One question Adrian and I have been asked fairly frequently is: How has Covid affected your business? For us, this is a tricky question to answer. Hobeck was officially founded last December. We didn't do much for a couple of months. We had our first author approach us in January (The Talented Mr Daws). So by the time the first lockdown struck in March, we hadn't yet published a book. So how has Covid affected business? We don't know. We have only known business during Covid. What is it like without Covid?
During the madness that has been Covid, so far we have managed to gather together nine very talented authors. In that time, we have only 'met' half of them ('met' in inverted commas - mostly at a distance - strictly no hugging). Yet we feel as if we know them very well. This cautious approach to face-to-face business is all we know. We have zoomed with them all, but it would have been nice to meet them all too.
We have tried not to let Covid hold us back too much. We haven't been able to attend any festivals (except remotely) or conferences (again remotely). We haven't been able to do much beyond the four walls of Hobeck Towers at all.
Take today for example. When we found out that the winner of the Hobeck Hallowe'en competition lived two-and-a-half hours away we decided to hand deliver the winning prize. We knew that this would have to be organised around lockdown and the various restrictions on meeting people. We waited until the last lockdown ended. But even though it has now ended, coming from Tier 3, we realised that we would have to just drop off the parcel at the winner's doorstep, knock and run (not too far away, far away enough to be safe yet close enough to be seen).
This is exactly what we did. It felt strange. We were there for five minutes tops. It felt a little like an anti-climax. 'Woohoo here's your prize, byee!' But we know we made someone happy today. And Adrian and I have had a jolly time together for five hours in a car.
We feel that it is important to work with the restrictions rather than against them, and make 'contact' if we can, however distanced it is. We wanted to have that personal touch. It was worth the journey. It was worth every mile (and we are still talking to each other after five hours in close proximity).
We are about to launch the next competition. We are very excited about this next one, even more so than the last one. Will we do the same again for the prize winner? Possibly. Can the winner please live in New York? My passport is ready - Covid willing...