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One of the biggest issues in this year's election for the President of the United States has been the economy. While, books may not be a necessity to individuals, books are a vital part of many of our lives. Whether you're a published author, a bookseller or a publisher, the economy has hit the book publishing industry hard; that's a fact. From the inside track, I can tell you that the national bookstores and independents are playing their stock close to the shelf. They are looking to trim their stock levels to a very quick turn around. The publishing houses are under fire as to how they will attempt to achieve their plans, of which, most won't. Publishers are wielding deals in order to maintain their bookshelf real estate.
As in most industries, the cream always rises to the top, particularly in unpredictable times. The sale of The New York Times Bestseller list of books is supported by the bookstores as the least amount of risk taking. They will and must have available the "sure thing" for their customers. As for the rest of the authors who are fighting for the coveted shelf space, well, maybe another year. And, you know I can't blame Barnes and Noble, Borders, or the independent bookstores for putting their money on the product that will likely sell versus taking a shot on an unknown author or an author whose books fall into the "b or c" category of the publishers' production runs. No, I don't like it, but it's just good business sense to put your money where you're going to have the greatest return on your investment.
So, why should any of this matter for you as a writer? It's confirmation to be the BEST writer you can be, to go the extra mile, to perfect your craft, to be relentless in pitching your work and to be selective of who you make as your publishing partner. Heading into the economic storm that is stirring, the publishing industry will be thinning out their title selection just as the bookstores will and that in turn will reflect the cream of the crop of writers represented in the major bookstores across the country.
While this is not the forum for me to share my political allegiance in the Presidential election, it's going to be tough for unknowns to be represented in a broad band of bookstores, but if you position yourself according to the political environment and put your vote where you're going to get the best return on your investment, being a little known writer may get you onto those sought-after bookshelves and in contract with a major publishing house because they will be more willing to take the risk.