Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Has Covid-19 Hurt Publishing and Writers?

 In the last couple of weeks, I have seen differing numbers on the state of publishing. Some "experts" say the numbers are up. Others say the numbers are down. Some say we are seeing a rise in one genre while others see rises in other genres. Some argue the change stem from readers spending more time at home so they are reading, and others claim the time spent at home is to binge watch the latest episode of some series. Honestly, I don't really know. What I have noticed is a change in the writers.

While writing is pretty much a solitary activity and many writers prefer to hang out alone and do things remotely, I do think these authors "got out" a bit more. They may have gone to writing conferences. They may have been part of a writing group. Even that small amount of interaction allowed them to learn more about the business and trends of things going on in publishing. Yes, all of this information is out there digitally, but that extra connection seemed to help.

Now that people are 100% remote, I think many are just trying to take things into their own hands. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we have been told of all the resources that are available for us online, not just for writing, but for everything in our lives. So, of course the same would hold true for resources in publishing. But how is this affecting authors?

I do believe people have gotten sloppy. When we shop for things on line for other things, we look for the quickest purchase, the cheapest product, or the fastest delivery. Taking the time to really look for the quality of the product moves further down the priority list. For authors, I think they too are doing the same thing. 

Authors are just "getting on line" and finding anyone who seems to be acquiring novels. They get online to find any piece of information on the book they are writing. Finding "trends in the business is limited to their "online purchases" and as we know, those algorithms really shape what you find, unlike finding those titles when you go to a bookstore. 

Sure, we may have gone more remote in the things we do, but we have to continue using the same critical thinking skills we used when we were not so remote. We can still get those research trends that we got sitting in editor and agent panels by getting back involved with writing organizations, or subscribing to publications such as Publishers Marketplace. 

I do think writers will find more success if they start going beyond that quick Internet Search for what they need. 

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