Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, March 2, 2009

Introducing Positivity Week

On Friday an anonymous commenter accused me of being too bleak and challenged, nay, dared, nay, triple-dog dared me to devote a week to nothing but positivity about the publishing industry, books, and the future.

My friends, I have two words for you: it's on.

Let's face it. This winter is feeling a little bleak. We could all use some more kittens and rainbows in our lives. Also puppies.

Everyone is here because of one reason and one reason only: we love books. We love the heck out of them. And last time I checked: they're still here.

Um, right? They are? Yes. Okay. Whew.

So to kick off positivity week, I would like to devote this post to an ode to you.

Yes, you.

I am so incredibly thankful for the people who read and comment on this blog! Honestly, when I started this thingamajig I had no idea what to expect. These queries poured into my office and I sometimes stared at them thinking...... who are these people?

Well, now I know: You all are smart, intelligent, lively, funny, hardworking, supportive, caring, and if I may say so, you have been looking quite dashing lately.

Most importantly: Anyone who writes has my undying admiration. Writing is HARD. It's not hard like dig a ten foot trench with a plastic spoon hard, but still, it's HARD. It takes concentration, time, patience, and a whole lot of delayed gratification. There are things that are more fun to do than write a novel, like going to Disneyland or watching Mad Men or eating bacon (or all three at once -- basically how I envision heaven), but you put those things off and stare at your notepad or computer and put words down. You're making something.

And many of you have written novels!! Do you know how hard it is to write a freaking novel?! So many people say they're going to write a novel someday and never do it. Many of you have done it. It's an incredible accomplishment. It doesn't matter how many people read it: whether it's one person or a million it's something that should be a source of immense pride.

Even if I sometimes feel like the Angel of Death when I'm answering queries, I hope you know that I am very thankful for the people who query me and I don't take it at all lightly that people are putting themselves out there with their life's work. I even (usually) get a kick out of the people who send me angry e-mails accusing me and my generation of being vain and vapid and everything that's wrong with literature. Hey, buddy, my generation HAS our depression. We're building character in spades. You got nothin' on us anymore.

So check that negativity at the door. We're getting positive, people.






191 comments:

MzMannerz said...

LOL! I didn't find you overly negative, but am nonetheless looking forward to puppy/kitten/rainbow week. :)

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Just remember, it's always darkest right before it turns pitch black.

Kat Mayo said...

Put me down for kittens!

Anonymous said...

Last week my company decided it need to lay a bunch of people off. We were asked to take the day off and only come in for our thirty minute meeting. At this meeting we would learn if we would stay or go. It was pouring down rain on the day of my meeting but as I was nearing my workplace a huge rainbow appeared over the building. My meeting lasted 10 minutes. I get to keep my job which mean I get to keep writing. Wahoo! I love rainbows. Bring em on!

Scott said...

You might be the angel of death, but we all think of you as a kinder, gentler angel of death ... like that Andrew dude on Touched by an Angel.

Kate Levin said...

This positivity kick-off post rocks. I'm still laughing at, I mean with, 'my friend' John. What a good way to start the week.

Jo said...

Personally I like the fact that you lay it on the line and don't mince words, but I like the happy-go-lucky, thankful Mr. Bransford too. Thanks for remarking that we writers should feel a sense of achievement.
Re- the process of writing. For me, at least, it is exactly like digging a deep, perfectly rectangular trench with a small plastic spoon.

Heidi the Hick said...

Yeah! Kermit the Frog! Banjo!

I feel pretty okay right now. Thanks Nathan!

Anita said...

A piece of positive: My hometown newspaper STARTED a book recommendation column this year (I'm the writer)...and it's a recommendation, not a review (no stodgy references to weak characters and such, because I only write about books I LIKE). Also, I went to a fab book signing party last week for Jamie Ford (great debut author) and will go to another booksigning for Lisa Lutz this month (she's great, too). Yay books!

Melissa said...

Wow, I still remember every word of that song. Every single word. Love it.

Kimberly J. Smith said...

Can I tell you how much I needed this today? Thank you. And i'm all about a little green frog singing with a banjo. You made me smile.

Dara said...

Thank you for posting all your advice :)

And yay for Kermit--that video definitely brings me back to my kiddie days :)

RW said...

Well, I don't agree with the comment that inspired this week, but good for you for taking it in this spirit. You always have a very generous way of responding to your readers. I've been wondering how you put up with so much negativity. Props for you for facilitating so much important discussion that can get heavy sometimes.

Mark Terry said...

Somehow I think you need to make up a T-shirt that has the grim reaper on it with the logo: A Kinder, Gentler Angel of Death.

As we say in our household, I'm feeling so positive I've got rainbows and unicorns coming out of my ass.

Martin Willoughby said...

Life is like a battery: every negative needs a positive.

Anonymous said...

You have to be the sweetest writers' agent in the world.

Yeah, puppies!

And thanks for acknowledging those of us who contribute to the conversation here too - it's nice to think we are valued for our participation too.

And thanks for the old format!

Doug said...

Nathan,

You crack me up. I really appreciate the kudos for writing, you're right, writers who send out endless amounts of query letters and receive nothing but rejections can sometimes get a little down, or maybe suicidal. So a little positivity feels great.

And as long as we're having such a hugfest I'd like to say that your insight into the publishing market has been enlightening and at times refreshing. Not like root beer float refreshing, but refreshing in its own way.

twitter.com/thenextwriter

Sir John said...

I just returned from sleuthfest and heard nothing but positive outlooks from both agents and editors. Everyone was very active in seeing the next project and pushing forward. This is much different from what you hear on most communications being passed around. I also heard of none of the authors being asked to cut their advances.
Yes, I'm in a good mood and looking forward to a bright future in writing.

Thanks for this blog, I'll send many too it and see if we can build the momentum.

Johnny ( Sir john) Ray

Diana said...

I really needed this perky post today, Nathan. Thanks for making me smile. We're lucky to have you!

selestial-owg said...

Positivity is over-rated.





