How COVID-19 will affect the publishing industry

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted how writers write, what editors want to publish, and how books are sold.


Overall submissions could rise 

King Lear jokes aside, the pandemic has afforded some writers the time they lack during “regular” life. Those who may have otherwise spent a Wednesday night, say, attending a child’s soccer game or a church meeting suddenly gained additional hours to devote to their craft. Editors speculate this could result in a rise in submissions. “It’s certainly possible we’ll see submission numbers increase as those with more free time sit down to write the book they’ve so long talked about,” says Moggy.

Still, not all writers have the privilege of using quarantine as writing time. Writing is not a full-time job for most writers. Layoffs, furloughs, and childcare challenges may have made carving out space to tackle their works in progress impossible.

And, of course, people had serious health issues to deal with, too. Freelance writer and editor Barbara Evers’ put her simmering novel on the back burner after she and the two grandchildren she raises were exposed to a medical professional with COVID-19 in March. They had to quarantine for 14 days. “Those two weeks took every ounce of energy from me as I tried to get two children to increase their caution,” Evers says. “This was difficult before the exposure but worse after. During that time, I got very little work of any kind done, and I went to bed fully exhausted each night.”

Some writers may use writing to deal with the immense stress brought on by the pandemic. “I know that it’s challenging for authors to ignore the events that are happening in the world around them,” Moggy says. “Some will actually find inspiration in those events, and I also know that many of our authors are finding solace in the fact that they’re writing books whose main purpose is to explore the journey to a happy ending – to look at the positives in life.”

Originally Published