The Writer

Zoom-onomics 101

I don’t think I really knew what Zoom was until I needed to take a crash course in it in order to teach my first pandemic-era Novel Writing class at The Gotham Writers Workshop.

The very day that Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all public buildings in New York City would be shut, Gotham called a meeting of its teachers to give us all a crash course in the platform. I’m not what one would call tech-savvy, but Zoom was pretty easy to figure out, and though there were some hiccups, it was pretty convenient – and soon, the rest of the country learned it too: How it functions, how to troubleshoot, and what lighting presents the best version of our at-home selves to the virtual world.

It’s almost impossible to launch a book during these COVID times without hosting virtual readings, launch parties, and discussion events. But I never realized how much authors need gatherings to truly thrive.

Writing is in many ways a solitary profession, but publishing is not. Authors need to get out there and mingle with readers to promote their work. Pre-pandemic, there were many places to do that: bookstores, libraries, trade shows, and book events like New York’s BookExpo or the Bay Area Book Festival, etc. While some shops and libraries have opened to smaller, controlled groups, most places are still largely shuttered, especially to larger crowds. Authors and publishers, like everyone else, have had to adapt to the new normal and find new ways to promote things without in-person appearances.

I had a novel set to come out last May. I thought there was a chance (at least in the beginning of all

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