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  • Writer's pictureDouglas James Troxell

A Lesson in Bad Timing

Two years ago, my first novel, Trumptopia: The United States of Walmart, was unleashed upon the world on Leap Day 2020. Everything had been meticulously planned from the publication process to the cover to the marketing plan. I had conference appearances and readings scheduled to promote my book. This was a moment I had been planning for my entire adult life, something I had been actively working toward since I was ten years old.

What I didn't plan for was the COVID global pandemic that basically shut down Planet Earth.

I'm not sure there's ever been a worse time to release a book than March 2020. All in-person events were canceled and to say people were distracted would be an understatement. A debut dystopian comedy was a hard sell when people were terrified of catching a virus that had shut down the planet and changed our way of life.

There's a quote in my favorite Kurt Vonnegut novel, Cat's Cradle, that I always tell myself when I'm second guessing myself or obsessing about a choice I made:

"It's impossible to make a mistake."

Releasing my first book during the opening chords of COVID wasn't a mistake; it was just what happened. In-person speaking is my strength but having those options taken from me forced me to learn about online promotion. I learned to make online videos and forced myself to interact on social media (something I am historically bad at). It taught me skills for my next release that I may not have learned otherwise.

In May, I'm embarking on my next literary journey. The first book in my post-apocalyptic After the End series is being released. This is my first series so there will be all new lessons to learn. Is the reading world ready for a series where a weaponized virus released during World War III wipes out the majority of the human population despite the real world's lingering pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine? Who knows? But I do know one thing:

"It's impossible to make a mistake."

See you at THE END on May 19!


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