What’s with this “Writers.com/Writers on the Net” business?
Back when we launched, no one referred to anything on the Web by its URL, so “Writers on the Net” was our only name. A lot has changed since then and “Writers.com” is now a handier, and perhaps more meaningful, name.
Why should I be on the Writers.com mail list?
On or around the first day on the month, we send out a current class schedule. Our free newsletter contains interesting and helpful information for writers, is emailed mid-month. We want to keep you informed of our classes and services through which you can meet other writers, learn about writing, and just have fun. We never allow anyone to even peek at our mail list and will never give, sell, or distribute your email address to anyone or anything.
How do I subscribe? (Or unsubscribe?)
You can subscribe or unsubscribe to the mail list at any time by using the form on our mail list page or by sending us email at email@example.com. Since we do not give out your email address for any reason whatsoever, please use the email address you check most often and keep us informed if your address changes.
I’m having trouble receiving the Writers.com newsletter. What should I do?
- Please check your junk-mail inbox settings to see that your newsletters are not being flagged and auto-deleted as junk mail because they are bulk mailed. Many mail programs, such as Hotmail, have a junk mail folder that you should also check.
- Addresses can “fall off” the list, so if you stop hearing from us please resubscribe.
- Please use your most frequently checked email address. Remember, you get only two emails a month from us!
Why do Writers.com classes work?
- Our instructors are gifted, experienced teachers who are writers themselves. They care about their students and the progress they make. Any good “school” or workshop can teach you the craft of writing; we offer personal attention and inspiration as well.
- Each instructor develops his or her own courses. We have no preprepared, packaged classes randomly taught by just anyone with the time. You know exactly who your teacher will be before you ever register, and you’ll receive feedback from that teacher on your writing.
- We accept a maximum of 12 students per class in most classes though in a few of our classes we will accept more. Some classes are “capped” at a maximum of only five or ten students.
- We take your work seriously, but we also have fun. Some of our classes are rigorous and intense. If you want to be a professional writer, you need a tough, but supportive, environment. We have that. But we also offer other classes that are a chance to experiment, learn for the sheer joy of learning, explore new ideas, and discover new pathways.
- Our classes fit into your daily life – no matter what time zone you are in.
- If you are able to visit web sites and send and receive simple text-only email – from any location at any time – you can participate fully in our classes. There’s no special software, no logging in through a browser, no Web sites or HTML involved. You don’t even need broadband or high speed access.
- Having a technical problem? We’ll work it out, person-to-person.
How do the classes work?
Classes take place via email lists or through an educational web site. On the day class begins, you’ll be sent instructions. It’s all very easy and has been working since 1995, even with students completely new to the Internet.
Most of the classes are structured around weekly assignments. Once each week the teacher emails or posts a lecture to the list that includes a writing assignment. The students complete the assignment and send it to the list. This means that the teacher and all of the students in the class see all of the completed assignments. The instructor writes his or her feedback on the assignment and sends it back to the list. Some of the classes are set up as workshops and feedback is given on manuscripts. Students are encouraged to offer feedback on each others’ work.
Class discussions about lessons, assignments, and writing in general also take place on the list. The more interaction among students, the more valuable and enjoyable the class. Guidelines are offered to keep dialogue supportive and beneficial. No “flaming” is allowed.
There are no specific times that you must be online. This allows you to work on the class material at your convenience. It’s the ideal way to take a class. Often a sense of community forms and communication between students goes on long after the class itself has ended. With the odd “anonymous intimacy” of the Internet, it’s also a little easier to take chances in your writing and to be honest and thoughtful in your criticism of others’ writing. Some groups have continued to work together long after the class is over. Writing is a lonely pursuit and it’s often difficult for writers to make contact with each other. Part of our reason for being here is to change that. We encourage class members to develop ongoing correspondence in which they can share their work.
How do tutoring, coaching, editorial services and private classes work?
These are all names for working on an individual basis with an instructor. Such instruction is completely separate from the classes. You do not sign up for a tutor when you enroll in a class and in fact shouldn’t: you’ll receive feedback from the teacher in class, you needn’t pay for anything else.
If you want to work one-to-one with an instructor, email us with information about what you’d like to study or check our other services information for a list of instructors who you feel might meet your needs. We make arrangements for billing, then send the instructor your email address and he or she will contact you. We do not give the tutor any of your financial or personal information. That information is kept strictly confidential. Once the contact is made, you and your mentor will set up arrangements convenient to you with respect to how much work you wish to do, how many hours the tutor will bill to your account, and what type of feedback you want.
Make sure you communicate clearly with your instructor. They are here to help you and can do that best if you tell them before they begin a critique whether you want detailed comments on sentence structure and style, for instance, or just their brief impression of the entire piece.
Tutors keep track of the amount of time they spend working with you, and at the end of every month they send an invoice to Writers on the Net. We then charge US$53 to your credit card for each tutor hour. (More registration and billing information is available under “Enroll” on your menu.)
