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Writer Dilemma: Launching a Book in a Global Pandemic

Children's author Natalie Reeves-Billing talks us through why she decided to go ahead and launch her new book 'My Mummy is a Monster', even as the sky is falling around us.

Launching a book in the global pandemic?! Who'd be mad enough to do that, hey? Not me…but then again, why not?

What if I did launch my book? Throw caution to the wind, and say 'to hell with it'? I was doing this before, and I'm doing it now. After all, what else am I doing?!

There again, I could always wait…

And wait…

And wait some more.

I've gotten quite good at that in recent weeks... but then what?

And that's the clincher, isn't it? What does happen next?

It's a question the world draws a blank on. Leaders can't shed any light, and scientists scratch their pates in despair. Every last one of us clutches talismans from a past, slowly slipping away. Remembering a time when non-essential people like me went to work and called into friend's houses for tea and biscuits. We'd even meet in bars, God forbid. Hug and kiss. Have parties and trade gifts, and would you believe it, launch books for the world to enjoy.

Our sadness for the freedom we once took for granted makes us seek out things from that remote place. Things that are doable, but now of course, from the safety of our own homes. Facetime calls, quality time, the evening soak, the glass of red at dinner, and the all-time family favourite, the bedtime story.

Those things still mean something. Maybe more than they ever did. Those routine laden sentiments help anchor us to an emotional place we can still recognise. The landscape outside, with its unfamiliar rhythm, may be changing, but humankind will always seek comfort in the familiar.

I'm still no closer to a decision, so I write a quick list - for and against. That's what the life coaches tell us to do, isn't it? The latter column fills up pretty quickly. It goes something like this:


· Increased costs/less profit

· Diminished market. Less demand?

· Slower processes- (e.g., postal prioritising, responses from companies)

· It's non-essential- Should I be doing this?

· Crushing anxiety

· Kids at home-arghhhhh!

· Online saturation

· Unforeseeable changes

· What am I thinking????

· I think you've got your answer, love.

On the other side, there are just two items. They stand tall and proud, beautiful in their simplicity.


· People need normality

· This disease will not destroy us.

And though my pen could easily scratch out another ten reasons why I shouldn't do this, I know I've already made up my mind. Normality is important. We can't allow this thing to change who we are and the things we love. We must find that part of us, that fundamental spark that can never be extinguished, no matter how much pain and heartache comes our way. For that is all we have. We are all we have.

And we must endure, both inside and out.

And so, looking over print layouts, wracking my brains over the logic of launching books during a global economic pause, I hit 'send'.

Done and dusted. I am a writer, and I will procrastinate no more. What a most unusual beast I must be.

I take a deep breath and smile. For better or worse, this baby is going to be born, and fingers crossed, to a world still able to enjoy it.

Love to you all.

'My Mummy is a Monster', the first book in the Monstrous Me collection, will be available on May 5th, 2020.

Follow Natalie on Instagram for daily updates on books, poems, and all other things creative.

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