Staying Positive in a Negative World

Bad news abounds.


Those in the media are taught to promote a glass-is-half-full philosophy because bad news is what attracts readers or viewers.

When I was a mass communication major producing stories for my college paper in the late 80s, I learned that the best way to get a story on the front page was to find a news item that evoked emotion—negative emotion—and fan the flames of fear in the reader.

In those days, I wrote my stories on clunky computers that were as slow as they were ugly. Technology has made great strides. Gloom and doom can be spewed in nanoseconds.

Why do people glom onto bad news?

Because we’re programmed that way. As a mother, one of my jobs was to teach my daughter about all the things (and people) who could harm her. She’s in college now, and the media has taken over that role.

With so much negativity, how does a person remain positive?

How do we writers ignore the reports of slumping book sales, publishing houses and booksellers closing their doors, and continued reminders of how difficult it is to get a contract these days?

I’m prone to worry. Just ask my family. I know that about myself, so I took some steps that have helped me keep a positive outlook.

•I subscribe to Publishers Marketplace.

Each weekday at noon EST, I receive Publishers Lunch by email. It begins with a section called “Deal News.” I click the link and am taken to a list of book sales reported by agents and publishers. I marvel at how many there are every day.

•I subscribe to RT Book Reviews.

Each month I receive a shiny copy of the magazine, which is full of romances being released. There are hundreds in every issue.

•I belong to several Yahoo! loops for writers.

I watch for First Sale and new contract announcements. Each week, I see several.

•I subscribe to a number of blogs in Google Reader.

I keep a lookout for reports of sales and encouraging publishing statistics, and I find them. Day-after-day, week-after-week I hear of books purchased, released, and sold.

•I belong to Goodreads and Shelfari.

I see how many readers are out there buying books, reviewing books, loving books.

• • • • •

Publishers are buying books. I see the proof on a regular basis, and I’m encouraged.

Sure, I get discouraged at times when I read reports about the sorry state of publishing these days, but when I do, I have solid evidence to refute those who promote pessimism. And I remind myself that although they’re trained to dish it out, I don’t have to buy it.

• • • • •

I wanna know . . .

What do you do to combat that barrage of negative news about the publishing industry?

Do you agree or disagree with those who say the publishing industry’s in big trouble?

Where do you look for good news about publishing?


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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26 Responses to Staying Positive in a Negative World

  1. Jessica says:

    I like reading the first sales column in the RWR. That always makes me feel better!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Jessie, how could I forget the RWR and its First Sales column? That’s one of my favorite parts of the magazine, especially when I see a friend’s name in it. I look forward to the day yours is there.

  2. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    I don’t read or watch many news at all, neither in the newspapers nor on TV. And I have managed to see things positive and look at the light when there is shadow despite having had a hell of a life (7 years) in Peru (earthquakes, an abusive hubby, tsunami, mistreated by militairs, robbery attacks , illnesses etc.). Ok, I have been walking on dark roads, but I have decided to see at the little lovely things in life, especially when being in nature. And I prefer reading books and stories or see films that at least have a happy ending or are about positive things in life.

    It is true that the news we see and read are mainly negative news – the medias should change that. A bit of positive news would be good for all of us.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Martina, I’m sorry you had some very tough years. I’m glad things are going better for you now. I think it’s great that you’re able to focus on the positive things in life–like stories with happy endings (the kind I write.)

      I don’t watch the news much, either. I find it depressing.

      • Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

        That is why I love stories like yours or the ones Char Chaffin and other writers write. They give a sign of hope, of light and of brightness in a world that is so often shadowed by dark clouds, clouds of war, of disaster, crime etc.

  3. Wow! Great post! Love the new blog too.

    I have to say, it can get scary. But I remember that while a few “bad eggs” can make the dozen look bad, there’s always enough to make an omelet.

    Oh, and yes, I pray. I pray and I pray and I pray.

    I hope you have a great day, Keli!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Bonnie, thanks for your kind words, and the reminder of the best thing to do when fear, discouragement, or stinkin’ thinkin’ threaten to take over. Prayer is vital. I like your saying. Here’s to making omelets instead of grousing about a few broken eggs.

  4. Thanks for sharing your optimism, Keli! It’s always good to keep a balanced perspective. I may be naive, but when I start to dwell on the negative aspects of the publishing industry, I have to remind myself that God led me to write, so He also has a plan for the series He impressed on my heart. A lot of research and hard work is involved on the journey to publication, and I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and get busy.

    I just recently ran across Publishers Marketplace (2 thumbs up) and have subscribed to the Shatzkin Files to keep abreast of the e-book industry.

