If you had a book that came out in 2020 I want you to walk up to the nearest mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say "I DID IT!"
On January 31st, the debut group I belong to cheered. We said "this is it. this is the year. this is THE YEAR we become authors." I posted as much on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, because after all, 2020 was the year that my dreams were all going to come true. And honestly, they still are, it just looks...different.
If you released a book in 2020 (at least from March on), you didn't get a book launch like you'd hoped. There's no book signing at your local Barnes and Noble. No school visits or author events or book cons to attend. You had to pivot with the times, and take on a new role. You had to sit in silence as you watched everything around you change, and watch your publisher and agent pivot into that change too.
If you had a debut, you killed yourself trying to find new ways to get your book into the hands of your readers. This is especially true if you write for young readers. There were lost ARCs, some of us didn't even have our ARCs printed. Events cancelled. Dates pushed back. You probably scrolled every tip on the internet, watching your friends and what they were doing to see if you could also do that. What was working. What wasn't.
You lost sleep at night, hoping that whatever happened with your sales because of *gestures at everything* didn't impact your ability to write (and sell) more books. Not that you were really able to write a bunch. Those of us on deadline struggled to keep them, and those of us without struggled with "what's the point?" How can you be inspired when you can't leave the house and again *gestures at everything*.
If you're a parent like me, you probably had an entire different set of challenges too. Distance learning, mastering Zoom, having to find new ways to write when you suddenly have zero hours with your children outside the home. And don't even get me started on my poor writer friends who are doing school at home with their kids AND trying to write AND adding their newly work-from-home day job on top of it.
Then there are those authors who had a book come out this year while battling Covid head on by either contacting it, taking care of a family member who contracted it, or lost a family member who contracted it. This year has been impossible for you, and I see you, and I'm so sorry of all this virus has robbed you.
But we did it anyway, because that's what we do. We need to create, so we find a way to make a story. They might look different, might feel different after all this is said and done, but we're still here. We still wrote a book. We still got published and that is something we should be proud of--screaming from the rooftops proud of!
So as all these "best of 2020" lists come out, don't even look. Don't be discouraged. Because you released a book during a GLOBAL PANDEMIC, and there is no list or award that can be given that will honor the amount of work that went into it. You deserve to be seen and I see you.