I have been thinking a lot about attitude lately. Chiefly, about negativity and how it breeds nothing more, ever, than more negative energy and outcomes.
Misery is a communicable disease. ~Martha Graham
Publishing is in flux. This isn’t a secret to any of us in the business. Things are uncertain anyway for many authors. We’re always thinking about the next contract, how this new release will do. Will we do well? Will we earn out? What will our sell through rate be? Does my editor like the book I just sent her ten minutes ago? Will they like my edits? Whatever there is to worry about, we got it covered. Or at least I do.
So sometimes when something big gets tossed in our path, it’s very easy to fall into a place of *reaction* instead of action. It’s easy because we are people. What we do is a personal thing made very public and that leaves us open to commentary by just about everyone involved in the chain of book production. Our critique partners, our beta readers, editors, agents, copy editors, art departments, marketing, bookstores, readers – all of that. And that includes other authors too.
Sometimes on loops I notice a lean toward negative explanations for things. An author will bring up something, contract problems or a review that hurt (usually because they come at times when our defenses are very low), cover problems, whatever – and people, for the most part, will respond with kindness and good information or advice. But then, something negative will get said. They’re out to get us. Such and such is out to destroy XYZ. Ebooks are the end of the world. Facebook sends death robots to your home. If you don’t sell your books to your high school reunion mailing list you’ll fail. Whatever. These are reactions. And again, we’re humans, in times of stress, we react.
But I want to put forward that NOTHING POSITIVE EVER COMES FROM NEGATIVITY.
To avoid being personal or specific, I just want to urge those in our community to, instead of see everything as a terrible tragedy, to find a way to view things through another lens. This won’t change reality, we’re still facing a crapton of trouble. The economy is shaky, publishing is wobbly. But books aren’t going anywhere. I don’t care how successful some of us are at selling digital books, digital books are not the end of paper, nor are they the end of literature. Things will change, it’s how the world works. But they will change, regardless of how we interpret and respond to the situation.
Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts. It’s what you do with what you have left. ~Hubert Humphrey
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. ~Albert Camus, Lyrical and Critical Essays
No life is so hard that you can’t make it easier by the way you take it. ~Ellen Glasgow
So I want to say thank you so much to my friends for being supportive when I need it. Thank you to the people in the romance community, authors, readers, editors, agents and publishers. Thank you for taking risks on me, for telling me when I’m being a jerk, for giving me a hand up when I’m down. Thank you to those who take the time to fill the community with their advice and information. We are so much more, so much better than sitting around in the dim making up conspiracy theories about what “they” are doing to “us”. Thank you for proving that to me every single day.