6 Reasons for Writers to Be Optimistic

chicken-little-sky-is-fallingGuess what! The sky may not be falling after all. Yes, there are a lot of changes happening in publishing (and the world).

But things aren’t all bad. Herewith, six tidbits to cheer you up.

1. Publishers are still buying books.

If you follow Publishers Marketplace, you know that new deals are being announced every day. Some people even (allegedly) get deals for $4 million (hello Amanda Knox). ย While that’s not the norm, it’s a sign that big publishers still have money and still see a future for books. Closer to home, it’s nice to note that deals are still being done for books in all genres, fiction and non-fiction.

2. Agents are still taking new clients.

Yes! Believe it or not, agents still read queries, attend conferences, and sign new clients. Who knew? I myself have already taken on two new authors this year. And it’s only February.

3. Debut authors are still getting published.

Since many of you are yet unpublished and finding the road to publication challenging, it probablyย feelsย like nobody wants debut authors anymore. Not true! Fresh voices are still the lifeblood of publishing, and every year, many of them make it to the bestseller lists and “best of the year” lists. Debut authors are never a huge portion of the books published, but still make up about 10 to 15% by my (unscientific) estimate.

4. Print books are still about 75% of the market.

I know, I know, you love the smell of the paper, the heft of the book, how they look on your shelves, yada yada yada. You love your print books, I get it. Luckily for you, print books are still the majority of what’s being sold. If you want to see your book in print, you still have that option.

5. People still READ.

And now that everyone’s on the Internet all the time, people are reading more than ever. That means if you write words, chances are, you’ll find someone to read them.

6. There are more publishing opportunities than ever.

As technology drives the changes in publishing, your options for getting your work in front of readers are expanding and multiplying every day. As far as I can tell, there’s never been a better time to be a writer.

Why are YOU optimistic today?


  1. R.A.Savary says:

    About nineteen years ago I attained a new outlook on life which I now strive to maintain; solutions are found in problems. My pessimism and despair stem from the pressures I feel to promote and market my writing rather than write what I feel and what pleasures me, with an intention of attacting an agent who wants the same things, through the unified process of write-edit-publish. My adversary, greed of socitey, is also the adversary of the agent; he, or she, desires to land a special story – lo, a special author – as much as this author wants to publish his story and his writing. I find a shitload of optimism in that, because my desire is huge.

  2. Snooki is my favourite particular person on jersey shore. I feel she is cute and cuddly. I might like to cuddle with her.

  3. Because paper books are still easier to loan to a friend. I have a Nook but many of my friends have Kindles. Because if the power fails, I can still read my paper books.

  4. Thanks for this optimistic list. I’ll keep coming back to it. Love this inspiring blog!

  5. Hazel Joy says:


    This post was very timely for me, coming at a point in the rejection process when i really needed encouragement. It has inspired me to pick myself up and continue sending out my queries and samples.You are a lifeline to debut authors!Thank God for you!

  6. Roxanne says:


    Thank you so much for this encouraging post! It’s great to hear about the upside of the publishing industry every now and then.

  7. Adam Carter says:

    Thanks for this uplifting article, Rachelle. I didn’t think I could believe that story I heard about e-books being more popular than real books.

  8. Alice Haro says:

    My second book has just been published online. I have had an excellent response to the first, and I have great hopes for this latest offering.

    I have made no attempt to get a publishing deal, as that process seems to be a job in itself. I know of people that still try and plough that furrow, but they are constantly disappointed and distracted by their rejections.

    I love writing, so I am not going to spend precious time begging the publishing industry to take me on when I can do so well with e-books.

    Good luck to you all
    Alice Haro

    • Dozie Nzewi says:

      The future is here. If you’ve got something to say it’s your right to get on record. Let’s not let the difficulty with traditional publishing stop us. Great if we can have it, great if we can find alternative routes. It is very valuable advice that Rachel renders here. However the saturation in the system is a bigger problem. It behoves writers to take every possible route to publishing.

      • Carol Frome says:

        Yes, I agree Dozie.

        Personally, I’d like to see agents start shifting over to representing indy authors. Nowadays, agents already edit, and they also know a lot about book marketing. Those two services are exactly what a lot of indy authors need, in addition to selling various rights.

