16 Best Online Courses for Writers in 2021 [Free & Paid]

What is the best online course for writers in 2021? In this article, I’ll cover the highest-quality online classes that are free…and not so free.

How can I improve my writing skills online? You can improve your writing skills using online classes that push your creative writing, business writing, and academic writing skills to their maximum potential.

A writer needs to keep improving his or her craft. Online writing courses aren't just for amateurs or writing hobbyists; they're for all writers.

However, all online writing courses are not created equal.

Some courses available are a waste of money, while others are the best money can buy. (Some of the best courses are free.)

When looking at the prices, try not to think how steep the cost is. Think of the money you will make if you take the course. Think of how much it would cost to earn an MFA for a specialization in creative writing. These are (often tax-deductible) investments in your career.

I've devised a comprehensive list of my favorite online writing courses in 2021, including their cost and what type of course they are. This way, you'll know exactly what you're getting into when you enroll.

In this article, you will learn:
  1. Best general online writing courses
  2. How much each course costs
  3. Best genre courses for writing sci-fi, children’s books, memoirs
  4. What free, high-quality courses Kindlepreneur offers
  5. Best free online classes (in case you're on a tight budget)

Links in this article may give me a small commission if you use them to purchase products. There’s NO extra cost to you, and it helps me continue to write handy articles like this one. This does not detract from the quality of the courses; there's a reason I affiliate myself with them. It's because they're awesome!

If you’re specifically interested in self-publishing courses, check out my article on the Best Self Publishing Courses.

Ideal ForPriceCheck It Out!
MasterClassBest Overall Online Writing Courses

$90/class

$180/year

Get it Now
The 100 Day Book Program
Best Course to Help Finish Your Book$49/month
$490/one-time payment
Get it Now
Writing with FlairBest General Writing Course for Beginners$94.99
Get It Now
Children's Book UniversityBest Course for Children's Books$997
$497 w/ Kindlepreneur Discount
Get It Now! 
AMS Ads CourseBest Course for Amazon Self-PublishersFREE
Get It Now
MemoiramaBest Online Memoir Writing Course$59
Get It Now
Full Publishing MA CourseBest for Indie PublishersContact for more info
Get It Now
Freedom Machine
Best Course for Bloggers

$99.45/12 months

$999/one-time

Get It Now
Writers of the Futurewriters-of-the-futureBest Course for Sci-Fi WritersFREE
Get It Now
A Fearless Way to Write Novels

fearless way to write novels marketing graphic
Best for Writing a Novel Step-by-Step$297 or 3 payments of $100
Get It Now

Best Overall Online Writing Courses: MasterClass

neil-gaiman-masterclass-review

MasterClass is a massive archive of online courses providing training in specific subjects by titans of that particular industry. MasterClass features the biggest names in writing, such as Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, and Dan Brown.

What course should I take to become a writer? MasterClass is the best use of your money as an online course to become a writer. Learn from the best.

MasterClass courses are the best overall online writing courses because bestselling authors teach them. Plus, your monthly subscription fee gives you access to all of the fantastic MasterClass courses.

The courses are self-paced, comprehensive, insightful, geared toward an “intermediate and above” student, and undeniably invaluable.

How much does MasterClass cost? MasterClass costs $180/year ($15/month, billed annually). You can also pay $90 for a single class. They seldom offer discounts or coupon codes.

MasterClasses features big-name authors, such as:

  • Malcolm Gladwell
  • Joyce Carol Oates
  • James Patterson
  • Judy Blume
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Margaret Atwood
  • R.L. Stine
  • Dan Brown
  • Roxane Gay
  • David Sedaris
  • Shonda Rhimes
  • Aaron Sorkin (for screenwriting)

Which writing MasterClass is the best? I recommend Malcolm Gladwell’s writing MasterClass. It is the best course for finding the story you need to convey, instead of just telling the reader what to believe.

