SABRINA PROFFITT Special to the Daily Sun
The digital age allows new opportunities to arise in every industry. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed remote and online efforts even further. In 2022, businesses rely almost entirely on the use of technology and this new set of standards is also true in the book publishing industry.
Traditionally, authors had to go through publishing houses in order to get their books printed, disbursed and promoted, but that is no longer the case. Self-publishing has gained such popularity in recent years that Amazon’s market share of self-published print books in the US increased from 6% in 2007 to 92% in 2018.
For those wanting to learn more about self-publishing during its golden age, Diane Phelps Budden is teaching a Continuing Education course at Northern Arizona University’s Flagstaff campus titled “Steps to Getting Your Self Published Book into Print.”
Brenda Sipe, director of NAU’s Continuing Education program, works hard to curate classes that the community can benefit from. Sipe helped begin the Continuing Education program at NAU in 2020, a program focused on providing the community with non-credit classes that will help further their education, whether they are currently enrolled in NAU or haven’t been to school in many years.
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“Continuing Education is a new program,” Sipe said. “Within my role, I’m offering programs to the community for non-credit, as well as to professionals. We do have a number of professional programs, enrichment programs and youth programs. Those are really the three audiences we’re focusing on.”
Professional courses are often career based and can sometimes offer students a certification that will aid them in their career paths. Enrichment programs offer a wide range of skills from beer brewing to comedy film analysis. Youth programs, like this summer’s Young Authors or Olympian Myths camp, focus on providing education and enrichment opportunities for kids and teens. Classes are taught in-person, online or even at the NAU North Valley location in Phoenix.
Budden’s self-publishing class is all about teaching authors how they can publish and print their books on their own terms. Budden released her author’s guide “The Author’s Concise Guide to Marketing: How to Jumpstart Sales of Your Self-published Book” in 2011, and has been teaching these skills, among others, in workshops and courses ever since. With a marketing and authoring background, Budden is able to combine these skills in order to help students create their own marketing plans, according to Sipe.
“The time spent marketing should actually be more than the time spent writing,” Sipe said. “A lot of writers don’t like to hear that because they love their book and they just know everyone will want to read it, but she stresses that they have to spend a lot of time marketing. Along with the decisions around publishing. Whether they want an agent, a specialty publisher, whether they want to print or they just want an E-Book. These are just a few of the decisions that go into it.”
This course discusses essential marketing materials, including book descriptions, cover copy, bios, social media content and events. In this course, Budden will help students begin their marketing plan by finding their audience, so when the class is over, they will know exactly how to move forward.
“She’ll talk to them a lot about audience,” Sipe said. “Really deciding, while they are still writing the book who their target audience is and who they are trying to sell it to. In marketing that’s a really important thing to know before you try to sell anything: who is your audience and how are you going to reach them?”
Sipe said it is important to note that this is not a writing course and that those interested in enrolling should have a pretty good idea of where their book is headed, or have a novel already completed. She also wants students and those interested in self-publishing to understand the ever-changing market and how the pandemic has changed everything.
“Self-publishing is the easiest way for people to get their work into print,” Sipe said. “However, the self-publishing market is changing rapidly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. She will discuss in the class how the industry has changed. The industry is in flux so while self-publishing is popular and a lot of people are doing it, there are changes in the industry that people should be aware of.”
Experience marketing professional and author Diane Phelps Budden is teaching a self-publishing course on NAU’s Flagstaff campus this summer.