I’d like to interrupt the media’s coverage of the coronavirus to provide a short public service announcement for authors.
Yes, the situation is difficult. Over 3,000 people have died worldwide. Global commerce has significantly slowed. International travel has come to a standstill. The U.S. stock market has dropped 12%. Companies are projecting lower revenues for 2020.
But, here’s the breaking news for authors. When people worry that their income may decline, what do they do? They search for deals and low-priced products. Books fit that bill perfectly because they’re considered an “affordable splurge.” This is great news for authors. Even during a crisis, people will still buy books that provide an emotional escape, help solve a problem, and offer entertainment.
The coronavirus has also created an interesting phenomenon. We are in the midst of the largest “work from home” experiment in the history of mankind, mainly due to millions of Chinese ordered to stay inside. But, other countries and companies are following suit and encouraging people to remain at home to avoid infection.
While more people remain at home, technology has made it easier than ever for authors to stay connected with readers. Email, social media, webinars, and video chat software allows you to maintain relationships that couldn’t have happened 10 years ago. In fact, the stock price of video webinar company, Zoom, has gone through the roof since the coronavirus started.
In other words, there’s no reason to fear that the coronavirus will kill your book sales. However, during times of media mania and economic downturn, don’t overlook the importance of marketing. Here are several steps you can take to prevent your books from getting lost in the hysteria:
- Run a special sale on your books to highlight helping readers save money
- Offer free or paid webinars to interact with readers
- Send out email promotions that emphasize the benefits of your books
- Run a promotion with other authors to publicize your books to multiple groups
- Offer to do more book club interviews via Facebook Live or video chat
- Increase advertising on Amazon, Facebook, and BookBub to make sure readers notice your books
Let’s be realistic. The sky is not falling. The coronavirus is not a sign of the apocalypse. Thousands of infected people are already recovering from the illness. Current fears will soon pass and normal life will return.
However, a failure to promote your books right now means the world will just stay at home and binge-watch movies on Netflix or stare at YouTube videos all day. And that, my friends, would be the real tragedy.
We now return to the mass hysteria that the media wants you to believe…
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