Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Politics and Publishing

Not too long after the election a reader asked the following question, “What effect, if any, do you think the election will have on the publishing industry? Specifically, I was wondering if some of the 'boundaries' might be expanded with the advent of a more liberal administration.”

And I guess my answer would be a question for you, “What effect, if any, do you think the election will have on readers?” So frequently writers forget that the publishing industry buys for readers. I know when you’ve received your 100th rejection that might seem difficult to believe, but it’s true. I’m not sure a more liberal administration is going to make any difference at all in publishing. You’ll still see political books from both liberals and conservatives, you’ll still see romances, mysteries, SF and fantasy, you’ll still see business books and humor and health books.

I guess I’m stumped a little by this question, but intrigued enough to want to post it. Because I wonder if the reader is implying that publishing is too conservative and that a more liberal administration would mean more liberal-leaning books. But liberal how? Erotic romances seem pretty liberal with their sexcapades, thrillers liberal with blood, guts, and how a crime can be solved, and certainly paranormal and SF worlds are extremely liberal, or can be. Do you mean nonfiction? Both liberal and conservative titles have had their successes and failures and it seems to me that those were decided by the readers.

If the mind-set of the reading public changes, so does the publishing industry. If politics plays into that then so be it, but I’m not sure we can guarantee more liberal books simply because the administration is seen as more liberal. So let me throw this question to readers: What effect, if any, do you think the election will have on you as a reader?