        I’d happily cut a good agent in on the proceeds for that kind of assistance. And it stands to reason if indy authors can make more as indies than they can in the traditional publishing world, then so will agents–the difference is that they won’t get it all at once.

  9. Thanks for this very encouraging post. I don’t know if I have another book in me, or if I ever want to work that hard again, but there are days I mull it over. It’s nice to know there are publishing possiblities out there. That’s enough to make any writer optimistic.

  10. I’m optimistic today because life has been crazy of late, so I’m sure something great is on its way. And I still love to write no matter how the trends change. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Thank you for your optimistic posts and great attitude!

  12. ‘And the great thing is readers still read’ and then share those books that touch them or they love with others. I’ve had several people who have read and loved my latest novel Streets on a Map and then come back to buy multiple copies for family and friends.These are the readers we love to write for.

  13. Ursula Grey says:

    Thanks for the words of encouragement, Rachelle:-)

  14. I’m getting ready to take a big step with my query/book proposal this week, and your post is giving me hope (all while I steel myself for rejection). Thank you so much for your optimistic words!

  15. Prem Rao says:

    Rachelle, coming from you this is highly encouraging. Irrespective of the condition of the market out there, what determines your success is the quality of your writing. A good market helps but that’s about it. We authors need to hone our skills and give off our very best, this time and every time, to succeed.

  16. Diane Channing says:

    Amanda Knox? Good example. All you have to do is kill someone and spend 3 years in an Italian jail for big publishing to take notice of you. Am I ever optimistic now!

    • Rachelle Gardner says:

      Well, as I said, the Amanda Knox situation isn’t the norm – it’s just an indicator that publishing is still going on. Besides, Amanda won’t even be writing the book.

  17. I’m optimistic for two reasons. One, the number of people with electronic gizmos who are reading. Two, the number of young people participating in NaNoWriMo indicates there will be writing to read. The twin desires to read and write are alive and thriving.

  18. Good to be optimistic, and I think most writers & gamblers share similar brain chemistry in that department. There are about one million people in the United States that are now writing a book. If every one of those books ends up being published, and every one is worthy and compelling, then each book would have an average distribution of about 300. Amanda Knox may get a book contract for four million dollars, but that is much more like hitting the lottery than writing a book. Writers ought to be cautiously optimistic, but don’t discount the day job!

    • Rachelle Gardner says:

      Honestly, I think there are WAY more than a million people writing books today. There are over 230 million adults in the U.S. and I’d guess a minimum of 10% are writing books. That’s what, 23 million? Based on the number of queries we receive, that wouldn’t surprise me.

  19. Charise says:

    I’ll take optimism. I’ve been feeling optimistic because I write and I like it.

  20. Peter DeHaan says:

    This is all great news. Thank you for reminding me of it — and making my day!

  21. joylene says:

    I really need to suck it up and start promoting my political thriller again. I gave up over ten years ago because I was so discouraged by rejection after rejection after rejection. But–I’ve since self-published, signed a book contract AND an e-book contract. I am woman, hear me ROAR. Yes, it’s time I started querying again. Now, if someone would please write my letter for me.

    Love your blog, Rachelle. You’re an inspiration.

    Joylene Nowell Butler, Author

  22. Dozie Nzewi says:

    I see no threat to the writing profession/hobby. Even if a new kind of picture language(hieroglyphic) is invented nothing would have changed. Artists-of-the-minds-eye(writers) would adopt this to paint pictures for the mind. Writing does not have to be on paper: it has been on clay, on papyrus and then on paper. Wherever it goes next there we shall be. Paper and paper books are not quintessential to writing. It is like all art, the artistic urge that is permanent factor. Art will always find a medium.
    And writing is still the most economical way to record and store ideas. It is a code(26 characters in the English language). It is not going away, and paper would be around a long while. I’m looking to the new medium. I am writing this electronically and putting words down in light, no ink stains, the eraser is button and I have three options. Music is diffusing from my writing device. I have access to almost all the information in the world on(through) this device. Shakespeare will be jealous. Why must material be on paper? Even agents don’t want paper queries.
    Why bemoan the publishing business.Writing is the commonest skill in the world. The system is clogged up somewhat because everybody has a story to tell. It is tight in other lines of trade as well because everybody has something to sell. We are going to write with light and sell in light. There are a billion pictures to choose from if you need some scenery. It is now easier than ever before, since the world was created, to get published. People publish their thoughts everyday on Facebook and other sites, and broadcast everyday on You-tube. This is the age of the freebie. You rake in the revenue from advertisement. We need a You Book.

