Pandemic Publishing and Other Business Ventures: Finding Your Happy Ending
Thoughts from a narrative therapist...
It’s no secret that publishing in a pandemic can be tricky. Like most industries, the world of books has taken a heavy hit since March of 2020. Where I initially anticipated an increase in sales with readers on quarantine, I didn’t predict just how long the pandemic would last and impact the industry and market overall. Yet, because of changes I was able to make as a small business owner of an indie publishing company, things are still on track. They can be for you too. The good news? We business owners hold the pen.
Writing means twists and turns. The best plots always come with an unsuspected climax scene or conflict. Owning a small business is no different. Those who were able to quickly adapt to customer-focused ways of operating such as working online and from home, adjusting delivery options and services, and more, may still get their happy ending. But that doesn’t mean the journey was easy or that it won’t involve more twists and turns as we go.
If you are a small business owner, I challenge you to ask yourself if you are thinking beyond your original plan in order to not only expand your brand but also your customer service base. Have you thought of digital options? Multiple income streams? Are you open to changing or getting more creative about the services and offerings you provide? In what ways are those things sustainable?
When I first asked myself these questions, I wasn’t without doubt. There were many days where I watched sales decline and even considered pausing my publishing company. But that analogy of a grand plot twist and viewing the pandemic as a tangible antagonist I was determined to beat is what kept me going and striving to keep writing my own story.
What is your story? What brought you to open a business in the first place? How can you work in this climate to keep this epic saga going? Even ask yourself who the hero in your story is. Maybe it’s your customers, who keep coming back and do all they can to support you. I know that for me, my readers are more important and appreciated than ever. What are you doing to show that appreciation?
The road to success is paved with many obstacles and no one could have ever predicted a pandemic to slow us down. The good news is that this is not the end of our stories if we don’t choose to end them here. Instead, with creative thinking, networking, and even the ability to stay open minded, there is still a chance to keep doors open if only online.
As a business owner, I know the difficulties and struggles that come with watching those numbers crash, finding funding to supplement low sales, and even keeping people on payroll. At the same time, because I’ve chosen to view this as a plot twist and only temporary, I’ve managed to stay afloat and am now looking back smiling at many of those stumbling blocks. I challenge you to do the same.
This pandemic has changed the publishing industry but so many more too. Many of these changes will stay with us and aren’t so bad. By looking at the bright side, I’ve learned new skills, found new connections, and am now excited about upcoming announcements and plans. You can be too. How? Simple. Start here:
While I could go on for a three-series novel about the ways to stay hopeful in spite of challenging circumstances, I’ll leave it there for now. We are in this together and can get through it together with creative thinking, networking, and thinking outside the margins. Try viewing your current situation as a challenge or plot twist and stay hopeful about that happy ending. Remember – it’s your business. You write the story and hold the key to those final words. Keep that happy ending in mind.
Erin George is a USA Today bestselling author with more than 100 fiction titles to her name. She writes under the pen names EL George and Erin Lee and is the founder and chief creator at Crazy Ink Publishing, LLC. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public affairs journalism, a masters in group systemic psychology, and works as a ghost writer for both fiction and nonfiction authors and agencies as well as is a crisis clinician. More information about her work can be found at www.crazyink.org and www.authorerinlee.com
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Erin Lee, who also writes as EL George, is a USA Today Bestselling multi genre author unafraid to chase the madness. Author of more than 100 titles and creator of Crazy Ink Publishing, LLC, she'll try anything once and never turns down a dare.