Just kidding. Sign me up for housebroken puppies and rainbows (a pot of gold would be handy too).


Hmmm ... positivity... oh, it looks like we are taking the kids on a rather impromptu vacation to Disneyland next week. I think the hubby figures if the "happiest place on earth" doesn't yank me out of my funkadoodle, we are just screwed :P

L.C. Gant said...

Your words couldn't have come at a better time. Seriously. This post made my day, especially the video. Who doesn't love Kermit?

I don't think your blog has been negative; it's just that there isn't much positive news out there right now. But God bless you for focusing on the good stuff anyway. I can use all the puppies, kittens and rainbows I can get!

Robena Grant said...

Loved the singalong. I feel positively positive now, about what I'm not sure, and think I'll go write something.

writermomof5 said...

Nathan,

Thanks for the Monday morning smile! I love Kermit.

Rose Pressey said...

Yay! Puppies!

Natalie said...

Can we have unicorns too? And chubby babies? I'm looking forward to happy week; winter is too long.

Bless that little frog and his rainbow.

Tulafel Applebuns said...

Awww shucks.

Colorado Writer said...

Yes, puppies...I got one over the weekend. :)

Kiersten said...

Oh my gosh, you're right--I am amazing! Thank you for reminding me!

(Yes, this was an awesome post.)

Erik said...

First of all, I really love "Rainbow Connection", and have since I was a kid.

Second of all, being a bit down when it's real isn't so terrible. You don't sing the blues to feel better, you sing them so that others can understand ... well, you get the ref to "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" (still miss ya, August!)

Thirdly ... oh, Hell, I'll go back and listen to "Rainbow Connection" again. To Hell with the Blues.

Someday, we'll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and meeee

Anonymous said...

Dang it, Nathan. You made me cry. Did I mention I cry more when I'm happy than sad, and that was positively the sweetest blog I have seen yet.You are a sweetheart! Are you married? I think I need to set you up with one of my friends! LOL

PS I like you both ways. It is definitely nice to see appreciation out there. Keep up the good work!

Rick Daley said...

MMMM...bacon :-0

T. Anne said...

Yes! Send in the clowns! Well maybe not clowns, those sort of creep me out. Send in the kittens! Throw some butterfly's in the room while you're at it :)

Vegas Linda Lou said...

OMG, you guys... I'm getting a cavity reading these comments!

Ash said...

Aww. Today's blog post gave me a case of the warm fuzzies!

Doesn't get much better than puppies, kittens, rainbows, and Kermit!

Thanks, Nathan :)

:)Ash said...

Thanks, Nathan! A week of positivity will be fabulous :)

I must say, though, that of all the blogs on the business that I read, yours actually tends to be the most encouraging. You actually take the time to respond to your readers and you take our comments seriously. So, thanks!

Sea Hayes said...

Your blog is my absolute favorite. You always manage to deliver even the worst news in a funny and informative way. Keep up the good work, and if you ever write a novel, I'll be the first to read it!

Julie Butcher-Fedynich said...

You didn't have to say how dashing I looked, you had me with bacon. I love the idea of a positive week. Go Nathan!

J. M. Strother said...

I'm glad you remembered the puppies!

And, though I have never gotten a rejection letter from you (yet), I'm sure you are a very pleasant Angel of Death.
~jon

Kate H said...

Hey, Nathan,
Thanks for the positivity, the strokes for us writers, and the dose of Kermit. Just what I needed today.

Marilyn Peake said...

Whoa, that brought tears to my eyes, Nathan. Are you sure struggling writers are allowed to be treated that nicely?

Your positivity week came just in the nick of time. I picked up a bad cold, the DOW is plummeting, AIG is in huge trouble in its overseas branches ... Ooops, I mean: rainbows and puppies! I cannot wait to think up something positive to add to positivity week.

Jo said: "Re- the process of writing. For me, at least, it is exactly like digging a deep, perfectly rectangular trench with a small plastic spoon." Lots of writing days feel like that to me as well, especially if I'm trying to carve out writing time in a very busy day.

Here are two positive things: It snowed last night, and the snow is absolutely beautiful today! And I reached page 197 in the novel I'm writing.

Suzan Harden said...

Now all we need are Piiiigs In Spaaaaaaace!

Anonymous said...

Vegas Linda Lou,

I'm thinking of heading out your way in June. Where is your show? You crack me up.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:19 - Here's wishing you many more rainbows and paychecks.

Francesca said...

I love kittens but I couldn't eat a whole one.

I wouldn't have described you as negative, actually. I like visiting here because you seem really positive and I like imagining that all agents and editors are like you, really cheerfully looking for great stuff and generally in love with words and books and those that put them together.

Still, love me some Kermit.

Rachel said...

I don't think you are doom and gloom. In fact, I've always appreciated your frank, honest look at the publishing industry and the fact that you take valuable time out of your own busy career to give us wonderful advice. But I do like this post. :-)

Whirlochre said...

Oh what a timely post. I've been such a grouch all day and this has cheered me up no end.

There's always room for the sound of a bugle — especially on the surface of an asteroid.

Vieva said...

KERMIT!

Oh, my love, I found you!

*makes off with the frog before the pig shows up*

TC Laverdure said...

Nathan,

I have reading your blog for the last few months, lurking about. Almost delurked the other day.

But with the Rainbow Connection of the Wise Kermit the Frog and your commitment to your readers, I have decided now is the time to delurk.

The problem with Negativity is that it is a code word for being critical without appreciation.

The benefit of Positivity is that it manages to be critical (always needed) yet embraces appreciation (always desired). Though we need criticality to develop and grow, we desire appreciation to keep from feeling isolated,worthless and hopeless.

Humans need to learn how to turn a problem into a benefit,and that really only starts with a deep sense of personal appreciation. I know you appreciate even when critical, so cool on you.

I look forward to reading your blog, living the life of a delurker and eventually sending you a query. BIG GULP

I appreciate you and your blog. Like a new friend I am getting to know and learn from.

