The outbreak of Covid 19 throughout the world has caused more than a few problems for writers and artists, in particular writers who had books and publications due out either just before or after the virus struck and changed things.
Take for example ‘Ghost of Me’ the latest novel by Amanda Steel. Amanda released her novel on 02 March 2020 just before Covid 19 broke and had been gathering reviews such as “This is a rare find. A great paranormal thriller. Spine-tingling and goosebumps throughout the book. Fast paced and action packed storyline. Keeps you from putting this book down” and “The characters are solid and well-drawn, the locations and situations almost cinematic in their description. The narrative moves along at a brisk pace making it difficult to tear oneself away from the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am sure it will appeal to a broad spectrum of tastes. Ghost of Me is a fine addition to Amanda Steel’s body of work and I do not hesitate to recommend it”, both on Goodreads.
She also has gathered reviews on Amazon, “A ghost sees her own body after her murder. Now she wants to find the murderer. This is an enjoyable story following Sarah as she tracks the killer, meets a helper that can see the dead, and uses a Ouija board to stop him from murdering again. An interesting and fun story”.
During a recent conversation, Amanda said she had spent months planning the release of the book and when the virus broke, she had just started making in-roads in the American Market with a promising sale to an independent Book Shop.
“I had already learnt a few things form my two experiences of having a publisher,” she began, “so I set up my book with Ingram Spark to get a better distribution, bought my own ISBN and began marketing months in advance of the release date. I started sending out ARCs (Advance reader copies) and got some great reviews. I was posting extracts on my websites and social media and doing radio interviews. I read the prologue out at some spoken word nights, which resulted in a sale of an advance copy before the book was even out. Then I got the pre-order from an independent book shop in the US for 8 copies. I can’t say whether this would have been the start of many orders from bookshops in the US or anywhere else around the world, but it looked like this was going to be my biggest selling book. Admittedly, that wouldn’t take much doing, as my other books have only ever sold a handful of copies. I planned to read at more nights and contact local libraries and bookshops to try to set up some author readers and Q&A sessions. The virus was becoming more serious by this point, so those things never happened.”
I know of a number of other writers who would have given up after something like this happened, Amanda, to her credit has simply took this down a different path. She says “Ghost of Me is currently being made into an audiobook, so that gives me the chance to market it again. The narrator wants to interview me on her podcast and I’m trying to find other podcasts where I can be a guest and talk about the audiobook. I had to adapt quickly with the lockdown and started doing online readings, but they were a bit too thrown together, because the book had already come out by then and I hadn’t planned on using social media in that way.”
Using Social Media in a different way is something all writers and artists have done since Co-vid 19 broke out and it has involved all artists learning how to do online readings, whether they had done them before or not.
“They are so different from performing in person.” she advises. “Whether anyone is watching online or not, it still feels like I’m performing to any empty room. I completed a few smaller projects while in lockdown; an interactive fiction book and a chapbook of poems. I’ve done online readings for both now and although I still find it weird, I’m getting more used to it.”
Ghost of Me is available on Amazon and all other book sites.
Amanda Steel’s official website is https://www.amandasteelwriter.com/