  23. I was actually fretting a little about my writing, but this post blew all that away! SO thanks! Now I am optimistic.

  24. Jennifer M says:

    Today’s post was a huge encouragement for me as I see the end in sight to ready my first manuscript and start doing the query dance. Thankfully I write better than I jitterbug.
    I also wanted to say that as I peruse other agent/editor blogs, I consistantly come back to this one because it is so positive and incredibley informative! And when I see other bloggers recommend Rachelle, it confirms my thoughts that this blog is a great place to hang out and soak up some knowledge from Rachelle and everyone else!

    As long as we don’t have to line dance, I’ll stick around.

  25. Juturna F. says:

    The e-market is opening up new styles of publishing that haven’t been available before. Just think of the possibilities… with the addition of multimedia to books, or the possibility of scripting books to be more personalized for the reader (What if you had a book that replaced the protagonist’s name with the reader’s? Wouldn’t that be cool?), it’s a whole new medium. I’m not just optimistic about that, I’m excited! With enough creativity, we as writers can get more people reading than ever before.

  26. LE'SLEIGH says:

    I feel optimistic because I am nearly finished with a memoir that I believe many readers may have experienced and or can relate. Still trying to feel optimistic while struggling with the platform :>)


  27. I keep hearing that people are reading a whole lot more and with the e-readers, I think that will grow. Carrying reading material is soooo much easier than it used to be. And let’s face it, buying it on your e-reader is a little, well, too easy. My poor mother almost had a heart attack looking at her last credit card statement. All that late-night buying when she couldn’t sleep adds up :o)

  28. Thanks for the encouraging words. Even my publisher seems concerned by the whole trend in the market, but I keep thinking, “People are still reading, which means we can keep writing.” Thanks for shining some hope on this crazy, but fun industry. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Sherrinda says:

    Finally! A voice of joy in a Puddleglum world! Thank you, thank you!

  30. Your uplifting words mean a lot to me, to many of us. They create a sense of optimism that is truly needed in the pursuit of that dream.

    Thank you, Rachelle, for your kind words!

  31. Jay Taylor says:

    I am hopeful because a proof of my book arrived in the mail several days ago. My son (7-y.o.) unpacked the box with me and was so excited to hold my book. He liked seeing my book in electronic form but he loved holding a real, physical book. He packed it in his backpack and has taken his copy to school every day since.
    If a gadget loving young boy can get excited over a book made of paper, then there is still hope!

  32. Your post today made even the marshiest of marshwiggles (like myself) feel quite bubbly about the possibilities in writerdom. THANK YOU.

  33. Patti Mallett says:

    We will read arguments on all sides and then we must choose which ones to take into our hearts.

    This one fits perfectly into mine.

    Thanks, Rachelle, for this and your many other positive words!

  34. I so needed a dose of optimism this morning! Thanks for parting the clouds and showing us some sunshine. ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Laurie says:

    Thanks for this, I really needed to hear this today! I love this blog.

  36. I’m feeling pretty encouraged and also feeling optimistic for the same reasons mentioned above ๐Ÿ™‚ These are the thoughts I hold onto throughout the year when I’m feeling low or the feedback isn’t what I was hoping for. Not only is there always room for personal craft improvement, but these facts remain.

    And to add to them, dear lady, you are such a joy!

  37. Such a simple post and yet so powerful. Thank you.

  38. Today, I am optimistic school vacation week will fly by without a single request for paintball.

  39. I’m the perpetual optimist like the early Beatle songs. And I’m telling you there are so many reasons to feel the opposite. She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah.

  40. Yep, I always want new books to read. And I’ve come across a lot of fabulous novels by debut authors lately.

  41. At the start of 2012, I looked forward to another year of juggling my time between writing, learning the craft, entering contests, and readying proposals for pitching.

    But as you know, last week I was offered representation by Mary Keeley, here at Books & Such. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Whenever I think of it, I feel like falling down and lying prostate before Him for blessing me.

    This week, I’ve been invited to read my work at Chapters in the city, along with a couple other members of my writing group. This is huge on this part of the prairie.

