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