Dealing with Bad Publishing News

Remember the media principle of “if it bleeds it leads,” which means bad news or salacious headlines are designed to grab our attention. When authors are constantly barraged by bad news, it can be demotivating at the very least.

I’m sure sales for your book could be better. I’m with you. Instead, you might consider the number that have sold. If it is only 100 copies, put all 100 people in a room and stand in front of them and discuss the ideas your book presents and how those ideas have changed their lives.

The prophet Jeremiah toiled for 40 years and had only one convert (his secretary Baruch). His words were burned by the King, piece by piece as they were read (Jeremiah 36:20-27). Not once did he see any change in the people of Judah. But his words were not wasted.

Therefore, when any industry news crosses your eyes or ears (closure of a favorite store, a less-than-stellar royalty report, Amazon is taking over the world, etc.), take heart. Books are still selling. Words still matter. Writers are still needed. Oh, and one last thing, God is still sovereign over all things.


22 Responses to Dealing with Bad Publishing News

  1. Tuvia Pollack July 15, 2019 at 4:19 am #

    That is good encouragement!
    …but I am still praying not to be a Jeremiah.

    I also think that rejections and obstacles force us to take a fresh look at our writing. For me at least it makes me more prone to listen to criticism, thinking where I can sharpen it, how I can make it better. It increases my motivation and makes me go “let’s show them.”

    Honestly? It also makes me pray more often. Maybe that was God’s plan with this all along…?

  2. Lori Roeleveld July 15, 2019 at 5:04 am #

    This is probably too long to have tattooed on my forearm. Thanks for the good word.

  3. Roberta Sarver July 15, 2019 at 5:26 am #

    Thanks for those thoughts, Steve. When I visit friends and see their bookshelves, I’m reminded just why I write. Somebody out there buys books.

  4. Damon J. Gray July 15, 2019 at 5:44 am #

    As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, our task is to keep doing what God has called us to do. He will be responsible for the outcomes.

  5. Sharon K Connell July 15, 2019 at 6:06 am #

    Great advice. When I hear others stress over some bit of news they’ve heard, I just shake my head. The news media, big or small, thrives on bad news and I believe does their best to exaggerate it. Just like with the weather, they always want to get everyone spun up about it so people stay glued to their announcements, articles, or programs.

    Take a deep breath, and leave it in God’s hands. He called you to write. So write.

    Thank you, Steve.

  6. Elaine Stock July 15, 2019 at 6:09 am #

    Heartfelt thanks for this awesome encouragement to authors who write, write and write, yet wonder about who we’re reaching.

  7. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser July 15, 2019 at 6:33 am #

    He did not walk upon the wave
    as a better way to travel.
    He wanted us to show the brave
    as things started to unravel.
    To step out upon the water,
    to let faith guide our feet
    in a world so full of slaughter
    where we feel like walking meat.
    He wanted us to find the seed
    He’s placed in every heart,
    that in the storm can meet the need;
    make oceans firm, or bid them part.
    Yes, we may, like Peter, quail;
    but take His Hand, and together, prevail.

    • Cindy Fowell July 15, 2019 at 8:26 am #

      Thank you, Andrew. Your words…let’s just say I needed this day. Thank you for sharing.

      • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser July 15, 2019 at 8:29 am #

        Cindy, I’m so glad this helped, and very grateful to you for letting me know. God bless!

  8. Sarah Hamaker July 15, 2019 at 6:35 am #

    Thanks for the reminder that sometimes, our audience for our writing is smaller than we’d hoped for…but it’s always as big as God had intended. My first nonfiction book was published at a new, small press, which went out of business a year later. My second nonfiction book was published at a mid-sized imprint, which imploded and went out of business three weeks prior to publication. (Naturally, I switched to writing fiction.)

    Was I sad that the demise of the publishers meant less exposure for my books? Of course, but in both cases, I still rejoice for the opportunity and for the very modest sales–and for the response from readers about how the books impacted their lives.

    Our writing success is exactly what God had in mind for us.

  9. Meg MacDonald July 15, 2019 at 6:40 am #

    Steve, this is a great encouragement as I pack for Realm Makers. When asked recently how sales were, I replied that they could be better. Then I reminded myself that any sales—or giveaways—are books in the hands of potential readers. I’ve been called to plant seeds and that is precisely what I intend to do.

  10. Bob July 15, 2019 at 7:01 am #

    Great reminder. We often forget that God is sovereign in all matters, even the trivial. We need to trust Him to use our writings as He pleases and in the lives of those touched by our writing.

  11. Katie Powner July 15, 2019 at 8:04 am #


  12. Cindy Fowell July 15, 2019 at 8:22 am #

    Perfect message following a difficult weekend. Thank you, Steve. May God bless your day as you have mine.

  13. Liberty Bell July 15, 2019 at 10:53 am #

    “Words still matter. Writers are still needed.” Thanks for this encouragement Mr. Laube.

  14. claire o'sullivan July 15, 2019 at 10:53 am #



    Great news for authors. Jeremiah was undeterred, and that gives us hope. Yes? For us, that means, persevere, work the manuscript/the craft/find your flaws.

    For those bookstores closing, indeed, God is in charge. Let’s make sure our will is in line with His, write accordingly, and not rush into deals that could ruin sales and the word of God that could reach those in need. Again, prayer.

  15. Mark Moss July 15, 2019 at 12:58 pm #

    Thank you again for the encouragement. I am also packing for RealmMakers and it will be good to start on a positive note.

  16. Kathleen Freeman July 15, 2019 at 1:43 pm #

    Love your positivity! Thank you for that.

  17. Kay DiBianca July 15, 2019 at 4:11 pm #

    Steve, thank you for this timely post.

    I’d like to home in on the second paragraph where you discuss a change in perspective. Maybe we should consider how privileged we are to have the time and means to produce works in writing. Although there may be a million books published each year and ours may not be in the top tier, we are free to write and publish works that are directed by our faith. There are other places in the world where this is not true.

    I feel fortunate to live in this time and this place. Sales may be important, but it’s not even close to the opportunity to serve through the written word.

  18. Leola Ogle July 15, 2019 at 5:06 pm #

    This! This made me choke up and shed tears. I needed it. Oh, how I needed it.

  19. Tisha Martin July 15, 2019 at 8:01 pm #

    Steve, thank you for bringing sheer comfort and encouragement to us during the summertime. As fall book releases are fast approaching, I’m wondering if there are those who are mulling book sales, as we share our news with all who want to listen, and leave the rest in God’s hands.

    As one of those authors who has a fall release (along with a bunch of other essayists), I’m excited for this opportunity to share my news with horse-loving readers—boom book sales or not.

    Anyone interested in reading essays about true horse stories and how those horse friends have influenced our lives? 🙂

  20. Evelyn Mann July 16, 2019 at 8:20 pm #

    Love this on so many levels. Just when I wonder if the years it took to write and publish my memoir was worth it, God reminds me He’s using it in lives of those who read it or my blog. Then I get encouragement through a comment on Facebook. Please keep writing. Let God do the work of touching lives. Lives we may not know now, but one day we’ll see in eternity. I’d say that’s worth it. Don’t you agree?

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