Taking the Reedsy Masterclass

Review: Is the Reedsy Masterclass for Writing a Novel Worth It?

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

Recently, I had the privilege of taking the Reedsy Masterclass for How to Write a Novel featuring Tom Bromley. I am a proponent of education in all forms, and this was right up my alley. But is the Reedsy masterclass worth the time and money?

Like any other educational material, you’ll get out of it what you put in. This means that if you’re not receptive to any course, you won’t get much out of it.

You also need to consider the course material itself. Although your mindset will influence the learning process, the materials available are also a key element.

So, how does the Reedsy masterclass stack up?

Pros and Cons of the Reedsy Masterclass

First, I want to point out just how professional this course presented itself. The overall video and sound quality were excellent. From that first moment, I had a feeling it was going to be a well-presented class.

I try to be upfront and honest about every product or service I review. It’s not often that I come across something that was brilliantly created.

I sat here for a couple of days trying to think of anything negative about the course. Overall, it was an incredible experience and there wasn’t very much I would change at the end.

Pros

  • Easy to Follow Along
  • Shows Real-World Examples
  • Covers a Wide Scope of Elements
  • 12-Month Access to Materials and Videos
  • Live Editing Sessions
  • Live Webinars
  • Weekly In-Cohort Editing*

Cons

  • Note Taking is Isolated to Each Session
  • Weekly Cohort Editing of 500 Words
  • No Certificate of Completion*

Easy to Follow for Any Skill Level

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Reedsy masterclass is how Tom Bromley set it up to be easy to follow. Instead of tossing advanced writing elements front and center, he worked into each point every week.

Tom didn’t necessarily dumb it down, but he presented the materials in a way that virtually anyone could easily understand.

This is a process that I truly value and often teach to my writers when coming up with tutorials and “Best of” lists. You don’t need to treat people like children, but explain things in a way that is easy for everyone to follow regardless of skill level.

Published Examples of the Materials

Another point that I have to bring up is how Tom demonstrated every lesson with how they work in a published novel. These real-world examples gave me all kinds of ideas for future books.

It was quite interesting to see how several authors implemented the same element. And some of these books are award-winning titles.

The point here is that you can see how authors utilize what Tom is teaching.

Covers a Wide Scope of Writing

Variety of Writing Topics

I thought I had a firm grasp of putting together a manuscript. Taking this masterclass in writing demonstrated to me that I still had quite a lot to learn.

Tom Bromley covered topics and materials that I would never have thought to explore. Although not every lesson will fit every book, the vast majority of what I learned is nearly universal to some degree.

Over the three months, there was a lot of material to consider when structuring my next book.

12-Month Access to the Course

One of the selling points of the Reedsy masterclass is that you have access to the material for 12 months. And I am relatively certain that I’ll go through each of the points again after finishing the first draft of my next novel.

While I took notes to create the weekly update videos, I view it as more of a refresher when I start working on Fury, my sequel to Kingmaker.

Besides, the more often you learn and practice any skill, the more ingrained it becomes into memory.

Live Editing Sessions

Reedsy Masterclass Live Editing

Live editing sessions are when you submit your 500-word snippet to Tom Bromley who’ll then edit the piece on video. It’s a proper critique of your writing as he gives insights into what you’ve done right and what could use a bit of polishing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend any of the live editing sessions. My daily schedule is pretty tight and I missed out on quite a few live parts of the course.

However, all live sessions are recorded and you can watch them later.

Live Webinars

While the pre-recorded coursework is very informative, the live webinars add a layer of engagement.

I was only able to attend two live webinars throughout the course. But the recordings are available and are quite insightful. So, while I wasn’t able to attend them live, I can still watch them after my busy schedule.

Weekly Cohort Editing Practices*

Every week, you’re paired with one of the students of the course to critique each other’s work. This not only gives you good practice in editing but also gives you insight into how others like your manuscript.

This isn’t a mandatory element of the Reedsy masterclass, but could be exceptionally helpful to understand how others interpret your book.

For the most part, those who read my snippets liked how realistic my characters were, especially in dialogue.

Note-Taking is Poorly Designed

Taking Notes

Each course has a section for taking notes. Unfortunately, you can only access those notes on each respective video. It would have been far better to save and access those notes in a separate section of the course’s dashboard.

That way, you can look back at all of the notes you take without having to remember what video you watched for a specific point.

Because I created the weekly update videos, all of my notes went into a notepad on my desk. However, having an easy way to access personal thoughts and whatnot during each session would have been superior.

Weekly Editing of Only 500-1000 Words

While having other aspiring writers edit your manuscript for feedback is beneficial, I would like to point out that the snippets often left out context.

There’s only so much you can glean from a 500-word snippet of a book. A lot of people pointed out some issues in my snippets that were covered in previous texts.

Now, I can’t necessarily say that this is an ultimately bad practice. After all, having someone edit your entire manuscript every week would be exceptionally time-consuming.

I just wanted to point out that sometimes people will mention something in the snippet that you might have covered previously in the book.

It’s best to focus on the structure of the snippet, not the story itself.

No Certificates of Completion?*

Lastly, I was kind of hoping for a certificate of completion of some kind. Perhaps an image to share on social media or something I could print out and proudly mount on the wall behind me for bragging rights.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a certificate at the end.

However, when I brought this up to Reedsy, I was told that certificates are something that might be coming in the future. So, for now, I’ll leave this as a con with an asterisk.

This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for me. Not all courses have certificates and whatnot. I just like showing my accomplishments and achievements on social media when I have them.

I suppose I am spoiled a bit by vidIQ as the platform has a variety of milestones you can share from your YouTube channel.

