I read an article this morning which said Covid-19 has received approximately 1.1 billion media mentions versus 56 million for SARS. With a 3-4% mortality rate, it seems fair to say it’s so far received a disproportionate amount of coverage, the media driving the world into a frenzy several times over! At the same time, it’s important we all acknowledge the roles we play and come up with strategies to help ourselves and each other conduct business as usual (if a little differently to usual)!.
This short article outlines Write Business Results’ response to the impact of Covid-19 on the publishing and expert positioning spaces.
The article covers the workarounds you might need to consider first then leads to better still, the opportunities – yes, there are a host of opportunities! – for you as an author or soon-to-be author. I’ve kept it short and sweet but more importantly, as balanced and accurate as possible. We take your safety and your success seriously so if you have any questions about any of the points raised, please feel free to get in touch.
Workarounds For Authors
Solutions as book deliveries are affected and what to do as events are postponed.
Hundreds of thousands of authors use Amazon KDP (formerly CreateSpace). Amazon has a printing facility in the UK, a huge packing warehouse in Milton Keynes, and also uses other printing facilities all over the world. Their Germany facility still serves the UK when needed. Amazon is a US-based company, and they only ship discounted author copies from the US. That takes 2 weeks at the best of times.
As the coronavirus peaks in the UK over the next 3-8 weeks and makes tracks through the US and Europe, those facilities will inevitably be affected, as will those of other publishers who often outsource to the same printers and delivery networks.
If you buy copies of your own books to give out or sell offline at events and conferences, client meetings at your office; if you sell them on webinars or with free+shipping offers, or you post extra copies to referrals, you most likely use a print-on-demand service either directly or through your publisher, as above. Your readers definitely do if they buy your book online.
Similarly, if your book is traditionally published, your publisher will most likely work with distributors who are responsible for getting the book into shops and airports. With less people travelling and more people self-isolating, those places will see a reduced footfall for a short period of time. However, given that travel is essential in our globalized world, that should resume when restrictions are lifted. If you are not already published, this probably won’t affect you unless your book is due out in the next couple of weeks. Decent publishers should be mitigating that risk as much as they can with alternative strategies, anyway.
For some of you, your expert positioning activities and/or your clients’ businesses rely on events/workshops as a revenue source, or at the very least, profile-building. Having spoken with connections in the events industry, business owners are simply turning to online learning and marketing – predominantly courses, webinars and online conferences but also lives, downloadable content and social video – to see the period through.
On the other hand, with more people at home and workloads inevitably reducing, book sales overall should increase. To plan for the next month or two, it will be worth brainstorming with your publisher/Publishing Consultant the various ways in which you can maintain and even expand your reach. Collaborations as well as producing your physical book in other formats such as ebooks, blogs, audiobooks, a newsletter, webinars, podcasts and videos are the lowest hanging fruit.
- Buy a stockpile of your book(s) now
- Source a couple of local printers instead of going through your publisher’s print on demand service
- Build relationships with local and independent bookshops to stock your book
- Make digital and audio copies of your work available
- Take the opportunity to try new ways of getting your book in front of your audience that don’t involve physical deliveries.
Opportunities For Authors
Publishers are actively looking for new authors! Ebooks are seeing a boost in production AND sales, new WBR services AND the financial benefits to authors of downtime in your business.
The effect of Covid-19 on the publishing industry as a whole so far has been six of one and half a dozen of the other. Last week it was announced that the London Book Fair – one of the largest gatherings of publishers and authors in the world with over 25,000 people expected, due to take place this week – was cancelled.
The directors of the AWP conference in Texas are currently under fire for going ahead this year in spite of public health warnings; further cancellations in the world of publishing are to be expected.
As reported by The Guardian, regarding the LBF: ‘Literary agent Jonny Geller, whose agency Curtis Brown withdrew from the fair on Tuesday, found one ray of light in his absence: it would mean he and his fellow agents had more time to read submissions from new authors. “We’ve suddenly got space,” he said. “As you build up to a fair, agents are working so hard getting everything ready. If it’s gone, what can we do with that hunger?”’