Bonus: If you sign up for MasterClass, you not only gain access to incredible online writing courses, you can listen to all the MasterClass courses, like Gordon Ramsay talking about cooking, RuPaul talking about self-expression, and Hans Zimmer talking about film scoring.

Check out my in-depth MasterClass review for more details.

Check Out MasterClass Now

Best Course to Help Finish Your Book: The 100-Day Book Program

100-day-book-program-best-online-course-for-writers

The 100-Day Book Program by The Write Practice gives you a proven process to actually finish your books.

Starting a book isn't all that tough. But finishing one — that's a different story. How many unfinished manuscripts are tucked away in desks and forgotten file folders?

Although it’s easy to get distracted and difficult to get motivated, the 100-Day Book Program helps you stay on task and gives you the resources you need to finish that book.

How much does the 100-Day Book Program cost?

  • $49/month for 12 months, OR
  • $490 as a one-time payment

It’s worth noting that you get a $100 incentive if you meet all your deadlines and finish your book by the end of the course, which (in 2021) runs from May to September.

Utilizing over 100 daily lessons (video, audio, and written lessons), this course covers everything you'll need when putting together your story, including:

It's not just a technical course; it's also highly motivating. The Write Practice teaches you how to keep writing when writing gets hard, how to beat writer's block, and how to manage your time.

If you've ever found yourself struggling to finish your book, you should try this course.

CHECK OUT THE 100 DAY BOOK PROGRAM NOW

Best Writing Course for Beginners: Writing With Flair

Udemy writing courses

Writing With Flair: How to Become an Exceptional Writer is a perfect course for writers of all skill levels, but it's especially beginner-friendly.

This course is taught by an ex-Wall Street Journal editor with one goal in mind: how to write with style, confidence, and impact. Over 240,000 students have enrolled in this course on Udemy by Shani Raja.

He teaches you how to master 4 basic principles of writing:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Clarity
  3. Elegance
  4. Evocativeness

How much does Shani Raja’s Writing With Flair cost? This writing course costs $94.99, but Udemy often offers discounts, as you see in the screenshot above. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee. Buying the course gains you lifetime access to the 7 hours of on-demand video training.

His basics form what he calls his “secret sauce” of writing. As stated above, this course is for writers of all types and skill levels. Even those learning to write English as a second language can form great writing habits with this course.

This isn't the only writing course on Udemy. Check out my in-depth Udemy review for more course info.

CHECK OUT UDEMY NOW

Learn Amazon Ads for Free

Check out my full free video course that will teach you how to make effective Ads to increase your book sales

Sign Up Now

Best Course for Children's Book Writers: Children's Book University

children's books online course

Children’s Book University by award-winning, bestselling author Eevi Jones takes a welcoming, comprehensive, and shrewd look at the children’s book self-publishing world. Not only does Jones guide you through the writing process for a children’s story, she even helps with the business side of things.

I love reading with my kids, and that's only possible because of dedicated children's book authors like Eevi Jones.

Writing a kid's book is more complicated than you would think. Often, books for kids are full of vibrant illustrations, creative fonts, and simple yet gripping storylines.

Now imagine getting all of that ready to publish. It's a lot of work. There's a good chance beginners will get lost. That's why Jones’s course is so valuable.

She carefully breaks down her process for you from start to finish. It's a critical resource for aspiring children's book writers. As an added bonus, you can go through her online writing classes at your own pace.

According to Jones:

“I have interviewed more than 100 aspiring children’s book authors to ensure that this program covers and addresses every single burning question you may have.”

How much does Children’s Book University cost? This course costs $497, as long as you use Kindlepreneur’s link to enroll. This gains you immediate lifetime access. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Typically, Children’s Book University costs $997 — and it's worth every single penny. However, Eevi has given Kindlepreneur an amazing 50% discount on her program! This is a special deal that you can only get here.

If you're looking to take your children's book writing to the next level, now's your best chance.

