Book Publishing in the Age of COVID-19

Kayana Szymczak (for STAT)

I know some of you are wondering about the effects of the Coronavirus on the book industry. Some of you have asked if you should still publish your books.

Yes, I do think you should proceed with publishing your books.

Based on the current climate, I also think it is wise for all businesses to expect some changes as a result of COVID-19, which is now a global pandemic, according to The World Health Organization. On Wednesday night, President Donald Trump also suspended travel from Europe to the US for thirty days, excluding the UK.

What we know for sure is there have been significant changes due to this virus. We have seen changes in the stock market, cruises, theme parks, tourism, sports, and travel. Factory closures in China (the world’s largest exporter, responsible for a third of global manufacturing. China accounts for more than 80% of imports of toys alone) led to a record low in the country’s Purchasing Manufacturing output. Italy, which has the world’s ninth-largest economy, is on lock-down, and the state department raised the worldwide travel advisory level to Level 3: Reconsider Travel. This advisory means there is an official warning against nonessential travel.

The entertainment industry has seen changes as well with Tom Hanks and his wife testing positive for the virus.  In the sports world, the NBA has suspended the season until further notice because of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, testing positive. Yesterday morning, a second Utah player, Donovan Mitchell, also tested positive.

The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments have been canceled, the MLB suspended training, delaying opening day two weeks, the NHL suspended its season, and tons of other sports activities are being canceled.

Trillions of dollars have been wiped from the financial markets this week, and small businesses are already seeing signs of struggle as supply chains dry up. Yes, human suffering can be due to illness, but it can also be due to people not being able to pay their bills, subsequently losing their homes and going hungry.

Consider too the 24 states (more by the time this post is live) under a state of emergency.

What we are seeing is the potential unfolding of several crises, all happening at once. People are panicking and making up stuff, buying out the toilet paper for some strange reason, leaving their jobs; children are not going to school, and conferences, venues, and even sports games are being suspended until further notice.

Whether you want to believe this is media sensationalism or not, the reality is that things are different and there have been changes in the world that are affecting the lives of real people.

This post is about adjusting to these changes as a businessperson in publishing, the hope I see for authors in an age where the go-to form of entertainment (sports) is brought to its knees, and the good news in store for Self-Publishers.

Here are the changes I discovered so far in publishing. Please add on to them by commenting below on what you are hearing as well.

  • Book Fairs and Conferences (where large communities of people gather) are being canceled. This “social distancing,” as it is being called, includes The London Book Fair (The UK’s largest book fair event), the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and the Leipzig Book Fair.

 

  • An employee at Amazon was diagnosed with COVID-19. The bookstores in NY have been holding up so far, I hear, but amazon workers from New York are working from home. “Sellers on Amazon’s marketplace are reportedly struggling to bring goods into the country.”

 

 

  • Not exactly sure if this is directly linked to the Coronavirus, but I am hearing it’s been a hard week for big publishers. Three of the big five are struggling, specifically MacMillan, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster.

 

  • Some individual authors have reported a decline in book sales since COVID-19, but some have seen an increase. There is no telling to my knowledge if there are any significant cases of falling book sales among Indies. I do know sales of apocalyptic type literature is on the rise.

 

 

  • Some Authors/Publishers are focusing on the online version of their book business to avoid contact with large groups of people. Examples include releasing digital products, blogging, and live streaming events and conferences. ALLi’s Self-Publishing Advice Conference will be online.

The good news for Indie Authors is that Self-Publishing has its strengths online. Making use of the internet by continuing to release books and digital products through author websites, blogs, live streams, and social media is a smart move in the age of COVID-19. Small book signings might be okay, but most states are now restricting larger gatherings.

My final thought is this:

If you are planning to publish a book in the next few days, few weeks, few months, my thought is to go ahead and keep to your schedule, but take the effect COVID-19 can have on small businesses seriously. Make preparations for working from home as much as possible just in case your city is the one on lockdown.

Update:

The US is officially under a National Emergency, so movement is even more limited, and there is talk of more travel bans.

Virtual Book Tours, Online Presentations and Conferences, Facebook and IG Live, Digital Products, Radio shows, Text Interviews, Online Services, Blogging, Guest Blogging, Blog Tours…are all things you can do as an author that doesn’t require face-to-face contact.


Preorder Stella: Between Slavery and Freedom today.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of book one in The Stella Trilogy. Something tells me you’re gonna need something to read 😉

>>Get it Here<<

Black History Fun Fact Friday – Medical Apartheid

This Week’s episode of Black History Fun Fact Friday is the recommendation of Harriet Washington’s Groundbreaking book Medical Apartheid.

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Medical Apartheid is about the deliberate infection of people with deadly or debilitating diseases, exposure of people to biological and chemical weapons, human radiation experiments, injection of people with toxic and radioactive chemicals, surgical experiments, interrogation and torture experiments, tests involving mind-altering substances, and a wide variety of others. Medical experiments on children, the sick, mentally disabled individuals, and most especially Blacks, often under the guise of “medical treatment” go back for centuries.

 

ea_d_38868_0_MissEversBoysOne well-known case of experimentation on Blacks is The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, a clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African-American men in Alabama. Mrs. Evers Boys starring Alfred Woodard and Lawrence Fishburne is a movie modeled after this experiment. The men were told that they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government and for forty long years had to tackle the deadly side effects of a disease many of them didn’t know they had. Also, it must be stated that many of these men did not previously have the disease before the experiments began.

The Public Health Service started working on this study in 1932 during the Great Depression, in collaboration with the Tuskegee Institute, a historically black college in Alabama. Investigators enrolled in the study a total of 600 impoverished sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama. Of these men, 399 had previously contracted syphilis before the study began, and about 201 did not have the disease. Because these men were poor and often had no access to free medical care, the enticing sound of free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance for participating in the study prompted many of the most reluctant to take part. None of the men infected was ever told he had the disease, nor was any treated for it with penicillin after this antibiotic became proven for treatment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for “bad blood“, a local term for various illnesses that include syphilis, anemia, and fatigue.

9780385509930_custom-11bb499dd9e2430b63af7a3b00d4cbf9b26dd62c-s6-c30The product of years of research, Medical Apartheid is an excellent book and source of study by Harriet A. Washington on the dark history of medical experimentation on Blacks from the colonial times to the present. She speaks in depth about the history of such organizations as Planned Parenthood and The Negro Project, known previously as The American Birth Control League (whose true purpose was to rid the world of so-called “weak breeds” who were downgrading the American population through a system known as Eugenics), to other frightening tools on unwilling and unknown people.

Throughout the 1840s, J. Marion Sims for example, often referred to as “the father of gynecology”, performed surgical experiments on enslaved African women, without anesthesia. The women—one of whom was operated on 30 times—regularly died from infections resulting from the experiments. In order to test one of his theories about the causes of trismus (locked jaw) in infants, Sims performed experiments where he used a shoemaker’s awl to move around the skull bones of the babies of enslaved women. He also addicted the women in his surgical experiments to morphine, only providing the drugs after surgery was already complete, in order to make them more compliant.

A documentary that is a great compliment to Harriet’s book is called MAAFA, an explosive exposé of the racist eugenics agenda of the abortion industry in the United States. It makes the case that, though abortionists claim to advocate privacy, women’s rights, and reproductive choice, their true motive is racial genocide and ethnic cleansing and goes back for centuries.

MAAFA can be watched for free on YouTube HERE.

Get Medical Apartheid on Amazon HERE.

 

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And that’s it for this week’s episode of Black History Fun Facts. Here’s Last Week’s Post in case you missed it:

Week #5: Negro Spirituals