Being a Pandemic Author
My first full novel was published in January 2020 (there were other things before then but this was my baby). Can you imagine my excitement? What a start to a new decade! I held a relatively successful launch (no big expectations) and I quickly had a host of sign-ups for a book tour across the UK starting in May. Then Covid arrived. Fast-forward to a year later. It's a very different space we live in, and I have gained a new moniker: 'The Pandemic Author'. I'm not alone. There are hundreds of us in actual fact. However, I often get asked what it's like and how the pandemic has changed the way that we write and ultimately sell books.
All businesses have had to evolve since the pandemic hit. Luckily, authors tend to be a reclusive bunch, often found hunched of keyboards and desks at the best of times! Yet, we've had to adapt too. Whether you are traditionally published by a big publisher or you decided to wing it on your own, the truth is that these days, no one really does any marketing for your books except you. Traditionally, this has always been done through talks, book signings, and visits. Of course, that's not possible today - and so the fight for social media begins.
Pandemic authors are a dime-a-dozen whether that be for better or worse! It took me a few months to figure out how I was going to stake my claim against the tide. Everyone can write a blog or a social media post after all. For me as an author, this pandemic has sadly meant even more time shut away at my desk than usual. I have had to become and marketing mogul in the space of a year (that's no small thing). Actually, since the pandemic, over half my time, is spent having to track graphs, speak with PR representatives, and source advertising slots. Honestly, it's time I would rather be writing and I know that is what a lot of people believe authorship is - sadly, it really hasn't been the case.
Ok, enough of the sad stuff - that's not why we're here. Despite the hideously long hours of marketing I have to perform (ergh!), I am actually really pleased to be writing in today's interesting times. My genre is one of the few that is doing exceptionally well during the pandemic - it turns out that when things get tough, we all want a little escapism! It's also given me the opportunity to support some fantastic causes and bring a little joy to those less fortunate than me. I have launched charity novellas for Cancer Research and this year, I am supporting UNICEF in their bid to help purchase Covid vaccines for third-world countries. I've also reduced the price of my ebooks to allow those of us stuck in our houses with a dwindling amount of Netflix to watch, the ability to deep dive into one of my books for less than they would have spent on a couple of coffees and in some cases, simply allowing them to have a free one on me.
I'd like to say that I would still have had the impetus to do all of this and more, had Covid never arrived on the shores of my home in the UK, but let's be honest, it would have probably taken me a lot longer to galvanize myself into action - I am a terrible procrastinator! And, I love it! I love the fact that I feel like I can give so much to people who are having such a hard time. I love that I can brighten someone else's day with a few words on paper. I'm not made of money. I barely make enough to break even from my books. I can't afford to simply offer my entire collected titles for less than the change you find down the back of the sofa! But, I find joy in providing entertainment.
"It turns out that when things get tough, we all want a little escapism."
So, please don't feel guilty about picking up a book I have listed for free - rest assured it won't be forever. I do what I can and hope that my readers enjoy the ride and that they might continue to come with me and pick up another book. Take me up on the offer I am providing by shaving off some pennies here and pounds there. Metal health is so important and speaking from experience, where my writing once saved me, it is my sincerest hope that it will save others too.