    When I prayed for a new blog direction, God gave me a unique idea that promotes authors. In return, I’m the one who’s been blessed by the stats, networking, and promotion.

    My writing career is going forward. Book stores are encouraging pre- and published authors. Readers are clicking on blogs about authors.

    How can I not be optimistic?

    • Sherrie says:

      Congrats Anita! It sounds like you are putting thoughts and ideas into action which I have come to see is the key to making any dream come true.
      Can you give us a link to your blog?
      I am optimistic because waiting and rethinking my story has turned it into a page turner. Plus there is a lot of interest in this type of story these days. One question though. I sent a partial that was requested by an SF agent just about 10 days ago. I know they had their big, annual conference this weekend. How long should I wait until I start sending out queries again?

      • Hey Sherrie, thanks for the congrats. ๐Ÿ™‚

        As for a link to my blog, just click on my name and when the site comes up, check for Author Memories under the Blogs tab.

        Rachelle, thank you for your very informative blog. I make shortcuts of my favorite posts on my desktop to keep them handy and used your ‘What to Ask an Agent’ post of Aug 9th, 2010 just last week. ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Thank you, Rachelle, for this post. The fact that people are reading is an encouraging point. I had begun to fear that reading would become a thing of the past. Now it looks as if just the opposite is happening. I am heartened as well that people are still writing — not just texting or tweeting — but writing in complete sentences and with thought, creativity and depth. As you pointed out, technology has expanded the marketplace for writers. It seems that debut writers have more of a chance of getting published now that there are more than just a handful of print publishers to sell to. So, it seems that there is a great deal to celebrate. Thank you for such an encouraging post.

  43. Lisa Fender says:

    Absolutely! I was just thinking this the other day! We are still far from just books on Kindle and publishing companies are still up and running. I feel really good about my trilogy and think it will catch on. I am thinking positive and never stop dreaming of seeing my book in print. I can see it now!

  44. Joe Pote says:

    Thanks for the encouraging post, Rachelle!

    For my part, I’m still enjoying learning new things, enjoying watching God use the words I’ve written to bless others, and wondering what’s next!

  45. Another morning cup of coffee with Rachelle. I’m pumped up and ready to submit again from my list of potentially wonderful agents. Thanks!

  46. Lori Potter says:

    Thank you for this information; it’s very encouraging to those of us who are a bit intimidated about stepping into this industry for the first time ever.

  47. Ann Bracken says:

    Thanks so much for the uplifting words! I’m optimistic because when I was on my knees asking my Heavenly Father if I should continue to pursue this, the answer was a resounding yes. So onward I go.

  48. Henry says:

    True Readers will never give up to that feeling when you hold a book in your hands. I usually buy books published and e-books. When I am on the road I read e-books, but when I get home the first thing I do is taking the book in my hands. I can not give up to the feeling that I have when I hold a book in my hands and the smell? The smell of the paper? Never!

    • Rachelle Gardner says:

      Henry, I hear you, and many agree with you… but I see no reason to divide us into “True Readers” and… whoever is not a True Reader.

      Personally, I’m as “true” a reader as they come, having been voraciously consuming books since I was a small child. And while I love printed books, and will miss them when they’re mostly gone, I vastly prefer the e-reading experience.

      I beg you, don’t put such rigid boundaries on whomever you consider a “true reader.” As I’ve mentioned many times, we are living in a both/and world, not an either/or world.

  49. Lorna Kopp says:

    Thanks for the reminder that this is an awesome time to be a writer. Many different ways to get our books out there! Thanks:)

  50. gp farah says:

    Ahhhhh. Thank you for this refreshing cup of water.

  51. #3 resonates with me. Exciting!

    Optimistic book clubs are as lively as ever and eager to have books to talk about. Iโ€™m happy to provide.
    ~ Wendy

  52. TC Avey says:

    Praise God! There’s hope for little debut wanna be after all!

  53. Joseph Baran says:

    This morning Iโ€™m optimistic because I have just finished reading your blog, Ms. Gardner. Seriously. Iโ€™m not kidding. The point is, you see, that itโ€™s good to have your intuitions confirmed. And your blog just confirmed what I was sensing about publishing and writing for some time now.

    My blog is still down and things may seem like everything takes forever as paying my mortgage somehow has a priority over everything else, but at least my sense of direction seems to be on the right track.

