What’s the difference between our program and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing?

Our program works.

You walk into a dark room in your home and hit the light switch. It sparks and the power goes out throughout the house. Tell me, who are you going to call? An electrician or someone who just graduated with an electrical engineering degree?

Of course you would call the electrician. While the electrical engineer probably has far more theoretical knowledge about how electricity works, they’ll have little to offer when it comes to repairing the electrical system in your home.

While the electrician’s knowledge base is likely not as robust, he’s been trained to do a specific job, and you’re confident he can show up and fix the wiring in your home. While the electrician may have less classroom knowledge, his apprenticeship has provided far more applicable knowledge to complete the job you’re ready to pay for.

The same is true of this program. While someone with a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA CW) will likely have a lot of cool knowledge and ideas about the art of writing, they really haven’t been trained to do any specific job. And unfortunately, it shows.

According to conventional wisdom, the way to become an author is to go to college and get a 4-year degree in English with a creative writing emphasis. I attended such a program at Ohio University and less than 10% of my credit hours had anything, anything at all, to do with creative writing.

Upon completion, students will be coached that “well, sorry, but if you really want to be an author you’ll need to complete a two or three year Masters of Fine Arts program, then you’ll have the skills to be an author and doors will open.”

20,000 students per year find this bait-and-switch reasonable and enter into an MFA CW program. Some may have other ambitions, but most desire to be professional writers. However, less than 1% will be successful in this endeavor.

We’re not against MFAs or advanced writing degrees, and some people pursue these degrees for other reasons. The fact is simply that for most writers it’s not a good investment and it won’t help them reach their goals.

After a total of seven years in higher education, with a total cost of $80,000 to $250,000, fewer than 1% will reach the objective they were promised.

That’s not reasonable. It’s not a success rate we would accept from any other industry.

The School of Kingdom Writers method is different. What we’re teaching is based on the skills I’ve been paid by the industry to teach writers for the past decade. Authors and publishers hire me to specifically help them reach their goals and reach profitability, and more than 65% of my clients reach their stated objectives.

The curriculum of the School of Kingdom Writers distills all of the things I help authors do into an ordered, complete vocational program. We’re not teaching artistic theory, we’re teaching writers how to do a specific job, and then we’re coaching them through the hands-on process.

Here are the biggest differences:

We’re teaching practical knowledge. Our program isn’t based on endless reading lists and artistic theory, we’re teaching students how to organize their work and get the job done.

We’re teaching how to write media Americans are actually consuming. The publishing and media industry has changed dramatically in the past 30 years, but the education that supports this industry has stayed the same. In the industry, this is sometimes called the NYC/MFA divide. New York City, the home of the world’s largest publishers, idealizes very different things than an MFA program does.

We’re teaching writers to produce books that Americans actually like to read and for which a market exists, that’s how we get our message into the hands of Americans. And we’re teaching our writers to produce other forms of media that Americans are consuming—blogs, podcasts, social media content, and more.

We’re teaching professional development. The biggest gap in any MFA program is that they don’t teach writers how to be economically successful. These programs don’t provide industry knowledge, they don’t teach writers what to do with their books after they write them.

One-third of our program is dedicated to the business side of writing. How do you get a book deal? How do you self-distribute a podcast? How do you develop a social media audience? How do you pay your taxes correctly? How do you keep records and manage your business as a writer?

We’re coaching our students through the process. Guidance is as important as the lessons. We’re coaching our students through the process of creating content and building their professional platform. Our students will leave the program with work that’s ready to sell, a professional presence, and an audience for their work. Graduation day isn’t Day 0 of their career, it’s Day 730.

The cost is reasonable. We’re targeting a tuition cost of $7,200 per year for our year-round program, for a total program cost of less than $15,000. In addition, students will not be required to hold a Bachelor’s Degree before applying to this program. Students will be able to complete this program without student debt.

The MFA system is broken. It promises to open doors but really just piles on debt.

32 authors held the #1 spot on the New York Times fiction bestseller list at some point in 2017 (the last year we studied it). Only one of those authors held an MFA. That author was Owen King and he earned the spot for a book he co-authored with his father—Stephen King.

We’re empowering writers to do a specific job. Our method is based on the realities of the modern publishing and media industry. Students can complete this program without debt and be positioned to reach their vocational goals. That’s the difference.

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