The Coronavirus pandemic affects us all, no matter who we are, what stage of life we're at, or what we do. In previous articles I've written about the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery man
, the footy fan
, and pets and pet owners
. In this article, I am going to share with you the impact of COVID-19 on our local authors.
Like many people who already worked from home prior to lockdown, many authors were also able to adjust and adapt to the new 'normal' as they were already used to working in isolation. But lockdown also brought (and continues to bring) many challenges for authors.
For Brisbane-based, work-from-home author Dimity Powell
, there was little change to her normal day to day operation as she already had a familiar workplace and strict work practice established. But thanks to COVID-19, she lost all her paid gigs, including a couple of great overseas opportunities. On the other hand, Dimity has never been busier. As an author as well as Managing Editor of Kids' Book Review
, Dimity has worked hard to remain as visible and as connected as possible with her audience (i.e. all those stuck at home). This has included increased content on her various social media platforms, notably her YouTube
channel. "It's been fun and uber challenging adapting and converting content into virtually accessible ways for readers / viewers,"
Dimity tells me, "but I've relished every minute of it. If anything it has also increased my visibility. All this meant I've never been busier. There has been zero time to bake banana bread, that's for sure!"
Dimity Powell, award-winning author of 'Pippa', 'At the end of Holyrood Lane' and 'The Fix-It Man'.
Renowned Australian fantasy and science fiction writer and publisher Paul Collins
has basically been in self-isolation for most of his life. "I wrote full time for around fifteen years so didn't work with people,"
he says. "My reincarnation as a publisher started in 2007 and since I don't employ anyone, I'm not in contact with people during work hours, either."
So Paul has coped better than most during lockdown. However, the pandemic has closed down schools and libraries which means that book sales have been down. Paul also usually runs literary festivals in schools and libraries, and through the Creative Net Speakers' Agency
, he hires out authors and illustrators for workshops/presentations. However, thanks to COVID-19, they have now all been cancelled or postponed. "But at the end of the day, I'm not in the dole queue and I have a roof over my head, so I'm not personally too worried,"
Paul tells me. "I do feel for a great many others, though."
Paul Collins, award-winning author of 'The Quentaris Chronicles' and his latest book, 'James Gong: The Big Hit.'
For award-winning Melbourne-based author George Ivanoff
, the pandemic has given him more time to write. But on the negative side, all of his speaking gigs have either been cancelled or postponed. "Speaking at schools, libraries and festivals is actually a large part of my job,"
George says. "It adds to my income and is great publicity for my books. So losing those speaking opportunities hurts. However, I have started doing virtual presentations, with schools, libraries and festivals starting to contact me about them."
And like Dimity, George has also been putting video reading up on his YouTube
Liz Ledden and KH Canobi
George Ivanoff, award-winning author of the 'Gamers' trilogy, 'Other Worlds' and 'The Australain Survival Guide'
For newly-published authors Liz Ledden
and KH Canobi
, the pandemic has also been very challenging. Liz recently published her first children's picture book, Tulip and Brutus
. She also co-hosts a kids' book podcast, One More Page
. "It was hard to put pen to paper at first, when so many bigger things were happening and there were other priorities,"
Liz says. "But as the rhythm of life in lockdown took hold, I delved back into the world of stories and wrote a few new ones. Meanwhile, other bookish things I'm involved in moved online, such as critique group meetings on Zoom, and recording our podcast One More Page online as well. It's also been an excellent time for reading a lot of books."
KH Canobi, who also recently published her first book, Mindcull, admits that she has struggled with lockdown. "We have four kids and my husband is now working from home so I lost my space and time to write during the day," she tells me. "I also lost sleep over the pandemic and all of its implications and effects. I have had to forgive myself for being less productive for the period when the kids were not at school and I was adjusting to the new normal. Things are improving now and I have joined a writers group (currently via zoom meetings) which I am really enjoying."
Karen Tyrrell and the importance of self-care
Whether you work from home or not, it's vital during these uncertain times to do whatever you can to look after yourselves and practise self-care. Long before we had even heard of coronavirus, Karen Tyrrell
was already promoting the absolute importance of self-care. Karen is an award-winning author for adults and children, writing empowerment books to help us live strong. Her books include Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness
, Me and Him: A Guide to Recovery, STOP the Bully
, and Bailey Beats the Blah.
She is also the recipient for four mental health achievement awards for her books, and she presents at schools and in the community, often accompanied by her husband Steve. In 2015, Karen won a Queensland highly acclaimed peer mental health award, the Jude Bugeja Award.
"Through this pandemic, I'm keeping calm and channelling my energies into positive actions," Karen tells me.You can learn more about these positive actions and how you can practise them too via Karen's Top Tips for self-care. Writing her books and making educational videos for children via Youtube are also some of Karen's other ways of practising self-care during this time.
Go local and support our authors
Karen and her husband, Steve
Like all of us, authors have also been affected by COVID-19. They too have had to adapt and adjust and re-configure their lives to the new 'normal.' And like many of our local businesses that have struggled during this pandemic, our local authors urgently need us to support them too during this time.
But there's so much more to going local and supporting Australian authors financially. When you support your local author, you're also supporting our vital art and creative industries. And in return, you'll have (in the words of Stephen King) a uniquely portable kind of magic that will bring enchantment, adventure, joy, love, and comfort to you and your home during this time of coronavirus.
Books are the magic that will bring you light in this time of darkness.
"This new chapter of human history amplifies the essence of change, unanimity and resilience; qualities I love to explore in my stories and which motivate me to not only write on but live better."