Changing the Past
Question: How does COVID-19 impact a book written a year ago and about to be published?
Answer: It doesn't, but it might change how the book is received.
I wrote a cute little story about a dude who's social distancing without any health crisis. His name is Paul Stone, he's black, and he's a suspense/horror novelist living on a mountain in Wyoming. Blaze Langdon is a white kid just trying to graduate college with a decent grade in Capstone and a little experience toward becoming a park ranger. When Blaze nearly tumbles over a concrete barricade and hurts his foot on Paul’s mountain, so much for social distancing. Blaze is all makeup and bravado, but he's just a skinny kid looking for the kind of love you can't find on Instagram.
We're all looking for the kind of love we can't find on Instagram. I honestly can't find ANYTHING on Instagram. I don't know why anyone follows me - now that they've taken away my desktop capabilities, I can't even upload images. I haven't posted there in months, and here I was going to use it as a marketing platform for this book about an Insta-famous kid.
And then COVID-19 came along. People are laid off, furlowed and out of work. Meanwhile, the medical community is on the opposite end of the spectrum, with some doctors and nurses choosing to sleep in their cars, working double shifts, and doing their best to help people in this time of crisis. I am lucky - I haven't been impacted either way. Who am I to ask people to buy my adorable and sexy interracial romance when they may not have the money or the time to read it?
I can't control the weather, the markets, or this damn virus. There will be other books, other releases, and every one of them is probably going to have some adverse effect that will keep someone from buying. I can't control any of that.
I can control my message.
First off, I love all of you. Thanks for being here, reading my weekly online therapy sessions, and either commiserating or ignoring. I appreciate you and I'm glad we're in this together.
Forgive me for trying to spin the message on Pika Perfect. I love this book. It's a fun escape from what's happening right now in the world. It's got cute pikas, a derpy dog, and two people not looking for love who inadvertently found it. It's a happily-ever-after of the sappiest, sexiest, and sweetest order. It might be just what the doctor ordered for these trying times.
I'm not the only author wondering how my future publications will be received in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Dear readers, please cut your favorite authors some slack. Whether they self-publish, write for a small press, or have been waiting on proofs from a large press for months, the book in your hand did not happen overnight. In some cases, it may be years, if not a decade or more, in the making. Romances don't write themselves, no matter what the critics say. They certainly don't edit or publish themselves. Authors didn't know the world was going to change. Please don't hold them accountable because it did. (Unless the author DID know the world was going to change and did nothing about it - that's irresponsible writerly behavior! Superhero Opportunity FAIL!)
I don't know how Pika Perfect will be received, but I loved writing Paul and Blaze. I loved them so much I skipped a few graduation parties and a family get-together just so I could finish (social distancing before it was cool). I can't change the past, and I'm grateful for the memories. I hope you have fond memories of the way things used to be while you're reading ALL THE THINGS, too.