Given the number of people usually in attendance and the number of book deals normally struck, the gaps in publishers’ calendars for the rest of 2020 and early 2021 is likely to be sizable. If you’re considering taking your book down the hybrid or traditional publishing route, now is an unusually opportune time to submit your draft.
Another upside is the renewed focus on ebooks and other digital formats. When the Chancellor released his Budget this month, while some assurances for smaller businesses weren’t included, others were. Among those, and a victory for the publishing industry, was the success of The Publishers Association’s years-long Axe The Reading Tax campaign.
Physical books have been VAT-free for years but their digital counterparts have not. Nicknamed ‘the reading tax’ and ‘the tax on knowledge’, digital books have been found to be less accessible to children, the visually impaired, those in low-income households and businesses which often prioritize the cheaper option.
In axing the reading tax, the government has zero-rated all digital books (but not yet audio books) and “expects the publishing industry, including e-booksellers, to pass on the benefit of this relief to consumers”.
Libraries and other stockists and distributors stand to benefit in the move too, which is estimated to save UK business and institutions up to £55m a year.
This is not to say that paperbacks are going out of fashion – holding a physical book is a far different experience than reading on a Kindle or other device. It is the preference of the majority of people by a VERY long way – sales of physical books consistently outweigh those of digital books year on year. In 2018 (the most recent report), physical book sales were up on ebooks sales by nearly $15bn!
But right now, we are facing a situation where doing business physically might be a little challenging for a couple of months. During this time businesses and consumers will be moving more towards digital solutions. With ebooks seeing a boost in publicity and demand this year and beyond, now is the time to capitalise and widen your reach in a more financially viable way. Creating digital versions of your physical books is a sensible move. Starting a new 70 page+ ebook from scratch can take as little as 4-6 months – creating e-summaries or e-guides to your existing paperback book can take as little as 4 weeks. Please contact me for more information.
As some people become wary of making new financial commitments during times of uncertainty, we’ve brainstormed additional ways we can provide entrepreneurs with transformational, personalised content that generate tangible returns. Write Business Results’ done-with-you and done-for-you business book services are at the heart of our operations, with a couple of new options also now available!
We have also turned the Book Creation Process™ to blogs. Meet WBR Blogs; a done-for-you blogging service resulting in 1,000-word+, SEO-optimised, edited and proofread blogs in your voice and delivered to your inbox without you writing a single word! Choose your blog subscription based on your required frequency and even turn them into a book later.
Last but not least, if you know it’s a book you want but you need to see how it’ll all fit together to believe it, spend a (digital) morning with me on an Author To Expert Strategy Session. Over the course of 4 hours, we’ll discuss your business model and plans, your book ideas, and the required marketing strategies to take you to where you want to go, all wrapped up in a succinct Book Action Plan by the end.
And finally, with teams working from home, events and meetings cancelled and people doing less in general as they wait for the eye of the storm to pass, many business owners are about to find themselves with some very rare spare time.
Rather than worry, as we know this will pass in time, now is a great time to be thinking positively about how to use any downtime in your business strategically. There will probably, realistically, never be a better time than now to do those things you’ve always wanted to but have been prevented from getting on with by time and busy-ness.
Writing that book or doing the second edition of your existing book is an ideal way to stay present in the marketplace, continue to spread your message and create personal, one-to-one value for your audience in a one-to-many format.
How is Write Business Results helping authors?
- The WBR team is incredibly experienced, qualified and trained to work on business books on any topic within any industry. The secret sauce is in our uniquely created Book Creation Process™ and the company culture of individuality, intelligence and integrity we’ve built together over the last 5 years. We’ve worked 1-2-1 with over 300 established entrepreneurs on the production and promotion of their books and ebooks within WBR – collectively, it’s closer to 800!
- All of our services are 100% remote and always have been! There are 15 of us here at WBR and we work together from our home offices. The team consists of the best talent, unencumbered by location, while the remote business model and our autonomous nature mean that our systems, technology and work ethic fully supports remotely serving our wonderful clients. Nothing new to adjust to here.
- We have options to help all established entrepreneurs, whatever your writing ability, time pressures or budget.
If you’re thinking of writing that book, there has never been a better time than now. Contact me on 020 3752 7057 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Yours, with no hugs or handshakes (but an abundance of friendly faces),
Georgia & the WBR team