Cold is what our early Anchorage winter has delivered, but it’s not how most of us want to characterize our careers, unless we’re professional skiers or snowmachiners like the newly-illustrious Todd Palin.

With the economy sending pre-Halloween shivers down most every spine, the book industry is not exactly in fine shape. Indeed, as the New York Observor reports in “Baby, It’s Going to be Cold Outside in Book Publishing,” the puddle from the meltdown is about to freeze to the bottom in publishing.

Before you give up on that break-out book, remember publishing is notorious for examining its navel and pronouncing itself dead. Still, Leon Neyfakh makes some good points in his piece, not the least of which is that for a book to grab the attention of editors and agents these days, it needs to be “riveting and brilliant.”

If I had one word of advice to new writers, it would be to post those adjectives, along with others like “compelling” and “pageturning” alongside their computers. Time was when just writing pretty well about a great place like Alaska snagged contracts and readers. Not so anymore.

And that’s one of those good things, like generosity and reflection, that can come of hardship. In our books, as in politics, we’re poised to embrace the highest standards.

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