Be sure to read Eevi Jones’s guest post on How To Write a Children’s Book, here on Kindlepreneur.

CHECK OUT CHILDREN'S BOOK UNIVERSITY NOW

Best Course for Amazon Self-Publishers: AMS Ads for Books

free AMS course

AMS Ads For Books is Kindlepreneur’s free course on how to sell more books with Amazon ads. (AMS stands for Amazon Marketing Services.) This robust course is free, on-demand, and easy to follow. Are you a writer wanting to sell more books on Amazon? Enroll today!

Now, I'm not looking to boast here, but I honestly believe that my AMS Ads course is an absolute must if you plan to run ads on Amazon.

AMS ads aren't very user-friendly. While they have the potential to send your book sales into the atmosphere, they can also eat up your advertising budget while you get them figured out.

However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't use them. You just need to learn how to set up your ads, manage your campaigns, and make necessary adjustments.

How much do Kindlepreneur’s courses for authors cost?

There’s no credit card required for either of the free courses and no hidden fees, ever.

Check out my in-depth look at Amazon Ads for Authors if you’re still considering whether to take this free course.

AMS campaigns aren't just set-it-and-forget-it. In my free course, I show you how using Publisher Rocket can help you construct your book’s best possible ad campaign.

If you're looking to create an AMS ad campaign or even self-publish on Amazon, I highly recommend you head over and check out my course.

CHECK OUT MY FREE AMS COURSE NOW

Best Online Memoir Writing Course: Memoirama

course for writing memoir

Memoirama is the brainchild of Marion Roach Smith — an author featured in The New York Times and on NPR and a professional memoir coach.

Smith's approach to teaching memoirs has been likened to a precise mathematical formula. She literally teaches you her writing algorithm.

Writing a memoir might seem like an easy undertaking at first. You lived through the facts. It can't be that difficult to write them down. Right? Wrong.

Navigating these life events can be overwhelming, confusing, and difficult to fully explain to a reader. That’s where Marion Roach Smith comes in to ease your mind, guide you through the process, and equip you with the necessary tools to write a memoir.

Unlike other click-through courses, Marion teaches her course live. Seats for her class are limited to 30 people. That way, everybody gets to ask questions at the end.

How much does Memoirama cost? Memoirama costs $59. It is taught live mostly on Fridays, with a few Tuesdays thrown in for good measure.

This is the first of a 4-part series for learning how to write memoirs. It's highly recommended that you take the courses to get the maximum effect. These courses are broken down into easily digestible parts — with the first only 90 minutes long.

Whether you're a beginner to memoirs, need a refresher, or looking to have some fun learning, this course is the one for you.

CHECK OUT MEMOIRAMA NOW

Best Course for Indie Publishers: WCU's Publishing MA Program

Western Colorado publishing MA program

Western Colorado University’s Publishing MA Program is one of the only comprehensive master’s degree programs in the US that offers hands-on experience in the publishing industry, (mostly) from the comfort of your own home.

Let me preface this course by stating that it is not entirely held online. You get to spend two weeks in the gorgeous Colorado mountains for summer orientation.

After that, you can complete the rest of the course online. Or in the picturesque Rockies, if you decide to move there — your call.

Seriously, this is the best course for indie publishers available today. For the first 2 in-residence weeks, you'll go through an intensive training regimen on the basics of publishing. Once that's done, you'll be put to work. Literally.

You'll work for a small commercial publishing company, getting paid pro rates to:

  • Develop a concept for an anthology
  • Solicit submissions
  • Read the slush pile and choose what gets published
  • Issue contracts
  • Edit the piece
  • Design and produce the book and book cover
  • Publish the book
  • Market the book

How much is WCU’s tuition? WCU’s tuition for graduate students is $17,371/year. Like most master’s degree programs, WCU’s Publishing MA Program is a 2-year program. Of course, you may qualify for student aid.

