Is The Book Tour Doomed Because Of The Pandemic?

The publishing world has long been on the verge of a breakdown, whether it’s a crisis over its lack of diversity or its consistently strained bottom line. However, when the worldwide health crisis spread in the spring of 2020, authors and publishers were confronted with a whole new set of problems. Would the entire system collapse if in-person speeches and signings, which were previously the backbone of the book promotion machine, were no longer possible?

Would publishers be unable to come up with fresh solutions? Is it possible that the authors’ work will not sell? Do you think independent bookshops will go out of business?

Prior to the epidemic, the book advertising approach had stayed mostly constant for decades. The book tour’s premise was simple: when readers meet an author in person, they’re more likely to buy a book on the spot, receive a signature, and maybe become devoted to them in the future.

It may appear glamorous, as though authors will be able to hold court with admirers from all across the country. The reality, however, is considerably more grueling – assuming an author ever gets to go on a book tour at all. Publishers reduced marketing expenditures in the aftermath of the Great Recession, leaving most writers to handle their own PR. Those who are fortunate enough to have financial support from a publisher are frequently shuttled from bookshop to bookstore and state to state in a frenzy of trip arrangements and hotel accommodations. Still, publishing is a notoriously conservative and risk-averse sector, so it wasn’t in a hurry to attempt something new.

When one sits down to consider all of the possibilities that now exist, the fear grows even more. Within five minutes of meeting them, every publishing expert in this nation will tell you how inspirational books outsell anything else. And at a time when both online and offline book sales are at an all-time low, and advances given to authors are likely to be smaller than normal (which is saying a lot), every commissioning editor in town, including yours me, will be looking for an instant bestseller in the coming months.

As a result, when publishers and authors were compelled to pivot in the face of the new, mask-filled global order, some found it easier than others. Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, who write under the pen name Christina Lauren, handled it better than anybody else in the romance category. They’ve been active on social media for a long time, organising contests and responding to reader feedback, which prepared the way for their move to a virtual-only promotion.

They’ve also had plenty of opportunities to iron out the wrinkles, having released three books during the epidemic

(The Honey-Don’t List in March 2020)

The Honey-Don't List — Latest Book Crush

(In a Holidaze in October 2020)

In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren – Traveling With T

(The Soulmate Equation in May 2021)

Review: The Soulmate Equation - Just Busy Reading

“It seems like the Zoom thing happened in a flash. “Everybody was like, ‘OK, we’re going to do virtual, but we still don’t know how to interact,’” Billings recalls of the duo’s first excursion into digital promotion to Bustle. They had it down to a science by the time their most recent book came out, conducting a combination of ticketed Zoom events in collaboration with bookshops and Instagram Lives to get people interested.