Friday, August 3, 2007

Nan Talese vs Oprah

Now, I knew that Nan Talese’s comments last weekend would cause a stir in the literary community…after all, the women just challenged Oprah. Of course, it would be picked up gleefully by galleycat and Gawker . And publishers all over New York would think, is Nan Talese the ballsiest woman out there – or the stupidest? After all, if there’s one cardinal rule of publishing, it’s “Don’t piss off Ms. O.” Although lately, we’ve all come to see that we have other bestseller-making shows out there – namely The Daily Show and The Colbert Report - but Oprah reminds the golden standard. Who hasn’t had (multiple) authors ask what there chances of getting on Oprah are? And to rip into Oprah, and possibly black-ball all of future Doubleday titles…damn. Gutsy move, Nan.
(Side note: my personal favorite is when an author emails and says, “Oh, I just thought about something – have you tried Oprah? Maybe she’d like it.” Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks, nameless author. I’m sure she’ll call right back now that you’ve given me this great suggestion. While I’m at it, maybe I’ll try the Today Show too. Jesus.)
Anyway, my point being, I just opened up my “Top 10 Stories of the Week” email, and what’s numero uno? Why, Oprah vs. James Frey: The Sequel . Who knew that something set to air on BookTV would pick up such interest? I mean, who watches CSPAN (besides my mother, obvi)? And yet, now, there’s YouTube footage circulating of sweet old Nan, berating Oprah for her treatment of James Frey after his memoir, A Million Little Pieces, was revealed to be less than 100% accurate – or as Oprah so diplomatically put it, lies.
I guess the same way that Oprah can make people read, she can make people care about what is said at a literary conference in Grapevine, Texas. Now, let’s see if a diatribe against Oprah has as much selling power as her endorsement…I’ll be waiting eagerly for next week’s New York Times Bestseller list.


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