Gracias

TC (Terence)Laverdure
Calgary, Canada

Brigita said...

Your post and another request for a partial just made my day! Thanks.

lotusgirl said...

I already like Positivity Week. It started off for me with snow! Unlike all those people in Canada and Buffalo, North Carolina rejoices and shuts down for us all to go play. Yippee!

I'm grateful there are so many good books out there too. Yea! They keep me so entertained.

Arron Ferguson said...

Sorry to piss in the proverbial pool but isn't that a link to copyright-infringed content?

I know it's not your content and that you're trying to add add a smiles to your readership but I find it ironic that a member of the publishing industry is linking to this so casually; it is an indirect show of support of this behavior really.

mary beth said...

Nathan, I think you are now officially the King of Blog Awesomeness. Be prepared for an Imperial Margarine-like crown to materialize on your head the next time you post something. And for everyone too young to remember that crown it was surpassed in glory only by Lifeboy (SP) soap, which gave its users the power to walk on air.

I read this blog every day; it's always substantive and almost always funny. Perhaps you should reward yourself with bacon and Mad Men. AND a puppy.

Vancouver Dame said...

I wouldn't call your blog negative, Nathan, since you basically lay the publishing information on the line. Positivity does help when everything in writing starts to look dark, but we must remember that posting (by Konrath) about confidence and delusion. I prefer the facts, combined with your subtle humour. I would say your blog is one of the least negative of the writing blogs that I read. I come here for information, not necessarily therapy. You have the most interesting followers, and I usually read most of the comments. Thanks for keeping it going.

Nathan Bransford said...

arron-

This is a not-for-profit use of a very short excerpt from a larger work, and it has not been taken down from YouTube at the request of the rights-holder. I feel that it falls under "Fair Use," but if someone else feels differently please let me know. Of course I respect copyright law.

Jen said...

Your positivity week is matching my own positivity week! On Saturday I had a spanking new idea for a novel, and I am so excited about it I have been on cloud nine (and writing 2000 words a day..).

Also, everyone is out of the office today so I will have the whole place to myself, I can kick off my shoes and have a nap under my desk if I want!

(Note to Boss - I will totally NOT nap under my desk...)

ETA - verification = uphysiva, sounds like some sort of happy drug...

Anonymous said...

The original post never implied that you, yourself, are a negative person. It merely pointed out that many of the posts focused on the dire state of the publishing industry. So hey, instead of focusing on the not-so-fun items, how about only focusing on the good things regarding publishing for a little while.

Well, judging by your post today and the reactions, it seems you have done just that. And I think you'll agree, what a wondrous thing it is, positivity. With only a few words, you have inspired many, and at just the right time.

Well played, Mr. Bransford. Well played indeed.

Anonymous said...

If the plastic spoon breaks -as they tend to do- I think you can get extra ones from the nearest McDonalds, or any other cafe...

Steve Fuller said...

What are you people smoking?

Please never be positive again, Nathan. It makes everyone act weird.

Authors don't need gloom and doom (because things aren't gloomy and they aren't doomed). And authors don't need their egos stroked with empty words of false hope.

What we need is to realize the new world of possibilities out there. We need to stop acting like victims. No one is out to get writers. We need to learn how to take advantage of all the great opportunites that exist in 2009.

I am thankful Nathan gives THAT to us. If I want someone to tell me I'm wonderful, I'll call my mom. If I want gloom and doom, I'll turn on the news. I want reality, and Nathan provides it.

Crimogenic said...

Nathan,

Thanks for the shout out to writers :), Your blog is awesome and I depend on it for my publishing news, whether doom and gloom or cheers and rainbows.

Ink said...

I'm waiting for the Darth Vader voice-over...







Oh, okay, I admit it, I like me some Kermit the Frog. Though, as confession is in the air, I'll say that my favourites were the two old grumpy guys in the upper balcony. Who's with me?

My best, as always,
Bryan

Vancouver Dame said...

Bravo - Steve and Bryan. I also liked the two grumpy old men in the balcony on the Muppets. They provided a touch of reality.

Lisa Schroeder said...

I'm sitting here watching the markets tank, and I click on your blog. Hooray!!! Just what I needed - KERMIT!!

All positive all the time for a whole week!!! Bring it, Nathan! <3

I really need to watch Mad Men. So many people rave about it. Oh wait, I have a contracted novel to revise. Maybe when I'm done?

Mira said...

Steve Fuller, I'm not sure how you can say no one is out to get writers, when I've got a list here on my desk......where is it.....of writers I'm am definitely 'out to get.'

So, in the future, if you wish to be completely accurate, you should say, 'no one is out to get authors, except maybe Mira, if you're on her list.' You, Steve Fuller, are NOT on my list, though, so you can relax.

Nathan, I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You're my hero.

Positivity is just what we need.

And I LOVE that song.

And thank you, I think we all do look quite dashing lately. Including you, Nathan.

Mira said...

Oh. If the lawyers ask. By 'out to get' I meant buy their books, of course.


Just a cheerful joke about death threats. Ha Ha.

Melissa McInerney said...

My teeth hurt. Is this a blog about batteries? Electricity?

Ohhhh, positivity. Just be my very own Angel of Death and I'll forgive all the saccharine comments today.

Anonymous said...

Not to get too metaphysical but I believe that your reality is based on your perception...ie.whatever you focus on is what grows. Not to discount the overall economy out there which has obviously affected the publishing world as well, but if you focus on negativity, you will certainly find plenty of it.

On the other hand, if focus on things like puppies and rainbows, you tend to find more of them as well. I agree with the post about seeing this as a time of opportunity for writers rather than being victims. Thanks Nathan for a wonderful blog, but I still think you shouldn't post on Friday nights! :)

Kimber An said...

Oh, Kermie! I'll take one Himalayan kitten and three butterflies, please.

I think it's also important to remember one positive thing for all of us involved with books during this recession. *Humans need great stories during difficult times.* Ask anyone who went to the movies during the Great Depression or World War II.

ryan field said...

