We seem to have moved from “unprecedented times” to “a constantly fluid situation”. What did you learn in 2021 about the “new normal” of the business of being an author that you’re going to use to help your future career, and please tell us what you’re planning for 2022.
Friday again, thank goodness, and here we all are, crawling to the finish line of another working week. Except in the new normal, the working week has become blurred. We’re working odd hours in our pyjamas, eating second breakfasts at 10am and doing Zoom calls with Australia in the middle of the night.
So what did I learn from last year? I’m tempted to say, ‘not much,’ except for the fact that human beings are infinitely adaptable. With remarkable speed, we’ve accepted things we never thought we ever would (e.g. being masked in public; being tracked by government apps; vaccine passes to enter venues). Things which a few years ago would have been considered breaches of our civil liberties, we now accept as the cost of staying safe.
In terms of the business of being an author, 2021 was the year we all learned how to function again. After the shock of 2020, when I, like a lot of authors, found it difficult to put pen to paper, ’21 was the year we got our mojo back. Bookshops reopened, people were reading more and there was a voracious demand for new work. We learned how to reach new audiences on the other side of the globe while sitting in our boxer shorts in the comfort of our own homes. We learnt the dark arts of the Instagram video and the Facebook Live session, and we dabbled with other forms of social media marketing which no grown man with any self-respect has any business trying. (Yeah, I’m talking Tic Toc).
’21 was also the year physical book festivals restarted, and two of the key moments for me were the Theakston’s Crime Festival in Harrogate in July and Bloody Scotland in September. Just meeting people, just seeing friends I hadn’t seen in eighteen months was cathartic, and the alcohol helped too.
10 Feb 2022