Monday, March 30, 2020

Responding to the New Reality

Q: The world, and the way we live in it, has changed. These are extraordinary times. How has the business of being an author changed, for you, in this new reality?

Brenda Chapman here.

These are indeed exceptional times. My husband Ted and I have socially isolated for the past two weeks, some days not even unlocking the door to go outside. Happily, we've discovered Zoom and have had video conferences with family and friends to make us feel less isolated.

Dundurn released my latest book Closing Time last week, so yes, I've been fully impacted by the pandemic on the business end. The events I had lined up have been cancelled, including yesterday's decision to shelve the Ottawa book launch on May 9th. Everyone understands but the good news is that the bookseller has lots of copies and is taking orders for delivery or curbside pick up. Not the party I imagined, but still something to offer those who'd planned to attend. The last two launches, a band played for beer, and they were pumped to return for this one. I said that we'd have to have a big party when this mandatory separation is all over -- I'm pretty sure people will be ready to kick up their heels by then. The beer will definitely be flowing.

My publisher has been working on other ways to reach people. They asked me to do a reading on video in my home for them to post on Instagram. You can listen to me read the first chapter of Closing Time by clicking here and this way will get a flavour of my writing and the mystery. Dundurn also asked me to take over their Instagram account on Friday afternoon and I agreed without any idea what I was agreeing to do. This led to a scramble when I realized just before show time that I wasn't simply writing answers to questions but would be live with a need to talk (basically a monologue) for fifteen minutes. "Come up with something to say," I was told moments before. After jotting down a few ideas, I spent the ensuing time trying to figure out how to get onto Dundurn's account and how to make the video go live. The amazing thing was how much fun it all was after I knew I hadn't botched it up. Exhilerating even. 

So now that I've figured out some of this video technology, particularly Zoom, I'm available for virtual book club visits - anywhere in the world! If you have a book club or know of a group that would like to read one of my mysteries, I'd be pleased to join you for a visit. I'll even pour my own glass of wine. Simply go to my website ( and reach me through the Contact link at the top of the main page. It's a way to meet and chat with readers from the safety of our homes. And I have lots of spare time these days!

I have some book store signings and a couple of other speaking engagements lined up May into June and am waiting to see if these will be postponed or cancelled as well. Media spots are non-starters too with the local newsrooms closing or understandably focusing on Covid-19.

Perhaps the biggest change for me as a writer then, has been the uncertainty for book promotion, and the need to be creative and to roll with the shifting landscape. This is a difficult time to have a book newly released, but on the scheme of the chaos going on across the world, I'm not prepared to belly ache. Instead, I am encouraged by the way this crisis has brought people together (albeit virtually), the kindness of strangers and communities, the selfless acts of so many health professionals, first responders, grocery store workers, government workers, truckers, cleaners ... the list goes on and on.

Wherever you are, I hope that you are well and safe as are those people you care about. Keep strong, read lots of books, reach out to those living alone, and have the odd glass of wine :-) Until next time.


Twitter: brendaAchapman

Facebook: BrendaChapmanAuthor


Dietrich Kalteis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dietrich Kalteis said...

Bravo, Brenda. You've adapted interesting and new ways to launch a book in trying times. Thanks for posting.

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Dietrich yes, a time for innovation and social networking! I hope you are staying well in B.C.

Jennifer J. Chow said...

Hang in there, Brenda! My book came out a few weeks ago, and it's been interesting times. It's nice that we have all this technology to connect. I've done Zoom and FB Live now!

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks and congrats on your book release, Jennifer. I'll have to try FB Live next!

Susan C Shea said...

Wishing you the best fortune as you adjust to this unforeseen change in promotional plans. I will listen to the chapter later...Thanks.

Brenda Chapman said...

Many thanks Susan - much appreciated.