I remember when you first started this blog. It was announced on another agent blog.

It's a great accomplishment to manage to attract a large readership to a blog. And you'e done that.

Anna said...

oh, this made me chuckle. ta love...

Adaora A. said...

I didn't find you negative, just realistic. Neverthelsss, I'm sitting in my university library laughing so loud that people are looking at me strangely. The "my friends" link really set me off.

But when it's a really dark tunnel, there is always the light at the end to look forward to.

Dori said...

Hurrah for positivity. I wouldn't say your posts are overwhelmingly negative, but there have been a few reality checks that had the optimism of a sledge hammer and a crystal vase.

In the spirit of your post, thank you for an entertaining and informative blog. I've been lurking for months now, and your blog always makes me smile ...

Or cry (see above).

Anonymous said...

After watching the My Friends video I did some Tube surfing (as you do) and saw this

youtube.com/watch?v=wzyT9-9lUyE

I bet you Obama dances like that in real life!

BarbS. said...

Make your world complete, Nathan.

Get yourself a guinea pig.

Or two.

Or three.

They're addictive.

HAD to say it. ;-)

WORDVER: HYPERR

That's right. I just had highly-sugared coffee and bounced here from authonomy.

Travis Erwin said...

You had me at bacon.

Marilyn Peake said...

Vegas Linda Lou,

You crack me up! Today, I needed to hear lots of positivity after I forced myself to watch the business/financial channel for hours on end. The experts who have been so sure that everything will work out said a lot of scary stuff today, with their eyes widening to near-anime size, making statements for the very first time about how it might just be that investment companies have never really understood how the global markets work. Wow - that was some strong bleaching type toothpaste that will surely keep my teeth from getting cavities no matter how many sugary blog posts I read. (The news, however, did set my teeth on edge.)

However, since this is positivity week, an idea in which I thoroughly believe: there are LOTS of fantastic, truly amazing deals on just about everything, including travel, right now. I'm thinking about scheduling a vacation to someplace that used to be expensive, taking advantage of the incredible discounts, some as high as 75% off.

Being Beth said...

This blog and tht Kermit video make me smile. Thanks!

Kelly Pollard said...

Love the post Nathan! Thanks for your props to us struggling writers, it takes the edge off the rejections...

Amanda Cobb said...

Haha, this made me smile. Thanks!

Mayumi said...

Nathan: You are so rad. Thanks for putting a friendly face on the publication biz.

Camels & Chocolate said...

Dude, I needed this. It's already been a lame week...the only thing getting me through is the Bachelor Party.

Also, Rainbow Connection was always my favorite!

Scott said...

Thanks, Nathan.

Here are a few positives:
1) I'm positive that song is going to be stuck in my head the rest of the day!
2) I'm positive that glass of wine I'll have when I get home will help maintain my newly 'positive' attitude.
3) I'm positive this post just made my day.

Thanks again!

p.s. two dogs and two cats at home, no more puppies or kittens allowed. I'm also 'positive' about that! : )

Anonymous said...

Who was that masked Anon????

Lady Glamis said...

What a sweet post, Nathan! I hope you know that we all appreciate you, too. You do what you have to do to make a living and sell what is good and fits your bill. I hope one day I fit the bill whenever I finally get my Monarch partial to you.

This positivity week sounds great! I look forward to all your posts. Thanks for an awesome blog!

Anonymous said...

Man,
Last week I buried my old dog. (not a WIP)

This week I am trying not to have to bury the other one.

I am not ready to contemplate puppies.

As a matter of fact, I am getting ready to throw out the cat.

Pesky critters, they are so cute...

But given my state of pets in crisis, I do soooo appreciate a positive week somewhere to check in.

thanks...

Kristy Colley said...

I wanted to comment, then saw there were already 84... *sigh* how the hell does that happen so fast?!

But then I thought...shazam...I'll comment anyway. (yes...I actually thought 'shazam')

So here's my obligatory w00t to this post. w00t!

Lisa Iriarte said...

Thought this might interest you.

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/03/02/amazon-supplier-lose.html

Ginger Simpson said...

Wow...I needed this. My muse has been trampled by watching political news, and the blog I started to promote myself has become a rant against the economic injustice. I've broken my own vow to avoid religion, politics, and ethnic issues. Your post came just in time. I've dumped out my prozac, tightened my bra straps, and hiked up my panties. Give me more positive feedback. I'm drowning in bad news here. *lol*

Karen said...

I'm positive that this will be an enjoyable week in Blogland.

Nikki Duncan said...

I am positively laughing my rear off right now! I can never hear that song without seeing my former Marine buddy singing The Rainbow Connection in a crowded Karaoke bar. And to top it all off, at my birthday dinner the other night another guy friend of mine proceeded to sing it to us at the dinner table.

Lupina said...

I already have a puppy, and I'm allergic to kittens but the Rainbow Connection was very nice.
My fave line: "Somebody thought of it, and someone believed it..."
Doesn't that describe the author/reader process?

Oh and I agree writing is totally like digging that big hole with the plastic spoon, except with revisions you also have to fill it back up and then redig it, often again and again.

Denise Eagan said...

Thank you Nathan. Got another foot of snow in the Northeast today. Positivity is much needed.

I'll add something--my sister-in-law works at a B & N. She said last quarter was a banner quarter. Only one store, true, but hey I'll take any good news!

thespectacleblog said...

I feel better already.

But I'm not above having more bacon.

Parker P.

Chad Carver said...

Bacon is meat candy!

Hilabeans said...

AND the Bachelor finale is tonight!

Can I get a rose with my rainbow/kitten/puppy/banjo-playin' frog?

hil

Meg said...

Thanks for the ego boost on the whole you wrote a novel its an incredible accomplishment thing.

Amy said...

Ahhhhh...

The perfect day for a little positivity, I needed that, I look forward to a week of sunshine and flowers.

Thanks Nate!

Aaron Stephens said...

Positivity is always welcomed.

