Christina Myers was on the verge of releasing an anthology book called Big: Stories About Life in Plus-Sized Bodies, with stories from more that 20 writers from around the world.
But then the pandemic struck. Like many authors at the time, all of her plans to promote the book went out the window.
Myers, a former Kamloops resident (she did an internship at Kamloops This Week) now living in Surrey, had plans for a book tour, which would take her to the Toronto International Festival of Authors, along with other promotional dates in Victoria and Kelowna. Those events, which had many of the anthology's authors planning on attending, had to be cancelled.
"Having to tell writers that I would be shepherding their work into the world that the events were cancelled was devastating," Myers said. "It was really hard to promote a book with people getting sick. How do you promote a book with everything else going on?"
Myers shifted to online promotion to help promote the anthology. Virtual meetings got the word out about the book.
"It allowed anyone who wanted to participate to participate from anywhere," she said.
As with musicians, authors need to embark on tours to keep the public interested and to spur sales. Festivals and book signings with authors to sell and promote books no longer happened during the pandemic and books slipped off the bestseller lists much more quickly. Without book tours, authors have had to scramble to fill in the gaps in their income.
Myers has taken on freelance writing gigs and editing and teaches a creative writing course at Simon Fraser University to bring in income, but she was lucky her partner has a steady well-paying job that supported her and her family during the pandemic.
Myers' latest book is a fiction release, released this past April, called The List of Last Chances. Myers started planning the virtual release of the book in January, knowing a traditional book launch wouldn't work. She began touching base with booksellers and other authors to plan online events to promote the book.
On May 17, the book debuted at No. 12 on the BC Bestsellers list.
Myers encourages authors to be "as enthusiastic as you can" when rolling out a book launch and not focus on "what could have been” if not for the pandemic.
Books of established authors have been selling well during the pandemic, but emerging writers have been overlooked. Myers encourages readers to check out books from small publishers and independent bookstores, which can help them and authors immensely during the pandemic.
About The List of Last Chances
At thirty-eight years old, Ruthie finds herself newly unemployed, freshly single, sleeping on a friend''s couch and downing a bottle of wine each night.
Having overstayed her welcome and desperate for a job, Ruthie responds to David''s ad: he''s looking for someone to drive his aging mother, Kay, and her belongings from P.E.I. to Vancouver. Ruthie thinks it''s the perfect chance for a brief escape and a much-needed boost for her empty bank account.
But once they''re on the road, Kay reveals that she has a list of stops along the way that is equal parts sightseeing tour, sexual bucket list and trip down memory lane.
As David prods for updates and a speedy arrival to his home in Vancouver, Kay begins to share details about a long-lost love and Ruthie takes a detour to play matchmaker, but finds herself caught up in a web of well-intentioned lies.
With the road ahead uncertain, and the past and present colliding, will Ruthie be able to forge a new path? Heartfelt and humorous, The List of Last Chances follows a pair of reluctant travel companions across the country, into an unexpected friendship, new adventures and the rare gift of second chances.