Kissing up to Oprah


Well. Publisher’s Lunch today said that an organization called Word of Mouth writer’s organization has sent an open letter to Oprah asking her to start showcasing contemporary fiction once again. In a nutshell, they site that since she switched to classics (which I found interesting, after her ‘run-in’ with J. Franzen, that she only showcases dead authors who can’t diss her now), readers just quit buying much fiction, because without her, they just can’t figure out what to buy. That was supposedly a testament to Oprah’s influence on the market . . . blah blah blah, smoochie smoochie smoochie.

I know there is no doubt that Oprah had an enormous impact on the book industry, there is no question there. And I LIKE Oprah, I really do, even if I have to cringe at that bit of ego she lets escape sometimes. And heck yeah, it would be incredible for contemporary authors to be featured again. Even when she snubs traditional romance. Actually, I find that a whole ‘nother issue, so I won’t get off on a tangent.

But, like with the Texas Cattle Feeders’ lawsuit after the beef thing, I think it’s asinine to imply that people are so weak-minded that they can’t pick out a book that sounds good much less chow-down on a plump, juicy hamburger without checking to see if Oprah thinks it’s okay or not. That really chaps my hide.

Addendum:
Ok. Maybe I should have stopped to consider another angle, and not just let my fingers do the talking. Yes, I need to admit the Oprah DID bring a lot of readers into the world of fiction that have not been reader before, and that was a positive thing. I give, I admit that. Perhaps I let arrogance get the better of me a bit here. I still feel a bit like I stated before though. But I can concede the point. Here’s the ENTIRE letter.

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4 Comments on “Kissing up to Oprah”

  1. chryscat says:

    You know, I’m pretty sure God didn’t step down, and Oprah ascended the throne. I’m fairly sure us mortals would have been notified.
    I quit watching Oprah. Why, you ask? Because there is nothing fresh. There is the same ol’ celebrity or talk show fodder that is on everybody else’s show. I am rather sick of it.
    Do I like Oprah? Hell yes. I think she is one strong woman. And she has built an empire out of nothing.
    Will I look to her for my next fiction selection? Alas, no. I will not.
    She has an opinion. As do I. I’m not going to tell her how to run her show, and she’s not going to run my reading world. Simple as that.
    Grins*

  2. I think Oprah’s reason for switching to the classics was that it would be easier to choose a book every month. It probably means a lot less reading for her. With the classics, she already has favorites; but she’s gotta read a lot of contemporary books to find one she loves.

    I’m not an Oprah follower, but the truth is that a lot of people are, and it never occurred to some of them to read a novel until Oprah told them it would enrich their lives. Some of my Oprah-loving friends have freely admitted that.

    So while I think that letter stretched things a little, I believe it’s quite true that Oprah can “make” a lot of people go out and buy contemporary novels.

  3. Yeah, Like I said, there’s no doubt on the influence of her on the market. And you have a point about the readers who would not normally pick out something on their own.


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