This can feel a little awkward, I know, but let’s talk about the idea of promoting your work in a crisis.
In author Facebook groups, I hear from authors who think it’s crass to market a book in the current climate. Others have who halted book production and launches completely, as a result of the current crisis. The flip side of this argument are the doers who won’t be held down. I’m seeing incredible resilience and creativity designed to adapt to this changing climate in the face of crisis. People who are offering help, hope, and entertainment.
One of my former coaching clients is taking full advantage of his day-job shut down to work on the marketing of his current book and production of his next. Others are taking advantage of this time to begin coaching so that they’re better prepared to promote their work.
Even the big houses are affected. I’m a part of a new book launch team for a first-time Random House author who’s book launch has been completely upended because of travel bans. And yet, it’s not cancelled, just adjusted to an even broader, online audience. Rather than reaching a finite number of people at book stores around the country, she’ll be able to reach tens of thousands, if not millions more by holding online events.
How much has really changed?
Before the COVID19 crisis, you had an audience. In the midst of this pandemic, you still have an audience. In fact, your audience may have increased as a result of more readers who might really like the idea of being distracted from everyday life with a great book.
Maybe, this is your time.
Your book might be more helpful now than it was before quarantine. I have a client who’s written disaster preparedness and recovery guides. Even before today, I thought everyone should have her book. I have another client who’s written business books. Quarantine has provided a lot of free time, time that could be used to build professional skills. And I have other clients who’ve written great works of fiction and nonfiction that are a joy to read. Pandemic quarantine or not.
Adjusting to our new normal.
Scientists are telling us that this isn’t just a 15-day quarantine. This virus cycle could last 12 to 18 months (NY Times). At this point, we have no idea what that might look like for us beyond a toilet paper shortage. But I don’t think that should cause us to despair. We must continue to buy and sell in order to keep our economy afloat. This is business and businesses adapt to market changes all the time. The businesses that fail to adapt are the ones who ultimately fail. Let’s not forget, author – you are a business.
What can you do?
Amazon is seeing up to a 30-day delay in shipping. If you’re selling directly from your site or another print-on-demand service like BookBaby or IngramSpark, you should be okay. Just check with your printer for delays.This is a great time for digital books. If your eBook is available on Kindle Unlimited or at a discount from Amazon or BookBub, let your audience know. I’ve never believed it was necessary or even a good idea to give your books away, but now is a great time to do a limited eBook giveaway.
Know when to stop.
Don’t forget to be sensitive. There are instances where promoting yourself in a crisis doesn’t feel right. And that’s probably a gut check you need to heed, and maybe back down. We should be sensitive to the fact that some people are struggling to buy groceries and simply can’t afford your book. Still others are caregivers right now who are possibly very stressed out with little time to themselves, let alone the time to read your book.
Promoting helpful, encouraging, and edifying content is always a good idea. But it’s never been a good idea to push the Amazon link and book summary to every one of your LinkedIn connections. Please stop this. It’s also never good to ask people directly to review your work when they’ve never even read it. That’s just wrong.
Always, be helpful.
What never changes, regardless of crisis and economic climate is being helpful and being kind. Always look for opportunities to lend a hand or encourage someone.
As always, I am
Blessed to be a blessing.