You aren't the Angel of Death...you are more like a young Michael Landon from Highway to Heaven. :D

I think it is kind of hard to write a novel, but if you have an idea and the passion to write it, then it won't be too bad.

And I dug a ten foot trench one time with the ground soaked with a spoon....come to think of it, it was a Shooter. Nevermind.

Jen said...

Chad Carver said...
Bacon is meat candy!


Bahahhahahahahahhaaa! That's hilarious!

Oh, I also wanted to add that my sister and her first husband had The Rainbow Connection as their first dance at their wedding. (Yeah, they got divorced, but the sentiment is still nice!)

S. Mozer said...

Thanks for the appreciation. Right back at you. It is an excellent blog full of great resources. Thanks for doing it.

Joann Mannix said...

Oh Nathan...sigh. Thanks for that rainbow and all the love thrown at us slaves to writing. Out of the dark will come light. Let's all chant positivity together. By the way, It's liberating to be out of the lurking closet.

Hope Clark said...

Ah, positivity. Now you're speaking my language.

C. Hope Clark
FundsforWriters.com

M Clement Hall said...

Harlequin are reporting profit.
Howzat for positivity?

M Clement Hall said...

A (very) few writers on Authonomy are getting contracts.

Anonymous said...

Love It! And to add to the kittens and rainbows...Mama Duck laid an egg today! Of course that was after the raccoon ate four of her eggs last week, but we're not going there it's Positivity WeeK!

Oh and I really liked what you said about wanting to know the writers behind the queries.Kdrausin

K.S. Clay said...

Nice post, Nathan. I don't think your blog is too negative, but, well, we can all use rainbows and puppies right now so bring it on!

Litgirl01 said...

Wow! I really do have that warm and fuzzy feeling. Thank you so much for acknowledging how hard it is to write a novel. Even if I don't publish this one, at least I feel a sense of accomplishment. I am researching my next one now. Not RIGHT now because I had a few too many margheritas, but I plan to resume tomorrow! :-) Thank you for a great blog Nathan.

Shannon said...

The positivity has caused me to delurk!

Thanks for the general cheer Nathan and all the great information that you provide. This is a wonderful way to start off the week.

Thank you for all the information, time, and fun insights you share with us via your blog!

Here's to a week of things that make us smile :D

Anonymous said...

HEY NATHAN!!! What a fabulous idea and I KNOW you to be an appreciative, positive, look on the brightside kind of a personality, so ENJOY! This too will be easy for you. Lucky people are those who get to read the upcoming posts and feel just a little better.

David Eric Tomlinson said...

One day down. Only four more to go.

I have a feeling this will be a bit like watching Cool Hand Luke eat 50 hard boiled eggs ;)

Cam said...

More good news! People are begging - really, begging - me to finish the 2nd draft of my novel! Of course, most of these people live with me and are annoyed with not seeing much of me lately, but some of the folks begging say that, from my description, they really want to read it. There. Good news! There are readers, there are novelists, and there are beggars.

Bethanne said...

Thank You! I swear it wasn't me, cuz I still enjoy my visits when Nathan lays it all on the line, but phew! Love positive thinking and smiles.

Anna Lefler said...

Okay, I received your post via email and came here to reply...and got the big Kermit the Frog bonus! Woo-Hoo!

Thanks for the sweet post, Nathan.

Your blog is like Chapstick on this writer's windburned soul.

(Oh, man, I am SO using that in my next query letter.)

;^) Anna

Stephanie said...

I'm looking forward to a happy week! I think that there is a difference between being doom and gloom all the time and being honest and acknowledging that this is a hard business. Also, as one of the leagues of writers who have received rejections from you, I have to give you great credit for being prompt and professional. No one likes a no, but when you get a no from someone so long after you submitted that you had assumed for say six months or a year that you had been rejected, it's like pulling the scab right back off.

Stephanie

Anne said...

Hi Nathan,
I just came across your blog, and although I think it's sweet that you're in awe of people who write, it seems to me you should be shining some of that flattering afternoon sunshine on yourself! I really enjoy your voice; I just wanted to let you know that.
PS Puppies and kittens make everything better. And bacon too, but not all together...

Cass said...

Thanks for the positive post Nathan!

Your not the Angel of Death at all!

Thanks for the frog too, Kermit was always my favorite.

Robert A Meacham said...

Okay, I'll see your kittens and raise you a puppy, no, make that two puppies.

Sarah said...

Thanks, Nathan! What an encouraging post, though you should know I've never been discouraged after reading your blog.

And don't worry about the Angel of Death bit. One of my favorite characters is Terry Pratchett's Death. His horse is named Binky AND he likes kittens. Here's a picture:

http://www.ie.lspace.org/art/kidby/dthfrnds.jpg

Not exactly Kermit, but kinda sweet nonetheless.

TonyK said...

What nerve. Of course he declares positivity week on the same day he rejects my query! Maybe yesterday I could have pulled off the positive stuff. Or maybe tomorrow.

Stephanie said...

I'm back to add another thought. We all want to get realistic credible information. It would be nice if everyone's work was good and got nice feedback. Well, maybe it would only be good if MY work and the work of my friends was GREAT and got FABULOUS feedback. However, we live in the real world.

If a rah rah speech addressed to all of us is sufficient to make me feel good about my writing and my life, I'm not taking it seriously enough.

Yes, many of us have written novels. A lot of us have probably written terrible novels. Some of us who have written terrible novels will keep working at it until we write novels that are not terrible.

That's an homage to a parody of an inspirational poster: If a picture of a kitty and a sweet saying are enough to motivate you, your job is way too simple and will soon be done by a machine.

I'm going to keep working, and someday, maybe I'll get it right.

CNU said...

There's a taoist expression:

What you think, becomes what you say, what you say becomes what you do, what you do become your habits and your habits create your destiny.

Go positive.

:)

-C

I_am_Tulsa said...

Kermit rocks! ...and so do you Nathan!

Sarah said...