  54. jeffo says:

    Pretty much everything you said here, Rachelle, helps keep me going.

  55. Great encouragement…thank you for this post! Even for most of us who self-publish, we hope to have one or more books picked up by a traditional publisher at some point. “Hope” is the operative word there, and you have just given me more of it.

  56. Scott says:

    Thanks again Rachelle for a very encouraging blog. We need more writers/bloggers like yourself. Thanks again!
    Tuscaloosa, AL

  57. Very encouraging Rachelle, thanks!

  58. Those are are all good reasons. I noticed that several top 100 Kindle paid books were self-pubbed or digital. Thought that was interesting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  59. carol brill says:

    Reminds me that the sky falling has a lot to do with attitude. After a bad storm you can look at the tree branches littering the yard as a mess or kindling ๐Ÿ™‚
    good to be reminded these changes present more opportunites to publish, not less.
    thanks carol

  60. Thanks for reminding us that the glass is still half full, Rachelle.

  61. Yes! Thanks for pointing out the positives, Rachelle. I love the fact we have more options than before and can even choose to go it alone more easily if necessary. But I’m glad to hear that about print books!

  62. Stephen says:

    Great points here, encouraging and optimistic.

  63. Robin Coyle says:

    Just what I needed to hear today! Thanks!

  64. Thanks for the encouraging words, Rachelle. I’m optimistic because I believe that God is in control. Everything we have and do, including tenacity, is a gift. Therefore, I trust the Giver of the gifts to be in control of the product that they create.

  65. Donna Pyle says:

    In the avalanche of articles about the demise of small book stores and publishing uncertainties, it’s wonderful to hear these words from someone who actually knows what’s going on from the inside. A breath of fresh air! Thanks so much for encouraging us with honest optimism.

  66. Dee White says:

    I’m optimistic because I have been writing all day and providing food for my soul, and my 15yo son loves what I’m writing and loves me enough to tell me so.

    I’m writing for teens like mine, and every day they provide me proof that the world is still a great place and there is plenty to be optimistic about.

  67. Laura W. says:

    YAY! *ignores doom and gloom*

  68. Thanks for the uplifting words of encouragement. If I didn’t believe your were right, I wouldn’t keep trying every day.

  69. marion says:

    Reason 7: The internet. So much good (and bad!) up-to-date info. is out there for us. Like Rachelle’s useful blog. Putting us one step ahead.

  70. Beth K. Vogt says:

    I am encouraged because of how I see writers helping one another along the writing road. We share information, spread the news about each others’ achievements, celebrate each others’ successes — and commiserate when things aren’t going so well.

  71. I’m optimistic because of all the encouraging news you just shared with us, Rachelle. Thank you!

  72. Thanks for this post. It’s exactly what I needed to hear today. I choose to be optimistic about my writing because as long as I keep submitting there is always hope. There is always a little excitment/anxiety when I check my inbox. I never know if today might be the day. Great post! ๐Ÿ™‚

  73. It’s good to read encouraging, optimistic posts like this one, especially when you’ve just had a bad day like I have. You’re especially right about how people still read. I think one good thing about all those Kindles and iPads out there is that they motivate people to read more; I think people are buying more books partly so they can read them on these e-readers or whatever you call them, and they often end up enjoying the books and buying more of them. It can be kind of addicting, like buying iTunes for your iPod.

  74. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wonderful. Wonderful. Yes, there is some of the old hope left for this industry, and quite a bit of the new hope. Really… I think that it’s possible that we’re entering a Golden Age of publishing. Change isn’t always bad. Sometimes it’s very good.

  75. Brilliant Sixer! I feel recharged today.

  76. And the routes to publication are many and varied! As an indie author who’s gotten excellent reviews and attention from traditional reviewers I’m 1) impressed with the work load and what publicists do, and 2) impressed at how many booksellers and interviewers are willing to take a chance if you can show that your book is good.

  77. Stephanie Scott says:

    All encouraging!!

  78. Jenny says:

    I’m optimistic about everything after reading this post. Sometimes all you hear is about how *hard* this gig is and it’s great to just hear/read that people still enjoy stories.

  79. God keeps closing door after door, so I know that means he’s getting ready to open a really cool window. And I aim to enjoy the breeze. And the view.

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