During the Covid-19 pandemic, it hasn’t been easy to sell anything other than cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Despite that fact, several books on paganism and witchcraft have been published.
I have a soft spot for anyone who published during the pandemic–mainly because I’m one of those people. In this article, I open up about the detractors of publishing in this era and share a few of my thoughts about the process. I also give a list of pandemic publications you may want to support.
These are strange times. Despite the fact that I’m strange too, things are far from my normal, everyday life, especially compared to earlier this year.
In the past few months since the pandemic hit, we’ve seen many parts of the world shut down entirely, including bookstores. But even though the brick-and-mortar stores were closed, many books were published and released, including those from the pagan and witching realms.
As bookstore workers tried to make the best of a bad situation, part of me wondered if drastic measures were ever taken during those times. Was there an effort to save money by returning shipments to the publisher or cancelling orders? Is it possible that the Spring and Summer 2020 catalogs got tossed into the recycling bin until the rent was paid or a profit was made?
Barnes and Noble, a large bookseller, is now open in many places, and they released a statement saying they’re actually featuring new releases–which is great! But what exactly is a new release? Would a book published four months ago be considered a new release? That’s when the pandemic fears were at their worst, when I had a stay-at-home order in my state. That’s also when my book was published.
Another thing pandemic authors face is people’s very real fear of leaving the house and the need to social distance. This means that even though many bookstores have finally re-opened, a lot of people are still afraid to go out. This could mean fewer books are sold in general.
We pandemic authors are also missing out on bookstore signings. Most bookstores aren’t hosting in-person book signings right–rightfully so, due to the need to minimize crowds. But that leaves the pandemic authors in a bit of a lurch. I cancelled about ten bookstore appearances. Fewer live book signings and events could mean fewer people are moved to buy, and the window of opportunity about an exciting new book or author may be passing us pandemic author by.
Another detractor that pandemic authors face is the lack of in-person festivals. This used to be a great way to sell books and meet people. With the cancellation of five in-person festivals I had planned on attending, things look pretty different for me.
In the old days of in-person festivals, I ran into so many lovely people randomly, and became fast friends. That doesn’t really happen at online events. The Brady-Bunch style of zoom get-togethers means that there’s never privacy. Lurkers may be present, and you might not want to say anything too revealing because you don’t know who is listening and if they could be recording you.
The last thing I want to mention is that, with the high uncertainty of jobs, unemployment income, and money, it’s highly likely that people have been spending less on non-essential items like books. It’s also possible that this saving trend will continue for months from now, as people save up enough for a safety net in case things get worse.
It’s pointless to wonder about the amount of stress and uncertainty that pandemic authors have, but I can reveal how it has affected me. It’s accurate to say that the amount of writing I’ve been able to do has gone down a lot. During the start of the pandemic, I had very little energy to write, and even less energy to promote myself or my book. All of my plans and ideas about promotions for my book went out the window, along with all my other plans like vacationing, fire dancing, and seeing friends.
Although I tried to write a few helpful articles about how we’re all facing our shadow right now, and how reading books helps me look on the bright side, it just seemed like no one was reading blogs at the time. The page views sank down into numbers I hadn’t seen since 2017. I read post after post on reddit about how people couldn’t bring themselves to read a book, so perhaps I wasn’t alone in that aspect.
I also felt a big need take a step back from the public eye in order to support several important movements that were happening and not draw attention away from them. This was imperative to be respectful, in my opinion. I actually unfollowed a few people who seemed to be insensitively promoting their businesses during the black-out times.
Looking back, I have no regrets about any of my actions during this the pandemic. I did what I could, when I had the energy to do it, and I let the rest go. I wish I could have done more—I wanted to write more and share insightful thoughts–I wanted to be around for others more… But in this era, all I could really do is my best, and leave the rest. I have to acknowledge my limitations, do my magic, and work with what I have.
Despite feeling somewhat limited by the pandemic, I’m still thrilled with the feedback and the amount of success for my book. So many people have been incredibly helpful when it came to spreading the word. They’ve made this strange time a lot nicer than it would have been otherwise.
Without any further ado, let’s get to the pandemic-published book list. Consider buying one or two of these, if you haven’t already. I wholeheartedly believe in supporting our pagan authors and publishers, especially when times are rough. I’m also quite happy to say that I own many of the books in this list.
Pagan Pandemic-Era Books (and Other Publications)
The Little Work: Magic to Transform Your Everyday Life by Durgadas Allon Duriel, published March 8, 2020
Seasons of Moon and Flame: The Wild Dreamer’s Epic Story of Becoming, by Danielle Dulsky, published March 10, 2020
The Magical Writing Grimoire: Use the Word as Your Wand for Magic, Manifestation & Ritual, by Lisa Marie Basile, published April 7 (ebook) and April 28, 2020 (hardcover)
Intuitive Witchcraft: How to Use Intuition to Elevate Your Craft by Astrea Taylor, published April 8, 2020
Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens: The Divine Feminine in African Religious Traditions by Lilith Dorsey, published May 11, 2020
Liminal Spirits Oracle Cards by Laura Tempest Zakroff, published June 8, 2020
Cosmic Dancer Oracle by Tess Whitehurst, Sedona Soulfire, and Elinor Eaton, published June 8, 2020
Pagan Portals: Reclaiming Witchcraft, by Irisanya Moon, published July 1, 2020
Walking in Beauty: Using the Magick of the Pentacle to Bring Harmony to Your Life, Phoenix LeFae, published August 8, 2020
I hope you know how much authors appreciate it so much when you share your thoughts on their books. Whether by word of mouth, a post or a photo on social media, or a review on one of the big sites, such as Amazon or Goodreads, it really helps us boost our signal to others who may be interested in the work. It also signals to publishing houses that there really is interest in our books despite the pandemic sales.
I also want to say that have a lot of sympathy for those authors who published earlier in 2020, as well as those authors whose books are yet to be published later this year. I’ll likely write about the second wave of pandemic publishing, where many, if not most, bookstores are open for business, but there are still restrictions and fears about leaving the house.
Please let me know about any other pandemic pagan/witch books or media you recommend, and I’ll add them to the list! And when possible, please buy from small or local bookstores, or the publishers.
I want to clarify, for reference, that I’m using the “start of the pandemic,” as March 1, 2020. That was one day after the first death in the US was reported from Covid–before people started looking back into the history of deceased patients, anyway.
This date was hard to decide upon, but I feel it’s correct considering that there was only mild concern about the virus until around mid-March. That’s when several protective measures started to be implemented. I also feel this date is pretty accurate, if not a teensy-tiny bit generous. There’s a pretty big divide between selling a physical copy of a book at a store or at an in-person festival without any fears at all–and only having the opportunity to sell online when everyone in the whole world was freaking out. When it came down to choosing this date, what moved me the most was the overlap between the restrictions and the publish date of the book.
I did see an article that some people are hypothesizing that there could be a booming business at bookstores once the fear of crowds dies down. This was actually seen in New Zealand! I can only hope that this happens for us and things get back to normal soon.