Stephanie, I don't think Nathan was complimenting our writing- just our effort.

I agree, we shouldn't be the sort who are so pleased with our writing that we stop working at it.

But ... as someone who is rarely satisfied with what I do, it's far easier to keep at it if I acknowledge the milestones. Finishing a novel doesn't mean it's good, but it does mean you have accomplished something.

I've got a bottle of wine waiting for me to finish a huge plot-level rewrite. I'll drink my wine, then start what I estimate will be another six months or so of revisions.

I figure as long as we don't confuse a milestone with the end of the trip, it doesn't hurt to take a bit of encouragement now and then.

mkcbunny said...

Did you say bacon and Disneyland in the same sentence? Heaven, indeed!

Don't forget to add unicorns to that puppy/kitten/rainbow week.

Anonymous said...

I love you, Nathan. Even though you very kindly rejected my query within, literally, 5 minutes of my sending it. Or maybe that's one of the reasons I love you, in addition to today's lovely blog.

Giving you a virtual hug. :)

leesmiley said...

So, you're saying this would be an especially good week to send a query?

Bee said...

Positivity rocks. We need more of it in the world. Not pie-in-the-sky stuff, just looking for the bright side of things, rather than always focusing on the negative.

You are such a nice agent that I think I will send you a query about my newly finished novel. I hope you like baseball.

And I'll take kittens anyday.

Deborah Leiter said...

(Deborah delurks, looking around her like a Chuck-style spy)

I don't know if it's so much that this blog itself has been gloom and doom as that the news in general focuses so much on the things that are going wrong that we forget to focus on the good stuff sometimes, which actually means we as a society are being unrealistic, in that we get a negatively-balanced view of the way the world is going.

Sure, there's lots of stress for various people right now, but we are the ones who get to write new stories that can help us deal with what's going on out there. Heck, in my mind, we need some more hero stories more than ever at times like these...and books are still one of the best places to get them.

(Deborah ducks back between the pages of the Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody novel she's been reading)

Liz said...

Well, needed or not, I'm on board with Happy Fun Week. Writers are dark by nature (not bad people, just more inclined to dwell in the shadows). We have to be. It makes for more interesting writing. A little Happy Fun Week never hurt anything.

Heidi C. Vlach said...

You're pretty awesome yourself, Nathan! Flowers and unicorns back atcha!

Newbee said...

Why... Nathan,

Thank you for noticing...I have been looking rather well haven't I? The Angel of Death from "Phantom" is hot. So, I'll take the Angel of Death any day and everyday.

I'd like to know if you've had your green eggs and ham yet? Every school in the nation is celebrating Dr. Suess this week.

When people are getting laid off right and left it's hard to stay positive...understandably. But, finding that next best selling book must be exciting for you. Sure you have to weed through the fields to find the perfect rose...(that was for you and your crazed "Bachlorness")but once you find it it's priceless.

Rainbows...kittens...puppies...fishies, and bunnies!

Jen

Serendipity said...

um, I don't know you, I've never submitted to you (basically because I've written a middle-grade fiction book) but...thank you. Thank you for saying that. It does get freakin' frustrating with all the rejection letters, but thank you, Mr. I Have No Idea Who You Are and we will probably never cross paths, but thank you. It 'is' hard writing a book. And it's so easy to forget that you've actually written one...
thank you. I'll cherish that non-personal compliment.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Awesome post. Thanks for adding Kermit and the Rainbow Connection!

I'm ready for more positivity!

Pattie Garner said...

Thank you for those positive words.

Ryan David Jahn said...

I'm not positive by nature, but I am hopeful. I see the glass as half empty, but I really HOPE whatever's in it is tasty, in other words.

Here's what happened as a result of being hopeful: In the midst of all of this negative publishing news I finished what I thought was a good draft of a novel. This was December 8th, I think. I sent the manuscript off to the Macmillan New Writing imprint -- which I first heard about approximately two weeks earlier on this blog -- and on December 19th I heard from an editor there that he liked it, but other folks had to read it before any decisions were made. I'd get an update early in the new year.

For the next two weeks I paced various rooms, banged my head against various walls, and was not hungry at any point.

On January 8th, one month after I sent the manuscript in, I was told they wanted to publish my novel.

Since then I've written a new draft, utilizing editorial suggestions (122 of them; that's one every other page; it's a short novel), seen copy written for the back, seen the cover art they plan to use, and been informed that my book is scheduled for a November 6th release.

This is all as a result of Nathan happening to mention Macmillan New Writing and me happening to have just enough hope -- despite warnings coming from every direction that the publishing industry is crumbling -- to send my novel in.

So I guess what I'm saying is, no matter how bad the news generally is, you never know if you're gonna be the exception. So hope is always warranted.

Also: Thanks, Nathan.

kitkat said...

Another thank you to clog your inbox!

Mira said...

Wow, Ryan David, congratulations!

That's pretty darn positive news!

Madison said...

Bacon! I love bacon!!!

And I did query you once and recieved a very nice rejection letter. I don't believe in replying to rejection letters for any reason, but I did appreciate the time you took out to personalize it.

And no, you haven't been really negative. A little, yes, but who hasn't? :)

Keep writing these posts, Mr. Bransford! This is one of the best blogs on the internet! :D

Laura said...

rainbow connection? are you getting SOFT in your positivity? C'mon, Nathan, be a man! Say NO! :)

Just kidding, I hate positivity, it's too positive...

and my word verification is squinks, who thinks up these things?

Melissa Sarno said...

Thanks for your post. I am currently writing a novel and, while I am no where near the point where I can attempt to find an agent, I've been reading your blog and learning what I can about this process and the industry. I have found so much of the information valuable. Thank you. But, admittedly, I often leave feeling overwhelmed and discouraged by the process. And I definitely have to skip all of your 'state of the industry' posts when it comes to layoffs. ha. I look forward to a week of positivity and muppets. :-)

Jean said...

I LOVE Kermit!