Unlike classes, there are no set lessons and interaction between student and teacher is much more personal and focuses entirely on your writing. A tutor might help you plot out a story or an article from an idea, assist with revisions, make suggestions when you’re blocked, coach you through writing exercises, or even simply act as a disinterested reader, someone who won’t be shocked by what you’ve written, and who won’t feel shy about giving you an honest critique of your work. Sometimes it can be amazingly helpful just to have an audience for your work!
How much do the classes cost?
Eight week classes cost US $315. Ten week classes usually cost US $360; there are a few exceptions. All classes must be paid in full before the first day of class. All dollar amounts are US dollars.
How do I pay for classes or other services?
It’s easiest if you pay by credit card. We accept VISA, MasterCard, and American Express. You can use our secure registration form, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org setting out the card type, card number, expiry date, and your name as it appears on the card. Don’t forget to specify which class you are paying for! All classes must be paid for in advance. Tutoring and editing services are billed at the end of each month; you will be sent an invoice by email, and your credit card debited.
The class I want has already started. Can I still get in?
If the class is not already full, the answer is usually “yes” during the first week of class. Each class is different, however, and the final decision depends on the class structure and the instructor. Please email us and we will quickly see what we can do.
How about refunds or credits?
If for any reason a class doesn’t start, you will not be charged or, if you have been, you’ll be refunded in full. If you wish to withdraw from a class immediately after a class begins and before you’ve submitted work, we will consider a full refund minus a small handling charge. We handle other situations fairly on a case-by-case basis including a prorated refund or a credit, depending on the situation.
Can I get college credit for the classes I take through Writers.com?
We’re not a college and cannot give credits toward a degree. However, some schools will allow credit for independent course work, portfolio work, and “life experience.” If you think your school will give credit for a Writers.com class, be sure to confirm this with them in writing before you register with us. We will be happy to provide any pertinent information required.
I am having problems registering for a class. What’s wrong?
Since your registration fees are our source of income, you can imagine that your success in this respect is very important to us! Please email us right away an we’ll solve the problem one way or another.
I’m not used to email and don’t understand how to do things that seem to be taken for granted online. Is there hope?
We are here to help. Since we are creative, language-oriented folks ourselves, we aren’t exactly the most cutting-edge high techies on the web. (We are also old enough to remember all telephones used to have dials.) You can always email us at email@example.com.
I’m having problems with viewing or using the website. What do I do? Write to us: We’ll figure it out.
Can you help me get my work published? Find an agent? Sell a screenplay? Etc.
No, sorry. We cannot offer any advice except that given by the teachers in our classes.
I have a great idea for a book but no time to write it. Can you put me in touch with a ghostwriter?
Unfortunately, Writers.com doesn’t offer ghostwriting services at this time, and does not have the resources to connect idea people and ghosts. We do, however, offer some contractual customized writing services.
How do I know you’re a legitimate business?
People are understandably suspicious about the Internet. However, we’ve been in business since 1995. If we were not an honest enterprise, one of several states would have shut us down by now. You’d also be reading nasty postings about us on the web, but you won’t find such. Besides, if we cashed checks and charged credit cards as part of a fraudulent enterprise, we would be engaged in criminal activity. Since we are a very small company without the resources to effectively cheat and steal from consumers, we would have been caught by now. It’s only the big guys who get away…
Is there any way to guarantee that my idea won’t be stolen by someone in the class, or by my instructor?
We’re often asked this. The truth is that there is no guarantee, just as there is no guarantee in a college course, a writers group, or a workshop. It’s rare for a story idea to be so innovative that many other writers haven’t thought of it. Consider the films that are made, the popular books that are published – you’ll notice a striking redundancy in story line. This can be explained in various ways, but the point is that the originality of the story idea seldom determines the success of a book or script, but rather the skill and creativity with which the story is envisioned and then written.
However, if you do feel that you have a real innovation and wish to keep your idea completely secure while you work with it, the only certain way to do so is to not reveal it to others. This needn’t prevent you from taking a class: work with another story idea for the class, receive feedback on it, and then transfer what you learn to your primary manuscript. You may also prefer to work one-on-one with an instructor.
We aren’t aware of many cases of true story-idea theft except in the film business where ideas are bought and sold at premium prices.
I have a great idea for a class or project I’d like to see Writers.com offer. May I make a suggestion?
Yes, please do! We love suggestions! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about it.
Is Writers.com hiring new editors or teachers?
We’re not hiring new teachers or editors right now, but we will be in the future. Feel free to send us a copy of your list of credits, teaching experiences, and some information about what you’d like to teach. Email it to email@example.com. We’ll be happy to keep the information on file.
Is it possible for me to “meet” the instructor before committing to a whole class?
This usually isn’t practical for classes, though it is normal with tutors. We will, however, try to answer questions and see if the teacher has the time avaliable to answer questions. If you’re concerned about whether you’re compatible with one of our teachers, we suggest for an hour of tutoring with that teacher.