One of the biggest downside of the coronavirus pandemic that it pretty much cancels all face-to-face activity. This serves as a huge blow for authors, as they tried to find new ways to cope and rethink their book marketing strategies.
So, how are authors holding up in the middle of economic, political, and health crisis? Writer Steven Spatz shared his interview with some of the authors who are forced to cancel out their well-planned launch.
Spatz wrote that “Adversity can bring out the best in people — especially authors. When I asked the writers in our BookBaby community to share their COVID-19 stories, it was inspiring to see so many authors making good use of their downtime to work on and finish their books.”
While the downtime might be great for some, it doesn’t really do well for others. The writer continued, “But what about authors who have already published their books? Book marketing is a tough enough task without a worldwide pandemic wreaking havoc on the economy. Once again, I was heartened to read how many of our authors were up for the challenge.”
For book author Janna Lopez, she described the initial experience as being “flooded with hope” as she self-published her book, Me, My Selfie & Eye in late January. She recounts that “I had some PR opportunities set up and author appearances scheduled,” she reports. “I even managed to wrangle one author conference in New York and several book clubs.”
And then came the huge blow. “I’d worked four long years to complete this book. Everything I wanted to share and talk about and discuss about my book, about what I cared about — midlife identity loss and subsequent grief — was being washed away.”
Lopez admitted that she took some time to recover/ “The first several weeks of this pandemic were awful and depressing, but once I realized I had to create something new, something different, or watch my hard work disappear, I went into creative action.”
However, Lopez was determined to make the most out of it. “I’ve taken a class on how to use and apply live video and how to make it effective. I started teaching a free online writing class once a week, which has been extremely rewarding and insightful and continues to grow. And I’ve started writing articles for various platforms, such as Medium,” Lopez said.
Lopez also launched her podcast, “Eyedentity Talk with Janna Lopez,” where she interviews other authors and interesting people.
“I’m discovering amazing new things about myself and what’s possible. As an author, the past 10 weeks have been some of the most creative, productive, and exciting for me. My book will have its time. I believe this. It just won’t look or go the way I thought I would, and now, I can say I’m OK with that.”
Another author Casey Bell also utilized technology to find his new readers during the lockdown. “During the pandemic, I decided that now is the time to find new ways to market my books.” As a quarantine project, she started out a Youtube channel. “I call it the Writer-to-Writer Interviews. Two writers ask each other five questions about their journey into writing, as well as questions pertaining to a work they are featuring.”
Bell says one of the most rewarding aspects of this new marketing endeavor was learning about the different experiences writers have on their journey. “No two writers have been the same. They have all answered some of the same questions completely different from one another,” Bell says.
Other authors, such as Bill Kiley, he wrote that “My first Children’s Picture book, Hope and Freckles: Fleeing to a Better Forest was to be officially released on April 7th. I had book signings scheduled at Barnes & Noble stores, school author visits, and other signing opportunities scheduled.”
In fact, everything was doing well for Kiley, especially with the pre-release of his book. That is until the coronavirus happened. She wrote, “For a brand new author, at age 71, what do I do? Well, I began workarounds. I rescheduled my book release to a later date. I began to focus on getting local media attention for the book. He noted that just like teachers, and other profession that had to make adjustments, Kiley also had to learn how to use new technologies to promote his own book. ” I began to reach out to offer free author visits online. I worked on building my email list via subscribers to my website. I added a resources page to my website for parents and teachers to use in exploring the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. And I worked on getting reviews on NetGalley and Goodreads. With the help of a friend’s daughter, whose senior year in college was suddenly cut short, I’ve begun to utilize social media to promote the book, ” he wrote.
Other authors such as M.J Lauck also agreed with using the quarantine as a way to become more productive and help authors to take a step back and rethink their own priorities. She noted that she had used the time to “research, retool, and strategize. I am finally going to give some serious attention to creating a mailing list. I have plans to leave Kindle Unlimited and go wide. The great change COVID-19 has brought to my world is making me decide that writing should be more of a business for me; it has made me decide to prioritize things that I was intentionally ignoring because I was content just to create my niche content and share it with the few people who found it. Now I want to build more of a community and interest in my alternative fantasy niche and if that means I make money, great. If it doesn’t, I am okay with that too, as long as it extends and perpetuates the genre.”
In addition, other authors such as Richie Unterberger noted that “It’s not a great time to publicize my self-published books, as a lot of readers are being hit hard by the damaged economy, some much worse than I am. I have noticed a slight uptick in my eBook sales, maybe because most people have more time to fill with reading. I keep in contact with readers through my email list of events (some of which I now offer through Zoom through paying organizations). I also post on social media about the stories I’m publishing and the classes/events I’m offering through Zoom.”
Finally, Ted Leavengood believed that authors and publishing houses are not the only ones who are most affected by the economic downturn,. He also believed that it had affected other industries that are relying on the book fairs. “The biggest disappointment since the shutdown began is the closure of book festivals here at the local level. I was counting on reaching out to the extent local audience in the Montgomery County, Maryland area via the Maryland Book Festival and the Day of the Book in Kensington, Maryland. Both were canceled. My strategy was to build outward from those kinds of events, but I have been forced to re-group and it has been difficult. My book has gotten good reviews from those who have read it, but it is a select group for the most part. Hopefully, the festivals will be back at some point in the near future and my book will remain fresh, so ever onward!”
This content was originally published here.