    Have a blessed day!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Maria, I’ve done my best to entrust every step in my writing journey to the Lord, and, wow, has He ever blessed me. I stand slack jawed at times as I reflect on the ways He’s worked in my life.

      It’s exciting that He’s given you the idea for your devotional series. May He shower you with inspiration and flood your heart with joy.

  5. Anne Barton says:

    The excitement and energy at conferences really helps me stay positive. And my writing friends too! Nice post, Keli!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Anne, how could I have forgotten conferences? They’re such a wonderful way to get a rush of enthusiasm and positive vibes–especially when I have great friends like YOU to hang out with.

  6. Shadlyn says:

    Right now I am combating pessimism with personal growth! Rather than focusing on where the almighty dollar might enter my creative equation, I’m determined to judge myself on output, on pushing my own boundaries, and on making my work public.

    Also, I generally avoid the news just so I can escape those negative headlines…

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Shadlyn, it sounds like your focus is in all the right places: creativity, performance, growth, and accountability. With a formula like that, I’d say success is sure to follow.

      I’m with you. I don’t spend much time watching the news.

  7. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    Shadlyn, I agree with you. Sometimes we can’t change the things that happen on a big scale, but we can do something in our surrounding,helppeople, protect nature, save animals or simply give a sign of hope and light by writing, talking, singing.

  8. Hello!
    I avoid ‘news’ and tend to read a select few blogs and online sites.
    Doom and gloom are far too prevalent.
    I am not looking forward to my first slagging when my book is published. But I’m sure it’ll come.
    Chin up. We do what we do.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Michelle, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I love your use of the word “slagging.” I’d never heard it before and looked up the meaning. It’s perfect!!! I had to put my story through the fire many times, and I have a HUGE file of slag I removed as a result of the refining process. I’m sure there’s more to come on that anticipated someday when it’s in the hands of an editor at a publishing house.

  9. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    I also think that many news are not only too negative but also manipulating us…when I see for example the fake unemployed statistics on TV here in Germany. Or now the big hype about swine (pork) flu again. One year we haven’t heard about it and now it is with big letters back in the media, seems that the pharmaindustry wants to sell again more Tamiflu….lol. In Germany they say that our media is independent, but that is another lie….

  10. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    Well, we have 3 victims now due to swine flu this winter in the period between November and January, which is quite few. We normally have a viral flu every winter and it normally claims 20-40 victims in the same period, up to 60-80 in the entire winter period. So 2-3 victims is sad, but very few.

    We had the same hype with the bird flu some years ago, it was in the medai for 2 years, then disappeared from teh daily news from one day to the other. Then suddenly swine flu appeared in 2009.

    In both flu cases Tamiflu was told as THE remedy against it…got it?

  11. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    Sorry for my typing errors, it should be “media” and “the”…I shouldn`t type so early….lol.

  12. Linked from Inhorn Blue where Rosslyn has a link up to this post.

    Very good article! I think we can let negative thoughts in any area of life get us down and depress. And, yes, sometimes there is bad news. But, as you say, there is good as well.

    About the publishing, I figure if a few people buy the book and benefit from it, then it was worth the effort.

    And I like your answer to Maria – we entrust our writing, and whole lives, to the Lord. He worries about the rest!

    Good post.


    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Warren, thanks for following the link to my blog on Rossyln’s post. I appreciate you taking the time to visit and leave a comment.

      I like your comment about our efforts being worth it if a few people read the book. As I write, I imagine I’m creating a story that will impact a certain friend of mine. One reader at a time is how our work will make a difference.

      • Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

        Very true, even if only one person of a few persons read a story or a poem. Something written is always a piece of the soul, the heart and the life of the author, and therefore something precious and beautiful.
        That is why I never threw away a book , and if one of the books I loved reading became too old and torn, I buried it in my garden and planted a flower on it. I have a deep respect for the written word.

  13. territiffany says:

    I don’t really get depressed about the publishing news. I guess I just hope and pray that if I really someday write a good book, it will get out there–God is in control of all of that, not me:)
    Now, ask me again in twenty years and I’m still not published:)

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Terri, isn’t it comforting to know that the outcome is in such good hands? I remember so well a day when the Lord gave me an assurance that He had a plan for my writing and that things would happen in His time. Knowing that took the pressure off. I could focus on doing my part–learning craft, writing the best stories I could, and taking steps to get them before the publishing professionals–and leave the rest to Him.

      I look forward to the day when you’re shouting your good news from the cyber rooftops. I’ll be whooping and hollering for you, believe me.

  14. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    I am sure that God will give it a soft push in the right moment, for both of you.

    Good things always happen when we less expect it. And that makes life worth living it and makes the effort of writing worth it.

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