Poetry and Promotion During a Pandemic: 5 Questions with ‘shine your icy crown’ Author Amanda Lovelace
The coronavirus pandemic has seriously altered all aspects of the literary landscape, including poetry. Few poets know this better than Amanda Lovelace. The bestselling author of the “you are your own fairy tale” trilogy completed one collection, as well as started and finished another, during the first months of COVID-19. Now, she’s hosting a virtual book tour to promote shine your icy crown, her latest spell-binding, feminist installment, out from Andrews McMeel Publishing this January. Read Poetry spoke with Amanda about writing during a pandemic, getting creative with promotion strategies, and—above all—still managing to connect with her many readers.
Kara Lewis (KL): Did you write or edit any part of shine your icy crown during the pandemic? If so, how did that change or affect your writing process?
Amanda Lovelace (AL): I handed the shine your icy crown manuscript in on April 6th, 2020—so a few weeks after the U.S. was swept by the pandemic. I had always planned to explore issues like depression, isolation, and self-discovery in this installment of the “you are your own fairy tale” trilogy, so the content didn’t change much during the writing or editing process, but my present-day experiences did end up informing the emotions behind the poems in a way I hadn’t expected! On the other hand, flower crowns & fearsome things, my next poetry collection, which was written in a month-long whirlwind this past summer, does actually contain a few pandemic-specific poems, though it’s not a main theme.
KL: How has promoting shine your icy crown during COVID-19 veered from your typical promotion process? How have you managed to still connect with readers and fans?
AL: Having the social media platforms I do, most of my promotion already took place online, but I don’t get to do the cool things I used to do, like take photos of my books at my favorite bookstores. And, of course, in-person book events are out of the question as of right now, which has been the main setback, though it’s not a total loss. I was devastated about having to cancel my in-person event for break your glass slippers back in March, since I love being able to connect with my readers in-person. However, being able to connect with them via virtual events this time around is amazing, too. You don’t have to be local to a bookstore to attend a virtual event, so I get to be among even MORE readers than usual!
KL: How is hosting virtual events different from hosting in-person events?
AL: Virtual events pretty much have the same elements (a reading, a conversation with the moderator, a Q&A, etc), except in most cases, readers interact with the author via a typed chat, as opposed to getting to make comments or ask questions face-to-face. This can be a good or a bad thing for an author or a reader, depending on how shy they are! I’ve even been able to offer bookplate signed copies of shine your icy crown through some of the bookstores we’re having events with, but a possible downside for all involved is not being able to personalize books. Personally, I don’t prefer one kind of event over the other, but being able to do an event from the comfort of my own home while reaching more readers is definitely a plus!
KL: What aspect or theme of this collection are you most excited to share with readers?
AL: Oh, definitely sisterhood! After I wrote a bit about the relationship I have with my older sister in my 2019 poetry release, to drink coffee with a ghost, I couldn’t wait to do more exploring in this collection. One of the main themes woven throughout shine your icy crown is the incredible and complicated relationships that can exist between sisters—the good, the bad, and everything in between. Readers don’t need to have a sister in order to find a piece of themselves within icy crown’s pages, though. If you don’t have a sister to give you much-needed encouragement and guidance as you go about your life, then consider the fictional big sister in this collection to be yours, even if just for 160 pages.
KL: What role do you think poetry can play during COVID-19? What makes it essential and powerful during this time?
AL: As we spend time in solitude in order to keep ourselves and others safe, it can become lonely, but poetry continues to be the thing that brings us all together in a symbolic sense, especially as we attempt to navigate and heal from our ongoing collective trauma. In the act of reading it, we’re able to process our experiences through the words of another. In turn, this can inspire us to pick up the pen and explore our own innermost feelings. It’s always been a beautiful give and take, but it’s especially vital during a time like this.
Order shine your icy crown here.