Friday, February 11, 2022

What's New For '22?

by Abir

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.


2021 also saw our podcast, The Red Hot Chilli Writers, which I present with my good friend and also best enemy, Vaseem Khan. Our audience numbers shot up as more and more of the biggest stars from the crime writing world and further afield came on as guests – everyone from Dean Koontz and Lee Child to Ann Cleeves, Val McDermid and Richard Osman. This year looks like it’s going to be even bigger, with guests like Adele Parks and David Baldacci already lined up.


So, what’s new for ’22?

2022, I hope, will be the year we work smarter, not harder. I hope we take the best innovations from Lockdown: the technology for reaching wider audiences and marry it with the best of the physical world – i.e. more book events, and I’m pleased to say, it’s already shaping up to be a bumper year.


From my own perspective, 2022 is going to be a year of change. I’m branching out, writing my first standalone novel (due out in 2023). It’s my first non-historical novel and the first novel I’ve written in the third person. I’m also writing a bit of non-fiction in the form of a true-crime-novella (more on that soon), and exploring an opportunity to do a documentary with a real live rock star – now that should be fun. In between, I’ll be turning up like a bad penny at a range of book festivals from Scotland to Sardinia and doing Zoom events at stupid o’clock everywhere from America to New Zealand. 


What a time to be alive, eh?!


Have a great weekend.

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