a very long book into a week-long course.

3. Script To Slide Plan

Before you start designing actual slides, you should create a document that matches the main ideas of your script with your slides. This step helps you organize your thoughts and solidify a plan that allows your content to flow seamlessly from beginning to end. It will pay big dividends in creating a good flow throughout your course.

4. Designing Your Slides

After you’ve completed your slide plan, you can start designing your slides. Find a template that you like and then customize each slide to match the slide plan. Since you already have a slide plan, you can easily outsource this step of the process to a professional if you’d like.

5. Recording Your Audio

Recording Your Audio

The next step is to start recording audio for your presentation. Basically, you just need to read your script in an enthusiastic manner that will engage the audience. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

  • The quality of your audio recordings will be lower if you try to record it with your screen and slides simultaneously. It is always best to record the audio as a separate file and match it up with the slides later.
  • Pause between slides and say “Slide __.” This will make the editing step much easier.

6. Combining Your Audio And Video Recordings

This one is pretty much self-explanatory. Unless you’re an audio/video professional, you should probably outsource this step. The professionals can provide better quality and get the job done much faster than you can. It’s worth the investment to get this step done correctly the first time around.

7. Adding Extra Material In Useful Places

Throughout your online course, each time you say something along the lines of “do this,” you should be asking yourself how you can help them “do that.” These are the best places for added content such as templates, PDF handouts, new examples and expert interviews.

8. Final Revisions


Before you upload your course for the masses to see, you need to make sure everything is structured correctly, well edited and cleaned up. Make sure that your course is easy to follow and that the different modules keep the audience moving in a clear direction.

9. Uploading Your Course

There are many different options for uploading your online course. You should take the time to do some research on all the different options so that you can choose the one that is the best fit. You can start with Teachable as a simple option. Take a look at MemberMouse as a more sophisticated method.

Step Three: Cementing A Connection between Your Book and Your Online Course

Once you’ve built your online course, you need to think about how you can get your book readers to start your online course, and how you can get your online course audience to read your book. The easiest way to accomplish this is to provide links from your book to your course and vice versa; however, there will always be some who complain that you’re just trying to sell another product.


A less direct method involves sending readers to a companion site that offers additional content and downloads for no added cost. You just need them to provide their email address. Then you can set-up an email campaign that provides added value and guides people through the process of moving from the book to the course and vice versa.

Don’t wait until the very end of your book to provide this download link. Add the link to the beginning and a few places throughout the book to make sure every reader sees it. This link should even be available to those who read only the “free preview” of your book at the online store.

What Results Should You Expect?

  • You can expect about 20 percent of your readers to check out the download link.
  • From that 20 percent, you should get about half of these to provide their email address.
  • From that list of people who provided their email address, you can expect about 10 percent to purchase your online course.

What Do Those Results Mean?

Let’s say you get about 3,000 initial purchases from your book launch and an additional 500 purchases per month after that. That means that you would start out with about 300 people on your email list, and 50 more to add each month. 30 people purchase your online course during the book’s launch, and five more buy it every month.

If you price your online course at $250, that is another $7500 in added revenue during your launch period, and $1250 added revenue each month. THAT is the power of turning your book into an online course, and these numbers are on the conservative end! Writing a book on its own is difficult.

It is a draining process, but the addition of an online course will make a major difference. If the writing and publishing of your book wear you down and you don’t offer an online course for it, you will almost definitely regret it. An online course gives you the chance to grow your business rapidly.

Maximizing your book’s value is all about leading your readers to all the different parts of your brand. These people enjoy your work, and they are willing to pay to get more opportunities to work with you. At the end of the day, you won’t just have readers; you will have true followers!


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