Publishing During Covid: Should I or Shouldn't I?

Seems a crazy time to publish a book – whether it is as an independent author, or through a traditional publishing house.

I acknowledge these times. Shocking, senseless deaths, once-a-century pandemic … I always think that there are Major Causes for Concern in this country which the media grabs onto until another Major Cause for Concern hits us.  Then that becomes the big media story.

Kobe Bryant?  I was writing at my kitchen table when that story hit.  One of the first things I learned living in California is that if there’s awful news about a music, movie, or sports star, it will last forever.  Kobe’s tragic death took over everyone’s interest until . . .

. . . the Coronavirus became too real.  Sure, we heard rumblings about it in late 2019, but no one wanted to think that something so horrible could stop a country, force its citizens to bunker down inside their homes for months, or cause millions of people to lose their jobs.  

As states began the process of reopening, another crisis hit – another death of another black man.  People - tired of being cooped up, maybe with children to teach and certainly care for, maybe angry over that, maybe mentally ill, maybe upset over the loss of a job or income, and perhaps angry that another one of their own is murdered -!  How could these things not produce a huge powder keg waiting to blow up?

It’s hard to be creative with all this going on.  There were days when I could not write one word.  Other mornings I frantically wrote down a new story idea and perhaps one chapter, hoping to keep the idea alive for another, more creative time. 

Before Coronavirus became a Major Concern, I was already self-isolating. When things got serious and the California governor began asking residents to stay home, we’d already contracted to buy a home in Iowa where the governor had not set as many restrictions, saying that she believed the populace to be smart enough to know what to do.

Right.  Let’s hope.   

On top of that, I’m in the high-risk category for Corvid:  65 or older, with an immunocompromised system due to Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer treatment.

What to do?  We were nervous, not sure if we could even drive from state to state. When the moving company said that they were considered ‘essential’, we decided to continue with our plan, but we added layers.

First, getting the truck packed.  Although we stayed as far away from our movers as possible, we didn’t wear masks.  We didn’t shake hands either.

Next, we re-considered our own personal protection.  I had a supply of masks that I used when I flew on planes or attended large conferences.  I’d also purchased N95 masks during the last horrible California fire (fires also put the chronically ill at risk). My husband ordered gloves, fortunately right before they were no longer available.  We had plenty of cleaning supplies (and toilet paper, too).

The third plan concerned making the trip carefully.  Suddenly we were adding extra masks, gloves, three sets of sheets, towels, our own pillows, and blankets as well as cleaning items.  We knew we’d need food, restrooms, and at least two nights of accommodations.  Fortunately, good friends drove from California to Idaho the week before our move and reported back that they had no trouble getting gas or finding toilets and food.

We chose truck stops with large service areas to gas up and visited their restrooms at the same time.  There are always fast food restaurants near these facilities.  We stopped for everything at once, hoping to save time and also limit our exposure.  All the places were clean; not all had mask-wearing patrons.  I would pull off my mask and gloves as I strode back toward the car, knowing that I’d attempted to stay safe.

Lastly, we were concerned about finding motels. I dread trips without reservations, but this time because we weren’t sure how far we’d drive, we waited until hours before to make arrangements. There was plenty of space everywhere.  I’m sure they were all very conscientious about keeping their places clean, but shout out to the Microtel in Des Moines, Iowa.  They were cleaning surfaces every thirty minutes, and did not touch our room, telling us that they let a room settle for a full day after people vacated. 

When we finally stopped for the evening, one of us would spray a bleach cleanser over everything, beginning with the door’s handle, thoroughly recleaning the bathroom, and then every usable surface while the other pulled the bedspread off and covered the bed with our own items.  It was the only way to sleep without fear. 

During our trip out here, I did little writing.  I was too busy trying to stow away fear.

We arrived and moved in ten weeks ago. One of the young movers told me that his mother was paranoid about him being in other homes.  A cable guy was so scared, exclaimed that he had the power to decide what he would or would not install, and then exclaimed, “I have to get out of this house!  I’ve been in this house too long!”  At the time I failed to recognize the fear in this man, thought he was being rude. (The next cable guy came in covered from head to toe in protection.)

Now, ten weeks later, the boxes are unpacked, the rooms set up, and we’re starting to make it our own space. My husband, still working, alternates between the office and the kitchen table.  I’m getting into a new routine, adjusting to a new kitchen table and a house with a screened porch and office from which to write. 

My friends are all reading; groups that I belong to are reporting a huge surge in book purchases.  Two of my books are finished, ready to put out there.  It feels like I’ve been waiting forever!  To wait any longer is adding another excuse to NOT publish and I have long wanted to say, “I am an author.” 

So, I’m doing this!  On Word & Upward.

you might also like


1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on getting your book out there! It's great you decided to go ahead. I think this might be a perfect time since as you said, lots of people are doing more reading these days. Actually, I don't know if there is a perfect time anyway. I self-published my memoir in December, which I now realize that was NOT a perfect time. I mean, who is thinking about books or doing a lot of reading during the holidays?

    It was interesting to read about your travels during Covid too. Good tips there.

    Best of luck with your book! I look forward to reading it.


َAuthor Image

About the Author

I'm a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and very much not perfect. My own multiple health problems led me to write about women who experience life's traumas, but bounce back because they are resilient. I strive to bring happily ever afters to all my characters.

On Word and Upward!