The minute I heard that the London book fair was cancelled I called my best friend gutted. We like many writers were excited to connect with the wonderful people who dedicate their lives to getting books into the hands of the people that need them. Authors know very well there is nothing like face to face interaction, exchanging energy and getting to know the faces behind the email addresses. The news really hit home the impact that no industry is immune from the effects lockdown has had on the world.
So, what does the world of publishing look like going forward for writers and readers?
1) There will be a move towards going digital
Due to industry professionals prioritising the safety of staff and the world many of the big players will not be attending book events that normally take place in person. Many will be cancelled and those going ahead will have limited attendance, such as the Frankfurt bookfair. The good news is that there is a strong effort to carry out the events virtually. You can be sure that the agents and publishers will carry their relentless love and enthusiasm for discovering and getting books into the world online. This can increase the audience reach which is great news for authors.
2) Author launches will be postponed
Authors have postponed many book launches to keep in line with social distancing measures and protect their readers. However, many of these launches can be held online and readers looking to support writers and keep informed about new books can easily do so by following them on social media and registering to sites like goodreads and amazon for updates on new releases.
3) Less bookstores
Who adores bookstores and fresh books? Me too! I have a book for sale in independent books stores and love browsing the shelves for a new title. There could never be enough bookstores for me so this one is a toughie. However there are plenty of ways we can support independent books stores who may be forced to close as they move online. Keep in touch with all your favourite bookstores for updates.
4) Writers will have more time to write
One thing is for sure, writers will be doing what they do best in this time and that is bashing out those manuscripts. I am incredibly grateful for the time I have had to finish my second novel and start a third. I am pretty sure agent’s inboxes will be full of fresh manuscripts to get their teeth into, which means more books will be coming to the market. Wahoo.
5) Self -publishing will become more attractive
Due to strains on staff in publishing and an overflow of fresh manuscripts, many writers will be looking towards self -publishing as a way of getting their books to the market. There are many benefits to this model which I will be discussing in a later post. With amazon being one publisher that will be immune from the challenges the rest of the industry faces, it provides a faster route than the long waiting lists agents have.
So how can we best embrace the new normal?
No matter what happens, writers will continue to write, books will keep coming, some in ebooks, audio books and plenty with fresh pages and spines just the way I like them.
Keep writing, keep reading and keep growing, and the publishing world will continue to thrive.
And for all those looking to attend, London book fair has been scheduled to take place 9-11 March 2021. I hope to see some of you there, the show will go on!