Lauren Barnholdt (laurenbarnholdt) wrote,
Lauren Barnholdt

BAD NEWS: To Blog Or Not To Blog?

So there’s been a lot of discussion lately about bad news and why writers don’t talk about it on their blogs. I think there was some drama involved, but I’m not totally sure, and besides, that’s not important and so I’m not going to get into it. (Which is weird, because usually I am a big fan of drama, for serious.)

Anyway, I started thinking about it, about why writers don’t blog about their bad news, and why you only hear the good stuff. I mean, shouldn’t the bad news and disappointments be important too? Shouldn’t we all start blogging about it, so that everyone can have hope and realize that WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE?

And here is what I came up with:

1. You have to censor yourself on your blog. At least a little. The same way I wouldn’t blog about the details of my brother’s drug problem (I don’t have a brother, and if I did, I wouldn’t talk about his drug problem, see?), I’m not going to come out and give every single detail about the bad times I’m having with publishing.

It’s just.. I don’t know, personal. And let’s face it – getting a book cancelled or having a book bomb sales-wise, or getting rejected all over the place or any of the five million other bad things that can happen in publishing is not really that fun to blog about. I like to wallow by myself.

2. You have to stay professional. Let’s say, for example, that my book is getting rejected by every house all over New York and I’m freaking out and my agent is all, “Oh, don’t worry, we still have two houses left, keep the faith and even though that last editor was wondering if this book is even in English, we will find a home for it yet!” Probably the last thing I want to do is keep the faith. Probably I want to throw myself off a balcony because HELLO THAT BOOK IS THE BEST THING I EVER WROTE, and if it doesn’t sell I will DIE.

Am I going to blog about that? Um, no. Because what if one of the editors at the two houses that are left googles me and sees that I’ve just written, “MY LIFE IS OVER, I WOULD SELL THAT BOOK FOR FIVE DOLLARS RIGHT ABOUT NOW.”

Maybe they will get nervous that I am crazy.

Maybe they will think, “Hmm, why didn’t anyone else want this book, I might have to think about this” and then set it to the side and move on to eating their lunch.

Maybe they will think, “Five dollars!! What a bargain!” and whip up a P&L that shows how five dollars really does make complete and total sense.
Maybe they will think, “Hmm, if we have any bumps in the road, maybe Lauren will blog all about how crazy I am since she does not have a censor, so I will have to think about this after I have a cupcake.”

Maybe none of those things would happen. But maybe they would.

(Also, I do not have to worry about ever blogging anything like that anyway, because I am very well-adjusted and obviously not dramatic enough to even think those things, la la la.)

3. Let’s face it. Good news is sometimes hard to hear. Someone gets a huge book deal. Someone sells their movie rights. Someone hits the bestseller list, or they get a three-book deal when you only got two books or someone is a lead title or someone has better hair than you. (Obviously the hair thing is a joke. But I’m looking at you, Jennifer Lynn Barnes.)


It can be hard to deal with, the jealousy and the wondering about when that thing is going to happen to YOU. But the thing is? You have to realize that EVERY SINGLE ONE of those people had hard times. They had struggles. And they will have them again. Because that is the fun, wonderful, crazy thing about publishing! It is a marathon, not a sprint, and in the end, the race is only with yourself. (That part about the race only being with yourself is from that song, WEAR SUNSCREEN, you know, the graduation advice thing that was going around years ago? It just flowed out of me, as I was writing that. Also, I meant it to be a cheesy kind of joke, but then I realized that it’s true – the race IS only with yourself! Hmm, I think I will download that song onto my iPod.)

When someone is putting up very good news and I get a little jealous, I try to remember these things:

A.) They went through hard times. Even though they maybe didn’t blog about them, they did. If they are a friend of mine, usually I know the hard times they went through. If they’re not, I just know, because that is the way it works. So then I think about how cool it is, that they overcame a bunch of obstacles and are now getting great news. Good for them for keeping at it. Everyone loves an underdog story, and we are ALL underdogs.

B.) Writing and publishing are not the same thing. Jenny Crusie talks about this a lot, and I think it’s so smart. You have to keep writing and publishing separate, because once you start confusing the two, you’re going to be all sorts of messed up. THE WRITING is what you can control. The publishing stuff is, to a large extent, out of your control. So focus on the writing. Always.

C.) It’s important to be happy with where you are. At first, you want to finish a book. Then you want an agent. Then you want to sell a book. Then you want to sell another book. Then you want more money. Then you want more sales. Then you want a book tour and a … It just keeps going on and on and on. Which is awesome, because there are always new goals to achieve. But sometimes it’s important to take stock of your accomplishments and be happy in the moment. If my five-years-ago self could see me know? OMG, she would be ECSTATIC. And you know what? My right-now self should be too.

4. I have sometimes felt a little guilty posting things about new sales or new covers when I know some of my friends might be struggling.

But the awesome, amazing thing? Is that more often than not, those writers who were struggling? They soon have good news of their own. Maybe at a time when I’m struggling. And it makes me think, “Omg, that is so cool, because they were just struggling and now I’m struggling so maybe soon I won’t be struggling anymore!” (Well, most of the time. The other part of the time I go back and read my list about how not to be jealous.)

I love that we can all be happy for each other when we get good news. I’m constantly astounded by the way writers congratulate each other, celebrate each other, and encourage each other to keep at it. Writers are amazing like that – especially YA writers – and I am so lucky to be in a position where I’ve gotten to know so many wonderful people.

And when I’m having a bad day, I know, I know, something good will happen again soon. You have to have faith. I mean, let’s face it – if we didn’t have faith, would we even be writing in the first place? We’re all obviously completely and totally nuts.

Don’t you just love publishing? ☺

More later,
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