It is impossible to look anywhere now without Covid-19 and its effects being right there in your face, except of course when you manage to lose yourself in a good movie or book. At this point most of us have realised that we can’t choose not to partake in this horrible pandemic. It turned lives around the world upside down almost overnight, and it is still plowing on like a slow train. Some of us are fortunate enough to be able to socialise online, and be able to stockpile provisions for at least a few weeks. Luckily for some the biggest problems are boredom. There are millions of others who don’t have running water, or food, or adequate shelter, and knowing that makes boredom seem like a blessing.
We know that sooner or later this will pass. It is obvious though that our world will be changed. We will lose people that we wouldn’t have lost so soon. There will be a whole lot of mourning and grief. Then our new normal will begin to show itself. Maybe as soon as it’s safe to do so there will be lots of parties and hugging, but maybe there won’t be. Could be that some people will be more cautious about getting too close to others. Smaller airlines will probably go out of business, and cruise ships might not seem like fun things to be on any more. We don’t know what the future holds. Business owners don’t know whether they can weather this particular storm. And this applies to authors also. We are all wondering what to do next. Some suggest promoting their books. Others suggest giving away their books for free.
If you follow the bestseller lists on Amazon you will see a big upsurge of children’s books in the top 100, so yes, if you are selling children’s books, you might very well see an increase in sales at this point. I’ve asked quite a few people what books they are buying for themselves right now, and most of them said that they’re not. People are reading the collections they already have, and they’re taking advantage of the many freebies on offer right now. So I’m thinking that if you have a book ready to publish it might be a good idea to hold off for a little while, and either work on perfecting it a little more or get started on another. Now is a great time to be offering any of your books for free, not from a marketing point of view, but rather as an act of kindness for a world locked in terror.
This doesn’t mean that you should throw up your hands and stop writing. People are not going to stop reading—in fact, on the other end of this there will probably more people reading. Take advantage of this time to write and perfect new books, so that when the world can breathe again, you will be ready. Work on your covers and future promo banners. Go over already published books and see if they need any tweaks. Keep on creating fantastic places for people to dive into and forget about the chaos for a while. It’s a good time to share whatever beauty you can make—writers, artists, poets—your magic will always be needed.
It’s also a great time for readers to gravitate to e-readers. There will most definitely be more people buying eBooks, so it is probably time to think about making our own eBooks as pretty as they can be, rather than being the poor relation of the paperback. It’s a lot cheaper to buy a full colour eBook than it is a paperback, so all of us writers should be taking a good look at our Kindles. It is also a good idea to note that with all the online working now and in the future, there will be a lot more people with computers and wifi connections. Books can be read with the Kindle for PC app on laptops and computers also.
On a lighter note, I regularly fall asleep while reading, only to be woken up immediately when I drop my Kindle and it hits me in the eye, but so far I haven’t managed to lose it. I saw this question on Quora, “How do I find my dead Kindle?”. Expecting to see hilarious answers I of course opened the thread. Apart from one answer beginning with “Dead or alive you’re going to have to search for your Kindle manually”, which did give me an unexpectedly lengthy fit of the giggles, the rest was quite serious. It appears that losing Kindles in the home is a real and horrible thing. Considering that some people have their entire libraries only accessible via these fabulous little critters, maybe Amazon should incorporate some sort of bell thing with a long life extra battery that can be activated with a little remote. You can pay me later Jeff Bezos. Yes—the world needs a beeping Kindle. Or maybe some enterprising individual can create glow in the dark cases for them.
I managed to get back online properly on Monday. After months of internet drama, being on and then off again, I now have a reliable connection. Interestingly, the guy who installed the system told me that mine would be the last installation in this town for the moment, so I’m beyond grateful to be reliably back in the online world.
Last night our President announced that we would go into lockdown at midnight on Thursday. Hopefully this will save a whole lot of lives that would have been lost without a quarantine in place here. South Africans are a tactile bunch. As with the rest of the world, fear is abounding, and with the already devastating poverty here, many, many people are only now getting over the freezing in terror moments and thinking of ways to help each other. It is truly wonderful to see petty differences dissolve in this crisis and compassion taking over.
I hope to start loading new Youtube how to videos up again very soon for authors wanting tips on the nuts and bolts of publishing their books, but I’m still open for business for anyone wanting editing, formatting, covers, maps, or children’s illustrations to be done for them. I’m also planning on slipping in a few general chat videos on writing and reading.
I have had a couple of emails from clients wondering what I think will happen in the world of Indie publishing now, and I must say that I have absolutely no clue. It is too early to tell where this pandemic will end. One thing is for sure, during these quarantines, and even beyond as the world counts its losses and people figure out the way forward for themselves as individuals, as nations, and for the planet itself, the world needs both fiction and non-fiction. For escape, for inspiration, for hope, and for instruction. Now is also the time for journaling. A time to record this disaster for future generations. I have a feeling that even if there is a slight lull in sales of books (apart from the prepping guides) once people truly understand the true fallout from this pandemic, after that I believe that there will be a huge demand for quality eBooks, so all I can say is, don’t stop writing. And stay safe.
By the way, most of my books are selling for 99 cents on Kindle Countdown deals at the moment, and the shorts are free, so if you haven’t already read them and need something to do head over to Amazon.