Also, great news for any of you Sci-Fi guys and gals out there looking to take this course — it's taught by Kevin J Anderson, a legend in the Science Fiction genre with over 56 national and international bestsellers. This includes his work on Dune, the Star Wars canon, the Seven Suns series, and so much more.

Anderson’s personal publishing company, WordFire Press, has released over 350 titles from 95 different authors.

CHECK OUT WCU TODAY

Best Online Course for Bloggers: Freedom Machine

Freedom Machine

Freedom Machine is a great tool for bloggers who want to make a living by guest posting. If I had to pick just one online course for bloggers, it's this one.

Created by one of the world's best bloggers, Jon Morrow, this course is the real deal. I make all of my new hires take this course as part of their on-boarding process.

This course covers blogging from start to finish — from how to choose the right opening line to pitching a guest post idea. Morrow really drives home some extraordinary fundamentals of blog writing and guest posting.

He also provides you with his “little black book” of websites for guest posting, sites that meet his criteria as great places to guest post. At the end of the course, you get a certificate of completion that carries some weight as a blogging qualification.

Morrow makes it abundantly clear that if you don’t put the time and effort into his course, you won't go anywhere with it. You need to buckle down and get motivated, as well as do your daily assignments and homework. This is not a course for quitters or those looking to breeze through nonchalantly.

How much does Freedom Machine cost?

  • $99.45/month for 12 months, OR
  • $999/one-time payment

Freedom Machine’s content and resources are valued at $10,000. For all the value it provides, the company even offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

CHECK OUT FREEDOM MACHINE TODAY

Free MailerLite Video Course

Learn how to setup and use your MailerLite account effectively to help sell more books.

Sign Up Now

Best Course for Sci-Fi Writers: Writers of the Future Online Workshop

writers-of-the-future-best-sci-fi

Writers of the Future Online Workshop is an amazing course if you're a science-fiction writer or looking to become one. Mind you, this is an intermediate course, not necessarily for writers who are just starting out.

How much Writers of the Future Online Workshop cost? This course is completely free.

The course is 11 lessons long with 13 videos chock full of priceless information. You also gain access to personal essays from the workshop founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

This online writing workshop features 3 top-notch teachers:

  1. Orson Scott Card
  2. David Farland
  3. Tim Powers

If you're a sci-fi fan, you've heard of at least one of those names, if not all 3. They're legends in the sci-fi community. This is like the ultimate masterclass for science fiction.

One of the coolest parts of this course is its associated contest. The Writers of the Future contest is open to beginning writers only — meaning you can't have published more than 3 short stories or any novels or novellas. By the end of the course, you'll have already written your submission.

And since this course is free (along with the contest entry), you may actually win $5,000 just by learning and participating.

CHECK OUT WRITERS OF THE FUTURE NOW

Best Course For Writing a Novel Step-by-Step: A Fearless Way to Write Novels

fearless way to write novels course screenshot

A Fearless Way to Write Novels is taught by award-winning, 7-time New York Times bestselling author Alessandra Torre. She uses her experience to teach simple, step-by-step methods to write a great novel.

Novel writing is a lot more than simply throwing a story on paper. There’s social media, equipment, software, idea generation, outlining, writing scenes, cliffhangers, copyrights, book blurbs, book descriptions, etc. It can get overwhelming if you don’t have an experienced guide.

What I love about Torre’s course is the breadth of topics she covers. From generating story ideas to perfectly typing up a book’s conclusion, this course covers it all with over 75 video lessons.

Besides step-by-step lessons, there are also practical writing assignments and bonus content interviews with other bestselling authors.

Course lessons include:

  • Finding Your Story
  • Developing Your Idea
  • How to Actually Write
  • Your First Chapter
  • Rewrites and Final Steps

How much does A Fearless Way to Write Novels cost? This course costs $297, or 3 monthly payments of $100. You gain immediate, unlimited, lifetime access, including future updates, at no extra charge. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee.

