Monday, November 23, 2009

Dream No More

In case you haven’t heard, Oprah Winfrey has set an end-date for her talk show. She’ll quit in 2011. She may go to cable. She may quit altogether. Depends on how fast her Medicare will kick in (that’s a joke, lame, but a joke - she has more money than the number of competing e-readers scheduled to premiere next year).

According to a Wall Street Journal blog, it’s not a good thing for the publishing industry.
“Oprah Winfrey has supported many authors, and her book club has had a huge impact on America’s reading habits,” added Ms. Shanley [a partner in the consulting firm Market Partners International Inc.]. “She made Faulkner a best seller again. She also promoted an eclectic group of authors and created publishing successes for many commercial writers.”
Oprah didn’t start off promoting books and she seems to have slacked off in the past year or so, but during the hay day of books on her show, she changed the way people read and find out about books. When she chose a book or author, she promoted it/him-or-her on her show and on her blog. She gave the book her seal of approval, both through her words and through her official seal that went on the cover of the book.

It’s rather doubtful there will be someone who can match her in making books overnight best-sellers. I don’t get cable, so I have no idea who’s on there. On the regular network channels, the only person I see close to her kind of following is Ellen DeGeneres. Maybe she or someone will take up the cause and promote writers and reading.

It would be nice for writers to have that dream of one day appearing on THE show that would catapult them to the best-seller list.
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30 comments:

  1. She may not be gone forever - rumor has it she's starting her own TV channel, so perhaps that will provide even more opportunities.

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  2. Or maybe she'll play up her online presence (which I understand is pretty strong) and focus on promoting books that way.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  3. I can't see her fading out of the public eye completely, but her announcement did dash a lot of aspiring authors' dreams - including mine!)

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  4. It's odd that you should blog about this today because I got a call from Oprah yesterday to come on her show... Oh, wait. That was a dream I had last night. Never mind.

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  5. Darn - and before she ever plugged one of MY books! Sigh. Seriously, Oprah is and has been an incredible phenomena. I remember seeing her in her breakout role in The Color Purple where she was butt UG-Leee! And then soon after she's like this glamor queen and the most powerful woman in the entertainment industry. Amazing woman.

    Marvin D Wilson

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  6. Marvin, there are no ugly women. She was acting. :-)

    Those of you who get cable: isn't there a channel called O - does that stand for Oprah or something else like Oxygen?

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  7. Definitely was one of my dreams. But I'm sure God still has great things in store for all the wonderful writers coming out of the wings.

    It will be interesting to see where Oprah ends up.

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  8. I think it is fantastic what Oprah has done for books. It would be great is someone like Ellen stepped up and filled those big shoes. Perhaps writers that side should ask her to do just that.

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  9. I always enjoyed Oprah's book club segments, she definitely generated a huge excitement for reading. I remember reading that she said it just got completely out-of-hand, with the industry, writers, agents, publishers, swamping her with their selections and so she had to stop. Even the morning news shows used to have book clubs, but they seem to have dropped them too. :(

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  10. It is true that Oprah will be missed on a lot of levels, including her part in promoting books and authors. While I didn't always agree with her choices, I did find some new authors to enjoy.

    Reading your last sentence, Helen, made me chuckle. It reminded me of when I used to dream about being on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He used to have a segment for writers fairly often. Not sure if it was his idea, or a publisher's publicity department that paid for a segment.

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  11. She is definitely starting some new channel, in addition to Oxygen, which already exists. Perhaps there's still hope!
    Karen

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  12. Wow, Maryann, I totally missed that on Johnny Carson. Probably because I was asleep. How cool!

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  13. I love Oprah but breathed a sigh of relief for myself and all authors - published and aspiring. No longer will we be badgered by well-meaning friends and family who wonder why we can't get our fannies and our books on The Oprah Show!

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  14. The network is OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. Word is that she will be able to showcase her finds such as Dr Phil, Rachel Ray, and Dr Oz. Lisa Ling will have a presence on the network. I have a quarter that says she'll work something bookish into her plans, and not just interviews with authors making the rounds with their new book in hand. But she's gonna be cautious— between the author that didn't want to be an Oprah Book Club choice (too democratic, readers not elite enough) to the 'memoir' that turned out to be a fraud—she got burned twice. I figure she gave fair warning...time to get cable. Is she still on Sirius radio?

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  15. Ah, all these authors dreaming of making it to Oprah. Here I am thinking I'll have made it big if someday I write page one of a novel. :)

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  16. Sirius, not only do I not have access to cable, I don't get Sirius radio. It sounds, though, as if Oprah has no plans to go quietly into the night. I hope she finds a way to continue promoting writers, although I'm ready for her to pick a mystery, thriller or romance.

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  17. She may be leaving her current show but I doubt she's leaving for good. What's left for her to do? Retirement? I think she'll look for something bigger and better t do.

    Stephen Tremp

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  18. I can't imagine Oprah is going to fade away. She'll pop up somewhere else. I'd lay odds it will be on her own network. More control over content if you own everything...and the channel's acronym is OWN.

    Elspeth

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  19. She's a force to be reckoned with--and whatever happens, I believe Oprah added a lot of readers to our world!

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  20. Just as Bonita wrote, Oprah's OWN is a joint venture with Discovery Communications, and will be seen on what is now Discovery Health Channel.

    Apparently will be distributed to 70 million viewers!

    Don't have cable so I'm not in that mix!

    It will probably have segments on books and authors since press release stated show will "entertain, inform, and inspire..."

    She has said that she wrote once in her journal that she would create a television network one day.

    *looks in own journal*

    Nope. Haven't written anything like that.

    Oh, well, back to writing a book one day.

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  21. I thought about what the impact on books would be when she announced her future retirement. I also agree she'll probably still do a book club and it'll be online.

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  22. yeah, she will still promote books is my guess.

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  23. We are certainly an optimistic group. Love it.

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  24. I am hopeful she will continue to promote books. Once a reader, always a reader right?

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