Tough Year To Be A Debut Author

Every writer dreams of the day their first book is published. Sure we hope to publish more than one, but that first one—that debut—well that one is special.

This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many debut authors (including myself) are facing a situation that no one could have ever predicted and none of us is quite sure how to handle. Do we apologize for sharing good news in the face of a global crisis or is good news something everyone needs to hear right now?

And what about self-promotion? I’m a member of several writer groups where this topic is being discussed. None of us want to appear insensitive to the topic but this is our DEBUT. This is a moment we have worked for our entire lives and want to celebrate and promote. However, with so much tragedy and uncertainty impacting people around the globe, it seems that as much as we want to shout from the rooftops about our book releases, we must be content with whispering and hoping we are still heard.

Everywhere and across all genres, book tours and book launches are being canceled (including my own). The launch parties we can likely reschedule for a time when the world has returned to some semblance of normal but everyone is unsure about tours or signings which are milestone achievements for any author, let alone a debut.

For my own self personally, I realize that the timing of my release (April 16) and the fact that it is coming out as an exclusive audiobook available only for download on Audible are two facts that work in my favour. That said, I still don’t feel right doing any of the things I really want to do to promote it.

Everything is coloured by this pandemic and although it is certainly understandable to consider it a first-world problem to talk about how it is specifically impacting authors, the hard truth is that many debut authors rely on the success of their first book to get a second book deal. We are worried about how this may impact our ability to keep publishing. To keep writing and sharing our words with others.

There is a future beyond COVID-19 and, at this point, none of us knows what it will look like. I feel pretty confident that whatever our reality is after we emerge from this, the world will still need books. We will need art and creativity. We will need community and connection. We will need inspiration and a place to escape to.

So please, if you are financially able to, please consider supporting a debut writer by ordering their book. We may not be shouting from the rooftops but it would be great if you could pretend as though you heard us anyway.

Also – stay safe, stay home and wash your hands. We will all get through this together.

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