Writing in Covid

By: Jenny Kate

Are you still writing?
Do you think it’s even worth it?
Is your new normal so stressful that you think it isn’t?
Well, I want to put your mind at ease about at least one thing.

The industry still needs books.

People are still reading.

The Reading Agency just reported that almost one in three people in the UK are reading more – classics and crime novels in particular.
Yay for mystery, crime and thriller novelists!

Those in the 18-24 age bracket showed the greatest increase.
Yay for Young Adult writers!

The reasons seem to be that books offer a new (for them) form of release, and that they now have more free time to read them. In the United States, Americans have shown a full 30% increase in reading across all age demographics.

Children’s and kid’s books are way up
Yay for children’s!

Most people admit to reading to either learn something about health or to escape reality.

We don’t have current stats on romance or science fiction, but if I’m reading to escape reality, these are a fair bet.

But how are people reading?

Not with print books.

Those are dipping, probably due to the closure of bookstores and Amazon’s priority list doesn’t include books right now. Ebooks did slump a bit, but those numbers bumped back up over the Easter holiday. Same with audio. It was down at the beginning of the quarantine but has since leveled back out to where it was.

I feel this was a commute and gym problem. Folks like me with long commutes or gym time didn’t have those anymore. But we humans adapt and evolve, so we figured it out. I now listen on my daily walk.

All of this is important for any writer who may feel discouraged.

Don’t. People are still reading and still want books. If you are feeling too stressed out to write. Take heart. That’s totally normal as well. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs tells us that if basic needs are met (food, home, shelter, job security), it’s real hard to move up to enjoy interests and hobbies.

Take care of yourself and your family and breathe.

At some point a new normal will take over and you’ll want to write again. Until then, do whatever you need to do to get through. If it’s not writing, that’s ok. If it is, then have at it.

If you’re writing, are you also thinking about your career?

Again, don’t overwhelm yourself in one of the most unprecedented times of our lives. But if you feel up to focusing on your career, then send out a couple of queries and see what happens.

The industry still needs books.

Continue to grow your email list or work on your social media engagement. Readers are hungry for connection. Maybe just focus on world building or character development or plotting. Set a schedule or create a way to focus on just a bit of writing every day. Take small steps to stay connected to your author business.

If your author business is your livelihood, then let’s talk.

Create a game plan. Don’t just wing this. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Write down your objective.
  • Plot out the tactics to meet that objective.
  • Think about ads. Now’s the time for Facebook ads. They are at an all-time low.
  • People are buying ebooks. Put yours up.
  • Try an email blast ad like BookBub or BookGorilla.
  • Consider content marketing…this means once a week create a piece of content: video, blog, podcast, long social post, and repurpose it into other content: Instagram Story, Tweet, Facebook Group post. It will boost your website’s searchability on Google.

Regardless of where your state of mind is right now, know this. You are a writer, and it’s totally fine if you want to write or you don’t want to write. A global pandemic that just killed 60,000 Americans in two months is seriously unnerving, and there is no right way to deal with it.

So, however you manage that is absolutely what is best for you – writing or not. Things will get better. Readers will read. And your stories will be awesome.

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Jennifer Lovett Herbranson

Jenny Kate is the founder of Writer Nation, an online space dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity. You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, and  Instagram