The effects of the new coronavirus pandemic have already begun to ripple through the publishing industry. AWP 2020 in San Antonio skirted by on low attendance. The London Book Fair, Bologna Children’s Book Fair, National Book Critics Circle Awards, Whiting Awards, and other physical events have been canceled. There is speculation as to whether BookExpo will be forced to change its plans to hold its annual conference at the end of May at the Javits Center. This affects the entire industry, including authors—and especially emerging and indie authors whose books are coming out now and over the next six months. With the effects of the spread of the coronavirus on the economy potentially lasting much longer than half a year, authors are facing increasingly dire circumstances. PW spoke with authors with spring 2020 book releases on how the pandemic has affected their plans and careers. And for more, see a further listing on Entropy.

And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories and Other Revenges

Amber Sparks. Liveright, $23.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-63149-620-2

“The whole second part of my book tour was canceled,” Sparks says, “and that was both an emotional bummer and a financial bummer.” The biggest blow, she says, is being cut off from her literary community: “The worst is losing the opportunity to see my friends! Writing is a lonely thing.”

This Is the End of Something But It's Not the End of You

Adam Gnade. Pioneers Press, ISBN 978-1-93989-935-4

Gnade toured extensively for the book, and luckily got in most of his events during January and February, before the pandemic hit the U.S. Still, he faced mass-cancellation of the next leg of tour dates. Having leveraged most of his income on the tour itself, Adam is in a dire situation: “I'm struggling on direct sales alone. I'm hustling around the clock and stressing out beyond belief. My landlord sold the farm where I live out from under me, so as of this coming week I'm supposed to be cleared out of here.”

No Bad Deed

Heather Chavez. Morrow, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-293617-2

The mass cancellation of tours and events has forced Chavez to switch her focus to “connecting with readers on social media instead.” She is finding it difficult. “As a debut [author], it’s challenging.”

Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me

Erin Khar. Park Row, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7783-0973-4

Like other authors on book tour, Khar’s tour evaporated, including book festival appearances, and the emotional effects have been significant, she says: “After the years of work and build up that go into writing, securing an agent, selling a book, etc., it can feel rather hopeless.”

More Than Organs

Kay Ulanday Barrett. Sibling Rivalry Press, ISBN 978-1-94397-774-1

For many poets, what’s being lost is more than book promotion—it's being inouch with their community. Ulanday Barrett certainly feels that way: “As a freelance disabled poet, I'm losing community connections and ability to professionally network with other amazing queer, trans, disabled, and people of color readership and any opportunity to expand my audience.”


Hilary Leichter. Coffee House/Emily, $16.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-56689-566-8

“My book launch in Brooklyn was canceled the day before it was set to happen at Books Are Magic,” Leichter says. Turning to digital streaming methods to not disappoint, Leichter’s husband and author Emma Copley Eisenberg organized a digital book launch on Zoom. “At one point, there were nearly 80 people in attendance! I was so moved. It felt like a huge house party.”

The Body Papers

Grace Talusan. Restless Books, ISBN 978-1-63206-024-2

The financial repercussions of canceled teaching and speaking gigs is also taking a real toll on authors lives. “I've also lost thousands of dollars in speaking fees,” Talusan says. “I was planning on making it through the summer with that income, but I will make do. At this point, it’s clear that the world has changed.”

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida

Clarissa Goenawan. Soho, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-64129-119-4

Goenawan lives in Singapore, where the signs of the virus arrived early. Still, the fear spreading across the globe has made it difficult for her to set anything up: “Any bookstore event in March and April would be unlikely. That one book launch will go on, but many people I invited told me they wouldn’t come due to coronavirus fear.”

You Will Never Be Forgotten

Mary South. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $15 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-374-53836-1

Mere days after her book’s release, Mary South’s tour was canceled. “It's the right decision,” South says. She remains hopeful for the future: “Everyone's health is the most important concern—and hopefully events may be rescheduled at a later date.”

Between the Records

Julian Tepper. Rare Bird Books, 978-1-63206-024-2

Music is central to Julian Tepper’s latest novel, and he “arranged for music performances, including a swing through SXSW,” to promote the book he says. “I spent a bundle on plane tickets to get around the country, as well as on practice spaces for the band to rehearse in.” With every event canceled, the thousands he spent on airfare and booking venues is unlikely to be reimbursed.

Vanishing Monuments

John Elizabeth Stintzi. Arsenal Pulp, $17.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-55152-801-4

Indie author John Elizabeth Stintzi has two books coming out back to back, including Vanishing Monuments, and set up a big campaign to promote the books. Cancellations have changed everything. “I’m cognizant of the fact that should these books underperform due to a major hit to our marketing and publicity plans,” Stintzi says. “The shape of my future career could be forever altered.”


Kristen Millares Young. Red Hen, $16.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-59709-892-2

“The socioeconomic factors that support [the arts] may reduce coverage moving forward,” Young says. Her book tour has stalled and much of her time is spent on trying to reschedule events while mitigating financial strain. “The true difficulty of this situation is for people who cannot afford it [due to not having] a paycheck.”

The Elvis Machine

Kim Vodicka. CLASH Books, 978-1-94486-664-8

For many authors, like Vodicka, the overarching effect has yet to sink in. “I’m an author who tours often and is known for being very performance-driven,” she says. “I haven’t really even been able to process yet.”

Hot with the Bad Things

Lucia LoTempio. Alice James, $16.95 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-948579-09-4

For LoTempio, the cancellations are essential, and she would rather jeopardize the wellbeing of her book than the wellbeing of her friends and family. “I’m planning to put my spring book tour on hold,” she said. “I do think that these precautions of social distancing need to be taken. I’m more focused on the health and wellbeing of my family and community.”

Born to Be Public

Greg Mania. CLASH Books, Aug. 2020

Mania’s debut comes out in August, but given the long tail of trade publishing, the effects have already been felt: “I was scheduled to appear at the L.A. Times Festival of Books in April,” he said. “I had my flight booked and everything. When you're published by a small press, you don’t have any luxuries. Every event counts.”