Publishing in a pandemic…

I am starting to feel like a case study in how not to time your book release.

First, I stretched out the manuscript editing process so that my debut novel release date planned for late 2019 was postponed to February 1, 2020. It’s a nice date, except that my publisher is located in China, with a printing press in Hong Kong that closed down right about then to combat COVID-19.

Next, I held off on book promotion in the U.S., where I live, to allow time for getting the book printed.  “Let’s give it six weeks,” I decided.  That timed my first mid-March book promotion gig for the exact moment when things started to shut down around me in Wisconsin.

What incredibly bad timing!  Or rather, what an inescapable virus.  I am thankful to be able to safely quarantine with my family, but stunned at this pandemic’s reach into all aspects of all of our lives.  The comparatively small matter of my personal book release plans made me more attuned to news stories of all the artists and actors and writers who had been planning to debut their creations and talents when this virus slammed doors shut around the globe.

Now that the coronavirus crisis in Hong Kong and China has thankfully started to lift – maybe? – my books have managed to get printed.  Friends and family report being able to order copies on-line.  They have sent me pictures, snapshots that I am collecting and savoring.

I have a pile of my darlings sitting in the middle of my living room floor and I hate to see them gathering dust.  I put on a mask and went to the post office to mail a few copies, but then felt guilty about putting mail carriers through the non-essential duty of debuting my novel.

So I’ll wait.

I know I have the luxury to be able to wait, when others don’t.  Nonetheles, it’s easy to get lost in the despair of this moment because so much is going wrong.  When I feel frustrated about my own situation, I try to focus on continuing to write, because that is something positive.  I also give thanks to my community of writers, because they are so supportive and their various projects are inspiring and motivating.  And I especially give thanks for readers everywhere, because novels are meant to be read.

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