As the world effectively went into lockdown in response to the COVID-19 crisis, we wrote about the mental and emotional challenges these new conditions were generating: fear of the disease, distraction, lack of stimulus, disrupted routines and rituals, the effect of a diet of constantly depressing news. Having good creative processes that limit the influence of other minds is always a challenge for creatives –and never more than in these times.
Working in close quarters with our families, without our usual social outlets, has been challenging for many, especially those with young children and older relatives, vulnerabilities, and anyone who needed care or felt unsafe at home. For many of those with disabilities, challenges are exacerbated.
And just because lockdown is easing, doesn’t mean the challenges have vanished. For many parents, their children are still off school or on school holidays, which means countless interruptions for snacks and food, bottom wipes, game playing, questions, lost toys and the plethora of other requests children throw at their parents.
Authors, like all creatives, have established habits, rituals and conditions which best feed their creativity. Many of us are now happily returning to cafés where possible –but others have found they still need to stay at home. Contrarily, having got used to a certain way of life, relaxing of lockdown rules can fuel resistance to changing a newfound routine, continuing fear of the virus, and loss of control over what others do.
Some may have return anxiety, not wanting to relinquish a way of living they’ve gotten used to during lockdown. Others are happy with a new normal, others may be desperate to break out. Our risk thresholds vary according to our character, experiences, and circumstances.
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As creative condition became difficult for many, commercial conditions improved for the indie author who relies on Internet commerce and social media. As the world went into lockdown, people becoronavirus lessons for authorsgan living online. Shopping and entertainment channels shifted to digital channels. Closure of non-essential stores caused online shopping to surge. Looking for human connections while practicing social distancing, people turned to social media more than ever before. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok have all seen massive spikes in daily usage and engagement
As the physical industry ground to a halt, with consignment book printings on hold; conferences postponed, and bookstores shut, lockdown has accelerated what was already underway in our sector: a shift towards digital reading, digital publishing (e-books, audio and print on demand) and online bookselling.
For most indie authors, the business model of selling print books through bookstores has never been commercially viable. Economies of scale mean that few of us, and none at the mass end of the market—fiction, poetry, standard non-fiction—can compete on price with trade publishing in the print-book-to-bookstore model.
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