ENG-421: New Media – Writing and Publishing at SNHU

Well, this is it. My last term at Southern New Hampshire University began in March, 2021, and consisted of ENG-421 and IDS-404. These final two recaps are short, and you'll soon see why.

About ENG-421

Remember ENG-340: Context of Writing? It was my fifth (of 14) course at SNHU, and my chief complaint was that I felt the course came out of order. “In short,” I said, “if you don't have a fully-realized idea for a novel, you're about screwed.” I suggested the proper order for students should be ENG-329 (Fiction Workshop) > ENG-349 (Intermediate Workshop) > ENG-340 > ENG-359 (Advanced Workshop).

I stand by that and would slot ENG-421 immediately after ENG-359. By the end of the Advanced Fiction Workshop students have 20–30 pages of a novel, or several short stories, and they are ready for what ENG-421 offers.

Students write a query letter, just like in ENG-340. They write a synopsis, just like in ENG-340. They do audience research and establish authorial identity, just like in ENG-340.

There's a bit of overlap, is what I'm saying.

But this course goes much further. Students create a website, establish a social media presence, and draft content for that website or blog. This is ENG-340 taken to its logical end: a complete authorial presence and publishing plan. It sounds like a lot, and it can be, but there isn't anything super difficult here.

The Textbooks

Build Your Author Platform: The New Rules: A Literary Agent’s Guide to Growing Your Audience in 14 Steps
by Carole Jelen and Michael McCallister

The Art of Digital Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Creating Strategic, Targeted, and Measurable Online Campaigns
by Ian Dodson

Ignore them both. They are outdated and offer bad advice. I've been working in digital marketing and web design for 15 years. Trust me. There's a reason the syllabus even says to “scan” and “skim” these books.

The Final Project

Your final project is your shiny new website! You'll write content for it and turn in a synopsis that covers the aforementioned things like the query letter and audience research. Again, there's not much to this course and the final project reflects that.

I say that as I've just finished writing the recap for ENG-450, a course that was exhausting. This class was a breeze.

Advice for Students Registering for ENG-421 at SNHU

Don't worry. Don't overthink things. You don't have to be a professional web designer, and this course won't teach you to be one. Anyone can put together a WordPress-based site. You can do it. No problem. And the rest? You've done much of it already in ENG-340. Use that. Build on it.

And once again: try to schedule this immediately after ENG-359. You'll be in creative mode, you'll have your material fresh on your mind, and you'll skate through this class like a champ.

In the End

What else can I say? My final term at SNHU was a good one.

Final grade: A (99.75%)

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