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Coronavirus: Effects for Writers

Social media is full of posts and memes about the covid-19 virus that is impacting the entire world right now.

It isn’t surprising that people are panicked and that things said are misconstrued. It happens all the time with something. This time it happens to be toilet paper.

I went on a tirade yesterday after seeing a number of posts on my own walls where people are calling other people stupid for being prepared.

I’m not going to get into that again. I said my peace about it on my facebook profile and that’s all I’m going to say about it.

This is strictly on the effects this virus is having on us as writers. From con cancellations to drops in sales volumes, the tough times right now and that still lie ahead are real and far reaching.

Con Cancellations

I’ve not been to a con (short for convention and/or conference), but I have been a vendor at other types of events that on a good weekend can bring in enough sales to get me by for months. I know some authors that do this regularly and pull about 80% of their income for the year from these cons. They go every year and sales are consistent across the board year after year.

Coming into spring time, the con circuit dates are upon us and authors are more than ready to go. One of the biggest ones this time of year has been cancelled.

You should have heard the groan across the country when that announcement was made. Kind of like when Brian died on Family Guy, only with more keyboard clicks than screams. It was a horrendous sound, and as a writer myself, I felt it deeply.

I’m planning to attend my first writer’s conference in Wisconsin in May. I’m not even looking to make much in the waynof income from going to the event, but the thought of it being cancelled when I’ve been planning for it since the end of 2018 isĀ  still a bit of a punch in the gut.

To have a huge chunk of my income count on attending that event would be devastating.

Now, we are writers. Our options to earn income are pretty much endless. Most of us have many other services already set up and working. Those are what pay the bills. Con sales are what provide for supplementing months where book sales and service clients are slow throughout the rest of the year.

That being suddenly cancelled a mere week or two before the event is supposed to take place is catastrophic. You can’t make that kind of money up sitting at home, and it affects the whole rest of the year.

Sales Revenue Drops

Something I’ve also noticed being in several author and writing groups is people are already noticing major drops in sales numbers.

There is a popular meme going around right now encouraging readers to pick up some extra reading material to get you through your “soft quarantine” period.

Its expected that sales are going to drop drastically low over the next few weeks. Everyone hears 14 days and most think, “meh. I get paid every 2 weeks and do alright.”

It doesn’t work this way for authors. Most royalty payments come in once a month for the sales made 2 months before. So, sales made in March won’t show up until May. Payments received this month (March) are from sales made in January.

Sales started dropping early last month on my end. So, next month will start the shortage and roll over into May and maybe June or longer, if this doesn’t settle down soon.

Service Requests Decrease

I provide services in addition to all the other stuff that I do. When people are in panic mode because things are changing with the economy, the first people to feel the pinch are service providers.

People put projects on hold, cancel subscriptions, and forgo services for DIY when things start to get tight. This puts service providers in a more long term pinch.

This is the real money maker for most writers. The reality is that books don’t result in a sistainable income for most. Its the skills learned and honed in the process of writing, publishing, and marketing, that we use to build stable income.

High dollar services, like editing and cover design have been harder to sell people on already with the creation and improvement of software like the Hemingway Editor, Pro Writers Aid, and Canva.

Since the virus outbreak, its only gotten worse. People jist arent spending money like they used to and its affecting all of us.

I don’t know how to adjust or what to suggest for authors already in the middle of all of this. Lower rates to keep business coming in through the tough times and work back up once things are good again.

Watch for new needs popping up that you can fill easily and make some profit from. Be careful to not start price gouging for things people really need.

Remember that your reputation will be what follows you after this all blows over. So, work hard to be civil even when the gs are bad.

Expect things to happen, like ghosting from otherwise outstanding clients, short or no payments, negotiations with severe low balls. Be kind, take what you need, and when things pick back up on the other side of this, you’ll still be the go to person and be able to charge full price again.

This too shall pass. Let it run its course, stay on track toward your goals, but accept that progress might be a little slower than usual. Frustrations will increase, but keep your cool. It will work out better for you in the end.

If you need assistance, an ear to vent to, or just some encouragement to keep going. Hit me up. I’m always around.

You can email me at, or track me down on facebook through my author page, through Twisted Souls Press, and At Save Your Sanity Publishing Assistance.

Good luck!

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