Course, I really like the two old guys (Statler & Waldorf( in the balcony too:-)

Anonymous said...

aw this made my day. You rock.

Marilyn Peake said...

Happy Dr. Seuss Day, everyone! Apparently, kidthing is offering 4 free digital Dr. Seuss books in celebration.

Jessica said...

It's official. I have a cyber-crush.

Marilyn Peake said...

Ryan David Jahn -

Wow, that's wonderful news! Congratulations!

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Every week I read your posts, and often comment. Sometimes it's daunting because hundreds of others have commented before me.

I just want to let you know that no matter how much doom and gloom there is out there, your posts encourage me to keep trying to perfect my craft.

Sarah Jensen said...

Well, my son loved the video, and now he's not bouncing in my lap anymore, he's calmed down. So thank you from the bottom of my heart!

And if I thought you were all gloom, I don't think I'd read you every day.

But this post was great.

And I didn't go through all the comments, but I have to say, I watched the Bachelor for the first time, and I was impressed with those two girls. Don't they usually have mean back-biting girls. That's what the commercials show. But I so rarely watch any tv, that I was pleasantly surprised by them both. I guess I can now see why you like the show. :)

Mira said...

Hey, so does triple-dog daring you work, Nathan?

'Cause if so, I triple-dog dare you to take me on as a client.

Not only am I an unpublished writer, but I haven't actually written anything.

Go on. Sign me. I dare you.

No. I triple-dog dare you.

No. I triple-dog dare you, plus I throw in an extra 127,000 dares.

Times infinity!!

That ought to work.

aspenwrite08 said...

Yes Yes! We need Pigs in Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace. Oh that will be heaven! Thank you Nathan for giving us what we really need when we really need it. Like now.

Horserider said...

:D There is NOTHING more fun than sitting down and just watching the words flow on the page. Writing so fast your hands can barely keep up. There's also nothing more frustrating that writer's block at a crucial point in the story, but this is supposed to be POSITIVE. :D

By the way...I already have enough kittens. :D One of them is in my lap right now. I could use some rainbows though. And some 70* F weather wouldn't be too bad either...

Marilyn Peake said...

I just discovered that, for a limited time, Fictionwise is offering "all Stephenie Meyer titles, including the NY Times bestselling Twilight series, with a 50% Micropay Rebate with credit card purchase." Details can be found here.

EMC07 said...

Positivity... On a Monday? That's impressive. Thanks for the warm fuzzies :) Love the blog. Thanks for writing and keeping us informed. You are awesome.

I feel all warm inside and it was 7 degrees today.

talshannon said...

You're part of the next generation? You can't be *that* young -- you're showing video of Kermit's first movie! That came out ages ago, when I was just a . . . oh wait, does this mean I'm not that young anymore?

Kim Kasch said...

Puppies, kittens, rainbows and FROGS. I had to listen to see if it was Kermie or a Fraggle.

D. Williams said...

Darth Nathandar or Strawberry Brancake (ok. that doesn't work. anyhoo). Either way we got nothin but luv for you Nathan...

and bacon of course. Shouldn't have one without the other. This blog as always is a must read.

Elyssa Papa said...

All for postivity and more good things this week.

But does this mean we can't talk about the finale, or the After the Rose ceremony of The Bachelor last night?

Misssy M said...

Nope, despite all that, I'm still negative. Got an email from my agent last night telling me she's had no takers from the publishers she sent my book to. And this is the real source of my depression. She said, amongst other things, "Depressing, yes, but not an indication of the quality of work, I think. Just the recession. If this had been 2006, we'd be laughing"

So I'd like a time machine please. Anyone want a ride?

Toni Kenyon said...

And Angels, we need more Angels, Nathan.

Toni

Richard Lewis said...

Two comments. If this is going to be positivity week, then may I ask why you are "afraid" that you don't represent poetry and screenplays? Be courageous in your un-representation! Wouldn't it be more positive to say "I boldly won't represent poetry and screenplays"?

(Um, before the literal minded jump on their keyboards and point out the how the niceties of language are used, may I point to the tongue in my cheek.)

Second, dogs. Dog people know the range of emotions that dogs express, simple direct straightforward emotions, but are dogs capable of expressing amusement? Examples would be wonderful and positive to share...

Heather said...

I like this kinder, gentler Nathan. (Probably because I know it's finite in nature.)

Ulysses said...

In a moment of frightening synchronicity, I posted the same video on Sunday.

If there is some significance to this co-incidence, it's lost on me. I'm not that deep.

But: the frog rules.

KatherineR said...

Thanks for this.

My three year old comments:
"I love froggies. Cute froggies."

Anonymous said...

No negativity, huh?

So that's why you didn't mention the Bachelor finale...

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hidey-ho, Nathan! Great video choice.

To be honest, I am seeing a lot of positive stuff in the publishing world, but then, I'm looking in some very unusual places.

marye.ulrich said...

Happy Happy Week!

I celebrated yesterday by reading a book just for fun. Imagine that!

I picked one book from my TBR pile, sat in a comfy chair with a footstool, got a large ice tea, put on some soft music and read about... a murder--oops, sorry, but the story has interesting characters, clever analogies.... oh, happy day.

Stef Kramer said...

Positivity. Whether it's realism or escapism, what an utterly perfect way to begin March.

Sara said...

Thank you Nathan! You made my day with your positive post.

lettersfrombella said...

Nice idea, Nathan.

Also, (on a completely unrelated but still interesting note) aren't you sick of the bachelors not picking any of the girls? I don't know. It feels like I wasted two months of my life waiting for something that didn't happen.

Samika Swift said...

Thank you for this post; I needed its message today.

Anonymous said...

Well, your positivity week might have been blown by the Bachelor last night. Yikes!

Nathan Bransford said...

Re: the Bacehlor.

Well, that was some gripping TV!

Kate Pierson said...

I was just staring out at Minnesota snowdrifts indulging my seasonal affective disorder and thinking, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get you" when I received your latest.