CHECK OUT A FEARLESS WAY TO WRITE NOVELS TODAY

Best Free Online Writing Courses of 2020

Sometimes the best things in life are free. When it comes to the best online writing courses, free does not have to mean bad.

Here are a few free online writing courses you can consider:

  • Coursera: Founded by Stanford professors, Coursera offers many free creative writing classes, such as creative nonfiction, on top of many other subjects. These free video lectures and online assignments are on-demand at your leisure. Just search “free writing” at the link.
  • The Crafty Writer's Creative Writing Course: This course is for anyone interested in creative writing. Discover your personal writing style and how you can use it to build vivid worlds. This course even touches on the basics of publishing and marketing.
  • Brandon Sanderson’s lectures: Much revered in the writing community, Brandon Sanderson has made some of his lectures free-to-view on YouTube. They cover sci-fi writing, worldbuilding, and even a little bit of publishing.
  • The Non-Sexy Business of Writing Non-Fiction: Offered by Reedsy’s Azul Terronez, this 10-day email course gives you the lowdown on high-quality non-fiction writing. He teaches you how to avoid writer's block, hit word count goals, and stay focused while writing.
  • Start Writing Fiction: This free class teaches you everything you need to know about the basics of fiction writing, including journal keeping, plot development, and dialogue. Over 350,000 people have joined this 8-week course. Once 8 weeks pass, you lose access to the lecture materials. However, you can upgrade for $64 to keep the course material for future reference.
  • Arizona State University's Introduction to English Composition: Great for all skill levels, this class is about building the fundamentals of writing. Although this course is free, you can pay an extra $499 to get a verified certification. But the course alone is just fine for most.
  • Finally, check out my Book Marketing Show Podcast, mainly covering — you guessed it — book marketing. It’s free, fun, and informative (if I do say so myself!).

What’s your favorite online writing course?

Let me know what your favorite online writing courses are. Did I miss any excellent ones?

Remember, these courses aren't just for those who don't know how to write. Don't be afraid to go out there and expand your knowledge base, no matter how much experience you have.

I believe my breakdown of the best online writing courses will guide you to make the best decision for your individual situation.

What's the best online writing course you've ever personally taken? Was it cheating to list all MasterClass courses under one umbrella? Let me know down in the comments below. I keep up with comments long after posts are published.



Sell more books on Amazon

kdp-title-book-checklist
Free Download

How To Title A Book Checklist

Titling your book can be hard…really hard. As you go through choosing your book title, use this checklist as your guide and make sure you have a title that will sell!

6 thoughts on “16 Best Online Courses for Writers in 2021 [Free & Paid]

Comments
  1. Phil

    What about academic graduate writing courses online?

    1. Dave Chesson

      Haven’t come across one yet. But if you do, let me know.

  2. rovingjay

    Thanks Dave … the Marion Roach Smith Webinar was AMAZING. Packed full of information, tips, and advice about getting a memoir off the ground. Thanks for hosting .. and I hope all went well with getting your daughter from college …. crazy times indeed!

    1. Dave Chesson

      You bet…and no kidding!

  3. Fae

    Hi,
    I am going through Holly Lisle`s writing classes – in particular her How To Write A Novel class – at the moment and I am finding that she is one of the most thorough teachers in writing craft that I have found on-line. She is a published author with around 30 books and has moved from traditional publishing in the 1980`s/1990`s through to self-publishing today. She has many paid short courses for a small price and also much larger classes. She offers a short (3 week) flash fiction class for free called “How To Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck” so you can test out whether her teaching style suits you and learn new skills at the same time. As a satisfied student I highly recommend her courses to anyone wanting to learn writing craft.
    Cheers
    Fae

    1. Peggy

      Yes, my sister took Holly`s class and said it was tremendous.
      If you get a chance to take a dialogue class from Kristen Higgans, that is all you need for dialogue.

Comments are closed.