Oprah, Oprah, where are thou?

Man, I love my friends, family, and readers. They are very supportive. Since I’m like every other author out there, struggling to build awareness, they think Oprah is the answer to all of my problems.

They feel I’m just one phone call away from stardom. One phone call from Oprah to highlight my book before I start signing movie deals and counting huge amounts of cash. When I tell them that there are a million books published each year, and other authors hear the same things, they pooh-pooh my realism and tell me to think positively.

But Oprah still hasn’t called yet. No invite to her show. No multimillion dollar contract. She hasn’t magically sensed my novel on the market and felt a strong compulsion to fulfill my dreams of fame and fortune. What’s her problem?

My friends and readers say “Send your book to her! She’ll read it. You never know!”

I try not to chuckle when I hear that. Oprah must have warehouses full of unrequested books that people throw her way. Besides, I’ve never known her to highlight my genre, which is murder mystery. If I’m putting all my hopes into a magical discovery that happens all of a sudden, I’ll probably be disappointed.

We live in a culture that highlights those who reach the pinnacle of success or luck. From the Powerball lottery winners to the young woman who wins American Idol, we’re inundated with these stories. Yet, they are just one in a million. Maybe one in several hundred million. However, people see these folks and believe that anyone can do it, too.

What we don’t see are the people who work hard and keep striving despite seeing any visible signs of progress. We don’t see the little things they have to stick to, day in and day out, to reach their goals. So we get lulled into that belief that we can get those miracle finishes without much difficulty.

Promoting a book certainly falls in the ‘difficult’ category, especially when I don’t have $3,000 a month to spend on promotion. Yes, several PR companies specializing in book promotion quoted a price of over three grand per month to promote my book. Maybe if I had that kind of money, I wouldn’t need to worry about promoting my book to increase sales. So when my optimistic friends and readers tell me to call Oprah, I smile, say ‘sure!’, and keep it moving. Like most authors out there, I have to do this the hard way.

That’s not to say I won’t break Olympic records running to my phone if Oprah’s name pops up on my caller ID. I just won’t expect it to be that easy. I need to keep things simple and start with easier tasks before I get that invite to Chicago. Like writing five or six bestsellers first. Easy enough, right?

Then I won’t have to worry about Oprah and get upset because she hasn’t called me yet…

(yes, borrowed from Dave Chappelle and Comedy Central)

About James Reid

Novelist/Writer of detective stories
This entry was posted in Various Musings, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Oprah, Oprah, where are thou?

  1. Jewel Brodie says:

    Oprah may not have called you, but God has you on speed dial.

    Like

  2. Vanessa says:

    One in a million is better than zero!
    And you never know! This may be the book that sways her to enjoy a new literary subject matter… it’s swaying me!
    Not finished yet, but am really enjoying it! Thank you!

    Like

  3. jhorta says:

    We are into different writing genres, but I share your same sentiments. Whether it’s promoting a book, writing blog posts, etc., you have to keep at it and endure the “pain” b/c Oprah’s not calling us anytime soon. Keep up the good work!

    Like

    • jreidauthor says:

      Thanks, Josmanny! You haven’t received that phone call either, huh? Lol…

      Like

      • jhorta says:

        Nah brotha. I’m nowhere near as established as you, so you know I’m not getting that call. lol.
        But in all seriousness, I can tell you think big picture regardless of your current status, and we have that in common. Keep at it and talk soon!

        Like

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