Updated: Feb 23
I've waxed lyrical about the issues faced by new authors desperate to break the glass wall of public relations but for many of us, Friday 13th was truly unlucky.
God HATES the 20's!
There's something about the 20's isn't there? 1720 Europe was caught by the plague.1820 was pretty good (Florence Nightingale was born as was Anna Sewell the author of Black Beauty) with the exception of a Cholera outbreak. 1820 Spanish Flu appeared and now 2020 brought to you by the Carona Virus. Yep, call it what you will: God, the universe, four elephants holding up the world - they all truly hate the 20's, yet it was so optimistic!
As an author whose novel came out a matter of days after the clock struck midnight, this year was full of opportunity. I'm lucky in that as well as being an author, I am actually a pretty good businesswoman. I have experience specifically is selling and merchandising books and retail bookshelves. I was well aware that my novel was never going to simply sell itself and was completely accepting of my fate to market it at every opportunity. By the time February rock around I (like so many other creatives) had already filled my available calendar slots with school visits, library readings, book signings and more. I was positively joyous! Then Friday the 13th struck and it all slowly slid out of my hands.
The Cancellation Spree
Initially, it was just a book shop: "Sorry, we've decided to cancel your book signing due to recent events. Well, it was going to happen. I took it in my stride (to be honest I was feeling a bit overwhelmed anyway at the growing number of engagements). It was a nice way of saying Carona Virus has spooked us without actually saying it. The next day the flood gates opened. "So sorry, we must cancel", "Due to the outbreak of Covid 19, we feel that now is not a good time." etc. etc. etc... By the time Sunday had rocked around (a mere 48 hours later) I contacted the last date on my tour and wrote the shortest sentence that took me the longest to write: "perhaps we can reschedule this for next year." If you have never organised a gig or pr tour you have no idea how harmful those eight words are!
Creatives whether we are talking writers, artists, costumers, and more, are reliant on tours and conventions to make ends meet and to bring valuable customers. True, if you think that by becoming the author you have somehow struck gold, well, you're in for one hell of a surprise. However, for those of us who are new, untried, and generally unknown, these are our chance - in most cases our one and only chance to get a readership beyond our friends and families. There are some optimists out there who say that Covid-19 will lead to a sudden demand in literature. Sure. When Netflix decides it's going to self-isolate its website for three weeks! There is the kernel of some genius in there somewhere though.
The Caronial Readers?!
I have believed for a while now that if every person who belongs to a readership (which should be all authors and a good deal of bloggers, agents, and editors too) went onto their social media and bought, YES BOUGHT (you can hear the gasps can't you?!) a copy ebook, paperback, or otherwise from either another fellow writer or someone recent to the industry and then (here's the clincher) posted a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and all the other places where reviews help out; not only would it give a massive boost to all those authors who just went through the emotional ringer of cancellations, but it would simultaneously skyrocket the business of literature at the same time! I'm not saying you should buy a copy from every new author out there (although I am going to shamelessly plug mine obviously). Just pick a couple - maybe try something a little out of your usual genre. In fact, let's create a Caronial readership (we can call it something else when a vaccine comes out in - being hopeful here - a year?)! I believe in putting your money where your mouth is, so I can tell you now that I have purchased and am currently reading: Mother Dearest by Patrick Scattergood, Vampire Bard by Dan Davis, and Rangers of Shadowdeep by Joseph A. Mccullough Books 1-3. Only one of those FYI is from a bigger publisher - the rest are unknowns and I am already prepped to be leaving those ALL IMPORTANT reviews. Imagine if everyone did that too. Imagine if you did that too!
So come on, help me get this ball rolling. There are a ton of authors out there who just got slapped in the face big time by Covid 19. Whose titles may never see further than a dusty backroom of their distributor's warehouse for no other reason than no one knew they were there and you, ALL OF YOU can make that change. So will you join me?
So shameless plug? I am one of those authors in that sinking boat. You can find my works as well as links on how to get hold of it here: https://www.esstephensauthor.co.uk/drau-blood like so many others, I appreciate the help, I will always take book suggestions, and I beg you to leave that review on all those usual places (Amazon, Goodreads, Digital Library, Google Books, i-Books, etc.).
Did you enjoy this post? Please like and share it to your friends so they can enjoy it too and don't forget to leave a comment!