Personal Mentions of the Course

If you’re curious as to what I learned throughout each week of the course, you can check out my video updates on YouTube. Overall, I learned a great deal about setting up a successful novel. Now, I just need to write one.

These aren’t necessarily pros or cons of the Reedsy Masterclass. They are just my personal thoughts regarding the experience as a whole.

Some of these might not even be on your radar but are things I’d like to point out.

Not a Very Active Community

For the first few weeks, it seemed the community was far more active. Toward the end, not a lot of people were interacting in the forums or chatting.

This could just be the experience of individual cohorts, though. Not every college class I attended back in the day was as interactive as the others.

I would have been more active myself, but I have an awful lot on my plate every day.

Gamification for Engagement

Some kind of gamification might have spurred a bit more engagement from the class. For instance, perhaps a graphic badge to show the number of comments, or how far you are in the course could drive interaction.

For example, NaNoWriMo has badges for your account for meeting certain goals such as the number of days you write in a row. Perhaps Reedsy can do something similar in its masterclass to stir conversation.

If anything, it could prompt a bit of friendly competition.

No Connection to the Reedsy Writing App

I had to save my snippets as DOCX, RTF, and PDF files when sharing them with others on the platform. It would have been nice if there was a way to share snippets from the Reedsy writing app with those editing the work.

Granted, not everyone was using the Reedsy book editor during the course. In fact, I think I heard of only two other people who said they were.

Still, it could be a good way to promote the app as well as make it easier for the cohort to edit snippets.

Daily Goals to Write a Book in 3 Months

I am a sucker for setting goals and deadlines. It’s one of the reasons why I love the Reedsy book editor so much. If you stick with the daily flow of the coursework, you can easily write the first draft of your book within three months.

Well, that is unless life throws you a series of curveballs. Since I had a barrage of unfortunate events for two months of the course, I fell a bit behind.

Still, writing just over 1,000 words per day is normally an easy task for me.

Insights from a Professional

The live editing sessions weren’t the only way to get professional eyes on your snippets. In some cases, I was the only person volunteering for feedback (cohort editing), and Tom Bromley would have me submit my work directly to him.

I geeked out several times when he pointed out some of the things I was doing right in the snippet. And his explanation of the things I was doing wrong brought a lot of great points to light.

I’ve saved every one of the critiques from Tom so that I can go back through them later. Not just because it’s a bit of an ego boost when a professional likes certain elements, but because he brought up a lot of things I still need to work on.

Compliments on your writing just hit differently when they come from a respected author and editor.

Is the Course Worth the Price Tag?

Some might balk at the $1247 price tag of the Reedsy masterclass. But if you think about it, that’s only $13.58 per lesson. Most of us spend more than that on daily coffee at Dutch Bros or Starbucks.

Not to mention that you can technically take the course four times throughout the entire year. This is because you have access to those materials for 12 months.

Now, let’s consider the value for the money. In my experience, Tom Bromley did an amazing job going over the many points of writing a good novel. And because he used examples from published books, he really drove the point home for each lesson.

In a way, he doesn’t just “tell” you how to write, Tom also “shows” you how to write. For me, that made a huge difference compared to some of the smaller courses I’ve seen over the years.

Overall, I believe the price is worth the value you get from the course.

Between all of the lessons, the live interactions, the 12-month access to materials, and the ease of understanding in the masterclass, Reedsy and Tom Bromley did a pretty good job putting this one together.

Can’t You Just Look Up the Info on Google?

There’s only so much you can do learning how to write by doing Google searches. And this is coming from someone who built a successful freelancing career learning everything from search results.

Yes, there are a lot of things you can discover on your own – as long as you know for what you’re looking.

Throughout the course, Tom brought up a variety of topics I would never have thought to search. Not to mention that the information of the course is coming from a successful author and editor. You always need to consider the source.

Don’t get me wrong, you can still write a decent book powered by nothing more than Google searches. However, courses such as these can easily cut a lot of time off your research for writing that book.

Plus, you’ll probably learn a lot of nuances that many bloggers don’t put into posts. For instance, I never thought of ways to “bookend” a novel, which is explained in one of the sessions of the masterclass from Reedsy.

What Learning Materials Are Available at Reedsy?

Other Reedsy Writing Courses

The premium masterclass isn’t the only course you can take with Reedsy. In reality, there are currently more than 50 courses in total on the Reedsy Learning page, most of which are free.

These courses are taught by quite a few successful people.

For instance, “How to Write Mind-Blowing Fantasy Fiction” is a free, 10-lesson course created by Campfire!

Other courses that are available for free include things like finding your target reader, building an author blog, Amazon ads for authors, how to get books into libraries, and much more.

I’m actually signing up for the “Book Marketing 101” course.

The bottom line is that Reedsy has an ever-growing list of courses and blog materials to help you in a myriad of ways as an author.

This doesn’t even cover all of the tools available, such as the writing prompts, plot generator, and paid services for your book.

Never Underestimate the Value of Knowledge

I’ll always side with education in any capacity. You don’t have to fake it till you make it if you know what the hell you’re doing.

The three months I spent with Reedsy and their masterclass was well worth the time and effort. And I’m looking forward to seeing how it impacts my writing as a whole.

I’m really looking forward to the feedback from my beta readers to see if they noticed a difference.

In any case, regardless of whether you take the course or stick to Google, knowledge is power. The more you know, the easier everything becomes.

For me, there’s no such thing as knowing enough to get by. I’m always looking for ways to improve. In this case, Reedsy helped me in profound ways.

Michael Brockbank
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