Nice timing on the kittens and rainbows. Thanks, Nathan. For an Angel of Death, you're all right.

other lisa said...

@ Missy M: Me! Me!

I'm positive as long as I don't think too much. Where's my kitten?

Mira said...

Missy M. -

That's hard, but hang in there. There's no time machine backward, but there is one moving forward. Times will change.

Cindy Jacks said...

LOL, love the Rainbow Connection video. I'm a big Kermit fan.

I wanted to thank you for pointing out that writing a novel in and of itself is a huge accomplishment. It's easy for writers to get down on ourselves as the rejections roll in. Very true that most people say they'll write a book and never do. Kudos for the positive perspective!

Mark said...

173 comments so far..perhaps you have something there.

I started reading blogs in an effort to keep up with what was going on. I selected a set of blogs about interests I have and tried to get ones from both sides of the issues. I've dropped many (ok, most) because the endless screaming about the wrongs the other side is perpetrating becomes depressing and I find I simply lose interest.

I think that there is a lot of good going on, focusing on the bad gives you a lopsided viewpoint. Most people remember hitting 4 red lights in a row but how many remember hitting 4 green ones in a row?

I'm not a literary giant but i think there is a lot of positive in the publishing world, from manufacturers such as Amazon actually responding to the concerns of authors - whether you think its justified is a different issue, the point is they listened - to new ways support groups can meet to new methods of first-timers getting published, I think there is a lot of positive things going on right now.

I think this is a great thing and I look forward to your posts.

Justus M. Bowman said...

Thanks for sharing the Rainbow Connection.

kat knox said...

Ah, Nathan, love backatcha!! I fell out laughing when i saw the 'rainbow connection'! Hysterical and yet completely a apropos for all us lovers and dreamers.

Kristine Overbrook said...

"It is on." :) Love that

You're off to a good start with Rainbow Connection Nathan.

LOL My first favorite song ever.

Thank you for reminding us that others know just how hard writing can be. Starting is agonizing, finishing is torture and don't even get me started on the middle.

It's awesome that you acknowledge it.

Thanks. I feel all warm and fuzzy.

Scott said...

Nathan, I watched some of that Bachelor thing last night, and is it me or is that guy kind of creepy now? It's as if he's addicted to the show experience, and only loved that other girl because his reuniting with her held the dramatic potential he craved. Interesting story idea here, maybe: a spoiled manchild who manipulates his women in order to fall in love with their suffering. A Rose By Any Other Name might be a nice title. That or Soap Hunk Wannabe Weirdo ;)

I bet he's thinking about the other one now, too.

waricap n. 1. a covering placed over the eyes in order to see through someone's bullshit.

Nona said...

I think that after six weeks our friend Jason finally realized that there's more to picking a mate than bragging rights. Run, Jason, Run!

EXT. BACKYARD BARBQUE -- DAY

JASON (beer in hand)

Hehe. Yeah, my wife used to be a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Kermit, Kermit, Kermit...where have you been all this time?

I am waiting for the Muppet Wall Street movie to come out, I really am. Just picture in your mind the Bernie Madoff Muppet...

P.S. Put me in the Kermit Krybaby Klub - I couldn't watch the whole thing, I wanted to, but it filled me with piercing nostalgia.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Thanks Nathan! We need it these days--and here's another good bit--the percentage of people who read has increased over the last 3 years by 3 percent--woohoo!

Deb Lehman said...

Nathan, you rock! Love the positivity in this atmosphere of gloom and doom and Limbaugh. Unknown authors need all the rainbows we can get!

Bethany Brengan said...

This is absolutely what I needed today. Rainbows, bacon, kittens, and Kermit are definitely all part of my vision of heaven.

Patrice said...

Whoa, baby, do you get a lot of comments! I've been lurking for a while, but have finally come to the surface.

Everyone has already said so much, but I will add -- thank you for taking the time to write this blog! I blog myself, and it is a fun effort, but an effort nevertheless. And, Nathan, do you read ALL the comments? You know you don't usually get so many....

Thanks for the Kermit video. The theme song for us dreamers!

P.S. As an intellectual property attorney turned writer, I agree that you are unlikely to be in trouble by posting it. If not, everyone who put videos from YouTube on Facebook, their blogs, and the many newsblogs would be facing copyright infringement claims. I'm not sure that it actually qualifies as Fair Use, which is pretty specific, but you have a strong claim that established practices support your doing what the rest of the online world is doing.

That will be $300.00, please!

Court said...

*gasp* Kittens! Puppies! Rainbows! Beach balls, glitter, lollipops, and smiley faces!

Also, there must be ice cream.

Chocolate.

Yay!

*end happy spluttering* You made me think happy thoughts. Thanks, Nathan! :oD

Erin Jade Lange said...

i love the rainbow connection! and disneyland too! and books! aw, now i feel all warm and fuzzy. i'm very into this positivity week. :)

Muppet Soul said...

Umm, I love you. If for no other reason than posting that video.

LOVE. The forever kind. You are now on the same list as Kermit.

And triple-dog daring is probably responsible for a lot of amazing things. And for tongues getting stuck to poles in the winter.

Caroline said...

As an archaeologist-cum-novelist I am uniquely situated to respond to your comparison of digging a ten foot trench with a spoon and writing. You are correct. Writing is easier. For one thing, the ground freezing doesn't affect your ability to write! And there is very little risk contracting lyme's disease in a coffee shop.

HOWEVER I would rank it around the same difficulty as digging twenty little holes with nothing in them day after day after day... And then you find something, and you have to dig more little holes, in a circle... Yeah, writing kinda feels like that some days.

Oh, and I really appreciate positivity week. KITTENS!

Sarah said...

Positivity---got it! I can do that.


I'm down with kittens! Ooo, and puppies! Rainbows too!

(And I've come out of hiding on your blog; be impressed, my friend!) :)

Sarah

mt1761 said...

What a great idea- I didn't find you overly negative either, but I still commend you on pushing the positive. We need it, and not enough media offers it. And media really affects my mood, like it or not.

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